Photography Option

The Photography option offers both artistic and applied approaches to the medium, providing a solid foundation for those entering a professional field and those choosing to pursue postgraduate education. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, the Photography option sets high standards for production and is one of the few comprehensive four-year photography degree programs in a sizable geographical area of the north central and northwest United States. Coursework covers everything from traditional silver-based darkroom techniques to alternative processes as well as emphasis in digital technologies across the curriculum.

Photography Option Foundations

Upon completion of all of the four required Photography foundation courses and two university Core requirements, WRIT 101W and University Seminar (US), interested students may apply for acceptance into the Photography option. The Photography option will accept up to 36 students each year and establish a wait list for the rest. Selection will be based on the grade point average (GPA) earned in the required foundation courses, the successful completion of WRIT 101W and US core, and a portfolio review based on work completed in PHOT 213 Intermediate Photography.

In order to apply for acceptance into the Photography Option for the following year, students must submit an application form by April 30. Portfolio submissions will be accepted immediately after the scheduled final critique of assignments in PHOT 213.

All applicants will be notified of the review outcome on or before May 30th. Within the first two weeks of the fall semester immediately following the review, should room become available in the major for wait listed students, they will be admitted in descending order of preference. It is the student's responsibility to provide accurate contact information for this to occur. Once the two-week period is over, the wait list will be retired, and students not placed may reapply the following year.  Students who wish to reapply may retake any courses during the intervening year to improve their chances of success.

Those accepted into the program after the freshman year will be required to purchase a Macintosh laptop computer that meets the specifications of the department by the fall semester of their sophomore year. Students will be notified of these specifications upon a successful portfolio review outcome in May.

Freshman YearCredits
FILM 100IH - Intro to Film & Photography3
FILM 112 - Aesthetics of Film Prodctn I3
PHOT 113RA - Understanding Photography3
PHOT 213 - Intermediate Photography3
WRIT 101W - College Writing I3
US Core 3
Year Total: 18
Sophomore YearCredits
PHOT 255 - Intro to Color Photography4
PHOT 258 - View Camera4
Year Total: 8
Junior YearCredits
Choose two of the following
PHOT 331 - Prof Practices in Photography
or PHOT 350 - Advanced Color Photography
or PHOT 352 - Advanced Lighting Practices
or PHOT 359 - Alternative Photographic Techniques
or PHOT 371 - Portraiture
or PHOT 373 - Image & Text
or PHOT 374 - Experimental Photography
or PHOT 394 -
or PHOT 494 - Seminar/Workshop
Year Total:  
Senior YearCredits
PHOT 499 - Sr Production Photography5
Year Total: 5
Total Program Credits: 31

Photography Option Curriculum

Foundation Courses (typically taken in freshman year)

FILM 100IHIntro to Film & Photography3
FILM 112Aesthetics of Film Prodctn I3
PHOT 113RAUnderstanding Photography3
PHOT 213Intermediate Photography3
WRIT 101WCollege Writing I3
University Seminar (topic of choice)3

FILM 112, WRIT 101W and University Seminar are offered both fall and spring semesters and may be taken in either semester.

Photography Option Requirements

PHOT 255Intro to Color Photography4
PHOT 258View Camera4
Choose four of the following Film & Photo Studies courses (must include 303 or 304):12
Understanding Film and Media
Film History I: Origins to the 1960's
Film History II: 1960s to the Present
Early History of Photography
Recent History of Photography
Studies in Film
Contemp Issues in Photography
Film and Documentary Theory
Advanced Studies in Film
Other photography-related studies course(s) approved by advisor
Take two of the following Photography Production courses:8
Prof Practices in Photography
Advanced Color Photography
Advanced Lighting Practices
Alternative Photographic Techniques
Image & Text
Experimental Photography
Other photography-related production course(s) approved by advisor
PHOT 499 -Senior Thesis/Capstone (fall or spring; may be taken twice)
SFP Electives (at least 4 courses*; photo majors are strongly encouraged to fulfill 2 SFP electives with Photography Production courses)12-16
Non-SFP Electives Not Including Core Requirement (at least 3 courses**)9
Total Credits67

SFP Electives are any courses offered in the School of Film & Photography  that are not serving to fulfill any requirements listed above. Any of the studies or production courses listed above in excess of the number required in each category will count as SFP Electives. This requirement is intended to permit Film and Photography students to explore their individual interests in greater depth in one area or more broadly in both areas.


Non-SFP Electives are any courses offered outside the School of Film & Photography that are not serving to fulfill university CORE requirements. This requirement is intended to encourage Film and Photography students to develop other areas of knowledge outside of film and photography. Completion of a minor outside of the School of Film and Photography automatically fulfills this requirement.

Photography Students are strongly recommended to take at least one of ARTZ 109RA Visual Language: Comprehensive Foundation, ARTZ 110RA Visual Language: Ideation and Creativity, or ARTZ 105RA Visual Language - Drawing, and ARTH 200IA Art of World Civilization I or ARTH 201IA Art of World Civilization II. The ARTH courses will count as Photography Studies electives.

A minimum of 120 credits is required for graduation, 42 of these credits must be in courses numbered 300 and above. The Photography major requirements fulfill a minimum of 16 upper division credits.