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Photography student and teacher

Photography - B.F.A.

In the Photography major, students develop the skills and knowledge needed to expand their artistic vision and create stunning visual content. With access to photography studio space, free-to-rent lighting equipment, cameras, lenses and more to enhance their projects, plus the expertise of our talented faculty, students are prepared to become emerging professional photographers in a range of rewarding careers.

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A picture is worth a thousand words – our our photography degree can lead to a thousand possible careers.

With our focus on digital media, its creation, curation and flexibility, students will learn the fundamentals of shot composition, as well as the latest techniques in software editing. We provide professional photo studios and a resource lab where students can check out top of the line lenses, lighting rigs, microphones and other equipment – and add to that the incredible Wallace J. Hagedorn Photography Scholarship – and you provide your talent. 

Focus on building experience, building your portfolio, building connections

The Wallace J. Hagedorn Photography Scholarship

Where can your camera take you? With the Hagedorn Scholarship, the answer is everywhere. 

A competitive scholarship supporting student costs and enriching, out-of-classroom experiences to help photography students develop strong portfolios, the Hagedorn was funded by the largest single gift ($4.2 million) ever made to Kent State to support only scholarships, and disburses $200,000 in scholarship funding.

Hagedorn scholarships not only cover student tuition, but also costs associated with travel to attend portfolio-building workshops and experiences, including fees and other expenses.

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IdeaBase: Student-Powered Agency

IdeaBase is a Kent State student-powered design agency located in Franklin Hall. IdeaBase bridges the gap between classroom and career by bringing together top-performing Kent State students to tackle real-world client problems. The team represents a variety of backgrounds, including visual communication design, public relations, advertising, digital media production, computer information systems, emerging media and technology, marketing and communication studies students.

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STUDENT MEDIA

In Student Media, students create content for our six print partners (five magazines and one newspaper) as well as for TV, radio, websites and social media. Together, they reach thousands of people every day, delivering original reporting, information, entertainment and advertising. 

Starting "Day One" of freshman year, students can work for these independent, nationally recognized, nationally award-winning student media outlets. In doing so, students gain relevant exposure to the communication industry, strong peer and faculty relationships and opportunities to launch meaningful careers. 

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Glyphix Research Laboratory

Glyphix began as a full studio experience for students, and the student staffed studio was one of the first such programs in the U.S. and the prototype for many student work-study design groups now existing on university campuses. Now Glyphix is a Research Laboratory in the School of VCD. Students gain studio experience as they conduct research, develop concepts and produce design materials for clients and other stakeholders. 

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Program Information

Program Description

Full Description

The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Photography provides the student with a comprehensive program of study, balancing a liberal arts education with studio offerings in digital photography. Grounded in formal, technical and conceptual skills building, the Photography major focuses on the profession of photography as it relates to commerce. The program builds a photography professional through experiential learning opportunities, as well as through required courses in design.

Programs in the College of Communication and Information are, by nature, innovative, interdisciplinary and collaborative, which is critical to both professional and scholarly disciplines. Students are educated to work at the intersections of communication, information and technology. Through a core of diverse theory- and practice-based courses, students learn basic concepts that apply across the range of college programs and develop a sense of professional expectations and build toward interdisciplinary thinking and application.

Students may apply early to the following master's degree programs and double count 9 credit hours of graduate courses toward both degree programs. See the Combined Bachelor's/Master's Degree Program Policy in the University Catalog for more information.

There are many study abroad/away opportunities. For more information contact the Office of Global Education.

Admissions

Admission Requirements

The university affirmatively strives to provide educational opportunities and access to students with varied backgrounds, those with special talents and adult students who graduated from high school three or more years ago.

First-Year Students on the Kent Campus: First-year admission policy on the Kent Campus is selective. Admission decisions are based upon cumulative grade point average, strength of high school college preparatory curriculum and grade trends. Students not admissible to the Kent Campus may be administratively referred to one of the seven regional campuses to begin their college coursework. For more information, visit the admissions website for first-year students.

First-Year Students on the Regional Campuses: First-year admission to Kent State’s campuses at Ashtabula, East Liverpool, Geauga, Salem, Stark, Trumbull and Tuscarawas, as well as the Twinsburg Academic Center, is open to anyone with a high school diploma or its equivalent. For more information on admissions, contact the Regional Campuses admissions offices.

International Students: All international students must provide proof of English language proficiency (unless they meet specific exceptions) by earning a minimum 525 TOEFL score (71 on the Internet-based version), minimum 75 MELAB score, minimum 6.0 IELTS score or minimum 48 PTE Academic score, or by completing the ELS level 112 Intensive Program. For more information, visit the admissions website for international students.

