Photography Schools

The Best Photography Schools in the U.S. 2018

Many artists can remember the first time they took, or saw, an exceptional photo that inspired them to pursue photography as a full-time profession rather than just a hobby. With technological advances that have expanded the convenience and popularity of photography, there are millions of people everyday who actively contemplate their potential as a professional photographer. But what does it really take to make the transition from amateur to professional? What skills are needed to be successful (and employable)? Is a traditional degree-granting education necessary to excel in the industry, or is it possible to learn the essential concepts and techniques through self-guided training?

The purpose of this guide is to explore the option of earning a traditional degree from a college or university. We provide a separate, in-depth guide to online classes and self-guided online training on our photography classes page. Today, there are a large number of exceptional schools with photography programs that develop a student’s aesthetic and conceptual skills while providing concentrated coursework in the fundamental principles of photography. These schools will help students master essential photography methods and techniques, including: the basic parts of a camera and how to use them, aperture, ISO, and shutter speed, exposure, focus and depth of field, color balance, lighting, and composition. The best photography degree programs will also build a student’s overall professional readiness by developing their conceptual knowledge of the fine arts and their creative problem-solving skills. Here, we begin with a list of the nation’s best photography schools, followed by an extensive guide about how to choose a school and what learning outcomes to expect from a photography program.

Search through hundreds of schools that offer the Photography programs you are looking for, simply select the program from the drop down below:

  • 01

    School of the Art Institute of Chicago

    36 S. Wabash Ave. Chicago, IL 60603

    Since 1866, School of the Art Institute of Chicago has been committed to academic excellence, interdisciplinary exploration and the enrichment of each student’s artistic inquiry and experimentation.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 3,591
    • img Visit School Website
  • 02

    Rochester Institute of Technology - College of Imaging Arts & Sciences

    1 Lomb Memorial Dr, Rochester, New York 14623-5603

    The College of Imaging Arts and Sciences at the Rochester Institute of Technology offers students a vibrant and diverse community with expert faculty and an education that is consistently recognized among leading universities and top-tier international centers of higher learning.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 16,639
    • img Visit School Website
  • 03

    Yale University - School of Art

    1156 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT 06520

    Founded in 1864, Yale School of Art is one of the nation’s oldest and prestigious of educational institutions. Iconic faculty & distinguished alumni continue to define artistic evolvement on a global scale.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 12,385
    • img Visit School Website
  • 04

    CalArts (California Institute of the Arts)

    24700 McBean Pkwy, Valencia, CA 91355

    Educating students since 1970, Newsweek Magazine and The Daily Beast have ranked CalArts as the nation’s top college of the arts. Its six schools offer rigorous graduate and undergraduate degree programs.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 1,448
    • img Visit School Website
  • 05

    Rhode Island School of Design

    2 College St, Providence, RI 02903

    Nestled amidst the picturesque New England seaboard, Rhode Island School of Design has long been one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious colleges offering rigorous art programs at both an undergraduate and graduate level.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 2,481
    • img Visit School Website
  • 06

    University of New Mexico - Department of Art

    1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001

    The University of New Mexico’s Department of Art has a tri-fold commitment to its community comprised of art historians, art educators and studio artists; to provide a learning environment where intellectual discourse can thrive, creativity will be nurtured and experimentation inspired. Utilizing intellectual energy to cross boundaries is encouraged, as is an interdisciplinary approach to specialization.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 27,285
    • img Visit School Website
  • 07

    UCLA School of the Arts & Architecture

    405 Hilgard Ave Los Angeles, CA 90095

    Located in the heart of one of the world’s cultural centers, the UCLA School of Art emphasizes the necessity of a profound interdependence between the creative arts and academic scholarship. Drawing from the richness of the surrounding culture, the School hosts a distinguished, world-famous faculty who effectively combine studio-based experience with critical studies and liberal arts. As part of a leading research university, students are guaranteed an exclusive and empowering education.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 41,908
    • img Visit School Website
  • 08

    School of Visual Arts

    209 East 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010

    Founded in 197, SVA is a for-profit art and design educational institution located in New York offering 11 bachelor’s programs & 22 graduate options. SVA emphasizes excellence in expression and responsible industry participation.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 4,408
    • img Visit School Website
  • 09

    Arizona State University - School of Art

    810 S. Forest Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85287

    The School of Art in the ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts offers students a wide-breadth of disciplines from which to choose, as well as an extensive spectrum of studio art instruction, museum studies, art history and art education. The school emphasizes the importance of innovation and boundry-breaking, risk taking, effective mentoring, artistic vision, academic excellence and affordable tuition.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 51,984
    • img Visit School Website
  • 10

    Columbia College of Chicago - School of Fine & Performing Arts - Photography

    600 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605

    The internationally known Photography Department at the Columbia College of Chicago's School of Fine and Performing Arts offers renowned facilities and faculty for visual thinkers and communicators. Academic program options include four concentrations in Photography: Commercial, Fine Art, Photojournalism, and Fashion.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 8,961
    • img Visit School Website
  • 11

