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 provides students with both breadth and depth of art practice, appropriate to their creative interests and professional development. Students will:

  • Engage with new conceptual approaches based on debates at the forefront of contemporary art practices
  • Work with an interdisciplinary ethos across different fields
  • Develop a research-based art practice
  • Experiment with mediums, methods, and techniques in innovative ways
  • Develop professional skills to pursue careers in the arts
  • Undertake and realize creative research and historize their practice

The MFA program encourages continual experimentation through a rigorous exploration of  the boundaries of art making. The program enables the students to innovate in their own studios and contribute new knowledge to the wider community and art world. The MFA at NYUAD seeks to develop artists with a depth of practice who are critically engaged with art-making situated within global discourses.

Field-based Learning: A Global Crossroad of Knowledge and Practices

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 of the MFA program. In the context of graduate studies, the intensification and depth of practices from field-based learning help build new art communities and connections. This unique cultural mix demonstrates a complexity that is addressed throughout the MFA program which positions itself at global crossroads of knowledge and practices.

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 the following areas, through ensuring core competencies in three main pillars: artistic inquiry, production, and experimentation; art discourse and research; and professional development and leadership: 

  • research,
  • material knowledge, 
  • creative production, 
  • analysis, 
  • decision-making, teamwork, as well as 
  • specialist art practice skills

Students learn to visualize questions, articulate research and ideas in novel ways, connect seemingly unconnected phenomena and concepts, and provide valuable insights to the global contemporary and historic condition.

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 individual studios which serve as core teaching and research spaces.