Academic Programs

Zayed University is the first institution of higher education in the United Arab Emirates to offer a degree in Art and Design. Providing for this unique opportunity is the major responsibility of the Art and Design program although it may contribute to the Colloquy on Integrated Learning.

Coursework and out-of-class experiences provide opportunities for students to develop competency and document achievement in the Zayed University Learning Outcomes. Student achievement in the ZU Learning Outcomes is assessed through the normal assessment process in each course by instructors, and specific courses are assessed through ePortfolios and other methods.

Demonstration of competencies in ZULOs related to the major is assessed through the Senior Project Course and through periodic assessments by instructors and advisors during the undergraduate program.

In addition to the baccalaureate degrees in Art and Design, the College of Arts and Creative Enterprises offers two additional degrees jointly with other colleges.

Emirati Studies (joint with College of Communication and Media Sciences and College of Sustainability Sciences and Humanities)

This interdisciplinary program draws theoretical perspectives and applied knowledge from the Colleges of Sustainability Sciences, and, Communication and Media Sciences in order to develop a comprehensive course of study in two fundamental areas of Emirati cultural resources: archaeological and historical knowledge, heritage and cultural production. The other elements of the program are designed to provide career preparation in exhibition design and curatorship, and cultural tourism—sectors that are expanding within the United Arab Emirates. The country needs citizens who, knowing their history, heritage, and culture, can work effectively in both heritage tourism and cultural tourism. Those targeted growth sectors are seeing considerable investment in restoration, conservation, museums, arts centers, and cultural festivals and celebrations. Investment in the human capital to staff those new ventures is necessary if the United Arab Emirates is to be a successful tourist destination. Graduates with the degree in Emirati Studies will expand national capacity in all the knowledge and skill areas that support and sustain heritage and cultural tourism. Eligible Emirati Studies students may apply for the HSS Honors Thesis option, which will add 3 credit hours to their program.

Multimedia Design(joint with College of Technological Innovation and College of Communication and Media Sciences)

This interdisciplinary program emphasizes the acquisition of the knowledge and skills in information technology, public media, and the arts that will meet the growing demand by employers for multimedia graduates with broad expertise and a high level of leading-edge technical skills. The program encompasses the design, development, and deployment of interactive multimedia. It focuses on the effective management of current and emerging technologies and highlights innovation and entrepreneurship throughout the program. Graduates with a degree in Multimedia Design will be well prepared for both the public and corporate sectors and will be able to manage and develop interactive multimedia initiatives ranging from software development to the design and management of live interactive corporate media systems. The program draws equally on faculty strength in the three colleges that support it.

Minor in Curatorial Practices

The College of Arts and Creative Enterprises offers a minor in Curatorial Practices. The minor gives students the opportunity to learn about the history, theory, and practice of holding exhibitions. The minor introduces students to the museum enterprise burgeoning in the United Arab Emirates. Well-established institutions such as the Sharjah Art Museum are being joined by the venerable Louvre and Guggenheim and a new National Museum on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. In every major United Arab Emirates’ city, interest in providing citizens with cultural knowledge, both global and local, is flourishing. Students in the Curatorial Practices minor gain insight to the complex challenge of creating, collecting, selecting, financing, presenting, maintaining, and sustaining works of art and cultural significance.

Six courses constitute the minor in Curatorial Practices. Five of the courses are specifically required. In consultation with a faculty advisor, a student selects the sixth course from a set of three.


ART 220  Introduction to Art History

ART 223  Arts of the Modern World

ART 251  Basic Design

ART 326  Representation: Exhibition, Display, and Interpretation I

ART 430  Curatorial Practices

One of three required:

ART 325  History of Design

ART 327  Representation: Exhibition, Display, and Interpretation II

ART 420  Communities, Curatorial Practices, and Collections

Zayed University Learning Outcomes (ZULOs)

College coursework and out-of-class experiences provide opportunities for students to develop competency and document achievement in the Zayed University Learning Outcomes. Student achievement in the ZU Learning Outcomes is assessed through the normal assessment process in each course by instructors. Faculty monitor the development process of ePortfolios, and during the fourth year, prior to internship, they assess ZULO achievement levels and readiness for internship.

Major Learning Outcomes and Assessment Protocols

The Learning Outcomes of the College of Arts and Creative Enterprises major are common to the international standards for art studies and relate to all of the specializations. Graduates in art and design fields will achieve a level of proficiency with the following learning outcomes:

MALO 1: Theory and History of Art and Design

(linked to ZULO 1: Language, and ZULO 5: Global Awareness)

•   Students successfully utilize theories and ideas regarding contemporary issues in their artwork.

•   Students are able to complete historical and conceptual analysis of social or medium-specific case studies in art and design traditions.