    University of Arizona - College of Fine Arts - Photography Division

    1017 N Olive Rd., Music Bldg, Rm 111

    The Photography Division at the University of Arizona’s College of Fine Arts encourages both students and faculty to conduct rigorous investigation into the core nature and representation of photography and the role the discipline plays in communities, nations and globally. Values such as: expressive inquiry, personal responsibility for professional development and maturity of vision permeate the learning atmosphere, ensuring excellence in achievement before commencement.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 42,595
    • img Visit School Website
  • 12

    Maryland Institute College of Art

    1300 W Mount Royal Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21217

    Founded in Baltimore in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is one of the oldest art colleges in the U.S. For undergraduate education in the fine arts and its MFA programs, U.S. News & World Report has ranked MICA as one of the top colleges in the nation. Parade Magazine has ranked it in the Top 2 Studio Arts Programs in the U.S.; and The Princeton Review consistently names it a “Best Northeastern College.”

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 2,197
    • img Visit School Website
  • 13

    College for Creative Studies

    201 East Kirby, Detroit, MI 48202

    Established in 1906, the College for Creative Studies is a small, private, fully-accredited institution of higher learning. Diversity and inclusion characterize the student body: undergraduates hail from 35 states and 24 countries; while the graduate population is comprised of 81% international enrollees from 8 countries. Located in Midtown Detroit, students enjoy the long-established, rich culture of the city. From the Detroit Film Theatre and the Detroit Institute of Arts; to the libraries, galleries and famous restaurants; both college and students can leverage the educational opportunities provided by the urban community.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 1,487
    • img Visit School Website
  • 14

    Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts

    Pollak Bldg, 325 N Harrison St #201, Richmond, VA 23284

    The recipient of a multitude of awards and recognition from across the globe; VCUART demonstrates it student support by having one of the lowest tuition rates of the nation’s Top 10 Art Institutions.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 30,918
    • img Visit School Website
  • 15

    California College of the Arts

    5212 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94618

    With 22 undergraduate degree programs, 12 graduate programs and international study options; California College of the Arts successfully balances tradition with innovation and theory with practice. Students enjoy an 8:1 student/teacher ratio and class sizes averaging 13 students.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 1,975
    • img Visit School Website
  • 16

    Massachusetts College of Art & Design

    621 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115

    With its legacy beginning in 1873, Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt), is public, independent, and one of the nation’s oldest art schools. Stressing diversity and inclusiveness, MassArt fosters and encourages community-building, within and outside the college. Challenging students to transcend traditional boundaries, MassArt addresses the learning process within each student from a holistic standpoint. Valuing art as a life-enhancing force, there is an emphasis on academic excellence as a foundation for greatness.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 1,990
    • img Visit School Website
  • 17

    Washington University in St. Louis - Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts

    One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130

    The Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts encompasses 3 distinct entities, each rich in history: The College of Art was established in 1879, and is the nation’s only art school to have fathered a major metropolitan art museum. Founded in 1910, the College of Architecture was one of only 10 members who created the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. The third entity is the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum founded in 1881; and is famous for being the 1st museum of art, west of the Mississippi River.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 14,688
    • img Visit School Website
  • 18

    Brigham Young University - Department of Design

    155 East 1230 North, Provo, UT 84602

    With 4 departments and 3 schools dedicated to the arts, BYU offers everything a student could imagine. There are 11 art galleries, 55 practice rooms & performance groups annually tour 8 countries/140 cities.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 33,469
    • img Visit School Website
  • 19

    Tisch School of the Arts (NYU)

    721 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

    Tisch School of the Arts at NYU is famous not only for its ability to develop scholars, artists and entrepreneurs, but also for the well-known success of its graduates. The accomplishments of alumni are annually recognized by world-renowned achievement at festivals, awards and via fellowships.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 50,027
    • img Visit School Website
  • 20

    University of Michigan - Department of Photography

    500 South State Street, LSA Building, Room 0246, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1382

    The University of Michigan’s Department of Photography stresses artful development in a wide-range of techniques; from the traditional darkroom to the discipline’s latest digital formats. Through a blending of aesthetic and technical knowledge, students are encouraged to develop innovative vision and creations. The Department offers classes located in 3 separate facilities as well as resources housed in the Kresge Art Center.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 43,651
    • img Visit School Website
  • 21

    Bowling Green University - College of Technology, Architecture & Applied Engineering

    110 McFall Center, Bowling Green, OH 43403

    Bowling Green University’s College of Technology, Architecture & Applied Engineering maximizes employment opportunities for graduates by rooting education in hands-on experience in a real-world setting. Evidencing their approach is the graduation requirement of each student having had 2-3 co-op positions (paid jobs); the balanced mixture of hands-on and lecture experiences in the classroom, and their exceptional job placement ratios post-graduation.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 16,908
    • img Visit School Website
  • 22

    Drexel University - Westphal College of Media Arts & Design

    3141 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104

    Drexal’s Westphal College offers an impressive range of degree options; 19 in the undergraduate program alone. Building on a solid foundation of visual studies, Westphal inspires a sense of experimentation and expansion of visual horizons.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 25,595
    • img Visit School Website
  • 23

