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Housed in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, American studies at GW is one of the nation's most rigorous and innovative programs. With a core of 12 full-time and 20 affiliated faculty members, the program emphasizes interdisciplinary cultural analysis with approaches from anthropology, architectural history, art history, English, folklife, geography, media studies, history, performance studies and political theory.
Anthropology is the study of human difference and diversity in the present and the past. In its broad focus on humanity, anthropology brings together the humanities, natural sciences and social sciences.
GW anthropology is committed to integrating humanistic and scientific perspectives while pursuing advanced research of the highest quality. A GW Master of Arts in Anthropology signals that the holder can synthesize diverse data about human beings, a skill increasingly valued in a variety of professions and academic settings.
The Master of Arts degree in Art History offers students a curriculum from Ancient to Contemporary Art.
One of the first programs to be developed in the United States and receive approval from the American Art Therapy Association, GW’s art therapy program combines artistic training with therapy and counseling skills. A part of Columbian College of Arts and Sciences’ social and behavioral sciences program, students are trained to become effective art therapists through a combination of coursework, hands-on projects and placements in internships for course credit.
This 30-credit program offers professionals in art, therapy, psychology, and related fields the opportunity to learn how the theories and practice of art therapy be incorporated in their work and in treatment. Designed for those who have already earned a master’s or PhD, the program prepares its graduates for registration with the Art Therapy Credentials Board and to take the board certification examination. Beyond the coursework, all students must complete a 700-hour practicum or internship and a culminating project in order to graduate.
The department’s graduate program is highly interactive, and students move easily between fields within the department and interact with other programs and institutions. Graduate research is generally in one of three areas: cell, molecular and developmental biology; systematics and evolution; or ecology. The department is involved in special graduate programs, taking advantage of other researchers, faculty and facilities at GW and elsewhere in the Washington area. These include the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.
Biochemistry is the study of living systems on the molecular level. Continuous new findings in this field have lead to greater understanding of both normal and abnormal physiological processes, enabling us to explain many diseases in molecular terms.
The Biomedical Sciences: Biochemistry and Systems Biology program prepares students for research careers in this dynamic field. Multidisciplinary in nature, the programs consist of faculty not only from GW, but from other renowned academic institutions such as Children’s National Medical Center and the National Institutes of Health.
The Microbiology, Immunology and Tropical Medicine department provides a flexible, rigorous training program to prepare students to become independent research scientists in the areas of molecular virology, molecular parasitology and immunology of infectious diseases.
Modern biomedical research uses a variety of approaches to achieve a better understanding of human health and disease. These include systems analysis of physiological studies, microscopic anatomical techniques and powerful methods that expand our knowledge at a molecular level.
GW’s doctoral program in molecular medicine represents this array of complementary approaches to biomedical research and allows students to pursue one of three distinct tracks.
Our students receive intensive training in applied and theoretical biostatistics, statistical inference, probability theory and statistical genetics. They apply these skills to the design and analysis of epidemiological investigations, evaluation studies and other public health challenges.
Professional opportunities for graduates exist in academia and research centers, private consulting firms and agencies of the federal government.
The certificate in budgeting and public finance provides course work in the theoretical and practical foundations of public budgeting and in the formulation and evaluation of public budgets, as well as the complex choices of economic reasoning in response to resource allocation in the process of formulating and implementing public budgets. The courses in the certificate provide a background in budget policy and process, characteristics of public revenue and expenditure, and governmental accounting and financial reporting.
The mission of the program represents a commitment to develop advanced knowledge, skills and commitment to the counseling profession, especially in the areas of:
Increased proficiency in crime scene investigation is essential to all forensic sciences.
One of the social and behavioral sciences disciplines in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, the program looks at the historical development of criminal justice, its evolution into modern legal systems and ongoing problems and reforms in policing, the courts and corrections. Students develop an understanding of the causes of criminal behavior and the social conditions that contribute to crime, and they analyze how the criminal justice system operates.
