While photographers are not required to pursue a formal education, students can develop their skills and learn more about their craft through courses and degree programs. Digital photography classes are typically found within photography degree programs, which allow students to combine technical skills with creative expression. Students will develop portfolios throughout their studies, which may be used to secure employment or admission to a graduate program. Degree programs additionally include general education requirements.
There are currently about 15 schools in New Jersey that offer relevant programs. Short overviews of ten of the largest schools can be found below, as can a comparison table with tuition information and individual school offerings at a glance.
Brookdale Community College
Brookdale Community College in Lincroft has an Associate of Arts (A.A.) in Humanities program that offers a photography option. This 2-year degree program is intended for students who ultimately wish to transfer into a bachelor's degree program in photography. Students can choose from courses in digital photography, color photography, large format photography and portfolio development. Because this is a humanities program, students also take courses in history, social science, humanities and math.
Camden County College
Located in Blackwood, Camden County College offers an A.A. in Photography. Students must complete a minimum of 62 credit hours to earn this degree. While this program does not focus on digital photography, students take a class in this type of photography during the first semester of their second year. Additional courses focus on beginning photography, studio photography, 2-dimensional design and general education requirements.
County College of Morris
County College of Morris in Randolph offers an Associate in Applied Science in Photography Technology program. This hands-on degree program guides students through the study of basic and digital photography and also includes courses in general education, art and business. The curriculum requires roughly 65 credit hours and includes additional courses in contemporary photography, 2-dimensional design, studio lighting and digital imaging. Students have access to a number of facilities, including a digital imaging lab.
Union's Kean University offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art program that has a photography option. Students who wish to gain admission to this program must submit a portfolio with 10-15 samples of their artwork. Once admitted, students begin with foundation courses in drawing, color theory, design, sculpture and painting. They then move on to major courses in computer art, digital photography, digital imaging, photojournalism and commercial photography. A sequence of capstone courses is also required.
Middlesex County College
The city of Edison is home to Middlesex County College. The Visual, Performing and Media Arts Department here offers an associate's degree program in professional commercial photography that emphasizes computer-linked commercial photography, business, commercial art and general education. The 2-year program includes courses in graphic design, commercial photography, business, studio photography and digital imaging. Students are required to compile a portfolio as part of the program.
Students looking for digital photography classes in West Long Branch can find them at Monmouth University. The school offers a bachelor's degree program in art with a photography concentration, as well as a minor in photography. The bachelor's degree program is heavily focused on the digital aspects of the field and includes courses in digital photography, motion graphics, web design and advanced digital photography. Students compile a photography portfolio and participate in an internship or seminar. The minor includes courses in black and white photography, digital photography and lighting.
Montclair State University
In Montclair, digital photography courses can be found at Montclair State University. Photography is offered as a specialization in the school's Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Fine Arts (studio concentration), Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Fine Arts/Studio, and Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Studio Art programs. In these programs, students are trained in both traditional and digital photography. The B.A. program is geared toward students who want a broad academic background, while the BFA and MFA programs are more art-intensive and might be better suited for students who want to become professional artists.
New Jersey City University
Jersey City's New Jersey City University offers digital photography courses through its undergraduate and graduate degree programs in photography. The school offers B.A., BFA, M.A. and MFA programs with photography concentrations. Undergraduate students might take courses in digital imaging in photography, advanced darkroom techniques, color photography and large format photography. Graduate students have to complete a thesis and can take courses in photography and advanced photography.
Rowan College at Burlington County
Rowan College at Burlington County in Pemberton offers a certificate program in photography that trains students in the use of both digital and traditional cameras. The curriculum requires a total of 33 credit hours and includes two required courses in digital photography. Additional courses cover black and white photography, portfolio production, studio photography and computer graphics.
Thomas Edison State University
Located in Trenton, Thomas Edison State University offers a B.A. in Photography. This 4-year program teaches students the basics of both traditional and digital photography techniques. It requires 120 credits and includes courses on the history of photography, color photography and black and white photography. Students can choose elective courses in the categories of fine arts photography, film production and professional photography. Specific electives could include studio photography, commercial photography, experimental camera techniques, medical photography, nature photography, photojournalism and film analysis.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Digital Photography Programs Offered||Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)|
|Brookdale Community College||2-year, public; rural fringe||Associate of Arts in Humanities, Photography Option||$3,653 in-district; $6,599 in-state; $7,199 out-of-state (undergraduate)*|
|Camden County College||2-year, public; large suburb||Associate of Arts in Photography||$3,930 in-district; $4,320 in-district; $4,440 in-state; $4,440 out-of-state (undergraduate)*|
|County College of Morris||2-year, public; large suburb||Associate in Applied Science in Photography Technology||$4,570 in-district; $8,200 in-state; $11,290 out-of-state (undergraduate)*|
|Kean University||4-year, public; large suburb||Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art: Photography Option||$11,581 in-state; $18,183 out-of-state (undergraduate)*|
|Middlesex County College||2-year, public; large suburb||Associate in Applied Science in Media Arts and Design - Professional Commercial Photography||$3,372 in-district; $6,744 in-state; $6,744 out-of-state (undergraduate)*|
|Monmouth University||4-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb|| Minor in Photography,
Bachelor of Arts in Art with a Concentration in Photography
|Montclair State University||4-year, public; large suburb|| Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts, Studio Concentration,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fine Arts/Studio,
Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art
| $11,773 in-state; $20,320 out-of-state (undergraduate),
$11,590 in-state; $17,005 out-of-state (graduate)*
|New Jersey City University||4-year, public; midsize city|| Bachelor of Arts in Art with a Specialization in Photography,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art with a Specialization in Photography,
Master of Arts in Studio Art with a Specialization in Photography,
Master of Fine Arts with a Concentration in Photography
| $11,180 in-state; $20,009 out-of-state (undergraduate),
$11,875 in-state; $19,473 out-of-state (graduate)*
|Rowan College at Burlington County||2-year, public; rural fringe||Photography Certificate||$4,065 in-district; $4,545 in-state; $6,495 out-of-state (undergraduate)*|
|Thomas Edison State University||4-year, public; small city||Bachelor of Arts in Photography||$6,135 in-state; $9,036 out-of-state (undergraduate)*|
Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator