The MFA program in Photography, Video and Related Media is dedicated to the creative practice of the lens-based arts. We encourage diversity in our student body, and welcome applicants from a wide range of educational and professional backgrounds.

The program is designed for full-time study over a two- or three-year period. Candidates for the Master of Fine Arts degree must complete at least 60 credits and all course requirements, maintain a 3.3 grade point average and produce a successful thesis project to be eligible for degree conferral. Students are approved to proceed to each successive level of study based on yearly faculty assessments.

Students personalize their program from a wide variety of electives. Certain courses in other SVA undergraduate or continuing education departments are also available as electives via the audit program.

Fulbright, DAAD Scholars, and other students on similar scholarships or grants are encouraged to apply.

Two-Year Program

Applicants accepted to the two-year program have met specific artistic standards and academic prerequisites for graduate study. The focus of the two-year curriculum is a required Master Critique class in each semester. Other first-year requirements include: Introduction to Digital Imaging, and at least three other academic courses chosen out of four subject categories: historical perspectives, criticism and theory, studio, and contemporary issues. Students in the two-year program will take Master Critique and Thesis Forms I in the fall of their Thesis (final) year, and focus on completing the thesis in the spring during Thesis Project and Thesis Forms II classes. Entry to the second year is based on successful completion of all first-year requirements and a portfolio review.

Three-Year Program

This unparalleled three-year program is designed to give exceptional students with baccalaureate degrees in fields other than photography or video an opportunity to pursue the lens and screen arts at the graduate level. Their first year course of study is tailored for each student allowing him or her to engage in coursework such as history, theory and criticism, as well as studio practice, which may not have been studied in his or her undergraduate education. With the successful completion of the first year of the three-year program, students automatically continue through the MFA Photography, Video and Related Media program. These students are given the time and exposure to develop as fully matured artists and practitioners. Many of our most renowned graduates have matriculated in this manner. The curriculum is tailored particularly to those who may not have concentrated in photography during their undergraduate studies, adults interested in pursuing a career change, and international students with the desire to refine their English language skills.



Fall Semester
Master Critique I
Historical Perspectives: The Lens and Visual Arts, 1950-1980
Criticism and Theory: Time, Image, Perception
Contemporary Issues: The Concept of Style
Studio: Digital Imaging I

Spring Semester
Master Critique II
Historical Perspectives: Issues in the Moving Image—A History of Hybrids
Contemporary Issues: Right Here, Right Now
Studio: Video Culture
Studio: Digital Imaging II

Second Year

Fall Semester
Master Critique III
Thesis Forms I
Criticism and Theory: Technology of Ideas
Contemporary Issues: The Future of Documentary

Spring Semester
Thesis Project
Thesis Forms II
Studio: Book Design for Photographers

Three-Year Program (first year)

Fall Semester
Master Critique I
Modern Art Through Pop I*
Social History of Photography*
Studio: Introduction to Digital Imaging I
Studio: Laws of Light >>> go to class site

Spring Semester
Master Critique II
Aesthetic History of Photography*
Modern Art Through Pop II*
Studio: Introduction to Digital Imaging II
Studio: Introduction to Video

*Some courses offered through the Undergraduate Division

Course descriptions and more details for all current classes can be found in the 2015-16 MFA Photo/Video Registration Book Section.