Photography (MFA)

  • The MFA Photography program prepares students to become practicing artists and scholars who redefine the creative role of photography within contemporary culture. The program challenges students to move beyond current paradigms, anticipating and setting trends rather than following them.

    Explore the MFA Photography community to see what students, faculty, and alumni are doing in NYC and around the world at This program is part of Parsons’ School of Art, Media, and Technology (AMT).

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    Summer 2020 Update

    The MFA Photography program will not offer its eight-week session for new students in summer 2020. Instead, we will convert some of our classes into online formats and rework our curriculum to move our residency-based courses to a time later in the year. These newly converted summer courses join the dozens of courses Parsons already programs online every year and will allow you to progress in your studies without increasing your time to graduation.

    Flexible and Independent

    The flexible 26-month, 60-credit MFA Photography curriculum enables students to undertake local internships and apprenticeships and participate in international projects. The program begins with an eight-week online summer intensive session, focusing on photography history and theory and contemporary strategies, in which students attend lectures by and meet with faculty, visiting artists, curators, and critics. Recent visitors include Lisa Oppenheim, Lucas Blalock, Anna Ostoya, Renee Cox, Tehching Hsieh, Matthew Buckingham, Baseera Khan, Jesse Chun, Leslie Hewitt, Penelope Umbrico, Mariah Robertson, Josephine Meckseper, Dread Scott, and Artie Vierkant. In the fall and spring semesters, students engage in faculty-supervised independent study and fulfill course requirements on campus or online.

    Connected to Local Practitioners

    The school’s long-standing ties to the photography and art communities offer students access to New York City partners for internships, exhibitions, research, and representation. Rigorous critiques and regular meetings with faculty and professional artists help students situate their work within broader historical, theoretical, and visual culture contexts. Program-sponsored conferences, such as the recent “Photographic Universe,” bring together practitioners and critics to explore contemporary issues in the field. Annual graduate thesis exhibitions and publications extend students’ reach into art communities.


    Exposure to Other Disciplines

    The MFA in Photography program is part of Parsons’ School of Art, Media, and Technology (AMT), which is also home to the Communication Design, Fine Arts, Design and Technology, and Illustration programs. Photography students work together and draw on the rich academic resources of The New School, including all of Parsons’ programs, for their research.

    Future Opportunities

    Graduates go on to publish, exhibit internationally, and work in related positions. They pursue careers such as commercial photography, editorial photography, fashion photography, documentary production, and fine art.

  • Student Work

    See More Student Work From the Program


    The Master of Fine Arts degree is awarded for completion of 60 credits. No credits may be transferred. Students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade point average and fulfill all requirements in a timely manner.

    This curriculum below applies to students who enter Parsons in summer 2020. To view degree requirements from prior years, visit the Academic Catalogs archive.

    First Year / Summer 2020
    PGPH 5008 Photo Topics: Cont Strategies*** 3
    PGPH 5000 Graduate Seminar 1*** 3
    First Year / Fall 2020
    PGPH 5003 Independent Studio 1 3
    PGPH 5001 Major Studio 1 3
    Academic Elective
    First Year / Spring 2021
    PGPH 5006 Independent Studio 2 3
    PGPH 5001 Major Studio 1 3
    Academic Elective
    Second Year / Summer
    PGPH 5101 Major Studio 2 6
    PGPH 5100 Graduate Seminar 2 3
    PGPH 5103 Teaching Methods* 3
    Second Year / Fall
    PGPH 5110 Independent Studio 3 3
    PGPH 5301 Thesis and Exhibition 1 2
    Academic Elective
    Non-course Requirement: Research/Fieldwork (Equivalency)
    Second Year / Spring
    PGPH 5113 Independent Studio 4 3
    PGPH 5302 Thesis and Exhibition 2 2
    Academic Elective
    Non-course Requirement: Research/Fieldwork (Equivalency)
    Third Year / Summer
    PGPH 5202 Major Studio 3 6
    PGPH 5200 Graduate Seminar 3 3
    PGPH 5201 Thesis and Exhibition 3 2
    Total Credits 60

    *Recommended elective

    **Students in the program must also complete eight equivalency credits as outlined. To earn equivalency credits, students undertake rigorous independent research/fieldwork in an area chosen in consultation with program faculty. Research projects may build upon work initiated in the intensive summer residencies or be used in support of work created for Independent Studios. Research may culminate, for example, in work for departmental publications or projects, guide professional development activitiesm or support peer-to-peer workshops. It is assumed that for each equivalency credit three hours per week are spent for the duration of the term.

