Male student holding a camera to his eye

Photography, Bachelor of Fine Arts

Art and Design


You can prepare for a career in photography by earning a B.F.A. in Photography at St. John's. Our 132-credit degree program in Photography provides you with the skills you need to succeed in a wide variety of photographic careers including fine arts, documentary, and other commercial applications. You will develop mastery of the technical aspects of photography, as well as a strong philosophical and historical foundation of the visual arts and its impact on contemporary social and visual culture.

Affiliated with the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York City, our B.F.A. in Photography offers the technical and conceptual training you need to master both analog and digital techniques while developing your own critical and creative abilities.

We offer internships in a variety of professional settings in New York, as well as the opportunity to obtain ICP certification. Through these experiences, you will develop field-specific critical thinking and communication skills that will allow you to analyze, discuss and critique photographic images considering technical, aesthetic, ethical, and conceptual applications and values.

The Department of Art and Design has attained the prestigious National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) accreditation, held by selective art schools nationwide.

Department Contact

Belenna Lauto
Professor and Chair
[email protected]

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As part of the admission process, you must submit your portfolio of original artwork to the Department of Art and Design via SlideRoom. This online portfolio service will allow you to upload, label, arrange, and submit your portfolio electronically. We request 12-15 images using JPG format, for the Macintosh platform. More information on the types of files accepted for upload and specific instructions for portfolio submissions and requirements is available on our department page.

After completing the Undergraduate Admission application, you will be able to upload your images through SlideRoom.

We accept portfolios and applications on a rolling basis, but you must submit the portfolio via SlideRoom on or before January 15 if you wish to be considered for one of the visual art scholarships. If you wish to apply for early action, please submit your portfolio via SlideRoom by December 15.

If you continue to have questions regarding this process after reading the portfolio requirements on the department page, please feel free to contact the Department Chair directly at: [email protected].

If you would like more information about admission to this and other acclaimed undergraduate programs at St. John’s University, please visit Undergraduate Admission.


Program Requirements: B.F.A. in Photography

To earn a B.F.A. in Photography at St. John's, you complete 132 credits in core, major requirements, and elective courses as outlined below. For more information about courses, please see the St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Science section of our Undergraduate Bulletin.

Required Studio Courses*

ART 1105Introduction to Graphic Design
ART 1110Foundation Design
ART 1610Photography I
ART 1620Photography II
ART 1630Advanced Digital Photography & Imaging
ART 1650Analog Photography & Experimentation
ART 2650Photography & Social Justice

*Please note that studio art courses meet for six hours per week. 

Required Art History Courses

ART 1660History of Photography
Art History Electives (2)

Choose One of the Following: 

ART 4125Creative Thesis (9 credits)
ART 4909Internship (9 credits)

International Center for Photography

General Studies or Documentary program or applicable courses selected in consultation with your departmental advisor. 30 credits

In addition, you must select five art electives (15 credits total). 

Required Core Curriculum Courses

DNY 1000C
ENG 1000C
ENG 1100C
HIS 1000C
MFL Electives (2)
MTH 1000C
PHI 1000C
PHI 2200C
PHI 3000C
SCI 1000C
One social science elective from: ANT, ECO, GEO, GOV, LIN, PSY, or SOC
SPE 1000C
THE 1000C
THE 2000-level
THE 3000-level

Career Outcomes

Thanks to their strong personal and professional connections, our professors help you build your own network in New York’s art scene. As a senior, you will explore internships with publishers, magazines, advertising agencies, graphic design studios, museums, galleries, and other organizations that will help you launch a successful career.

A survey conducted by the Wall Street Journal includes St. John’s among its Top 100 colleges that are “most likely to help students land a job in key careers and professions — areas that are growing, pay well and offer high levels of satisfaction.” Studios, galleries, multimedia communications firms, and business companies in general rely on the creative intuition and skills of designers to reach their target audience. This competitive field is expected to grow an estimated 13 percent, especially in the interactive media sector. Our alumni find great success within their field of study and most of our interns are hired by the hosting firm before they even graduate.

Global Approach to Education

The Department of Art and Design at St. John's has been a leader in Global Education since 1989. As a B.F.A. candidate, you are eligible to apply all of the courses we offer abroad as an art elective. We offer courses and programs in Rome, Paris, Spain, and around the world. We encourage you to use visual media to develop a broader understanding of humanity from both a global and personal perspective.

Additional Information

As a B.F.A. student at St. John's, you gain a solid foundation in art theory and its applications to various media. You learn from an enormously gifted, internationally-known faculty of artists whose work appears in galleries, exhibitions and publications in New York City, across the country, and around the world.

The Department of Art and Design offers full and partial scholarships to first-year students with a record of exemplary skills in high school. Two full-time, four-year scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate extraordinary proficiency in drawing, painting, printmaking, illustration, graphic design, and/or photography.

St. John’s also awards a $1,000 incentive scholarship to high school seniors who demonstrate excellence in the visual arts. Students are selected through the portfolio review process. For more information, contact Nerissa Palad-Palermo: 718-990-6250; [email protected].

Our studios provide an ideal atmosphere for you to learn as you create under the guidance of master teachers. Our facilities include state-of-the-art classrooms featuring cutting-edge equipment and software.

All of our B.F.A. programs offer you the option to complete a thesis or internship during your last year of study. Thesis students work closely with faculty to create a body of work to present to galleries or use in an M.F.A. application portfolio. Internships are arranged according to your interests and career goals. Since we are located just 20 minutes from New York City and have established a strong network of affiliates and alumni who now hold impressive positions within the art world, you have an extensive range of internship opportunities available to you. You benefit from our 50 years of experience and educational excellence in the visual arts.