    Syracuse University - Newhouse School of Public Communications

    202 Crouse College, Syracuse, NY 13244

    The Newhouse School of Communication at Syracuse University is one of the nation's leading schools for communication. Students earning a bachelor's degree in Photography will learn the art of storytelling while using the latest technology in one of two primary learning tracks: illustration photography or photojournalism.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 21,789
    • img Visit School Website
  • 24

    University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign

    901 West Illinois Street, Urbana, IL 61801

    Aware of the synergy created when research is blended with the visionary nature of the visual, environmental and performing arts; the College offers a program rich in vibrant expression.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 45,842
    • img Visit School Website
  • 25

    Ohio University - College of Fine Arts

    528 Seigfred Hall, Athens, Ohio 45701

    For over 80 years, Ohio University’s College of Fine Arts has been an internationally significant hub of creativity, scholarship and practice. By celebrating innovative creativity and academic excellence, the College has successfully influenced generations of graduates. Alumni have gone on to inspire growth and expression via leadership positions resulting in art initiatives reflecting a diversity of ideas and cultures.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 29,157
    • img Visit School Website
  • 26

    University of Iowa - School of Art & Art History

    150 Art Building West, 141 N Riverside Drive, Iowa City, Iowa 52242

    The University of Iowa’s School of Art & Art History has 2 Divisions: the Studio Art Division and the Art History Division; both of which embody a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach. Since 1936, graduates have enjoyed a wide-range of success as professors of art, professional artists, theater designers, museum directors and curators as well as commercial designers—just to name a few.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 30,844
    • img Visit School Website
  • 27

    University of Oregon - Department of Art

    5232 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403

    The University of Oregon’s Department of Art is integral to a major research university, obviating the Department’s vast resources for its 500 majors. Located in the lush environment of the Northwest, the Department’s curricula embrace a wide range of media through which students learn: diverse practices, the inextricable link between thinking and making, material techniques, technical skills, and the modalities of conceptual thinking and critical understanding.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 24,032
    • img Visit School Website

SEARCH OUR PROGRAM DATABASE

Explore art and design programes with our comprehensive list of NASAD accredited colleges and universities. Search by degree level, program type, or state location.

