The School of Photographic Arts and Sciences molds imaginative visual artists, practitioners, and technologists through its programs that explore the depth and scope of contemporary imaging practices today and into the future. A more than 93 percent job placement rate demonstrates the programs’ career-focused curriculums that prepare students for success in a variety of fields, including biomedical photography, photojournalism, advertising, media design, moving media, and much more. Here, photography is taken to ambitious levels to create an environment where innovation flourishes. Our prominence derives from professional courses of study as well as a one-of-a-kind educational community that consists of critically regarded faculty, state-of-the-art facilities, an unmatched repository of equipment, and co-operative education and internship opportunities.
With a legacy more than 100 years in the making, the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences is critically regarded as an educational leader in the professional study of photography and its multiple practices. The school’s high rankings from leading college guides, industry leaders and internationally respected publications include the MFA in photography and related media's No. 6 position U.S. News and World Report’s ranking of graduate photography programs. The school also recently received a $3.5 million gift from alumnus Chance Wright — which was used for facilities renovations that allow RIT to continue growing as one of the world's premier education and research centers in contemporary image creation.
Charles Arnold Lecture Series
The school's signature lecture series brings speakers with experience, talent, insight and discovery to the creative and intellectual culture of RIT in honor of Professor Charles Arnold's contributions to the Photo School and the wider world of photography.
Frank Cost, who served as associate dean and then interim dean of what was then RIT’s College of Imaging Arts and Sciences (now the College of Art and Design) from 1997 through 2011, is retiring after 40 years.
As the nation’s reshuffled economy rebounds from the pandemic, RIT students graduating from a university renowned for its academic rigor combined with successful internships and co-op experiences are leveraging multiple job offers into their top choices.
The photographic and imaging arts BFA program (with options in advertising photography, fine art photography, photojournalism, and visual media) promotes the creation, editing, and presentation of images in still, moving, and multimedia formats. The photographic sciences BS program (with options in biomedical photographic communications and imaging and photographic technology) prepares students for careers in healthcare and at scientific, forensic, and imaging technology companies.
The advertising photography option prepares students for diverse and rewarding careers in the field of visual communications. While encouraging and nurturing students’ individual image-making practice, students learn to create photographs and moving media for a wide range of commercial use in today’s fast changing media environment. This option is part of the Photographic and Imaging Arts BFA program.
The fine art photography option prepares students for careers as visual artists, educators, editorial photographers, or freelance artists. Graduates are employed in a number of professional fine-art related institutions such as museums, archives, studios, and commercial galleries. The primary goal is to nurture the artist’s personal aesthetic vision through photographic expression. Studying the theoretical and practical skills needed to create thought-provoking and meaningful images develops technical, conceptual, and aesthetic abilities, and furthers students' goals as contemporary image-makers. This option is part of the Photographic and Imaging Arts BFA program.
The photojournalism option teaches students to produce non-fiction visual reporting that tells the stories of people, social issues and events for diverse and modern media outlets including digital and print. Students learn to create and publish both still photographic reporting as well as moving and interactive media that document our diverse culture, evoking both the momentous and the everyday circumstances of contemporary life and society. The photojournalism option allows flexibility and individual specialization where students can find their primary interest. Students take required courses in photojournalism fundamentals, picture editing, and multimedia, including sound, video gathering, and video editing. This option is part of the Photographic and Imaging Arts BFA program.
The visual media option allows students to integrate the graphic communications professions of photography, media design, and business. Most visual media students earn a minor in business. This option prepares students for a career as a visual media specialist or other professional positions that have a demand for photographically skilled professionals who can work effectively with graphic designers, print media specialists, multimedia and social media professionals. This option is part of the Photographic and Imaging Arts BFA program.
Students in the photography and related media MFA program study fine art practices with the goal of nurturing artistic individuality through extensive study of art practice, criticism, and aesthetics. The program is a professional two-year course of study in fine art photography, digital imaging, and moving media. In the 2016 U.S. News & World Report rankings, RIT was fourth nationally among graduate schools offering the fine arts specialty of photography.
In the media arts and technology MFA program, you will learn to leverage emerging technologies to your advantage. With a management focus, technical expertise, and comprehensive knowledge of how to drive the graphics process from concept through completion, you will be an attractive prospect in a wide range of industries, including education, engineering, marketing, research science, human resources, public relations, and more.
The imaging systems minor offers students an introduction to the business and technology of photographic imaging services. Courses cover digital imaging capture systems, professional practices, output technologies, color management, and imaging workflows. The minor provides the foundation students need to pursue opportunities in photo technology management, color workflows, technical support, digital imaging technology, and sales for photography and imaging manufacturers.
The photography minor explores the diverse subject of photography from either an art or science perspective. Students develop both technical and aesthetic skills needed for creative, communication, or scientific applications. Students choose one of the following areas of emphasis: general photography, fine art photography, photojournalism, or photo sciences. Course selections are based upon career goals and aspirations, personal interests, and the availability of photography courses. Courses are selected from the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences’s comprehensive portfolio of offerings in photographic sciences, photojournalism, applied photography, and fine art photography.
With professional-level resources and access to industry-standard equipment, our photography facilities are regarded as some of the best in the country. And they were recently bolstered by a multi-million-dollar renovation. The state-of-the-art facilities include more than two dozen studios for professional-level shoots, 20 darkrooms for black-and-white or color film processing and printing, two well-stocked equipment cages for students to check out industry-standard gear and a world-class printing lab. Learn more about our facilities below, and view the Cage catalogue to see the range of equipment that is right at students' fingertips!
The School of Photographic Arts and Sciences hosts a Day of Photo event each year, allowing prospective students to gain insights from current students and award-winning faculty and alumni, learn about our facilities and much more.
For a deeper look at the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences and its students, faculty, alumni and facilities, visit our blog.
Internal College of Art and Design resources such as academic information, forms and FAQs can be found at inside.cad.rit.edu. Our academic advising page also has helpful information.