Photography Classes in Memphis with School and Degree Overviews

Oct 01, 2018

The Memphis area has two schools that offer photography programs within ten miles of downtown. Learn about the degree options and requirements at the institutions to make an informed education decision.

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Memphis Photography Schools

Those desiring to build or advance their skills in photography can turn to both undergraduate and graduate programs within a 20-minute drive of central Memphis, TN. This article explores the program formats and coursework offered by a couple of area colleges. It also includes a table that can be used to compare the schools using several stats.

  • The nearest school to the downtown Memphis area with photography programs is Memphis College of Art. Located just three miles from the city center, this private not-for-profit school offers bachelor's and master's degree programs for students interested in the field.
  • The public University of Memphis also offers bachelor's and master's degrees with photography concentrations. The campus is roughly eight miles from the central part of the city.

Comparison of Schools

Use the table below to compare the Memphis schools even further. It offers several facts and figures, including specifics on tuition, acceptance rates and student enrollment.

Memphis College of Art University of Memphis
School Type 4-year college; private not-for-profit 4-year university; public
Total Enrollment (2017) 303* 21,521*
Campus Setting Large city Large city
Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $33,130* $9,317 for in-state; $21,029 for out-of-state*
% of First-Year, Full-Time Students Receive Some Form of Financial Aid (2017) 100%* 97%*
Acceptance Rate (2017) 54%* 85%*
Retention Rate (2017) 71% for full-time students* 75% for full-time students*
Graduation Rate (for those who began their studies in 2011) 47%* 43%*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

Memphis College of Art

A few exhibitions are held every year in the school's galleries. Students can display their works at group exhibitions throughout the year.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art with a Photography Concentration

The required photography courses for this bachelor's degree program are broken up into six separate classes. There is also additional coursework in areas like digital imaging, studio lighting, sequence as story and alternative photo processes. Students also receive an overview of the history of photography. Finally, it is also required of students to enroll in one of the following courses: digital cinema, book arts, Web design, digital imaging or design systems.

Master of Fine Arts

To earn a Master of Fine Arts, students have to complete two years of coursework. The curriculum is primarily focused on studio courses. When a student reaches the third semester of the program, he or she becomes eligible for the New York Studio Program, which allows him or her to study in New York for the semester. Around this time, students begin to prepare their final thesis.

University of Memphis

Students at the University of Memphis have access to several color and black and white darkrooms along with non-silver and alternative processing areas. There is also studio lighting and a photographic studio located on campus.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art with a Photography Concentration

This 120-credit undergraduate program typically has the same freshman and sophomore core as the other art concentrations. However, by the end of their sophomore years, students submit a portfolio to gain admission into the photography concentration. When accepted, students can begin to take major photography classes to fulfill the 79 major credit hours required for graduation.

Master of Fine Arts with a Photography Concentration

Letters of recommendation, a letter of intent, a writing sample and a work portfolio are all necessary requirements to enter into this Master of Fine Arts program. The photography concentration allows students the opportunity to study color photography, alternative photographic processes and photographic lighting. Students can also learn about professional art practices, advanced photography research and photographic history.

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