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Digital Photography Schools in Modesto with Degree Descriptions

The Modesto, CA area has four schools that offer programs related to digital photography within about 40 miles of the city's center. Learn about the program options and requirements at three of these colleges to make an informed education decision.

Modesto Digital Photography Programs

Since there aren't any digital photography-specific programs in the Modesto area, students may want to consider enrolling in a general photography program. This article shines a light on the required coursework in certificate and degree programs at three area institutions. A table of facts and figures about the schools is provided as well.

  • Located about 36 miles from downtown Modesto, Merced College in Merced, CA, has the smallest student population of the three schools profiled here. This 2-year college offers photography certificate and associate's degree programs and has a lecture room that can be converted into a commercial and portrait photography studio.
  • Modesto Junior College is the closest option to downtown Modesto at just two miles from the center of the city. This school offers an associate's degree in photography and a dedicated photography laboratory for students to use.
  • San Joaquin Delta College, located in Stockton, CA, roughly 37 miles from central Modesto, is the area's most inexpensive option. This 2-year school allows students to complete general education courses locally or at any California State University campus. An associate's-level degree program in photography is on offer at the institution, as well as a certificate.

Comparison of Schools

Along with the available academic programs, factors like tuition, financial aid and school setting can influence your choice of where to study photography. Get specifics on these and many other facts in the following table.

Merced College Modesto Junior College San Joaquin Delta College
School Type 2-year, public 4-year, primarily associate's, public 2-year, public
Total Enrollment (2017) 10,912* 17,880* 17,849*
Campus Setting Small city Midsize city Large city
Tuition and Fees (2017-2018) $1,150 in-state; $6,115 out-of-state* $1,162 in-state; $6,778 out-of-state* $1,104 in-state; $6,720 out-of-state*
% of First-Year, Full-Time Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017) 79%* 79%* 76%*
Acceptance Rate (2017) N/A - Open admissions* N/A - Open admissions* N/A - Open admissions*
Full-time Student Retention Rate (2016-2017) 71%* N/A 79%*
Graduation Rate 25% (Students who started in 2014)* 19% (Students who started in 2011)* 26% (Students who started in 2014)*

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

Merced College

This school helps students build their photography skills through personal development, laboratory courses and professional preparation. After completing the associate's degree program, students can transfer to a 4-year college.

Photography Certificate

This 27-credit-hour program can train students in various photographic styles, digital photography and aesthetic form development. Courses required include studio photography, photography basics, digital art, color photography, intermediate techniques and art design. Students may encounter additional courses in photographic expression and small business fundamentals.

Associate in Arts in Photography

This program requires the same courses found in the photography certificate program. However, to meet graduation requirements, students also need to complete general education courses. Students must earn at least 60 credit hours to graduate.

Modesto Junior College

Along with in-class studies, students at Modesto Junior College participate in hands-on training using camera and photograph processing equipment. Students enrolled at this school can talk with an advisor if they wish to transfer to a school with a related 4-year degree program.

Associate in Arts in Photography

This program requires students to complete courses in color and digital photography, basic and intermediate photography techniques, color and design. Elective courses can include art history, advanced photographic techniques, image capture, art appreciation and image manipulation. Students need to complete a minimum of 20-21 credit hours of coursework within the major to graduate, plus general education requirements.

San Joaquin Delta College

In addition to in-class training, photography students at this college are required to develop hands-on skills through photography workshop projects. By completing this school's photography associate's degree program, students are prepared to continue their education or to seek a career in a photography-related field.

Certificate of Achievement in Photography

This certificate requires students to complete 20 credits of coursework. The courses related to digital photography include a digital imaging course that explores topics like the use of Adobe Photoshop. Students also gain familiarity with the digital workflow that goes into creating and enhancing a digital image. An introductory digital photography course focused on camera skills is also included, as well as more general courses in design and photography.

Associate in Arts in Photography

This 2-year degree features the same core courses as the certificate, including basic and intermediate photography techniques, design and color, digital imaging and digital photography. Students can also complete elective courses covering ceramics, painting and sculpture. This program requires students to complete enough core, general education and elective courses to fulfill the 60-credit-hour requirement.


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