BFA Overview


  • U.S. News & World Report ranked VCU School of the Arts 4th among public programs for photography and film.
  • Over the last 5 years VCU Photo & Film faculty, alumni and students have been awarded VMFA Fellowships: 19 Undergraduate awards, 4 Graduate awards and 7 Professional awards all together totaling $150,000
  • Since 2011 Professor Sonali Gulati’s film, “I Am,” has been screened over 77 times and received 13 film festival awards. Gulati also won the prestigious Creative Capital Grant for $50,000 and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
  • In 2014, Alums Jasmine Thompson and Hunter Brumfield and two current undergraduates Alexander Kreher and Lucy Dacus were invited to document a fashion exhibit atop the new One World Trade Center, a year and half before it is officially open to the public.
  • Adjuncts, students and alumni have started galleries; creating organizations to help the Richmond community; shown their work internationally; been acquired by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; been featured in Wired Magazine, Newsweek, The New York TimesTime Magazine; and have shown in various local exhibitions.


Graduates from our Department receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in Photography and Film with a concentration in either Photography or Filmmaking.  Students start their major after completing the freshman year Art Foundation program.


Our department aims to facilitate a comprehensive artistic, technical and intellectual understanding and use of the mediums of photography and film; to provide a rigorous education in the arts, specifically in photographic and moving image media, and a broad education in other academic subjects; to foster a climate that inspires creativity, intellectual curiosity, freedom of expression, and critical thinking.   We emphasize hands-on experience in the fields of fine art, studio and location photography, and narrative, documentary and experimental filmmaking and sponsor a wide variety of guest lectures, seminars and workshops.  All students become adept in chemical based processes and the latest digital technologies.


Students take many internships that have included advertising and branding firms like the Martin Agency and the Frontier Projects ;  publishing companies  line Time Inc and The National Geographic , television channels like Discovery, museums like the VMFA and MASS Moca, and many art galleries, commercial photographers, videographers and production companies.  Each year many of our students are awarded  School of Arts Undergraduate Student Research Grants which encourages interdisciplinary work within the whole University. The School of Arts offers International Travel Grants, which many Photo and Film students attain every year. We have a direct exchange program with Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland.


Admission criteria

Students seeking admission to the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography and Film degree program apply to the School of the Arts and enter the Art Foundation Program. During the final semester of the Art Foundation Program, students submit a portfolio application that is reviewed by the Department of Photography and Film.

Degree requirements

Completion of the program requires a minimum of 120 credits. Forty-five credits must be completed in 300-, 400- and/or 500-level courses. The final 30 credits must be completed at VCU. Students are strongly encouraged to meet with an adviser each semester to maintain the correct curriculum track toward graduation.

For full application consideration, students must complete each course requirement of the Art Foundation Program with a minimum grade of C and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0. While in the program students must earn a minimum grade of C in each departmental course and maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0. Students who fail to meet these requirements may be dropped from the program.


Photograph Concentration 

Filmmaking Concentration 

Art Foundation Program

Apply to VCU School of Arts