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. Painting, sculpture, architecture as well as ornament, design, and photography have provided rich traditions of visual expression and communication, and the development of new media has greatly expanded this visual repertoire. Different cultures, in different places and at different times, have valued and conceptualized vision and made use of the visual arts in a variety of ways. The visual arts investigate and re-imagine the physical, social, cultural, and spiritual spheres of human existence and offer arguments about and interpretations of these realms.

Major in Art and Art History

The Art & Art History major prepares students for careers not only as artists or professionals in museums, the arts industries or education, but also for any career where creativity, imagination, analytical ability, conceptual clarity, cross cultural understanding and a respect for human achievement and difference are valued.

The major in Art & Art History consists of twelve courses. Students following the Art History track take Foundations of Art History I and II, Thinking Art and one of the four Art Practice foundation courses. Students are encouraged to complete Foundations I and II as early in their degree program as possible and must have completed them before taking Thinking Art; they are also required to take two electives focused on periods before 1800 and these should be from two different cultural traditions. Students on the Arts Practice track must complete two of the four practice-based foundation courses as well as Foundations of Art History I and II and Advanced Critique and Exhibition Studies. All students are required to undertake a Capstone project. Students who choose to double major in Art & Art History and another discipline and who choose to complete their Capstone project in that other discipline must still complete twelve Art & Art History courses. Instead of the two-semester Capstone Research Project in Art & Art History, these students may elect any two additional Art & Art History courses (other than foundation courses).


All students completing a major in Art & Art History at NYUAD must undertake a Capstone project in their final year. The Capstone project is an advanced piece of work in either Art History or Art Practice; it represents the culmination of your work in the Art & Art History major. Students taking a major in Art & Art History can focus on history and theory, on studio practice, or a balanced combination of the two; accordingly, the Capstone can be a research thesis, a practice-based project, or a combination of the two. It must demonstrate rigor of thought, imaginative intelligence, and technical proficiency. Ideally, it should be informed as widely and deeply as possible by each student’s educational experience over the previous years in the program and at NYUAD.

Capstone projects are tailored to meet the needs and ambitions of each individual student. However, project proposals must take into consideration issues of scale and time, budgetary constraints, and also the expertise of the faculty available for supervision. All projects will, therefore, be developed in close consultation with the faculty.