There are 13 schools in Massachusetts that offer majors, minors, or courses in photography, many of which include training in the use of digital camera equipment. Programs that include digital photography coursework lead to the award of certificates, associate's, bachelor's, and master's degrees. Graduate programs may ask that candidates provide a portfolio of work for admission; many undergraduate programs help students in building such a portfolio. Students may have the opportunity to exhibit their work.
The ten schools profiled below include seven public and three private (not-for-profit) colleges and universities, and students will also find a comparison table with school information and cost of attendance.
Bard College at Simon's Rock
Bard College in Great Barrington offers a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art with a 24-credit concentration in photography. Unique to the curriculum is a visual and written photography thesis that includes the design and installation of a campus-based exhibition.
To fulfill the concentration requirements, students must take three intermediate photography courses, and these may include topics in color and digital photography, experimental camera work or portraiture. To fulfill the history and advanced course requirements, undergraduates study contemporary photography issues and pursue training in, among other areas, documentary or large-format photography. Related coursework at the intermediate and advanced levels covers topics in graphic design and digital bookmaking.
Fitchburg State University
At the state university in Fitchburg, undergraduates can earn a Bachelor of Science in Communications Media with a concentration in photography. Relevant resources include professional-grade digital cameras, commercial studios, digital-imaging labs and lighting equipment.
Undergraduates who pursue this specialized plan of study complete five required courses in digital, large format and traditional photography. They can also participate in an optional photography seminar or take electives in color photography or photo management. Additional program features include the opportunity to submit an original photograph for the annual juried art exhibition.
Located in Cambridge, Lesley University offers a 15-credit minor, as well as undergraduate and graduate programs in photography. The program faculty is currently composed of 25 members, who provide active mentoring for undergraduate photography majors. Undergraduates also have access to up-to-date equipment and facilities.
Students in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program complete a first-year, interdisciplinary photography foundation, after which they can take courses in commercial, documentary and large-format photography, advanced digital printing and design. In addition to participating in internships and student-run exhibitions, aspiring photographers have their portfolios evaluated by professionals in the industry.
At the graduate level, Lesley University offers a 60-credit Master of Fine Arts in Photography program that emphasizes the relationship between current media and both alternative and traditional photography. Approximately 15% of the program is composed of mentoring activities, internships and teaching; students also complete a visual and written thesis.
Additional program offerings include a 152-credit double major that leads to a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography and Design.
Massachusetts College of Art and Design
This Boston art and design school offers three programs in photography, including a Bachelor of Fine Arts, a Master of Fine Arts and a post-baccalaureate certificate program. Relevant resources include an on-campus, 11,000-square-foot-photography studio that provides students with access to darkrooms, printing areas, workstations and galleries.
Undergraduate photography majors are introduced to digital cameras and printing in their junior year, and additional program features include internships and senior projects and theses. Students also learn how to take black-and-white pictures with large format cameras and work with Polaroid 20x24 equipment.
Graduate students pursuing the full-time, 60-credit Master of Fine Arts program have access to private darkrooms and workspaces, as well as a digital studio equipped with up-to-date Adobe software and large-format printers. Course topics are similar to those found in the undergraduate curriculum, and students also participate in a thesis exhibition. Graduate students who are interested in a more short-term course of study may want to look into the 24- to 27-credit post-baccalaureate certificate program, which offers a flexible curriculum and can be completed in one year of full-time study.
Massasoit Community College
The fine arts program at Massasoit Community College is offered at the Canton Campus, where students can earn an associate's degree and take electives in photography. Program requirements include studio work in 3-D design, color and design, drawing, painting and printmaking. The curriculum also allows for four electives, which may include beginning and advanced courses in digital and traditional photography. Instruction takes place under the direction of 14 full-time and adjunct faculty members.
Montserrat College of Art
At the Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, undergraduates can pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts program with a concentration in photography and video. Through the Photography and Video Department, students have access to state-of-the-art tools and equipment, including small- and wide-format printers, digital cameras, image-editing software and media converters. Cameras, lighting gear and video equipment can be used for both in-class and off-site projects.
