Best Photography Degrees

Bring a rewarding arts career into focus with one of the nation’s Best Bachelor’s in Photography degrees.

Best Bachelor s in Photography

Are you interested in how to best capture shape, light, and color with a 35mm lens? Or perhaps you want to apply your passion for photography in a digital landscape? Are you interested in Western art as well as contemporary and modern expression?

Then a degree in photography may be just for you!

What kind of Photography degree should you get?

Though each of the 30 photography programs ranked below are the best in the nation, they all vary a bit in emphasis and structure. It’s important to choose a program that not only fits your career goals but also one that will provide opportunities that promote your vision.

For example, while some colleges stress the importance of a global perspective, providing study abroad internships and requiring art and photography history classes, others are concerned with emerging and digital technologies.

You should also consider online or distance learning. Online education is both a flexible and affordable way to advance your education and career. So, be sure to check out College Choice’s 50 Best Online Colleges and Universities.

How much money do people make with a Photography degree?

If you’re thinking about a degree in photography, then you’ve probably already had to field questions about its career stability, or lack of. Perhaps your mom wants to know how you plan to make money.

Fret not. A degree in photography can open a lot of doors, and the field is a lucrative one. The average income of a photographer is around $42,850 a year. However, one can make upwards of $96,000 depending on their title.

What can you do with a Photography degree?

Though a degree in photography can easily put you on the path toward a creative career, there are also a number of other industries and professions in which the degree is highly applicable. For example, commercial photography includes everything from weddings to nonprofit and beyond.

And you can even go outside the traditional boundaries of film and digital photography by pursuing a career in:

  • Film and video production
  • Media planning
  • Digital marketing
  • Journalism

Whichever route you take, be sure to use your four years in college well. Develop a highly polished portfolio of your work that demonstrates your versatility and skill sets.

What are the requirements for a Photography degree?

Depending on the kind of school you attend, you may spend the first two years of your four-year degree completing your general education cores. However, some schools, like CalArts, give you all four years to explore a range of aesthetic fields and mediums.

Regardless, you can anticipate at least two years of concentrated study in the areas of photography craft and theory.

Your core photography classes will give you a foundation in the use of color, light, and shape while also providing practical instruction on such things as darkroom technique. From there you can develop your specialization through unique electives and minors.

Finally, most of these programs require either an internship or a capstone portfolio or both. We’ve been sure to note which.

What are the best Photography degrees?

Though some of these photography degrees are housed in small liberal arts schools and others in bustling research universities, all 30 share one thing in common: they are the nation’s best photography degrees.

To find the best photography programs, we looked extensively at all programs across the U.S. that offer a comprehensive degree. We then examined crucial determining factors such as reputation and retention. Finally, we brought in the tuition rates and graduate salaries to get an idea on the return on investment.

After thorough research we were able to determine the nation’s 30 best Bachelor’s in Photography degrees.

Our figures and information come from the university and colleges’ websites, PayScale, and nationally recognized U.S. News & World Report and The National Center for Education Statistics.

2018 Ranking

See our rankings methodology page.

1

Rochester Institute of Technology

College Choice Score: 100

Average Net Price: $29,111

School Website

Overview

The Rochester Institute of Technology is one of New York’s best engineering and polytechnic schools. It’s located in Henrietta, just outside of the metro Rochester area, and it’s organized into nine academic colleges, including the renowned College of Imaging Arts and Sciences. More than 16,000 students attend RIT.

Features

At Rochester Institute of Technology you can earn a BS or BFA in Photography and graduate ready for a career in many fields and industries. You’ll learn the ins and outs of everything from website imaging to creative development. In addition to the traditional fine art photography program, there are nearly a dozen specializations:

  • Advertising Photography
  • Biomedical Photography
  • Photographic Sciences
  • Photojournalism
  • And more

Notables

The College of Imaging Arts and Sciences is the University’s creative nexus, where technology and the fine arts intersect. It is home to several fine arts programs that are ranked among the top 10 best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

2

New York University

College Choice Score: 99.91

Average Net Price: $35,147

School Website

Overview

What better place to earn a fine arts degree in photography then in the world’s cultural center, New York City? NYU is located in the Greenwich Village neighborhood with international campuses around the world, from Madrid to Tel Aviv. NYU houses the Institute of Fine Arts, the Tisch School of the Arts, and the College of Arts and Science.

