Fine Arts

Fine Art


An experimental approach to art-making and access to a research university for engaged, diverse and inquisitive artists.
To major in photojournalism, click here. To minor in photography, click here.

In our Fine Arts degree programs, you discover your own creative direction through foundational coursework, exposure to diverse creative practices and experiences, rather than through directives for specific artistic aesthetic. We encourage our students to develop their own artistic direction through studio practices, our experienced faculty and the inspiration of Washington, D.C.’s vibrant cultural life and renowned galleries and museums.

The Corcoran offers three undergraduate degrees and three minors:

  • a bachelor of fine arts,
  • a bachelor of arts,
  • a minor in fine arts,
  • a minor in photography,
  • a dual major in art history and fine arts,
  • a dual minor in fine arts and art history.

Studying the arts at a major research university provides students access to the George Washington University’s extensive research resources. With an interdisciplinary approach to contemporary artistic practices, Corcoran students are encouraged to extend beyond their comfort zones, redefine their practice and prepare for creative pursuits after graduation.





Studying at the Corcoran and GW is perfect for students excited to make a commitment to their creative progress within a challenging but supportive academic community. Choosing an art school at a major research university in a metropolitan area provides unique experiences that you won’t find anywhere else. While our class sizes are small, making it possible for in-depth discussions and access to faculty, you also have opportunities to work with curators and researchers around D.C. and across the larger university. You’ll find yourself blocks away from world-renowned cultural institutions, can easily attend D.C. art events and can view and participate in exhibitions on campus in spaces like Gallery 102.


Studying your craft at our school is right for you if you’re ready to make a commitment to exploring your creativity and research interests while being mentored by the country’s leading artists and scholars. If you want to find out what you can become at a place where you are supported in building a practice engaged with issues in the studio and world, the Corcoran and GW are home.


Female student working with clay project on wheel


Programs of Study



Female student standing in front of her printed work


Courses in the fine arts cover a wide range of studio arts including, sculpture, ceramics, photography, video, painting, drawing, printmaking, book arts, performance, socially engaged practices and new media. Our curricula emphasize a critical and creative relationship between content and form, an awareness of historical connections, and engagement with varied contexts of creative production. The program you choose will impact the course requirements.


All first-year BFA students take Corcoran Foundations courses. For two semesters, you are an essential member of a tight-knit group of artists, designers and photographers. You will develop relationships across studio areas and foster multi-disciplinary approaches to making and problem-solving that can sustain a life-long investigative practice. Here you learn to think and communicate like an artist, take risks and challenge your assumptions, while developing the fundamental skills necessary to read and manipulate the complex language of images, forms and cultures that make up the world around you.

Read more


Female student drawing at easel


Students looking at art exhibit on the wall






Layla Saad, Fine Arts
Layla Saad is a Fine Arts major who stands out with her own unique perspective as a Muslim student. She is grateful for the freedom of expression she has found at the Corcoran, and enjoys the creativity and problem solving it takes “to express [her] art on [her] own terms.” The videographer, Adil Siddiqui, is an international student from Pakistan, who just graduated from the MA New Media Photojournalism program in 2018.


Ian Svenonius on street at night

Ian Svenonius is an icon of the D.C. punk scene. The Washington Post has described him as the “most interesting man in rock-and-roll.” Svenonius was a student of fine arts at the Corcoran in the late 1980s/early 1990s, where he primarily drew comics “about revolution.”


Tara Donovan leaning against wall beside sculpture

Tara Donovan (BFA, '91) creates sculpture, drawings, prints and large-scale installations that transform the banality of everyday objects into the extraordinary.


Tim Gunn

Tim Gunn (BFA, '74) is a fashion consultant, television personality, actor, voice actor and author. Gunn was involved in the hit TV show Project Runway. 




Eoin Guidas (B.A. ‘20) is fascinated by the universe and how it is constantly influenced by interaction. Through his work as an artist, he explores these complex interactions and aims to connect human understanding of the mechanics which govern nature to the internal processes which govern human thought and consciousness. Eion’s goal is to represent the underlying conditions of creative thought while simultaneously connecting them to established physical theory.

Eoin's work was part of the NEXT 2020 Exhibition; click here to learn more.






Photo Credit to Chloe Brover, Fine Art Photography '20


Piece of paper artwork

Professor Varga Creates in China

Judit Varga recently spent time in Bai Ming’s studio, Shangyu Celadon Modern International Ceramic Art Center, in Shangyu, China, working on pieces that were as natural and transparent as possible. 

See Professor Varga's Work


Robot with wheels and tubes full of seed

Professor Sham Takes On Innovation

Assistant Professor of Innovation Arts James Sham  is the inventor of a newly published innovation in the field of photovoltaics - the patent-pending "Solar Paper."


Flagg Building
500 17th Street, NW 
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Program Administrator
Eliza Mott
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Program Head
Dean Kessmann
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Undergraduate Advisor for students pursuing a BA/BFA in Fine Arts or a Dual BA in Art History and Fine Arts
Michele Carlson

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