Masters Degrees in Photography

There are really a couple of specific steps to be considered on the path to a photography degree at the masters level.

First of all, you have to complete a bachelor. It's not always necessary to have a bachelor's degree in photography to be accepted into a master's program, but at many schools it certainly helps.

Of course, the best part about moving through a bachelor-level program into a master's degree program is that you will have completed the basic courses and many advanced courses in preparation for specialized work in the graduate program.

Having an undergraduate photography degree may also make it easier to find acceptance in some of the more competitive graduate programs.

In addition, you should pay particular attention to your photography portfolio in the last year or two of your undergraduate program.

"In many cases, the portfolio is the main factor that determines whether you will be admitted to the master's program you desire."

A bachelor's degree in photography is the perfect place to correct and fine-tune your portfolio.

Choosing a Photography School

Many people put a lot of emphasis on getting masters degrees in photography from one school in a select list of top institutions.

There is certainly nothing wrong with setting your sites high...

But the truth is:

There are dozens of excellent photography programs around the world that will provide the training and instruction you need to obtain an advanced degree!

To understand just where a master's-level program can put you in relation to other professional photographers, consider the associate's degree and the bachelor's degree.

A good student with an associate-level degree will usually find career opportunities in freelance photographer, with an established photographer or in photojournalism, for example.

The holder of a bachelor's degree in photography can work in any of those areas as well as in high school or community college teaching. A bachelor-level degree will also open doors with advertising agencies, corporations and Web design companies as well.

But when you get to the master's level you are reaching the top of the profession!

People who are so committed to the art and craft of photography that they want to obtain this degree often work at the top level in fashion, advertising, landscape/scenery or fine art.

It's true that serious, talented photographers who also hold masters degrees in photography are somewhat separate from the majority of working photographers.


This does not mean that the degree-holder is "better" than someone who is a great photographer but doesn't have a degree.

When choosing a school, consider several factors:

  • Reputation - The way a school is perceived among graduates and the public usually reflects the quality of its programs. Do your homework before committing to a program.

  • Instructors - When you get to the master's level, it's important to work with individuals who have similar interests and skills but will still encourage you to be creative and to be an individual.

  • Cost - This may be a serious roadblock for some talented students. Consider that many public institutions and schools provide excellent graduate-level instruction for lower cost.

  • Location - When you are committed to a master's degree program, think about where you will be studying. This is going to be one of the most important periods of your life. You should consider spending it in the right place.

The length of the program may also be an important factor in your decision. For example, if you have a bachelor's degree and a solid portfolio you can get a master's degree from the School of Visual Arts in one year.

By way of comparison, the master's degree program at Brooks Institute can be a two-year or three-year course, depending on the specific path you choose. These two excellent programs may be a bit more expensive than some of the state or public universities that offer outstanding photography studies.

You may also want to give some thought to getting your master's degree in photography online. Good programs are available from schools around the world, all accessible with the right technology.

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