UAE's best universities: New York University Abu Dhabi

The National's guide to universities in the Emirates continues with this American institution established in 2010

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As thousands of final-year students in the UAE submit their applications to local universities, we take a look at some of the best higher education options in the Emirates and what they have to offer

What is it?

New York University bills itself as the largest private university in the US and has a total enrolment of more than 58,000 as well as more than half a million alumni. Consistently ranked highly in world rankings, the university has a strong research base and faculty which have earned five Nobel prizes, five Pulitzer prizes and numerous other prestigious awards.

NYU Abu Dhabi was set up in partnership with Abu Dhabi emirate as a separate degree-granting institution. A third NYU campus that confers degrees opened in Shanghai in 2012.

NYU has a nickname, Violets, as a result of its official colour. While the New York campus has a bobcat as a mascot, in Abu Dhabi the mascot is a falcon.

Where is it from?

New York, which is widely regarded as one of the world’s greatest cities.

When was it founded?

1831 (parent university); 2010 (NYU Abu Dhabi)

Where is it based?

Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi

How did it handle Covid-19?

In statements and on its website, the university said: "Classes are happening in-person with social distancing in place and masks worn at all times, so strict Covid-19 measures are being applied to ensure everyone’s safety and health.

"All students, faculty staff, and visitors approved to return to campus are expected to maintain a two-metre distance at all times, to avoid handshaking, and to avoid nonessential gatherings of any type (including in break rooms, meeting rooms and lounges).

"In line with regulations, all visitors to campus must be vaccinated and are expected to show their identification document and Al Hosn app (the UAE’s official Covid-19 app), which must be green, to a security officer on arrival. Visitors have to submit to a temperature check and a PCR test is required every 14 days."

What are examples of the fees?

$53,770 (Dh197,497) – bachelor’s degree (annual fee)

$80,205 (Dh294,593) – master of science in economics

All UAE national students admitted are awarded the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed NYUAD Scholarship for Exceptional Emirati Students, which covers tuition fees, living costs and other expenditure for four years.

Every admitted student is considered for merit-based support and NYUAD additionally provides need-based scholarships to those who qualify.

What subject areas does NYU Abu Dhabi teach?

- Bachelor’s degree (major) subjects include: Arab crossroads studies, art, art history, bioengineering, business, chemistry, computer science, economics, engineering (various sub-disciplines), film and new media, history, interactive media, legal studies, literature and creative writing, mathematics, music, philosophy, physics, political science, psychology, social research and public policy, theatre. Only majors are listed, and the university offers minors in many additional subjects.

- Master’s degree subjects include art and media, and economics.

- PhD subjects include biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering (various sub-disciplines), psychology, physics and transportation planning and engineering.

What doesn’t NYU Abu Dhabi teach?

Accountancy, agriculture, archaeology, criminology, dentistry, geology, journalism, marketing, medicine, sports science and veterinary medicine.

Where is it ranked globally?

42nd – QS World University Rankings ( NYU parent university)

26th – Times Higher Education World University Rankings (parent university)

Notable alumni?

- Shamma Al Mazrui (NYU Abu Dhabi), who studied economics with finance, is the UAE Minister of State for Youth.

- Jack Dorsey (NYU New York), the co-founder and CEO of Twitter, did not complete his degree at NYU, but is said to have developed the idea of the messaging platform while studying there.

- Martin Scorsese (NYU New York), one of the most acclaimed film directors of all time, whose credits include Taxi Driver, Cape Fear, Gangs of New York and The Wolf of Wall Street.

Who goes there?

There are 1,834 undergraduates and more than 100 postgraduate students at NYU Abu Dhabi, plus more than 1,700 alumni. The best-represented country is the UAE (18 per cent of students), followed by United States (9 per cent), then India (seven per cent).

A word from Prof Mariet Westermann, vice chancellor of NYU Abu Dhabi:

"NYU Abu Dhabi is still young, but thanks to the vision of this country's leaders and NYU, in just over a decade we have built an excellent and bold community of scholars who are ready to meet the opportunities and challenges of our time.

"Our education combines the best of the liberal arts tradition with the research capabilities of a top-ranked global university – in science, engineering, social science, humanities, and arts.

"Our diversity is a signature strength, with students from the UAE and 115 other countries who are committed to using their learning to create a better world.

"Our professors are leading scholars who support and challenge their students. We are blessed to have extraordinary research labs, where professors create new knowledge with their students.

"Our location in Abu Dhabi lets us extend learning beyond the classroom into the UAE community.

"Most students spend at least one semester at one of NYU’s 14 sites on six continents.

"Our graduates find outstanding employment and graduate school placements; among our alumni are 16 Rhodes Scholars and many other major award recipients.

"We continuously expand our offerings, having just launched a new master's in economics and starting a master's in visual art and media this fall.

"In short, NYU Abu Dhabi is poised to become one of the most outstanding and relevant universities anywhere in the world."

Updated: April 29, 2022, 11:11 AM