To graduate from NYU Abu Dhabi, students are required to:
- Complete 140 credit hours
- Complete eight core curriculum courses — including at least one writing-intensive core course (and most of it in the first two years)
- Complete an academic major
- Complete two seven-week physical education activities
- Complete the Islamic Studies requirement
- Complete a Capstone project
- Maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.0
For the great majority of students this will not be a requirement that they struggle to fulfill. Rather, it will be a constraint that requires some very difficult choices as students construct their four-year curricular paths. The implication of this requirement is that students need to enroll in exactly four courses each semester. The only exception to that rule is that students who enroll in the two half-unit Engineering Foundations 1 courses may take four and a half courses in each of two semesters.
The core consists of four broad areas of inquiry:
- Pathways of World Literature;
- Structures of Thought and Society;
- Ideas and Methods of Science;
- Art, Technology, and Invention.
To complete two courses in each of these areas during four years at NYUAD, students need to take at least five core courses during the first two years, ideally at least one in each of the four categories. Thus, students should complete a minimum of two core courses during their first year. For students hoping to study away during the spring of their second year, five core courses will need to be completed before departure, typically three in the first year.
Strong writing is important to academic success in every career and in every academic major. All incoming students are required to take a writing assessment during the summer before their first year. Many students will benefit from enrolling in Analysis & Expression. Others may be prepared for a writing-intensive core course. In either case students are expected to take a course with a significant writing component during the first semester at NYUAD and ordinarily need to complete a writing-intensive core course by the end of their first year.
Meeting the requirements for an academic major is central to completing an education at NYU Abu Dhabi. Therefore, it is important for students to think about how to select a major.
The best way for students to make sure they are on track with an academic major is to review the sample scheduling diagrams for each academic major being considered. These are not meant to be rigid paths to follow and it is always possible to switch the semesters in which a core or general elective course is taken. However, many major courses have prerequisite courses, so it is important for students to think carefully and discuss with their mentors any significant deferral of academic major requirements.
Students are required to complete two seven-week physical education activities. There are plenty of interesting options from which to choose. Physical activity is often an excellent way to break up time spent on academics and students are encouraged to participate in physical activities well beyond the two required.
Beginning with the class of students entering in 2012, students are required to complete a one- or two-course academic experience that analyzes the society and culture within which the university operates. There are a variety of ways to complete this requirement. It can be completed with two semesters of Arabic language classes or with any one of a growing list of courses that contain a substantial component of Arabic or Islamic content. Courses satisfying the requirement will have an X at the end of their course number (e.g. WRIT-AD 111X Analysis and Expression: Contemporary Debates about Islam).
Complete a Capstone project in either an academic major or in a multidisciplinary concentration. Students are required to complete a two-semester, independent Capstone project during their senior year. The Capstone experience can be one of the most meaningful activities in an undergraduate career at NYU Abu Dhabi. It is the time when students are able to combine talents developed over the full range of their academic preparation, as well as an opportunity to demonstrate the breadth of learning already achieved.
The minimum grade point average (GPA) requirement speaks to the need for students to maintain a balanced schedule. NYU Abu Dhabi has three separate rules that make it essential for students to create a course schedule that will enable them to succeed academically. First is the policy that students need to maintain a 2.0 GPA to remain in good academic standing. Second, during the freshman year, only courses where a grade of at least C- is earned count toward the 36 courses needed to graduate (see the Transcript Policy for more details). Finally, only courses in which grades of C or better are earned may be counted toward the completion of an academic major or toward satisfying any core requirements. Thus it is very important that students create a schedule that is not too difficult while making the adjustment to college-level learning.