MFA photography program

MFA photography program

Syracuse University

Victor Rivera, Abandoned Family Wagon, 2011. Photograph.
February 8, 2013
MFA photography program

Syracuse University
College of Visual and Performing Arts
102 Shaffer Art Building
Syracuse, NY 13244

In an art context, ideas are often as important as execution. Syracuse University’s MFA photography program offers an intimate and rigorous interdisciplinary course of study emphasizing development of the professional, technical and conceptual skills necessary to participate in the contemporary art world. As a student in our program, you will be immersed in an animated and creative intellectual environment designed to produce artists with an original and sophisticated aesthetic.

Graduate students admitted to the program benefit from substantial financial assistance. Admitted MFA applicants receive 13,000 USD or more in scholarships, bringing student tuition costs to 10,000 USD a year. In addition to these awards, students may also apply for teaching assistantships and fellowships. 

The photo faculty (Yasser Aggour, Doug Dubois, Laura Heyman and Susannah Sayler) are a diverse group of working artists who have a comprehensive knowledge of the contemporary art world and are experienced in documentary, curatorial, performance, and video work. Faculty expertise is complemented by an extensive roster of visiting artists who lecture and meet with graduate students for portfolio review. Recent and upcoming speakers include Collier Schorr, Leigh Ledare, Susan Meiselas, Penelope Umbrico, Peter Galassi, Alec Soth, Shimon Attie, David Ross, Elinor Carucci, Chan Chao, Liz Cohen, Jörg Colberg, Kelli Connell, Renee Cox, Mitch Epstein, Sam Falls, Jason Fulford, John Gossage, Eirik Johnson, Arnold Kemp, Deana Lawson, John Miller, Sina Najafi, Alison Nordström, Kelly Reichardt, Mike Smith, Zoe Strauss, Lynn Tillman, and Carrie Mae Weems.

Graduate students also benefit from the program’s close relationship with Light Work, one of the country’s premier photographic research, exhibition, and international residency programs. Light Work presents a dynamic schedule of exhibitions, lectures, and workshops. Over 350 artists from every state and over fifty countries have been selected to participate in its Artist-in-Residence program, among them Cindy Sherman, Christian Patterson, Jim Goldberg, James Welling, Hank Willis Thomas, Alessandra Sanguinetti and Max Becher. 

Our facilities include lighting studios with digital capture, digital editing, Imacon film scanners, and archival inkjet printing, as well as traditional black-and-white darkrooms capable of processing and printing large-format film up to 8×10 inches. The equipment cage contains a wide variety of cameras, including 35mm, 6x7cm and 4×5 film cameras; 5D, DX and FX DSLRs for still and video capture; as well as portable strobes and continuous lighting kits. MFA candidates have membership at Light Work/Community Darkrooms, located on the Syracuse University campus in Watson Hall. Its facilities include digital editing, high-end film scanning, and mural-sized archival inkjet printing up to 60 inches wide.  

MFA candidates have the opportunity to visit and participate in exhibitions at a number of internationally recognized venues, including the Everson Museum, Warehouse GallerySU Art Galleries, and Urban Video Project. In addition, students have the opportunity to study abroad in numerous off-campus programs, including courses in Prague, Berlin, London, New York City, and Los Angeles.

Applications for Fall 2013 admission to our MFA program are now available online. The college’s scholarship deadline is February 1. The final deadline for applications is March 1.


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Syracuse University
February 8, 2013

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