Master of Arts in the Field of Decorative Arts and Design History

Specific admission requirements are shown on the Graduate Program Finder.

The following requirements must be fulfilled:

The general requirements stated under Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate Programs.

Students are required to complete 42-credits overall for the degree, which includes 7 required classes. Up to two for credit internships or directed study may also satisfy as electives but are not required.  Additionally, students demonstrate competency in a language other than English, complete a comprehensive exam as well as a qualifying paper or a thesis. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA to graduate from the program. Please note/course numbers listed here plus prefix DCDH are placeholders

The classes break down as follows:

3 Required Courses:

DCDH 570...Proseminar (3 credits)

DCDH 571...Survey of Decorative Arts I

DCDH 572....Survey of Decorative Art 2

4 Core Requirements: Students must take a minimum of 1 course in each subject. 

DCDH 630....Material Culture Theory

DCDH 650....Non-Western Influences  

DCDH 660 Museum Studies [will be satisfied through GW MSTD Program]

DCDH 640 Medium-based Survey in textile, wood, glass, ceramics, metal or paper outside of major focus

6 electives:

DCDH 670 Include Internships, MA Thesis (799) or Elective classes

Existing GW classes that MA in the History of Decorative Arts students may take as electives, include:

Art History

AH 6213. Islamic Art and Architecture. 3 Credits.

Introduction to the visual culture of the Muslim world, from Spain to India, from the 7th century to the present. Examination of artworks in their historical, religious, and cultural contexts; key points in the field's historiography.

AH 6265. Seminar in Islamic Art and Architecture. 3 Credits.

Topic announced in Schedule of Classes. May be repeated for credit provided the topic differs.

AH 6222. Proseminar in Early Northern Renaissance Art and Architecture. 3 Credits.

Royal and ducal patronage and the Flemish and French masters of the 15th century, including van Eyck, Campin, van der Weyden, Fouquet, van der Goes, Memling, and Gerard David. Topic announced in the Schedule of Classes. May be repeated for credit provided the topic differs.

AH 6231. Proseminar in Italian Art and Architecture of the 17th Century. 3 Credits.

The Counter-Reformation and creation of the Baroque in painting, sculpture, and architecture in Rome (Carracci, Caravaggio, Bernini, Borromini, Pietro da Cortona), Turin (Guarini, Juvarra), and Venice (Longhena).

AH 6234. Proseminar in Spanish and Portuguese Art through the 16th Century. 3 Credits.

The Kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula from the Reconquest of Granada to the Renaissance Age of Exploration.

AH 6245. Seminar in European Art of the 19th Century. 3 Credits.

AH 6251. Proseminar in American Art in the Age of Revolution. 3 Credits.

American art during the 18th-century “consumer revolution,” the American War for Independence, and the early republic. Emphasis on the socioeconomic and political purposes of art, with focus on Enlightenment symbolism and the visualization of national identity.

AH 6254. Seminar in American Art before 1900. 3 Credits.

AH 6270. Special Topics in Art History. 3 Credits.

AH 6246. Proseminar in Modern Architecture in Europe and America. 3 Credits.

Major developments in architecture and urbanism from the Industrial Revolution to the end of the 20th century.

AH 6250. Seminar: Modern Art. 3 Credits.

AH 6256. Seminar in American Art of the 20th Century. 3 Credits.

AH 6257. Seminar in Photography. 3 Credits.

American Studies

AMST 2520. American Architecture I. 3 Credits.

Stylistic properties, form and type characteristics, technological developments, and urbanistic patterns are introduced as a means of interpretation of historic meaning. Buildings are analyzed both as artifacts and as signifiers of social, cultural, and economic tendencies. 1600–1860. Same as AH 2154.

AMST 2521. American Architecture II. 3 Credits.

Continuation of AMST 2520. Stylistic properties, form and type characteristics, technological developments, and urbanistic patterns are introduced as a means of interpretation of historic meaning. Buildings are analyzed both as artifacts and as signifiers of social, cultural, and economic tendencies. 1860–present. Same as AH 2155.

AMST 6710. American Material Culture. 3 Credits.

Opportunities for research and publication based on historical objects in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution.

AMST 6480. Theory and Practice of Public History. 3 Credits.

Theoretical and practical dimensions of public history, as illustrated by recent controversies surrounding public exhibitions and debates on revisionist history as well as more traditional means of presenting the past in public forums. Same as HIST 6480.

AMST 6550. Seminar in American Architecture. 3 Credits.

Advanced research problems addressing artistic, cultural, social, technical, and urbanistic aspects of American architecture in the 19th and 20th centuries. Topics vary. Prerequisite: AMST 2520 or AMST 2521 , or permission of instructor.

AMST 6560. Vernacular Architecture. 3 Credits.

Anthropology

ANTH 6200. Museum Anthropology. 3 Credits.

How anthropological collections take shape in the past and carry meaning in the present. Critical examination of artifacts and forms of documentation. Application of material culture theory to museum records, collected objects, the changing meaning given to objects, and the context of collecting.

ANTH 6202. Museums and the Public: Exhibiting Culture. 3 Credits.

Study of the issues and problems involved in “exhibiting culture,” past and present, including issues of representation, message and interpretation, audience, ownership of objects and symbols, and ways of reconstructing the past. Critical examination of museum exhibits.