    ***Delivered online in summer 2020


    Program Contact

    Full-Time Faculty

      Part-Time Faculty

        See All Program Faculty



        Parsons' Photography program is housed on four floors of 66 Fifth Avenue, on the school's Greenwich Village campus. It operates traditional black-and-white, non-silver, and alternative processes darkrooms, two state-of-the-art digital labs, a Durst Theta Digital-C printer, and five shooting studios.

        Equipment Resource Center

        The Equipment Resource Center (ERC), located on the second floor, houses a range of photographic, grip, and installation equipment for student use. Camera equipment includes 35mm film cameras, a variety of Mamiya and Hasselblad medium-format cameras, Sinar and Toyo monorail and field 4" x 5" and 8" x 10" cameras, as well as lenses for each camera type. The ERC also holds the latest in digital equipment, including a number of Sony, Canon, and Nikon DSLRs, several medium-format digital backs, and Lytros cameras as well as many Canon and Sony HD camcorders.

        Darkroom Labs

        Darkroom lab facilities, located on the fifth floor, include a 20-station black-and-white darkroom equipped with Bessler enlargers capable of printing 4" x 5" negatives, a film developing area, a color-balanced print viewing room that allows students to make precise color corrections, and a print finishing room for drying, pressing, and mounting photographs. This floor also houses a Digital-C printer with the ability to digitally expose and develop prints on photographic luster, glossy, metallic, trans, and clear papers up to 30" wide.

        Digital Facilities

        Located on the third floor, digital facilities consist of two 16-station Mac Pro computers with 24" Eizo monitors, several flatbed scanners, and five Flextight Imacon drum scanners for professional-quality film scanning. These machines are loaded with the latest Adobe software, including After Effects, Bridge, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Flash, Illustrator, InDesign, Lightroom, Photoshop, and Premiere. The labs are also equipped with many output options, including several Epson 4900s and Epson 4880s capable of printing 17" wide, an HP Z3200 capable of printing 24" wide, and an HP Z3200PS, Epson 9880, and Epson 9800 capable of printing 44" wide.

        Shooting Studios

        Shooting studios are located on the third and fourth floors and range from 500 square feet to 800 square feet in size. All studios are equipped with ProFoto strobes and base grip equipment including c-stands, grip arms, crossbars, umbrellas, and gray, white, and black seamless (9' and 5'). Two of the five studios also include Broncolor Grafit as well as hot light kits. In addition to the studios' equipment, the ERC (above) can provide off-campus Profoto/Bron lighting equipment and light modifiers as well as Arri tungsten lighting.

        Visiting Artists

        The following artists, curators, and critics have recently participated as guest artists or lecturers at Parsons:

