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Photography Colleges in Tennessee with School Information

Research photography colleges in Tennessee, which currently has about ten schools offering programs. Read an overview of degrees and certificates, tuition info and program options for these schools and decide which program is right for you.

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Essential Information

There are about ten public or private not-for-profit colleges in Tennessee that offer photography programs, often through fine arts or journalism departments. These schools offer various degree and certificate options in photography and related fields. Students will likely need to have their own camera for photography classes, but admission to such programs grants access to additional resources such as lighting equipment, editing software in computer labs, and studio space. The development of a portfolio, practicum requirements, or an internship may be required.

Continue reading to find more information about the Tennessee schools that offer photography courses and programs.


Carson-Newman University

Carson-Newman University is located in Jefferson City and offers a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in photography. Students learn art fundamental concepts first, then move on to specialized skills for digital and film photography and development. Other topics like aesthetics, subject matter and content in photography are also a part of this program.

King University

King University in Bristol offers a major in photography that emphasizes hands-on experiential learning. Contemporary imagery, media and definition are studied in photography, video and graphic design. Students acquire skills for working on the Web, using social networking and engaging with professionals in the area.

Memphis College of Art

Located in Memphis, the Memphis College of Art offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) with a concentration in photography. Students take classes in areas like digital imaging, 2-D and 3-D design, drawing, computer graphics, lighting and cinema. Liberal arts, history and writing are also part of the curriculum.

Middle Tennessee State University

Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro also offers a bachelor's degree program in mass communication with a photography concentration. The program focuses on professional growth in visual and technical areas of photography. Courses cover an array of photography skills used for advertising, public relations, photojournalism, corporations and other purposes. A practicum and internship are also offered as electives in this program.

Nashville State Community College

Nashville State Community College (NSCC) is a 2-year school located in Nashville. The school offers a photography associate's degree program and a photography technical certificate program. Fundamentals are taught through classroom instruction, while hands-on learning is completed through on-the-job training. The 60-credit Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree program takes two years to complete and provides a comprehensive background in all elements of photography, including traditional and digital components. Students complete photography coursework in darkrooms, studios, computer labs and traditional classrooms. The 1-year technical certificate program requires 30 hours of instruction, and graduates are eligible for careers as photographers, photography assistants and photo lab technicians.

Pellissippi State Community College

Students at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville can obtain an A.A.S. degree in media technologies with a photography concentration. The program focuses on foundational core skills for aspiring photographers. Some of the topics studied include graphic design, studio photography, digital imaging and media technologies. A portfolio and internship are also a part of this program. Pellissippi State Community College's facilities for photography are for digital photography only.

Southern Adventist University

At the School of Journalism and Communication at Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, students can major or minor in photography. The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Mass Communication - Photography program includes 30 hours of study in areas like lighting, imaging, studio production and photojournalism. A senior project is a part of the curriculum, and students are offered practicum and internship courses to fulfill elective requirements.

University of Memphis

Located in Memphis, the University of Memphis offers both a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Art with a concentration in photography and a Master in Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in photography. The curriculum in these programs prepares students for careers in the fine arts, portraiture, advertising, fashion and education. Coursework covers art history, electives, studio courses and general education topics along with the photography concentration. The graduate degree program requires applicants to have an undergraduate degree in photography or a related area, as well as a portfolio, letters of reference and a statement of intent for entry consideration. MFA students are expected to have their own vision for their photography work, and a thesis is required to complete the program.

The University of Tennessee

The School of Art at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville offers two options for studying photography at the undergraduate level: a B.A. in Art or a B.F.A. with a 2-D arts concentration. Students in the B.F.A. program are encouraged to earn an art history minor as well. Both degree tracks employ group critiques, individual critiques, technical demonstrations, constructive criticism and discussions to promote personal ideas and growth. A photography certificate program is available for those not pursuing a photography major.

Watkins College of Art, Design and Film

The photography program at Watkins College of Art, Design and Film in Nashville is based on critical thinking and techniques used in the studio. The first two years of the B.F.A. degree program focus on photography history and fundamentals, as well as technology and equipment skills. Students then move on to more advanced practices in the profession. Internships with photographers are available for students, and a thesis is required senior year.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Photography Programs Offered Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)
Carson-Newman University 4-year, private not-for-profit; small suburb Bachelor of Arts in Photography $27,900*
King University 4-year, private not-for-profit; small city Bachelor of Science in Digital Media Art and Design, Photography Concentration $29,714 *
Memphis College of Art 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography $32,400 *
Middle Tennessee State University 4-year, public; midsize city Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication, Photography Concentration $8,858 in-state ;
$27,098 out-of-state *
Nashville State Community College 2-year, public; large city Associate of Applied Science in Visual Communications, Photography Concentration;
Photography Technical Certificate
$4,191 in-state ;
$16,479 out-of-state *
Pellissippi State Community College 2-year, public; large suburb Associate of Applied Science - Media Technologies/Photography Concentration $4,276 in-state ;
$16,564 out-of-state *
Southern Adventist University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication - Photography $21,950*
University of Memphis 4-year, public; large city Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art in Photography;
Master of Fine Arts in Photography
Undergraduate - $9,317 in-state ;
$21,029 out-of-state ;
Graduate - $10,697 in-state;
$19,481 out-of-state*
The University of Tennessee - Knoxville 4-year, public; midsize city Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2-D Studies/Photography;
Bachelor of Arts in Art/Photography,
Certificate in Photography
$13,006 in-state ;
$31,426 out-of-state *
Watkins College of Art, Design & Film 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography $24,450*

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

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