Features

NYU offers a degree in photography and imaging that integrates tradition with cutting-edge technology. Not only will students learn the digital approaches and techniques of photography, but they’ll study analog photography as well. In addition to completing an internship and portfolio, you will take a range of classes. Studio courses include:

  • Advanced Photoshop
  • Multimedia: Intro to New Media
  • Visual Thinking
  • Lighting: Theory and Practice

Notables

The Arts and Science division at NYU is the largest academic department. The Tisch School houses the illustrious Department of Photography and Imaging which gives students both an intensive arts curriculum and a liberal arts core.

3

Syracuse University

College Choice Score: 97.18

Average Net Price: $31,823

School Website

Overview

More than 22,000 students attend Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. Comprised of over a dozen discrete colleges and schools, SU is not only a leader in engineering, business administration, and library science, but the fine arts as well. Indeed, the College of Visual and Performing Art is considered one of the nation’s best fine art schools.

Features

For those specifically seeking a BFA in Art Photography, Syracuse offers the ideal program. Their program emphasizes aesthetically complex methods while providing technical guidance for you and your creative development. Syracuse does not favor one tradition, but allows students to explore and expand their creative scope. Core classes include:

  • Transmedia Synthesis
  • Advanced Digital Imaging
  • Interconnected Studio
  • Lighting for Photo

Notables

Syracuse University is home to the SU Art Galleries, the Warehouse Gallery, the Louise and Bernard Palitz Gallery, the Robert B. Menschel Photography Gallery, and much more. The University is not only nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, and Washington Monthly, but it is globally ranked as well.

4

Rhode Island School of Design

College Choice Score: 95.96

Average Net Price: $39,389

School Website

Overview

The Rhode Island School of Design is a premier fine arts school located in Providence. Students can earn degrees in everything from apparel design to landscape architecture, animation, furniture design, photography, and much more. RISD is a small school with under 2,500 combined undergraduate and graduate students.

Features

At RISD when you earn your Bachelor’s in Photography you will not only develop a cohesive portfolio, but you’ll learn how to cultivate and carry out creative goals. RISD ensures that you gain a liberal arts foundation as well, requiring courses that cover the theory, philosophy, and history of photography. You will also take classes such as:

  • Digital Photography
  • Histories of Photography I and II
  • Seminar in Issues and Images
  • Design I and II

Notables

RISD is a member of the elite Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design. Campus is home to more than 80,000 works of art, all housed in the RISD Museum. Further, the RISD campus is contiguous with Brown University’s campus, meaning the two schools share many of their social, academic, research, and community programs.

5

Yale University

College Choice Score: 95.05

Average Net Price: $18,319

School Website

Overview

Yale University hardly needs an introduction as the Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut. It is one of the best and oldest schools in the country. Yale is organized into fourteen colleges and schools, among them the Yale School of Fine Arts, established all the way back in 1869. Around 12,000 students attend Yale.

Features

When you become an art major at Yale you have the opportunity to specialize in photography while also taking a number of foundational art and theory courses. You will get to work in a variety of media while also studying art history and working on a portfolio. A sampling of unique coursework opportunities at Yale includes:

  • Capturing Light with Black and White Photography
  • Visualizing Identities in Race, Gender, Class, and Queerness
  • Contemporary Problems in Color with Digital Photography
  • Between Frames

Notables

Yale’s Fine Arts department is ranked first in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Likewise, the Yale School of Arts is top-ranked with several of its individual departments and sub-divisions among the best in the country, including its photography program.

6

Washington University St. Louis

College Choice Score: 94.14

Average Net Price: $28,824

School Website

Overview

Washington University St. Louis is a research-based university organized into nearly a dozen separate colleges and schools. Among them are the College of Arts & Sciences – the first school founded within WUSTL – the College of Art, and the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts. Around 15,000 students attend WUSTL.

Features

When you’re a photography student at WUSTL’s Sam Fox School you will learn through a range of means. You will study technique and craft but you will also explore contemporary critical perspective. You will become comfortable with large format studio photography as well as digital photography. Other opportunities at WUSTL include:

  • Pre-College and Summer programs
  • International study abroad opportunities in Berlin and Florence
  • Partnering with the Center for Health Research and Design

Notables

The WUSTL campus is home to the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, one of the most renowned and highly regarded university art collections in the U.S. The University as a whole is well ranked by U.S. News & World Report, Wall Street Journal, The Princeton Review, and much more. It’s unsurprisingly then that dozens of Nobel laureates have graduated from WUSTL.

