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NYU Abu Dhabi’s Core Curriculum forms the heart of our mission to provide an international student body with an outstanding, expansive education.
The Core draws on the diversity and cultural wealth of the world’s traditions and spans the content and methodologies of 21st-century disciplines across the Arts and Humanities, Engineering, Science, and Social Science. It offers Core Competencies that will help graduates address major global challenges, including the pursuit of equality, justice, peace, health, sustainability, and a rich understanding of humanity.
It fosters modes of thinking and habits of mind central to well-rounded intellectual development and to global citizenship and leadership. The Core is our mission, manifested.
The NYUAD Core consists of two Core Colloquia, each of which addresses a significant global challenge from multidisciplinary perspectives, and four Core Competency Courses, one each in the four categories.
- Core Colloquia
- Core Competencies
Confronting Global Challenges
Taught by faculty from all divisions, Core Colloquia aim to offer multidisciplinary, global perspectives and substantively engage two or more of the Core Competencies. These seminars help nurture civic awareness fundamental to global citizenship and leadership by developing your abilities to grapple with the complex conceptual and ethical dimensions of global issues, to communicate respectfully across cultural difference, and to devise problem-solving strategies. They remind us that your individual academic experiences contribute to our collective efforts to make NYUAD a new model of higher education for a global world.
The cooperation needed to address the world’s most pressing challenges depends upon a rich understanding of humanity itself, a sense of how societies and individuals have developed in relation to one another and to other species, to the environment, to technologies, and to ideas — both sacred and secular — about the universe. When it comes to tackling such challenges, Core Colloquia may raise questions to which there are no easy answers. But learning to pose good questions is itself an important skill, as is learning to approach them from multiple points of reference. Rather than simply taking the idea of a “global perspective” as a given, these courses require us to ask what it means to think about such enduring and urgent challenges across cultures, borders, disciplines, languages, and time.
Four Core Competencies
- Arts, Design, and Technology
- Cultural Exploration and Analysis
- Data and Discovery
- Structures of Thought and Society
No single course can provide competency in a subject or mode of thought, but the Core offers opportunities to begin to develop competencies in key areas that will be fundamental to your education here at NYUAD and throughout the rest of your lives. The Core Competencies represent a well-rounded approach to inquiry, to habits of mind, and to modes of scholarly and creative practice.
With the full range of academic disciplines as starting points, these courses give every student some experience with thinking critically and contextually about culture, social institutions, ideas, and the natural world, as well as experience in problem- solving, design, and other creative work. These courses, which may also be taken as general electives, will provide not only a broad foundation for your undergraduate studies, but also an opportunity to explore subjects you may never have encountered otherwise with faculty members from a range of disciplines.
Their guidance and insights might offer you new perspectives on your chosen field of study or open up new vistas on the vast storehouse of human knowledge, experience, and expression. Most importantly, Core Competency courses should offer ways of thinking with which you can approach the world around you and should demonstrate the relevance of a range of disciplinary thinking to life beyond the classroom.
Core Competency requirements can be satisfied from offerings in Abu Dhabi or approved courses in NYU’s global network, including some J-Term and summer courses. Although some divisional courses may cross-list as Core Competency courses, coursework that applies toward a student’s major or minor may not be used to satisfy a Core requirement.
In practical terms, this means that if you take a Core course and choose later to apply it to a major or minor, you will need to take another course from the same Core category — ideally with a different disciplinary orientation — to fill the Core requirement. Most students will only count one intensive courses (J-Term or summer) toward the Core, and in no case will credit be granted for more than two intensives. However, Core courses are always available as general electives; to date most NYUAD students have graduated with more Core courses than were actually required.