Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

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Not to be confused with Columbia College, Columbia University, a separate and unaffiliated institution located in New York City.
The Columbian College of Arts and Sciences
Corcoran Hall, GWU.jpg
Motto Deus Nobis Fiducia
(In God Our Trust)
Type Private
Established 1821
Parent institution
George Washington University
Dean Ben Vinson III
Academic staff
Undergraduates 4,933
Postgraduates 1,763
Address 801 22nd St. NW, Washington, D.C., 20052
Campus Urban — Foggy Bottom

The Columbian College of Arts and Sciences (CCAS) is the George Washington University's liberal arts and sciences college. The Columbian College bears the original name of the George Washington University when it was chartered by the United States Congress in 1821. It is the largest school at George Washington, with around 5,000 undergraduate students and 2,500 graduate students, and 42 academic departments, representing the majority of the University's instructional, scholarly and research activity.


The Columbian College of Arts and Sciences is the original college of the George Washington University and one of the oldest colleges in the United States. Founded as the Columbian College on February 9, 1821 by an act of Congress,[1] the college was created as a Baptist institution by Reverend Luther Rice. Originally, the college consisted of two departments: the Theological Department and Classical Department, with individual professors covering other subjects such as mathematics and anatomy.

GW Old Main

The college's first class graduated in 1824, where the president presented each of the three graduates with their degree in the presence of the Marquis de Lafayette and college president William Staughton.[1]

With the dawn of the Civil War in 1861, the majority of the students left the college to fight for the Confederacy.

Corcoran Hall, GWU

The Columbian College contains many research centers and institutes, including the Biostatistics Center.


The Columbian College of Arts and Sciences houses 42 academic departments. The Columbian College is also home to three distinct schools:

Undergraduate programs[edit]

Columbian College was founded in 1821 and awarded its first bachelor's degree in 1824. Today, the Columbian College offers the following baccalaureate degrees (either Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science):[2]

  • American Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology
  • Art History
  • Fine Arts
  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Biological Anthropology
  • Biophysics
  • Chemistry
  • Pre-Professional Chemistry / Pre-Med
  • Chinese
  • Classical Studies
  • Communication
  • Criminal Justice
  • Dance
  • Dramatic Literature
  • Early Modern European Studies
  • Economics
  • English
  • English and Creative Writing
  • Environmental Studies
  • Fine Arts
  • French
  • Geography
  • Geological Sciences
  • German
  • History
  • Human Services
  • Interior Architecture (Bachelor of Fine Arts)
  • Japanese
  • Journalism and Mass Communication
  • Judaic Studies
  • Liberal Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Organizational Sciences
  • Peace Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Philosophy (Public Affairs)
  • Physics
  • Political Communication
  • Political Science
  • Political Science (Public Policy)
  • Psychology
  • Religion
  • Russian
  • Sociology
  • Spanish
  • Speech and Hearing Science
  • Statistics
  • Theatre
  • Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Graduate programs[edit]

Ten years after the Columbian College was chartered, the college conferred its first Master of Arts degree in 1831. Columbian College was also one of the first institutions in the United States to award a doctorate, as it did with a Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1888. However, the graduate program was formally established in 1905.[2]


  1. ^ a b "A Brief History of GW". Retrieved 2014-07-31. 
  2. ^ a b "Academic Degrees". The Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 2009-06-20.  External link in |work= (help)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°53′59.7″N 77°2′53.4″W / 38.899917°N 77.048167°W / 38.899917; -77.048167