School Name Program Name Details
Academy of Art University 79 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105 Certificate in Photography Request Information
Academy of Art University 79 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105 Associate of Arts - Photography Request Information
Academy of Art University 79 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Academy of Art University 79 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105 Master of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Academy of Art University 79 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105 Associate of Arts - Photography and Motion Capture Technologies Request Information
Academy of Art University 79 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Academy of Art University 79 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography and Motion Capture Technologies Request Information
Academy of Art University 79 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105 Master of Arts - Phototgraphy Request Information
Academy of Art University 79 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105 Master of Arts - Photography and Motion Capture Technologies Request Information
Academy of Art University 79 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105 Master of Fine Arts - Photography and Motion Capture Technologies Request Information
Alfred University, New York State College of Ceramics 2 Pine Street, Alfred, NY 14802 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Appalachian State University 287 Rivers St, Boone, NC 28608 Bachelor's of Art - Commercial Photography Request Information
Art Academy of Cincinnati 1212 Jackson Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202-7106 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Art Center College of Design 1700 Lida Street, Pasadena, CA 91107 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography and Imaging Request Information
Bradley University 1501 W Bradley Ave, Peoria, IL 61625 Master of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Brigham Young University Harris Fine Arts Center, A 501, Provo, UT 84602 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Bucks County Community College 275 Swamp Road, Newtown, PA 18940 Associate of Arts (Transfer Program) - Photography Request Information
Buffalo State, State University of New York 1300 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14222 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
California College of the Arts 5212 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94618 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
California Institute of the Arts 24700 McBean Parkway, Valencia, CA 91355 Certificate in Fine Arts - Photography and Media Request Information
California Institute of the Arts 24700 McBean Parkway, Valencia, CA 91355 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography and Media Request Information
California Institute of the Arts 24700 McBean Parkway, Valencia, CA 91355 Certificate in Advanced Art - Photography and Media Request Information
California Institute of the Arts 24700 McBean Parkway, Valencia, CA 91355 Master of Fine Arts - Photography and Media Request Information
California State University, Long Beach 1250 Bellflower Boulevard, Long Beach, CA 90840 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
California State University, Long Beach 1250 Bellflower Boulevard, Long Beach, CA 90840 Master of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
California State University, Long Beach 1250 Bellflower Boulevard, Long Beach, CA 90840 Master of Arts - Photography Request Information
California State University, Sacramento 6000 J. Street, Sacremanto, CA 95819 Bachelor's of Arts - Photography Request Information
Carson-Newman University South Russell Avenue, Jefferson City, TN 37614 Bachelor's of Arts - Photography Request Information
Casper College 125 College Drive, Casper, WY 82601 Associate of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Chabot College 25555 Hesperian Boulevard, Hayward, CA 94545 Associate of Arts - Photography Request Information
Cleveland Institute of Art 11610 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
College for Creative Studies 201 East Kirby Street, Detroit, MI 48202-4034 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
College International 454 West 19th Street, New York, NY 10011 Master of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
College of DuPage 425 Fawell Boulevard, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137 Certificate in Photography Technology Request Information
College of DuPage 425 Fawell Boulevard, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137 Associate of Arts - Photography Request Information
Columbus College of Art and Design 60 Cleveland Avenue, Columbus, OH 43215 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Corcoran School of the Arts and Design George Washington University 500 17th Street, Northwest, Washington, DC 20052 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photojournalism Request Information
Corcoran School of the Arts and Design George Washington University 500 17th Street, Northwest, Washington, DC 20052 Master of Arts - New Media Photojournalism Request Information
Cranbrook Academy of Art 39221 Woodward Avenue, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48303-0801 Master of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Delaware College of Art and Design 600 North Market Street, Wilmington, DE 19801 Associate of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Delaware County Community College 901 South Media Line Road, Media, PA 19603 Associate of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Drexel University 3141 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
East Tennessee State University 1276 Gilbreath Dr, Jefferson City, TN 37614 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Endicott College 376 Hale Street, Beverly, MA 1915 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Fashion Institute of Technology Seventh Avenue at 27th Street, New York, NY 10001 Associates of Art in Photography and Related Media Request Information
Fashion Institute of Technology Seventh Avenue at 27th Street, New York, NY 10001 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography and Related Media Request Information
Georgia State University P.O. Box 4107, Atlanta, GA 30302-3965 Master of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Grand Rapids Community College 143 Bostwick Northeast, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 Associate of Arts - Photography Request Information
Grand Rapids Community College 143 Bostwick Northeast, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 Associate of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Grand Valley State University 1 Campus Dr, Allendale, MI 49401 Bachelor's of Arts - Photography Request Information
Grand Valley State University 1 Campus Dr, Allendale, MI 49401 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Harrisburg Area Community College One HACC Drive, Harrisburg, PA 17110 Certificate in Photography Request Information
Harrisburg Area Community College One HACC Drive, Harrisburg, PA 17110 Associate of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Hartford Art School 200 Bloomfield Ave, West Hartford, CT 6117 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Hartford Art School 200 Bloomfield Ave, West Hartford, CT 6117 Master of Fine Arts - Photography (Low Residency) Request Information
Herron School of Art and Design Indiana University - Purdue University, Indianapolis 735 West New York Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Howard University 2455 Sixth Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20059 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Howard University 2455 Sixth Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20059 Master of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Illinois State University 100 N University St, Normal, IL 61761 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Illinois State University 100 N University St, Normal, IL 61761 Master of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, Columbus 4475 Central Avenue, Columbus, IN 47203 Certificate in Photography Request Information
Kansas City Art Institute 4415 Warwick Boulevard, Kansas City, MO 64111-1874 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Kean University 1000 Morris Avenue, Union, NJ 7866 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University 17 Fountain Street Northwest, Grand Rapids, MI 49503-3002 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University 17 Fountain Street Northwest, Grand Rapids, MI 49503-3002 Master of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Lesley University College of Art and Design 29 Everett Street, Cambridge, MA 2138 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Lesley University College of Art and Design 29 Everett Street, Cambridge, MA 2138 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography/Design Request Information
Lesley University College of Art and Design 29 Everett Street, Cambridge, MA 2138 Master of Fine Arts - Photography and Integrated Media Request Information
Lorain County Community College 1005 North Abbe Road, Elyria, OH 44035 Certificate in Photography Intensive Request Information
Louisiana Tech University 102 Design Building, Baton Rouge, LA 70803 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Louisiana Tech University 102 Design Building, Baton Rouge, LA 70803 Master of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Maine College of Art 522 Congress Street, Portland, ME 4101 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Maryland Institute College of Art 1300 West Mount Royal Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21217 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Maryland Institute College of Art 1300 West Mount Royal Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21217 Master of Fine Arts - Photographic and Electronic Media Request Information
Maryville University of Saint Louis 650 Maryville University Drive, Saint Louis, MO 63141 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography and Digital Art Request Information
Massachusetts College of Art and Design 621 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115-5882 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Memphis College of Art Overton Park 1930 Poplar Avenue, Memphis, TN 38104-5101 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Memphis College of Art Overton Park 1930 Poplar Avenue, Memphis, TN 38104-5101 Master of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Minneapolis College of Art and Design 2501 Stevens Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55404 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Minnesota State University Moorhead 1104 Seventh Avenue South, Moorhead, MN 56563 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Mississippi State University 75 B.S. Hood Dr., Mississippi State University, MS 39762 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Moore College of Art and Design 20th and The Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1179 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography and Digital Arts Request Information
Mount Ida College 777 Dedham Street, Newton Centre, MA 02459-3323 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
