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Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Degree

The BFA degree builds on the core curriculum of fundamental principles by emphasizing the aesthetic and conceptual skills necessary for a professional portfolio. After completing the core curriculum, students choose to focus on commercial or editorial, fine art, or documentary courses. Upon graduation, students will be required to demonstrate an individual style and a unique approach to their chosen area of study.

BFA Photography Unit Requirements:

Major Coursework
Core 36 Units
Major 42 Units
Art Electives 9 units
Liberal Arts 45 units
TOTAL 132 units

BFA Photography Degree Requirements:

  • Minimum 2.0 GPA
  • Minimum grade of C- in all core courses, major courses, and LA 108 Composition for the Artist

And the following general education requirements:

  • 3 Written Communication courses
  • 4 Art Historical Awareness courses
  • 1 Historical Awareness course
  • 1 Quantitative Literacy course
  • 1 Cultural Ideas and Influences course
  • 1 Employment Communications and Practices course

Additional Information

BFA Program Learning Outcomes

Undergraduate students will meet the following student performance criteria:

Conceptual and Problem-Solving Skills

  • Make creative decisions that optimize conceptual impact, cohesiveness and memorability of created images
  • Integrate key conceptual elements (such as mood, narrative, introducing the unexpected) with technical elements (such as composition, lighting, point of view) to suggest a story or elicit an emotional response from the viewer
  • Solve creative and technical problems that include project parameters and modeled client expectations

Lighting Skills

  • Master indoor and outdoor lighting, studio lighting techniques, lighting with constant light sources, and mixed lighting situations
  • Work effectively with natural light and demonstrate understanding of the relationship between time of day and variations related to quality of light
  • Work effectively with point source, flood, spot, diffused and reflected light

Camera Capture Skills

  • Demonstrate full knowledge of digital SLR components
  • Demonstrate complete understanding of exposure controls
  • Effectively use a light meter for multiple lighting situations

Digital Imaging

  • Apply advanced Photoshop techniques using various tools, layers, curves and selections with digital images
  • Apply retouching skills and color correction knowledge consistent with industry standards

Digital Printing

  • Produce professional quality prints
  • Create high quality print portfolio demonstrating printing skill and overall quality of images required for petition to graduate
  • Demonstrate understanding of archival qualities, including ink and paper stability

Professional Readiness

  • Produce and present a professional portfolio that meets department expectations and industry standards
  • Create promotional materials to support print portfolio and website
  • Demonstrate knowledge of industry trends and professional practices related to professional photography

Academy of Art University Learning Outcomes
Graduates of the Academy of Art University will demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Produce a body of work suitable for seeking professional opportunities in their chosen field of art and design.
  2. Solve creative problems within their field of art and design, including research and synthesis of technical, aesthetic, and conceptual knowledge.
  3. Communicate their ideas professionally and connect with their intended audience using visual, oral, and written presentation skills relevant to their field.
  4. Execute technical, aesthetic, and conceptual decisions based on an understanding of art and design principles.
  5. Evaluate work in their field, including their own work, using professional terminology.
  6. Recognize the influence of major cultural and aesthetic trends, both historical and contemporary, on art and design products.
  7. Learn the professional skills and behaviors necessary to compete in the global marketplace for art and design.

Associate of Arts (AA) Degree

The AA degree provides students with an education in the fundamental skills of photography. Coursework ensures technical competence for digital capture, lighting, post-production, and a solid understanding of photography as a visual language.

AA Photography Unit Requirements

Major Coursework
Core 33 units
Major 15 units
Liberal Arts 18 units
TOTAL 66 units

AA Photography Degree Requirements

  • Minimum 2.0 GPA
  • Minimum grade of C- in all core courses, major courses, and LA 108 Composition for the Artist

And the following general education requirements:

  • 2 Written Communication courses
  • 2 Art Historical Awareness courses
  • 1 Employment Communications & Practices course

Additional Information

AA Program Learning Outcomes

Undergraduate students will meet the following student performance criteria:

Conceptual and Problem-Solving Skills

  • Make creative decisions that support conceptual impact, cohesiveness and memorability of created images
  • Integrate key conceptual elements (such as mood, narrative, introducing the unexpected) with technical elements (such as composition, lighting, point of view) to suggest a story or elicit an emotional response from the viewer
  • Address creative and technical issues that include project parameters and modeled client expectations

Lighting Skills

  • Utilize indoor and outdoor lighting, studio lighting techniques, lighting with constant light sources, and mixed lighting situations
  • Work effectively with natural light and demonstrate understanding of the relationship between time of day and variations related to quality of light
  • Work effectively with point source, flood, spot, diffused and reflected light

Camera Capture Skills

  • Demonstrate full knowledge of digital SLR components
  • Demonstrate understanding of exposure controls
  • Effectively use a light meter for multiple lighting situations

Digital Imaging

  • Apply Photoshop techniques using various tools, layers, curves and selections with digital images
  • Apply retouching skills and color correction knowledge consistent with industry standards

