About the Corcoran

The Corcoran School of the Arts and Design bridges the George Washington University’s (GW) academically robust programs in the arts with Corcoran’s creative and inspired scholarship. Part of GW’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, the school functions as an incubator for artists and practitioners in arts-related fields, and serves to enrich students who are taking classes in other areas of the university. As such, it provides a platform for engagement that combines creative expression and practical application with the breadth and depth of the larger liberal arts education.

The Corcoran School embodies and exemplifies what Columbian College has defined as the Engaged Liberal Arts, which strives to link disparate fields and better prepare our graduates for rich, multidimensional careers in the 21st century world. The challenges society faces are diverse, requiring different modes of thought. While the Corcoran School will prepare specialists, it will also enrich the overall educational experience for the variety of students in the GW community.

The Corcoran Strategic Advisory Council is the director's advisory body for the Corcoran. Comprised of distinguished national and international alumni, those from the philanthropic sector, and acclaimed artists and designers, the Council works to address issues impacting the growth and development of the Corcoran.

Program Areas

Art History

Art History


The Art History Program at the Corcoran covers ancient to contemporary art, with significant emphasis in developing research and writing skills. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the rich resources of the D.C. area through courses and internships with the world-class area institutions. The program offers students a curriculum that covers a range of historical, theoretical, geographic and transcultural topics.

Degrees offered:





Students in the Design Program are taught current design industry practices and will engage in a dialogue about the role of design in contemporary society, culture and business.

Graduates of our Graphic Design, Exhibition Design, and Interaction Design programs go on to secure positions in fields ranging from museums and media companies to news outlets and creative firms and institutions. Utilizing the academic, technical and real-world design skills they garner while at the Corcoran, graduates pursue employment in a variety of unique career paths and have obtained full-time positions at established companies such as Apple, Harper's Bazaar, National Geographic, the Smithsonian Institution, The Daily Beast, and Discovery Communications.

Degrees offered:


Interior Architecture

Interior Architecture


The Interior Architecture Program is the only program in the nation’s capital that is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation, and GW is the 4th highest ranked national university that offers an IA BFA.

With a focus on conceptual thinking and the design process, students are exposed to many design methods and tools that encourage them to push the boundaries of creativity. Students take a core studio course along with two supporting courses each semester that range from history to graphics to lighting. Throughout this cohesive curriculum, students learn about habitable environments ranging from small interiors to larger, more complex commercial and institutional spaces.

Degrees offered:

  • Interior Architecture, BFAMFA


Museum Studies

GW Museum Studies


Established in 1976, the Museum Studies Program at the Corcoran ranks among the top museum training programs in the United States. More than 1000 program alumni now work in museums, historic sites and houses, federal agencies and related non-profits throughout the world. 

Our new Decorative Arts & Design History program also offers a one-of-a-kind academic experience to the newest generation of decorative arts professionals and design historians. Located at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., you will learn from internationally recognized curators, researchers, and scholars and develop expertise in furniture, textiles, costume, ceramics, silver, glass, craft, jewelry, interiors, and architecture.

Degrees offered:


Student playing cello


The Corcoran's Music Program offers a broad base for understanding music as an art form and as a social, economic and political practice. The program’s faculty of scholars and creative artists includes members of the National Symphony and Kennedy Center orchestras. All students, regardless of their majors, may perform with vocal and instrumental jazz groups, orchestras, choruses, bands, opera productions, chamber music groups and musical theater.

Degrees offered:

Studio Arts

Student Painting


The Studio Arts programs at the Corcoran foster a rigorous and experimental approach to the artistic process while encouraging students to pursue their creative commitments in the studio and the world. Students may pursue a wide range of studio arts including sculpture, ceramics, photography, painting and drawing and new media.

Degrees Offered:


Theatre & Dance

A Little Night Music


Corcoran's Theatre & Dance degrees are interdisciplinary arts that embrace collaboration within the program, across the university, and with the vibrant artistic and political environment of Washington, D.C. The program values cultural diversity and views the performing arts as powerful, innovative forces in the making of more equitable social realities. We nurture young artists and scholars by immersing them in the making of live performances. We also expand their understanding of what performance is and does to include a wide range of historical and contemporary practices.

As dedicated teachers, we give students the tools and knowledge to fully appreciate the value of theatre and dance in their lives and in the shaping of all cultures. As active creative artists, we model performance practices, maintain active relationships with other professional artists and institutions, and develop the interests and talents of students seeking careers or advanced study in theatre and dance. Through scholarly research, we participate in emerging conversations in our fields, model critical thinking skills, and enhance students’ ability to create and engage with live performance.

Degrees Offered:



Corcoran Information

Flagg Building

The Flagg Building

The Flagg Building, an integral part of the Corcoran School's history, is currently undergoing a multi-year, multi-phase renovation.

Get more information

Corcoran Alumni

Graduates of the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design and alumni of the Corcoran College are invited to become engaged members of the vibrant GW alumni community.

Learn more about our alumni
Student kneeling while putting up artwork

Donate to the Corcoran

Gifts to the Corcoran School support faculty and student artwork, Corcoran legacy exhibits, graduate fellowships and academic enrichment activities, such as guest speakers, visiting artists and symposia.

Support the Corcoran School
Contact Us

Contact Us

Have questions for the Corcoran School? Email [email protected] or find the specific person you are looking for on our contact page.

Find Corcoran School Staff