Study Away at the Corcoran

The Corcoran College of Art and Design's Study Away Program consists of faculty-led courses of study designed to complement the departmental offerings for degree students across the College's curriculum. These opportunities engage our students for two to four weeks of cultural immersion through travel, study, and art making.

Crossing cultural boundaries is a hallmark of the Corcoran experience. Ahigh percentage of Corcoran students take advantage of the international study away programs to live, learn, and connect in destinations throughout Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

In addition, Corcoran students can elect to engage with student peers across the globe by participating in exchange programs with our growing list of partnering institutions. These partnering institutions include:

  • Bezalel Academy of Art & Design in Jerusalem, Israel, through the Deane and Paul Shatz Exchange Program.
  • El Instituto de Bellas Artes y Literatura in Mexico City, and the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, D.C., through the Robert and Veronique Pittman Study Away Program, based in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

Through these programs, Corcoran students can become fully immersed in the celebration of a cross-cultural experience, working collaboratively to shape a mutually enriching dialog and collective imagination through the universal language of art.

study abroad photographers

Study Abroad

Corcoran students may also apply to study abroad for one semester during their junior year. The College has preapproved several schools and programs that have hosted Corcoran students in the past; this list is available from the Office of Student Affairs. The number of students eligible to participate each semester is limited.

Students wishing to study abroad at a preapproved school continue to pay tuition to the Corcoran, and credits earned are accepted after review without counting against the nine-credit limit on transfer credits. Grades received become part of a student's permanent record and are included in calculating his/her cumulative GPA.

Interested students should meet with the associate director of student affairs for assistance in choosing the program that most fits their needs. An internal application to participate in Study Abroad is due:

  • October 1 for the following spring semester  
  • March 1 for the following fall semester

Eligibility requirements include good academic standing, a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, and completion of an essay describing the student's goals for studying abroad. The application, essay, and a course plan must be approved by the student's department chair and submitted to the Office of Student Affairs, which will rank applicants in consultation with the Dean's Office. Completed applications are sent to the host institutions by the Office of Student Affairs (not by the individual student).

After returning, students who successfully complete a Study Abroad program can be required to present an overview of their experiences at a gathering of faculty and fellow students.

Students may wish to attend schools abroad that are not preapproved by the Corcoran. A student may ask that a school be considered for preapproval status by contacting the associate director of student affairs; if the school is approved by the Provost's Office, the student may then pursue the procedures outlined above.

Alternately, a student may take a Leave of Absence to study at a school not approved by the college; however, any credits earned and grades received will be reviewed for acceptability upon the student's return and treated under the terms of the college's Transfer Credit Policy. Students who wish to participate in non-approved programs are not required to apply for these programs through the Corcoran or seek departmental approval for participation.

Study Abroad Tuition and Housing

Students participating in an approved study abroad program pay Corcoran tuition directly to the Corcoran College of Art and Design (there are no exceptions to this policy). Please note that there are no exceptions to his policy. If applicable, the student receives the regular financial aid award to which he or she is entitled. Students participating in study abroad programs are not eligible for employment from the host institution.

Students must contact the host institution to determine if there are any additional fees, outside of tuition, that are required. Policies on these fees vary by institution and program and are to be paid directly to the host institution by the student. Students are responsible for arranging and paying for housing and transportation during the study abroad semester.

Study Abroad Grades

While away, students are governed by the host institution's academic regulations. All courses taken at a host institution must be pre-approved by the student's chair or program director, and a study abroad course substitution form must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar prior to the student's exchange semester. Credits received through approved study away programs are counted toward the student's residency at the Corcoran College of Art and Design, and are factored into the student's cumulative GPA.

After completing a study abroad semester, student must request an official transcript of their grades to be sent to the Office of the Registrar at the Corcoran to apply the credits to their program. Official transcripts and final course substitution forms are due no later than 30 days into the semester following their semester abroad. If credits for the semester abroad are not finalized by this deadline, a registration hold will be placed on the student's record, and he or she will not be able to register for future semesters or make changes to his or her current schedule.

For more information on the Study Abroad Program, please contact Stephanie Sarvana, associate director of Student Affairs at

Corcoran's Study Away Facebook Page


Examples of Current Study Away Programs at the Corcoran:

Ladakh, India

Ladakh, India a high-altitude desert beyond the peaks of the Himalaya, offers few resources in an extreme climate. Yet it has been the home of a thriving agricultural society for more than a thousand years.

In this Study Away Program course, students explore the coping skills and attitudes that allow the people of Ladakh to survive and prosper in peace and harmony under the harshest of circumstances. Students examine community and family structures, the role of ancient localized knowledge and Buddhist traditions to learn whether Ladakh is prepared to meet the challenges of increasing westernization without losing its ecological balance and social harmony.

The course will meet four times during the spring semester to prepare for a month-long tour of Ladakh beginning in June in New Delhi. 

For more information on this Study Away Program, please contact Robert Devers, coordinator of study away programs at


San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (The Pittman Study Away Program)

The Pittman Study Away Program was officially launched in January 2009, through the vision and generosity of Corcoran patrons Robert and Veronique Pittman.

