Student sculpting

Fine Art

Understand your artistic practices in relation to the contemporary art world

The Studio Arts Program offers both a Bachelor in Fine Arts (BFA) and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree for undergraduate students. 

The BFA degree in Fine Art is a four-year, full-time program requiring 120 credits for completion. Studies in the major begin in freshman year with studio courses in drawing, painting and sculpture; in subsequent semesters students in Fine Art Studio and Thesis courses are presented with content-driven assignments geared to guide students toward increased understanding of their own artistic practices in relation to the contemporary art world. These allow work in any medium of the student's choosing. Courses of focused study include ceramics, painting and drawing, printmaking, sculpture and performance and time-based media.

The BA degree in Fine Art is also a four-year, full-time program which allows students to balance studio-based work with other academic programs of study. BA students are offered a rigorous and experimental approach to art making, while encouraged to pursue their creative commitments in the studio and in the world. Students may pursue a wide range of studio arts including sculpture, ceramics, photography, painting and drawing and new media.

Students in both the BFA and BA programs of study have an academic home in the Corcoran community, where they will also be exposed to design, theatre, dance, music, museum studies, and art history. Studying at a research university further prepares students to respond to the complexity of possibilities facing the contemporary artist. The Studio Arts program emphasizes a critical and creative relationship between content and form, an awareness of historical connections and engagement with the contexts of creative production.


Current Curriculum

The following curriculum is for students enrolled beginning in fall 2015. 

In addition to the University General Education Requirement and requirements for their major, undergraduate students in Columbian College must complete a further, College-specific general education curriculum. Students can learn more about the new program requirements, as well as general education requirements in the course bulletin.

Legacy Curriculum

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 consult the current curriculum

Studio course requirements by student year:

Year 1 Courses

Year 2 Courses

  • CFA 2090 Fine Art Studio I
  • CFA 2091 Fine Art Studio II
  • Medium and Materials Workshops (one of the following per semester)
  • CFA 2122 Time-Based Media 
  • CFA 2123 The Object in its Environment
  • CFA 2124 Painting Basics for Fine Art
  • CFA 2125 Printmaking
  • CFA 2126 Ceramic Practice, Earth to Stone

Year 3 Courses

Year 3,4 Courses

Year 4 Courses

A sample of studio electives for concentrations and for general majors:


Painting and Drawing



Performance and Time-Based Media

  • CFA 2122 Medium/Materials Workshop I: Time Based Media
  • CFA 3240 Wear, Strut, Occupy
  • CFA 3306 Performative Media
  • CFA 3511 Public/Spectacle: Contemporary Performance from Pop Culture to Social Practice

Department Life

Students in the Department of Fine Art are encouraged to get involved in off-site exhibitions, artistic collaborations, and artistic productions that can help their career development. Visiting artists regularly attend individual classes where they present talks on their work, give technical demonstrations, and offer group and individual critiques to class members. Class instructors often schedule class field trips to places of interest within Washington, Baltimore and New York to enrich student experience. Students themselves create new interest clubs or get involved in existing ones such as the Performance Club and the Painting Club, which offer students opportunities to share and support each other’s work.


In printmaking, students and faculty create an annual portfolio of prints in screenprint, etching, lithography, and woodcut, using traditional, photographic and newer digital techniques. The result is a compilation of works that are featured at conferences and exhibitions nationwide as well as in Washington, D.C. Some of these portfolios have been accepted into major national collections.


Students focusing on ceramics have access to state-of-the-art kilns that allow large-scale works to be created on the premises. In addition, with regular visits by ceramics luminaries, students are exposed to the rich variety of possibilities in the field. Every year ceramics students and faculty work together to craft work supporting S.O.M.E.'s Empty Bowls event, a creative way to give back to the Washington, D.C. community by raising funds for a major food bank in the city.


Students interested in sculpture and installation can work in nontraditional or traditional techniques using wood, metal, and stone; they can also experiment with the moldmaking and casting properties of new materials and reach into the innovative areas of 3D printing and digital means of sculpture. Visiting artists bring additional excitement to the sculpture studios and share their expertise with students.

Fine Art in Action

Chris Moukarbel

Chris Moukarbel

BFA Fine Art, 2004

“Studying at the Corcoran definitely developed my critical thinking about art and its different forms … how I could creatively use the medium I had on hand to create something altogether different.”

Read about his documentary
The Nickies

Nickie Gunning

BFA Fine Art, 2015

Nickie Gunning explored the form of a plus-size woman for NEXT 2015. She endeavored to move past the pain, shame and insults that can be associated with full-figured women and recognize their beauty instead.

See more of The Nickies

Helena Cervantes

BFA Fine Art, 2015

“Otherness is both within us and beyond us. It is a term used to describe the uncomfortable feelings we have when we look inside ourselves and see something we don't want to exist.”

View more of Helena’s work
Sooho Cho

Sooho Cho

BFA Fine Art, 2015

“The friendly, close community allowed me to have deeper relationships with professors, staff and colleagues for sharing ideas and advice; everyone is a big family. We care and support each other.”

Learn about Sooho’s project

Fine Art Full-Time Faculty

Georgia Deal

Georgia Deal

Professor of Printmaking

Janis Goodman

Janis Goodman

Professor of Fine Arts, Senior Thesis Coordinator