Master of Photography: Professional Photography Degree Overview

Oct 15, 2019

Though a Master of Photography isn't typically available, students wishing to explore photography at the graduate level can enroll in a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Photography program.

Essential Information

In MFA in Photography programs, students learn to use advanced cameras and equipment, and they develop the capacity to teach others based on the knowledge they've acquired. Through projects and an internship, students use cutting-edge digital imaging software and learn traditional photo development methods. Prior to graduation, students must submit a thesis and final portfolio of photographs.

In order to apply, prospective students must have a bachelor's degree in photography and submit a digital portfolio of photographic work. Applicants to an MFA in Photography program generally understand basic concepts of the craft, like camera operation and lighting.

Master of Fine Arts in Photography

During these programs, students spend a significant amount of time on independent photo shoots, both in and out of studios. In addition, students complete a wide range of courses, including:

  • Advanced lighting techniques
  • Color processing
  • History of photography
  • Digital imaging software
  • Preparation for teaching photography

Popular Career Options

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of photographers in all fields is expected to decline from 2018-2028, at a rate of 6%. In May 2018, photographers in general earned a median annual salary of $34,000, the BLS reported.

Earning a master's degree in photography equips students with the skills they need to utilize cameras and photo editing software for artistic, industrial or research purposes, as well as to teach others about the field of photography. Career examples include:

  • Commercial photographer
  • Scientific photographer
  • Fine arts photographer
  • College photography teacher

Experienced photographers can boost their artistic and technology skills by earning a master's degree in photography. Graduates of these programs may work as professional photographers or teach at the university level.

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