Photography Classes in PA with School and Degree Overviews

Jul 31, 2019

Essential Information

The 12 colleges and universities profiled below include nine that offer certificates and/or degrees in photography. In addition, there are also three universities that have undergraduate and/or graduate programs in art with courses in photography. Many photography programs encourage and facilitate students to develop portfolios as they complete their degrees; such portfolios are used to gauge talent and skill by potential employers, clients, and graduate schools. Some schools offer additional opportunities, such as internships or study abroad programs.

Below are brief overviews of the programs and course topics, as well as a comparison table with school and tuition information.


Arcadia University

Located in Glenside, Arcadia University offers both an undergraduate degree and a minor in art that include concentrations in photography. Applicants should be aware in advance that the Bachelor of Fine Arts program requires submission of a portfolio.

In addition to a course in art history, the requirements for the minor include nine and ten credits respectively in studio art and photography. Undergraduates pursuing the Bachelor of Fine Arts complete a 52-credit art and design core, as well as a 4-course sequence in photography and studies in color and digital imaging. The program culminates in a senior research seminar, studio and thesis.

Bucks County Community College

Bucks County Community College in Newtown has a 1-year certificate program in applied photography that includes instruction in traditional and digital camera techniques. Students also receive training in developing negatives, setting up lighting equipment and using scanners. In addition to 27 credits of core coursework, aspiring professionals can take an elective in large- format photography or participate in a 3-credit cooperative education experience. Qualified graduates may be able to find entry-level employment in commercial, portrait or wedding photography.

Community College of Philadelphia

At this Philadelphia community college, students can earn an Associate in Applied Science in Photographic Imaging, while acquiring significant darkroom, lab and studio experience. Through the program, future professionals become familiar with a variety of photographic concepts, including those associated with color, commercial, digital and large-format photography. They can also study digital photojournalism and learn how to produce videos for corporations and events. During the fourth semester, students complete a professional practice capstone that includes career preparation and portfolio development.

Delaware County Community College

Located in Media, this community college offers a 15-credit certificate program in photography that includes a 3-course sequence in black-and-white imaging, as well as topics in color photography and digital workflow. In particular, students learn how to process and print images, arrange and light still subject matter, determine film speeds and work with toners. Prior to completion, they also prepare a portfolio of traditional and digital images.

Drexel University

Through the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design at this major Philadelphia university, students can earn a Bachelor of Science in Photography that requires 180 quarter-credit hours to complete (120 semester hours). Facilities and resources are extensive and include a variety of digital, medium- and large-format cameras, lighting and studio equipment, a designated critique room and digital labs. Unique to the program is the opportunity to participate in three cooperative work experiences in, among other areas, commercial, fashion and fine art photography.

In addition to a visual arts core, the curriculum includes the study of black-and-white, color, digital and studio photography. Undergraduates can also choose up to three electives in, among other topics, fashion and landscape photography, palladium printing or portfolio development. The program culminates in a 9-credit senior photography thesis.

Harrisburg Area Community College - Harrisburg

Students at the community college in Harrisburg can pursue a 30-credit certificate or an Associate of Arts in photography. The certificate program emphasizes both the aesthetic and technical aspects of the medium and can help aspiring professionals prepare for entry-level jobs in the field. In addition to courses in color, digital, silver gelatin and studio photography, students also receive training in Adobe Photoshop and participate in a 3-credit photography seminar. Similar topics can be found in the Associate of Arts program, where undergraduates also take courses in 2-D design, drawing and art history.

Luzerne County Community College

Luzerne County Community College in Nanticoke also offers a 30-credit certificate, as well as a 2-year degree in photography. Through the certificate program, photographers-in-training learn how to apply aesthetic principles to their work, take commercial-quality images and use digital cameras. Additional program features include topics in computer-based photo editing, composition, drawing and portfolio development. These courses can also be found in the Associate of Applied Science curriculum, where students pursue more advanced topics in black-and white imaging, photojournalism and wedding photography, as well as an optional 3-credit internship.

