The MFA Photography program prepares students to become practicing artists and scholars who redefine the creative role of photography within contemporary culture. The program challenges students to move beyond current paradigms, anticipating and setting
trends rather than following them.
Explore the MFA Photography community to see what students, faculty, and alumni are doing in NYC and around the world at amt.parsons.edu/mfaphoto. This program is part of Parsons’ School of Art, Media, and Technology (AMT).
The MFA Photography program will not offer its eight-week session for new students in summer 2020. Instead, we will convert some of our classes into online formats and rework our curriculum to move our residency-based courses to a time later in the year. These newly converted summer courses join the dozens of courses Parsons already programs online every year and will allow you to progress in your studies without increasing your time to graduation.
The flexible 26-month, 60-credit MFA Photography curriculum enables students to undertake local internships and apprenticeships and participate in international projects. The program begins with an eight-week online summer intensive session, focusing on photography history and theory and contemporary strategies, in which students attend lectures by and meet with faculty, visiting artists, curators, and critics. Recent visitors include Lisa Oppenheim, Lucas Blalock, Anna Ostoya, Renee Cox, Tehching Hsieh, Matthew Buckingham, Baseera Khan, Jesse Chun, Leslie Hewitt, Penelope Umbrico, Mariah Robertson, Josephine Meckseper, Dread Scott, and Artie Vierkant. In the fall and spring semesters, students engage in faculty-supervised independent study and fulfill course requirements on campus or online.
The school’s long-standing ties to the photography and art communities offer students access to New York City partners for internships, exhibitions, research, and representation. Rigorous critiques and regular meetings with faculty and professional artists
help students situate their work within broader historical, theoretical, and visual culture contexts. Program-sponsored conferences, such as the recent “Photographic Universe,” bring together practitioners and critics to explore contemporary issues
in the field. Annual graduate thesis exhibitions and publications extend students’ reach into art communities.
The MFA in Photography program is part of Parsons’ School of Art, Media, and Technology (AMT), which is also home to the Communication Design, Fine Arts, Design and Technology, and Illustration programs. Photography students work together and draw on
the rich academic resources of The New School, including all of Parsons’ programs, for their research.
Graduates go on to publish, exhibit internationally, and work in related positions. They pursue careers such as commercial photography, editorial photography, fashion photography, documentary production, and fine art.
The Master of Fine Arts degree is awarded for completion of 60 credits. No credits may be transferred. Students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade point average and fulfill all requirements in a timely manner.
This curriculum below applies to students who enter Parsons in summer 2020. To view degree requirements from prior years, visit the Academic Catalogs archive.
The curriculum chart below reflects the typical course of study in this program. To view the curriculum that has been adjusted for the exceptional 2020-2021 academic year, click here.
**Students in the program must also complete eight equivalency credits as outlined. To earn equivalency credits, students undertake rigorous independent research/fieldwork in an area chosen in consultation with program faculty. Research projects may
build upon work initiated in the intensive summer residencies or be used in support of work created for Independent Studios. Research may culminate, for example, in work for departmental publications or projects, guide professional development
activitiesm or support peer-to-peer workshops. It is assumed that for each equivalency credit three hours per week are spent for the duration of the term.
***Delivered online in summer 2020
Parsons' Photography program is housed on four floors of 66 Fifth Avenue, on the school's Greenwich Village campus. It operates traditional black-and-white, non-silver, and alternative processes darkrooms, two state-of-the-art digital labs, a Durst Theta Digital-C printer, and five shooting studios.
The Equipment Resource Center (ERC), located on the second floor, houses a range of photographic, grip, and installation equipment for student use. Camera equipment includes 35mm film cameras, a variety of Mamiya and Hasselblad medium-format cameras, Sinar and Toyo monorail and field 4" x 5" and 8" x 10" cameras, as well as lenses for each camera type. The ERC also holds the latest in digital equipment, including a number of Sony, Canon, and Nikon DSLRs, several medium-format digital backs, and Lytros cameras as well as many Canon and Sony HD camcorders.
Darkroom lab facilities, located on the fifth floor, include a 20-station black-and-white darkroom equipped with Bessler enlargers capable of printing 4" x 5" negatives, a film developing area, a color-balanced print viewing room that allows students to make precise color corrections, and a print finishing room for drying, pressing, and mounting photographs. This floor also houses a Digital-C printer with the ability to digitally expose and develop prints on photographic luster, glossy, metallic, trans, and clear papers up to 30" wide.
Located on the third floor, digital facilities consist of two 16-station Mac Pro computers with 24" Eizo monitors, several flatbed scanners, and five Flextight Imacon drum scanners for professional-quality film scanning. These machines are loaded with the latest Adobe software, including After Effects, Bridge, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Flash, Illustrator, InDesign, Lightroom, Photoshop, and Premiere. The labs are also equipped with many output options, including several Epson 4900s and Epson 4880s capable of printing 17" wide, an HP Z3200 capable of printing 24" wide, and an HP Z3200PS, Epson 9880, and Epson 9800 capable of printing 44" wide.
Shooting studios are located on the third and fourth floors and range from 500 square feet to 800 square feet in size. All studios are equipped with ProFoto strobes and base grip equipment including c-stands, grip arms, crossbars, umbrellas, and gray, white, and black seamless (9' and 5'). Two of the five studios also include Broncolor Grafit as well as hot light kits. In addition to the studios' equipment, the ERC (above) can provide off-campus Profoto/Bron lighting equipment and light modifiers as well as Arri tungsten lighting.
The following artists, curators, and critics have recently participated as guest artists or lecturers at Parsons:
Reverend Ethan Acres
Max Becher and Andrea Robbins
Black Acid Co-op
Eve Andre Larame
Jessica Craig Martin
Paul Mpagi Sepuya
The application deadline is January 2. To be most competitive for admission and merit scholarship consideration, please apply before the deadline. We will continue to review applications submitted after the deadline pending space availability in the
program. The Admission Committee will make a decision on your application only after all the required materials have been received. Please note: This program starts in the summer. Spring term admission is not offered for this program.
Financial Aid Deadline
Merit Scholarships: All admitted students are considered for merit scholarship awards determined by the strength of their applications. International students are eligible only for merit scholarships.
Federal Student Aid: If you are a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, we encourage you to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which can be found at
www.fafsa.gov. The FAFSA is available each year on October 1. The New School’s federal school code is 002780. You do not need to wait for an admission decision to apply for federal
aid. Submit your FAFSA by our February 1 FAFSA Priority Deadline.
All applicants are required to apply online. Save your work frequently and print a copy for your records. You must complete all required fields and uploads prior to submission.
Any additional supporting documents that need to be sent by mail must include an
Application Materials Cover Sheet. All supporting materials must be received before your application can be reviewed.
See below for additional information regarding submission of transcripts and recommendations.
Some of your required application materials will be submitted through
Learn more about what Parsons students, faculty, and alumni are doing throughout the city and around the world.
Explore the Photography Community
James Ramer, Program Director
Art, Media, Tech
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