Bachelor's degree and graduate programs in photography are available and students can find concentrations in either digital or manual photography. While fine arts programs typically house photography training, there are also photography programs that tie into other disciplines, such as advertising or marketing.
Top Ten Schools with Fine Arts Programs
Students have a number of institutions to choose from when looking for photography or fine arts programs; here's information on some of the top schools:
|College/University||Institution Type||Location||Degrees Offered||Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)*|
|California Institute of the Arts||private, not-for-profit, 4 year||Valencia, CA||Bachelor's, master's||Undergraduate: $43,986 Graduate: $43,986|
|Carnegie Mellon University||private, not-for-profit, 4 year||Pittsburgh, PA||Bachelor's, master's||Undergraduate: $50,665 Graduate: $41,371|
|Columbia University-New York||private, not-for-profit, 4 year||New York, NY||Bachelor's, master's||Undergraduate: $53,000 Graduate: $44,176|
|Cranbrook Academy of Art||private, not-for-profit, 4 year||Bloomfield Hills, MI||Master's||Graduate: $35,886|
|Maryland Institute College of Art||private, not-for-profit, 4 year||Baltimore, MD||Bachelor's, Master's||Undergraduate: $43,870 Graduate: $43,870|
|Rhode Island School of Design||private, not-for-profit, 4 year||Providence, RI||Bachelor's, master's||Undergraduate: $45,840 Graduate: $45,840|
|School of the Art Institute of Chicago||private, not-for-profit, 4 year||Chicago, IL||Bachelor's, master's||Undergraduate: $43,960 Graduate: $46,630|
|University of California-Los Angeles||public, 4 year||Los Angeles, CA||Master's||Undergraduate: in state $12,763 out of state $37,471 Graduate: in state $12,629, out of state $27,731|
|Virginia Commonwealth University||public, 4 year||Richmond, VA||Bachelor's, master's||Undergraduate: in state $12,772, out of state $31,464 Graduate: in state $12,779, out of state: $24,002|
|Yale University||private, not-for-profit, 4 year||New Haven, CT||Bachelor's, master's||Undergraduate: $47,600, Graduate: $38,700|
Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics
University Selection Criteria
While researching schools, it's important to think about the kind of photography one wants to study, beyond just digital or manual photography. Other considerations may involve facility design and practical experience components:
- 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.
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.
Both undergraduate and graduate programs related to photography are available at a number of universities through departments of art, advertising and other disciplines. When selecting an institution, students may want to consider facility access, the amount of hands-on practice they'll receive, and what sub-area they would like to focus on.