Art History

With easy access to Washington, D.C.'s bountiful cultural resources, the Corcoran’s art history programs encourage the pleasures of looking and direct, interpretive engagement with the visual arts. Our faculty offer a diversity of methodological, scholarly approaches to the arts. We advocate the intertwining of visual, historical analyses with philosophical hypotheses and theoretical, political debates. We are attentive to the narrative qualities and rhetorical persuasiveness of art historical writing in dialogue with art objects, spaces, and performances. In teaching the research and writing of art history, we cultivate connections to the studio arts and interdisciplinary exchanges with other fields of inquiry.

We offer art history students a curriculum covering 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.


The program includes 36 credit hours of graduate coursework. During the first semester, students are required to complete the art historiography seminar (AH 6258) and must pass a reading comprehension examination in French, German, Italian or Spanish. As many as 6 credits of graduate coursework may be completed outside the department with approval of the graduate advisor.

Students must successfully complete one qualifying paper. A first draft is due in the fall of the second year, after completion of 18 credits; the final draft is due the following spring. Qualifying papers are typically based on seminar papers and revised as publishable work; all qualifying papers are judged by a panel of faculty members. Please view the AH Graduate Student Handbook for more information on Qualifying Paper guidelines.

Prerequisites and requirements are the same as those for the Master of Arts in the field of art history. Students include in their course work 6 credits of AH 6299, Museum Internship, after completion of 18 credits of art history courses.


To be considered for admission to the program, students must have a bachelor's degree in the Humanities or other appropriate field, such as art history, fine arts, anthropology, archaeology, history, literature, museum studies, gender studies, or religion. Students must also submit:

  1. GRE general test (institutional code 5246);
  2. Three (3) Letters of Recommendation;
  3. 250-500 word Statement of Purpose discussing research interests, academic objectives, and relevant professional experience;
  4. Transcripts from all colleges and universities attended;
  5. CV;
  6. Writing Sample between 15 and 25 pages in length.

MA in Art History applications are accepted for the fall entrance only.

Apply for the MA in Art History Program

Funding & Opportunities

Each year, MA and MFA students received a total of over $200,000 in support through scholarships and fellowships. Each year, the department awards assistantships and fellowships to entering and continuing MA and MFA students. Both MA and MFA candidates are eligible for Graduate Teaching Assistantships, including tuition, salary, and stipend. MFA candidates are eligible for the Morris Louis Fellowship, awarded annually, for full funding and stipend. Additional departmental assistantships and awards range from approximately $3,000 to $15,000 per year.

Incoming MA Art History students are eligible for a number of scholarships, based on merit and need. For a list of available fellowship opportunities, please visit the Office of Graduate Student Assistantships and Fellowships.
MA students in the past have received or been eligible for the following:


Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships
To support students whose research requires area and language studies in Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean, Persian, and Turkish.

Global Leadership Fellowships
For international students from the following countries / regions: China (PRC), Cambodia, Eastern Europe, Laos, Latin America, The Caribbean, Mongolia, Sub-Saharan Africa, U.S.S.R. Successor States, and Vietnam.

Global Initiatives Fellowships
Tuition awards up to $10,000 for incoming Master’s students from Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, or Turkey.

Writing in the Discipline Graduate Assistantships
For students who are interested in the teaching of writing in a variety of disciplines including art history.

Scottish Rite Endowment Graduate Fellowships
$15,000 tuition fellowship for students with eligible Scottish Rite affiliation (grandfather, father, uncle, or self is or has been a 32 degree Scottish Rite member).

Boren Fellowship for International Study
Up to $24,000 for overseas study to support language study in Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Grad2Grad Program
For GW undergraduates interested in the BA/MA combined degree program.

Soros Fellowship for New Americans
Supports up to two years of graduate study for students who are New Americans, immigrants or the children of immigrants.
Students are also encouraged to fill out a FAFSA and connect with the Office of Student Financial Assistance for need-based scholarships.

The wide array of Washington’s museums and galleries provide internships for both credit and non-credit. Students have held internships at The Phillips Collection, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the National Gallery of Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, National Museum of African Art, and the National Portrait Gallery, among others.