Marywood University

Marywood University in Scranton has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Design program with an emphasis on photography. Students begin taking photography courses in the first semester, and these include a sequence in basic, intermediate and advanced imaging. They also learn how to use the medium as a means of self-expression and study alternative imaging and advertising photography. Scheduled portfolio reviews take place during the sophomore, junior and senior years; undergraduates also participate in an exhibition and fieldwork.

The university also offers a 36-credit Master of Arts in Studio Art and a 60-credit Master of Fine Arts in Visual Arts, and both programs include a 2-D concentration in photography. In addition to specialized coursework, graduate students may participate in an exhibition or complete a research paper or thesis. Those enrolled in the Master of Fine Arts program have the opportunity to study abroad in Florence, Italy.

Point Park University

Located in Pittsburgh, this university offers two 7-course minors in photojournalism and photography. Students can also pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Photojournalism program that includes topics in documentary photography, reporting and digital photo editing.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography program is a professional course of study that requires 45 credits of major coursework in digital, documentary and studio photography, video production, view camera procedures and Web publishing. Students can also participate in an optional internship or take electives in alternative or experimental processing and printing.

Saint Joseph's University

A private, Catholic college in Philadelphia, St. Joseph's University offers an undergraduate program in art that includes two lower-level courses in digital and traditional photography. The program also allows for three additional courses in advanced, color and studio imaging. As seniors, students participate in two capstone courses that may be related to photography.

Temple University

Philadelphia-based Temple University offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography, where students learn about color and digital photography, photo processing and view camera techniques. Additional requirements include a senior seminar and an advanced photography workshop. To fulfill the elective requirements, students can complete a digital project, pursue a field internship or take an elective in photographic lighting (advised).

The University of the Arts

The University of the Arts is also located in Philadelphia, and the school offers both an undergraduate degree and a 15-credit minor in photography. Faculty members include those who have worked for Fortune, The New York Times Magazine, Time and Esquire.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts program is designed to prepare students for careers in commercial photography and provides training in the use of a digital and film cameras, computer software and hot lights. Degree requirements include 39 credits of major coursework, with junior-year projects and senior photography workshops accounting for 12 credits. As an interdisciplinary course of study, the curriculum also allows for the study of design, film and illustration. Unique to the program are electives in altered photographs or editorial and fashion photography.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type and Setting Photography Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2018-2019)
Arcadia University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb Minor in Studio Art,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art
$43,580*
Bucks County Community College 2-year, public; rural fringe Certificate in Applied Photography $4,513 in-district; $8,353 in-state; $12,193 out-of-state*
Community College of Philadelphia 2-year, public; large city Associate of Applied Science in Photographic Imaging $5,142 in-district; $10,284 in-state; $15,426 out-of-state*
Delaware County Community College 2-year, public; large suburb Certificate of Competency in Photography $5,520 in-district; $9,390 in-state; $12,920 out-of-state*
Drexel University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Bachelor of Science in Photography $53,244*
Harrisburg Area Community College - Harrisburg 2-year, public; small city Certificate in Photography,
Associate of Arts in Photography
$6,683 in-district; $7,935 in-state; $9,435 out-of-state*
Luzerne County Community College 2-year, public; large suburb Certificate in Photography,
Associate of Applied Science in Photography
$5,430 in-district; $9,660 in-state; $13,890 out-of-state*
Marywood University 4-year, private not-for-profit; small city Bachelor of Fine Arts in Design,
Master of Arts in Studio Art,
Master of Fine Arts in Visual Arts
$34,910*
Point Park University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Minor in Photography or Photojournalism,
Bachelor of Arts in Photojournalism,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography
$31,450*
Saint Joseph's University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Bachelor's in Art $44,974*
Temple University 4-year, public; large city Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography $16,970 in-state; $29,066 out-of-state*
The University of the Arts 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Minor in Photography or Studio Photography,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography
$44,930*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

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