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Master of Fine Arts in Art and Media (MFA) at New York University Abu Dhabi

Thesis Exhibition of the NYU Abu Dhabi Master of Fine Arts inaugural cohort. 18 May - 25 August 2023, 421 galleries, Abu Dhabi.

The first of its kind in the region, the two-year Master of Fine Arts in Art and Media (MFA) at NYU Abu Dhabi offers an individualized curriculum that is responsive to artistic, technological, economic, and societal shifts and needs. Its studio-focused multidisciplinary coursework bridges disciplinary skills and diverse bodies of knowledge.

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.

Students can choose to work in-depth in a particular area or across multiple arts disciplines, including:

  • Painting and Drawing
  • Photography
  • Sculpture and Installation
  • Printmaking
  • Fiber Art
  • Video
  • Performance
  • Digital Arts
  • Sound Art
NYU Abu Dhabi Campus
© Photo: Courtesy of NYUAD
Inaugural Senior Walk
© Photo: Courtesy of NYUAD
Art Gallery Project Space
© Photo: Courtesy of NYUAD
Art installation by Tomás Saraceno at NYUAD Library
© Photo: Courtesy of NYUAD

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 that emanate outward from the Emirates to the world. This unique cultural mix demonstrates a complexity that is addressed throughout the MFA program which positions itself at global crossroads of knowledge and practices.

Throughout the program, students will have access to local stakeholders and institutions, including Warehouse 421, Department of Culture, Abu Dhabi Art, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah Art Foundation, Art Jameel and AlSerkal Avenue. Students also have the opportunity to receive studio visits from a wide roster of prominent curators and artists.

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 research, material knowledge, creative production, analysis, decision-making, teamwork as well as specialist art practice skills, through ensuring core competencies in three main pillars: artistic inquiry, production, and experimentation; art discourse and research; and professional development and leadership. 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.


Applications for Fall 2024 will open in October, 2023.

NYU Abu Dhabi automatically considers every master’s applicant for merit and needs-based financial support packages. Students on average receive scholarships of 30-80% of the tuition costs, with exceptional students eligible for up to 100% tuition scholarships. NYUAD's goal is to form a high-achieving class of master’s students for each program, and admissions decisions are made without knowledge of individuals’ financial need.

For more information about the MFA in Art and Media Program and the Application Process, including Requirements, and Funding, see on the NYUAD website:

MFA in Art and Media

or contact nyuad.graduateadmissions(at)nyu.edu

Address, contact

New York University Abu Dhabi
PO Box 129188
Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates
Phone: +971-2-628-4000
Location on map

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From information by New York University Abu Dhabi.
© Photos: Courtesy of NYUAD. Cover images: NYUAD Campus with Abu Dhabi skyline; Art Gallery exhibition by Zimoun; Studio situations.

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