Current Internship Opportunities

The Phillips Collection

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden 

Art Museum of the Americas

National Gallery of Art 

The National Portrait Gallery 

Arlington Arts Center 

Art History Resources


American Alliance of Museums:
Useful, free jobs posting forum for variety of careers in museums.

College Art Association (CAA):

University of Penn:
Useful for finding call for papers

Association of Critical Race Art History:
Bibliographies provided on African Diaspora/African American, Asian Diaspora/Asian American, Caribbean, Latin American/Latinx/Chicanx, Native American/First Nations/Indigenous

Art Hist:
Discussion and information forum for art historians

Humanities and Social Sciences Net Online:
Job postings for academic and museum positions

International Council of Museums (ICOM):
Graduate students interested in joining must show connection to a museum or be enrolled in museum courses. Membership fee is paid at the beginning of the calendar year, and comes with a card offering worldwide free museum access.  

Southeastern College Art Conference:


Dumbarton Oaks:
(specifically see News & Events for public symposia, lectures, and programs:

House of the Temple Library for Scottish Rite Freemasonry:
A rare, underutilized gem of a library open to the public and located at 1733 16th Street NW at the corner of S Street. Specializes in freemasonry, but has excellent material on the history of the occult, religion, the arts and sciences.

Library of Congress:

Smithsonian Institution Research System (SIRIS):


American Antiquarian Society:

American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS):

Archives of American Art:

Association of Historians of American Art:
Especially geared to younger scholars, including graduate students.


AIA-DC Society:
Local organization that sponsors lectures, programs, etc.

American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR):

Archaeological Institute of America (AIA):

ARCE-DC= American Research Center in Egypt-DC Chapter:
Local organization that sponsors lectures, programs, etc.

Biblical Archaeology Forum (BAF):
Local organization that sponsors lectures, programs, etc.

Washington Conservation Guild:
For those interested in art & archaeological conservation


American Institutes for South Asian Studies: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh
Offers fellowships and/or language study courses for undergraduate and graduate students

American Council for Southern Asian Art (ACSAA):
For the study of art of South and Southeast Asia and the Himalayan regions. Good source for fellowships, job postings, and numerous resources on related arts and culture of the region. Email listserv free to public.

Association for Asian Studies:
Focus on pan-Asian studies and topics.

George Washington University Sigur Center for Asian Studies:

Madison South Asia:
Annual conference on South Asia held in Madison, Wisconsin

Metropolitan Museum of Art Center for Far Eastern Art Studies:

South Asia Summer Language Institute:


Association of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES):
Peer-reviewed journal, fellowship opportunities, and annual convention.


Historians of Islamic Art Association (HIAA):

H-Islamart list serve:


BSANA (Byzantine Studies Association of North America):
Offers funding to any graduate student presenting a paper at the annual conference.

George Washington University Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute (MEMSI):

ICMA (International Center of Medieval Art):
Offers graduate student essay prizes, travel prizes, and a graduate student committee within the larger organization.


Renaissance Society of America (RSA):


Costume Society of America:

Textile Museum at GW:
In addition to extensive collection of global textiles, has library of related materials and peer-reviewed journal.

Textile Society of America:



Paul Reuther
Professorial Lecturer


Art History

Elizabeth Bell
First-year MA student
[email protected]

Allison Burns
First-year MA student
[email protected]

Jennifer Chiappone
Second-year MA student
[email protected]

Yoo Jin Choi
First-year MA student
[email protected]

Rachele Coppola
First-year MA student
[email protected]

Catherine Dolaher
First-year MA student
[email protected]

Elizabeth Doorly
Second-year MA student
[email protected]

Arthur Foster
First-year MA student
[email protected]

Jacqueline Gase
Second-year MA student
[email protected]

Maddy Henkin
First-year MA student
[email protected]

Laila Karaman
First-year MA student
[email protected]

Mary Norton
First-year MA student
[email protected]

Weixun Qu
Second-year MA student
[email protected]

Alexandria Sayers
Second-year MA student
[email protected]

James Stewart
First-year MA student
[email protected]

Amber "Jackie" Streker
Second-year MA student
[email protected]

Rachel Tanzi
First-year MA student
[email protected]

Olivia Weber
Second-year MA student
[email protected]

Alexandra Wilson
First-year MA student
[email protected]

Visiting Artists & Scholars Commitee

The Visiting Artists and Scholars Committee brings respected established and emerging practitioners in the arts to present public lectures, conduct one-on-one critiques, lead small seminars or reading discussions, and share informal meals with students. All VASC lectures are free and open to the public.

