The Arts and Humanities at NYUAD encompass fields of central importance to human culture and creativity. Students explore fundamental questions of human thought, cultural values, and modes of expression, and they develop their own creative capacities as scholars, writers, and artists in a variety of media.

The academic programs of the Arts and Humanities division are firmly rooted in the best traditions of a liberal arts curriculum but they approach this curriculum from new intellectual perspectives: our courses are shaped around a deep commitment to global frameworks of understanding; and, where appropriate, they teach the history, theory, and practice of the arts together rather than separately.

These approaches are a distinguishing characteristic of the Arts and Humanities at NYUAD and they signal a belief in both an ethics and a disciplinary inventiveness suited to the contemporary world.

NYUAD’s Arts and Humanities courses instill an awareness of the global interconnectedness of human values and of the need for communication and respect between cultures; and in each area of inquiry, they also respond to the location of Abu Dhabi and enable students to deepen their understanding of Middle Eastern History and Culture.

Research Initiatives


African Studies Symposium

African Studies at NYUAD seeks to cultivate a dynamic and sustainable space for academic discussion, activity, and community around the broad area of inquiry of Africa and its diaspora.


NYUAD Global Asia Initiative

The NYUAD Global Asia Initiative (GAI) is an interdisciplinary network of faculty working on Asia in the broadest sense. It works as a platform for scholars to come together to discuss each other’s work...

Library of Arabic Literature

The Library of Arabic Literature (LAL) series offers Arabic editions and English translations of significant works of Arabic literature, with an emphasis on the seventh to nineteenth centuries.


Dhakira Center for Heritage Studies in the UAE

Dhakira, an applied research center based at NYU Abu Dhabi, provides the framework, tools and platform to empower civil societies to become curators of their own heritage and custodians of their cultural memory.

Historic Turkish Photos Show Rapid Societal Transformation

Akkasah: Center for Photography

Akkasah (the word for camera in Emirati dialect) explores the histories and contemporary practices of photography in the Arab world from comparative perspectives.


Sounds of Sir Bani Yas Island

Professor Carlos Guedes's "Designing Sound for Scene and Screen" class traveled to Sir Bani Yas Island, home to the UAE's largest wildlife preserve. The reserve was founded in 1977 by HH Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

Multidisciplinary Programs & Minors

Arab Crossroads Studies

Arab Crossroads Studies takes advantage of Abu Dhabi’s geographical location in the Arabian Peninsula.


The concentration in Anthropology aims to help students gain an understanding of cultural forms and their historical transformations.

Interactive Media

The concentration begins with the premise that access to newer and more expansive communication technologies creates new opportunities.

Peace Studies

The Peace Studies program examines the factors that foster or undermine peace within local and national communities and across nations.

The Ancient World

The concentration focuses on the shared and overlapping periods in the development of cultures and civilizations around the Mediterranean basin..

The Environment

The concentration in The Environment affords an outstanding opportunity for making connections among fundamental scientific and engineering concepts, economic and sociological forces, and literary and artistic endeavors.


The Urbanization concentration takes advantage of the setting in Abu Dhabi, a rapidly growing city which is making major investments in infrastructure, public transportation, and environmental sustainability.

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