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.
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.
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.
International students should refer to the alternative curriculum described below.
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
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.
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.)
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
Learn more about what Parsons students, faculty, and alumni are doing throughout the city and around the world.
Explore the Photography Community
Jeanine Oleson, Program Director
Art, Media, Tech
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