Photography, Bachelor of Science


College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

This Bachelor of Science in Photography will provide experience, training, and theory in the techniques of digital photography as well as the opportunity for students to develop their creative eye. The coursework includes studio and location photography, the use of computer image adjustment, working with light, and managing workflow. In addition, the core communication courses provide the essential skills of writing, critical thinking and communication. Students who pursue this degree will have the opportunity to participate in fieldwork and will be required to produce a senior portfolio project.

  • To receive a bachelor's degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete at least 120 units of credit that minimally includes a major, the liberal studies requirements, and university requirements as listed below.

    • All of Northern Arizona University's diversity, liberal studies, junior-level writing, and capstone requirements.
    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s).
    • At least 30 units of upper-division courses, which may include transfer work.
    • At least 30 units of coursework taken through Northern Arizona University, of which at least 18 must be upper-division courses (300-level or above). This requirement is not met by credit-by-exam, retro-credits, transfer coursework, etc.
    • A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 on all work attempted at Northern Arizona University.

    The full policy can be viewed here.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • At least 54 units of major requirements

  • Up to 9 units of major prefix courses may be used to satisfy Liberal Studies requirements; these same courses may also be used to satisfy major requirements.

  • Elective courses, if needed, to reach an overall total of at least 120 units.

Students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 120
Major GPA 2.5
Highest Mathematics Required MAT 114
University Honors Program Optional
AZ Transfer Students complete AGEC-A Recommended
Progression Plan Link View Progression Plan

Purpose Statement

The Bachelor of Science in Photography combines the science, art, application and practice of creating images digitally or on film through industry-based software, studio lighting and on-location field instruction.
Coursework provides students a theoretical and technical sequence of instruction to professionally create, print and display photographic work; work in varied lighting situations; adapt to the environment around them; critically analyze photographic art; develop profitable business and marketing strategies. Field location courses provide on-location opportunities photographing landscapes, wildlife, night skies using high-tech mobile photographic equipment. Studio courses offer opportunities in photographing food, products and portraits with industry standard lighting equipment.
Photography graduates will leave this program with an ability to apply the professional standards of photographic communication and find employment in corporate, conceptual and editorial industries

Student Learning Outcomes
Students will:

  1. Demonstrate working knowledge of industry standard business practices in commercial, fine art and editorial disciplines by:
    1. Competitively pricing products and services
    2. Competently negotiating fees and agreements with clients
    3. Handling image rights and model releases
    4. Developing profitable business and marketing strategies
    5. Selecting the best technology for each photographic project
  2. Produce photographic work that is consistent with high professional standards. Students will:
    1. Solve creative and technical problems that include project parameters and modeled client expectations
    2. Make creative decisions that optimize conceptual impact, cohesiveness and memorability of created images
  3. Demonstrate working knowledge of metering, lighting ratios, color compensation and digital workflow.
  4. Create works in a variety of lighting situations including: available light; studio lighting, both electronic and continuous; and location lighting. This will include but not be limited to the fields of advertising, public relations and print media.
  5. Articulate in verbal and written form the key technical, formal and conceptual issues in their creative work and the work of others.
  6. Demonstrate an understanding of the historical, political and social context in which photographic images are created and viewed.
  7. Critically analyze and evaluate examples of photographic art, and revise their work based on faculty and peer critiques.
Field Photography Courses
  • Demonstrate ability to exercise safety and precaution necessary for photography in urban and remote outdoor environments.
  • Demonstrate an ability to describe, discuss and conduct photography according to ethics of various urban and remote outdoor subjects and environments.
  • Demonstrate an ability to utilize advanced mobile photographic equipment to produce images that meet professional standards in a variety of on-location photographic approaches.
  • Demonstrate an ability to manage dynamic, unpredictable, and potentially harsh urban and remote outdoor subjects and environments for the purposes of photography.
Studio Photography Courses
  • Demonstrate an ability to employ advanced studio photographic equipment to produce images that meet professional standards.
  • Demonstrate an ability to conceptualize and stage in-studio projects while manipulating light, composition, color, backdrops and other mise-en-scene elements.
  • Demonstrate an ability to shoot and develop film & utilize alternative photographic processes.
  • Demonstrate an ability to conceptualize and construct photographic images for strategic audiences.

Major Requirements
General Electives
  • Additional coursework is required if, after you have met the previously described requirements, you have not yet completed a total of 120 units of credit.

    You may take these remaining courses from any of the academic areas, using these courses to pursue your specific interests and goals. You may also use prerequisites or transfer credits as electives if they weren't used to meet major, minor, or liberal studies requirements.

    We encourage you to consult with your advisor to select the courses that will be most advantageous to you.

Additional Information
  • See the School of Communication page for information about the Communication Core, Advising and Student Responsibilities, and Graduation Requirements.
  • You should also be aware that you may take PHO 408 in your final two years before graduation; however, you must receive prior approval from our photography faculty members. We reserve the right to deny approval based on our assessment of your preparation and competence.

  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.