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:   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.
  • 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 scholarly publication, or in the course of professional work or community activity. Typical length is 5-15 pages double spaced (a chapter or selection of a longer text is acceptable). The writing sample must be entirely the work of the applicant, except for limited final editing in the case of published submissions.
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation:   these letters should include name, contact information, and relation to recommender in the application (e.g. professional or academic). Recommenders should send letters to and include your name in the e-mail subject line.
  • Unofficial transcript from all institutions attended:   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.
  • Test scores:  a copy of the applicants GRE general test scores should be sent along with the application. The institutional code 5246.
  • Interview:   to schedule an in-person, telephone, or skype interview, 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