Good reputable schools that offers a BA in Photography? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hi, I live in a country where photography degree is non-existent. Thus, I would like to know if anyone could recommend some GOOD, well recognized colleges in the States/Canada, for me to get a BA in Photography? I have thought of Brooks, but I am not from the US. So it cost a BOMB/(actually maybe 10 bombs...) as the exchange rate of US$- Sg$ is bloody miserable. (It cost more than my house!!...) So I would like to know if there is any slightly cheaper ones out there?

P.S: I hope to learn architecture, interior, food and product photography as well as the business side of running a commercial studio.Thanks a lot. Help much appre

-- V Keen (, December 01, 2001


I am a photography student at the Art Institute of Colorado in Denver. They offer an Associate's degree, but the program is one of the best in the country. You learn in-depth all of the aspects you mentioned and more. It is a very focused program and very intense, and you graduate with a professional portfolio along with competitive photography and business skills. They will teach you to not only be a top notch photographer, but how to be a great businessperson as well. All of the instructors are working photographers who offer a wealth of information.

I could go on forever... Feel free to email me directly if you would like more info. I am not affiliated with the school in any way other than being a very satisfied student! --Kate

-- Kate Prather (, December 01, 2001.

I'm a student at Ohio University in Athens, OH. OU basically has 3 photography programs. 1. A BFA program in photography through the school of fine arts. 2 and 3 are Photojournalism and Photo Illustration, which are really just two different sequences in the School of Visual Communication (site can be found at OU's VisCom is very highly regarded and I've been very impressed with the quality of the program as a student. I'm in the photo illustration sequence. I had originally wanted to go to RIT in Rochester, NY, but the price was too steep, so I went to OU. Now that I'm here, I love it and don't think I'd want to be anywhere else. The nice thing about the program at OU is that unlike a school devoted entirely to photography (not that it's a bad thing), you have access to courses in other departments, like Journalism and Business, both of which are considered some of the best in the country. If you want to know more about the program at OU, email me off the list and I'll do my best to answer any questions. Like Kate, I am not affiliated with my school in any way other than being a happy student. Wherever you end up, good luck.

-- David Munson (, December 01, 2001.

Hi, you'll want to take a serious look at Rochester Institue of Technology (RIT)- in Kodak, Xerox backyard & lots of research money there in imaging. Any cost involved my be remade when it comes to job hunting; I don't think they have much trouble placing their grads, and you know you will be working state of the art. For more bang for you buck, look to Canada. In Toronto there is Rierson College/Tech school(I think that's the spelling?). Also, there is a Humbler College that has a program. Do a serious search on the Canadain schools. Best, David

-- david clark (, December 01, 2001.

You can learn all that stuff by buying a 4x5 camera and a digital back. You should assist a commerical photographer in your hometown. If you want to come to Toronto. Ryerson, Humber and Sheridan are the major schools that I know of that could teach you something about photography. Sheridan and Humber are colleges that focus on the technical and business side of photography. Ryerson is a BFA program that is wide open, you can do anything you want. Personally I went to Ryerson. I am finishing up my 4th year. However I would rather assist a commerical photographer than go to school. I was talking to a friend of my that just graduated. She has tens of thousands of dollars to pay off in debt. That money could have been spend on equipment and projects. You just need to find a commerical photog mentor. Save your money and teach yourself. The school isn't a miracle worker. If you don't have the ability to learn or work hard a piece of paper isn't going to help. My experience at school has been equally good and bad. I don't think I could recommended it for the weak/stupid/unmotivated/casual.

-- David Payumo (, December 01, 2001.

The answers to the question of where to get a serious education in the field of professional photography are rather interesting. As ex- Director of Photography at the Colorado Institute of art, now known at the Art Institute of Colorado,... are quite enlightening. As a now retired successful professional, I can say, with out doubt, that if you are serious about photography as I was, that there is no question about the first step in this quest. I am a 1967 graduate(BFA) of the Art Center College of Design, in LA... I, and David Muench, Larry Dale Gordon, J. Barry O'Rourke, Carl Furuta and many others are graduates of Art Center...and classmates of mine. Art Center graudates with their BFA's are welcomed with enthusiasm by most advertising agency art directors, because they know that art center produces a quality graduate,....kind of like Marine Corp boot camp. With regard to the Art Institute of COlorado,....I overhauled the program and redesigned the program in 1983,....and hired new faculty. If it is good now....I am one of the persons responsible for making it that way. I have heard and believe that it is a fine program but only a two year program...and does not require the discpline and dedication of the ACCD four year, BFA program.

If you have serious intentions about making a career in photography, the ultimate is Art Center. If you have the guts, the time, and the money for tuition, it is the only way. Art Center is not for the faint of heart. It is DEMANDING. But, the rewards are in direct proportion to the effort and expense. I know. I have a room full awards including national photographer of the year, seven gold medals in advertising illustration including a Cine Golden Eagle, for doccumentary film. If you are really serious about making a career in photography, just list "BFA, Art Center College of Deisgn," and the door will open for you,....while the rest will the reception room. Trust's true. Richard Boulware - Denver. (ACCD BFA '67...and damned proud of it.) Happy to answer off-list emails.

-- Richard Boulware (, December 01, 2001.

In the USA you really have two serious choices: The Art Center in Pasadena California


Forget Brooks.

-- Ellis Vener Photography (, December 02, 2001.

why forget brooks?

-- mark lindsey (, December 03, 2001.