This program is a formal collaboration between the Corcoran Gallery and College of Art + Design and the National Institute of Fine Arts and Literature in Mexico City and their affiliated colleges of art and design, La Esmerelda, and Designo & Artesanias. 

The vision behind this collaboration is to develop bi-national artistic and educational programs in which there are full reciprocal exchanges between the students, faculty, visiting artists. In addition, exhibitions of both institutions are held to deepen the appreciation and understanding of each other’s artistic culture, histories, and collective futures.

Through these exchanges, program participants will cross borders and explore the environments and communities found in Washington, D.C., Mexico City, and the heart of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico at The Ignacio Ramirez “El Nigromante” Cultural Center, locally known as Bellas Artes.

In San Miguel de Allende, the Corcoran will expand the academic setting well beyond the classroom to a seventeenth century Spanish Colonial town, considered to be one of Mexico’s most beautiful cities, and has a unique tradition of attracting artists and art students from around the world.

Through the Pittman Study Away Program, American and Mexican students and faculty will become fully immersed in the celebration of a cross-cultural experience, working collaboratively to shape a mutually enriching dialog and collective imagination through the language of art.

Faculty Artists in Residence

In Mexico, the Pittman Study Away Program provides month-long residencies for faculty through an initiation into the world of cross-cultural exchange, designed to expand their practice creating new works of art, engage the community through lectures and special projects, and teach in a new landscape and culture.

This immersion into the art, culture, and history of Mexico will inspire Corcoran faculty to expand their curricular parameters for our students, and result in personal and professional growth that contributes to the global citizenship of our faculty.

In Washington, D.C., the Pittman Program welcomes Faculty Artists-in-Residence for month-long residencies in partnership with the Mexican Cultural Institute, one of the most important artistic and cultural centers established outside of Mexico. Its primary mission is to promote the vast and rich traditions of Mexico’s cultural past and present.

Mexican Faculty Artists-in-Residence engage the whole Corcoran community through sharing and perusing their artistic practice, teaching students, lecturing, and through exhibitions of their work. Working alongside our faculty and students creates a reciprocal learning opportunity through art education to broaden our pedagogical discourse and understanding.

About San Miguel De Allende 

San Miguel de Allende, nestled in the mountainous central region of Mexico, is part of the “Bajio” region in the state of Guanajuato. This “low” region in reality averages about 7,000 feet, but is called so for being a relatively flat area ringed by mountains. San Miguel El Grito—as it was originally known—was founded by a Franciscan monk in 1542. It was an important stopover of the silver route from Zacatecas.

When the Mexican War of Independence began in the nearby town of Dolores—now know as Dolores Hildago—on September 16, 1810 in an act now celebrated as “El Grito,” the rapidly growing revolutionary army came to San Miguel El Grande. Dolores Hildago is known as the “Cradle of National Independence” while San Miguel calls itself the “Forge of National Independence,” for it was here that General Ignacio Allende joined the army as Padre Miguel Hildago’s chief lieutenant and led the army to several victories. Allende was not able to enjoy a Mexico independent from Spanish oppression as he was captured during battle and summarily executed. He is now a national hero, and the town renamed itself “San Miguel de Allende” in 1826 to honor his actions.

As its mineral wealth waned, San Miguel was popular as both a quiet, beautiful place to live and an attraction for the wealthy for its natural hot springs. By 1900, the town itself was in danger of dying out. Having been declared a national monument in 1926—no neon signs, no modern buildings—the old Centro district still has the colonial style elegance of its wealthy past.

It was after World War II that San Miguel de Allende began to revive as a tourist attraction, as many GI’s discovered that their education grants stretched further in Mexico at the United States-accredited art school, the Instituto Allende, founded in 1950.

San Miguel de Allende is world famous for its mild climate, colonial architecture, and an expatriate population that estimates a number between 6,000 and 8,000. The total population is about 85,000 and is primarily made up of Americans and Canadians with a smattering of Europeans and other nationalities. Many people have elected to retire here as the large community of foreigners has brought about a number of conveniences that would normally not be available in a town of this size. San Miguel de Allende was declared a World Heritage Site in 2008.

For more information on this Study Away Program, please contact Robert Devers, coordinator of Study Away Programs at


Jerusalem, Israel (Scholarship for the Deane and Paul Shatz International Exchange Program)

The Jerusalem Study Away Program is a three-credit photography class during the summer. In 2013, four Corcoran students participated with four students from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Sciences in Jerusalem, Israel. Students traveled to Israel in May with Corcoran faculty member Na'ama Lewin and met with Bezalel students in Jerusalem.

In June, the same Bezalel students and a faculty member visited Washington, D.C. to collaborate with Corcoran students in the nation's capital. In between visits, Corcoran and Bezalel students worked together virtually.

Flight, hotel, touring, and most credit costs were covered with the scholarship.

For more information on this Study Away Program, please contact Naama