George Mason University

Artistic Expression

Academics

One of the most powerful vehicles for communication, art is our language for what words don’t express, the visual passport to our history, the expressive record of our lives, and the vision of a future imagined.

Pagoda Fire

This moment marked the end of Michael Verdon's senior art project.

Using the Transformative Power of Fire to Release Emotion

At 8:30 p.m. on Friday, May 8, Mason art and visual technology major Michael Verdon set fire to his senior art project—on purpose.

Verdon built the 20-foot pagoda so it could become a canvas for people’s stories of remembrance, loss, and healing. Called the Temple of Transformance, it burned as it floated on Mason Pond. And people came to watch, including local reporters. The event was another installation of Verdon’s transformative art series in which he creates a space for reflection and change, then sets it on fire, transforming the contents—and perhaps their significance—to ash.

Hundreds of hours of volunteer work goes into building these structures, and Verdon manages the projects down to the finest details. “I wouldn't want to make these by myself, even if I could,” says Verdun, who graduated in May. “It is a communal experience from beginning to end. It means more for me to have friends, new and old, there working together.”

 

  • Art History, Accelerated MA

    Highly qualified undergraduates in any major who have taken at least two 300-level art history courses with a minimum grade of B+ in each may apply to the accelerated master’s degree in art history. If accepted, students will be able to earn a bachelor’s degree in their chosen major and a master’s degree in art history after satisfactory completion of 144 credits, sometimes within five years. 

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  • Art History, BA, Minor

    Art history is the study of visual artifacts within their regional and historical contexts. As an art history major at Mason, you will investigate works of art to learn how they were made, why they were made, and by and for whom they were made. You will develop the skills to interpret a work of art as a record of the culture in which it was made. In your courses you will learn task questions that touch on cultural, technological, and economic concerns. You will study with faculty whose expertise covers many world regions – the United States, Latin America, Europe, South and Southeast Asia, and China – and all historical periods – from classical antiquity, Byzantine, Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque, to the modern era.

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  • Art History, MA

    The program in art history offers a unique master's degree based on departmental strengths in traditional research, the application of new media, and the vast cultural resources of the Washington, D.C., area. Students study a broad range of art-historical periods, theory, and research methods. In addition, the program emphasizes new media skills, museum studies, and preprofessional internship training. Graduates are well-prepared for art museum and gallery professional work, where a master's degree is now routinely required, or further study in doctoral programs.

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  • Art and Visual Technology, BA, BFA, Minor

    George Mason University’s School of Art is a collaborative academic and professional community focused on advancing creativity through traditional and new media applied to varying social contexts. The School of Art is founded on the premise that art both reflects and inspires a creative society, improving the human condition while describing the world, both as it is and could be. We focus on the role of artists in that conversation. We encourage students to see art both as an individual expression and public interaction. We celebrate historical reference, current relevance and experimentation-emphasizing innovative ways of thinking that enhance the impact of art on the future of society.

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  • Art as Social Change, Minor

    The Arts and Social Change minor leverages artistic and creative practice into an array of academic and social contexts. The goal is to infuse these practices into territories outside the traditional art world through research, participatory experimentation, and documentary aesthetic aspects of social practice. With a focus on creative research and project production students experience direct engagement with communities while developing skills toward fostering positive change in communities via the arts.

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  • Composition, Concentration in the Musical Arts DMA

    In this area of concentration, students earn 15 credits in Doctoral Applied Music in Composition, as well as fulfilling other requirements. Professional musicians earn the DMA to enhance and extend their knowledge and practice within their area of specialization. The DMA student focuses on the profession of music performance, as well as the theory and practice of the discipline.

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  • Conducting, Concentration in the Musical Arts DMA

    In this area of concentration, students earn 15 credits in Doctorial Applied Music in Conducting, as well as fulfilling other degree requirements. Professional musicians earn the DMA to enhance and extend their knowledge and practice within their area of specialization. The DMA student focuses on the profession of music performance, as well as the theory and practice of the discipline.

