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Photography Classes in New York with School Overviews

Aug 01, 2019

Essential Information

Photography classes can typically be found at schools that offer undergraduate and graduate programs in the fine arts. Students in New York may choose from programs leading to certificates, associate's, bachelor's, and even master's degrees; a few minors in photography are also available. While undergraduate programs may ask for examples of work prior to enrollment, most facilitate the development of a portfolio through the programs; such portfolios are more required for admission to graduate degree programs.

A few schools in the state offer opportunities in addition to school-based projects and resources, like study abroad programs or cooperative work experiences. Graduate degree programs may require the completion of a capstone project or course, or a thesis.

Below are short overviews of New York's ten largest schools offering photography programs, followed by a comparison table showing individual school offerings and tuition info.


Buffalo State (SUNY)

This Buffalo-based school is affiliated with the State University of New York (SUNY) and offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography. The curriculum requires 21 credits of major coursework in intermediate and advanced photography, as well as six credits of senior studio work. Through the fine arts core, undergraduates also have a chance to develop skills in drawing, printmaking, art history and sculpture.

To fulfill the elective requirements, students can learn about nonsilver photographic techniques. They can also take a course in studio photography that provides training in the use of medium format and view cameras.

Fashion Institute of Technology (SUNY)

The Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan offers both certificate and degree programs for aspiring photographers. Students in the 12.5-credit certificate program learn how to use Adobe Photoshop software and take classes in digital photography, darkroom procedures and lighting. Through the 2-year associate's program, aspiring photographers can acquire additional training in black and white printing, commercial and large format photography, digital processing and image manipulation. They also have the opportunity to develop a professional portfolio.

More advanced studies are available through the Bachelor of Fine Arts program, which offers opportunities for internships and study abroad. Along with a multimedia thesis, the degree requirements include training in Final Cut Pro software, exhibition design, location photography and retouching.

In addition to the degree programs, the institute's Photography Department sponsors a lecture series that provides students with exposure to working professionals.

LaGuardia Community College (CUNY)

Located in Long Island City, LaGuardia Community College is part of the City University of New York (CUNY) network. The 60-credit commercial photography program includes 24 credits of major coursework in, among other areas, digital and large format photography, computer art and manipulated imagery. Students also complete a 2-course studio lighting sequence and a commercial photography seminar and workshop.

Additional requirements include six credits of cooperative education and internship experience. Students may also have the opportunity to study abroad in Santiago, Chile.

Long Island University (C.W. Post Campus)

At the Brookville Campus of Long Island University, undergraduates can pursue a 129-credit Bachelor of Fine Arts program in photography. Through 33 credits of studio work, students receive training in aesthetics and lighting, color and experimental photography, digital imaging and photo illustration. Additional program features include a senior project and an optional apprenticeship with a commercial or fine art photographer.

Long Island University also offers a 36-credit Master of Arts program with a concentration in photography. In addition to a thesis, the curriculum includes courses in color printing and landscape photography.

New York University

New York University in Manhattan offers a bachelor's program in photography and imaging through the Tisch School of the Arts. In addition to shooting studios, students have access to black and white and color darkrooms, digital workstations and a gallery.

Studio courses include training in editorial photography, lighting, photojournalism and portraiture. In addition, undergraduates can learn how to work with Adobe InDesign and Photoshop software, study the history of photography and participate in an internship. Other program features include a thesis project and an optional senior catalog.

Through the Tisch School of the Arts, students have the opportunity to study filmmaking and photography in Havana, Cuba, or Prague, Czechoslovakia.

Rochester Institute of Technology

At Rochester Institute of Technology, students in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program can choose a major in advertising or fine art photography, photojournalism or visual media. The Bachelor of Science in Photographic and Imaging Technologies allows for majors in biomedical photographic communications or imaging and photographic technology.

Regardless of the major, students in the Bachelor of Fine Arts programs take first-year courses in photographic arts and technology. Depending on the degree plan, they may also pursue training in retouching and restoration, photojournalism, picture editing and still-life photography.

