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.

Arts and Humanities Programs

Art and Art History

From pre-historic cave art to the digital media of today, human beings across the globe and through the ages have used visual forms to understand and shape their world.

Film and New Media

Film and New Media at NYUAD integrates the making of film and new media with the study of their histories, conventions, and practices.



History is the study of human experience, considered in relation to time and place. It is also a method of thinking characterized by its attention to the contexts in which people live and work.

Literature and Creative Writing

Literature has been central to the formation of collective identities across cultures, nations, and historical epochs.


The music program is committed to educating a new generation of musicians capable of understanding and making music on a transnational and interdisciplinary scale.


Philosophy — perhaps the oldest academic discipline — explores enduring fundamental questions about the world and our place in it.


Theater and performance have shaped the civic, religious, and ideological lives of human beings throughout history. Plays and performances do not represent only what we know and what we have done.

Language Program

Language is the principal means through which humans communicate and a major vehicle in the development of thought, culture, and aesthetic expression.


The goal of the Concentration in Arabic is to provide students with the proficiency to understand and use the Arabic language.

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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