Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Photography

General

Read more about this program on the institution's website

Program Description

The MFA program provides advanced practice and intensive study of the photographic medium. The 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 a complete body of work that supports the thesis and showcases each student's unique vision and talent.

Course Description

Semester 1

  • GLA 625: History of Photography
    Graduate Liberal Arts / 3 Units
  • PH 603: The Language of Photography
    Major / 3 Units
  • PH 616: Photoshop & Lightroom for Photographers
    Major / 3 Units

Semester 2

  • PH 601: Photography Concept
    Major / 3 Units
  • PH 608: Lighting
    Major / 3 Units
  • PH 612: The Nature of Photography
    Major / 3 Units

Semester 3

  • PH 623: Portraiture
    Major / 3 Units
  • PH 635: Digital Printing Techniques
    Major / 3 Units
  • PH 673: Portfolio: Concept & Development
    Major / 3 Units

Semester 4

  • GLA 603: Anthropology: Experiencing Culture
    Graduate Liberal Arts / 3 Units
  • PH 611: Contemporary Landscape
    Elective / 3 Units
  • PH 692: Contemporary Topics in Photography
    Elective / 3 Units

Semester 5

  • GLA 626: Business Practices & Principles for Photographers
    Graduate Liberal Arts / 3 Units
  • PH 800: Directed Study
    Directed Studies / 3 Units
  • PH 810: Concept & Image
    Directed Studies / 3 Units

Semester 6

  • PH 675: Portfolio: Print & Presentation
    Major / 3 Units
  • PH 800: Directed Study
    Directed Studies / 3 Units
  • PH 850: Project Research & Development
    Directed Studies / 3 Units

Semester 7

  • PH 656: Motion Capture & Visual Storytelling
    Major / 3 Units
  • PH 800: Directed Study
    Directed Studies / 3 Units
  • PH 856: Final Review Preparation
    Directed Studies / 3 Units

Unit Requirements

Degree Requirements

MFA Photography Degree Requirements

  • Successful completion of the Final Thesis Project
  • Minimum grade of C in all required 63 units
  • Minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA and the following Academic Study requirements:
    • 1 Art Historical Awareness & Aesthetic course
    • 1 Cross-Cultural Understanding course

Academy of Art University / Academy of Art University

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

Technical Skills

  • 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 the technical, aesthetic, and historical context
  • Build on feedback to improve their body of work

Professional Readiness

  • Assemble a cohesive portfolio, which shows a uniquely personal view and style
  • Produce and present professional-quality materials
  • Clearly articulate future plans and goals in the area of a photographic specialty

Academy of Art University Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the Academy of Art University will demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Produce a body of work suitable for seeking professional opportunities in their chosen field of art and design.
  2. Solve creative problems within their field of art and design, including research and synthesis of technical, aesthetic, and conceptual knowledge.
  3. Communicate their ideas professionally and connect with their intended audience using visual, oral, and written presentation skills relevant to their field.
  4. Execute technical, aesthetic, and conceptual decisions based on an understanding of art and design principles.
  5. Evaluate work in their field, including their own work, using professional terminology.
  6. Recognize the influence of major cultural and aesthetic trends, both historical and contemporary, on art and design products.
  7. Learn the professional skills and behaviors necessary to compete in the global marketplace for art and design.
Last updated Mar 2020

About the School

For nearly 90 years, artists and designers have called Academy of Art University their home. Founded in San Francisco and family owned since 1929, it is the largest private art and design university i ... Read More

For nearly 90 years, artists and designers have called Academy of Art University their home. Founded in San Francisco and family owned since 1929, it is the largest private art and design university in the nation. Read less
San Francisco