Contemporary dancers from across the globe now have an opportunity to continue their education and not miss a beat through the innovative M.F.A. in Dance offered by the Department of Theatre and Dance. The 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.
The Documentary Center is an interdisciplinary program at the School of Media and Public Affairs in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.
The six-month Institute for Documentary Filmmaking is the central educational offering of the Documentary Center and is both a theoretical and hands-on exploration of the documentary form.
Economics looks at choices under scarcity and how these choices affect production, market prices, national output, unemployment, inflation, economic growth and the use and distribution of resources within and across nations. GW’s graduate economics program involves topics ranging from microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics to subject areas chosen from labor economics, international economics and the economics of industry. It is part of the social and behavioral sciences program in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.
Graduate seminars are offered on a variety of subjects and time periods each semester. Special strengths include medieval and early modern studies, 19th century studies, and contemporary literatures. Students and faculty work closely together in the classroom as well as outside, especially through the Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute, the 19th century studies seminar, the Wang Visiting Scholars series, and special events.
Studies are designed to increase students’ appreciation and understanding of the complexity of environmental situations. Students take graduate courses in a variety of disciplines to develop insight into the procedures and content of those disciplines, and therefore appreciate and use more of the available information regarding any environmental or resource issue. Internships are encouraged.
The Museum Studies, Interior Design, and Theatre & Dance programs at GW’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences are part of an exciting collaborative learning initiative to provide working professionals the tools needed to meet the increasing demand for top tier exhibits. From corporate and convention center spaces on showroom floors to sophisticated displays in museums and high-end department stores, the new Graduate Certificate in Exhibit Design is cutting across disciplines to teach traditional techniques using modern tools and digital technology.
The Graduate Certificate in Financial Mathematics, offered through the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Department of Mathematics, trains students in sophisticated mathematical techniques so they may analyze problems arising from financial economics. Examples include the use of stochastic processes and partial differential equations to study stock markets and to price financial derivatives.
The Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art stresses the crossing of conventional visual, technical and conceptual boundaries while maintaining more traditional areas of in-depth study in one medium. Students are encouraged to enter into a dialogue with specialists in various media as they develop a balance of traditional and contemporary.
By promoting a dialogue among the programs and recognizing their shared affinities, students gain a deeper understanding of the creative process and its place in the greater cultural context.
The Forensic Psychology program offers two tracks: Applied Forensics, which prepares students for careers in law enforcement or homeland security; and Applied Psychology, which prepares students for careers as providers of direct services to clients in organizations such as correctional facilities and community action organizations and can serve as a springboard for clinical work at the doctoral level. Students are required to complete a semester-long internship, tailored to their professional interest. Evening classes are offered to accommodate working professionals.
As part of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences’ natural, mathematical and biomedical sciences programs, the forensic sciences program provides an understanding of the integration of forensic disciplines with the investigation of criminal activity, along with an overview of the analytical methods, procedures, equipment and data used by forensic specialists. Coursework emphasizes the identification and analysis of evidence as well as the interpretation and reporting of the results.
Geographical Information Systems (GIS) allow us to capture, manage, query, analyze and model geospatially referenced data. GIS ties the idea of location to information, making it possible to visualize it all in map form. Using geospatial techniques we combine and overlay data to show complex scenarios from a geographic perspective. GIS also allows us to integrate data from diverse sources, helping identify relationships, trends, and patterns of distribution.
Part of the social and behavioral sciences in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, the program investigates societal and environmental dynamics, focusing on questions of sustainability, urbanization and uneven resource distribution. Our graduates pursue rewarding careers in governmental and non-governmental agencies and in the private sector.
Offered jointly by GW’s Elliott School of International Affairs and Columbian College of Arts and Sciences’ School of Media and Public Affairs (SMPA), the M.A. in Global Communication combines the Elliott School's globally recognized academic excellence in international affairs with SMPA’s strengths as a leading school of communication and journalism.
