Program Structure


The major in Art & Art History integrates the traditions of historical, critical, and philosophical thinking that characterize the disciplines of Art History and Aesthetics with practice-based studio art. The courses are divided into two tracks: Visual Arts and Art History. Students have the option of specializing in one track or combining the two in equal measure.

The studio art courses allow students to explore a range of different media and techniques including drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, graphic design, video, and digital media, while at the same time letting them hone their skills in a chosen medium. These courses also require students to reflect critically on the nature of art practices and to understand the traditions, theories, and contexts that inform and mold these practices.

Courses in the history, theory, and criticism of the visual arts address the major issues and debates that have shaped our understanding of the visual arts. Among the questions we confront are: What is art and the nature of aesthetic experience, and why are they differently understood and valued at different times and in different cultures? What is gained or lost in studying art by focusing on a particular place, time, tradition or genre as opposed to
approaching it from a comparative perspective that puts two or more cultures in dialogue? What might it mean to think of art as the product of cross-cultural exchange? How do institutions such as museums, galleries, funding bodies, and universities influence the creation, dissemination and reception of art? How do we explain the experience of the viewer psychologically, culturally, and historically? How can other disciplines help us better understand the visual arts?

Capstone Project

All students completing a major in Art and Art History must undertake a Capstone Project in their final year. The Capstone project is an advanced piece of work in either Art History or Art Practice; it represents the culmination of your work in the Art and Art History major. Students taking a major in Art and Art History can focus on history and theory, on studio practice, or a balanced combination of the two. Accordingly, the Capstone can be a research thesis, a practice-based project, or a combination of the two. It must demonstrate rigor of thought, imaginative intelligence, and technical proficiency. Ideally, it should be informed as widely and deeply as possible by each student’s educational experience over the previous years in the program and at NYUAD.

Capstone projects are tailored to meet the needs and ambitions of each individual student. However, project proposals must take into consideration issues of scale and time, budgetary constraints, and also the expertise of the faculty available for supervision. All projects will, therefore, be developed in close consultation with the faculty.

Students who choose to double major in Art and Art History and another discipline and who choose to complete their Capstone project in that other discipline must still complete 12 Art and Art History courses. Instead of the two-semester Capstone research project in Art and Art History, these students may elect any two additional Art and Art History courses (other than foundation courses).