The graduate program of the Department of Photography and Film is a challenging environment dedicated to progressive, creative, and intelligent expression using photography, film, video, and multimedia installation. It provides a community for the development and exchange of conceptually based and theoretically informed fine art.

The curriculum is adaptable to each individual’s interests and needs. Students use traditional and contemporary technology and are encouraged to challenge and subvert common ideas about photography and film. The program culminates is a public presentation of a visual body of work, supported by a research-based written thesis that is a defense of their visual work.The successful candidate for the M.F.A. degree is prepared to begin a career as a professional artist and teacher. Each graduate understands the contemporary critical dialogue, the history, and the professional practice of their particular medium.













The Master of Fine Arts in Photography or Film requires sixty credit hours of course work, consisting of 24 credits in studio, 12 credits in seminar, 9 credits in research, three credits in thesis exhibition, and twelve credits in graduate-level elective courses in other departments.

Course Descriptions

PHTO 601 Photographic Studio.

Semester: 6, 12 studio hours. 3, 6 credits. May be repeated. Prerequisite: Non-majors may enroll with permission of instructor. Student work on specific problems relating to their major interests. A distinguished visiting artist often leads graduate studio and the full-time faculty are available for additional critiques.

PHTO 621 Research in Photography and Film.

Semester course; 6, 12 studio hours. 3, 6 credits. May be repeated. Prerequisite: Non-majors may enroll with permission of instructor. Students engage in theoretical, experimental or historical research in a specific area.

In research class students often create an experimental video or film. In a recent research class students met with major curators in New York and Miami.

PHTO 690 Seminar in Photography and Film.

Semester course: 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. May be repeated. An examination of contemporary issues and developments in photography and film.

Recent seminars have focused on visual arts theory with an emphasis on new ideas.

PHTO 693 Fieldwork Internship.

Semester course: 6, 12 studio hours. 3, 6 credits. May be repeated. Professional field experience in the theoretical and practical applications of photography and/or film through cooperative organizations. Formal arrangements are made with state agencies, industries, community organizations and professionals in the field. In a recent internship students worked alongside a major artist to create a unique work.

PHTO 699 Graduate Exhibition.

Semester course: 1, 3 lecture hours. 1, 3 credits. To be taken as the last semester of the graduate program, with approval of the chair and review of the student’s record. Students in this course prepare and mount an exhibition of their work. In addition, they provide a complete documentation of the sources and ideas presented in the exhibition.

VCU 2019-20 Graduate Bulletin

Please visit the Graduate School website for more information.

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