Colleges with Photography Majors and Undergraduate Degree Programs

Various undergraduate programs are available to students who want to learn more about photography or become professional photographers. Programs differ in specific curriculum requirements, program length and options for extracurricular opportunities, such as internships.

How to Choose a Photography Program

Photography programs can be found at colleges of art and design, community colleges and universities. Photography programs are offered at three different undergraduate levels: certificate, associate's and bachelor's programs.

Consider the following when choosing a photography school:

  • Students interested in photography as a hobby or who want to supplement their current professional work with new skills might want to consider a certificate program, while students who want to study photography more in-depth might want an associate's or bachelor's degree.
  • Students should consider the difference between a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Arts degree: A BFA program will typically have more emphasis on studio and design courses while a B.A. degree might give the student flexibility to take courses in other areas of study.
  • Students can consider potential mentorship opportunities by selecting a program with faculty whose work the student admires.
  • Some schools offer access to cutting-edge software and equipment and/or individual studio space as well as maintaining connections with professional individuals and organizations that can provide internships.

Photography Program Overviews

Certificate in Photography

Certificate programs typically take two semesters to complete for full-time students. Some programs are offered for part-time students and take four semesters to complete. Coursework covers:

  • Photography techniques
  • Darkroom procedures
  • Digital editing

Some certificate programs include internship or practicum opportunities.

Associate's Degree in Photography

Associate's degree programs take two years of full-time study to complete. Students are required to complete general education requirements in addition to photography coursework. Graduates can often transfer their credits to a bachelor's degree program if they desire to do so. Coursework includes topics such as:

  • Digital editing
  • Landscape photography
  • Black and white photography

Students usually complete an internship or final portfolio project.

Bachelor's Degree in Photography

A B.A. or BFA program typically takes four years to complete. Students take foundational courses in drawing, color theory and painting and learn the basics of photography during the first year. Students then study various techniques of both analog and digital photography, including:

  • Image composition
  • Lighting
  • Film processing

Students develop their skills in studio-based classes and complete a senior thesis or exhibition by the end of the program. Courses in art history and theory are also required, and some programs have more extensive liberal arts requirements. A portfolio of work is usually required for entry.

10 Schools with Degrees in Photography

College/University Institution Type
Barry University 4-year, Private
Savannah College of Art and Design 4-year, Private
University of Georgia 4-year, Public
University of North Carolina-Greensboro 4-year, Public
California Institute of the Arts 4-year, Private
Thomas Edison State College 4-year, Public
Webster University 4-year, Private
The New School 4-year, Private
Minneapolis College of Art and Design 4-year, Private
Maryland Institute College of Art 4-year, Private

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