MFA Social Practice Curriculum

The Master of Fine Arts in Social Practice explores the intersection between art and public policy. The program provides a real world context for proposing and implementing innovative art-based solutions to some of the world’s most complex social issues. At each phase you will be challenged to think critically, evaluate compassionately, and innovate ethically. The curriculum is broadly interdisciplinary and combines the study of experimental, relational, and performative creative practices with rigorous academic research and field-based experiential learning in Washington, D.C. Working closely with the Director of Graduate Studies, students will design a highly individualized path of research and professional development by selecting from courses from across the George Washington University’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.

Students who are especially interested in working with diverse populations and who wish to create a hybrid studio practice focused on issues of social justice, collaborative methodology and ethical innovation are candidates for this MFA in Art and Social Practice.For admission to the program, candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree (BA, BS, or BFA). We particularly seek applicants whose statement and/ or portfolio demonstrates some or all of the following qualities:

  • Extensive inter-cultural experience(s);
  • A broad-based creative practice, which may include professional work outside the arts;
  • An understanding of the challenges and opportunities of working with diverse communities in an art context.
  • Familiarity with more than one language. Fluency in English plus other languages, including native languages, are strongly preferred;

The following requirements must be fulfilled including Studio Studies 36 units in studio credits, 9 units in academic credits and 15 units in elective studies.

Academic Studies

CSA 6015          History and Theory of Art in the Public Realm (3 credits)

CSA 6016          Field and Research Methodologies for Artists (3 credits)

PPPA 6011        Politics and Policy Analysis (3 credits)

Creative Studies

CSA 6010          Social Practice Workshop (4 credits, taken once per semester for a total of 16 credits)

CSA 6080          Social Practice Field Studio (3 credits, taken twice for a total of 6 credits)

CSA 6097          Topics in Public Strategies (2 credits, taken once per semester for a total of 8 credits)

CSA 6998          Thesis (3 credits)

CSA 6999          Thesis (3 credits)


5 Studio or Academic electives (for a total of 15 credits)

Students are encouraged to select electives which develop their understanding of public policy and related issues connected to their creative work. The program maintains particular relationships with the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration, Interaction Design, Women’s and Gender Studies, Geography, American Studies and English.