7

American University

College Choice Score: 93.10

Average Net Price: $31,758

School Website

Overview

The American University is located in Washington, D.C and has more than 13,000 students. Organized into seven colleges and schools, American’s College of Arts and Science is both the oldest and largest school with more than 50 academic programs. The College is comprised of faculty who are nationally and internationally known artists in their genres and mediums.

Features

At American University you can earn a BA in Studio Art with a concentration in Photography. Through this program you will take studio courses in everything from painting and sculpture to video art and digital photography. This is a great program for those who want a broad-based art education. Core classes include:

  • The Historical Experience
  • Modern Art: Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
  • The Artist’s Perspectives

Notables

American is nationally ranked by Forbes, The Princeton Review, and U.S. News & World Report, among others. It is not only known for its academic excellence but its affordability in relation to its academic reputation.

8

University of Southern California

College Choice Score: 91.98

Average Net Price: $32,932

School Website

Overview

The University of Southern California is located in one of the most art-driven and culturally rich cities in the U.S.: Los Angeles, California. USC is one of the best schools on the West Coast and the oldest private university in California. It is not only a known leader in business and technology but in the fine arts and humanities as well.

Features

At USC you will first build a technical and conceptual foundation in photography. This includes classes on the basic 35mm camera as well as black-and-white analog. From there you will explore the aesthetic, theoretic, and historical approaches to photography while taking advanced studio classes. Other USC opportunities include:

  • Study abroad in Florence, Italy
  • The USC Roski Annual Student Exhibition
  • Access to the Helen Lindhurst Gallery
  • The Handtmann Prize for Photography

Notables

USC is nationally ranked among the top 25 best schools in the U.S. Likewise, the Roski School of Fine Arts is among the best fine arts colleges in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report, and the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences is the oldest, largest, and most renowned school in USC.

9

Brigham Young University

College Choice Score: 91.91

Average Net Price: $12,864

School Website

Overview

Brigham Young University is primarily located in Provo, Utah but has campuses throughout the state. It is most known for being owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and for its strict honor code. But BYU is also a leading arts university with several well-ranked departments and programs.

Features

BYU offers a BFA in Photography program that equally emphasizes technical skill, aesthetic development, career preparation, and visual arts historical knowledge. This broad program captures every angle of photography. You will graduate with a stunning portfolio and experience in a wide range of techniques. Classes include:

  • Introduction to Digital Imaging
  • Moving Image and Video Art
  • Introduction to Black-and-White Photography and Darkroom Techniques
  • Interpretative Portraiture

Notables

U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, The Princeton Review, BusinessWeek, and more each consider BYU one of the best schools in the nation. The university is praised for its academic programs as well as its affordability. In fact dozens of Rhodes, Gates, and Fulbright Scholars have attended BYU.

10

California Institute of the Arts

College Choice Score: 91.56

Average Net Price: $50,472

School Website

Overview

California Institute of the Arts, known as CalArts, is located in Valencia, California. It specializes in visual and performing arts with programs in everything from dance to music, theatre, fine arts, and film. CalArts is a small school with around 1,000 undergraduates.

Features

At CalArts you can earn a BFA in Photography and Media. This program equips you to apply theoretical analyses to your work as well as others’. You will study contemporary photography while also looking at the history and theory behind this medium. Though you have a lot of leeway when it comes to courses, you will be required to take the following:

  • History of Photography
  • Visual Semiotics
  • Critique and Exit
  • Technical workshops

Notables

CalArts is known for giving students creative license when it comes to their degree programs. Students are immersed in workshops where they develop their own projects throughout their four years at CalArts. They also work closely with faculty members who are nationally and internationally recognized artists.

11

University of Miami

College Choice Score: 90.44

Average Net Price: $37,424

School Website

Overview

The University of Miami is located in Coral Gables, Florida and is a research-based university. It is comprised of a dozen schools and colleges, through which it offers nearly 300 academic programs. Around 16,000 students attend Miami.

