Master of Photography Degree Program Information

Oct 13, 2019

Master's degree programs in photography allow students to further develop the technical and artistic skills needed to work as photographers or teachers. They gain proficiency through seminars, studio work, and teaching assistantship opportunities.

Essential Information

An intensive 2-year Master of Fine Arts in Photography program emphasizes research and creativity in the technical, conceptual, and aesthetic aspects of photography. Applicants should have bachelor's degrees in photography or a related field, curriculum vitae detailing artistic work and exhibitions, letters of intent or artistic statements, letters of recommendation, and a portfolio. Schools may also require a personal interview during the admission process. Before graduation, students usually hold a public exhibition of their work, write a thesis, and undergo teaching assistantships.

Master of Fine Arts in Photography

With the assistance of academic advisors, students in graduate photography programs individualize their course sequences according to personal interests. Many programs include computer courses geared towards artists that cover topics in programming, networking, and operating systems. Most graduate-level courses are conducted as seminars through which diverse topics, such as Japanese art, aesthetics, and criticism, may be covered. Students spend a large amount of time working in the studio producing images for their portfolios. Typical seminars may include the following:

  • Art history
  • Photography criticism
  • Technical photography
  • Visual effects
  • Studio
  • Photography and media

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), career opportunities for photographers, including freelance photographers, were expected to decline by 6% between the years 2018-2028 ( As of May 2018, the average annual salary for photographers was $42,770, according to the BLS.

Continuing Education Information

Graduate certificate programs are offered through some colleges and universities. These programs are geared towards the working professional as a way of enhancing skills. Students work to expand their creativity and gain experience in electronic photo editing and manipulation.

Through a Master of Fine Arts in Photography program, students acquire extensive exposure to the different aspects involved in the formal and technical study of photography. Master's degree programs allow graduate photography students to obtain practical experience, conduct research and compile their work.

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