At its core, the multidisciplinary field of Social Science is about people — their individual and collective behaviors and the societies they create. The disciplines in this field seek to deepen our understanding of how people behave in a wide variety of contexts and to assess the consequences of individual, group, and societal decisions. Collectively, the social sciences seek to explain and investigate the functioning of society, and address the vast array of pressing contemporary issues that affect individual and societal well-being.

  • How does our broader environment affect how we develop as individuals and behave collectively in our communities?
  • Why do our societies look the way they do, and why do they differ?
  • What drives pervasive inequality within and across regions, and what policies and institutions affect this?

Undergraduate Programs

Three Social Science majors are available to students at NYU Abu Dhabi:

  • Economics
  • Political Science
  • Social Research and Public Policy

While each major has its own particular focus, there are important shared components in how these majors are designed. In each, students are exposed to the theories and controversies of the field, their historical roots, and the current debates. Students learn how ideas have been developed, altered, and refuted over time. In addition, each discipline emphasizes the development of critical analytical skills; students learn to use empirical methods to test their ideas and theories with data. The development and completion of a senior thesis enables students to work closely with NYUAD faculty.

Developing Knowledge Across Disciplines

Finally, the social sciences at NYUAD are intentionally cross-disciplinary. Given the complexity of human behavior, our societies, and the issues we face, there is a shared pedagogical commitment that the ideal education should foster the development of knowledge across disciplines. Students within each of the social science majors are exposed to additional disciplines as part of the major itself. The Political Science major includes many courses that are cross-listed with Economics, Psychology, and Philosophy; and the Economics major requires two breadth courses outside the discipline that are relevant for a broader view of economic phenomena. Social Research and Public Policy is an interdisciplinary Social Science major, which draws on anthropology, sociology and demography as well as economics and political science.



Economics is the study of human decision-making, considered in relation to the economic tasks of life. It looks at how individuals within larger social groups, including communities, organizations, markets, and economies, make decisions about how much to work and play, spend and save.

Political Science

Political Systems and Civil War

The Political Science major at NYU Abu Dhabi attracts students who are interested in the many important political questions — conceptual, empirical, policy-oriented — that societies everywhere face today.

Social Research and Public Policy

Resident Expert: Social Activism in Mauritania

Social Research and Public Policy attracts students who are concerned with the major social problems of our times such as poverty, racism and sexism, inequality, and religious and economic fundamentalism. The major offers rigorous training in quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate such problems.