Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

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Columbian College
of Arts & Sciences
Columbian College of Arts & Sciences logo.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
CCAS GWU Logo.png

The Columbian College of Arts and Sciences (abbreviated as the Columbian College, Columbian, or CCAS) is the college of liberal arts and sciences of the George Washington University, in Washington, D.C. The Columbian College is one of the most prestigious schools of political sciences, history, English, and economics in the United States.

The Columbian College is ranked as the 7th best college of political sciences in the United States, by USA Today College rankings,[1] and is ranked in the 2018 Academic Ranking of World Universities in the top 76-100 schools of social sciences in the world.[2] CCAS is the largest school at George Washington University, with around 5,000 undergraduate students and 2,500 graduate students, and 42 academic departments, representing a significant portion of the University's instructional, scholarly and research activity.

Columbian is known for its numerous prominent alumni, particularly in the fields of government, economic development, and public policy, including numerous notable living figures, such as Anwar Gargash(current Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates), sitting U.S. Senator Mark Warner, Vincent C. Gray (former Mayor of the District of Columbia) and Daniel Weiss (CEO of the Metropolitan Museum of Art). Historical alumni include First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Ralph Asher Alpher, "father of the Big Bang Theory".


The Old Main Building.

The Columbian College bears the original name of the George Washington University when it was chartered by the United States Congress in 1821.

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,[3] 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.

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.[3]

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

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


University Yard, with Jean-Antoine Houdon's statue, George Washington.

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


CCAS is ranked as the 8th best political sciences and government program in the U.S. by College Factual.[4]

U.S. News & World Report ranks CCAS's graduate programs as:

  • Political Sciences, 40th best in the United States
  • History, 59th best in the United States
  • Economics, 63rd best in the United States
  • English, 67th best in the United States

Undergraduate programs[edit]

Corcoran Hall.

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):[5]

  • 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.[5]


External links[edit]

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