Turn your passion into a career. At the Academy of Art University’s School of Photography, you have every opportunity and resource to advance your passion into a finished body of work. Learn from a faculty of working professionals and begin your new adventure today.
Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Degree
The MFA program provides advanced practice and intensive study of the photographic medium. Core curriculum covers historical perspective, advanced theoretical and conceptual development in traditional, experimental and digital photography capture, post-production and output. The program culminates with a formal thesis project and complete body of work that supports the thesis and showcases each student's unique vision and talent.
MFA Photography Unit Requirements
- Major 27 units
- Directed Study 18 units
- Graduate Liberal Arts 12 units
- Electives* 6 units
- TOTAL 63 units
*Per director approval
MFA Photography Degree Requirements
- Successful completion of Final Thesis Project
- Minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA
- Minimum grade of C in all required 63 units
MFA Program Learning Outcomes
Graduate students will meet the following student performance criteria:
MFA Thesis Project
Produce an advanced-level thesis project within a digital or traditional specialization, demonstrating mastery and synthesis of the skills taught in the program.
Thesis Project Development
- Propose a solid concept suitable for refinement and development.
- Select an appropriately challenging and feasible project.
- Present a cohesive body of work
- Successfully articulate the end result of the project.
- Demonstrate sufficient preparation for their project (research, problem solving)
Conceptual and Design Skills
- Make creative decisions that optimize conceptual impact, cohesiveness and personal style
- Integrate conceptual and technical elements of photography to convey a story, idea, or emotion
- Effectively deploy design elements within the composition and presentation of the imagery.
- Utilize effective lighting styles, techniques and equipment appropriate to art for commerce, photojournalism/documentary, or fine art applications, as determined by projects and professional focus
- Master exposure, lighting ratios, and post–production skills as appropriate to the project.
Communication and Analysis
- Communicate ideas and proposals clearly, verbally and in writing, including defending work and choices made during capture, output and presentation
- Demonstrate professional behavior throughout the review process
- Critique their photographs with an understanding of technical, aesthetic, and historical context
- Build on feedback to improve their body of work
- Assemble a cohesive portfolio, which shows a unique personal view and style.
- Produce and present professional quality materials
- Clearly articulate future plans and goals in the area of photographic specialty
- Effectively library and archive complete body of work
Academy of Art University Learning Outcomes
Graduates of the Academy of Art University will demonstrate the ability to:
- Produce a body of work suitable for seeking professional opportunities in their chosen field of art and design.
- Solve creative problems within their field of art and design, including research and synthesis of technical, aesthetic, and conceptual knowledge.
- Communicate their ideas professionally and connect with their intended audience using visual, oral, and written presentation skills relevant to their field.
- Execute technical, aesthetic, and conceptual decisions based on an understanding of art and design principles.
- Evaluate work in their field, including their own work, using professional terminology.
- Recognize the influence of major cultural and aesthetic trends, both historical and contemporary, on art and design products.
- Learn the professional skills and behaviors necessary to compete in the global marketplace for art and design.
Visit www.academyart.edu to learn more about total costs, median student loan debt, potential occupations and other information. Accredited Member WSCUC, NASAD, CIDA (BFA-IAD, MFA-IAD), NAAB (B.ARCH*, M.ARCH), CTC (California Teacher Credential). Acting degree program is currently not offering online courses. **B.ARCH is currently in candidacy status.
All international students will require a VISA to enter the US and an OPT application to extend their stay after graduation. Selecting a STEM approved program allows for the benefit of being able to apply for an extended 24-month Optional Practical Training (OPT) stay to work in the country after graduation.
The following Academy majors qualify for the 24-month STEM Extension: Advanced Architectural Design; Advertising; Advertising & Branded Media Technology; Animation & Visual Effects; Architecture; Architectural Design; Art Education; Communications & Media Technologies; Game Development; Game Programming; Graphic Design; Graphic Design & Digital Media; Industrial Design; Interior Architecture & Design; New Media & Web Design. For more information on approved STEM programs, how to apply, and more common questions about studying as an international student at the Academy of Art University, visit our Frequently Asked Questions page here.
The program length is based on graduating in normal time.
For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit our website at, http://www.academyart.edu/disclosures
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Last updated July 11, 2017