This page answers some of the questions we are
asked regularly. If it doesn’t answer yours, contact:

Director of Graduate Studies: Fine Art
James Sham






In what areas can I study at GW?

We are an interdisciplinary program. There is one degree in the department – the Master in Fine Arts. The program creates an environment where cross-pollination among fields flourishes. The faculty and facilities of the department support students working in sculpture, ceramics, drawing, painting, new and time- based media, and photography. Outside of the department, the full academic resources of the University support graduate students looking expand their knowledge base in support of their work.

Is an undergraduate degree in studio art required?

A BA, BFA, or BS with a major related to studio art is recommended though not required. A strong portfolio and statement can be combined with an academic background in another area. As with all graduate programs, you must have completed an undergraduate degree.

Must I submit a portfolio as part of the application process?

Yes. Your application will not be reviewed without a portfolio.

How do I arrange a visit?

You are welcome and encouraged to visit the campus and a class, either as you are considering applying or after you have submitted your materials. To make arrangements, contact the Studio Arts Program 202-994-0032 /

Do you offer an MFA in Interior Design?

Yes, but as a separate program. Please visit the Department of Interior Architecture for more information.

Do you offer an MFA in Graphic Design?

No. While some of our students have design backgrounds, the MFA at GW focuses on working in an arts context. We understand there is sometimes not a clear distinction between the two fields. If you have questions, or would like to discuss your portfolio, you are encouraged to contact the Director of Graduate Studies, Fine Arts.

Is fellowship support available?

Yes. The Department has a number of support packages that it offers to select students. Assistantships and fellowships are both awarded on merit. Visit the section for Fellowship and Aid.

Are there grade point averages or other academic requirements I must fulfill?

Yes. While the portfolio is the core of your application, MFA applicants must meet the same requirements as all graduate applicants. Prospective MFAs do not need to submit GRE scores. Please visit the Columbian College graduate admissions page for details.

What do lab fees cover?

All Fine Art studio courses require a lab fee of $35.00 per credit hour to support studio programs. These fees support facilities and programs in the department, from ink in the computer lab and large format printers, to low cost access to Adobe Creative Suite software for your computer, to studio customizations and support for student exhibitions. As a graduate student, you will broadly benefit from the purchases large and small that course fees allow us to make.

Can I take introductory courses in a media area in which I am inexperienced?

The Department supports MFA candidates in the process of building new skills, however, GW graduate students may not receive course credit for introductory or undergraduate courses  numbered below 3000. You may audit a course or a section of a course with permission of the instructor. With permission of the Director of Graduate Studies, graduate students may take undergraduate courses if they are numbered above 3000. The Director of Graduate Studies works with students who may find themselves in this position to develop a strategy for both satisfying requirements and exploring new ideas.

Are there special requirements I must fulfill if I am an international student?

Yes. You must meet minimum English language requirements for admission and slightly higher language proficiency requirements in order to be considered for an assistantship with teaching responsibilities. For full international admissions information, visit the International Applicants section of the Graduate Admissions webpage.