Photography Schools in Alabama with Degree Program Overviews

Alabama has more than ten colleges and universities that offer photography programs. Learn about the courses, tuition info and program options for ten of these schools to make an informed education decision.

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Essential Information

The ten schools in Alabama that offer training in photography include eight public and two private (not-for-profit) colleges and universities. While just two of the schools below have an undergraduate major in photography, a number offer communication and studio art programs that include concentrations and courses in digital and/or traditional camera work. Student resources vary by institutions and students will be required to provide their own cameras for classes in photography. Many programs include additional exhibition or experience opportunities, such as internships, theses, or gallery showings.

Below are brief overviews of the programs, along with a comparison table with school information and costs of attendance.


Auburn University

Located in Auburn, this public university offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art with a concentration in photography. Although students are expected to use their own personal cameras and purchase their own film, the school does provide access to large-format cameras and lighting equipment. Additional resources include a black-and-white darkroom, critique area, digital lab and studio space with northern light.

Undergraduates who pursue the concentration in photography complete four courses and a senior capstone project. In particular, students learn how to work with both traditional and contemporary media, including those related to installation and video. Although not specific to photography, the Bachelor of Fine Arts program offers a highly selective, study abroad option in Rome, Italy, with courses in art history and drawing, as well as private studio space.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $9,446 in-state; $25,190 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; small city

Birmingham Southern College

At this Birmingham-based college, students can pursue a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art, and both programs allow for electives in photography. Course topics may include a study of digital and silver imaging, digital printmaking, photojournalism and the use of single lens reflex cameras. In addition to a junior-year studio, program requirements include a portfolio, a senior thesis and an exhibition in the campus-based gallery. Unique to the college is the January Exploration and the opportunity to engage in a special project or participate in an off-campus internship.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art,
    Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $30,690*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, private not-for-profit; midsize city

Jacksonville State University

The state university in Jacksonville is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, and undergraduates in the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts programs can pursue a concentration in photography. In particular, students can learn about black-and-white, color and digital photography, explore the medium as a fine art and become familiar with darkroom techniques. Instruction takes place at the upper level, and additional program features include a Photography Club and access to a digital lab.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Arts in Art,
    Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $6,360 in-state; $12,720 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; small city

Oakwood University

A Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Huntsville, Oakwood University offers an Associate of Science in Art and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Media, and both programs include courses in photography. Students enrolled in the associate's program can pursue a 33-credit concentration in photography and learn how to use both digital and traditional cameras. Course topics include basic, digital and studio photography, art appreciation, design and the use of Adobe Photoshop software.

The Bachelor of Arts program is designed to prepare undergraduates for careers in broadcasting or journalism and allows for a 27-credit concentration in photojournalism. Core requirements include 19 credits in interpersonal and mass communication, design and reporting, after which students can take the same photography courses found in the associate's program. Additional requirements include a senior seminar and a 3-credit communication internship or practicum.

  • Programs Offered: Associate of Science in Art,
    Bachelor of Arts in Communication Media
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $15,414*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, private not-for-profit; midsize city

Troy University

This Troy-based university is one of just two schools on the list to offer an undergraduate major in photography. Through the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photo Studio program, aspiring professionals acquire a background in basic art and design, while exploring architectural, fashion, landscape or portrait photography. They also have the opportunity to gain some hands-on experience through an internship at a company or professional photography studio. Unique to the program is a senior thesis course, where students supplement their digital and material portfolios with artist's statements and promotional kits.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photo Studio
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $6,844 in-state; $12,820 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; fringe rural

University of Alabama

Located in Tuscaloosa, the University of Alabama provides training in photography and studio art through its Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts programs. Both programs allow for a 12-credit concentration in photography, and upper-level courses include topics in digital camera work, studio lighting and photo-based, intaglio and screen printing. Seniors in the advanced photography courses develop portfolios and prepare an exhibition-worthy collection of work.

