Photography (BFA)

  • In this major, you develop the aesthetic, technical, conceptual, and professional skills needed to establish a successful creative practice. You explore analog and digital platforms and photography’s intersections with video, installation, and design.

    This program is part of Parsons' School of Art, Media, and Technology (AMT). Learn about the AMT community and explore our blog to see what students, faculty, and alumni are doing in NYC and around the world.

    Read More About the ProgramRead Less

    Individual Vision

    Curricular pathways let you specialize in social engagement, fashion culture, creative industry, imaging technology, or contemporary art while acquiring research, writing, and critical skills in art and design history and theory courses. The New School’s wide range of lecture courses and electives in the humanities, social sciences, media studies, and business broaden your perspectives and give your work conceptual depth.

    Creative Support

    Internships at galleries, publishing houses, and cultural and commercial organizations expand your career opportunities and deepen your creative practice. Access to state-of-the-art labs, shooting studios, and equipment supports your creativity; student exhibitions and critiques build your network. Through lectures and ongoing series like “Confounding Expectations: Photography in Context” and the Photography Lecture Series, you have access to prestigious speakers who engage with topics relevant to the discipline. Past speakers include James Welling, Lorna Simpson, Elliot Erwitt, Joel Meyerowitz, Melanie Wiora, Tina Barney, Andrea Modica, Ryan McGinley, and Antoni Muntadas.



    Students have worked as interns for the following professionals, studios, and organizations:

    Photographers: Arnold Newman, Richard Avedon, Adam Fuss, Gregory Heisle, David LaChapelle, Mary Ellen Mark, Sheila Metzner, James Porto, Francesco Scavullo, Steven Klein Studios, Joyce Tenneson, Bruce Weber, William Wegman

    Museums, Galleries, and Local Organizations: Aperture Foundation, Brooklyn Museum, Center for Urban Community Services, Deitch Projects, Guggenheim Museum, Holly Solomon Gallery, Howard Greenberg Gallery, International Center for Photography, Julie Saul Gallery, Museum for African Art, Museum of Modern Art, Museum of the City of New York, New York Police Department, Pace/McGill Gallery, Polaroid 20x24 Studio, Yancey Richardson Gallery

    Media: Artforum, blindspot, Elle, Glamour, Harper's Bazaar, Index, Interview, Jane, Lucky, Martha Stewart Living, Mirabella, Nylon, Rolling Stone, Vibe, W, New York Post, Paper

    Commercial Firms: Art + Commerce, Black Star, Boss Models, Estée Lauder/Aramis, Eye Ball Records, Tommy Hilfiger, Madison Square Garden, Magnum Photos, Miramax Films,, National Hockey League, Ogilvy & Mather, Russell Design Associates, Umbra Editions, USA Network/SCI FI Channel

    Future Opportunities

    Graduates enter fields including commercial, editorial, and fashion photography; visual art; photojournalism; publishing; gallery and studio management; and arts production and administration.

  • Curriculum

    The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree is awarded upon completion of 120 credits, as designated by the program. A maximum of 60 credits may be transferred from another institution. Students must maintain a 2.0 cumulative grade point average and fulfill all requirements in a timely manner.

    Note: This curriculum applies to students who enter Parsons as first-year students in fall 2013 and later. Current students who entered Parsons in a prior academic year and incoming/prospective transfer students with sophomore or junior standing should refer to the Parsons Catalog appropriate to their catalog year. Please see Academic Policies for more details.