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  • Consciousness and Transformation, Minor

    The interdisciplinary minor in consciousness and transformation provides students with a well-grounded understanding of the nature of human consciousness, including both the historical foundations and modern research findings. Students develop an ability to implement personal practices that foster deeper self-awareness, the regulation of stress factors in his or her life, and an emerging sense of meaning for his or her life. Students will learn to creatively and effectively apply principles from the exploration of consciousness and transformation to his or her own field of study.

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  • Creative Writing, BFA

    Mason’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is one of only 30 programs nationwide. With three concentrations to choose from (fiction, poetry, and nonfiction), the degree program is structured to give students ample opportunity to learn to write and think creatively while also developing the vocational writing skills that are desperately needed in the workplace.

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  • Creative Writing, MFA

    This selective and academically rigorous master of fine arts program is designed to provide talented writers with the opportunity to work closely with both outstanding faculty and gifted peers to strengthen their craft, develop their literary aesthetics, enrich their understanding of existing traditions and compositional possibilities, and to participate actively in the life of the literary community at large.

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  • Dance, BA, BFA

    Our BA and BFA in dance is a highly selective conservatory style education . This performance-oriented contemporary dance program prepares students professionally as performers, choreographers, educators, and active leaders of the dance community. Strong dance technique, intensive theory, guest artist residencies, abundant performance opportunities are the trademarks of our degree. Increasingly acknowledged as one of the premier institutions offering professional preparation with alumni going on to tour with the Mark Morris Dance Group, the Parsons Dance Company, the Jose Limon Company, the Elisa Monte Dance Company, STREB or Buglisi Dance Theater.

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  • Ethnomusicology, Minor

    The minor is designed for those who wish to widen their scope of knowledge about music while deepening their understanding of people around the world. Students gain skills that will serve them in many fields.

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  • Event Technical Production, Minor

    This 15-credit minor offers students the opportunity to study special event management and event technologies, design and production for installations and special events. Students gain insights into industry standards and practices regarding planning, managing, and executing live events and presentations. It’s offered by the College of Education and Human Development (School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism) and the College of Visual and Performing Arts (School of Theater).

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  • Film and Video Studies, BA

    The bachelor of arts degree in film and video studies offers students the technical skills necessary to tell vibrant visual stories while providing a broad understanding of the business of filmmaking in a rapidly changing industry. The degree includes concentrations in production with emphasis on directing, producing, and screenwriting. Students work as interns and video producers, and leave the program as professionals in their field.

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  • Folklore Studies, Accelerated MA, Concentration in the MAIS

    Highly qualified Mason undergraduates in any major may apply to the accelerated master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in folklore studies. If accepted, and depending on their undergraduate major, students will be able to earn a bachelor's degree in their chosen major and a master's degree in interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in folklore studies after satisfactory completion of 150 credits, sometimes within five years.

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  • History of Decorative Arts, MA

    The MA in the history of decorative arts, offered in partnership with Smithsonian Associates, presents students with the challenge of integrating the history of the decorative arts into the study of art history and cultural studies as a whole. Students take courses in decorative arts, design history and theory, material culture, and museology. The Smithsonian Institution grants students in this program access to its curators and vast collections, where they are connected to its expansive network of professionals, research communities, and state-of-the-art educational and conservation facilities.

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  • Instrumental Performance Artist, Graduate Certificate

    The certificate is a specialized, graduate-level program for advanced musicians who want to further develop and refine their performance art. The certificate program is a two-year course of study requiring at least two consecutive semesters of residence.

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  • Jazz Studies, Minor

    This minor is open to music and non-music majors who wish to explore this American art form. It is open to all instrumentalists and vocalists, including students who perform on instruments not normally associated with jazz. No prior experience in jazz is needed, but candidates must pass a music audition.

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  • Music Education Licensure for PK-12, Graduate Certificate

    Required courses for this certificate include Music Curriculum and Instructional Procedures as well as Foundations of Music Education. Note: This certificate is pending Virginia Department of Education approval as a state-approved licensure program.

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  • Music and Technology, Minor

    This minor is open to those who want to expand their knowledge and skill in this area. Required classes include Fundamentals of Music, Music and Technology, and Recording Techniques.

