List of Photography Universities in the U.S.

Photography universities offer bachelor's and master's degrees that specialize in digital or manual photography, preparing the student for many different careers behind the camera. Graduates can go on to become studio or fashion photographers or even work on movie sets.

How to Select a Photography University

While researching schools, it's important to think about the kind of photography one wants to study, beyond just digital or manual photography. Bachelor's degree and graduate programs are available and students can find concentrations in either digital or manual photography. While many photography schools can be found in fine arts programs, there are also programs that tie into other disciplines, such as advertising or marketing.

Other considerations when choosing a photography school:

  • Students will want access to digital labs, dark rooms, professional lighting equipment, film processing labs and other such facilities.
  • In typical photography programs, students learn the techniques and practices of professional photography, and also gain a comprehensive knowledge of the history and theory of the subject.
  • Hands-on practice in photography will familiarize a student with traditional developing and processing methods, as well as introducing techniques for digital media.

Program Information

Prospective students may want to compare the balance between classroom work and hands-on camera practice in the program curriculum; they may also want to consider the capstone requirement. Traditionally, each student in a photography university program must create a professional portfolio or collection of their work before graduation. Some courses offered may include:

  • Photographic Image Making
  • Large Format Camera
  • Color Concepts
  • Black & White
  • Lighting Fundamentals
  • Post Production and Fine Printing
  • Documentary Practices

Top Ten Schools with Fine Arts Programs

College/University Institution Type
California Institute of the Arts private, not-for-profit, 4 year
Carnegie Mellon University private, not-for-profit, 4 year
Columbia University-New York private, not-for-profit, 4 year
Cranbrook Academy of Art private, not-for-profit, 4 year
Maryland Institute College of Art private, not-for-profit, 4 year
Rhode Island School of Design private, not-for-profit, 4 year
School of the Art Institute of Chicago private, not-for-profit, 4 year
University of California-Los Angeles public, 4 year
Virginia Commonwealth University public, 4 year
Yale University private, not-for-profit, 4 year

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