Art and Media (MFA)

Program Description

The MFA in Art and Media is a full-time, studio-intensive interdisciplinary degree program that sits at the crossroads of practice and theory, tradition and change in the arts. The MFA program combines contemporary art and media practices with cultural heritage, art theory, media studies, and emergent technologies. Through critique and studio based instruction the MFA allows students to mix and blend concepts, skills, approaches and traditions from various topics across classes and seminars. Coursework and academic requirements are designed to foster the development of students who can think and create in novel and interdisciplinary ways. Students are asked to work across concepts and traditions to make a body of work that may not be in a single transition or body of knowledge. Courses emphasize artistic experimentation within a context of historical, cultural, and theoretical study.

The MFA in Art and Media prepares students for careers not only as artists or professionals in museums, the arts industries or education, but also for any career where creativity, imagination, analytical ability, conceptual clarity, cross cultural understanding and a respect for human achievement and difference are valued.

Program Structure

Students are required to complete 60-credits over two years of study and can choose to work in-depth in a particular area or across multiple arts disciplines, including: Sculpture, Photography, Printmaking, Fiber Art, Painting & Drawing, Digital Art, Design, Digital Media, and Transmedia (video, performance, digital). The program comprises eight required courses, including multiple instances of two distinct Critique classes; five studio electives and a required non-credit mid-program review at the end of the first year. Students have the option to complete two of their five elective courses during NYU’s J-term semester. The final semester of year two includes an 8-credit MFA thesis project and exhibition. The MFA thesis will culminate with a 90 minutes oral defense in the NYUAD art gallery before a faculty panel.

Research and Arts Practice

The goals of the program are manifold. It seeks to provide a flexible, supportive, and advanced studio-based learning environment that allows students to integrate art, media and design production, in combination with other disciplines, through creative processes that remix theory, methodology and practice. Its multidisciplinary coursework bridges disciplinary skills and diverse bodies of knowledge. The program is structured to ensure that students develop advanced research skills for visual and academic investigations in the areas of art, media and design practice and theory. Students will learn the perceptual and analytical skills used by artists and designers to engage with and move more thoughtfully through cultural spaces, environments, institutions, and the societies from which they come.

The MFA fosters competency in research, material knowledge, analysis, decision making, brainstorming and teamwork. Students will learn to visualize problems and ideas in novel ways, connect seemingly unconnected phenomena and concepts, and provide valuable insights into and solutions to contemporary problems. Such work contributes to our aesthetic and social development and drives cultural, technological, and economic innovation.

Studio Spaces

NYU Abu Dhabi offers state-of-the-art production facilities in sculpture, design, printmaking, fiber art, photography, interactive media, painting and drawing, fiber arts, digital art, sound art, and film. Students enrolled in the program will be assigned large private studios which will serve as a core teaching and research spaces.


Applications for Fall 2024 will open in October, 2023.

  • You must have completed a four-year bachelor’s degree before the program registration starts. The degree must be from an accredited institution. Official transcripts certifying conferral of a bachelor’s degree are required before the student can start the program.
  • Your bachelor’s degree does not have to be in the arts, but your application should demonstrate the mastery needed to engage effectively with graduate-level work in this program.

In addition to the information below, the online application provides instructions to guide you. All sections of the application and the required supporting documents must be submitted online by the deadline. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. Do not submit any hard copy materials to NYU Abu Dhabi as part of the application process.

If you have any difficulties with the online application, please email the graduate admissions office ( from the email address associated with your application.

After submitting the application, you will not be able to change or add information. You will receive a link to the Application Status Portal where you can track the status of your application.


Prepare the following required information when you are ready to start an application:

  • Transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you have attended (copies accepted)
  • Proof of English Proficiency (select the appropriate option in the application)
    • You are from a designated list of English-speaking countries
    • You have completed at least 4 years in a university program taught entirely in English
    • Self-reported test scores for proof of English proficiency. Minimum scores: Academic IELTS = 6.5 / TOEFL iBT = 90 / DuoLingo = 120.
  • A current CV or resume
  • Essays responding to specific prompts provided in the application. Essays give you the opportunity to fully present yourself to the Selection Committee, and to provide insight into your experiences, goals, and thought processes.
  • Two letters of recommendation. You will provide the name, title and email of two recommenders. They will receive a request from NYUAD to upload a letter of recommendation for your application. 
  • Artist’s Portfolio. Please view more information in the Artist’s Portfolio section below.

You have the option in the application to indicate if you would like to be considered for an academic merit-based scholarship. No other information needs to be included in the application.

Any information or materials submitted to NYU Abu Dhabi after the final application deadline are not guaranteed to be reviewed or considered by the Selection Committee.

You will receive an email when there are updates to your application status that can be viewed on the Application Status Portal. Your final official decision will be posted to your status page, and an admission decision from any other source of communication will be not considered official nor binding.

NYU Abu Dhabi reserves the right to validate the accuracy of your application information with appropriate sources, including the right to contact relevant individuals and organizations.

Admissions Process

  1. Verification: After submitting your application, the admissions office checks that all supporting documents have been uploaded correctly and are readable. After this verification, the applications are made available to the Selection Committee for the initial review.
  2. Initial Review: The Selection Committee begins reviewing submitted applications after the application deadline. The committee looks at information from all parts of the application to form a complete picture of the applicant’s potential fit with the program.
  3. Shortlist: The Selection Committee places applicants who have the best fit for the program on a “shortlist”. These applicants are invited to an interview with the Selection Committee (usually online).
  4. Interview: During the interview, the applicant has the opportunity to provide more details about their motivations, education and experience. This gives the Selection Committee a more complete understanding of the applicant before making an admissions decision.
  5. Admissions Decision: Applicants who are offered admission will be notified by email to check the Application Status Portal where the admission letter can be viewed and downloaded. The applicant needs to confirm acceptance of the offer.
  6. Offer Acceptance: The applicant confirms acceptance of the admission offer via the Application Status Portal and pays the confirmation deposit.

Note! You must receive a UAE security clearance, and obtain an appropriate UAE visa if required by your residency status. NYU Abu Dhabi will facilitate these processes for admitted students. If for any reason you cannot obtain the security clearance or visa, your admissions offer may be rescinded.

Artist's Portfolio

The MFA application requires you to submit an artist’s portfolio. The total number of submitted works cannot exceed 20 items of your recent artwork. This is an integral part of the admissions review process.

Videos for time-based work can be submitted in place of digital images. Videos can be a compilation of various works, but the total running time cannot exceed five minutes per video. Genres appropriate to video documentation include video art, performance, and kinetic art, but not documentation of sculptures or exhibitions. 

All portfolios must be submitted via the NYUAD MFA online application. Do not send hard copies of your portfolio or artwork to NYU Abu Dhabi. Such materials cannot be appended to your application file, nor can such submissions be returned to applicants.

  • Media files up to 5GB 
  • These file formats are supported:
    • [Slide] .bmp, .gif, .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .tif, .tiff
    • [Video] 3g2, .3gp, .avi, .m2v, .m4v, .mkv, .mov, .mpeg, .mpg, .mp4, .mxf, .webm, .wmv; Apple ProRes is supported.