Art (Photography), BFA

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Develop your photography skills in one of the finest photography programs in the country.

Students in the BFA program in art with a concentration in photography are offered an education in the creation and analysis of photographs as a form of creative expression.

Students work in a wide range of photographic media including specialized 19th-century processes, traditional black-and-white and state-of-the-art digital output.

The internationally recognized photography faculty at ASU are diverse, representing and encouraging a wide range of approaches to the creation of photo-based art. Students learn to be self-disciplined and self-directed, to understand complex ideas around how images function in their work, and to develop a strong sense and control of the craft of photography. The Northlight Gallery engages students and provides opportunities to learn about gallery and museum practice through the mounting of exhibitions and working with artists and the collection.

A portfolio submission is required for a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in photography. Students are not able to register for upper-division photography courses until their portfolio has been submitted and reviewed, which is typically submitted during the second year of study. To be eligible to submit their portfolio, a student must have completed either ART 204 or ART 205 (transfer credit is applicable). Students must submit the online application Google form and a digital portfolio by the posted deadline. There is a fall and spring portfolio review opportunity.

Portfolio details: It is to consist of 10 to 15 student-edited jpegs (72 dpi 1200 pixels on the longest side) sequenced in a Google Slides presentation titled with the student's name. A student who has completed ART 204 should submit scans of silver gelatin black-and-white prints. Students are welcome to include text; the text should not cover the images unless the text is part of the artwork. There are to be no empty text frames on the slides.

At A Glance

Art (Photography), BFA

Required Courses

A major map outlines a major's critical requirements, courses, and optimal course sequence and aids students in remaining on track to graduation.

While circumstances vary between students and their paths towards graduation (utilizing placement testing to fulfill required math or foreign language courses, fulfilling multiple General Studies requirements with one course, etc.), completing the courses listed in a major map fulfills all of the requirements for graduation.

Application requirements

All students are required to meet general university admission requirements:

Affording college

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Admission requirements

There is no portfolio review process for admission to the School of Art. Usually in their second semester, after completing either ART 204 Photography II: Black & White or ART 205 Photography II: Color, photography majors submit a portfolio to continue in the degree program.

Career outlook

A degree in the arts offers students a pathway to a rich and varied choice of careers. Students with a photography degree may work as independent studio photographers or contract for commercial work for firms, museums, galleries, individuals and other artists. Though this is not a commercial degree program, some students apply their skills post-graduation by doing product photography, portraits or event photography. Students have also started their own successful art galleries.

Photo skills hone a particular sensitivity to issues of representation and a heightened sense of time, among many other life-enhancing attributes. These critical and creative sensitivities can be brought to bear in life after graduation whatever career path a student chooses. The bachelor's degree is essential for advanced study leading to the terminal MFA. This advanced degree offers opportunities in:

  • curatorial work in galleries, museums and historical collections
  • history or studio areas
  • nonprofit arts organization management
  • university teaching

Example careers

Students who complete this degree program may be prepared for the following careers. Advanced degrees or certifications may be required for academic or clinical positions. Career examples include but are not limited to:


Career*growth*median salary
Special Effects Artists and Animators4.1%$77,700
Art Directors-1.8%$97,270
Art, Drama, and Music Teachers, Postsecondary 5.6%$69,690
Audio and Video Technicians 12.3%$47,920
Camera Operators, Television, Video and Film 14%$57,200
Craft Artists-1%$35,180
Fine Artists, Including Painters, Sculptors, and Illustrators1%$52,340
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education3.8%$62,870
Photographers-3.6%$41,280
Agents and Business Managers of Artists, Performers, and Athletes 11.8%$75,420

* Data obtained from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) under sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA).

  • Bright Outlook
  • Green Occupation