Photography student and instructor

Art – Photography, M.F.A.

Our program is the leading professional undergraduate/graduate fine art photography program in Tennessee and the seven surrounding Mid-American states. With the region's largest photography faculty — consisting of three full-time nationally known photographers, several part-time professional teachers, and a full-time experienced photo technician — our students receive individual attention and in-depth instruction. Our well-equipped facilities include separate black-and-white labs, color print lab, alternative process lab, electronic arts lab, and studio lighting facilities. Students in our photography program have a spirit of togetherness, which creates a positive, interactive place to study. Their active student group, the Photographic Society, plans activities that include a yearly lecture series of internationally known photographers, travel, field trips, special workshops, group exhibitions, and parties. These events provide opportunities to make connections with leading photographers.

Students prepare for careers in fine art photography (b&w, color, alternative process, digital photography, and mixed media), documentary, freelance editorial, commercial/advertising, portrait, and fashion photography, as well as teaching.

The program's educational philosophy maintains that the photographer needs first to discover his or her personal vision, followed by amplification of his/her uniqueness within a fine arts education. Our fine arts approach, coupled with a strong technical base, provides the foundation for artistic discovery in photography: it frees students to explore their own direction in photography.

Graduate students work closely with several faculty on independent self-assigned projects that strengthen their personal approach. This independent work becomes the key transition to a self-sufficient professional career in photography and teaching.


  • Baccalaureate degree in photography, printmaking or related discipline
  • Official undergraduate transcripts
  • Portfolio of 20—30 slides
  • 2 letters of reference
  • Statement of intent


Teaching and service assistantships are available to students enrolled in 12 credit hours of coursework.


  • 36 hours of 7000 level studio courses
  • 9 hours of graduate level art history
  • 9 hours of 6000 or 7000 level electives
  • 6 hours of ART 7996, Thesis