What We Do

What We Do Columbian College


At the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, students are immersed in an ecosystem of engagement where their passions can take root, fertilized by the research and teaching excellence of our faculty and nourished by their proximity to government power centers, prestigious research agencies and iconic cultural institutions. Curious, socially aware and ready to make a difference, students can explore and pursue academic interests across a broad spectrum of fields that include the arts, politics, policy, natural science, social science, quantitative analysis and the humanities. Our liberal arts education encourages innovation and imagination, and learning that is grounded in fairness, reason and reflection. We guide our students to think, to ask the questions and to use their knowledge in meaningful ways.


Professor of Sociology Xolela Mangcu

Xolela Mangcu

Professor of Sociology

"Teaching is the joy of my life. Our challenge as educators is to help our students see politics, freedom and justice as global concepts. We have to get our students to think and know more about the world—because knowledge leads to action."

Areas of Study

The Arts: Engaging the Creative Spirit GW Columbian College

The Arts: Igniting the Creative Spirit

The vibrant cultural and artistic communities of Washington, D.C., integrated with our top-tier programs in arts and design, make Columbian College one of the most stimulating places to learn, listen and engage in creative scholarship. World-class cultural venues are just steps from campus, offering students unparalleled opportunities to inspire the content and context of their work. Our Corcoran School of the Arts and Design further enhances our vision to bridge creative expression and practical application with the breadth and depth of a larger liberal arts education.

GW students sitting by the capitol

Policy: Decision-Making in the Real World

Situated in the nation’s capital—at the intersection of power and media—we attract top faculty and students seeking to study and report on decision-making as it happens. Our proximity to the government, and close ties to people within it, enable us to enjoy exceptional networking and research opportunities through our renowned School of Media and Public Affairs and top-ranked Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration.


Natural Sciences Columbian College

Natural Science: Seeking Answers to the Big Questions

The answers to the most challenging questions of the modern era are coming from our chemists, physicists and biologists through cutting-edge research funded from prominent agencies including the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation. And, through GW’s investment in new and innovative lab and classroom space, our students have to the opportunity to engage in all stages of the discovery process at our Science and Engineering Hall.

Columbian College Social Sciences

Social Science: Studying People and Their Interactions

Faculty and students in our social and behavioral sciences programs study the origins of humans, how we have evolved, the way we interact and how we are moving forward. The knowledge we create through such disciplines as anthropology, economics, communications, psychology and sociology sheds new light on human evolution and provides insight on how to improve the lives of future generations.


GW professor and student doing quantitative analysis on a whiteboard

Quantitative Analysis: Understanding our Data-Driven World

In an increasingly data-driven world, the demand for analytical skills is growing exponentially in every sector of the economy and all levels of government. Our quantitative programs in financial and applied mathematics, statistics and data science are preparing the next generation of analytical experts with both the practical and theoretical knowledge needed to extract actionable solutions through sophisticated processes and techniques.

Columbian College Humanities

The Humanities: Interpreting our Global Society

The humanities encompass the core academic disciplines for understanding the human world. Students develop the ability to form, articulate, debate and revise interpretations—in essence, to think critically—about issues of historical, social and cultural importance. This rigorous intellectual training is enriched by our unique access to the significant resources of the nation’s capital, including archival collections, historical venues, embassies and world-class museums.


Affiliated Schools