Best Photography Degrees 2022

Earning a photography degree can lead to exciting career opportunities. Here, we rank and review the five best bachelor's programs for 2022.

Best Photography Degrees 2022

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Photography Bachelors Degrees

Many aspiring photographers begin their artistic careers with a bachelor's degree in photography. Suited to creative, patient, and observant students, photography programs cultivate creativity, visual intelligence, and sophisticated technical skills.

To enter college, first-year applicants usually need official transcripts and a high school or GED diploma. Good schools also typically require above-average grades, test scores, and recommendation letters. Students can apply to photography bachelor's programs by completing associate degree-level coursework and submitting work samples.

A bachelor's degree in photography can support diverse careers in fashion, news media, or forensics. Graduates can work as portrait or wedding photographers, nature photographers, or fine arts photographers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), photographers earn a median annual salary of $41,280. The BLS also projects photographer jobs to grow 17% during 2020-2030. Talented photography graduates may also develop lucrative careers in the arts, graphic design, journalism, or film.

What Are the Goals of a Photography Degree?

Students interested in a photography degree can choose from bachelor of arts, bachelor of fine arts, and bachelor of science photography programs. Bachelor of science degrees and bachelor of fine arts degrees feature more professional and technical courses in photography. A bachelor of arts degree includes more liberal arts coursework. As an interdisciplinary degree, the BA can prepare graduates for diverse career paths or graduate programs.

Many photography bachelor's degrees focus on technical equipment skills and visual literacy. They also teach professional knowledge of the photography industry. Core photography coursework usually covers photography principles, digital photography, and photography history. Many programs offer curriculum concentrations in fine arts photography, professional photography, and film.

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Why Get a Photography Degree?

Bachelor's degrees in photography offer many personal and professional advantages. Graduates build creative expression, technical proficiency, and evaluative skill. Many photography programs also focus on business knowledge and resources useful to photography entrepreneurs and freelancers.

The best photography degrees require students to produce original photographs, projects, and artist's statements. This work helps learners creatively express values, interests, and sensibilities.

Photography majors graduate with at least one professional portfolio that can help them find jobs. The portfolio contains collections of images and project statements that showcase the student's capabilities.

A bachelor's degree in photography also cultivates advanced visual intelligence and critical evaluation skills. Enrollees regularly analyze, critique, and improve their own and other students' work.

Since many photographers work as freelancers, many photography programs cover the business of photography, building knowledge and skills in entrepreneurship and marketing.

Many photography programs admit cohorts of students that move through the program together. Participants build collaborative and supportive connections that also can help graduates find jobs and collaborators later in their career.

What Are the Requirements for a Photography Degree?

Photography bachelor's programs typically require applicants to submit official transcripts demonstrating possession of a high school or GED diploma. The best photography degrees often require applicants to have a minimum 3.0 GPA and good test scores. But not all programs require standardized test scores. For admission into the photography major, applicants usually submit a photography portfolio and positive recommendation letters.

A photography bachelor's degree typically requires about 60 general education credits. Students also take about 60 major-related credits, including elective or concentration coursework in an area of interest. Photography programs often feature internships, capstone projects, or portfolios that build technical and creative skills.

How Much Will a Photography Degree Cost?

A bachelor's degree in the U.S. costs on average $35,720 per year, according to EducationData.org. In-state students at public universities typically pay the lowest tuition. Some public institutions offering online programs charge in-state prices to all distance learners, regardless of location. Private universities typically charge higher tuition rates, though this figure is not based on state residency.

Students also need to budget for school fees, textbooks, and supplies. In addition, learners should consider cost of living expenses such as food, housing, and transportation.

To help pay for a photography degree, seek out grants and scholarships, which do not require repayment after graduation. Low-interest government and private loans can also reduce immediate out-of-pocket costs, though students must repay them with interest.

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Choosing the Right Photography School

Choosing the right photography school requires careful evaluation of many factors. After reviewing our rankings list, keep the following factors in mind.

Accreditation ensures your chosen school and program meets certain academic quality standards. Some financial aid opportunities also require students to attend accredited schools.

School size often impacts the student-to-faculty ratio, diversity of academic offerings, and the number of student clubs and organizations available. Students should consider their priorities to find the right campus for them.

Choose a program that employs skilled instructors. Explore the photography faculty's portfolios to learn about their specializations and skills. Find out whether they participate in local art shows or hold any awards.

Photography can be a competitive field to break into. Look for a school with career services that meet the needs of photographers and artists, such as portfolio building.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Photography Degrees

Is a degree in photography worth it?

Yes. Some photographers do succeed in this skills-based field without earning a formal degree. However, photography programs provide valuable feedback, internships, and networking that can make them worth the investment.

What kind of degree do you need for photography?

Many freelance photographers do not hold a degree in photography. However, non-freelancers often need degrees to qualify for photography work in fields such as journalism.

Is photography a good career?

