IUPUI Bulletins » Schools » Herron School of Art and Design » Undergraduate » Degree Programs » Bachelor of Fine Arts » Photography


The BFA in Photography is a professional undergraduate degree for students desiring extensive studio experience with an emphasis in Photography and associated media. Students in the program develop critical thinking skills, refine their intellectual and creative processes, and learn both traditional and contemporary aspects of the photographer's craft.

As digital technology effectively blurs the line between films, periodicals, television, and photographs, students of photography are constantly challenged to define and reexamine the photographer's role in society and contemporary art practices.

A photography student will approach the study of Photography beginning with traditional black and white materials and progress to color processes with a concentrated examination of contemporary still and moving digital medias. By examining the history of photography, students will understand the roles photography played in culture throughout the past and its current position as an art form and cultural phenomena. Technical proficiency, personal growth, as well as conceptual and aesthetic development are emphasized equally.

Herron's photography facilities are among the best in the nation. With our hybrid approach to both analog and digital media, the department supports multiple black and white labs, a computer lab with state of the art scanning and inkjet printing equipment, a shooting studio, a large dedicated finishing area complete with wall cutters, hot and cold mounting presses, and a convertible gallery space. This permits students to work in a variety of formats and media, including black and white silver gelatin printing, analog chromogenic development and printing processes, large scale inkjet printing, historical, alternative, and mixed media processes, sound and video. Students will have access to professional equipment, including medium format, and 4x5 film based camera, and DSLRs, video cameras, studio lighting kits, light meters, tripods, and limited state of the art digital equipment.

At various points in the curriculum students will be required to purchase their own personal equipment to grow their creative and technical capabilities. This includes purchasing a light meter in their sophomore year, a DSLR by fall of junior year, and a laptop by spring of junior year. Students are also required to complete an internship as part of the curriculum as it provides for extremely valuable real world experience that classroom teaching cannot simulate.

Mastering technical processes and developing your own artistic vision prepares you for a choice of multiple careers in photography and related fields. Employment opportunities include working perhaps as a studio artist and exhibiting work in fine art galleries and museums; being employed as a documentarian, publishing work in newspaper and other print venues or working in museum documenting works of art; as a commercial photographer; or as a portraitist. Many of our graduates work in emerging digital media, still, moving, and the worldwide web.

For the most current curriculum, please see the Herron website. For the recommended four-year plan of study, please refer to  IUPUI degree maps.  The BFA degree requirements meet the standards established by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design for professional undergraduate degrees in the Fine Arts.

Degree requirements

General Education

30 credits corresponding to IUPUI's Statewide Transferrable General Education Core.

Foundation Studies 

20 credits

Art History, Theory, and Criticism and professional development

15 credits distributed as follows:

  • HER-H101 History of Art I (3 cr.) (may be used to fill Arts/Humanities General Education requirement)
  • HER-H102 History of Art 2 (3 cr.) (may be used to fill Arts/Humanities General Education requirement)
  • HER-H205 Introduction to Contemporary Art (3 cr.)
  • HER-HXXX Art History electives (6 cr.)

Professional and career preparation

HER-X201  Professional Practice in Visual Arts I

HER-X301  Professional Practice in Visual Arts II

Major Studio Requirements

  • HER-K201 Photography 1 (3 cr.)
  • HER-K202 Photography 2 (3 cr.)
  • HER-K211 Introduction to Electronic Media (3 cr.)
  • HER-K301 Photography 3 (3 cr.)
  • HER-K302 Photography 4 (3 cr.)
  • HER-K303 Color Photography (3 cr.)
  • HER-K304 Advanced Color Photography OR K300 Advanced Digital Imaging (3 cr.)
  • HER-K401 Photography V (6 cr.)
  • HER-K 402 Photography VI (6 cr.)
  • HER-K311 OR K411 Individual Research in Photography (3 cr.)

Studio Art Electives

27 credits, of which 3 must be N208 Integrative Studio Lab: Rotating Topics (3 cr.)

Non-Studio requirements

6 credits

  • ENG-L 105 or L115 English Literature (3 cr.)
  • Academic elective (3 cr.)

Total:  125 credits

Last update:  April 2021