Undergraduates in the Bachelor of Science program complete sequences in digital media and scientific photography. They also participate in a summer cooperative work experience.

St. John's University (Manhattan Campus)

At the Manhattan campus of St. John's University, students can pursue a bachelor's program in photography that provides training in the use of both film and digital cameras. In addition to historical studies, students acquire darkroom and lighting skills and learn about fine art and documentary photography. They also develop portfolios and find out how to prepare their photographs for exhibition.

Additional program features include the opportunity to participate in an internship or take a photographic trip to Paris. Unique to the school is an affiliate arrangement with the International Center of Photography in Manhattan that allows students to complete 36 credits at the center during their senior year.

SUNY New Paltz

Students at the state university in New Paltz can choose between two undergraduate programs: a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography or a Bachelor of Science in Visual Arts with a concentration in photography. In addition to darkrooms and studios, students have access to computer labs, an alternative processing facility and a campus-based museum.

Both programs require 33 credits of major coursework in, among other areas, basic, digital and large format photography. Unique to the curriculum is a study of photographic books and installations. Additional requirements for the Bachelor of Fine Arts include a thesis exhibition. Students in the visual arts program complete a capstone and develop a portfolio.

Syracuse University

Through the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at this Syracuse institution, undergraduates can earn a Bachelor of Science and pursue a sequence in illustration photography or photojournalism. In addition to a capstone, both areas of study require common courses in multimedia and typography.

Students who focus on illustration photography learn how to produce both print and Web-based work for advertisements, fashion venues and magazines. Those concentrating on photojournalism create visual content for digital and print media.

Through the College of Visual and Performing Arts, the university offers a 60-credit Master of Fine Arts program in art photography that includes topics in criticism, history and theory. Graduate students also have access to their own private darkrooms.

Additional programs include a thesis-based Master of Science in Photography that can take up to two years to complete.

The New School

The New School in Manhattan offers both an undergraduate and a graduate program in photography. Along with a historical overview of the medium, the 134-credit Bachelor of Fine Arts program requires courses in drawing and painting, lighting and visual culture. Additional program features include an optional, junior-year internship and a senior seminar with a photographic thesis.

The 60-credit Master of Fine Arts is a 26-month program that introduces students to the latest photographic technologies. Curriculum requirements include seminar and studio sequences, and the program culminates in a thesis and an exhibition.

Through the Parsons School of Design and the Eugene Lang College for the Liberal Arts, the New School offers a combined Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography with 180 credits of coursework. Continuing education programs also provide students with access to professionally taught lectures and workshops.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type and Setting Photography Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2018-2019)
Buffalo State (SUNY) 4-year, public; large city Minor in Photography,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography
$8,210 in-state;
$17,990 out-of-state*
Fashion Institute of Technology (SUNY) 4-year, primarily associate's, public; large city Certificate in Digital Still Photography,
Associate in Applied Science in Photography,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography
$5,740 in-state;
$15,520 out-of-state*
LaGuardia Community College (CUNY) 2-year, public; large city Associate in Applied Science in Commercial Photography $5,218 in-state;
$8,098 out-of-state*
Long Island University (C.W. Post Campus) 4-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography,
Master of Arts in Art
$37,763*
New York University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography and Imaging $51,828*
Rochester Institute of Technology 4-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photographic and Imaging Arts,
Bachelor of Science in Photographic and Imaging Technologies
$42,345*
St. John's University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Minor in Photography,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography
$41,760*
SUNY New Paltz 4-year, public; large suburb Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography,
Bachelor of Science in Visual Arts
$8,254 in-state;
$18,034 out-of-state*
Syracuse University 4-year, private not-for-profit; midsize city Bachelor of Science in Photography,
Master of Fine Arts in Art Photography,
Master of Science in Photography,
$51,853*
The New School 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography,
Master of Fine Arts in Photography,
Continuing Education
$49,064*

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

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