Features

Miami’s Department of Art and Art History offers a photography program that integrates traditional photography with alternative techniques, including a notable focus on digital imaging. You will become an expert in the darkroom as well as in the digital studio. You can graduate from Miami with a BA in Studio Art through the completion of classes such as:

  • 3D Design
  • Introduction to Electronic Media
  • Survey of Western Art I and II
  • Contemporary Art

Notables

For the eco-conscious, the University of Miami is committed to sustainability and has a number of LEED certified buildings on campus. In addition to its green reputation, the University is included on U.S. News & World Report’s list of “America’s Best Colleges.” Miami is equally praised by the likes of Forbes, The Princeton Review, and more.

12

Savannah College of Art and Design

College Choice Score: 89.93

Average Net Price: $40,856

School Website

Overview

The Savannah College of Art and Design is located in Savannah, Georgia but also has campuses in Atlanta and around the world. SCAD specializes in fine arts education, specifically in communication, architecture, fashion, design, media, and entertainment arts. Nearly 13,000 students attend SCAD.

Features

At SCAD you can earn either a BA or a BFA in Photography. While the BA program stresses visual communication concepts, the BFA is in traditional studio photography. Whichever route you take, SCAD ensures you have a solid foundation in drawing, design, and color. For example, core courses include:

  • Drawing I: Form and Space
  • Design I: Elements and Organization
  • Color: Theory and Application
  • Drawing II: Composition and Media

Notables

Though, of course, SCAD is known for being an elite arts school, it has also built a reputation for its study abroad program. Students are given the opportunity to study on the Lacoste, France or Hong Kong campuses. SCAD’s online programs are among the best in the country.

13

University of Oregon

College Choice Score: 88.91

Average Net Price: $15,355

School Website

Overview

Nestled in the Willamette Valley in Eugene, the University of Oregon is a flagship university. Carnegie has designated UO an active research university with its 19 research facilities and institutes. Organized into five colleges and seven professional schools, nearly 23,000 students attend UO.

Features

At the University of Oregon there are two primary ways to study photography. You can either become an art major and receive a broad education in studio photography as well as drawing and design, or you can major in art and technology and explore the intersections of photography and programming, imaging, and animation. Both require you take some core courses such as:

  • Understanding Contemporary Media
  • Drawing
  • Printmaking
  • Introduction to Animation

Notables

The fine arts departments at the University of Oregon have a long history and a renowned reputation. They are consistently included on U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of the 100 best fine arts schools in the nation. They also have a nationally renowned Journalism school, which offers Photojournalism majors.

14

University of Dayton

College Choice Score: 88.56

Average Net Price: $34,019

School Website

Overview

The University of Dayton is located in Dayton, Ohio. It is a private Catholic school founded by the Society of Mary. Approximately 10,000 combined undergraduate and graduate students attend the University of Dayton, enrolled in one of their many academic or professional programs.

Features

The University of Dayton offers a BFA in Photography that emphasizes visual culture and communication. The University encourages students to pursue a range of photographic applications in addition to creative photography, such as commercial, journalistic, or scientific photography. Dayton’s core is comprised of classes such as:

  • History of Photography I and II
  • Color Photography I and II
  • Alternative Photography
  • Modernisms in Art

Notables

The University of Dayton is a highly regarded research university. And though it is known for its  many research centers, facilities, and labs, as well as its engineering, life and social science, and biology programs, Dayton also excels in the arts. In fact, the College of Arts and Sciences is the largest school at the university.

15

Arizona State University

College Choice Score: 88.34

Average Net Price: $13,007

School Website

Overview

Arizona State University is a mammoth research institution based in and around Phoenix. More than 70,000 students, at all academic degree levels, attend ASU and are enrolled in one of the 250 academic programs. Among its many schools and colleges is the renowned Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

Features

At ASU you will have a dynamic and diverse immersion into photography. The University is explicitly committed to “nonhierarchical approach to tools,” thereby giving students creative range to express themselves and interact with both traditional and cutting-edge technology. In fact, graduates have gone on to secure exciting careers in:

  • Animation
  • Commercial Photography
  • Art Direction
  • Art and Photography Education

Notables

U.S. News & World Report has designated ASU as one of the “Most Innovative Schools in America” for many years in a row. Likewise, the university is ranked 115th among all national universities and colleges. Even more, ARWU and Washington Monthly include ASU among the nation’s top 50 best universities.

16

George Washington University

College Choice Score: 87.88

Average Net Price: $39,562

School Website

Overview

George Washington University is located in our nation’s capital and is home to more than 27,000 combined undergraduate and graduate students. GWU is organized into over a dozen colleges and schools, including the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences and the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design.