New Hampshire Institute of Art - Manchester Campus 148 Concord Street, Manchester, NH 3104 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
New Hampshire Institute of Art - Manchester Campus 148 Concord Street, Manchester, NH 3104 Certificate in Photography Request Information
New Hampshire Institute of Art - Peterborough Campus 30 Grove Street, Peterborough, NH 3458 Master of Fine Arts - Photography (Low Residency) Request Information
New Hampshire Institute of Art - Sharon Campus 457 Route 123, Sharon, NH 3458 Master of Fine Arts - Photography (Low Residency) Request Information
New Jersey City University 2039 Kennedy Memorial Boulevard, Jersey City, NJ 7305 Bachelor's of Arts - Photography Request Information
New Jersey City University 2039 Kennedy Memorial Boulevard, Jersey City, NJ 7305 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
New York Film Academy - Los Angeles 3300 West Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA 91505 Certificate in Photography Request Information
New York Film Academy - Los Angeles 3300 West Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA 91505 Master of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
New York Film Academy - Los Angeles 3300 West Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA 91505 Certificate in Photography Request Information
New York Film Academy - Los Angeles 3300 West Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA 91505 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
New York Film Academy - Los Angeles Campus 3300 West Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA 91505 Certificate in Photography Request Information
New York Film Academy - Los Angeles Campus 3300 West Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA 91505 Master of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
New York Film Academy - Los Angeles Campus 3300 West Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA 91505 Certificate in Photography Request Information
New York Film Academy - Los Angeles Campus 3300 West Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA 91505 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
New York Film Academy - Los Angeles Campus 3300 West Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA 91505 Certificate in Photography Request Information
New York Film Academy - Los Angeles Campus 3300 West Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA 91505 Master of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
New York Film Academy - Los Angeles Campus 3300 West Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA 91505 Certificate in Photography Request Information
New York Film Academy - Los Angeles Campus 3300 West Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA 91505 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
New York Film Academy - New York 17 Battery Place, New York, NY 10004 Certificate in Photography Request Information
New York Film Academy - New York Campus 17 Battery Place, New York, NY 10004 Certificate in Photography Request Information
New York Film Academy - New York Campus 17 Battery Place, New York, NY 10004 Certificate in Photography Request Information
New York Film Academy - South Beach 420 Lincoln Road, Suite 200, Miami Beach, FL 33139 Certificate in Photography Request Information
New York Film Academy - South Beach 420 Lincoln Road, Suite 200, Miami Beach, FL 33139 Bachelor of Arts - Photography Request Information
New York Film Academy - South Beach 420 Lincoln Road, Suite 200, Miami Beach, FL 33139 Master of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
New York Film Academy - Southbeach Campus 420 Lincoln Road, Suite 200, Miami Beach, FL 33139 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
New York Film Academy - Southbeach Campus 420 Lincoln Road, Suite 200, Miami Beach, FL 33139 Master of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
New York Film Academy - Southbeach Campus 420 Lincoln Road, Suite 200, Miami Beach, FL 33139 Master of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
New York Film Academy - Southbeach Campus 420 Lincoln Road, Suite 200, Miami Beach, FL 33139 Certificate in Photography Request Information
New York Film Academy - Southbeach Campus 420 Lincoln Road, Suite 200, Miami Beach, FL 33139 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
New York Film Academy - Southbeach Campus 420 Lincoln Road, Suite 200, Miami Beach, FL 33139 Master of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
New York Film Academy - Southbeach Campus 420 Lincoln Road, Suite 200, Miami Beach, FL 33139 Certificate in Photography Request Information
Normandale Community College 9700 France Avenue South, Bloomington, MN 55431 Associate of Arts - Photography Request Information
Oregon College of Art and Craft 8245 Southwest Barnes Road, Portland, OH 97225 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Parsons School of Design, The New School - New York Campus 66 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Parsons School of Design, The New School - New York Campus 66 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011 Master of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Parsons School of Design, The New School - New York Campus 66 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011 Professional Studies - Photography Request Information
Pennsylvania College of Art and Design 204 North Prince Street, Lancaster, PA 17608-0059 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Photographic Center Northwest 900 Twelfth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122 Certificate in Photography Request Information
Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Inc. 477 Melwood Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213 Certificate in Photography Request Information
Pratt Institute 200 Willoughby Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11205 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Purdue University 552 West Wood Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907 Bachelor's of Arts - Photography and Related Media Request Information
Purdue University 552 West Wood Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907 Master of Fine Arts - Photography and Related Media Request Information
Rhode Island School of Design Two College Street, Providence, RI 02903-2784 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Rhode Island School of Design Two College Street, Providence, RI 02903-2784 Master of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Ringling College of Art and Design 2700 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34234-5895 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography and Imaging Request Information
Rochester Institute of Technology 1 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY 14623-5603 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photographic and Imaging Arts Request Information
Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design 1600 Pierce Street, Denver, CO 80214 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Saint John's University 8000 Utopia Parkway, Queens, NY 11439 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Saint Louis Community College at Florissant Valley 3400 Pershall Road, Saint Louis, MO 63135 Associate of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Saint Louis Community College at Meramec 11333 Big Bend Boulevard, Saint Louis, MO 63122 Associate of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Sam Houston State University 1905 University Ave, Huntsville, TX 77340 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
San Francisco Art Institute 800 Chestnut Street, San Francisco, CA 94133 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
San Francisco Art Institute 800 Chestnut Street, San Francisco, CA 94133 Master of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
School of Visual Arts 209 East 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
School of Visual Arts 209 East 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010 Professional Studies - Digital Photography Request Information
School of Visual Arts 209 East 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010 Professional Studies - Fashion Photography Request Information
School of Visual Arts 209 East 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010 Master of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Sinclair Community College 444 West Third Street, Dayton, OH 45402 Certificate in Photographic Technology Request Information
Southern Illinois University Carbondale 1100 South Normal Avenue, Carbondale, IL 62901 Bachelor of Arts - Cinema and Photography Request Information
Southern Illinois University Carbondale 1100 South Normal Avenue, Carbondale, IL 62901 Master of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
State University of New York, Fredonia 280 Central Ave, Fredonia, NY 14063 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
State University of New York, New Paltz One Hawk Drive, New Paltz, NY 12561-2443 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Syracuse University 323 Hall of Languages, Syracuse, NY 13244 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Art Photography Request Information
Syracuse University 323 Hall of Languages, Syracuse, NY 13244 Master of Fine Arts - Art Photography Request Information
Tyler School of Art - Philadelphia Campus 2001 North 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Tyler School of Art - Philadelphia Campus 2001 North 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122 Master of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
University of Alabama in Huntsville 301 Sparkman Drive, Huntsville, AL 35899 Bachelor of Fine Arts- Photography Request Information
University of Cincinnati - Cincinnati Campus 2624 Clifton Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45221 Master of Fine Arts - Photography/Electronic Arts Request Information
University of Dayton 300 College Park, Dayton, OH 45469-2923 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
University of Florida 101 Fine Arts Bldg A, Gainesville, FL 32611 Master of Fine Arts - Creative Photography Request Information
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 601 East John Street, Champaign, IL 61820 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 601 East John Street, Champaign, IL 61820 Master of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
University of Kansas 1465 Jayhawk Boulevard, Lawrence, KS 66045 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
University of Oregon 511 Northwest Broadway, Portland, OR 97209 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
University of Oregon 511 Northwest Broadway, Portland, OR 97209 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
University of Oregon 1585 E 13th Ave, Eugene, OR 97403 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
University of South Dakota 414 East Clark Street, Vermillion, SD 57069 Master of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
University of the Arts 320 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Utah State University 4000 Old Main Hall, Logan, UT 84322 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Watkins College of Art, Design and Film 2298 Rosa L. Parks Boulevard, Nashville, TN 37228 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information
Watkins College of Art, Design and Film 2298 Rosa L. Parks Boulevard, Nashville, TN 37228 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Photography Request Information

