Program Structure

The Master of Fine Arts at NYU Abu Dhabi offers a curriculum that is flexible and responsive to artistic, technological, economic, and societal shifts and needs. Its studio-focused multidisciplinary coursework bridges disciplinary skills and diverse bodies of knowledge. The program is structured to ensure that students develop advanced research skills for visual and academic investigations in contemporary art and theory. Coursework and academic requirements are designed to foster the development of students who can think and create in novel and interdisciplinary ways.

What Should Students Expect?

The curriculum seeks to provide students with both breadth and depth, appropriate to their creative passions and interests.

  • experiment with mediums
  • work outside of their undergraduate comfort zone
  • consider new conceptual approaches and craft traditions
  • develop a capacity to envision exhibiting work that may mark a departure from previous practices

This is a training in being an artist because this is what artists do: constantly building on a depth of knowledge, but seeking to disrupt habitual ways of working, always experimenting out-of-depth areas of knowledge in order to innovate inside their own studios, as well as contribute innovation to the wider art community and art world. The MFA at NYUAD seeks to develop this sense for advanced emerging artists: a sense of a depth of practice, as well as a sense of broadening out into new areas and taking risks.

A Fusion of Contemporary Art and Cultural Traditions

The cultural traditions and heritage of the UAE, along with its burgeoning place as a global art hub, make field-based learning an important component to nearly every course offering and studio practice. And in the context of graduate studies, this intensification and depth of practices helps build new art communities and connections which emanate outward from the Emirates. This unique cultural mix demonstrates a complexity that more monolithic university systems and national cultures cannot replicate in a classroom or studio.

Vibrant Artistic Community

Artists drive cultural and technological innovation, provide critical vision, and establish vital forms of human exchange. Teaching students the perceptual and analytical skills used by artists allows them to engage with and move more thoughtfully through cultural spaces, environments, institutions, and the societies from which they come. The MFA program helps students hone these skills by stressing rigorous academic study in combination with studio-based practices and theoretical writing. The program fosters competency in research, material knowledge, analysis, decision-making, brainstorming and teamwork. Students learn to visualize problems and ideas in novel ways, connect seemingly unconnected phenomena and concepts, and provide valuable insights into and solutions to contemporary problems.

Studio Spaces

NYU Abu Dhabi offers state-of-the-art production facilities in photography, painting and drawing, sculpture, printmaking, fiber art, digital, video and sound art. Students enrolled in the program gain access to the rich ecosystem of art studios, workshops, and labs on campus and are assigned private studios which serve as core teaching and research spaces.