Creative Arts & Design

GW provides a rich landscape of diverse cultural and artistic opportunities to explore creativity and design new trends. Drawing upon its unique relationships with organizations such as the Smithsonian Institution and the Shakespeare Theatre Company, and the university’s prestigious Corcoran School of the Arts and Design, students gain access to distinguished faculty, facilities, and experiences to support personal and professional growth. 

Programs in Creative Arts & Design at GW

Art History (M.A.)

The Master of Arts in art history offers students a curriculum ranging from ancient to contemporary art and includes an optional concentration in museum training involving two museum internships. The degree prepares students for curatorial or education careers in galleries, museums, and private enterprises and can also serve as preparation for a doctoral program. Students take advantage of the renowned collections and exhibition spaces in the Washington metropolitan area during their studies. 

Classical Acting (M.F.A.)

Offered in collaboration with the Shakespeare Theatre Company, the program brings together world-class artists/teachers, a comprehensive training program, and a distinguished reputation as a nationally and internationally recognized leader in classical repertory. Located in one of the most vibrant cultural centers in the nation today, considered by many to be the second most important theater center after New York, the Academy for Classical Acting (ACA) is the only M.F.A. program in the United States dedicated solely to classical acting.

Dance (M.F.A.)

Contemporary dancers from across the globe have an opportunity to continue their education and not miss a beat through this innovative M.F.A. in dance. The hybrid program combines residency and distance learning to enable mid-career dancers, performers, and choreographers to maintain their careers while refining individual style, technique, and repertoire, and developing professional relationships with the larger international dance community. 

Documentary Filmmaking (Graduate Certificate)

For more than 25 years, the Institute for Documentary Filmmaking within GW’s Documentary Center has been committed to teaching film production and creating nonfiction films for domestic and international audiences. The center has been ranked one of the top 10 schools for documentary filmmaking, and is one of the few educational centers in the nation that focuses exclusively on nonfiction film. The six-month certificate program provides both a theoretical and hands-on exploration of the documentary form. It boasts a robust internship program, leading to successful placements at National Geographic, Discovery Communications, Smithsonian, and WETA, and with experienced independent filmmakers.

Exhibit Design (Graduate Certificate)

The graduate certificate in exhibit design teaches students skills in lighting design, color theory, architecture, 3-D modeling, interior space creation, scene staging, and computer-aided drafting. Students design and install a minimum of two exhibits at the National Air and Space Museum and on the GW campus. Similar to the M.A. in Exhibition Design, graduates go on to design for conventions, showroom floors, museums, high-end department stores, and more.

Exhibition Design (M.A.)

The Master of Arts in exhibition design is one of the few accredited graduate programs in the nation devoted to interpretive exhibition design. The curriculum focuses on design-thinking and experiential design, which students learn through a balanced integration of academic, technical, and design courses. Throughout the program, students are challenged to consider human factors in the creation of engaging spaces and learn how to produce narrative environments for museums and private design firms.

Fine Arts (M.F.A.)

The Master of Fine Arts stresses the crossing of conventional visual, technical, and conceptual boundaries, while maintaining more traditional areas of in-depth study in one studio area. Students are encouraged to enter into a dialogue with specialists in various art forms as they develop a balance of traditional and contemporary artistic knowledge. By promoting dialogue among artists of all kinds, students gain a deeper understanding of the creative process and its place in the greater cultural context. Graduates comprise an emerging generation of contemporary artists who work in the mediums of painting and drawing, sculpture, ceramics, photography, and new media.

Interior Architecture & Design (M.F.A.)

The interior architecture and design program is the only CIDA-accredited program in DC, and GW is the second highest-ranked university offering the degree. As a part of this intellectual environment, the curriculum focuses on all aspects of the profession, from sustainability and materials to graphic communication and lighting. The program fosters an environment of creativity and pushes the boundaries of design with an emphasis on conceptual thinking. Students learn to design three-dimensional spaces through the use of dynamic concepts, cutting-edge materials, and innovative methods.

Landscape Design (Graduate Certificate, M.P.S.)

The Landscape Design graduate certificate or master's degree program is ideally suited for landscape professionals seeking to upgrade skills, individuals who want to become professional landscape designers, amateurs with an interest in the art of garden design, institutional horticultural staff, nursery employees and garden-design writers. Courses are geared to small-scale landscape design applications with emphasis on sound design principles, good site engineering methods and creative use of plant materials. 

New Media Photojournalism (M.A.)

The first of its kind in the nation, the program was created to help visual journalists study and address the changing world of photojournalism. Emphasizing strong storytelling skills and fluency in multimedia platforms, the program incorporates writing, photography, audio, video, and web design to prepare students to work as freelancers, visual reporters, editors, and producers. The curriculum encourages experimentation with new ways of storytelling, documentation, editing, and reporting. Graduates take on careers in a wide range of visual media as leaders of a new generation of photojournalists.

Production Design (M.F.A.)

The M.F.A. in production design aims to unlock students’ creativity through solid artistic training, experiential academic application, and a direct opportunity to apply these skills in an intense professional environment. Students encounter opportunities to work in theater and dance, as well as in film, television, exhibition design, and at special events. The degree offers specializations in costume, scenery, and lighting design.

Sustainable Landscapes (Graduate Certificate)

The Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Landscapes provides an innovative and relevant curriculum that reflects changing social attitudes towards the conservation and sustainability of our living environments.  Landscape designers will be called upon to provide design and implementation services that apply new strategies of plant and water conservation and energy efficiency.