During the fourth year, every NYUAD student will produce a Capstone project, which may be either an individual or team project. The Capstone project is a demanding, year-long endeavor aiming at a significant piece of research or creative work — a historical narrative, musical composition, performance, invention, documented experiment, scholarly thesis, or other form appropriate to the student's goals. Unlike other courses in which faculty establish the structure and set assignments, the Capstone project puts the student in charge. The fundamental challenge is to enter unmapped terrain and to extend oneself in making knowledge or creating something new.
Students will have the opportunity to organize and participate in a college-wide team project. A College Capstone draws together students from different fields and with different strengths to focus on a multifaceted problem or creative endeavor. For example, a college Capstone might be to design a new stringed instrument with students from Engineering, Music, Physics, and Theater. In the course of designing the instrument, the team might study different types of music, address the science of vibrations and sound, consider the requirements for sound generation and utilization in the theater, and evaluate materials selections and fabrication. Or students from Biology, Film and Media, and Political Science might team up to make a documentary film about mangrove ecology and regeneration. Or a Capstone to design a game for learning might involve students from Brain and Cognitive Science to address how the brain learns, from Computer Science to design algorithms and image displays, from Literature and History to contribute content and historical context, and from Visual Arts and Interactive Media and Technology to design the graphics and interactive devices.
No matter what form the Capstone takes, each student will have a faculty advisor and participate in a Capstone seminar that serves as a forum to discuss the research process and present work in progress. These seminars offer a model of intellectual community and collaborative learning in which participants offer their thoughts across fields of study and engage in active critique and revision. At the end of the school year, the students will present their Capstone work at a university-wide celebration of their creative achievements, as they prepare to graduate from NYU Abu Dhabi.