    First Year F S
    PUFY 1000 Integrative Studio 1 3 -
    PUFY 1010 Integrative Seminar 1 3 -
    PUFY 1100 Sustainable Systems* 3 -
    PUFY 1020 Space/Materiality** 3 -
    PUFY 1030 Drawing/Imaging** 3 -
    PUFY 1040 Time** - 3
    PUFY 1001 Integrative Studio 2 - 3
    PUFY 1011 Integrative Seminar 2 - 3
    PLHT 1000 Objects as History* - 3
    Program Elective
    - 3
    15 15
    Sophomore Year F S
    PUPH 2100 Core Studio 1: Photo Practices 4 -
    PUPH 2101 Core Lab 1: Photo Practices 2 -
    PLVS 2300 History of Photography 3 -
    PUPH 2110 Core Studio 2: Photo Practices - 4
    PUPH 2111 Core Lab 2: Photo Practices - 2
    PUPH 2013 Photo Topics - 3
    Liberal Arts Elective
    3 -
    Program Electives
    3 3
    ULEC University Lecture Elective
    - 3
    15 15
    Junior Year F S
    PUPH 3100 Core Studio 3: Photo Contexts 4 -
    PUPH 3101 Core Lab 3: Photo Contexts 2 -
    PLVS 2500 Intro to Visual Culture: Lecture 0 -
    PLVS 2501 Intro to Visual Culture: Recitation 3 -
    PLxx 3500 Advanced Research Seminar - 3
    PUPH 3110 Core Studio 4: Photo Contexts - 4
    PUPH 3111 Core Lab 4: Photo Contexts - 2
    Program Electives
    3 3
    Liberal Arts Electives
    3 3
    15 15
    Senior Year F S
    PUPH 4100 Core Studio: Thesis 1 4 -
    PUPH 4101 Core Lab: Professional Practices 1 2 -
    PUPH 4110 Core Studio: Thesis 2 - 4
    PUPH 4111 Core Lab: Professional Practices 2 - 2
    ULEC University Lecture Elective
    3 -
    Program Electives
    3 6
    Liberal Arts Electives
    3 3
    15 15

    *Objects as History and Sustainable Systems may be taken in either sequence, one in the fall semester and one in the spring.

    **The three first-year studio courses — Drawing/Imaging, Space/Materiality, and Time — may be taken in any sequence, two in the fall semester and one in the spring.


    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.

    Equipment Resource Center

    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 Labs

    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.

    Digital Facilities

    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

    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.


    Program Contact

    Full-Time Faculty

      See More Program Faculty



      Learn more about what Parsons students, faculty, and alumni are doing throughout the city and around the world.
      Explore the Photography Community

      Admission Requirements

      Application and Financial Aid Deadlines

      1. Application Deadlines:
        • Fall Term Early Action Applicants: November 1
        • Fall Term Regular Priority Applicants: January 15
        • Fall Term Transfer Priority Applicants: April 1
        • Spring Term Priority Applicants: October 15
        • Fall Term Readmission (review readmission information below): August 1
        • Spring Term Readmission (review readmission information below): November 1
      2. Financial Aid Deadlines
        • All applicants admissible into our program are considered for a merit scholarship award that is determined by the strength of their application. Scholarship award notification is communicated at the same time as the admission decision. International students are eligible only for merit scholarships. If you are a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen, we encourage you to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which can be found on the Web at 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; we recommend submitting by our FAFSA priority deadlines:
        • Fall: February 1
        • Spring: November 1

      Application Instructions

      All applicants are required to apply online using the Common Application. 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 materials will be submitted through SlideRoom:

      1. In addition to submitting the Common Application, you are required to submit the portfolio and Parsons Challenge through SlideRoom.
      2. Finalize your portfolio and Parsons Challenge at the time you submit your application. Doing this will help prevent any delays in reviewing your application, as we need to receive all required materials before we can place your application under review.
      3. Once you have submitted the required SlideRoom materials, a confirmation number will be emailed to you. Save this number for your records.

      Required Application Materials

      1. Application Form: Complete the Common Application. All applicants are required to apply online.
      2. Application Fee: A nonrefundable $50 application fee and a $10 SlideRoom fee, payable as part of the online application.
      3. Official Transcripts:
        All applicants must provide official high school and/or college transcripts. If you are currently in school, submit transcripts for all coursework taken to date. Applicants who have attended multiple high schools may submit only the graduating school’s official transcript as long as courses taken at previous schools are reflected on that transcript.

        Transfer Applicants: Transfer applicants who have completed fewer than 24 college credits (on a semester system) must submit high school transcript(s) in addition to college transcripts. Students who have completed any college coursework must apply as transfer students, regardless of whether they plan to apply those credits to their studies at Parsons. Applicants are required to report and submit transcripts for all colleges and universities attended. The following majors do not accept juniors: Design and Technology, Fashion, Integrated Design, and Product Design.

