MFA Photography Overview

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60 credit, two- to three-year program of study

Our 60 credit MFA in Photography is predicated upon the belief that photography has a unique ability to merge new technologies as well as cultural and historical influences with artistic production.

Placing our degree within the Design context allows the MFA Photo candidate to gain access to a broader array of faculty conversant with new technologies and design theory which in turn enables candidates to acquire and utilize a more professionally oriented degree and skill set.

MFA candidates develop a thesis project based on their own unique research. The thesis requires both visual and written components which are intellectually, formally and technically rigorous. Students form a committee based on their thesis topic, choosing from faculty who provide a wide variety of viewpoints and expertise.

In addition to access to the Photographic facilities on the main campus which include a state of the art media lab with 48” Epson color printer, black and white darkrooms and professional lighting studio, MFA Students are supplied with graduate studios in our Star Store campus in New Bedford. This newly renovated building houses all disciplines in graduate study fostering a communal artistic environment in which multi-discipline projects and collaborations are possible.

Financial and professional experience available in the first year of study includes photo lab assistantship. Students interested in teaching are able to do so in their second year. Opportunities to both exhibit and curate exhibitions are available in the graduate 244 Gallery at the Star Store.

Design (2-year) MFA Graduate Program Progress Towards Degree Sheet (PDF)
Design (3-year) MFA Graduate Program Progress Towards Degree Sheet (PDF)

Why Study at UMass Dartmouth?

  • Art History: strong emphasis on Methods and Theory, with a Design theoretician on the faculty;
  • University setting: access to faculty in other fields;
  • Interdisciplinary projects and committees are encouraged;
  • Exhibition opportunities: local, regional, and on campus;
  • New Bedford: an active arts community and a monthly celebration of the arts;
  • TA and GA opportunities: provide stipends, tuition waivers and fee reductions;
  • Individualized student attention;
  • Assigned workspaces;
  • Visiting artists;
  • Specialized facilities: letterpress & digital printing, computer labs, papermaking lab, and tools needed to support a wide range of artistic exploration and production;
  • Visual Resources Center with more than 150,000 archived images;
  • Faculty: currently working on a wide variety of scholarly, creative, and professional projects;
  • Location: an hour from Providence, Boston, and the Cape.

The Master of Fine Arts is generally recognized as the highest degree offered in the visual arts. It qualifies the recipient for professional work and positions in higher education within a variety of disciplines. There are also numerous allied career paths, such as curatorial work, arts administration, art direction, and publishing, which benefit from the level of accomplishment the Master of Fine Arts degree entails. The faculty of the College of Visual and Performing Arts believe that the best graduate education is achieved through individualized attention to the students, and prides itself in the quality of the facilities and equipment. If you wish to attain a higher level of personal artistic development, and aspire to advance in professional practice, then we invite you to apply. Come visit us—we're happy to arrange a tour of our facilities. Call to make an appointment: 508 999-8546.

Requirements for Admission

To apply applicants submit materials to the Office of Graduate Studies. To complete your application, a portfolio of 20 images of recent work must be submitted to For more detailed information go to Portfolio Requirements.

Teaching and Graduate Assistantships

Teaching and Graduate Assistantships are available on a competitive basis. Please see the Graduate Catalog for more information.