Studying photography at university - recommendations?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by nickthetasmaniac, Jul 14, 2012.

  1. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    Hi everyone :smile: I've been adventuring for a bit so haven't been posting much but I had a question, especially for those that work or study in the professional photography industry.

    A bit of background first - I recently (last November) graduated a Masters of Architecture from the University of Tas. I enjoyed many aspects of the degree (actually it was two degrees but I digress...) but during my Graduate Project over the last 12 months of study and over the eight months since, I've come to realise that I have very little (ie. none) interest in actually practising as an Architect - I've seen the passion that good architects have, and I simply don't feel that way about the profession.

    What I have realised though is that the way many of my classmates felt about design is how I feel about photography - it's an art that fascinates me at every level; the creative, mechanical, technical and conceptual. I've been toying with the idea of studying photography formally for several years, and over the last few months I've started to think a bit more seriously about it.

    So, my question; can anyone recommend a good photography school/degree?

    I only speak English, so that's a definite requirement, but I have both Australian and British citizenship, and I'm interested in studying in either Australia or the EU. I'm not particularly interested in studying photography as a Major within part of a broader art degree (the Uni of Tas teaches it as part of a Contemporary Arts degree).

    Any other suggestions or advice from people who have gone through a similar process would be well appreciated :smile:

    **note** If I go ahead with this I plan to start during the 2014 academic year (Australia)...

    Cheers, Nick
  2. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    I think I know what you're after. Be careful in where you end up going.

    Here in the US there are multiple schools in every town promising a degree in Photography that will "have you earning top dollar in the exciting field of photography in no time". The end result is thousands of kids wanting to be pros, spending their time and money on these sham schools and then not near enough work to go around for all of them.
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  3. drewbot

    drewbot Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    If you're doing this academically, I'm guessing you need a decently specced Canon or Nikon system to keep up with the material?

    The last photo course I was looking into required a Canikon DSLR and focal lengths on your lenses from 28 to 200 mm.
  4. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    Sounds like architecture...

    Seriously though, thank you for the advice. I know full well that it's not an industry one enters to make a 'quick buck' (or a slow buck for that matter...)
  5. Crdome

    Crdome Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 11, 2011
    West Central Indiana
    Real Name:
    If you would consider the US you might investigate Columbia College Chicago

  6. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    I'm honestly not sure... My local university requires first year students to use a fully manual 35mm film SLR. After that it becomes largely up to the student. I'm assuming different universities will have different focusses and requirements.

    Thanks for the suggestion, but I'm not interested in the US at this point.
  7. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    The money you spend on tuition could be spent on traveling to exciting places and taking interesting pictures and developing a personal "style".

    I'm no expert in the photography industry, but I am sure an amazing portfolio will get you a job a lot faster than some degree.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    True, and I have every intention to continue visiting other strange and interesting places, traveling and exploring being my other passion. That said, having been through a high level degree already, there's a thoroughness to university that you dont get with self-directed learning (speaking from my experience of course, others undoubtably learn differently). I enjoy this kind of environment and find it very productive. In this sense I'm not specifically talking about professional development but also personal learning.

    Anyway, I'll be spending 12 of the next 18 months overseas so I think that one is covered :)

    but over the next 18 months I'll be spending over 12 months traveling, so I think that one is covered ;)
  9. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    I hear what you are saying, but I just don't think art is something you can learn in school any better than on your own, shooting, looking at books or galleries, or a "private lesson" with a pro.

    Maybe someone who has been can tell us what the classes involve and how they use it in their photography now.
  10. CUB

    CUB Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 19, 2012
    I'm from the UK and have been a working photographer for just over 40 years. I have an BA (Hons) degree in photography dating from the 1970s and a postgraduate MA in photojournalism from the 1980s. In those days, these qualifications helped me respectively to start a career in photography and then to make further progress. However, since then the situation has changed dramatically.

    When I graduated, the number of people with a photography degree each year was a reasonable match for the number of new jobs requiring such a qualification. But in the last few years, the UK has seen an much higher annual figure of about 110,000 people graduating from courses that majored in photography but the number of jobs has stayed about the same as it was in the 1970s at 10,000. In the current recession, the number of jobs has dropped even further.

    Factor in the very high cost of tuition at GBP 9,000 per year and this becomes an extremely expensive education that has a greater than 90% chance of resulting in unemployment.

    Part of my work today involves mentoring new graduates from one university and helping them take the first steps in their professional careers. The aim is to increase the university's conversion rate and get more graduates into paid work that is relevant to their degree. But it is a difficult challenge and every additional job one of our graduates gets is at the expense of one from another college, so it doesn't solve the overall problem. It is only a pilot scheme and unless more funding can be found it comes to an end in 2013. I do this voluntarily and I do not get paid.

    I am sorry for being so blunt but you have to face the fact that, in the UK, there is a gross oversupply of around ten times the number of photography graduates needed. This means that there are a very high proportion of photography graduates who are unable ever to find a job in their chosen field. The situation may be different in Australia and I expect tuition would also cost you far less.
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  11. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    The Queensland College of Art in Brisbane, part of Griffith University, has a photography degree. I don't know what the standard is but I've attached a link to the web page for the course.

    Photography - Griffith University
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