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Virginia Beach Digital Photography Universities with Degree Info

Virginia Beach has a few schools within a 40-mile radius that offer photography programs. Learn about the degree programs, admission info and program requirements for three of these schools to make an informed education decision.

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Digital Photography Schools in Virginia Beach

Digital photography courses and programs can typically be found at schools that offer degrees and concentrations in art, photography or visual communications, such as the three public institutions highlighted in the paragraphs below. Information about the cost of attendance, financial aid and admissions can be found in the table below.

  • Aspiring photographers may want to explore the 2-year program in studio arts with a specialization in photographic media arts at Tidewater Community College in Portsmouth. This degree program is available through the college's Visual Arts Center, located about 15 miles from Virginia Beach.
  • Digital photography enthusiasts can also earn an associate's degree through Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton, Virginia. Located around 25 miles from Virginia Beach, the college offers two programs that award an Associate of Applied Science in Photography, with the second featuring a specialization in visual communications.
  • Christopher Newport University offers a 4-year fine arts program with a concentration in studio art that includes a course in digital photography, as well as a class in advanced digital imaging and printing. The university is located a little over 40 miles from Virginia Beach.

Comparison of Schools

This table can help you decide if you want to start training for a digital photography career at a community college or university. In addition to tuition, it includes information about graduation and retention rates and school size.

Tidewater Community College Thomas Nelson Community College Christopher Newport University
School Type 2-year; public 2-year; public 4-year; public
Total Enrollment (2017) 22,776* 8,286* 5,081*
Campus Setting Midsize city Midsize city Midsize city
Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $5,434 in-state; $11,362 out-of-state* $4,679 in-state; $10,607 out-of-state* $13,654 in-state; $25,850 out-of-state*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Any Form of Aid (2016-2017) 70%* 65%* 76%*
Acceptance Rate (2017) N/A - Open admissions* N/A - Open admissions* 72%*
Retention Rate (2017) 61% for full-time students; 38% for part-time students* 60% for full-time students; 40% for part-time students* 88% for full-time students*
Graduation Rate 20% (for those who began their studies in 2014)* 19% (for those who began their studies in 2014)* 75% (for those who began their studies in 2011)*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

Tidewater Community College (TCC)

TCC offers an Associate of Applied Arts in Studio Arts. Graduates may find positions as freelance or agency photographers or photography assistants.

Associate of Applied Arts in Studio Arts with a Specialization in Photographic Media Arts

In the first semester of this program, students learn about the fundamentals of design, the history of art and take an introductory photography course. The second semester focuses on video techniques, digital image creation and manipulation, and the history of photography. Students develop skills in drawing and graphic design for studio arts during the third semester and study studio lighting. During the last term, students can choose two studio electives with the instructor's permission and complete a course in advanced photography. This final semester provides students with instruction and guidance in working on creating a portfolio and preparing a resume.

Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC)

This 2-year public college is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. TNCC, which is part of the Virginia Community College System, offers a variety of certificate and degree programs, including two associate's degree programs that provide training in photography.

Associate of Applied Science in Photography

During the course of this program, students learn how to operate a digital camera and produce professional digital photographs. Basic photography functions, such as adjusting the camera lens and setting shutter speeds are examined, while the advanced photography course involves hands-on practice in different settings. Darkroom procedures, lighting, drawing and the history of photography are also covered. The digital photography courses address image production, manipulation and photo editing software.

Photography electives can provide students with the chance to explore photojournalism and how visual mediums, like radio, computers and television, have influenced the 21st century. Students use their own cameras to perform laboratory exercises and practice; photography assignments are subject to critique. In preparation for an entry-level position in photography, instructors review students' portfolios and resumes toward the end of the program.

Associate of Applied Science in Photography with a Specialization in Visual Communications

The visual communications emphasis is very similar to the general photography track, but this program focuses more on how digital images are used in different mediums. Students learn how to work with color photographs, print negatives and combine photographs with illustrations. Sequential courses in studio lighting examine color filtration, flashes and studio conditions.

Artistic topics, like typography and drawing, teach prospective digital photographers how to design projects with proper spacing, font size and weight. Basic and advanced photography and fundamental digital photography classes are required, as is a class in formatting large photographs. This specialization explores computerized graphic design and careers in photography.

Christopher Newport University

Located in Newport News, Virginia, the university offers a variety of programs for prospective photography students, including a studio art major and a photography and video art minor.

Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art, Minor in Photography and Video Art

The studio art program provides students with the opportunity to take courses in the arts, including several relevant photography classes. Major coursework includes 2-D and 3-D design, drawing and digital media. Within the 18-credit minor, students take classes in introductory and advanced photography, advanced digital imaging and printing, advanced darkroom photography and digital photography. Additional topics include video art, film, theory and culture, and modern or contemporary art. Students also participate in a seminar in studio art and create a portfolio, in addition to exhibiting samples of their creative work in the school's gallery during their senior year.

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