Los Angeles City College has an unbelievable, but little known photography program. Each faculty has decades of experience. They are all full-time faculty, and they don't promote the program, because I think they prefer teaching smaller classes.

If you can somehow claim California state resident status: undeniably the best value, tuition-wise at 13 dollars a unit (typical course is 3-6 units), you will find anywhere in the U.S.

-- Andre Noble (, December 03, 2001.

Hmmmm... I think RIT is seriously out of the question, since its a 4 year program at approx. US$20 000 for tuition alone!!(thus more $$$ and time needed.) On top of that, I actually already got a prospectus from them. Unfortunately, out of all the relavant prospectus I requested, they sent me the WRONG one(gave me Biomedical photography instead...) which I didn't want at all.

And the course module under "advertising photography"(inside one of the general prospectus) concentrates on theory and History too much. I believe that it is best to learn things "hands-on". Besides, I was not really impress with the student works featured under the gallery section. *Sorry no offence to RIT graduates* Its just my 0.2 cents worth.

Oh, yeah, some of the schools mentioned, I checked some out already, but I am actually looking for something less than what Brooks would charge (tuition alone...US$17 000/per year for 3 years) and $13 000 for room & broad/year. Thus that is approx.SG$ 165 000!! for a BA degree!!!

Would anyone of you pay such an amount f

-- V Keen (, December 04, 2001.

RIT is awesome, I earned my M.F.A. in Photography there. But, as in all things, budgets force a reality check. As an alternative to the top "academies", consider getting a degree at a State university in related discipline (art, design, marketing, psychology, anthroplogy -- my definition of 'related' is quite broad. Take advantage of state U's great tuition! Then, assist the best shooter you can find. Need some specialized training? Take workshops. Do tons of personal work. Experiment! I encourage you to use college to widen your horizons. Judging from what I've seen, I say avoid just assisting -- take classes in art, etc. that can make more than a technician -- these experiences will give you perspective (no LF pun intended) and a sense of context. Visit museums regularly. Judging from your planning, you have a good head on you shoulders. Make your own program!

-- Paul Chaplo (, December 05, 2001.

The sad fact is that as a foreign student, you'd pay full-scale fees regardless of whether it is a state-supported school or private. That's right, it'd be expensive whichever way you choose. The public universities are cheaper compared to the private schools. The cheapest alternative are the community colleges like LACC or Santa Monica College or City College of San Francisco. For a two year, AA or Certificate programme you pay about $156 per unit (residents pay only $13 per unit!!). For a 12 unit minimum load per 18-week semester, you're looking at 12X$156 plus miscellaneous fees.

In a four-year college, if you get a very high GPA, you may be able to win an international student's scholarship from the uni. That usually means free tuition for the next semester or academic year. Competition is very very keen as you are up against other hard-up foreign students.

If looking for a well-rounded education is not your goal, consider Portfolio Center or Creative Circus, both in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. These are professional trade schools in advertising that train you in the technical and business aspects of photography and related subjects. No, you won't know your Homer and Virgil upon graduation. But you may have a nice portfolio at the end of two years.

That said, I wonder if you'd consider your own local Temasek Polytechnique. I believe that its School of Design provides a photography specialisation under its aegis.

If you look at the comments of your compatriots John Clang's on PDNONLINE, perhaps you would realise that formal training in photography is not always required to succeed in the buz. Hard work and a quick mind help.

After all, a $120 Gs spent at Art Center College of Design can buy you a lot of fancy equipment. And I know of a few Art Center graduates who end up pushing cameras in a camera store. So you see, it is no guarantee that spending lots of money on a diploma buys you quality. In this biz., only a great portfolio counts. That and a sense of resposibility and a good character go a long way.

-- erik x (, December 07, 2001.

Okay, one more for completeness' sake: Emily Carr School of Design in Vancouver, I believe.

-- ErikX (, December 07, 2001.

Now I know what my problem is. It's my sense of resposibility.

-- Andre Noble (, December 12, 2001.

You really should consider Art Center. Just think that the money that you will be spending on tuition, you will probably make it back the first year you graduate. Many pleople in the creative world will know what the Art Center teaches and respect that thus giving you the advantage over the "freelancer". The competition in photography is tuff but not many students graduate a year from the art center.


.......... remember the schhool doesn't make you a great photographer but creativity and talent does!!!!

-- Kat (, January 22, 2002.

I would have to agree with Kat. As a graduate of Pratt Institute, I can remember all the hype about how much demand there is for a graduate from there. While I'm certainly happy with what I got out of school, from the perspective of learning about photography (in particular, fine art photography), I could have obtained far more from investing just a fraction of my parents money in a couple of years worth of workshops. No one cares a nit about my degree. They look at my work and that tells them all they need to know.

Think about it. You could spend two years just touring the States and learning from the very best in the field. You could learn view camera technique, printing, alternative processes, architectural, nudes, landscape, color, b&w, digital, the list is endless. You wouldn't end up with a degree, but you might come away with more! And you could experience first hand, how various masters work. I'm certain the cost would be a fraction of tuition. You'll get to see a lot of the country as well. Just a thought.

-- Robert A. Zeichner (, January 22, 2002.

Sam Houston State U in Huntsville TX, they have an excellent program, is a state university and I personally have met many graduates from there who appeared to have gotten a superb education.

-- Jorge Gasteazoro (, January 22, 2002.

Greetings....There's also Concordia University in Montreal. Does anyone know of a "distance learning" BFA program on the Net? As in lectures and assignments submitted via computer. There seems to be a program for just about everthing else.

-- Martin (, February 16, 2002.

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