        Vito Acconci

        Reverend Ethan Acres

        Ben Aranda

        Shimon Attie

        Geoffrey Batched

        Max Becher and Andrea Robbins

        Ellen Birell

        Black Acid Co-op

        Slater Bradley

        Matthew Buckingham

        Nathan Carter

        Phil Chang

        Sarah Charlesworth

        Daniel Conogar

        Charlotte Cotton

        Tim Davis

        Morya Davy

        Stephanie Diamond

        Ollivier Dyens

        Shannon Ebner

        Hasan Elahi

        Elliot Erwitt

        Kathleen Forde

        Allen Frame

        Anna Gaskell

        Anthony Goicolea

        Neil Goldberg

        Dan Graham

        Sharon Harper

        Gustav Hellberg

        Leslie Hewitt

        Mathew Higgs

        Noritoshi Hirakawa

        Simen Johan

        Farrah Karapetian

        Matt Keegan

        Baseera Khan

        Carol Lafayette

        Eve Andre Larame

        Richard Leslie

        Glen Luchford

        Joseph Maida

        Jessica Craig Martin

        Jillian McDonald

        Joel Meyerowitz

        Sara Morawetz

        Antoni Muntadas

        Jason Murson

        Alix Pearlstein

        John Pilson

        Michael Queenland

        Sara Rafferty

        Eva Respini

        Mariah Robertson

        John Salvest

        Gary Scheider

        Erik Schmidt

        Carolee Schneemann

        Collier Schorr

        Paul Mpagi Sepuya

        Amie Siegel

        Laurie Simmons

        Beckey Smith

        Kate Steciw

        A.L. Steiner

        Zoe Strauss

        Larry Sulton

        Javier Tellez

        Catherine Wagner

        Bernadette Wegenstein

        Lawrence Weiner

        James Welling

        Charlie White

        Melanie Wiora

        Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa

        Admission Requirements

        Application and Financial Aid Deadlines

        Application Deadline

        The application deadline is January 2. To be most competitive for admission and merit scholarship consideration, please apply before the deadline. We will continue to review applications submitted after the deadline pending space availability in the program. The Admission Committee will make a decision on your application only after all the required materials have been received. Please note: This program starts in the summer. Spring term admission is not offered for this program.

        Financial Aid Deadline

        Merit Scholarships:
        All admitted students are considered for merit scholarship awards determined by the strength of their applications. International students are eligible only for merit scholarships.

        Federal Student Aid:
        If you are a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, we encourage you to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which can be found at The FAFSA is available each year on October 1. The New School’s federal school code is 002780. You do not need to wait for an admission decision to apply for federal aid. Submit your FAFSA by our February 1 FAFSA Priority Deadline.

        Application Instructions

        All applicants are required to apply online. Save your work frequently and print a copy for your records. You must complete all required fields and uploads prior to submission.

        Any additional supporting documents that need to be sent by mail must include an Application Materials Cover Sheet. All supporting materials must be received before your application can be reviewed.

        See below for additional information regarding submission of transcripts and recommendations.

        Some of your required application materials will be submitted through SlideRoom:

        1. Finalize your portfolio at the time you submit your application. This will help prevent any delays in reviewing your application, as we need all required materials to be received before we can place your application under review.
        2. Once you have submitted the required SlideRoom materials, a confirmation number will be emailed to you. Save this for your records and enter it on the online application when requested.

        Required Application Materials

        1. Application Form: Complete the online application. All applicants are required to apply online.
        2. Application Fee: The application fee is $50. The fee is paid through the online application and is non-refundable. There is also a $10 SlideRoom fee.
        3. Transcripts:
          Unofficial Transcripts: Applicants must upload an unofficial transcript, mark sheet, or academic record for each institution (even if you didn’t receive a degree) in the Educational Background section of the online application.
          • All transcript uploads must be accompanied by a key, a legend, or the back copy of the transcript.
          • Non-English transcripts must be accompanied by an English translation. Records from non-U.S. institutions must have grades or marks and contain a copy of diploma if the degree has been conferred.
          • Make sure your name appears on the transcript/record. Scans must be clear and legible.
          • If you experience trouble uploading your transcript, email and give a detailed description of the issue and attach the document in question.
          The New School reserves the right to require official transcripts at any time during the admission process. Any fraudulent activity or discrepancies found between uploaded and official transcripts will result in the immediate revocation of admission and/or dismissal from The New School. Transcripts uploaded with the online application are considered unofficial.

          Official Transcripts: Applicants offered admission will be required to submit official transcripts with proof of their degree conferral prior to enrollment. Admitted applicants must submit all official transcripts pertaining to their entire academic career. Transcripts uploaded with the online application do not satisfy this requirement.

          Submitting Transcripts By Mail: Applicants should make arrangements to have their college/university send transcripts directly to The New School at the mailing address for Supplemental Materials. All transcripts must be received in a sealed envelope with the institutional seal and signature of the registrar. All documents not written in English must be accompanied by a certified English translation.

          Submitting Electronic Transcripts (U.S./Domestic Institutions Only): The New School accepts electronic transcripts only from our approved vendors:
          • National Student Clearinghouse
          • Parchment Exchange
          • SCRIP-SAFE International
          We do not accept electronic transcripts sent directly by a student or school offices. All international academic credentials must be submitted as indicated in the International Academic Credentials sections below.

          International Academic Credentials: All transcripts not written in English must be accompanied by a certified English translation.

          International Academic Credentials with Transfer Credits: Applicants who attended postsecondary institutions outside of the United States are required to have their transcript(s) evaluated by World Education Services (WES), Education Credential Evaluators (ECE), or by another member of the National Association of Credit Evaluation Services (NACES). A course-by-course evaluation must be prepared for each transcript.