Digital Printing

  • Produce professional quality prints
  • Create high quality print portfolio demonstrating printing skill and overall quality of images required for petition to graduate
  • Demonstrate understanding of archival qualities, including ink and paper stability

Professional Readiness

  • Demonstrate knowledge of industry trends and professional practices related to professional photography
  • Produce professional materials required for an entry-level job search

Academy of Art University Learning Outcomes
Graduates of the Academy of Art University will demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Produce a body of work suitable for seeking professional opportunities in their chosen field of art and design.
  2. Solve creative problems within their field of art and design, including research and synthesis of technical, aesthetic, and conceptual knowledge.
  3. Communicate their ideas professionally and connect with their intended audience using visual, oral, and written presentation skills relevant to their field.
  4. Execute technical, aesthetic, and conceptual decisions based on an understanding of art and design principles.
  5. Evaluate work in their field, including their own work, using professional terminology.
  6. Recognize the influence of major cultural and aesthetic trends, both historical and contemporary, on art and design products.
  7. Learn the professional skills and behaviors necessary to compete in the global marketplace for art and design.

Certificate

The four year certificate program provides students with a disciplined approach to the study of Photography. Student portfolios will demonstrate the variety of skills and creativity developed. Graduates enter the field prepared for professional opportunities in Photography. Students take electives and art history courses to round out their experience. Unlike the BFA program, students pursuing the Certificate program do not take liberal arts coursework.

Certificate in Photography Unit Requirements:

Core 36 units
Major 42 units
By Advisement 24 units
Art Electives 12 units
Art History 6 units
TOTAL 120 units

Photography Certificate Requirements:

  • Minimum 2.0 GPA
  • Minimum grade of C- in all major coursework

Certificate Program Learning Outcomes

Undergraduate students will meet the following student performance criteria:

Conceptual and Problem-Solving Skills

  • Make creative decisions that optimize conceptual impact, cohesiveness and memorability of created images
  • Integrate key conceptual elements (such as mood, narrative, introducing the unexpected) with technical elements (such as composition, lighting, point of view) to suggest a story or elicit an emotional response from the viewer
  • Solve creative and technical problems that include project parameters and modeled client expectations

Lighting Skills

  • Master indoor and outdoor lighting, studio lighting techniques, lighting with constant light sources, and mixed lighting situations
  • Work effectively with natural light and demonstrate understanding of the relationship between time of day and variations related to quality of light
  • Work effectively with point source, flood, spot, diffused and reflected light

Camera Capture Skills

  • Demonstrate full knowledge of digital SLR components
  • Demonstrate complete understanding of exposure controls
  • Effectively use a light meter for multiple lighting situations

Digital Imaging

  • Apply advanced Photoshop techniques using various tools, layers, curves and selections with digital images
  • Apply retouching skills and color correction knowledge consistent with industry standards

Digital Printing

  • Produce professional quality prints
  • Create high quality print portfolio demonstrating printing skill and overall quality of images required for petition to graduate
  • Demonstrate understanding of archival qualities, including ink and paper stability

Professional Readiness

  • Produce and present a professional portfolio that meets department expectations and industry standards
  • Create promotional materials to support print portfolio and website
  • Demonstrate knowledge of industry trends and professional practices related to professional photography

Academy of Art University Learning Outcomes
Graduates of the Academy of Art University will demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Produce a body of work suitable for seeking professional opportunities in their chosen field of art and design.
  2. Solve creative problems within their field of art and design, including research and synthesis of technical, aesthetic, and conceptual knowledge.
  3. Communicate their ideas professionally and connect with their intended audience using visual, oral, and written presentation skills relevant to their field.
  4. Execute technical, aesthetic, and conceptual decisions based on an understanding of art and design principles.
  5. Evaluate work in their field, including their own work, using professional terminology.
  6. Recognize the influence of major cultural and aesthetic trends, both historical and contemporary, on art and design products.
  7. Learn the professional skills and behaviors necessary to compete in the global marketplace for art and design.

Classes

Not ready for a degree program? Explore our course catalog and take classes based around your interests and schedule online or in our world-class facilities in San Francisco.

Undergraduate Degree Breakdowns

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)

Rooted in practical skills and professional knowledge, the BFA degree provides students with a disciplined approach to the study of Photography. The general education program (Liberal Arts) supports major coursework by promoting the breadth of knowledge, critical thinking and communications skills necessary to analyze issues from multiple perspectives. Student portfolios will demonstrate the variety of conceptual skills and creativity developed. Graduates enter the field prepared for professional opportunities in Photography.

Associate of Arts (AA)

The Associate of Arts degree provides students with an introduction to a particular field of study in art and design with a firm foundation in the concepts and problem-solving skills of that field. Once earned, the Associate's degree can also be used as a stepping stone to the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. The Academy of Art University Associate of Arts Degree is specifically designed for seamless transition into the Academy of Art University Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree and to apply for entry level positions in the industry.

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Alyson Belcher

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