Artists across the globe, in the past and present, have created images and other forms of visual communication and artistic expression that influence the way we experience the world around us. Their work often allows us to perceive nature, culture, and society with new eyes, revealing and mobilizing the deliberate and unconscious effects of images on the human mind, unraveling prejudices, building critical consciousness, and facilitating aesthetic pleasure and intellectual satisfaction.

The major in Visual Arts integrates studio art, art history, and critical theory. The studio art courses allow students to explore a range of different media and techniques including drawing and painting, sculpture, photography, video, and digital media.

Equally significant are the courses that deal with art history, visual studies, and art criticism. These courses guide students to think critically about the past and present of the visual experience; understand the genesis and development of visual arts in a wide variety of societies; and critically evaluate the visual arts in writing about them. Students are encouraged to take a variety of courses in order to comprehend the reactions to observed reality, the built environment, and the creative urge in a large sphere of societies. We aim to take advantage not only of the panorama of history but to tap into the rich visual cultures of the region in which the students are studying by linking them with practicing artists, art historians, art critics, architects, urban planners, and others who shape our collective visual literacy.

The NYUAD Visual Arts program is closely related to, and cross­-lists courses from, the pre-professional track in Museum and Cultural Heritage Studies, which takes advantage of the presence in the region of museums such as the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, and the future museums on Abu Dhabi's Saadiyat Island.


11 courses, distributed as follows;

  • 3 Required Courses: Foundations of Art History I; Foundations of Art History II; Introduction to Visual Arts Practice
  • 5 Electives: at least 1 from History, Theory, Criticism & 1 from Arts Practice
  • 1 Arts and Humanities Colloquium
  • 2 Capstone Project