In today’s age of rapidly changing technology, criminal acts are not limited to the physical world.
Students delve into history with GW’s world-renowned scholars. The program's proximity to some of the most important research repositories in the world—the National Archives, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the National Security Archive and the Smithsonian museums—makes GW an ideal place to examine a variety of fields, from Renaissance Europe to the Cold War, and from imperial and colonial studies to modern American political and social history.
The hominid paleobiology doctoral program is the graduate education and training effort of the Center for the Advanced Study of Hominid Paleobiology, which promotes interdisciplinary research on human evolution. Because fossils, artifacts and genomes are complex and mostly indirect sources of data for testing evolutionary hypotheses, research questions in human evolutionary studies exemplify the importance of an interdisciplinary approach.
Students learn about habitable environments ranging from small, basic residential interiors to larger, more complex commercial and institutional spaces. With projects focusing on current design issues as well as lectures and visits from professionals to enhance assignments, the program is a carefully sequenced series of courses building on theoretical, technical and creative competencies.
The Master of Arts in Islam, offered by the Department of Religion, focuses on the study of Islam in its classical and contemporary formations, with an emphasis on developing competence in classical Islamic intellectual traditions. The cross-disciplinary program allows students to study with a variety of faculty members who are knowledgeable about the classical formulations of Islam, and have on-the-ground experience in Muslim-majority countries and communities. Centrally located in Washington, D.C., the program offers students the opportunity to interact with U.S.
The 36-credit, two-year MA in Jewish Cultural Arts—the first of its kind in the United States—produces cultural entrepreneurs and administrators with skills ranging from audience development and fiscal management to the seeding and nurturing of new forms of Jewish cultural expression.
The graduate program in legal institutions and theory combines training across multiple disciplines—including political science, history, philosophy, and social policy—to equip students with an essential understanding of the creation of laws and their implications on our society.
The GW Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Health Graduate Certificate program—the first of its kind in applied health
for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community—trains current and future healthcare
leaders to develop strategies that address health issues and reduce health disparities for LGBT
people. The one-year, 12-credit program provides students with a solid base in the psychological,
medical, and policy-based issues faced by LGBT individuals.
Designed for working professionals, the program is a distance learning program with a
Faculty expertise covers a wide range of research specialties, including analysis, applied math, combinatorics, dynamical systems, knot theory, logic and topology. With about 25 graduate students and 20 faculty members, there is lively interaction as well as extensive individual attention. All graduate students have individual advisers throughout their enrollment, starting from the time of admission. New students also receive peer advisers. In addition, research seminars and the department colloquium series help students explore potential research areas.
School of Media and Public Affairs Master of Arts candidates study with leading political communication scholars and award-winning journalists. They explore how the changing media landscape affects politics, journalism and the fundamental ways in which governments and other organizations interact with the public.
Since the complete sequencing of the human genome was revealed in 2000, the medical discipline of genomics has unfolded and evolved. The study of genetic material, genomics is radically reshaping biology and medicine and will lead to improved diagnosis and treatment of disease. Emerging in tandem with genomics is the field of bioinformatics, associated with massive databases of gene and protein sequences and information. Genomics utilizes bioinformatics as its operating tool in order to process and mine data, working to analyze and solve problems arising from gathered data.
The distance education Certificate in Museum Collections Management and Care features four graduate-level courses designed for those working or volunteering in museums with collections management responsibilities and either lacking prior formal museum studies training or desiring a refresher. Students complete the four 3-credit courses totally online (1 course per semester) during a period of one year.
Students receive advanced study and practical working experience through internship affiliations with more than 60 museums and cultural organizations, including the Smithsonian Institution. Part of the arts and humanities program in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, museum studies combines traditional academic training and the practical experience necessary to begin a successful museum career. The program ranks among the top museum training programs in the United States.
The Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management provides an overview of central concepts in managing nonprofit organizations and is intended to meet the needs of students seeking a focused experience in preparation for a career in nonprofit organizations. It may be appropriate for students who seek to expand their knowledge but who do not wish to commit to a master’s degree program.
