Program Structure

Students who major in Arab Crossroads Studies are required to take 14 courses. Students take a minimum of four elective courses, which are organized in the following areas:

  • history and religion
  • society and politics
  • arts and literature

The electives provide both breadth and depth to the study of the region, familiarize students with a variety of disciplinary concerns, and enable students to develop a specialization in one of three distributional areas in preparation for the Capstone project. At least one of the electives must be grounded in the period before 1800, and one course only may be taken during January Term.

  • History and Religion, which includes a broad and solid grounding in the pre-modern and modern social, cultural, religious, and economic landscapes of the region. These courses focus on primary-source documents to introduce students to the rich and varied history of the region as well as to the doctrinal and social aspects of the religious traditions that have shaped it.

  • Society and Politics, which includes a detailed and nuanced examination of the contemporary landscape of the region. These courses draw on anthropology, ethnography, political science, and sociology to elucidate the complex cultural, social, and political developments taking place today.

  • Arts and Literature, which includes a careful study of the literary, artistic, and philosophical landscapes of the region. These courses explore the literature, arts, and physical environments of the region within their broader historical and social contexts.

Capstone Project

The Capstone Project is the culmination of a student's work in the Arab Crossroad Studies major. It is a substantial work of written scholarship that enables students to explore and make a scholarly contribution to areas of particular personal interest. Students are expected to work on the Capstone project throughout the senior year. The final project is expected to be a polished and professional example of scholarly research and writing at its best.


Being a student at NYU Abu Dhabi has enabled me to not only study cross-cultural differences, but to experience them and to think about ways to make our community more whole.

Guillaume Sylvain, Arab Crossroads Studies alumni, Canada Rhodes Scholar


To fulfill the requirements of the Arab Crossroads Studies major, students must demonstrate intermediate ability in Arabic. This means either (1) studying Arabic through at least the intermediate level (four semesters) at NYUAD or within the broader global network, (2) demonstrating the completion of comparable course work elsewhere, or (3) demonstrating a corresponding level of proficiency through examination at NYU Abu Dhabi.