How to Choose a Photography School

There are a wide variety of photography programs to match each student’s career goals and level of dedication; from certificate programs to master’s programs.  Certificate programs vary by school but can have anywhere from six to ten classes to full four-year programs. Associate degree programs, which provide a much stronger photography background that certificate courses, usually take two-years to complete. Bachelor’s degree programs in photography last about four-years and provide even more in-depth knowledge and training. Upon graduation from a bachelor’s program, students have a competitive edge and the skills necessary to succeed in the marketplace.  Master’s degree programs are typically two-years. Graduates can expect to enter the job market in management positions, such as a senior photographer or art director. 

Specialization 

Just as there are different types of photography, there are different photography schools that are stronger in some fields that others.  For example, if you want to specialize in sports photography, you probably want to choose a school that emphasizes photojournalism.  Someone who wishes to become a scientific photographer may want to research schools that also offer classes in science to gain an understanding of the field. A portrait photographer uses different techniques and skills than an industrial photographer, just as photographers who wish to work in advertising should take courses in advertising and marketing.  And, scenic or fine art photographers will benefit from schools that offer art classes.  All said, no matter what specialty you choose to pursue, many of the same elements you learn for one field or specialty will transfer to another. But, when you are considering schools, choose one that either offers a strong focus in your specialty or a school that gives you the opportunity to try a variety of techniques which can be used in a number of different fields. 

Most photography schools will offer basic classes in photography and the technical aspects of taking a photo no matter a student’s specialty. They will also offer classes in composition, lighting, and other practical techniques.  They will cover the different types of cameras, handling digital cameras or video cameras, and developing photos. Some programs will cover the used of digital editing and graphic design software, such as Photoshop, Pixlr Editor, Lightroom, Inkscape, GIMP, and Picasa.  Photography terminology and history are also classes you will probably take while earning your degree. 