ANTH 6509. Anthropology of Art, Aesthetics, and Symbolism. 3 Credits.

Anthropological approaches to aesthetic problems and theories of symbolism in the context of ethnographic materials.

Museum Studies

MSTD 6101. Museum Management. 3 Credits.

Overall operation of the museum: legal status of the museum and its obligations to the public; governance, staffing, policymaking as a nonprofit organization. Theory applied to practical situations.

MSTD 6102. NonProfit Fiscal Management. 3 Credits.

Basic concepts of general accounting; fund accounting for nonprofit organizations; budgets and budget systems; use of the budget as a management tool; long-range planning; income sources; other financial management concepts.

MSTD 6103. Leading Change. 3 Credits.

Leadership challenges and styles as they relate to organizational change efforts. Case studies of museums undergoing change; best practices in leadership at all levels of the museum.

MSTD 6104. Managing People and Projects. 3 Credits.

Organizational development and modern management concepts as applied to museums. Managing people in the organization; the importance of project management systems to museum administration.

MSTD 6105. Museum Fundraising. 3 Credits.

Introductory topics in museum fundraising, including sources of funds, best practices and approaches, annual funds and capital campaigns, and the internal management of the fundraising effort.

MSTD 6201. Introduction to Museum Collections. 3 Credits.

Establishing collection management policies. Laws, regulations, conventions, and codes that affect acquisitions; deaccessions, loans, and collection care; accountability; and access problems.

MSTD 6202. Museum Collections Management. 3 Credits.

The implementation of collections policies: establishing and managing collections, management procedures and systems, documentation of collections, records preservation, collections access and storage, handling, packing and shipping, and inventory control.

MSTD 6203. Preventive Conservation Concepts. 3 Credits.

Historical development of preventive conservation in museums, conservation ethics, team approaches to conservation, interactions of various materials with agents of deterioration. Basics of materials testing, preparation of condition reports, choosing museum storage and exhibition materials, and risk assessment. Same as ANTH 6203 and AH 6286.

MSTD 6204. Preventive Conservation Techniques. 3 Credits.

Practical applications of preventive conservation of materials, monitoring environmental conditions, conducting risk assessments, evaluation of exhibit and storage areas; developing plans, policies, and procedures for collections care; grant proposal preparation for collections care initiatives. Same as ANTH 6204 and AH 6287.

MSTD 6205. Archival Practice. 3 Credits.

An introduction for museum professionals to the core ideas and practices of archivists and archival institutions. Restricted to graduate students.

MSTD 6301. Museum Exhibitions: Curatorial Research. 3 Credits.

Museum research from a curatorial point of view, with emphasis on exhibit theory and practice. Research techniques, information sources, and script production.

MSTD 6302. Museum Exhibition Design. 3 Credits.

The processes of research, conceptualization, planning, and evaluation from a designer’s point of view. Focus is on individual projects with some group collaboration. The designer’s vocabulary, visual thinking, design documentation, and specifications.

MSTD 6303. Advanced Exhibition Design. 3 Credits.

The processes of research, conceptualization, planning, and evaluation from a designer’s point of view. Focus is on individual projects with some group collaboration. The designer’s vocabulary, visual thinking, design documentation, and specifications.

MSTD 6304. MuseumExhibitDevelopment. 3 Credits.

Research techniques; information sources; script production from a content perspective.

MSTD 6305. Visitor Perspectives: Museum Evaluation in Exhibitions. 3 Credits.

Theory and practice of museum evaluation, especially as related to exhibition development.

MSTD 6306. Race, Gender, Sexuality, and the Museum. 3 Credits.

Exploration of the role that museums play in the construction, reification, and representation of ideas about race and gender.

MSTD 6403. Museums and Digital Technology. 3 Credits.

The history and impact of digital technology in modern museum practice; variety of uses and functions of digital technology in modern museums; effects of culture on technology adoption; basic digital strategy and user experience skills.

Public Policy and Public Administration

PPPA 6031. Governing and Managing Nonprofit Organizations. 3 Credits.

Historical, legal, and social foundations of the nonprofit sector. Developing organizational strategy and capacity; managing staff, boards, and volunteers; financial management; fund raising, marketing, public advocacy, and other external relations; partnerships and entrepreneurial activities; measuring performance; and policy issues.

PPPA 6032. Managing Fund Raising and Philanthropy. 3 Credits.

Fund-raising for nonprofit organizations and the management of relationships between donors and recipient organizations. Positioning the organization for fund raising; roles of staff and volunteers; principal techniques for identifying, cultivating, and soliciting donors; ethical principles; emerging trends; and relevant policy issues.

PPPA 6033. Non-Profit Enterprise. 3 Credits.

The use of business methods by nonprofit organizations, commercialization in the nonprofit sector, and the relationship between nonprofit and for-profit entities in pursuing social purposes. Case studies.

PPPA 6034. Managing Nonprofit Boards. 3 Credits.

Overview of the responsibilities, roles, and management of nonprofit boards. The emphasis is on governing boards, but advisory councils and boards of other types are also considered.

Theatre and Dance

TRDA 3336. Introduction to Costuming. 3 Credits.

History of fashion in Western civilization from ancient Greece to the 20th century. Fundamental study of costume construction through specific projects. Costume construction.

TRDA 4191. Paris Modernism & the Arts. 3 Credits.