Looking to become a professional photographer as a career? There are several aspects to photography to consider as a college major such as entrepreneurial opportunities, the social impact of photography, and asking “what is considered photography?”. There are universities and colleges all over the world that support students in their quest to become knowledgeable photographers as a lifelong career choice. Navigating the best choice can be difficult. Here are the top schools for photography:

Best Schools for Photography

1. California Institute of the Arts

  • Program Link
  • Degrees offered: Bachelors of fine arts and Masters of fine arts

California Institute of the Arts is one of the best schools for photography in the world. At this school, the bachelor’s program in photography is four years of introducing students to artistic and technical concepts. A graduation review is necessary upon completion of coursework for all students. The master’s program consists of two years of study and it is required that students complete independent studies with the faculty of the photography program as well as the attendance of many seminars.

To complete the master’s program, each student must submit an exhibition of a pre-approved project. For those who are working towards their bachelor’s degree, there are shared studio spaces that may be used. Those who are in graduate courses are welcome to reserve individual spaces in the studios to complete coursework.

2. Centre d’enseignement professionnel de Vevey

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  • Degrees offered: Bachelor’s degree in photography (CFC) and a Master’s degree in photography (CFC)

The four-year degree at Centre d’enseignement professionnel de Vevey focuses on both practical and theoretical aspects of photography. At the end of the final term, there is a required six-month internship at an approved company to obtain a bachelor’s degree.

The faculty of the master’s photography program request two years for completion and urge students to create their styles of photography and art and also to create their network. The program asks its students to understand and learn new technologies and what the current photography market asks for. To further the student’s education, numerous workshops can be attended as well as collaboration options.

3. Parson’s School of Design

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  • Degrees offered: Bachelors of fine arts and Masters of fine arts

Those interested in a bachelor’s degree in photography from Parson’s school of design will be immersed in a studio-based program with plenty of research-based coursework to complete. At this top photography school, there are also video and 3D elements that are taught in the bachelor’s program and studies in subjects such as fashion, fine art, commercial and documentary photography.

A master’s degree in photography at Parson’s requires a 26-month commitment (60 credits) and independent intense study. This college supports its students by supplying on-campus studios (there is five total) and labs (such as darkrooms) to complete previously mentioned projects. Many graduates find careers in commercial, documentary production, or fashion photography after graduation.

4. Yale University School of Art

Yale university school of art only offers a master’s degree in fine arts currently. To join fellow students in the graduate program, a thesis presentation must be completed and then approved by faculty. Also, this graduate degree can be completed in two years. During these terms, it is common for visitors of the professional photography world to visit the campus in support of students and their work.

This program is very reliant on the independent work of each student. After each term, a student’s work is scrutinized and judged before passing to the next term. Yale university describes these graduate courses as rigorous and challenging and based heavily on the student’s work that is produced in-studio.

5. Tokyo Zokei University

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  • Degrees offered: Bachelors of fine arts in photography

This well-known private Tokyo university focuses on the fine arts side of photography but also puts a strong emphasis on documentary photography. Tokyo Zokei University is different compared to other photography programs in that there is much more fieldwork that is required from the university as well as a strong focus on historical photography and materials.

This top photography school also encourages its students to focus on community and social constructs of art while adding a bit of their imagination and expression to their projects. Tokyo Zokei has also reached out to work with other art universities across the globe in hopes to gain international exchange students as part of their program.

6. Spéos Photography School

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  • Degrees offered: 1-year intensive program, 2-year program, and 3-year program

Spéos Photography School is under a different construct of programs. There is a 1-year intensive program that allows for specialization in entrepreneurial photography and European master of professional photography. The entrepreneurial photography track and European master of professional photography are for those who are considering a career in photography and business management.

These programs are available as a 2-year program choice as well. The 3-year program is different in that while there is still the choice of entrepreneurial photography track and European master of professional photography, there is the addition of video and 3D components in the coursework. Spéos Photography School also accepts international individuals as students to study their photography and arts program.

7. Royal College of Art

The Royal College of Art is an excellent photography school that provides potential students is a master’s degree in photography as a field of study. The university describes its photography program as interdisciplinary and without having a fixed identity. The faculty of the program asks its students to simply create and discuss their projects and is less severe about its requirements compared to other colleges.

Students are given studio workspaces on campus to complete their projects and coursework. There is also an emphasis on the study of still art as represented in cultures and theories. As of now, the Royal College of Art is updating their curriculum for the masters in photography program for the 2022 term year. Their website encourages prospective students to check-in at a later date to learn more about the programs that are offered.


I hope that this article on Best Universities for Photography in the World was helpful. To know more information on studying abroad, check out the Available Programs for International Students.