Student looking at black and white negatives

Fine Art Photography

Push the boundaries of your creative lens at one of the nation’s best institutions for photography

At the Corcoran, we recognize the critical importance of the photographic image in contemporary society while establishing photography’s historical context within art. Students enrolled in the Bachelor of Fine Art in Fine Art Photography study current photo-based art while refining their technical skills and developing their individual styles and subject matter. Our curriculum examines the roles that lens-based media play in contemporary life while emphasizing personal creativity, varied photographic processes, and an awareness of cultural context and critical analysis.

Through the direction and insight of our faculty – who are practicing artists themselves – and visiting artists, our students experience first-hand how photography can be a vehicle for creative expression and an agent for change. The Corcoran provides students access to the George Washington University’s extensive research resources. With an interdisciplinary approach to contemporary photographic practices, students are encouraged to extend beyond comfort zones, redefine practices, and prepare for creative pursuits after graduation.



Program Contacts

Flagg Building
500 17th Street, NW 
[email protected] 

Full Time Faculty


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 Required Courses

  • CAH 1090 Art History I: Art Now, Contemporary Perspectives in the Visual Arts
  • CAH 1091 Art History II: Historical Perspectives in the Visual Arts
  • CFN 1090 First Year Studio I 
  • CFN 1091 First Year Studio I
  • CPH 1090 Photo Fundamentals I: Light Studies and Optical Culture
  • CPH 1091 Photo Fundamentals II: Techniques and Practice
  • Two Writing in the Disciplines courses
  • Two General Studio Electives

Upper Level Required Courses


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 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:

  • CPH 2110 Color Photography
  • CPH 2350 Extended Image
  • CPH 3070 Studio Lighting
  • CPH 3450 Pre-digital Alternative Processes
  • CPH 3260 Advanced Digital Photography
  • CPH 3400 El Salvador Travel: International Experience/Transnational Identity
  • CPH 3640 Advanced Studio Lighting: Commission Project
  • CPH 4251 Making Meaning: Narrative and the Art of the Photography Book

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.

Careers and Internships

With its location in the heart of Washington, D.C., the Corcoran School 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.

Fine Art Photography in Action

Colin Wheeler

Colin Wheeler

BFA Photography, 2015

“Often conjuring emotions distinct to what the landscape can offer, these details accentuate why I feel so compelled to tell the story of my relationship to these magnificent and highly intricate spaces.” 

Explore Colin’s portfolio
Kelly Chick

Kelly Chick

BFA Photography, 2015

“[The Corcoran School] is the best support system I ever expected to have. Someone asked me to describe the Corcoran in one word and ‘family’ was what came to mind…”

See Kelly’s photography
Aria Maisey

Aria Maisey

BFA Photography, 2015

“I don’t think I would have survived in any place other than the Corcoran. Everyone, from the faculty to your classmates, helps you nurture and grow your art.”

Take a look at Aria’s work