Transfer Students: Students who have attended any other educational institution after graduating from high school must apply as undergraduate transfer students. For more information, visit the admissions website for transfer students.

Former Students: Former Kent State students or graduates who have not attended another college or university since Kent State may complete the reenrollment or reinstatement form on the University Registrar’s website.

Admission policies for undergraduate students may be found in the University Catalog's Academic Policies.

Some programs may require that students meet certain requirements before progressing through the program. For programs with progression requirements, the information is shown on the program's Coursework tab.

Learning Outcomes

Program Learning Outcomes

Graduates of this program will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the ethics (and legal issues) closely associated with fields of visual communication.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of traditional hands-on skills relative to craftsmanship.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the basic use of digital technologies as they relate to their areas of study.
  4. Demonstrate an ability to create visual response to communication problems, including understanding of photography, composition and the construction of meaningful images.
Coursework

Program Requirements

Major Requirements (courses count in major GPA)
CCI 12001PHOTOGRAPHY 3
VCD 13000VISUAL DESIGN THINKING 3
VCD 13001INTRODUCTION TO VISUAL COMMUNICATION DESIGN STUDIO (min B- grade)3
VCD 18002PHOTOGRAPHY II 3
VCD 23001TYPOGRAPHY I 3
VCD 28003DIGITAL IMAGING I 3
VCD 28004PHOTOGRAPHIC PERSPECTIVES 3
VCD 34004VISUAL ETHICS 3
VCD 37000VISUAL DESIGN FOR MEDIA 3
VCD 38004ADVANCED PHOTOGRAPHY 3
VCD 38007PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES 3
VCD 38011EDITORIAL PHOTOGRAPHY 3
VCD 40182INTERNSHIP PREPARATION: DESIGN, ILLUSTRATION AND PHOTOGRAPHY 2
VCD 40192INTERNSHIP: DESIGN, ILLUSTRATION AND PHOTOGRAPHY (ELR) 11
VCD 44006MOTION DESIGN I 3
VCD 48001PHOTOGRAPHIC PROJECT 3
VCD 48002ADVANCED PHOTOGRAPHIC PROJECT 3
VCD 48003PROFESSIONAL PORTFOLIO PHOTOGRAPHY 3
VCD 48005COLOR PHOTOGRAPHY 3
VCD 48008ADVANCED DIGITAL IMAGING 3
VCD 48009FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY 3
VCD 49198RESEARCH PAPERS AND PROPOSALS FOR DESIGN, ILLUSTRATION AND PHOTOGRAPHY (ELR) (WIC) 22
Visual Communication Design (VCD) Upper-Division Elective (30000 or 40000 level)3
Additional Requirements (courses do not count in major GPA)
ARTH 22006ART HISTORY: ANCIENT TO MEDIEVAL ART (KFA) 3
ARTH 22007ART HISTORY: RENAISSANCE TO MODERN ART (KFA) 3
Art History (ARTH) Upper-Division Elective (30000 or 40000 level)3
COMM 15000INTRODUCTION TO HUMAN COMMUNICATION (KADL) 3
or MDJ 20001 MEDIA, POWER AND CULTURE (DIVD) (KSS)
ENTR 27056INTRODUCTION TO ENTREPRENEURSHIP 3
UC 10001FLASHES 101 1
College of Communication and Information Core Electives, choose from the following:6
CCI 10095
SPECIAL TOPICS IN COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION
CCI 40089
BRANDING AND SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGIES FOR ITALIAN LIFESTYLE (DIVG) (ELR)
CCI 40095
SPECIAL TOPICS IN COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION
CCI 40189
ITALIAN POP CULTURE (DIVG) (ELR)
CCI 40289
ITALIAN CINEMA (DIVG) (ELR)
CCI 40389
DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKING (DIVG) (ELR)
CCI 40489
MULTIMEDIA EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING (DIVG) (ELR)
CCI 45089
INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE IN THE COLLEGE OF COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION (DIVG) (ELR)
CCI 46089
INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE IN THE COLLEGE OF COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION (DIVG) (ELR)
COMM 15000
INTRODUCTION TO HUMAN COMMUNICATION (KADL) 3
COMM 35852
INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION (DIVG)
EMAT 25310
CREATIVE CODING
EMAT 33310
HUMAN-COMPUTER INTERACTION
LIS 30010
INFORMATION FLUENCY IN THE WORKPLACE AND BEYOND
MDJ 20001
MEDIA, POWER AND CULTURE (DIVD) (KSS) 3
MDJ 21008
SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGIES
UXD 20001
INTRODUCTION TO USER EXPERIENCE DESIGN
Kent Core Composition6
Kent Core Mathematics and Critical Reasoning3
Kent Core Humanities3
Kent Core Social Sciences (must be from two disciplines) 46
Kent Core Basic Sciences (must include one laboratory)6-7
Kent Core Additional 43
General Electives (total credit hours depends on earning 120 credit hours, including 39 upper-division credit hours) 56
Minimum Total Credit Hours:120
1

Minimum 1 credit hour of VCD 40192 is required for the program. Students can apply a maximum 4 credit hours of VCD 40192 toward their degree program.

