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21 Best Photography Schools, Degrees, and Universities

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Photography schools offer a great opportunity to improve your skills. You also get recognition for your abilities, which might help with finding a job.

It’s also one of the most efficient ways to meet like-minded people.

There are many types of schools, degrees, and universities for artists of all kinds. Here are 25 of the best photography schools, degrees, and universities.

Best Photography Degrees

a graduate from a photography school standing outside the university

Some schools offer a wide variety of photography courses. Others are much more limited. What you choose depends on the genres you want to specialise in and how much money you want to make in the long run.

Professional photographers earn anywhere from $30,000 to $77,000 (or more) annually. Even if you charge $10 per hour as a beginner, you can make around $21,000 a year.

A few top-paying photography careers are filmmaking, scientific research, and information services.

There are also exclusive photography careers that can help you make a lot of money. These include portrait, commercial, wedding, and news photography.

These genres are all connected in their own ways. If you like at least one of them, it’s likely that you’ll enjoy studying the others too.

Finding the perfect photography school and getting into it might be hard. But once you get a bachelors degree in photography, you’ll be able to find a job in most of these industries.

Best Photography Schools & Universities

California Institute of the Arts

The California Institute of the Arts, also known as CalArts, is a private art university. It was created by none other than Walt Disney and his brother. It’s considered one of the best art universities in the United States.

CalArts offers Bachelor Fine Arts (BFA) and Masters Fine Arts (MFA) degrees in photography and media. As a student, you’ll be encouraged to experiment with different mediums. Some might not even be related to photography at all, like puppetry.

The institute’s main goal is to encourage students to familiarise themselves with all forms of art.

Vevey School of Photography

Located in Switzerland, Vevey is a fine arts school respected by well-known photographers and companies. It offers an International Photography Award with a prize of €33,000 for the best projects or ideas.

Students can expect to focus on creativity and learn how to use it in business.

You can even choose subjects that will give you work opportunities.

Parsons School of Design

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Founded in 1896, the Parsons School of Design is one of the best art schools in the United States. It’s a private art and design college. Located in New York City, Parsons offers a variety of degrees (BFA and MFA) for aspiring photographers.

In the comprehensive photography course, students learn about analogue and digital photography. You’ll also study other mediums that aim to improve their knowledge of design. And you’ll be introduced to film and installation.

It’s one of the five colleges of The New School.

Yale University School of Art

Yale School of Art is located in Connecticut and offers MFAs only. If you want to get a BFA, you’ll have to apply to Yale University exclusively.

Yale is considered one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Photography students can expect thorough reviews of their work every week. And introductions to a variety of photography mediums, such as non silver processes.

Only 10 students are accepted every year. Receiving an MFA from Yale will increase your chances of finding a great photography job.

Tokyo Zokei University

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Zokei is a private university that’s considered to be one of the best art schools in Japan.

In Japanese, “zokei” means “formative design”. Students can expect to have a deep knowledge of both photography and design after they graduate.

Zokei’s photography professors focus on documentary photography, creative photography, and how the modern world is linked to our photographs.

Students are also introduced to workshops, archiving, and other important aspects of photography.

Spéos: Photography School

Located in both London and Paris, Spéos has a variety of photography courses made for all kinds of photographers. Its courses are taught in English and French.

Spéos offers a 1-year intensive course. This gives graduates the title of European Master of Professional Photography. Students can specialise in photojournalism, fashion, and sports photography, to name a few.

Royal College of Art

Located in London, Royal College is the only university in the world that offers postgraduate courses in art and design. Amongst these is photography, for which you can earn a Master’s degree.

The 2-year course aims to help photographers develop their personal style. And build a solid foundation for their work.

Istituto Europeo di Design

Istituto Europeo di Design is a private Italian design school.

It was founded in 1966 in Milan, Italy.

It teaches design, fashion, photography, and management. It has schools located in 11 different cities, not only in Italy.

The school provides a creative and freeing space for students to grow. It offers BFAs and MFAs in photography.

Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester is the perfect institute for aspiring photographers who enjoy learning about the scientific side of art. It is located in the United States, in New York.

Nine of RIT’s graduates have won 13 Pulitzer Prizes for photojournalism. It’s also known for having very talented counsellors.

European Academy of Fine Arts

The European Academy of Fine Arts offers a variety of art courses from painting to printmaking. It is located in Trier, the eldest city in Germany. It has specialised in almost all areas of fine arts.

The course isn’t intensive. But it seems to be a helpful introduction to the basics of digital photography.

Columbia College Chicago

Columbia College has an affordable photography program with a strong focus on financial aid. It’s considered one of the top photography schools in the United States.

It offers BAs and MAs in photography. The program lasts for four years.

International Center of Photography

The International Center of Photography School is one of the most popular photography schools in NYC. It focuses on photography’s relation to social change. And it encourages students to do the same.