In addition to a studio art foundation, the curriculum requirements include a 2-course sequence in photographic media and a study of digital photography. Students can also take electives in, among other topics, color or landscape photography, 3-D computer graphics or multimedia. Additionally, students complete a 120-hour, on-site internship with a photography or video professional. Aspiring digital photographers also assemble an electronic portfolio in a CD, DVD or Web-based format and participate in a 12-credit senior capstone.
Mount Wachusett Community College
Located in Gardner, this community college offers both a 27-credit professional photography certificate, as well as a 63- to 64-credit associate degree program in media arts and technology (concentration in photography). Students should be aware in advance that they will have to provide their own digital cameras and tripods. A home-based computer system and access to Adobe Photoshop will also be needed for out-of-class assignments.
Requirements for both the certificate and the degree programs cover topics in digital and commercial photography, business graphics, digital photography workflow and portraiture. Learning outcomes include mastery of light and shutter speeds and the ability to edit photos in jpeg or other formats.
Salem State University
The National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) accredits the Art and Design Department at the state university in Salem, and the division offers an undergraduate concentration in photography. As of 2013, the department was staffed by over 40 faculty members, and students also have access to professional-level studios for commercial, digital and portrait photography.
The concentration in photography is available through the Bachelor of Arts program and includes courses in color, digital studio and large-format photography. Through the digital imaging course, students learn how to use a variety of related devices, such as still cameras, scanners and video recording equipment. Additional program features include courses in graphic and Web design, portfolio development and an internship.
Springfield Technical Community College
Through the Graphics Art Technology Department at this Springfield community college, students can earn a Certificate of Completion in Digital Publishing or an Associate of Science in Graphic Arts Technology with a concentration in digital photography. Both programs are overseen by a department chair and three faculty members.
Students in the 29-credit certificate program take courses in, among other topics, beginning and advanced digital photography, digital illustrating and photographic illustration. They also learn how to edit images with Adobe Photoshop and receive an introduction to online multimedia and Web design. Similar courses can also be found in the 68-credit associate degree program, where students train in the use of Macintosh operating systems, color reproduction processes and Quark Xpress. Additional courses include topics in image and optical recording technologies and the history of photography.
University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth
At the University of Massachusetts' campus in North Dartmouth, students in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program can pursue a concentration in photography while enjoying access to industry professionals and opportunities. Facilities include in excess of 20 enlarger stations, a lighting studio, darkroom and special processes room.
To fulfill the concentration requirements, undergraduates complete a 5-course photography track and pursue topics in 2-D and 3-D concepts, digital media and the history of photography. In addition to lab work, students also attend lectures, participate in discussions and watch slide presentations. Out-of-class work includes off-site visits to professional photographers in their studios and participation in national and international exhibitions.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Digital Photography Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2019-2020)|
|Bard College at Simon's Rock||4-year, private not-for-profit; rural fringe||Bachelor of Arts in Studio Arts (concentration in photography)||$56,901*|
|Fitchburg State University||4-year, public; midsize suburb||Bachelor of Science in Communications Media (concentration in photography)|| $10,610 in-state;
|Lesley University||4-year, private not-for-profit; midsize city|| Minor in Photography,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography and Design,
Master of Fine Arts in Photography
| $28,875 (undergraduate);
|Massachusetts College of Art and Design||4-year, public; large city|| Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography,
Master of Fine Arts in Photography,
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Photography
| $13,700 in-state;
$38,400 out-of-state (undergraduate);
|Massasoit Community College||2-year, public; large suburb||Associate Degree in Visual Arts (fine arts option)||$4,992 in-state;
|Montserrat College of Art||4-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb||Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography and Video||$34,350*|
|Mount Wachusett Community College||2-year, public; rural fringe|| Photography Professional Certificate,
Associate Degree in Media Arts and Technology (concentration in photography)
| $5,668 in-state;
|Salem State University||4-year, public; large suburb||Bachelor of Arts in Arts and Design (concentration in photography)|| $11,128 in-state;
|Springfield Technical Community College||2-year, public; midsize city|| Certificate of Completion in Digital Publishing,
Associate of Science in Graphic Arts Technology (concentration in digital photography)
| $5,328 in-state;
|University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth||4-year, public; midsize suburb||Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Design (concentration in photography)|| $14,358 in-state;
Sources: *NCES College Navigator.