Photography Schools in North Carolina with Course and Degree Info

Research photography programs in North Carolina, which currently has more than twelve schools offering programs. Read an overview of courses, tuition info and program options for nine of these schools and decide which program is right for you.

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Essential Information

Students seeking a degree program in photography have options at both 2-year and 4-year schools in North Carolina. The institutions listed below are the only not-for-profit schools offering photography or photographic technology programs in North Carolina. Such programs may lead to the award of a certificate, associate's, bachelor's, or even master's degree in an art-related field, if not photography, specifically; those in a broader field all offer concentrations in photography.

Students will likely need to provide their own camera for courses in photography, but additional resources, such as studios, darkrooms, and digital editing equipment, will probably be provided. Programs in art facilitate the development of a portfolio of work and some programs enable exhibitions on-campus.

Read on for more information about the photography programs available in NC and the schools that offer them.


Appalachian State University

Located in Boone, this university offers a variety of photography programs. Students can minor in commercial, digital or technical photography. The artistically-focused Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Studio Art has a concentration in photography. BFA students must complete foundational drawing, studio art and design courses, and they are required to participate in a senior seminar and group exhibition. Applicants to the art program must turn in a portfolio review for admission. Students can also earn a Bachelor of Science (BS) in commercial photography where they study topics like photographic imaging, advanced digital photography and professional photographic practices. This program allows students to participate in internships through elective options.

Carteret Community College

Found in Morehead City, this college offers photographic technology certificate and Associate in Applied Science (AAS) programs. Students in the certificate program study basic camera techniques, digital imaging and photographic processes that can prepare them for entry-level employment. The associate's degree program takes two years to complete, and students learn about black-and-white photography, photojournalism and Web design.

Catawba Valley Community College

Located in Hickory, this college features certificate and AAS programs in photographic technology. The 16-credit certificate program has courses in studio lighting, digital applications and multimedia productions. AAS students are required to complete photography courses and develop a portfolio. Students in both programs are also able to borrow photography equipment from the college.

East Carolina University

This Greenville university offers a bachelor's degree program that allows students to concentrate in photography. This program covers the process of photography and includes instruction on the materials and equipment used in the field. Students must complete a total of 10 photography courses, such as color photography, digital photography and photography concepts.

Students can also pursue a Master of Fine Arts with a concentration in photography. This program is flexible, and students can work with faculty members to create a unique study plan. The program requires the completion of a thesis that includes a studio exhibition. Only seven students can be enrolled in this 60-credit program at any particular time, so they may face strong competition for admission.

McDowell Technical Community College

This college is in Marion and offers certificate and AAS programs in photographic technology. Students in the certificate program take courses in studio lighting, photography history and intermediate photography. Individuals in the AAS program study photojournalism, portrait studio management and commercial photography. The AAS curriculum also includes a portfolio development course.

Randolph Community College

Found in Asheboro, this college has an AAS in Photographic Technology program with concentrations in commercial photography, photojournalism and portrait studio management. Students in all concentrations must complete co-op work experiences and prepare a portfolio. Courses may cover digital imaging, portrait lighting and large format photography.

University of North Carolina - Asheville

This University of North Carolina (UNC) campus in Asheville offers BFA and Bachelor of Arts degree programs that include photography specializations. The BFA program requires 24 credit hours of studio art courses in addition to foundation art courses, and the Bachelor of Arts program only has nine credit hours of studio courses along with the foundation requirements. The photography courses in the programs cover darkroom operations, black and white photography, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, photographic processes, printing and scanning.

University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill

The Chapel Hill campus of UNC features Bachelor of Arts and BFA programs in Studio Art that offer multiple photography courses. Students in all of the studio art programs must complete a set of four foundation courses, which is followed by a total of four concentration and elective courses for students in the Bachelor of Arts program. Students in the BFA program must complete 10-12 concentration and elective courses. The fine arts program is intended for students who plan on pursuing additional studies in the field, while the Bachelor of Arts program is designed for those who want a broad education in the liberal arts. Courses that may be of interest to students focusing on photography include digital photography, color photography and basic photography.

University of North Carolina - Greensboro

The UNC campus in Greensboro offers a photography concentration within its BFA degree program. Students begin by taking art foundation courses throughout three semesters. The photography concentration includes 10 courses focused on photography in addition to nine credit hours of art electives. All students must also submit a piece of work to exhibit during their senior year. Courses in the concentration cover topics like photojournalism, photographic processes, scanning negatives and photography techniques. Students may also have a chance to work with photo-based software programs such as Adobe Photoshop.

School Comparison Table

School Name School Type and Setting Photography Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2018-2019)
Appalachian State University 4-year; public; distant town Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art with an emphasis in photography,
Bachelor of Science in Commercial Photography
$7,364 in-state; $22,171 out-of-state*
Carteret Community College 2-year; public; distant town Certificate in Photographic Technology,
Associate in Applied Science in Photographic Technology
$2,696 in-state; $9,224 out-of-state*
Catawba Valley Community College 2-year; public; small city Certificate in Photographic Technology,
Associate in Applied Science in Photographic Technology
$2,347 in-state; $7,723 out-of-state*
East Carolina University 4-year; public; small city Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in photography,
Master of Fine Arts with a concentration in photography
$7,188 in-state; $23,465 out-of-state*
McDowell Technical Community College 2-year; public; fringe rural Certificate in Photographic Technology,
Associate in Applied Science in Photographic Technology
$1,926 in-state; $6,534 out-of-state*
Randolph Community College 2-year; public; fringe town Associate in Applied Science in Photographic Technology: Commercial Photography, Photojournalism, or Portrait Studio Management $2,373 in-state; $8,133 out-of-state*
University of North Carolina - Asheville 4-year; public; small city Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in photography,
Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in photography
$7,145 in-state; $23,868 out-of-state*
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill 4-year; public; small city Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art
$8,987 in-state; $35,170 out-of-state*
University of North Carolina - Greensboro 4-year; public; large city Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in photography $7,331 in-state; $22,490 out-of-state*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

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