Texas Photography School Overviews with Degree Information

Oct 20, 2021

Essential Information

A variety of photography programs can be found at schools throughout Texas, ranging from associate's degrees for beginning photographers to Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programs; certificate programs are also available. While undergraduate degree programs include general education classes, certificates in photography may concentrate on photography classes. Students in all programs will likely be required to provide their own cameras, but schools' resources vary and may include studio space, editing software in computer labs, and/or lighting equipment. Most undergraduate programs facilitate the development of a portfolio.

Listed below are ten of the largest public or non-profit colleges in the state that offer photography programs. Related programs, such as those in photographic technology, are also included.

Amarillo College

Located in Amarillo, this college has certificate, Associate in Arts (AA) and Associate in Applied Science (AAS) programs in photography. The certificate program requires a total of 39 semester hours and includes courses in photography fundamentals, photo digital imaging and portraiture. The AA program focuses on general education courses and includes two courses in photography fundamentals and a film course. AAS students study color photography, photo digital imaging and expressive photography. Certificate and AAS students leave with portfolios.

Austin Community College District

This Austin college offers certificate and AAS programs in photographic technology. The certificate program offers a digital assistant and a photographic artist specialization. Coursework for both specializations includes photography fundamentals and photo digital imaging. The AAS program has specializations in advertising and fashion, editorial photography, portraiture and wedding photography, visual mixed media and photographic art. Depending on the emphasis, students may take courses in color photography, photo digital imaging, photographic retouching, Web design and portfolio development.

Kilgore College

Kilgore College in Kilgore offers a 1-year certificate and a 2-year AAS in commercial photography. Courses for both programs include photojournalism, portraiture, illustrative photography and photo digital imaging. While the certificate program consists entirely of photography courses, the AAS program includes some general education courses in math, business principles, speech and the social sciences along with courses in design and art appreciation.

Sam Houston State University

Undergraduate students at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville can choose from Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) programs in photography. Both programs include basic studio arts, history and theory coursework. Prospective BFA students must apply to the program by completing a series of art foundation courses and passing a BFA review. Some of the coursework available to students in both programs includes photographic visualization, digital photography, landscape photography and alternative photographic processes. BA students also take a foreign language, and BFA students are required to present a senior exhibition. Students can also take photography as a minor.

San Antonio College

This university, located in San Antonio, offers an Associate of Arts degree with a concentration in photography. Students take general education courses, two semesters of journalistic photography and a series of photography electives. Available courses include those in portrait photography, photographic perceptual design, electronic media, news photography and commercial photography.

Texas A&M University - Commerce

Graduate and undergraduate photography students attending Texas A&M in Commerce have access to over 12,000 square feet of darkroom, digital imaging and studio space. Students can pursue a BA in Photography that emphasizes skills in applied photography and prepares them for professional positions. There is also a BFA program in studio art comprising foundational studio art and art history courses along with photography courses in portraiture, printmaking, studio lighting and other areas. A practicum course culminates in a review of the student's work and a graduation exhibition. Students can also minor in photography.

Students in the BFA in Visual Communication with an emphasis in photography take core coursework in studio arts, photography and visual communication. They also take art history courses and upper division electives. Specific photography courses include advertising and commercial photography, advanced photojournalism and architectural photography.

The Master of Arts in Art program with a concentration in photography requires students to complete 6-10 graduate-level courses in photography, 12 semester hours of a foreign language, elective coursework and a thesis. They must also pass an examination. An MFA program in photography is also available in which students work closely with a committee of four faculty members and present a thesis and exhibition near the end of the program.

Texas Christian University

Texas Christian University in Fort Worth offers a BA and BFA in Studio Art with concentrations in photography. Both programs require students to take a core art curriculum that includes drawing, design, painting and other courses. BFA students present a senior exhibition. BA students must declare a minor and study a foreign language.

Texas State University - San Marcos

Students in this San Marcos university's BFA program in photography take two-thirds of their coursework in the fine arts. Both traditional and contemporary styles and methods of photography are presented, and students have the opportunity to work with a variety of traditional materials and digital processes. Art foundation courses include design, drawing, color theory and art history, along with studio art courses in areas other than photography. The program culminates in a student exhibition.

Tyler Junior College

Located in Tyler, this community college provides a 21-semester hour photography certificate program with courses in color photography, digital publishing, illustrative photography and Web design. A 2-year AAS program in graphic design and photography includes beginning courses in photography along with classes in graphic design, digital publishing, drawing and Web design. Students also develop a portfolio. The college also offers continuing education courses in digital photography, travel and nature photography and Photoshop.

University of Houston

The School of Art at this Houston school offers both graduate and undergraduate programs in photography and digital media. BFA students learn about professional photography practices in studio lighting and large format photography. They take 27 credit hours of photography courses along with art history and video art and a series of studio courses in areas other than photography. BFA students have 24/7 access to labs, darkrooms and studio space during the spring and fall semesters.

The 3-year, 60-credit hour MFA program includes coursework in photography and related arts. Students also present a written thesis and a thesis exhibition and must pass an oral exam. MFA students have their own studio spaces and access to a variety of traditional and digital photography equipment.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type and Setting Photography Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2018-2019)
Amarillo College 2-year, public; midsize city Certificate of Completion in Photography,
AA and AAS in Photography
$2,136 in-district;
$3,168 in-state;
$4,704 out-of-state*
Austin Community College District 2-year, public; large city Certificate in Photographic Technology,
AAS in Photographic Technology
$2,550 in-district;
$10,830 in-state;
$13,020 out-of-state*
Kilgore College 2-year, public; distant town Certificate in Commercial Photography,
AAS in Commercial Photography
$1,896 in-district;
$3,792 in-state;
$4,992 out-of-state*
Sam Houston State University 4-year, public; distant town Minor in Photography,
BA and BFA in Photography
$8,296 in-state;
$18,256 out-of-state*
San Antonio College 2-year, public; large city AA in Photography $2,820 in-district;
$6,300 in-state;
$13,830 out-of-state*
Texas A&M University - Commerce 4-year, public; remote town Minor in photography,
BFA in Visual Communication,
BA and BFA in Photography
MA and MFA in Photography
$8,748 in-state;
$21,198 out-of-state*
Texas Christian University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city BA and BFA in Studio Art $46,950*
Texas State University - San Marcos 4-year, public; fringe town BFA in Photography $10,280 in-state;
$21,900 out-of-state*
Tyler Junior College 2-year, public; small city Certificate in Photography,
AAS in Graphic Design/Photography,
Photography continuing education courses
$2,962 in-district;
$4,762 in-state;
$5,482 out-of-state*
University of Houston 4-year, public; large city BFA in Photography/Digital Media,
MFA in Photography/Digital Media
$8,913 in-state;
$21,273 out-of-state*

Source: *College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics

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