•   Students are knowledgeable of the historical progression of art, including the comprehension of art and design as a cultural system.

MALO 2: Professional Art and Design Practice

(linked to ZULO 1: Language, and ZULO 5: Global Awareness)

•   Students are proficient in the practical application and ethical use of art and design skills as a vehicle for self-expression, as well as for professional results.

•   Students accumulate capabilities for independent work in the art and design professions.

•   Students provide an informed response to a global concept or issue that demonstrates social responsibility.

MALO 3: Critical Thinking

(linked to ZULO 3: Critical Thinking and Quantitative Reasoning)

•   Students can demonstrate proficiency in the use of a number of visual media expressions and technologies.

•   Students display an integrated approach utilizing multiple art and design media expressions and technologies in their professional portfolio in an ethical manner.

MALO 4: Visual Literacy

(linked to ZULO 4: Information Literacy)

•   Students can demonstrate the formulation of complex visual and spatial problems as well as responsive development of innovative solutions.

•   Students are able to engage in analysis and interpretation of visual culture.

•   Students demonstrate an understanding of the principles and processes integral to visual art and design work.

MALO 5: Information Technology

(linked to ZULO 2: Technological Literacy)

•   Students can demonstrate proficiency in the use of a number of technologies.

•   Students display an integrated approach utilizing multiple technologies in their professional portfolio in an ethical manner.

MALO 6: Teamwork and Leadership

(linked to ZULO 6: Leadership)

•   Students cooperate among group members while assuming responsibility for self and group outcomes.

•   Students offer creative and constructive input to the group and accept similar feedback.

•   Students consider multiple perspectives of others prior to pursuing a stated goal.

Assessment Protocols

Assessment of student work in the College is continuous from entry into the major through graduation via projects, peer and faculty critiques, project implementation, and the completion of a comprehensive body of work that demonstrates technical and conceptual growth. Students are required to express themselves not only through visual media but also through the written word as a means of clarifying the awareness, analysis, and critical reflection of the relationship between the student’s work and contemporary art theory. Students receive continuous feedback from instructors in the process of instruction and project development and through critiques of completed projects.

Art and Design Curriculum

Initially, the major in Art and Design requires a solid grounding in the foundations of the creative disciplines. As part of the core curriculum program, students are encouraged to take courses which will establish their interest in and dedication to the pursuit of the major before they apply to enter the major.

All majors in Art and Design complete courses that provide the foundation for all specializations. From these foundation courses, students branch into the specialization of their choice. Students from all specializations intermingle in courses, providing a rich learning environment as their projects are developed, critiqued, and exhibited.

Three culminating efforts provide the framework within which fourth-year students mature as artists or designers: the internship, the Senior Project, and the Senior Exhibition, which grows out of the Senior Project. The internship provides a career-related, experience-centered professional work opportunity from which students gain skills training and professional life experience. The Senior Project, while taking on a variety of forms, records their culminating skills, process, and research. The goal of the process is for the student to create a body of work that demonstrates growth as an artist/designer, thinker, and new member of the artistic and professional community. The Senior Exhibition provides an opportunity for a group show in a public venue, which gives students public recognition for their work.

In addition to academic and studio work, art students participate in field trips to museums, galleries, and archeological and architectural sites and become involved in various University events and other activities which demonstrate their versatility and competence.

The curriculum for the major in Art and Design has been developed to be consistent with the accreditation standards of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) in the United States.



In Animation, students develop concepts and technical skills in three-dimensional computer modeling and animation, digital video, and web design using industry-standard software. Students explore all types of virtual visualizations including text animation and motion graphics, character animation, story telling, and architectural modelling, rendering, and animation.

Graphic Design

In Graphic Design, students acquire theoretical and practical knowledge in design and practice while developing a variety of skills in print and media design. Through their course work, students explore typography, packaging design, and web design. They also learn about project briefs, research, and client interaction, and how to pitch, develop, and finally implement design proposals. Through community engagement and team-directed and client-based projects, students are encouraged to understand the social and cultural dimension of any project in order to become innovative leaders in design.

Interior Design

In Interior Design, students acquire the appropriate technical skills andonceptual knowledge to design functional, safe, and aesthetically appealing interior architectural spaces for their clients. Students work on small residential to large commercial projects and learn about soft and hard decorative finishes, illumination, and the interplay
between social and natural environments. Through research, problem solving, and applied practice, students understand the complexities of the built environment while developing creative solutions..

Visual Art

In Visual Art, we believe that professional creative expression requires both technical and intellectual skills that are acquired through intensive studio work, research, professional exposure, and gallery practice. Students thus acquire a variety of visual art skills, including drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture, while also developing their critical awareness of artistic issues, past, present, and future, within the region and internationally.