The program emphasizes that individuals and organizations must be ready to think and act quickly and effectively. Students are prepared to analyze and solve problems by synthesizing information, rethinking processes, enhancing collaboration, sculpting organizational culture and integrating interests of diverse stakeholders. An understanding of the systems and relationships among individuals, organizations and the environment is pivotal to success.
The formulation and evaluation of public policy has become a major concern for both public officials and citizens in U.S. society. Even technical policy issues raise questions about social values and assume knowledge of concepts that call for philosophical exploration. As part of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, the master’s program in philosophy and social policy addresses questions of public policy from a humanistic perspective.
The Department of Physics is part of the natural, mathematical and biomedical sciences discipline in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. The department offers undergraduate degrees in physics and biophysics and graduate physics degrees, both an M.A. and Ph.D.
As part of the social and behavioral sciences discipline in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, the program examines politics on a national and international scale, with emphases on American politics, comparative politics and international relations.
The Department of Theatre and Dance’s production design program aims to unlock students’ creativity and help them master the portfolio of practical skills essential for a career as a successful design professional. Part of the arts and humanities discipline in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, the program connects students directly to the vibrant arts community of Washington, D.C.
Offered through the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences’ social and behavioral sciences discipline, the professional psychology program teaches students clinical research methods for new discoveries. Students receive in-depth psychodynamic training that combines extensive practical experience with classes on scientific foundations of psychology taught by seasoned clinicians, scholars and researchers. Students also study cognitive behavioral, systems and community consultation approaches.
As part of the social and behavioral sciences discipline, students explore psychological theory, develop research skills and understand how to approach issues within communities and societies. The program offers courses that reflect the wide-ranging field of psychology as the study of normal and abnormal behavior and of the psychological, social and biological processes related to that behavior.
By balancing coverage of public policy theory and practice with contemporary issues, we prepare students for positions in research, analysis, and leadership in public service.
Trachtenberg School classes are held on the Foggy Bottom Campus. Many classes are in the evenings, enabling full-time and part-time students to pursue their degree while working.
The M.P.A. is a 40-credit degree offered through the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration; the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences grants the degree.
We prepare students for positions in public policy research and analysis; we also prepare them for leadership roles in the field.
Trachtenberg School classes are held on the Foggy Bottom Campus. Many classes are in the evenings, enabling full-time and part-time students to pursue their degree while working.
Our curriculum emphasizes interdisciplinary, applied research in public policy and administration and related subfields as it prepares students for traditional faculty or public-policy research positions.
Trachtenberg School classes are held on the Foggy Bottom Campus. Most classes are in the evenings, enabling full-time and part-time students to pursue their degree while working.
The Ph.D. is a 72-credit program offered through the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration; the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences grants the degree.
Part of the social and behavioral sciences discipline in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, the sociology graduate program provides students with a solid grounding in sociological theory and research methods. Students gain hands-on experience conducting quantitative and qualitative research and develop skills in data collection and analysis.
Statistics plays an important role throughout society, providing methodologies for advances in medicine, genetics and other research arenas, and for making decisions in business and public policy. Statistics is part of the natural, mathematical and biomedical sciences field in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.
The Ph.D. program offers faculty expertise in statistical genetics, inference, Bayesian statistics, robust inference, computational statistics, reliability, statistics in law and regulatory policy, and probabilistic analysis of algorithms.
Students learn skills needed for today’s changing survey environment. Courses focus on designing and pretesting questionnaires, sampling cases, collecting and compiling data, computing estimates and margins of error, writing reports and managing the survey process. The survey design and data analysis program is under the natural, mathematical and biomedical sciences discipline in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.
The program offers a grounding in feminist theory as well as empirical knowledge about women in the United States and around the world. The master’s degree program was established at GW in 1972, and was the first of its kind in the United States. Faculty members come from various disciplines, mostly within the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.