Parsons

Photography (MFA)

  • 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.

    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

    Flexible and Independent

    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 summer session in residence at Parsons, the first of three, in which students attend lectures by and meet with visiting artists, curators, and critics. Recent visitors include Elinor Carucci, Lisa Oppenheim, Eva Respini, Anna Ostoya, Charlotte Cotton, Tehching Hsieh, Matthew Buckingham, Louise Lawler, Jason Fulford, Penelope Umbrico, Jill Magid, 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.

    Connected to Local Practitioners

    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.

     

    Exposure to Other Disciplines

    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.

    Future Opportunities

    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.

  • Curriculum

    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.

    International students should refer to the alternative curriculum described below.


    Photography (MFA) Program for International Students

    Faculty

    Program Contact


    Full-Time Faculty

      Part-Time Faculty

        See All Program Faculty

        Profiles

        Facilities

        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.

        Highlights

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

        Visiting Artists

        The following artists, curators, and critics have recently participated as guest artists or lecturers at Parsons:

        Vito Acconci

        Reverend Ethan Acres

        Ben Aranda

        Shimon Attie

        Geoffrey Batched

        Max Becher and Andrea Robbins

        Ellen Birell

        Black Acid Co-op

        Slater Bradley

        Matthew Buckingham

        Nathan Carter

        Sarah Charlesworth

        Daniel Conogar

        Charlotte Cotton

        Tim Davis

        Morya Davy

        Stephanie Diamond

        Ollivier Dyens

        Shannon Ebner

        Hasan Elahi

        Elliot Erwitt

        Kathleen Forde

        Allen Frame

        Anna Gaskell

        Anthony Goicolea

        Neil Goldberg

        Dan Graham

        Sharon Harper

        Lesley Hewitt

        Mathew Higgs

        Noritoshi Hirakawa

        Simen Johan

        Matt Keegan

        Carol Lafayette

        Eve Andre Larame

        Glen Luchford

        Joseph Maida

        Jessica Craig Martin

        Jillian McDonald

        Joel Meyerowitz

        Antoni Muntadas

        Jason Murson

        Alix Pearlstein

        John Pilson

        Michael Queenland

        Sara Rafferty

        Eva Respini

        John Salvest

        Gary Scheider

        Erik Schmidt

        Carolee Schneemann

        Collier Schorr

        Laurie Simmons

        Beckey Smith

        A.L. Steiner

        Zoe Strauss

        Larry Sulton

        Javier Tellez

        Catherine Wagner

        Bernadette Wegenstein

        Lawrence Weiner

        James Welling

        Charlie White

        Melanie Wiora

        Admission Requirements

        Application and Financial Aid Deadlines

        Application Deadline

        The application deadline is January 1. To be most competitive for admission and merit scholarship consideration, please apply before the deadline. We will continue to review applications submitted after the January 1 priority 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. The fall term readmission deadline is August 1 (review readmission information below).

        Please note: This program starts in the summer. Spring term admission is not offered for this program.

        Financial Aid Deadline:

        All applicants selected for admission 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 www.fafsa.gov. The FAFSA is available each year on October 1. You do not need to wait for an admission decision to apply for federal aid; we recommend submitting by our FAFSA priority deadline of February 1 for summer term applicants. (The New School’s federal school code is 002780.)

        Application Instructions

        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 materials will be submitted through SlideRoom:

        1. In addition to submitting the online application, Parsons requires that you submit a portfolio using SlideRoom.
        2. Finalize your portfolio at the time you submit your application. This will help prevent any delays in reviewing your application, as we need all required materials to be received 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 for your records and enter it on the online application when requested.

        Required Application Materials

        1. Application Form: Complete the online application. All applicants are required to apply online.
        2. Application Fee: A nonrefundable $50 application fee paid as part of the online application. A $10 SlideRoom fee is also required.
        3. Transcripts:
          Unofficial Transcripts: Applicants must upload an unofficial transcript, mark sheet, or academic record for each institution (even if you didn’t receive a degree) in the Educational Background section of the online application.
          • All transcript uploads must be accompanied by a key, a legend, or the back copy of the transcript.
          • Non-English transcripts must be accompanied by an English translation. Records from non-U.S. institutions must have grades or marks and contain a copy of the diploma if the degree has been conferred.
          • Make sure your name appears on the transcript/record. Scans must be clear and legible.
          • Do not mail materials that have been uploaded with the online application or any other materials unless requested by the admission office.
          • If you experience trouble uploading your transcript, email enroll@newschool.edu and give a detailed description of the issue and attach the document in question.
          The New School reserves the right to require official transcripts at any time during the admissions process. Any fraudulent activity or discrepancies found between uploaded and official transcripts will result in the immediate revocation of admission and/or dismissal from The New School. Transcripts uploaded with the online application are considered unofficial.

          Official Transcripts: Applicants offered admission will be required to submit official transcripts (as well as official certified translations and evaluations of the transcripts/mark sheets and degree certifications if the degree was earned outside of the United States) to The New School. Admitted applicants must submit all official transcripts pertaining to their entire academic career.

          Your offer of admission will be contingent upon the receipt and verification of these official documents. New students will not be permitted to register for their second semester of study until all official transcripts (including degree-awarding transcripts) have been received by the Office of Graduate Admission. Transcripts uploaded with the online application do not satisfy this requirement.

          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
          • 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.

          International Academic Credentials: All transcripts not written in English must be accompanied by a certified English translation or be 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. The Admission Office reserves the right to request a transcript evaluation if necessary.

          If using WES, visit www.wes.org 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. Résumé: Submit a brief résumé/curriculum vitae summarizing your academic qualifications, relevant work experience, volunteer/community work, travel, exhibitions, public speaking, or any other relevant experiences as they may relate to your field of study, including dates and positions held. Please also note any special language or computer skills that you have.
        5. Statement of Purpose: Please outline your reasons for applying to this program. In what ways will you contribute to the subject matter of the program? You should include a thoughtful description of your background, tentative plan of study or area of inquiry in the field as you now envision it, your professional goals, and how this graduate program will help you realize those goals. If you have not been enrolled as a student in the past five years, please address anticipated opportunities and challenges in pursuing the degree, and future career expectations upon completion of the program. (500-750-word limit)
        6. Recommendation Letters: You are required to submit two letters of recommendation from faculty or people with whom you have worked professionally. 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.
        7. Portfolio: The portfolio must be completed in SlideRoom only. Submit 20 images of fine art work, which may include painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, photography, video, installation, or performance. You can also submit up to four three-minute clips of time-based work in any medium. Be prepared to provide title, medium, dimensions (height first), date, and description for each image. All videos and moving images must be submitted in SlideRoom. Video files should be no longer than five minutes in length.
        8. Test Scores:
          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 (IBT) 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 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)
          Upon review of your application, the Office of Admission reserves the right to request a TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE score.

          Arrange for the testing service to send your test scores directly to The New School using the 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.
        9. Interview: As part of the admission process, all finalists for the program will be interviewed by the Graduate Faculty.

        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. Test Score Codes:
          • TOEFL: The institution code is 2638.
        4. 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.
        5. Readmission
        6. The 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
          • One letter of recommendation
          • Transcripts if you have attended another college or university since last at The New School
          • An updated portfolio upon faculty request
        7. Mailing Address for Supplemental Materials:
          Parsons School of Design
          Office of Admission (PS 300)
          79 Fifth Avenue, 5th floor
          New York, NY 10003
         
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