Academic and Faculty Reputation

When you choose a school, you are essentially choosing your future. That’s why it is so important to weigh different factors, such as academics, against your decision.  According to the American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2014 survey, students at 234 colleges were asked why they chose one school over another.  Academic reputation came out on top with 64 percent saying a college with a very good academic reputation was their number one factor in school choice, saying it was even more important than what it cost to attend or location.  After all, the name of the college will forever appear on your resume. And, while school reputation is influenced by factors like marketing, the impact it has on school choice is no less real.  Check out sites like RateMyProfessors.com and StudentAdvisor.com to see what recent students and alumni think about a particular college campus. But, keep in mind that reviews are sometimes based on emotions, and have far less to do with academic reputation or educational quality than they do with emotions, so read more than one review. And, don’t base your school choice on only a few reviews, but also ask local professionals in the field of photography and see which ones have hired graduates. 

School accreditation is also a good indicator that a school meets high academic standards, but, non-accredited photography schools may also have strong programs. However, if you think you may go on to earn a graduate degree, or transfer to another college down the line, attending an accredited institution is the best way to go, as sometimes credits from a non-accredited school do not transfer. 

While academic reputation and school accreditation are vitally important, faculty reputation is also a very important factor to take into consideration when choosing a photography school. After all, college is, in a big way, shaped by your professors and school staff. Professors are paramount to a school’s success, but the work they do in class as mentors and advisors is equally important. The sense of connection with professors helps students feel like they belong, and they can advise students on internship and networking opportunities outside of class and after graduation. Because they are experts in the field of photography, they can also advise students on career options post-graduation.  And, although a positive student-professor relationship alone does not translate into good grades or academic success, students that establish relationships with their professors typically perform better. What do other students and graduates say about the professors at school’s you are considering?  Are the professors up-to-date with the latest technology, and are they professionals in the field who can advise you about the various career options in the field of photography?  Do you feel the professors will allow you to experiment with different photography techniques and help you discover your own way? 

Location

Location is definitely a determining factor when choosing a photography school. You might ask yourself if you’re willing to move out of state and pay higher out-of-state tuition?  If not, you may want to only consider schools in your local area. Keep in mind, however, that some states/schools offer tuition reciprocity programs to defray tuition costs for out-of-state students.

Keep in mind too that larger cities offer greater access to job opportunities, like fine arts photographer, or industrial photographer. However, with size also comes longer commute times and the potential for added distractions. Smaller towns offer a more intimate setting, less traffic and congestion, and a home town feel. And, just like the size of a city is important, the size of a campus should also factor into your school decision.  You may be more comfortable in a smaller school with smaller class sizes and a lower teacher-to-student ratio. On the other hand, you may like the social aspects of college life and find a larger university more to your liking. Smaller private institutes also offer much less in terms of activities outside of class, so this is also something to consider when choosing a school too.

There are also a few online and distance learning programs in photography for students who work, live in a remote area, or have other obligations that don’t allow frequent campus visits to attend class.  Online classes often allow you to learn at your own pace and can be less expensive, but you probably won’t have the opportunity to form those all-important mentoring relationships with professors or have the chance to form relationships with fellow students.  So, ask yourself if student comradery is important to your overall college experience and if you’ll miss the one-on-one attention from professors on campus if you choose to study online instead.

Search through hundreds of schools that offer the Photography programs you are looking for, simply select the program from the drop down below:

Degree & Major Requirements – What to Expect

Every school will have its own set of requirements for each degree or major. Sometimes degree requirements will be quite different, despite having the same name. That said, there are some general differences that exist among the various certificates and degrees available to students enrolling in a photography school, or enrolling in a university with a photography program embedded in its curriculum.

Photography Certificate 

Photography certificates are usually offer by community colleges and technical schools.  These programs allow students to learn the basics of photography in a very short time period.  Most certificate programs prepare students for entry-level jobs, like photography assistant.  What you’ll learn:  Fundamentals of photography, foundations of digital photography, history of photography, and foundations of film. You’ll also pick up skills, such as how to operate in a chemical darkroom developing photos, the creative use of photography software, such as Lightroom and Photoshop. You’ll learn how to use image-making techniques and the historic evolution of photography. 

Associate Degree in Photography 

There are two kinds of associate degrees in photography; an Associate of Arts in Photography, or an Associate of Science in Photographic Technology. They are most commonly offered at community colleges, but can sometimes also be found at art schools and some four-year colleges.  The coursework is more technical in nature (then a certificate program) and students learn the different types of photography and the many techniques used in the profession.  You’ll take classes in color photography, nature photography, studio photography, and the basics of photojournalism.  You’ll gain skills in how to use different lenses. You’ll learn about light and electronic flashes, techniques in setting up photos, and how to use transparency and negative film materials. 

Bachelor of Arts in Photography 

The Bachelor of Arts in Photography (sometimes called a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography) is typically offered at a four-year university or art institute. Students gain more in-depth knowledge of all aspects of photography and how to refine their creative eye.  A bachelor’s degree will prepare students for a career as a photographer in the many areas and specialties of photography. Most often, students are also required to take general education courses, such as English, science, art, math, and economics. A few of the classes that students may take at this level include, contemporary photography, photographic lighting techniques, narrative editorial photography, and advanced illustrative photography.  You will learn advanced techniques in the various editing software, how to use idea-based imagery in advertising, how to develop story ideas with the use of photography, and how to set up lighting in a studio or on location.  You’ll also learn things like exposure, digital inkjet printing, large format digital and film cameras, canning and spotting film, color theory, exhibition, curatorial, pricing, and publishing practices. 

