What Are NYUAD’s Top Courses?

NYU Abu Dhabi offers over 400 courses across the arts and humanities, science, and social sciences, so it’s hard to pick just one that stands out.

We asked NYUAD students to tell us about their favorite courses, and explain what makes it special to them. Here’s a taste of what they said.

Class: Culture, Context, and Psychology
Who Taught the Class: Professor of Applied Psychology, Niobe Way

During my first year, I took amazing courses that changed my life in some ways. However, this J-Term class with visiting professor from New York, Niobe Way, changed my life in a major way. This is a class that studies the similarity among youth and families from different parts of the world and how different forms of oppression and prejudice shape the developmental trajectories of youth.

Now every single day, every single waking moment of my life, I have been looking at things from another perspective.

Lulu Zakia Qonita, Class of 2021

I used to think naively about culture, that nothing is good or bad, just different—  a classic citizen of the world philosophy. However, Professor Way taught us that we do, in fact, have the power to change things in the world.

Oh, bonus: We traveled to Ethiopia and I found a best friend!

Lulu Zakia Qonita, Class of 2021
May do a double major in Social Research and Public Policy, and Theater.

Class: The Outsider
Who Taught the Class: Lecturer of the Writing Program, Deepak Unnikrishnan

The most amazing course I took at NYU Abu Dhabi was definitely The Outsider taught by Deepak Unnikrishnan.

I remember being a hopeless freshman, trying to figure out which classes to take. I was talking to one my friends who was an upperclassman and she told me that this class will literally change my life. And it did.

Amina Bašić, Class of 2021

Unnikrishnan and his class not only changed the way that I perceive writing, but the world itself. I learned how to observe, listen, think, and connect things like never before. He always motivated us to think outside the class material and encouraged us to bring in whatever we feel is suitable for the particular topic.

I visited such special and hidden places of Abu Dhabi, and truly felt them with my whole being. Now I see how much I have developed through that course — it helped me grow and find my place here at NYUAD.

Amina Bašić, Class of 2021
Social Research and Public Policy

Class: Design and Innovation
Who Taught the Class: Assistant Professor of Practice of Design, Felix Hardmood Beck and Lecturer of Engineering Design, Matthew Karau

The J-Term course was the best way to get introduced to Engineering and its applications. The structure flew smoothly from easy to more demanding tasks.

Though it was intense and time-demanding, it was a course that showed me what could be achieved in just two weeks.

Mohammed Oumer, Class of 2021

I have learnt how to work under pressure, how to utilize resources around me, and how engineering life could be in the future. 

The friendly interaction with professors, instructors and peers, the course trips and effective time management were three key things I enjoyed a lot.

Mohammed Oumer, Class of 2021
Electrical Engineering

Mohammed Oumer, Class of 2021

Class: Saving Strangers- Debates about Humanitarian Intervention
Who Taught the Class: Lecturer of Writing, Camilla Boisen

From day one, our professor Camilla Boisen managed to engage every student by providing fascinating questions for class debates, pushing us to go beyond the general comments to insightful contributions.

The course helped me to think critically about my written and spoken work. Also, the structure of the course was amazing — it was a combination of essays, presentations, writing workshops, and class debates.

For students who did not know much about humanitarian intervention before class (like me) and for those who did, the class materials were extremely eye-opening.

Anastasiya Karavan, Class of 2020
Economics with Finance specialization

Class: Politics of Code
Who Taught the Class: Lecturer of Interactive Media, Pierre Depaz

Politics of Code was the perfect example of the type of unique liberal arts education that we have access to here at NYU Abu Dhabi.

The class covered a wide range of topics from political theory, building chatbots, to evaluating gender biases inherent in machine translation. It had both theoretical and practical aspects that taught us not only how to build software but also to critically evaluate and question the very software systems that we've become a part of.


It was especially timely seeing the ways in which Facebook, which claimed to be a non-political software platform, has influenced world politics.

Jihyun Kim, Class of 2018

As rigorous and demanding as the class was at times, it also helped build lasting friendships and ideas. I will really miss this class.

Jihyun Kim, Class of 2018
Computer Science

Class: Algorithms
Who Taught the Class: Professor and Program Head of Computer Science, Godfried Toussaint

The course takes students through a roller coaster of countless “aha!” moments.

Algorithms with Professor Toussaint was like a spiritual journey to the souls of some of the most ingenious minds that ever walked on this planet.

He not only taught us how to use algorithms, but also how they were invented and what influenced the way algorithms were invented.

Prashant Sharma, Class of 2018
Computer Science / Film and New Media

Class: Migration- 20th and 21st Century Stories and Images
Who Taught the Class: Associate Arts Professor, Program Head Theater, Catherine Coray

This has been one of the most awesome courses I have ever taken. It exposed me to a range of books and movies to discuss fundamental questions: Where and what is “home”? What does it entail to be a refugee and a migrant?

This class made me aware that my family exists thanks to my grandmother’s courageous decision of crossing the Atlantic Ocean on a ship.


We laughed and cried together. Going to class felt like going to visit family, and it was such a safe space to have conversations that are difficult. We were studying human suffering through the eyes of arts and technology.

Sara Pan Algarra, Class of 2020

This is a class I took in my first semester, and sometimes when people ask me why I had chosen this university, I talk about this class. It genuinely reflects what to me are the core values of our university’s mission.

Sara Pan Algarra, Class of 2020
Double major in Social Research and Public Policy and Theater

Class: Philosophy of Mathematics
Who Taught the Class: Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Gabriel Rabin

Numbers, or mathematics in general, are something we take for granted every day. We do not question why basic mathematical claims like 2+2=4 is true, why we know it's true, why adding two apples to a basket of two apples actually yields four apples, and what really is 2?

Just as other philosophy classes do, we were challenged to delve into what is behind the (seemingly) obvious.

The professor is brilliant and amazing at using thought experiments to demonstrate complicated arguments, and I have never been as comfortable speaking in class as I am in this course. There were genuine discussions and exchange of philosophical views.

Alice Huang, Class of 2019.

My favorite part of the classes is when I would be very convinced by the authors' views and then Professor Gabriel Rabin would come up with a hilarious thought experiment as counterexample and blow my mind.

My view of what mathematics is, was changed twice during the course and is still subject to change. It's an intellectually interesting course, and it is so much fun that I always forget about the time!

Alice Huang, Class of 2019

Studying at NYU Abu Dhabi

Each student’s experience at NYUAD is different. See the different pathways and types of programs available to our undergraduate students.

Core Courses
NYUAD’s core courses comprise of six courses, and aim to provide windows onto the world beyond the university.

First-Year Writing Seminars
Besides the core courses, all students will enroll in a First-Year Writing Seminar during their first two semesters at NYUAD.

Global Education
All students will have opportunities for a truly global education with semester-long study away programs, January-Term programs, and course-related field trips in the UAE and the broader Middle East.