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Point Park University’s School of Communication relaunches its B.F.A. in Photography degree with an emphasis on skills and pre-professional coursework while maintaining a strong art component.

“This is an important retooling of our existing B.F.A. degree program," said Ben Schonberger, M.F.A., lecturer of photography and coordinator of the B.F.A. program at Point Park. "This four-year degree is very transfer friendly and makes it possible for students to pursue a minor."

Courses in the program revolve around student-centered learning, encouraging students to develop bodies of work, build technical skills and engage in conversations that help them understand their work in relation to contemporary culture.

Among the notable alumni of Point Park’s photography program is 2017 graduate Hannah Altman. Altman’s work was included in Vanity Fair magazine’s inaugural “Silver List, Featuring 47 Exciting Contemporary Photographers Whose Work You Just Have to See.”

“Point Park’s location in Downtown Pittsburgh was monumental for me as a student. As soon as I exited the classroom, I was in a city that felt big enough to grow into and small enough that meeting new people and seeing galleries was always an accessible opportunity,” Altman said.

Ben Schonberger Highlights Distinctiveness of B.F.A. Program

Why should students choose to major in photography at Point Park?

Point Park is the only University in Downtown Pittsburgh offering a B.F.A. in Photography. Our program fosters technical excellence and conceptual discovery. Students pursuing the B.F.A. begin with tool-based foundation learning cameras, imaging programs and outputs, followed by two years of research, production and refinement. Our program supports students with a vast array of interests from fine art to commercial photography.

What makes Point Park’s B.F.A. photography program distinctive?

Our program is not just a major, it’s a culture. We integrate our students into all that Pittsburgh has to offer. Photography majors attend art openings at galleries and museums, intern with art organizations, travel locally and nationally as well as host visiting artists to campus. Our Visiting Artist Lecture Series brings artists to campus each semester and highlights women artists, BIPOC and makers within the LGBTQIA+ community. We are constantly facilitating dialogues that foster inclusiveness and the celebration of diversity.

Tell us about the hands-on opportunities students have in this program.

Our students use high-quality cameras and work in state-of-the-art facilities. Students in the program have access to industry standard equipment and work spaces. We offer a variety of film and digital cameras for student use, including medium format digital and film cameras.

Our facilities include:

  • Two photographic lighting studios with Profoto gear
  • A digital print lab with a variety of Epson printers capable of printing up to 44”
  • A black and white and color darkroom. That’s correct, our students process film and print on campus in our black and white and color darkrooms.
  • An alternative process studio

We also have our student club, Photography Collective. Each semester the Photo Collective host events such as field trips, informal critiques and workshops. As a group, students also attend cultural events throughout the city and the region.

How will this program make you career-ready?

Visual art is a vehicle for communicating beyond written or spoken language. This is a degree for hands-on visually curious people interested in how images shape, inform and provoke contemporary culture. We live in a world of images. We read them, interpret them and are organized by them. Our students learn how to implement image making into a career driven professional practice.

Our graduates go onto pursue careers in:

  • Studio practices (exhibiting in galleries and museums)
  • Museum and gallery management (curation, administration and art handling)
  • Publishing (online and print)
  • Forensic photography/clinical imaging (medical, morgue, hospital)
  • Commercial and editorial practices (lighting studio and on-location work)
  • Freelance practices (wedding, real estate, travel and special events)
  • Higher education (post-M.F.A.)

Many of our students continue their education and pursue M.F.A. degrees with placement in top programs across the country.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Don’t hesitate to visit the program. Schedule a campus tour, observe a class and meet our outstanding students and faculty.

More About: faculty, School of Communication, Downtown Pittsburgh, photography, alumni