The lecture programs are organized by the Visiting Artists and Scholars Committee (VASC). Run by BA, MA, and MFA students, the committee brings six to eight artists and scholars to speak on campus each year.

Mark Wagner, September 14, 2017
GW/Textile Museum - 6:15 pm

Sam Cannon, October 4, 2017
Smith Hall of Art, Room 114 - 6:30 pm

Dr. Christopher Heuer, November 15, 2017
Smith Hall of Art, Room 114 - 6:30 pm

Gregg Deal, January 31, 2018
Smith Hall of Art, Room 114 - 6:00 pm

Dr. Prita Meier, February 28, 2018
Smith Hall of Art, Room 114 - 6:00 pm

Dr. Simon Rettig, April 12, 2018
Smith Hall of Art, Room 114 - 6:00 pm

Mary Garrard, September 28, 2016
The Cloister and the Square: Gender Dynamics in Renaissance Florence - Smith 114

Alexander Nagel, October 27, 2016
Early Motion in European Art around 1500 - Smith 114

Gloria Groom, November 9, 2016
The Art of Exhibitions - Smith 114

Army Artist Martin Cervantez, February 1, 2017
Textile Museum Auditorium

Dr. Robert DeCaroli, February 22, 2017
Textile Museum Auditorium

Dr. William Ferris, April 6, 2017
Smith 114

Carmenita Higginbotham, October 14, 2015
"Girl Watching" & the problem of Race in the art of Reginal March

Shahzia Sikander, November 11, 2015
Visiting Artist

Lynne Cooke, December 2, 2015
"Beyond the Bounds?"

Anna Gaskell, January 27, 2016
Visiting Artist

Angela Miller, February 10, 2016
New York Figurative Painting and Staged Photography in the 1940s and 1950s: The Aesthetics of Immobility

Hillary Chute, April 27, 2016
Hiroshima and Auschwitz: The Postwar Comics Field and Documentary Form

Asen Kirin, September 17, 2014
The Guiding Gaze of the Enlightened Empress: The Architecture of Lookout Spaces

Farar Elliott, October 15, 2014
How to Solve a Curatorial Mystery

Christina Stahr Hunter, November 5, 2014
Data Mining and the Visual Arts: Nancy Graves’ Concept of Representation

Shelley Sturman, January 21, 2015
Preserving Artists' Intent: The Challenge of conserving Contemporary Art

Robert Nelson, February 4, 2015
From Ritual Book to State Relic: A Cultural Biography of a Greek Illuminated Manuscript in Florence

Susan Siegfried, March 25, 2015
Fashion, Art and Gender in Post-Revolutionary France

Rebecca Stone, September 25, 2013
Reciprocity, Revelation, and Rule-Breaking: Indigenous Language and Ancient Andean Art

Gregory Thielker and Noah Coburn, October 23, 2013
(Un)Governed Spaces: Creating a Complex Portrait of Afghanistan Today

Michael Fried, November 7, 2013
Orientation in Painting: Caspar David Friedrich

Derrick Adams, January 31, 5:15 pm
Visiting Artist

Marden Nichols, February 5, 6:15 pm
Vitruvius on Painting: A Scholar’s Lecture on Vitruvius’ De architectura and Roman Wall Painting

Vesna Pavlovic, March 5, 6:15 pm
Visiting Artist

Other recent visiting scholars and curators include: Michael Fried, Betsy Bryan, Huey Copeland, John Davis, André Dombrowski, Michele Greet, David Lubin, Anne McCauley, Mitchell Merback, James Meyer, and Elizabeth Rodini.

Other recent visiting artists include: Janine Antoni, Mark Dion, Jill Downen, Wolfgang Laib, Anthony McCall, The Otolith Group, William Pope.L, Walid Ra’ad, Matthew Ritchie, and Semiconductor.