2

A minimum C grade must be earned to fulfill the writing-intensive requirement.

3

Students can choose COMM 15000 or MDJ 20001 as a College of Communication and Information Core Elective if NOT already taken.

4

If MDJ 20001 is completed, then 3 credit hours of Kent Core Social Sciences and 6 credit hours of Kent Core Additional is required. If COMM 15000 is completed, then 6 credit hours of Kent Core Social Sciences and 3 credit hours of Kent Core Additional is required.

5

A maximum of 4 credit hours of Physical Activity, Wellness and Sport (PWS) courses may be applied toward the degree program.

Progression Requirements

  • Students must receive a minimum B- in VCD 13001 before enrolling in VCD 23001. VCD 13001 may be taken a maximum three times until a minimum B- grade is achieved.
  • Students must maintain a 2.500 major GPA in order to continue taking VCD courses. Failure to do so at the end of one semester will result in a written warning with the option of repeating certain VCD courses in order to meet minimum grade and GPA requirements to continue. Failure to do so at the end of two consecutive semesters will result in not being permitted to enroll in VCD courses. Students in this situation will be contacted by an academic advisor to create an alternative plan of study with a new major.

Graduation Requirements

Minimum Major GPA Minimum Overall GPA
2.500 2.000
  • A minimum B- grade may be required in some courses.
Roadmaps

Roadmap

This roadmap is a recommended semester-by-semester plan of study for this major. However, courses designated as critical (!) must be completed in the semester listed to ensure a timely graduation.

Plan of Study Grid
Semester OneCredits
CCI 12001 PHOTOGRAPHY 3
!VCD 13000 VISUAL DESIGN THINKING 3
!VCD 13001 INTRODUCTION TO VISUAL COMMUNICATION DESIGN STUDIO 3
UC 10001 FLASHES 101 1
Kent Core Requirement 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
 Credit Hours16
Semester Two
COMM 15000
or MDJ 20001
INTRODUCTION TO HUMAN COMMUNICATION (KADL)
or MEDIA, POWER AND CULTURE (DIVD) (KSS)
3
!VCD 18002 PHOTOGRAPHY II 3
!VCD 23001 TYPOGRAPHY I 3
VCD 37000 VISUAL DESIGN FOR MEDIA 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
 Credit Hours15
Semester Three
ARTH 22006 ART HISTORY: ANCIENT TO MEDIEVAL ART (KFA) 3
!VCD 28003 DIGITAL IMAGING I 3
!VCD 28004 PHOTOGRAPHIC PERSPECTIVES 3
VCD 38004 ADVANCED PHOTOGRAPHY 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
 Credit Hours15
Semester Four
ARTH 22007 ART HISTORY: RENAISSANCE TO MODERN ART (KFA) 3
VCD 48005 COLOR PHOTOGRAPHY 3
VCD 48008 ADVANCED DIGITAL IMAGING 3
College of Communication and Information Core Elective 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
 Credit Hours15
Semester Five
VCD 34004 VISUAL ETHICS 3
!VCD 38007 PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES 3
VCD 40182 INTERNSHIP PREPARATION: DESIGN, ILLUSTRATION AND PHOTOGRAPHY 2
Visual Communication Design (VCD) Upper-Division Elective (30000 or 40000 level) 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
 Credit Hours14
Semester Six
ENTR 27056 INTRODUCTION TO ENTREPRENEURSHIP 3
!VCD 48009 FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY 3
Art History (ARTH) Upper-Division Elective (30000 or 40000 level) 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
 Credit Hours15
Third Summer Term
!VCD 40192 INTERNSHIP: DESIGN, ILLUSTRATION AND PHOTOGRAPHY (ELR) 1
 Credit Hours1
Semester Seven
!VCD 38011 EDITORIAL PHOTOGRAPHY 3
VCD 44006 MOTION DESIGN I 3
!VCD 48001 PHOTOGRAPHIC PROJECT 3
VCD 49198 RESEARCH PAPERS AND PROPOSALS FOR DESIGN, ILLUSTRATION AND PHOTOGRAPHY (ELR) (WIC) 2
Kent Core Requirement 3
 Credit Hours14
Semester Eight
!VCD 48002 ADVANCED PHOTOGRAPHIC PROJECT 3
!VCD 48003 PROFESSIONAL PORTFOLIO PHOTOGRAPHY 3
College of Communication and Information Core Elective 3
General Electives 6
 Credit Hours15
 Minimum Total Credit Hours:120
Program Delivery
  • Delivery:
    • In person
  • Location:
    • Kent Campus

Accreditation

National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD)

Camera Requirements

Photography in VCD is a digital-based program, and all work is done with digital cameras. As such, there are several camera options for you to consider. However, before deciding on your preferred camera system, consider your major or area of concentration and the extent of your future involvement in and with photography. 