A Master’s Degree in Photography

Master’s degree in Photography most commonly falls under the designation of a Master of Fine Arts, with an emphasis in Photography. These programs build on the knowledge and skills learned in a bachelor’s degree program and prepares students to work in fields that require advanced photographic skills and abilities, as well as a high-level of knowledge in all aspects of photography. You will receive training in history, theory, and the practice of photography and photographic technology; sets, lighting, scanning equipment digital imagery, and labs. Graduates may be able to work in marketing, documentary making, and journalism careers. 

When pursuing any degree in photography, it is prudent to ask yourself if the school offers a major in photography or in art with a concentration in photography.  Will you earn a BFA or a BA? Is a portfolio necessary to be accepted into the program? Does the school have well-maintained facilities with the latest technology and equipment? And, does the program focus on commercial photography? Fine Art Photography? Will I have the chance to combine my photography degree with classes in business?  Or, will I learn all aspects of photography which will prepare me for a career in most any field?

Search through hundreds of schools that offer the Photography programs you are looking for, simply select the program from the drop down below:

Other Factors To Consider

Does the college of your choice offer opportunities to complete an internship? Most programs have opportunities built in, but it is definitely worth checking out prior to signing up, as an internship will offer you invaluable hands-on experience working side-by-side industry professionals.  In smaller towns, these opportunities are limited, but not impossible to find. Larger towns will typically provide more internship opportunities, due to the high concentration of business serving larger populations, but this comes with more competition from other students and professional photographers who are competing for the same opportunities.  

And, ask yourself where you want to live. Out-of-state? In-state? Close to home or on the other side of the world. Do you prefer a small campus or a large city? Do you want to take the bus or train to school, or walk? If you plan to attend graduate or professional school, find out what percentage of graduates pursue an advanced degree, and if graduate-level opportunities are available at the college or university you are the most interested in attending. 

Keep an Open Mind

Although you may be certain about the direction you want to take your career in photography, keep in mind that about 75 percent of all students change their major at least once prior to graduation. If you start a program with a major in mind, and decide that you have a stronger interest in another area, make sure the credits you’ve earned will transfer to another school program, or consider changing your area of focus with the school you are currently attending.
There are a multitude of areas to pursue within the field of photography: 

  • Commercial Photography
  • Educational Imaging Specialists
  • Stock Photography
  • Food and Culinary Arts Photography
  • Wedding Photography
  • Photographic Artists, Technicians and Assistants
  • Police, Criminal Forensic Imaging, and Law Enforcement photography
  • Marine Film Specialists
  • Child photography
  • Aerial Photography
  • Special Effects (F/X) Photography
  • War Correspondent / Photographer
  • Portrait and Family photography
  • Architectural Photography
  • Glamour Photography
  • Magazine and Newspaper Photojournalism
  • Art Photography
  • Medical Photography
  • Fashion and Modeling Photography
  • Travel Photography
  • Photo Retouching and Digital Photo Editing
  • Document and Archive Photography
  • Nature Photography
  • Sports and Adventure Photography
  • Scientific Photography
  • Outdoor Photography

Search through hundreds of schools that offer the Photography programs you are looking for, simply select the program from the drop down below:

Helpful Resources

  • Interview with Joe Lekas, Photographer & Imaging Specialist

    Tammi Edwards
    Tammi EdwardsJun 16, 2012

    I started out intending to become an illustrator, actually. I would practice drawing by tracing over snapshots. Eventually, I began trying to actively increase the detail and contrast in those snapshots so that I would be able to draw over them better. In the end, I wou...

  • Interview with Rob Corpuz, Photographer

    Anna Ortiz
    Anna OrtizJun 17, 2012

    One of the fascinating things about any art form, is the philosophy behind it. In this article, you will meet a master of both his art and the theories which help create it. Here we profile Rob Corpuz, who's career path is a unique one, sure to intrique.

  • Get to Know the Artist:
    Diana De Rosa, Equine Photographer

    Anna Ortiz
    Anna OrtizJun 25, 2012

    Explore a career in Equine Photography with artist Diana De Rosa. Learn more about how she made a career in photography, and get expert tips & advice on growing your clientele and skills.

  • Becoming a Photographer - Why You Should Specialize

    Kathryn Pomroy
    Kathryn PomroyMay 22, 2017

    Photography is a broad career field, and there are many creative approaches that will lead to success. The question is, should you specialize in one area of photography or will casting a wide net provide more opportunity? Will you be more successful as a generalist?

  • 10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started My Art Career

    Anna Ortiz
    Anna OrtizJul 19, 2017

    The life of an artist is often glamorized, while the real challenges of being an artist tend to be glossed over. Here we provide a few tips on how to deal with early challenges, like facing criticism, dealing with frustration, and meeting the right people.