BFA Fine Art Photography


The Corcoran School's undergraduate Photography programs focus on the roles that lens-based media play in contemporary life. They also emphasize personal creativity, awareness of cultural context and critical analysis.

In the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fine Art Photography program, students receive an intensive grounding in the current concerns of photo-based art while refining their technical skills and developing their own individual styles and subject matter.

Taught by faculty mentors who are practicing artists, the program pairs a required core of studio courses but allows plenty of flexibility for electives so that students can tailor their studies to their interests. The curriculum encourages students to develop artistic and technical skills in cutting-edge digital photography and video, traditional darkroom work or a combination of both.

The Photography programs approach to photography recognizes the critical importance of the photographic image in contemporary society while establishing its historical context within the history of art.  In addition, visiting artists, along with exhibitions in Washington, D.C.’s museums, enrich students' experiences of how photography becomes a vehicle for creative expression as well as an agent for change.

Students in the Bachelor of Fine Art in Photography program start by gaining a thorough grounding in the history, techniques, aesthetics, practices, and critical understandings of photography. From there, they can specialize the nature of their study, spending their final year in an intensive sequence of courses devoted to preparing their thesis. The thesis is an expression of each student's individual interest and ambition as an artist. The thesis work is exhibited in the galleries of the former Corcoran Gallery of Art in the annual student exhibition, NEXT at the Corcoran.

Program Head


Muriel Hasbun
Fine Art Photography

Careers and internships

With its location in the heart of Washington, D.C., the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design exposes Fine Art Photography students to a range of career options in the arts, including exhibiting as an artist, teaching, commercial photography, and curating.

Students in the Fine Art Photography program have interned with The Washington Post, National Geographic magazine, the National Portrait Gallery, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Transformer Gallery, and the Latin American Youth Center.

Graduates of the program have secured positions at nationally recognized outlets including United Press International, U.S. News & World Report, Politico, The Washington Post, and other organizations.


The following curriculum is for legacy students, defined as those students who began taking classes at the Corcoran prior to the fall 2015 semester. Students enrolled beginning in fall 2015, should contact Muriel Hasbun.

Required Courses – First Year

·         Art History I: Now, Contemporary Perspectives
·         Art History II: Historical Perspectives
·         Writing in the Discipline
·         Writing in the Discipline
·         First Year Studio I
·         First Year Studio II
·         Photo Fundamentals I: Light Studies and Optical Culture
·         Photo Fundamentals II: Techniques and Practice
·         2 General Studio Electives

Required Courses – Upper Level

·         Photography Studio I
·         Photography Studio II
·         Media Lab I
·         Media Lab II
·         Photography Studio III
·         Photography Studio IV
·         Photography Seminar I
·         Photography Thesis I
·         Photography Thesis II
·         Photography Seminar II
·         Professional Practices for Photography
·         20th Century Art
·         Contemporary Culture
·         History and Aesthetics of Photography
·         Humanities I
·         Humanities II
·         One Art History Elective
·         Four Arts and Humanities Electives
·         Four Photography or Photojournalism Specialization Electives
·         Four General Studio Electives

In addition to the Corcoran BFA Curriculum, as of fall 2015, incoming students must also fulfill GWU’s G-Pac requirements, which may modify the choice of electives.

Sample Photography and Photojournalism Elective Courses

Students in the Photography program can choose electives from a variety of innovative, exciting courses conducted both at the Corcoran College of Arts & Design and abroad, with focuses on fine art photography or photojournalism. Additionally, the Corcoran Photography program promotes an international, cross-cultural awareness with courses that have on-site components in El Salvador and Israel.

Here are some examples:

·         Color Photography
·         Extended Image
·         Summer Study Away in Israel
·         El Salvador: International Experience/Transnational Identity
·         Studio Lighting
·         Advanced B&W Printing
·         Pre-digital Alternative Processes
·         Advanced Digital Photography
·         Advanced Studio Lighting: Commission Project
·         Making Meaning: Narrative and the Art of the Photography Book
·         Real Un-reel
·         Picture Editing
·         Web Essay
·         The Photograph in Contemporary Art

Department Life

The Corcoran School's Photography programs promote excellence in a supportive environment where students can develop their artistic and technical skills and cultivate their personal style as photographers.

Under the guidance of the department's faculty of professional artists and photojournalists, students in Photography and Photojournalism participate together in projects and events that complement the curriculum. Students can mentor peers as Photography lab techs, reach out as photography and video instructors to young people in the broader Washington, D.C., community, attend lectures, view exhibitions, and work closely with visiting artists to help realize and document projects.