Best Photography Schools and Colleges in the United States

Read about degree programs in photography, a field of study that focuses on capturing images that record an event or tell a story. Get to know the rankings and program distinctions of the best schools for photography in the U.S.

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School Overviews

Some of the nation's top colleges and universities have programs in photography. Washington University and the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor are nationally-ranked schools with opportunities for students to study photography. Programs at both schools provide an exploration of a range of photography techniques. Continue reading to learn more.

Best U.S. Schools and Colleges for Photography

Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri

Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) is a 4-year, private school. In 2010, U.S. News and World Report ranked WUSTL 12th overall among the best national universities, making it the highest ranked school in the country to offer a photography program. The Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at WUSTL offers an undergraduate art program, which includes a major in digital imaging and photography. Students in this photography program learn about the history, techniques and critical perspective of modern photography through exposure to large-format studio photography, classic nonsilver, digital photography and documentary photography techniques.

University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan

The University of Michigan - Ann Arbor (UM) is a 4-year, public school that was ranked 27th overall by U.S. News and World Report in 2010, making it the second-highest ranked school in the country to offer photography programs. Photography courses are offered at UM through the Residential College (RC), which is part of the College of Literature, Science and Arts (LSA). This 4-year liberal arts program allows RC students to learn and live in the same space. RC offers several studio arts programs, including a photography studio, which leads to a degree in fine arts. Students enrolled in the RC photography studio learn digital and traditional photographic processes, including processing and developing black and white, holographic and color images.

List of Good Photography Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

College/University Name Distinction Location
Bowling Green State University School of Art offers several scholarships in varying amounts that photography students can apply for Bowling Green, OH
Brigham Young University Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Photography students pursue professional studies in areas like photojournalism, advertising, graphic design and entrepreneurship in addition to their hands-on training in photography; Bachelor of Arts (BA) program also offered in photography Provo, UT
Drexel University Photography students participate in six-month co-op experiences in businesses related to their professional aspirations Philadelphia, PA
New York University Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Photography students do their work in private studios and they have weekly private studio time with faculty, critics and industry professionals New York, NY
Ohio University College of Communication offers a program in commercial photography with emphasis in photojournalism, commercial photography and interactive or publication information design Athens, OH
Syracuse University Art photography students have a large range of study abroad opportunities in locations like Australia, Ireland, Italy, Chile, England, China, Egypt and Namibia Syracuse, NY
University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign University has BFA and MFA programs in photography Champaign, IL
University of Iowa University offers Bachelor of Arts (BA), Master of Arts (MA), BFA and MFA programs in photography; students learn techniques in black and white darkroom, digital photograph, large format photography and HD video capture and sound Iowa City, IA
University of Oregon Department of Art students can study abroad in places like Italy and China; spring break study in New York is also available Eugene, OR
Washington University in St. Louis Photography BFA students spend their junior year pursuing intensive studio work Saint Louis, MO
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Popular Schools

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Miami include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
        • Cinematography and Film Production
        • Film and Cinema Studies
        • Photography
  • School locations:
    • New York (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Syracuse University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
        • Cinematography and Film Production
        • Photography
  • School locations:
    • New York (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at New York University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
        • Cinematography and Film Production
        • Photography
  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Temple University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
        • Film and Cinema Studies
        • Photography
  • School locations:
    • Columbia (D.C.) (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at George Washington University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
        • Photography
  • School locations:
    • Oregon (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Oregon include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
        • Film and Cinema Studies
        • Photography
  • School locations:
    • Ohio (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Dayton include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
        • Photography
  • School locations:
    • Washington (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Western Washington University include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
        • Photography

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