Digital Photography Degrees in San Jose, CA with Program Summaries

Nov 28, 2018

The San Jose, CA, area has several schools that offer digital photography-related programs. Learn about the programs, admission info and program requirements for three of these schools, all within 15 miles of downtown, and make an informed education decision.

San Jose Schools with Digital Photography Programs

Although there aren't any digital-specific photography programs, students can find many general photography programs in the San Jose, CA, area. This article looks at three public schools that are within 20 minutes of the city center and the photography programs they offer at the undergraduate and graduate levels. There is also a table of information about the schools that a prospective student should know, such as enrollment figures, tuition, acceptance rates and percentage of students who graduate on time. Information on a few other area schools with photography programs is included as well.

  • De Anza College , about eight miles from downtown, offers open admission and has inexpensive tuition for photography students looking for certificate or associate's degree programs. Photography students can utilize on-campus photography laboratory resources.
  • San Jose State University offers the area's highest level of photography education with bachelor's and master's degree programs as well as a minor option. It also has the most advanced photography-related facilities. This school is in the heart of downtown San Jose.
  • Another option for photography program seekers, West Valley College, also eight miles from downtown San Jose, is one of the most inexpensive options in the area. It offers certificate and associate's degree programs in electronic imaging and photography.

Comparison of Schools

Individuals need to be well-informed when choosing a school for their training. This table offers information about each institution that's important to know.

De Anza College San Jose State University West Valley College
School Type Two-year, public Four-year, public Two-year, public
Total Enrollment (2017) 20,674* 35,835* 7,779*
Campus Setting Small city Large city Large suburb
Tuition and Fees (2017-2018) $1,552 in-state; $8,752 out-of-state* $7,721 in-state; $19,601 out-of-state* $1,186 in-district; $1,183 in-state; $5,239 out-of-state*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017) 44%* 73%* 55%*
Acceptance Rate (2017) N/A - Open admission 67%* N/A - Open admission
Retention Rate (2016-2017) 80% for full-time students; 46% for part-time students* 87% for full-time students; 71% for part-time students* 73% for full-time students; 39% for part-time students*
Graduation Rate 62% (for students who began Fall 2014)* 57% (for students who began Fall 2011)* 32% (for students who began Fall 2014)*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

De Anza College

De Anza College offers an exceptional transfer rate and diverse course offerings. Photography students can expect training that consists of theoretical concepts and practical application. Hands-on training can be earned through workshop and production laboratory courses. Students enrolled in the school's photography programs can expect to learn how to use dry and wet darkrooms at the Photography Department Lab.

Certificate of Achievement in Professional Photography

The 18-credit professional photography certificate has required courses in basic and intermediate digital photography, basic photography and commercial lighting. Additional courses can include intermediate and advanced photography techniques, experimental photography and commercial lighting techniques.

Associate in Arts in Photographic Arts

During this 90-unit program, students must complete courses in basic photography, intermediate and advanced digital photography, commercial lighting and Photoshop. Students may encounter additional photography courses covering intermediate and advanced photography as well as experimental photography. Before students can graduate, they need to complete general education courses and a course in another art-related field.

Associate of Arts in Professional Photography

The 90-unit professional photography program focuses on digital photography equipment and techniques. In addition to the courses found in the related certificate program, students need to pass courses in visual technology, mass communications, video production and human relations. This program also offers courses covering film and television directing, visual expression techniques and special photography projects.

San Jose State University

The photography programs are offered through the Art and Art History Department at San Jose State University. Within the fine arts program, students have access to professors and associate professors. The school also offers students the Natalie & James Thompson Gallery, eight student galleries and technical facilities, which feature a large format printer and traditional darkroom.

Bachelor of Arts in Art: Studio Practice - Photography

The 120-credit art major requirements cover art and design concepts, 2-D and 3-D design concepts, color, drawing, digital media and art history. Students encounter photography courses in color photography, studio lighting, intermediate and advanced photography techniques, professional practices and photography history. Hands-on training can be earned through workshop and production laboratory courses. Some courses require students to own a camera.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art: Photography

This program requires the same art major and photography courses found in the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) program. The photography concentration examines concepts in black and white photography, alternative photographic media and photographic illustration. In order to meet the 120-unit requirement, students need to complete general education courses, develop a senior project and participate in an exhibition.

Photography Minor

The 21-credit minor investigates beginning photography, intermediate digital imaging and color photography. Student can also explore classes in alternative processes and advanced black and white photography.

Master of Fine Arts in Photography

In this 60-unit program, students complete courses in graduate photography critique, photography tutorials, contemporary art, museum and gallery operations, criticism aspects and teaching concepts. Students are also expected to complete a special study course that leads into the master's project.

West Valley College

The Photography Department at West Valley College offers classes and programs in photography. Students have access to photography instructors, a lab faculty specialist and an instructional lab technician. Students can also seek additional hands-on training by participating in related field studies.

Electronic Imaging Certificate

This program requires courses in photography basics, lighting techniques and studio photography. Students may enroll in elective courses covering new media, environmental portraits, art history, small business management, close-up photography and intermediate photography concepts. Students need to complete 26 units of coursework.

Photography Certificate

This 29-unit program consists of courses covering basic and intermediate photography, portraiture and color photography. Elective courses may lead to training in Photoshop, product lighting, environmental photography, close-up photography and small business management.

Associate in Science in Electronic Imaging

In order to earn an associate degree, students must complete general education courses. The 19 credits of major requirements cover Photoshop, studio photography and basic photography. Seven elective units can be completed in field studies, new media, art appreciation, portraiture, environmental portraits or photographing art.

Associate in Science in Photography

The program requires students to complete 20 major requirements in subjects such as basic and intermediate photography, portraiture, product lighting, Adobe Lightroom, basic color photography and new media. Students are also required to complete nine credits in electives, and six must be photography electives.

Other School Options

Students can find additional photography programs in San Jose at San Jose City College, 12.7 miles away at Ohlone College, 12 miles away at Foothill College and 28.3 miles away at California State University - East Bay.

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