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Photography Classes in San Diego, CA with College Overviews

Sep 06, 2018

The San Diego area has several schools that offer photography programs. Learn about degree programs, admission information and program requirements for three schools located 10 miles or less from downtown and make an informed education decision.

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Schools in San Diego with Photography Classes

Several schools in the San Diego area offer photography classes as part of various degree programs. This article examines three institutions, all 20 minutes or less from downtown, and the undergraduate training they offer. Useful facts such as the schools' size, tuition and graduation rate are included in a table, followed by information on a couple of other area schools with relevant courses.

  • San Diego City College, at the heart of downtown, offers associate's degree and certificate programs in visual and performing arts with a concentration in photography.
  • About seven miles from the city center is the University of San Diego. The school offers a bachelor's degree program in visual arts with a specialization in photography.
  • Point Loma Nazarene University, 10 miles west of downtown San Diego, also provides a visual arts bachelor's degree program with a photography concentration.

Comparison of Schools

The following table displays information that prospective students should consider when choosing a school for their photography studies.

San Diego City College University of San Diego Point Loma Nazarene University
School Type 2-year; public 4-year; private not-for-profit 4-year; private not-for-profit
Total Enrollment (2017) 15,569* 8,905* 4,417*
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large city
Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $1,142 for in-state students; $5,894 for out-of-state students* $47,708* $34,600*
% of Beginning Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017) 87%* 85%* 92%*
Acceptance Rate (2017) N/A - open admissions* 50%* 76%*
Retention Rate (2017) 66% for full-time students* 90% for full-time students* 89% for full-time students*
Graduation Rate 23% (for students beginning studies in fall 2014)* 82% (for students beginning studies in fall 2011)* 74% (for students beginning studies in fall 2011)*

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

San Diego City College

The certificate and associate's degree programs at this college can prepare students to transfer to a 4-year university or find an entry-level photography position. Courses emphasize both the artistic and technical components to photography.

Certificate of Achievement in Visual and Performing Arts: Photography

This certificate program requires students to earn 42 credit units. Students must take core courses in black and white photography, digital photography, business operations, lighting techniques, portfolio work, digital imaging, composition and photography history. There are also courses available in wedding and event photography, fashion photography, travel photography and advertising photography.

Associate of Arts in Visual and Performing Arts: Photography

A minimum of 60 credit hours will be required for this degree program. The core required classes are similar to the ones in the photography certificate program, though students must also complete general education coursework. The associate's degree program also covers topics like book publishing, color transparency, self-promotion, legal issues and production for commercial photography.

University of San Diego

In addition to acquiring the basic skills necessary to become a photographer, students in this program can also work on creating a voice in the creative art world. Digital photography courses are available through the study abroad program at this school, which can allow students to travel to cities like Paris.

Bachelor of Arts in Visual Arts with a Photography Concentration

The core classes of the program include color photography, advanced photography, basic photography and portrait photography. There are also courses covering specific topics like documentary photography, photo strategies and large format photography.

Point Loma Nazarene University

This university's bachelor's degree program includes a senior studio exhibition for students to showcase the artistic work they've produced. At the end of a student's junior year, he or she may apply to the school's honor scholars program.

Bachelor of Arts in Visual Arts with a Photography Concentration

The lower-division requirements for photography majors in this program cover courses on photography, computer graphics, drawing, art history, 2-dimensional design and 3-dimensional design. Students can then pick from electives that include printmaking, digital photography, sculpture, graphic design and painting. Once students reach their upper-division courses, topics like contemporary photographic imagery and advanced studio practices can be explored.

Other School Options

San Diego Mesa College is about 7 miles away from San Diego's downtown area and offers an associate's degree program in photography and new genres. Southwestern College, in Chula Vista, is almost 14 miles away from San Diego and provides an associate's degree program in photography and digital imaging, as well as a certificate program in professional photography.

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