Columbia College Chicago

Photography, MFA

Columbia College Chicago's two-year Photography MFA program partners intense studio practice with in-depth scholarship involving the history, theory and contemporary practice of the medium. Drawing upon the multidisciplinary strengths of a distinguished faculty, you will shape your individual talents while challenging the boundaries of your creative vision. You'll have access to world-class facilities, including an abundance of independent studio space for exploring and making and the Museum of Contemporary Photography. The degree culminates in an MFA Thesis Exhibition held at Columbia's prestigious Glass Curtain Gallery. With the thriving backdrop of the city of Chicago, a hub for art and culture in the visual and performing arts, you'll graduate with a network of academic and professional support.

Degree Requirements


Alumni Success Stories

Jess T. Dugan MFA ’14 explores issues of gender, sexuality, identity and community. Her work is regularly exhibited internationally and is in the permanent collections of several major museums, including the Harvard Art Museums, the Birmingham Museum of Art, the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona, the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College, the DePaul Art Museum, Fidelity Investments, the JP Morgan Chase Art Collection, and the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. Her work is also included in the Midwest Photographer's Project at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago. Her first monograph, Every breath we drew, was published in September 2015 by Daylight Books and coincided with a solo museum exhibition at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum in Winter Park, Florida. She is currently working on To Survive on this Shore: Photographs and Interviews with Transgender and Gender-Variant Older Adults, which has recently been featured in the New York Times, the Advocate,, and Everyday Feminism. She is the recipient of a 2015 Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant.

Clarissa Bonet MFA ’12 explores aspects of the urban space in both a physical and psychological context. She is currently working on two bodies of work centered on the urban experience, Stray Light and City Space. In 2016, she had a solo gallery exhibition at the Catherine Edelman Gallery. Her work resides in the collections of The Museum of Contemporary Photography’s MPP collection, The South East Museum of Photography, and The Haggerty Museum. She has received recognition and support for her work from the Albert P. Weisman Foundation and the Individual Artist Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. She was chosen as one of Photo District News’ 30 new and emerging photographers to watch in 2015 and her work was featured in the Wall Street Journal.

Evan Baden MFA ’14 is a full time instructor at Oregon State University. During his residency with Oregon College of Art and Craft, he began a body of work that delves into the lives of students at a fictional high school, which will be published in the guise of a high school yearbook. This work was recently added to his box in the MoCP's MPP collection. His work has been widely exhibited both in the US and internationally, and is held in public collections including the Walker Art Center, Milwaukee Art Museum, FOAM Amsterdam and the Kinsey Institute as well as featured in numerous publications including TIME, The Guardian, FOAM and New York Magazine. He was the recipient of the Jerome Fellowship for Emerging Artists and the Stuart Abelson Graduate Research Fellowship and was a finalist for the McKnight Fellowship for Photography. He was also nominated for the Baum Award for Emerging American Photographers and the PDN 30. He has several upcoming group shows, including one at the NRW-Forum in Düsseldorf.

Read about the student experience

For More Information

Contact Peter Fitzpatrick, Chair of the Photography Department, at

Application Information


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