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Fall 2020

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Photography MFA

“Our programs seeks individuals who approach the medium of photography from diverse angles yet wish to participate in a community of artists. We want to foster each students’ best abilities, visual, verbal, critical.” - Laura McPhee

Visiting artists are an integral part of both programs. In addition to Major Studio, visits from prominent photographers, critics and curators provide an opportunity for feedback on student work, and the department has an outstanding lecture series.

View the Photography Brochure

Learning Outcomes

  • Develop a coherent body of work of depth and integrity on a personally chosen topic which may extend over the two year program
  • Produce artwork that stretches one’s visual vocabulary and reaches beyond one’s personal status quo
  • Experiment with formal and conceptual invention
  • Refine technical expertise in photography and acquire new skills in other media as needed
  • Bridge the visual language of photography with the written word and with public speaking
  • Understand one’s work in relation to contemporary art and art history
  • Use the works of others as resources and inspiration
  • Use external critique for self-evaluation
  • Develop the ability to critique peers’ work across disciplines and to speak thoughtfully about the work of others
  • Develop awareness and understanding of the diverse cultural, historical, and experiential issues expressed and inherent in one’s own artwork and in that of one’s peers
  • Exhibit one’s work in a professional manner in the thesis exhibition. Students may also participate in other exhibitions and curatorial opportunities at the college or other venues
  • Understand a range of professional pathways for careers in the arts
  • Develop knowledge of major historical and cultural characteristics of specific times /places. Infer relationships between society and art
  • Recognize various types of texts used in art historical analysis, and evaluate their content and effectiveness. Use various ideas, approaches and facts in the analysis of art. Formulate, research and argue a hypothesis. Articulate verbally and in writing, theoretical and critical perspectives on art
  • Recognize the impact of historical works of art on contemporary art
  • Draw connections between various artworks, artists and concepts
  • Collaborate with artists in other disciplines


The Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program in Photography is an intensive, full-time, one-year course of study for those seeking an advanced level of discourse, both technical and theoretical, about the medium of photography. The program provides an individualized curriculum for students who wish to develop their portfolios and their skills to prepare for future graduate school or as an end in itself.

Students participate in a weekly Major Studio seminar which includes critique, visiting artists, field trips, and meetings with curators and gallerists. In addition, photography post-baccalaureate students enroll in elective photography classes, technical courses, and art history electives.


Unique to MassArt

Extensive facilities include private darkrooms for MFA students, a non-silver darkroom, individual studio spaces, a large graduate digital studio equipped with large format printers, Flextight scanners, and Mac towers with the latest Adobe software. MFA candidates make use of the many student gallery spaces at MassArt and thesis exhibitions are held in the College's Paine and Bakalar Galleries.

Courses  Requirements