Photography Degree Programs

If you have an artistic streak and love to capture the beauty of things, then a career in Photography would be best suited to you. Read this comprehensive guide to learn about the Photography degrees being taught by U.S. colleges and universities.

What Is Photography?

The practice or art of processing and taking photographs is called Photography. There are a variety of photography genres – these include event, wildlife, sports, food, fashion, architecture, landscape, and portrait photography.

What Can You Do with a Degree in Photography?

After completing a degree in Photography, individuals can work as:

  • Photojournalists: These individuals photograph newsworthy places, and people. They also cover community, political, and sporting events for television, magazines, journals, and newspapers.
  • Fine Art Photographers: They sell work to the government, hotels, banks, churches, community centers, libraries, architects, interior designers, galleries, and elsewhere on a commission or freelance basis.
  • Commercial/Industrial Photographers: These individuals capture images used for catalogs, advertisements, and books. They take pictures of different kinds of subjects and objects, such as merchandise, buildings, landscapes, and models.
  • Portrait/Studio Photographers: These individuals usually work in their own studios. They cover a range of events such as religious ceremonies and weddings.

Individuals can also explore some other career paths with a Photography degree – they can kick-start their careers as Advertising Art Directors, Magazine Features Editors, and Film/Video Editors.

Now let’s shed light on the job prospects and growth opportunities for Photography graduates. The data shared in the following section has been taken from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.


These professionals use their composition skills, creativity, and technical expertise to capture and preserve images. Depending upon their specialty, they may work indoors or outdoors.

Annual Median Salary, 2019 $36,280
Job Outlook, 2018-2028 -6%
Annual Mean Salary, 2019 $45,440
State with the Highest Employment Level, 2019 California 6,600
State with the Highest Salary, 2019 District of Columbia $89,310

Art Directors

These professionals are responsible for generating ideas, developing concepts, and producing art layouts, storyboards, and sketches based on creative ideas and visions. Art directors work for various industries such as public relations firms and magazine/newspaper publishers.

Annual Median Salary, 2019 $94,220
Job Outlook, 2018-2028 1%
Annual Mean Salary, 2019 $109,600
State with the Highest Employment Level, 2019 New York 8,720
State with the Highest Salary, 2019 California $135,410

Film and Video Editors

These professionals edit moving images on video, film, and other media.

Annual Median Salary, 2019 $63,780
Job Outlook, 2018-2028 14%
Annual Mean Salary, 2019 $87,300
State with the Highest Employment Level, 2019 California 10,520
State with the Highest Salary, 2019 California $118,510

 What to Expect from a Degree in Photography?

The Associate of Arts (AA) with an emphasis on Photography offers a sound photography foundation. In order to graduate from the program, students have to earn around 60 to 64 credits. The curriculum of the program includes a long list of topics such as Digital Photography, Black and White Photography, Video Art, Studio Lighting, and Intermediate Photoshop & Digital Imaging.

The Bachelor of Arts (BA) program in Photography requires completion of around 120 credits. The coursework introduces students to a range of topics such as Experimental Camera Techniques, Experimental Dark Room Techniques, Photojournalism, and Medical Photography. This degree can be completed within three to four years.

The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Photography program can be completed within two years. Students enrolled in this program are required to take courses related to printing, imaging, lighting, art practice, and self-promotion techniques.

How to Choose a Photography Degree?

Before choosing a photography degree, you should take into account a range of factors. These include the cost of the program, breadth of the curriculum, the reputation of the program, accreditation status, internship opportunities, and scholarship opportunities.

Photography Degree Admission Requirements

Admission requirements might vary from one photography program to another. Generally, students are expected to send their admission application forms, along with their recommendation letters, transcripts, and statement of purpose to the relevant admissions office. The CGPA requirements vary from school to school.