Features

At the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design you will focus on contemporary media and its influence on culture and relationship to photography. This BFA in Fine Arts Photography program also emphasizes personal creativity and critical analysis in addition to technical development. Classes you’ll take include:

  • History of Photography
  • Drawing and Surface
  • Art History I and II
  • Photography and Photojournalism

Notables

George Washington University is a prestigious school with a number of academic recognitions and rankings to its name. For example, U.S. News & World Report ranks it 56th nationally. But GWU is also listed as being among the most active research universities, for having the most politically active student body, and even for boasting “dorms that are like palaces,” according to The Princeton Review.

17

Maryland Institute College of Art

College Choice Score: 87.88

Average Net Price: $41,889

School Website

Overview

The Maryland Institute College of Art  is located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is one of the nation’s oldest art colleges as well as one of the best. MICA specializes in art and design degrees and has around 2,000 total students.

Features

MICA ensures you receive a liberal arts foundation through required classes such as Critical Inquiry, Art Matters, and Intellectual History I and II. You will then take a number of art-focused courses on color, design, drawing, and space. Finally, the photography curriculum is notably comprehensive, covering a range of subjects:

  • Digital Photography
  • Studio Lighting
  • Contemporary Directions in Photography
  • Black and White Film

Notables

MICA is consistently ranked among the top 10 best fine arts schools in the U.S. by U.S. News & World Report. This isn’t surprising considering that the college helped foster much of the arts scene in Baltimore today. When MICA was founded it offered the city the first public galleries and museums, exhibiting the works of artists such as Henri Matisse.

18

Loyola Marymount University

College Choice Score: 87.88

Average Net Price: $40,946

School Website

Overview

Loyola Marymount University is a member of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. It is located on the westside of Los Angeles and is one of the largest Roman Catholic schools on the West Coast. More than 9,000 students attend LMU.

Features

When you study photography at LMU you will develop more than just film. You will hone your conceptual thinking skills, learn how to experiment widely in the medium, and craft innovative projects and visions. You will have 24-hour access to labs and darkrooms and you will take foundational courses such as:

  • Color Photography
  • History of Photography
  • Digital Photography
  • And much more

Notables

Loyola Marymount has been praised for its academic excellence by the likes of The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, Businessweek, and much more. LMU is a top producer of Fulbright Scholars as well as Pulitzer Prize winners.

19

Columbia College

College Choice Score: 87.43

Average Net Price: $29,530

School Website

Overview

Columbia College is a small liberal arts school in the heart of downtown Chicago. It specializes in arts and media education, offering more than 115 undergraduate and graduate degrees to its 8,000 students.

Features

Columbia College offers a BA in Photography that provides students not only with the skills and knowledge they need to become competitive photographers. But students are also connected to a large network of Chicago-based studios, museums, and artists. There are even three ways to specialize at Columbia:

  • Commercial Photography
  • Fine Art Photography
  • Fashion Photography

Notables

The Columbia College campus is pocked with active research and cultural centers. Likewise, the College sponsors several affiliated organizations such as the Center for Book and Paper Arts, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, and more. Among its many renowned programs, the film and photography departments are some of the best in the nation.

20

Virginia Commonwealth University

College Choice Score: 86.35

Average Net Price: $20,544

School Website

Overview

Virginia Commonwealth University is located in Richmond, Virginia. It is a large research-based school that provides academic degrees, professional programs, and certifications across hundreds of fields and subjects. More than 30,000 students attend VCU.

Features

VCU offers a BFA in Photography and Film program that integrates photography history and theory. Students explore contemporary issues while learning how to effectively communicate both their vision as well as critical responses to work. In addition to foundational coursework in art history and photography fundamentals, at VCU you will have the opportunity to take such distinctive classes as:

  • History of the Motion Picture
  • Experiments in Sequencing
  • Contemporary Critical Perspectives
  • Moving Pixels

Notables

The VCU School of the Arts is consistently ranked among the top 10 best art programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Additionally, many of its individual departments are highly regarded, including its visual arts and design programs.

21

Massachusetts College of Art and Design

College Choice Score: 86.18

Average Net Price: $21,695

School Website

Overview

Massachusetts College of Art and Design is located in Boston. It is one of the nation’s only public art schools as well as the oldest art school (having been founded in 1873). The MassArt curriculum gives students free range to pursue their passions and creative vision, requiring only a foundation year of core classes.