Yes. Studying photography can lead to very diverse career paths and experiences. Many successful photographers enjoy creative, artistic careers. In addition, the BLS projects 18,900 new photography jobs between 2020 and 2030.

Do photographers get paid well?

Yes. However, salary depends heavily on employer, industry, and credentials. According to the BLS, photographers earn a median $19.85 hourly pay. Those who work in broadcasting and for newspapers earn the highest hourly wages. Media and communication equipment roles pay an hourly wage of $24.46, higher than the national average for all occupations.

Best Photography Degrees 2022

#1

Brigham Young University-Provo

School Information
Location Provo, Utah
Admission Rate 67%
Graduation Rate 78%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 12% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The photography BFA program at Brigham Young University-Provo, which offers 183 bachelor's degrees, helps students reach their goals. This photography program encourages the knowledge and skills required for diverse career paths. After completing a bachelor's degree, graduates can continue their education in master's programs.

The bachelor's curriculum covers the major principles and methods in photography. Undergraduates also strengthen writing, communication, and critical thinking skills through general education classes. Students gain interdisciplinary skills by declaring a minor or second major.

The school's student services department help incoming degree candidates integrate into the larger campus community. For example, career counselors work with enrollees to determine their professional goals and create a plan to reach them.

Brigham Young University-Provo at a Glance:

Location: Provo, Utah

Type of School: Private

Admissions Rate: 67%

Undergrad Tuition In State: $5,790

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $5,790

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#2

Spelman College

School Information
Location Atlanta, Georgia
Admission Rate 43%
Graduation Rate 75%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

The bachelor's in photography degree at Spelman College, a private institution, stands out for its academic quality. From its campus in Atlanta, Georgia, the school enrolls degree-seekers in on-campus and online programs. Undergraduates benefit form flexible course options and rigorous academic standards.

The bachelor's in photography program includes general education and major courses that emphasize key skills and knowledge. The general education curriculum includes courses in diverse academic subjects like the humanities, math, and natural sciences. Advanced photography courses cover theoretical and practical topics, preparing graduates for the workforce or a higher degree.

Spelman College at a Glance:

Admissions Rate: 43%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 10-to-1

Total Bachelor's Programs: 35

Undergrad Tuition In State: $25,942

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $25,942

Graduation Rate: 75%

Average Graduate Earnings After Six Years: $34,700

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#3

State University of New York at New Paltz

School Information
Location New Paltz, New York
Admission Rate 45%
Graduation Rate 77%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 15% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The bachelor's in photography program at State University of New York at New Paltz, a public institution, prepares graduates for the workforce. Degree-seekers can enroll in online classes and take in-person courses on the New Paltz campus. The school's flexible course options, along with high academic standards, meet the needs of many undergraduates.

The bachelor's degree in photography curriculum combines upper-division photography classes with general education courses. Courses in math, the humanities, and the natural sciences meet general education requirements. Advanced photography courses cover theoretical and practical topics, preparing graduates for the workforce or a higher degree.

State University of New York at New Paltz at a Glance:

Admissions Rate: 45%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 16-to-1

Total Bachelor's Programs: 64

Undergrad Tuition In State: $7,070

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $16,980

Average Amount Aid Awarded: $9,513

Graduation Rate: 77%

Average Graduate Earnings After Six Years: $36,000

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#4

Rhode Island School of Design

School Information
Location Providence, Rhode Island
Admission Rate 26%
Graduation Rate 89%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

The BFA in photography program at Rhode Island School of Design, which offers 16 bachelor's programs, stands out for its excellent reputation. This photography degree builds broad knowledge and skills that prepare students for entry- and mid-level careers. Graduates also apply to master's programs, which open up additional career opportunities.

The bachelor's curriculum trains learners in the core principles and practices of photography. Undergraduates also take general education courses, which strengthen communication, analytical, and critical thinking skills. Students can complement their degree with a minor or second major.

Incoming degree candidates benefit from the school's strong student services support. For example, career counselors recommend job training workshops and offer career assessments.

Rhode Island School of Design at a Glance:

Location: Providence, Rhode Island

Type of School: Private

Admissions Rate: 26%

Undergrad Tuition In State: $51,800

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $51,800

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#5

SUNY at Purchase College

School Information
Location Purchase, New York
Admission Rate 52%
Graduation Rate 61%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 2% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The BFA in photography program at SUNY at Purchase College, a public institution, earns top marks. Degree-seekers enroll in online classes and take in-person courses on the Purchase campus. Undergraduates benefit from strong student support services and rigorous academics.

Majors earn a bachelor's degree after taking photography and general education courses. Students meet general education requirements by taking classes in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Advanced photography courses cover theoretical and practical subjects, training graduates for entry-level careers or further education.

SUNY at Purchase College at a Glance:

Admissions Rate: 52%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14-to-1

Total Bachelor's Programs: 48

Undergrad Tuition In State: $7,070

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $16,980

Average Amount Aid Awarded: $8,878

Graduation Rate: 61%

Average Graduate Earnings After Six Years: $31,300

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