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  • Music and Wellness, Minor

    This minor, designed for students with minimal formal musical training, allows students to explore the connection between music and consciousness as well as vibration, mindfulness, and well-being. Admission to the Music and Wellness minor is by interview with the minor coordinator.

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  • Musical Arts, DMA

    The doctor of musical arts requires 90 credits, 60 credits beyond the Master’s degree in music. Areas of concentrations are composition, conducting, and performance. While these concentrations share some of the required course work, each is also distinct in course requirements. Professional musicians earn the DMA to enhance and extend their knowledge and practice within their area of specialization. The DMA student focuses on the profession of music performance, as well as the theory and practice of the discipline.

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  • Performance, Concentration in the Musical Arts DMA

    In this area of concentration, students earn 15 credits in Doctoral Applied Music, as well as fulfilling other degree requirements. Professional musicians earn the DMA to enhance and extend their knowledge and practice within their area of specialization. The DMA student focuses on the profession of music performance, as well as the theory and practice of the discipline.

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  • Photography, Minor

    The photography minor provides opportunities for students to develop a personal vision in response to photography’s role in contemporary art and culture. Studio classes emphasize techniques in the production of traditional, digital and experimental imagery. Critical thinking combined with studio/lab experience enhance this comprehensive introduction to the field.

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  • Piano Performance Artist, Graduate Certificate

    The certificate is a specialized, graduate-level program for advanced musicians who desire to further develop and refine their performance art. The certificate program is a two-year course of study requiring at least two consecutive semesters of residence.

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  • Public Policy Management, Minor

    The Public Policy Management minor introduces students to the theory and process of policy formulation and implementation in the political and governmental arena. Coursework centers around government and politics including public administration and public policy. The minor is a valuable asset for students interested in working in public administration, and other careers that involve policy formulation and implementation in politics and government.

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  • Sound, Minor

    Get the background you need to work behind the scenes in productions. Requirements for this minor include classes such as Music and Technology as well as Sound Engineering.

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  • Teaching Theatre PK-12, Graduate Certificate

    This graduate certificate prepares students who hold an undergraduate degree in Theatre (BFA, BA or equivalent) for Theatre Arts licensure by the Commonwealth of Virginia. In conjunction with the College of Education and Human Development, the certificate curriculum consists of graduate-level Theater and Education courses, field experience observation and pre-service teaching internship.

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  • Theater, BA, Minor

    The BA in Theater degree combines the breadth of a liberal arts education with serious practical training and experience. Entrance into the program is by interview and audition or portfolio review (for more info: http://cvpa.gmu.edu/admissions-u.html, 703-993-1120). Theater core courses provide a broad introduction to the various theater arts. Students may select from four concentrations: Performance (Acting and Directing); Design and Technical Theater; Playwriting and Dramaturgy; or Theater Education for Theater Arts PK-12. The department aims to prepare students for graduate study or entry into professional life in theater and screen through rigorous, concentrated, and individualized training. Theater as a minor could enrich your skills for many different career paths. Requirements include Fundamentals of Production, Acting II and Script Analysis.

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  • Theater, BA/Arts Management, Accelerated MA

    Undergraduates in Theater may apply to the accelerated master’s degree in Arts Management through joint cooperation between the School of Theater and the Arts Management Program. Students will begin their master’s program in the semester immediately following conferral of the undergraduate degree.

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  • Visual Arts, MFA

    The MFA in Visual and Performing Arts, concentration in Visual Arts, is a degree that prepares students to become professional artists, work in technology or arts-related fields, and teach at the university level.  Students who study under the Art and Visual Technology concentration may choose an emphasis in graphic design, InterArts, new media arts, painting, photography, printmaking, or sculpture. Students have the opportunity to combine art forms in interdiscplinary projects that may be installation, publishing, time-based, or writing-based; and combine creative and critical approaches in their work.

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  • Vocal Performance Artist, Graduate Certificate

    The certificate is a specialized, graduate-level program for advanced musicians who want to further develop and refine their performance art. The certificate program is a two-year course of study requiring at least two consecutive semesters of residence.

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  • Web Design, Minor

    The minor is offered by the College of Visual and Performing Arts. Art and Visual Technology majors must complete 12 credits unique to the minor. 

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