          Follow all document requirements as outlined on the evaluation service providers’ websites. Evaluations completed by WES or ECE will be sent directly to us electronically by the vendor.

          All other NACES provider evaluation should be mailed directly by the vendor to the address for Supplemental Materials. A copy of the transcript which was evaluated should accompany the evaluation in the same sealed envelope or the official transcript should be sent directly to The New School by the issuing college/university.
        4. Résumé: Submit a brief résumé/curriculum vitae summarizing your academic qualifications, relevant work experience, volunteer/community work, travel, exhibitions, public speaking, or any other relevant experiences as they may relate to your field of study, including dates and positions held. Please also note any special language or computer skills that you have.
        5. Statement of Purpose: Please outline your reasons for applying to this program. In what ways will you contribute to the subject matter of the program? You should include a thoughtful description of your background, tentative plan of study or area of inquiry in the field as you now envision it, your professional goals, and how this graduate program will help you realize those goals. If you have not been enrolled as a student in the past five years, please address anticipated opportunities and challenges in pursuing the degree, and future career expectations upon completion of the program. (500-750-word limit)
        6. Recommendation Letters: Two letters of recommendation are required. Recommenders may submit recommendations online. Instructions are included in the online application. If preferred, the recommendation forms may be sent by mail in signed, sealed envelopes. To send by mail, download the PDF recommendation form found in the online application, complete the Applicant Information section, and save the form. Forward the saved form to the recommenders to complete the remaining sections and submit. Applicants may also send signed and sealed recommendations to the Office of Admission using an Application Materials Cover Sheet.
        7. Portfolio: The portfolio must be completed in SlideRoom only. Submit 20 images of fine art work, which may include photography, painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, video, installation, or performance. You can also submit up to four three-minute clips of time-based work in any medium. Be prepared to provide title, medium, dimensions (height first), date, and description for each image. All videos and moving images must be submitted in SlideRoom. Video files should be no longer than five minutes in length.
        8. Test Scores:
          TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, and DET: All applicants whose first language is not English must submit valid TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, or DET scores. The minimum score required for TOEFL (IB) is 92, for IELTS is 7.0, for PTE is 63, and for DET is 115. Our TOEFL institution code is 2638.

          The New School does not require TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, or DET scores for applicants who have earned a four-year degree from a U.S. college/university or from a university where English is the primary language of instruction (minimum of three years attendance). After reviewing your application, the Office of Admission may require you to submit an English Language Proficiency test score to evaluate your candidacy.

          We accept test scores taken within the past two years. If your scores are older, you must retake the test.

          Applicants also have the option of enrolling in The New School English as a Second Language (ESL) program. Students must pass Level 6 to waive the TOEFL/IELTS/PTE/DET requirement. Visit the ESL website for more information.
        9. Interview: As part of the admission process, all finalists for the program will be interviewed by the Graduate Faculty.

        Additional Information and Instructions

        1. Applying to More Than One Program: In any given term, a student can apply to only one department or program within The New School. Applicants who file more than one application in a given semester will be required to withdraw one of the applications, and application fees will not be refunded.
        2. Application Materials: All materials submitted in association with The New School application become the property of The New School and cannot be returned to you or transmitted to a third party.
        3. Application Status: Applications become complete and ready for review once all required items have been received by the Office of Admission. You can check your application status online at the Admission Hub.

          Allow at least 14 days from the date you submitted your application for items to be matched and shown as received on the Hub. Applicants are responsible for following up with schools and recommenders to confirm that items have been sent.

          The Office of Admission will periodically notify applicants by email if their file is missing any documents and again when their file is complete for review. These notifications are sent to the email address provided in the online application.
        4. Readmission:
          The Application for Readmission should be completed by students who wish to return after an absence of four semesters (fall and spring). If you would like to apply for readmission, review the readmission deadlines and requirements in the Readmission section of our How to Apply information.
        5. Mailing Address for Supplemental Materials:
          Parsons School of Design
          Office of Admission (PS 300)
          79 Fifth Avenue, 5th floor
          New York, NY 10003

        Program News

        Learn more about what Parsons students, faculty, and alumni are doing throughout the city and around the world.
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