        By Mail: Official transcripts should have an original signature or a raised university seal, and must be in a sealed envelope that has been signed or stamped by the issuing university’s registrar or records office. Applicants can either send official transcripts with an Application Materials Cover Sheet or request that institutions send transcripts directly to The New School. See “Mailing Address for Supplemental Materials” for our mailing address in the Additional Instructions and Information section below.

        Electronic Transcripts (U.S./Domestic Institutions Only): The New School accepts electronic transcripts only from our approved vendors. The New School’s approved vendors, in order of preference, are
        • Naviance
        • Parchment Exchange
        • SCRIP-SAFE International
        • National Student Clearinghouse
        We do not accept electronic transcripts sent directly by a student or school offices. Note: All international academic credentials must be submitted as indicated in the International Academic Credentials sections below.

        High School Equivalency: For GED, TASC, and HiSET, send official test score results by postal mail.

        Homeschooling: Homeschool applicants must provide the equivalent of a high school transcript with course or subject titles, duration of study for each title, content of study for each title, and an assessment of performance or “grade.” Preferably, the courses completed at home are part of a curriculum developed and evaluated by a nationally recognized diploma-granting organization or agency. If not connected with such an organization, homeschool applicants must obtain and submit a GED as confirmation of completing a generally acceptable secondary school curriculum. If an official transcript from a state homeschool association or sponsoring public high school is not available, homeschool students must submit an equivalency or GED, TASC, or HiSET exam results. Individual homeschool transcripts with date of completion do not suffice as official proof of graduation.

        International Academic Credentials: All transcripts not written in English must be accompanied by a certified English translation.

        International Academic Credentials with Transfer Credits: Applicants who attended postsecondary institutions outside of the United States are required to have their transcript(s) evaluated by World Education Services (WES) or by another member of the National Association of Credit Evaluation Services (NACES). A course-by-course evaluation must be prepared for each transcript. In the absence of an evaluation, the Admission Committee will do its best to render a decision. Please note: In some cases, a review cannot be made without an evaluation, and a committee decision will be delayed.

        If using WES, visit for instructions and to begin the application process. The “Required Documents” section will explain what to send. If you request your report online, search for “The New School” when selecting our institution. WES will send your completed evaluation directly to The New School.

        If using another NACES provider, follow instructions for that provider. Mailed evaluations and translations should be sent to the mailing address provided for supporting materials. Applicants forwarding these sealed documents should include an Application Materials Cover Sheet.
      4. Parsons Challenge: Create a new visual work inspired by the theme within a piece submitted in your portfolio.  Support your process by writing one 500 word essay describing how your ideas developed. You may also submit up to two additional visual  pieces that document your process.  All forms of media are acceptable—drawing, video, photography, sculpture, 3D work, collage, and digital images. The Parsons Challenge helps the Admission Committee understand how a prospective student develops ideas, visually communicates those ideas, and defends the work in writing. The Parsons Challenge is completed in SlideRoom along with the portfolio.
      5. Portfolio: The portfolio must be completed in SlideRoom only. Freshman and transfer applicants must submit a portfolio of eight to 12 images. Portfolios can include a range of media such as drawing, painting, sculpture, fashion design, animation, performance, graphic design, or sketchbook pages. We encourage you to show experimentation and breadth, and the portfolio does not need to specifically address the major to which you are applying.
      6. Essay: The New School brings together a dynamic group of students interested in art, design, performing arts, entrepreneurship and critical thought. We would like to know more about your interest in joining our community and why you would be a good fit for The New School. We are particularly interested in knowing why you have applied to a specific school, college, program, area of study, or campus. 
      7. Test Scores:
        SAT and ACT: The New School does not require submission of SAT or ACT scores for applications to be considered complete. Should you feel your SAT or ACT test scores are beneficial to your application, you may submit them for our consideration.  Note: Homeschool applicants must submit standardized test scores from either the SAT or the ACT. Homeschool applicants may submit two standardized subject test results in lieu of the SAT. The SAT institution code is 2638. The ACT code is 2854.

        TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE: All applicants whose first language is not English must submit valid TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores. The minimum score required for TOEFL (IB) is 92, for IELTS is 7.0, and for PTE is 63. Our TOEFL institution code is 2638.