The school has exhibitions, workshops, and other social events that anyone can attend.

Rodchenko Moscow School of Photography and Multimedia

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Founded in 2006, this school offers a 3-year program. Students learn about a combination of Russian and international art. It provides students with knowledge in fields of classic and digital photography, video, post-production and image editing.

Students have to select a field of specialization. These are documentary, art photography, video art, new media art, sound art, object, sculpture and installation.

If you pass the admissions exam, you will be able to study for free. The catch is that you have to know enough Russian to participate in classes and interact with other students.

Accademia Italiana

The Accademia Italiana was founded in 1984. It is located in Florence and Rome. It’s a prestigious university for fashion, design and photography.

This institute is ideal for students who want to immerse themselves in Italy’s rich culture and fashion-oriented world.

It combines photography theories and the students’ unique talents for a wholesome experience. Students are promised to excel in their workplaces upon graduating.

New York Institute of Photography

NYIP is one of the top photography schools both offline and online. It currently offers 11 courses. A few of these are photojournalism, travel photography, and portrait photography.

Students learn using a variety of digital files, from audio messages to simple text lessons. At the end of every unit, they submit a project that’s reviewed by a mentor.

Once a course is completed, students receive an NYIP Graduate Certificate.

Gerrit Rietveld Academie

The Gerrit Rietveld Academie is also known as Rietveld School of Art & Design or Rietveld Adacemy.

The Academy was founded in 1924 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. It’s an international university of applied sciences for Fine Arts and Design. It offers one Bachelor’s programme and two Master’s programmes.

During the Bachelor’s programme all students complete a general formative year. After that, they choose a specialisation for in-depth study.

Paris College of Art

Paris College of Art is an international college with US degree-granting authority and accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

PCA offers Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degrees in Communication Design; Fashion Design; Fine Arts; Illustration; Interior Design; and Photography.

It also offers Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in different fields including Fashion & Film Photography.

Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture

 

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In 2010 three esteemed Finnish universities merged and Aalto University started operating. Aalto was founded to work as a societally embedded research university.

The three universities were the Helsinki School of Economics, Helsinki University of Technology and the University of Art and Design Helsinki. These are universities with a long history.

This university is so prestigious that its former students established a key photographic movement in the European art scene. The Helsinki School describes a selection of artists who studied at this institution making this school part of the photography history books.

Since then Aalto has a prominent place among the top-ranking universities internationally.

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) is a private university. It was founded in 1866.

It offers educational opportunities in art and design. SAIC supports life-long learning. It has courses for teachers, high school students in grades nine through 12, middle school students ages 10–13, and children ages four to nine.

Rhode Island School of Design

Rhode Island School of Design (RIDS) is a private art and design school in Providence, Rhode Island.

It was founded in 1877 and it is one of the oldest and most famous art colleges in the US.

You can choose from their bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes in 19 majors.

The Royal Academy of Art, The Hague (KABK)

The Royal Academy of Art, The Hague (KABK) was founded in 1682. It is the oldest academy in the Netherlands.

It has a school for Young Talent, preparatory courses, bachelor and master degree programmes. You can and even do a PhD programme here in collaboration with Leiden University.

School of Visual Arts

 

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The School of Visual Arts (SVA) was founded in 1947 in Manhattan, New York as the Cartoonists and Illustrators School.

It offers education for artists, designers and creative professionals. The school has a faculty of more than 1,100.

Köln International School of Design

 

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The Köln International School of Design (KISD) is an institution of the Cologne University of Applied Sciences.

It’s dedicated to design and fine arts and offers a wide range of bachelor’s programmes in these fields.

It also has photography courses. The technical education of photography offers seminars where you can learn about analogue and digital photography as well.

University of Applied Arts Vienna (Angewandte)

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The University of Applied Arts Vienna (Angewandte) is recognized nationally and internationally due to its excellence in art and research.

The Angewandte plays a key role in Austria in artistic research. It also emphasises transdisciplinary studies and researches. This way its aim is also to shape society.

Elisava

 

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Elisava is a school of design and research institution in Barcelona, Spain. It is a centre attached to the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), one of the most prestigious universities in Spain.

It has had more than 17,000 students from all over the world.

It offers undergraduate, master, postgraduate and specialised courses. The main educational fields of it are design, engineering and communication.

Conclusion

There are many schools for photography you can choose from. People with all kinds of interests and budgets can find something that works for them.

You might be a curious fashion photographer or a beginner looking to get a certificate in photography. You’ll find something valuable in one of these schools.

Studying photography in college might require working hard, but it’s going to pay off. Photography universities provide knowledge you wouldn’t be able to get from anywhere else. And of course, a degree in photography makes finding jobs in this field much easier.

From studying the history of photography to fine art photography or commercial photography, you are going to benefit from each subject.

But don’t forget that you don’t necessarily have to study in the best photography schools to become a great photographer. A photography degree is not even obligatory for that.

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