Penn State School of Visual Arts introduces new undergraduate photography degree

Tammy Hosterman
May 24, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State School of Visual Arts (SoVA) will soon roll out a Minor in Photography, available fall 2017, and a Bachelor of Design in Professional Photography, anticipated for spring 2018. These additions reflect the SoVA photography faculty’s goal to create diverse curricula attractive to a broader group of students throughout the College of Arts and Architecture and the University.

With these additions, SoVA will offer four distinct photographic undergraduate degree paths that fulfill different educational goals including a Bachelor of Design (B.Des.) in Professional Photography, Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Art (Photography concentration), Bachelor of Art (B.A.) in Art (Photography concentration), and a Minor in Photography.

The B.Des in Professional Photography focuses on building and applying career oriented competencies essential to photographers’ professional, intellectual and cultural lives. Students acquire practical skills and learn creative techniques relevant to professional photographic image making. The B.F.A. focuses on fine art-related studies of photography and its many facets in artistic practice and presentation, preparing students for specialized creative work and graduate study. The B.A. provides broader involvement in the many forms and applications of photography within community and cultural settings, as well as additional studies in language, humanities and social sciences.

In the Photography Minor, students gain skills and knowledge necessary to identify and create professional-quality photographic images. The minor strengthens technical, creative, and intellectual competencies and capabilities so that students can identify and create professional-quality images for photographic applications in a wide variety of disciplines and careers.  It requires a total of 19 credits to complete.

“Although photography is a very popular medium, professional photography is a very competitive occupation,” said Keith Shapiro, SoVA professor. “Success relies on hard work, creative passion, determination and opportunity.”

Graduates from SoVA’s photography program find themselves working in many fields, occupations, and settings that continue to emerge in response to the ever changing pace of image making technologies, where it is the creativity of the human eye and mind that helps them look beyond what’s obvious and to see the world in new ways.


Last Updated May 24, 2017