        The New School does not require TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores for applicants:

        • Whose native language is English
        • Who have attended a secondary school where English is the primary language of instruction (minimum of three years attendance)
        • Who have successfully completed two full semesters of non-ESL college-level expository writing
        • Who have earned a four-year degree from a U.S. college/university or from a university where English is the primary language of instruction (minimum of three years attendance)

        Arrange for the testing service to send your test scores directly to The New School using the institution codes listed above. We accept scores from the past two years. If your scores are older, you must retake the test. For more information, visit TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE.

        Applicants also have the option of enrolling in The New School English as a Second Language (ESL) program. Students must pass Level 6 to waive the TOEFL/IELTS/PTE requirement. Visit the ESL website for more information.
      8. Letter of Recommendation: Applicants applying directly from high school must submit the Common Application School Report, one counselor recommendation and one recommendation from a teacher. Students transferring from other colleges or universities must submit one recommendation from a professor with whom they have studied. Recommenders can submit recommendations online; instructions are included with the online application. If preferred, the recommendation form can instead be sent by mail in a signed, sealed envelope. To send by mail, download the PDF recommendation form found in the online application, complete the personal information, save the form, and forward it to the recommender for completion and submission. Applicants can also send signed and sealed recommendations to the Office of Admission using an Application Materials Cover Sheet.

      Additional Information and Instructions

      1. Applying to More Than One Program: In any given term, a student can apply to only one department or program within The New School. Applicants who file more than one application in a given semester will be required to withdraw one of the applications, and application fees will not be refunded.
      2. Application Materials: All materials submitted in association with The New School application become the property of The New School and cannot be returned to you or transmitted to a third party.
      3. Advanced-Level Credit: AP, IB, and A-Level Courses: Accepted applicants will receive further instructions later in the process regarding AP, IB, and A-Level scores.
      4. Test Score Codes:
        • TOEFL: The institution code is 2638.
        • SAT and AP: The institution code is 2638.
        • ACT: The institution code is 2854.
      5. Application Status: Applications become complete and ready for review once all required items have been received by the Office of Admission. You can check your application status online at the Admission Hub.

        Allow at least 14 days from the date you submitted your application for items to be matched and shown as received on the Hub. Applicants are responsible for following up with schools and recommenders to confirm that items have been sent.

        The Office of Admission will periodically notify applicants by email if their file is missing any documents and again when their file is complete for review. These notifications are sent to the email address provided in the online application.
      6. Interviews: Interviews are not required. Applicants with questions about Parsons or the admission process are encouraged to attend an information session. Please review the Admission Calendar for dates and times.
      7. Homeschool Applicants: The New School welcomes applications from homeschool students. The Admission Committee does not require advanced preparation in every academic area, but applicants should demonstrate substantial work in English, history, social studies, foreign language, mathematics, and science.
      8. Readmission: Application for Readmission (PDF) should be completed by students who wish to return after an absence of four semesters (fall and spring). Students must reapply to the program to which they were originally admitted. Readmission is only available for current New School programs. If you are looking to transfer 24 or more semester-based credits, you should apply for admission as a transfer student according to the instructions outlined above. The following materials are required of applicants seeking readmission:

        • Application for Readmission (PDF)
        • Statement of Purpose
        • Employer recommendation (if applicable)
        • Transcripts (required if you have attended another college or university since last at The New School)
        • Updated portfolio at the request of faculty
      9. Internal Transfers: The online Internal Transfer Application is required for all current New School students who wish to transfer from one New School college to another. Students who wish to change departments or majors within the same college should speak to their academic advisor.

        Internal applicants should submit the following requirements:

        • Lang BA candidates: Two Admission essays
        • Parsons BFA candidates: One Admission essay explaining why the switch; 8-12 piece Creative Portfolio & Parsons Challenge
        • Parsons BBA candidates: One Admission essay explaining why the switch; Parsons Challenge
        • Jazz BFA candidates: One Admission essay; live audition
        • A letter of recommendation from a current professor is helpful but not required.

      10. Mailing Address for Supplemental Materials:
        Parsons School of Design
        Office of Admission (PS 100)
        79 Fifth Avenue, 5th floor
        New York, NY 10003