The School of Photographic Arts and Sciences prepares students for a wide range of exciting careers in photography and the ever-changing field of imaging. Bachelor of Science degree graduates realize a 94.1 job success rate upon graduation. While Photographic Arts (BFA) degree graduates see a 93.4 job success rate. Image making is taught through courses investigating methods and aesthetics required in pictorial and information-based images, videos, websites and publications. In 2014, Resource Magazine, a quarterly photo and video publication for image makers worldwide, ranked RIT Photography # 2 in its ranking of “15 Great College and University Photography Programs in the U.S.” The MFA program in Imaging Art, Photography and Related Media was nationally ranked #6 by US News and World Report.
Photography majors participate in a unique educational community, both in undergraduate and graduate studies. It is a community where students have the opportunity to study with our highly accomplished faculty in state-of-the-art facilities with access to an unrivaled equipment lending resource called the Cage. The School also offers a wide array of visiting professionals, events, and talks, including the Charles Arnold Lecture Series, the RIT Big Shot, along with non-credit bearing summer workshops. For more than 100 years, SPAS has been dedicated to creative and professional enrichment, preparing students for distinguished careers as creative and innovative leaders.
The School offers the following degrees and areas of study:
Photographc Sciences (BS)
- Photographc Sciences
- Imaging and Photographic Technology specialization
- Biomedical Photographic Communication specialization
Photographic Arts (BFA)
- Fine Art Photography
- Advertising Photography
- Visual Media
Imaging Arts - MFA
Curriculum Overview—The First Two Years
Classes in the first two years provide a strong foundation of professional practice, problem-solving and critical-thinking for both the BFA and BS students. Shooting begins the first day of the first semester of the first year. The curriculums are designed to introduce and then strengthen essential concepts, skills and aesthetics that are the building blocks of professional image making today, no matter what specialization a student might select in his/her third and fourth year of study.
For the BFA Student:
First year of study for the BFA student involves succeeding semesters of Photographic Arts I and II. This course sequence provides the essentials of professional photographic practice. Students are also introduced to the multiple specializations offered by the Photo School, as well as opportunities for internships, co-ops and future careers paths. As a companion to those classes, students also take Photo Technology I and II, an “under the hood” course in which students explore the technology and science underlying the still and moving image, including capture, processing, printing, and display. Additional coursework taken in the first year that spans into the second year are foundational art courses. During the first two years, students gather key concepts and skills in Drawing, Two-Dimensional Design, and Four-Dimensional Design (time-based media).
In the second year of study, the BFA student gathers more expertise in professional practices, skills, history and aesthetics. Required courses include the selection of two Elements classes from the four specializations: Advertising, Fine Art, Photojournalism and Visual Media. This enables a student to delve more deeply into areas of photographic specialization and career development in preparation for the upper division courses. Concurrently, students take the yearlong History and Aesthetics of Photography, building upon the knowledge acquired in the first year required art history sequence entitled Survey of Western Art.
In addition to the courses outlined above, students enroll in general education courses in the first and second year of study in order to provide a strong and well-rounded foundation for a successful academic and professional creative life.
For the BS Student:
First year of courses for the BS student includes sequential semesters of Photography I and II. This course sequence provides the essentials of professional photographic practice with an emphasis on technology and optimizing its application for precise control of photographic outcomes. Students are also introduced to the specializations offered by the Photographic Sciences in preparation for an upcoming required co-op. As a companion to those classes, students also take Photo Technology I and II, a course that differentiates an RIT education from any other. In this course, students explore the technology and science resident in the still and moving image equipment, including image formation, capture, processing, printing, and display. Additional coursework taken in the first year that spans into the second year are foundational science and math courses. During the first two years, students complete 30 credits of RIT general education.
In the second year, students take a yearlong course entitled Applications of Scientific Photography as well as Advanced Photographic Technology, Careers & Professional Practices, Fundamentals of Desktop Publishing, and Vision, Perception, & Imaging.
If you are an incoming student for the upcoming academic year, you can find your supply list here.
Advertising Photography (Undergraduate)
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Biomedical Photographic Communications (Undergraduate)
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Fine Art Photography (Undergraduate)
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Imaging & Photographic Technology (Undergraduate)
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Imaging Systems (Minor) (Undergraduate)
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Photographic Sciences (Undergraduate)
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Visual Media (Undergraduate)
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Imaging Arts, Photography and Related Media (Graduate)
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Moving Media Courses
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Non-Credit Bearing Photography & Imaging
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SPAS Careers and Employment
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