Decorative Arts & Design History

Smithsonian Associates in partnership with
The George Washington University

To Apply

Application requirements: Prerequisite: a bachelor's degree in the Humanities or other appropriate field, such as art history, fine arts, anthropology, archaeology, history, literature, museum studies, gender studies, or religion.

To apply: Applicants to the Smithsonian-GW Corcoran Decorative Arts & Design History MA program must complete an application for graduate admission to The George Washington University.

Application materials: All supporting materials must be received before your application can be reviewed.

  • Application cover page: Applicants should include the following information on the application cover page: Full Name; Date of application; Contact Info: mailing address, telephone number, email address; Date of birth; Citizenship; List of 3 recommenders.
  • Personal Statement: The personal statement should be between 300-500 words and should reflect your personal interests and discuss research interests, academic objectives, and relevant professional experience. This is a very important part of the application.
  • Writing Sample: The writing sample should be any complete, polished prose text (e.g. essay, review, etc.) written by the student for an academic course, a or in the course of professional work or community activity. Typical length is 5-10 pages, double spaced (a chapter or selection of a longer text is acceptable). The writing sample must be entirely the work of the applicant.
  • Two (2) letters of recommendation: Letters of recommendations should come from professional or academic contacts (academic preferred). Letters should include name, contact information, and relation to recommender in the application (e.g. professional or academic) and should speak to the merits and achievements of the applicant.
  • Transcripts from all institutions attended: Applicants should submit unofficial transcripts for the application. Applicants offered admission will be required to submit official transcripts (as well as official certified translations and evaluations of the transcripts/mark sheets and degree certifications if the degree was earned outside of the United States) to The George Washington University.
  • Current resume or C.V.: Applicants should include degrees, professional positions held, awards receives, languages, skills, etc.
  • GRE Test scores (Optional): Applicants should send GRE general test scores directly to The George Washington University; institutional code is 5246.
  • Interview: An in-person or skype interview is highly recommended for all applicants. In order to schedule an appointment, please contact

Application Deadlines

Applications for admission are accepted on a rolling basis. Students may apply to begin the program in either the Fall or Spring semester.

Mail to: Decorative Arts & Design History Program
P.O. Box 23293 Washington, DC 20026-3292

or e-mail to with subject: “Application [semester/year you intend to begin]”

Questions? Applicants with questions about the MA in Decorative Arts & Design History should contact the program department at