Graduate Admissions

Photography MFA

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Be Enrolled Part-Time?
During the first year of study, students are required to enroll as full-time students, taking no less than 9 credit hours each semester. Only by making this commitment of time and concentration, can students expect to achieve the growth that characterizes graduate study. In subsequent terms, students are expected to maintain at least part-time status (six graduate credits).
When Do Classes Meet?
Courses are scheduled during the day and evening. The Graduate Seminar, which meets every Friday for the first two years of study, is held from 10am to 4pm.
How Is the Program Structured?

The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in photography requires 60 credit hours of study, typically completed in three years.

During the first year, the program is highly directed with specific and sequentially arranged courses. Through course work, students gain versatility and competence in the medium, ranging from small format to large format, blank-and-white and color processes, and alternative graphic, experimental, and digital processes. As a foundation for creative and intellectual development, the program integrates the history and criticism of photography at every level of study. 

After providing a foundation for creative development and conceptual understanding during the first year, the program allows advanced students to pursue specialized study in photography. In consultation with advisors, students admitted to candidacy will continue to develop their personal vision within the medium, leading to a body of work that will become their graduate visual thesis. Specific course work in these areas is supported by Graduate Seminar and Independent Study electives and further enhanced by workshops with visiting artists. Advanced courses in history and criticism provide an intellectual framework for these concentrations. Seeking the artistic exploration and growth of the individual, the Department encourages advanced students to chart a personalized course of study. 

View a sample degree checklist.

What Kind of Background Does a Successful Applicant Typically Have?

Students typically have a background or concentration in photography, though there are a number of exceptions.

Students without a background in art, photography, or art history may be asked  to make up undergraduate deficiencies in these areas as determined by the faculty. Students are expected to enroll for such specified coursework in their first semester, in addition to required graduate courses.

Are There Any Special Scholarship Opportunities Available?

The Photography Department offers three scholarships annually to graduate and undergraduate students: Stuart and Iris Baum Project Completion Grant, John Mulvany Scholarship, and the Pieter Ombregt Scholarship. For more information on award amounts and application requirements, click here. 

For a complete listing of College-wide scholarships, click here.

What Facilities Are Available to Your Students?
The graduate program utilizes state of the art facilities, which are the most extensive in the Midwest. There is a graduate color darkroom and a Digital Imaging Lab, which includes more than 120 workstations, highly sophisticated scanning equipment, and an assortment of large-format printers. There are two studios with an extensive array of professional lighting equipment, numerous 8x10 and 4x5 cameras, medium format and digital cameras, and other digital equipment. The photography department also works closely with the Art & Design department's 3,000 square foot Photo Print Media lab, which features media ranging from hand book-binding to experimental photo/graphic techniques.
Who Are the Core Faculty?
For a listing of full-time faculty, click here.
Who Are Some Noteworthy Alumni?
Our alumni make essential contributions to the visual culture of our time. Recent high-achieving graduates include: Curtis Mann, Brian Ulrich, Jason Lazarus, Mat Siber, Colleen Plumb, Cecil McDonald, and Ben Gest.

view general graduate study FAQ