List of Cameras

If you plan to major in Photography or take Photography classes beyond Photo 1, your camera will need to be tetherable (hard-wired) to a laptop and able to fire an accessory flash and trigger devices.

The primary programs we tether with are Adobe Lightroom and Capture One Pro. Please research the camera before you purchase one to be sure which programs it will work with. [Note: Photo Majors are required to work with Capture One beginning with their second program year.] We recommend either Nikon or Canon cameras primarily for interchangeability with classmates, depreciation value, current state-of-art and availability of rental equipment in the VCD Creative Lab. If you already have another brand of camera, send an email with the camera’s brand and model to VCD@kent.edu and someone will get back to you.

All cameras used in Photography in VCD classes must have interchangeable lens capability; feature a manual mode that allows for setting ISO, f-stop, and shutter speeds; allow manual focusing and can work in monochrome (black and white) mode. 18 megapixels is the minimum acceptable sensor resolution. Mirror-less cameras are acceptable but be aware of their limitations with inter-changeability with our inventory of cameras and lenses and fellow students, and there are certain issues with tethering in a studio flash environment. 

DSLR cameras offer excellent technical and image control and allow the use of a broader range of interchangeable lenses with a wide range of focal lengths. The cameras listed offer recommendations to allow for a spectrum of sophistication and price considerations while meeting the requirements for both photo majors and minors. Camera technology is advancing rapidly, so please carefully research your decision.

Note: If you currently own a DSLR that is not listed but meets the requirements, it may be fine for this class. However, tethering is required to advance in the photography program. In all cases, if you are unsure or have questions, send an email to VCD@kent.edu.

Notes: Tether-able means the camera will connect directly to a laptop. This is not required for Photo 1 but is for all other Photography classes.

The prices/specifications are for reference only. Please confirm pricing, specifications and tetherability.

Technology Requirements

Fall 2023 and Spring 2024

All Design, Illustration, and Photography students are required to purchase a laptop computer for their classes. A MacBook Air, Chromebook, iPad, tablet, or a similar device is NOT sufficient for these classes.

We recommend purchasing your laptop computer in the summer before your first semester at Kent State AFTER you attend your orientation program to be sure that the requirements are up-to-date.

Laptop Computer – Minimum Approved Hardware

  • Apple MacBook Pro*
  • Apple M2 or M2 Pro Chip
  • 16GB unified memory
  • 512 GB Hard Drive

*Any size screen is sufficient, but larger screens will be better for design, illustration, or photography courses.

Photography Program Camera Requirements*

*This is only required for Photography majors or minors.

Examples of Possible Careers and Salaries

Examples of Possible Careers
  • Fashion Photographer
  • Wedding Photographer
  • Travel Photographer
  • Commercial Photographer
  • Photo Editor/Retoucher
  • Portrait Photographer
  • Scientific Photographer
  • Wildlife Photographer
  • Sports Photographer

Our graduates find meaningful careers and internships everywhere. Here are just a few of the places where they've worked.

    • Abercrombie & Fitch
    • Aerie, American Eagle Outfitters
    • American Greetings
    • Aquent Studios 
    • Brokaw
    • Cassel Bear
    • Cigna
    • The Cleveland Museum of Art
    • CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC
    • Dick's Sporting Goods
    • Each+Every
    • Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland
    • FedEx
    • FleishmanHillard
    • Giant Eagle, Inc.
    • IBM Watson
    • Jo-Ann Stores
    • Little Jacket
    • Marcus Thomas
    • Ohio Department of Natural Resources
    • Ologie Branding Agency
    • OverDrive, Inc.
    • PNC Banks
    • Progressive Insurance
    • Sherwin-Williams
    • Sunnyside Automotive Group
    • Threadless
    • Zillow

Student Work

Our students work through an iterative process of problem solving to complete each project. With both long and short term goals in mind, projects mimic real-world scenarios that allow students to create comprehensive and diverse portfolios in preparation for creative careers.

View a variety of student working, ranging from introductory level freshman courses to senior level work.