Features

At MassArt you can earn a Photography BFA steeped in the technical and aesthetic traditions of the medium. You will become an expert not only in film-based technique but digital production as well. Coursework includes:

  • Alternative Camera, Alternative Techniques
  • Lighting for Photography
  • Photo: Documentary
  • Landscape Photography

Notables

The MassArt campus has nearly a dozen galleries that exhibit work by students, faculty, and internationally renowned artists. All of the museums and galleries are free and open to the public. MassArt is consistently ranked among the top art colleges in the country.

22

University of Arizona

College Choice Score: 85.61

Average Net Price: $16,466

School Website

Overview

The University of Arizona is a huge research-driven school located in Tucson. The University is comprised of nearly 20 distinct colleges and schools and has more than 43,000 students. UA is a flagship university.

Features

The University of Arizona offers a BFA in Studio Art with an emphasis on photography. In addition to specialized classes on digital photography, 3D studies, and advanced techniques, UA ensures you get a sturdy foundation in art fundamentals. The core curriculum includes:

  • Survey of Art History I and II
  • Contemporary Art and Theory
  • Space and Lighting
  • Mapping

Notables

The University of Arizona boasts a large number of vibrant research and cultural centers. Among them are the Center for Creative Photography, the Fine Arts Library, and the University of Arizona Museum of Art. The University is well ranked by U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, Times Higher Education, and many more.

23

Temple University

College Choice Score: 85.15

Average Net Price: $21,237

School Website

Overview

Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Temple University is a sprawling research university. It is home to more than 40,000 undergraduate and graduate students, and it offers more than 500 academic programs on its Philly campus and across the world. The Tyler School of Art is one of Temple’s most prestigious schools.

Features

Through the Tyler School of Art you can earn a BFA in Photography degree that will make you an expert in both color and black-and-white photography. This program stresses the importance of familiarizing with numerous methods. So you will equally study digital imaging as you will film, large format photography, and critical theory. Classes include:

  • Digital Photography
  • Advanced Photo Workshops
  • Color Photography
  • Darkroom Photography

Notables

The Tyler School of Art is a nationally regarded art institution that specializes in art and design programs. The wider Temple University is equally renowned, landing on the prestigious rankings put forth by The Princeton Review, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, and many more.

24

California College of the Arts

College Choice Score: 80.33

Average Net Price: $38,276

School Website

Overview

California College of the Arts is located in the Bay Area with campuses in both San Francisco and Oakland. CCA specializes in art, design, architecture, and writing education. Approximately 2,000 combined undergraduate and graduate students attend CCA.

Features

CCA offers a markedly interdisciplinary photography degree. This means you will take courses introducing you to the fundamentals of the medium, such as digital images, black and white, large format, and lighting. But you will also take a number of interdisciplinary studio and critique classes. On top of these you will have access to advanced workshops in:

  • Documentary Photography
  • Narrative Photography
  • Installation
  • Alternative Processes

Notables

CCA was founded during the apex of the Arts and Crafts movement in the early 20th Century. This movement and the college were formed to respond to industrialization, and both sought to promote an integrated approach to art and design. CCA maintains these roots and priorities today.

25

University of Central Florida

College Choice Score: 76.45

Average Net Price: $15,533

School Website

Overview

The University of Central Florida (UCF) is located in Orlando and is one of the biggest schools on our list with more than 66,000 students. UCF, organized into over a dozen colleges and schools, offers more than 200 academic programs.

Features

UCF offers a BS in Photography degree through its School of Visual Arts and Design. Unique to this program is that it splits the curriculum between the University of Central Florida and Daytona State College. This means you’ll have twice the amount of opportunities and networks. Classes include:

  • Videography
  • Photo Visualization
  • The Professional Environment
  • Narrative Editorial Photography

Notables

UCF is a highly decorated university with many national and departmental rankings to its name. It is ranked 90th among public universities by U.S. News & World Report. And it is rated as one of the “50 Best Value Public Universities” by both The Princeton Review and USA Today.

26

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

College Choice Score: 76.28

Average Net Price: $16,683

School Website

Overview

The Urbana-Champaign campus is the flagship member in the greater University of Illinois System. Organized into 17 colleges, UIUC offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate programs to its 50,000 students. From engineering to the fine arts, UIUC is a leader in many fields and industries.