A concentration in photography is available through the 30-credit Master of Art (MA) program, where students also participate in graduate seminars and critiques. Admission to the 60-credit Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program is by faculty recommendation only, and candidates are drawn from the MA program. Both courses of study require a thesis exhibition and an oral defense or review.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art,
    Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art,
    Master of Arts in Studio Art,
    Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $9,200 in-state; $22,950 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; small city

University of Alabama at Birmingham

Both the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Fine Arts programs at the University of Alabama in Birmingham offer concentrations in studio art with courses in photography. Relevant facilities include the campus-based Visual Arts Gallery, and students in the Department of Art and Art History also enjoy opportunities for collaborative projects and internships at nearby galleries and museums.

Unique to the school are intermediate courses in alternative print media and color slide technology. Undergraduates in the digital photography classes have access to computer labs and state-of-the-art software. Electives in photography are also available through the undergraduate art education program.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Arts in Art, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $6,798 in-state; $15,462 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; midsize city

University of Alabama in Huntsville

Along with Troy University, the University of Alabama in Huntsville is the second school on the list to offer an undergraduate major in photography. Relevant facilities include a fully equipped, digital photography lab with Mac workstations, darkrooms, a lighting studio and a special area for printing murals. At this school, undergraduates have the chance to study with working professionals, go on field trips to Chicago and New York City or study abroad.

Unique to the undergraduate curriculum is a study of experimental and historical darkroom procedures, including those associated with 19th-century processing techniques. In addition to the Bachelor of Fine Arts, the university offers a Bachelor of Arts with concentrated coursework in photography.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $8,794 in-state; $21,108 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; midsize city

University of Montevallo

The state university in Montevallo is a member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, and the school offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in photography. The program includes 86 credits of major coursework in art history and studio art and culminates in a student exhibition. In addition to traditional darkroom procedures, students become acquainted with both digital and experimental camera work, while taking courses in black-and-white, documentary and studio photography. Additional program features include portfolio development and the opportunity to participate in internships.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Fine Arts
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $9,280 in-state; $18,070 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; large suburb

University of South Alabama

Through the school's Center of Continuing Education and Conference Services, students at the University of South Alabama in Mobile can pursue a 42-credit certificate program in photography. Formal admission to the school is not required, and students have up to three years to complete the program. Requirements include a 5-course core that provides training in digital and portrait photography, darkroom techniques, lighting and the use of Adobe software. The program culminates in a final portfolio or an exhibition.

  • Programs Offered: Certificate in Photography
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $6,660 in-state; $13,020 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; midsize city

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Photography Programs Available Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013)
Auburn University 4-year, public; small city Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art $9,446 in-state;
$25,190 out-of-state*
Birmingham Southern College 4-year, private not-for-profit; midsize city Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art
$30,690*
Jacksonville State University4-year, public; small city Bachelor of Arts in Art,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art
$6,360 in-state;
$12,720 out-of-state*
Oakwood University 4-year, private not-for-profit; midsize city Associate of Science in Art,
Bachelor of Arts in Communication Media
$15,414*
Troy University4-year, public; fringe rural Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photo Studio $6,844 in-state;
$12,820 out-of-state*
University of Alabama 4-year, public; small city Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art,
Master of Arts in Studio Art,
Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art
$9,200 in-state;
$22,950 out-of-state*
University of Alabama at Birmingham 4-year, public; midsize city Bachelor of Arts in Art,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art
$6,798 in-state;
$15,462 out-of-state*
University of Alabama in Huntsville4-year, public; midsize city Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography
$8,794 in-state;
$21,108 out-of-state*
University of Montevallo 4-year, public; large suburb Bachelor of Fine Arts $9,280 in-state; $18,070 out-of-state*
University of South Alabama 4-year, public; midsize city Certificate in Photography $6,660 in-state;
$13,020 out-of-state*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
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  • School locations:
    • Coral Gables
    Areas of study you may find at University of Miami include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
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    Areas of study you may find at Syracuse University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
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    Areas of study you may find at New York University include:
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      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
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    • Philadelphia
    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
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    • Washington
    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
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      • Dance
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        • Photography
  • School locations:
    • Eugene
    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
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      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
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        • Film and Cinema Studies
        • Photography
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    • Dayton
    Areas of study you may find at University of Dayton include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
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      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
        • Photography
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    • Bellingham
    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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