Psychology (BA)

Program Description

Psychology is the study of mind and behavior. The major in Psychology introduces students to the main concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and historical trends in the field. Students gain the ability to think scientifically, creatively, and critically about human behavior and mental processes; to acquire the basic skills for conducting research in these areas; and to develop a general understanding of psychology as both a natural science and a social science.

Students grapple with overarching themes and persistent questions in psychology, such as the interaction of heredity and environment, variability and continuity of behavior and mental processes within and across species, free will versus determinism, the relation between mind and body, and applicability of general theories and measures to specific societal and cultural contexts. Topics of inquiry include cognition, sensation and perception, language and memory, child development and education, personality and individual differences, social interaction and group dynamics, intergroup relations, and the connection between the individual and society.

Students complete the major with realistic ideas about how to implement their psychological knowledge, skills, and values in occupational pursuits in a variety of settings. The NYUAD Psychology Program provides a solid preparation for graduate programs in basic and applied psychology, other psychology-related fields, and graduate programs in business, education, health, and law.


Brain and Cognitive Sciences

For Psychology majors only

The Psychology major offers a specialization in Brain and Cognitive Science (BCS), which covers the collection of disciplines that are unified by a focus on the function of the brain. BCS investigates some of the deepest mysteries facing science in the 21st century, which concern the processes that underlie neural dynamics and enable higher brain functions, including perception, memory, attention, language, emotion, decision-making, motor control, and consciousness.

Experimental approaches in BCS vary from analyses of molecular and cellular mechanisms in nerve cells and groups of nerve cells to imaging studies of the entire brain to behavioral studies of whole organisms. Theoretical tools include mathematical and computational modeling approaches that have proved useful in other areas of science. Experimental questions include issues related to biophysical and neurochemical mechanisms within single nerve cells, meso- and macro-scale functional neural circuits, and the relationship between activity at these various levels of analysis and behavior. Additionally, courses in the BCS will examine how disruption at these different levels results in psychiatric (e.g., anxiety disorders and depression), neurological (e.g., Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases), and developmental (e.g., dyslexia and autism) disorders.

Study Away

The study away pathway for the Psychology major can be found on the NYUAD Student Portal at Students with questions should contact the Office of Global Education.

Effective from 2019-2020 onward, Psychology courses taken abroad may only be counted as basic electives. There will be no equivalencies for advanced electives, which will be required to be taken in Abu Dhabi, unless an exception is granted by the program. The program strongly recommends that students not take more than one Psychology course while studying abroad.


New York University's Office of Undergraduate Admissions supports the application process for all undergraduate programs at NYU.  For additional information about undergraduate admissions, including application requirements, see How to Apply