Features

UIUC offers a BFA in Photography program that encourages students to explore a range of subjects. From the social implication of pictures to photographic media, there are many ways to specialize at UIUC. Once you finish your core courses on contemporary art, the history of photography, and photography I, II, and III, you can then take on electives such as:

  • View Camera
  • RAW Photography
  • Digital Photography Output
  • Independent study

Notables

U.S. News & World Report, Times Higher Education, and Forbes, among others, rank UIUC among the top 50 universities in the world. Th campus is home to the Krannert Art Museum as well as sprawling archives, special collections, and rare book libraries.

27

Drexel University

College Choice Score: 74.91

Average Net Price: $39,021

School Website

Overview

Drexel University is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is a private, research-based university first founded as the Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry. Though today Drexel offers nearly 200 academic programs to its 26,000 students, it maintains its strengths and reputation in the areas of art and design.

Features

At Drexel you will learn how to hone your own artistic vision while also studying theory, aesthetic concepts, and technological integrations. Unique to Drexel is the opportunity for students to fully customize their degree experience after their second year. Whether you want to concentrate in studio art or the history of photography, Drexel makes it possible. Core classes cover:

  • Digital Photography
  • Color Photography
  • Large Format Photography
  • Photojournalism

Notables

U.S. News & World Report ranks Drexel among the top 100 best universities in the nation. U.S. News also designates Drexel as one of the country’s “Most Innovative Schools.” The accolades come from Drexel’s unique cooperative education program and its renowned distance education.

28

University of Illinois at Chicago

College Choice Score: 72.86

Average Net Price: $11,571

School Website

Overview

The Chicago member within the wider University of Illinois System is located right outside the Chicago Loop. With its 30,000 students and 15 distinct colleges and schools, UIC is one of the biggest universities in the city. UIC also has nearly a dozen inter-college programs, including the Moving Image Arts program, among others.

Features

At UIC you can earn a BFA in Art that includes a concentration in Photography. At UIC you will focus on photography as a medium for communication and documentation as well as personal expression. Whether you’re interested in analog or digital images, UIC ensures you graduate as an expert in both. Classes cover:

  • Introduction to Digital Photography
  • Topics in Analog Photography
  • Topics in Photography: View Camera and Lighting Studio

Notables

UIC is a nationally ranked university and considered one of the best up-and-coming universities in the world. In fact, Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked UIC among the top 20 best universities in the world that are younger than 50 years old.

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Biola University

College Choice Score: 65.54

Average Net Price: $32,273

School Website

Overview

Biola University is based in La Mirada, just outside of Los Angeles, California. It is a private Christian university with notable evangelical influence. Organized into six schools, Biola has approximately 5,000 combined undergraduate and graduate students.

Features

Biola’s School of Fine Arts and Communication offers a BFA in Studio Art. This degree can be paired with a specialization in photography. For those who want a faith-based education, Biola is the way to go. This program stresses art as a god-given form of expression and communication. Classes cover:

  • Introduction to Darkroom and Digital Procedures
  • Studies in Color
  • Advanced Black-and-White Photography
  • Contemporary Photographic Practices

Notables

Biola has been ranked among national universities by U.S. News & World Report and is recognized as an up-and-coming university. It was originally founded as the Bible Institute of Los Angeles and still maintains very religious roots to this day. In fact, Biola hosts some of the largest theological and missions conferences on its campus each year.

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Seattle University

College Choice Score: 63.99

Average Net Price: $35,627

School Website

Overview

Seattle University is a Roman Catholic university with around 8,000 students. Organized into eight schools and colleges, SU offers around 100 academic programs plus a number of professional programs.

Features

There are two great ways to study photography at Seattle University. You can either earn a BFA in Photography or a BA in Interdisciplinary Arts with a photography emphasis. The latter is a great option for those who want a broad-based education that will introduce them to an array of mediums. Both tracks, however, guarantee you graduate an expert in photographic technique, history, and theory. Classes cover:

  • Black and White Photography
  • History of Photography
  • Introduction to Video Art
  • Light Control for Photography

Notables

Seattle University is ranked among the top 10 best universities in the West by U.S. News & World Report. Its reputation, however, exceeds beyond academia. SU is known for its commitments to environmental sustainability and service learning.