VA: Photography


Bachelor of Fine Arts – Photography Emphasis

The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree with an emphasis in Photography at the University of Colorado Denver prepares students to become thoughtful, skilled image-makers. Students explore the aesthetics of photography while using the camera as a tool for creative expression. Digital and analog studio work are complemented by courses in photographic history and theory. The depth of coursework in the program equips students to work professionally in a variety of photographic fields.

The Photography program emphasizes critical thinking, creativity, conceptual development and a mastery of technical skills. Students learn from practicing artists who bring their own specific areas of expertise to the classroom. Classes explore specific creative strategies such as constructed imagery, documentary photography, and community engagement.  Students apply knowledge of photographic theory and history to the creation of photographs that use digital and analog technology.  Classes introduce skills in color photography, black and white printing, studio lighting, large format cameras, mixed media techniques, historic processes, mural inkjet printing, digital bookmaking, exhibition preparation and professional portfolio development.

Students who graduate from the photography program at CU Denver choose a variety of career paths. The curriculum of the Photography Area prepares students to pursue national and international Master of Fine Arts programs in photography and art. Denver’s urban environment allows students to participate in internships at photography studios, art centers, galleries, and museums. The fine art focus of the Photography program prepares students to become professionally engaged artists, while the creative and technical instruction opens possibilities for freelance and commercial work. Further, the liberal arts education provided by the University of Colorado Denver complements the visual arts curriculum by encouraging students to apply general knowledge to their specific discipline.

The Degree

Bachelor of Fine Arts – Photography Emphasis

Admission into the BFA Photography emphasis is by portfolio review. In November of the sophomore year, students are required to submit a digital portfolio, a written statement and unofficial transcripts from CU Denver and any previous post-secondary educational institutions.

While the Department of Visual Arts accepts applications for the spring or summer semester, Photography students are strongly encouraged to apply for a fall semester start. The majority of photography courses are offered in a “fall only” or “spring only” sequence and pre-requisites are strictly enforced. Students who begin in the spring and summer semesters may find that their required courses are not offered until the fall semester.

Admissions & Advising

Program Requirements


Bachelor of Fine Arts – Photography Emphasis

The outstanding photography facilities at CU Denver include a state of the art digital lab, a color processor, and multiple wet labs. The advanced digital lab features Mac computers with dedicated large format printers capable of producing mural-sized inkjet prints. Six gang darkrooms are devoted to specific processes including film development, black and white printing, color printing, historic and mixed media techniques, and large format printing. Students enjoy working in labs that are devoted to alternative processes and advanced work. The Photography Area also supplies the following equipment for check out: tripods, 35mm SLR cameras, medium format cameras, 4×5 field cameras, pinhole and plastic cameras, light meters, light stands, backdrops, and portable lighting kits.

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