Jun 18, 2024  
OHIO University Graduate Catalog 2021-22 
OHIO University Graduate Catalog 2021-22 [Archived Catalog]

Photography - MFA

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Master of Fine Arts in Photography

Photography – MF5171

School of Art + Design
528 Seigfred Hall
Ohio University
Athens, Ohio 45701

Delivery Mode: Athens Campus

Term of Entry: Fall

Program Overview

The Photography program offers an innovative M.F.A. curriculum that defines photographic practice in its most inclusive and experimental manifestations. Through strong technical and conceptual training, the program stresses the development of the photographer as an artist and the use of lens-based technologies as vital tools of creative expression, preparing students for rewarding careers in the field.

The program builds upon the legacy of the historically renowned Clarence White School of Photography in New York, which was re-established at Ohio University in 1948 by his son, Clarence White, Jr., creating the first degree-granting program in photography at a major university in the country.

The strength of the Photography program lies in its leadership in innovative teaching, its use of the latest technologies, and providing modern and spacious facilities. Its faculty encourage a diverse range of artistic practice founded upon a rigorous intellectual base. The curriculum encourages experimentation with a wide variety of processes and platforms ranging from black and white photography, to digital imaging and video, to interdisciplinary practice.

This program is an intensive three-year experience. The first and second years are primarily devoted to studio, seminar, art history, and elective coursework. During the third year, there is a pure dedication to studio time in preparation for the Thesis Exhibition. As part of this three-year studio experience, the student will have individual and group meetings with faculty, interaction with peers in and outside of the Photography Area, and will participate in graduate critiques. A normal full-time academic load is 15 credit-hours per semester and progress toward the degree is guided by the student’s graduate review committee members to the successful completion of 90 credit hours over the course of six semesters.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Students will be able to demonstrate mastery in skills, techniques and material germane to the student’s research focus, evidenced through a mature body of creative work
  • Students will be able to identify key figures, works and sources, both historical and contemporary, as evidence to support a clearly stated thesis contextualizing the student’s work.
  • Students will be able to generate documents appropriate to professional practice in the student’s field of focus, and be prepared for participation in the professional world of Art.
  • Students will be able to execute public exhibitions of their creative work.

Opportunities for Graduates

The program has trained many successful alumni who are leaders in the field, and whose honors include Guggenheim Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships. Students are prepared for rewarding carerrs in the the fields of art, commercial practice, journalism, and education.

Further Information

Link to Program: https://www.ohio.edu/fine-arts/art/graduate/photography-integrated-media

Admission Requirements

Admission to the MFA program requires a Bachelor of Art (B.A.), Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) or equivalent degree. Transfer credit is typically not accepted. In addition to completing the online application to Ohio University, applicants must submit a digital portfolio of 20 images representing their original artworks through ouschoolofart.slideroom.com. Within the online application to OU, applicants should upload their CV/resume, artist statement, professional goals statement, transcripts, and a list of three professional references with contact information. These references will automatically receive requests for letters of recommendation via the online system. Contact ArtGrad@ohio.edu for questions about the application process.

International Students

This program permits full-time enrollment in residence at Ohio University, and an I-20 may be issued based on admission to this program.

Graduation Requirements

A minimum of 90 credit hours is required to earn the MFA in Photography.

Major Core

Complete the following core courses in photography:

Studio Major Courses

Complete a minimum of 28 hours in the following courses:

Seminar Major Course

Complete the area-specific seminar:

Studio Electives

Complete a minimum of 12 hours from any ART studio courses outside the studio major core. The following courses may be used to fulfill this requirement (excluding those listed in the major core above):

Art + Design Core

Additional Academic Coursework

Complete a minimum of 6 hours of additional academic (not studio-based) graduate courses related to your research.

Additional Seminar Requirement

Complete an additional seminar chosen from among the following courses:


Complete a minimum of 7 hours of elective credits at the 5000-level or higher. Independent Study or Service Learning courses may not be used to fulfill this requirement.

Thesis Hours

Complete a minimum of 25 thesis hours.

Graduate Teaching Seminar

Students receiving funding and intending to serve as a course assistant or instructor-of-record must successfully the Graduate Teaching Seminar, usually in the first term of the program.

Additional Requirements

Students in Art + Design MFA programs must demonstrate satisfactory practice by achieving the following milestones:

  • Near the end of the first term, students are required to undergo a Progress Review with their Thesis Committee. Projects completed during the term will be installed in the Review space and the student will give an oral presentation followed by discussion with the committee. The student is expected to use the feedback in the continued development of their studio practice and performance in the program.
  • Near the end of the second term, students are required to undergo a Candidacy Review with their Thesis Committee. As with the Progress Review, students must install work completed over the first two terms and deliver an oral presentation. As a result of the discussion, the Thesis Committee will determine whether the student has “passed” the Candidacy Review and can continue in the program. If not, the student will be required to discontinue the program.
  • In the fourth term, students are required to write a Thesis Proposal and then undergo a Thesis Proposal review with their Thesis Committee. The student must acquire approval and signatures from each member of the committee before submitting it to the Art + Design office. Students may not begin Thesis hours prior to successful completion and submission of their Thesis Proposal.
  • In the sixth and final term, the student is required to successfully complete a body work and oral defense of a Thesis project and exhibition of that work. Students will organize and host a public reception and promote the exhibition. Students are required to submit digital documentation of the artwork and installation, artist statement, and exhibition promotion to the art office prior to graduation.

MFA Culminating Experience

All students will complete a Thesis Exhibition in a venue open to the public. The student is responsible for designing and installing the exhibit, promoting it widely and digitally documenting the work. Graduation requires successful oral defense of the thesis project and exhibition.

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