At some point or another, even the most advanced photographers can benefit from a little education. While many may look to books or perhaps an online course, there is no going past a dedicated school or university to advance your skills.
It’s because of this that I have rounded up some of the best photography schools in the world!
Most of the schools in this list will have a physical campus, but I have also included some good online schools too. In addition, some are associated with accredited universities, offering degrees, others will issue a certificate of completion, a diploma more or less, to include on a CV or resume.
Lets get stuck in!
Top 20 Best Photography Schools In The World
NYIP has been a leader in photographic education since it first opened doors in 1910. Their fine tradition of superlative education taught by real photographers continues.
There are a variety of courses to enroll in. They aren’t cheap, but they aren’t really that expensive, either. Especially if you compare them to a standard college or university degree program. Each separate course costs about as much as a new lens, a computer, or a second camera body.
It is worth it to go through their courses. Choose one, several, or all of them, and you will come away with a thorough and practical understanding of the subject matter. Certificates of completion are awarded that actually have some clout and relevance with larger firms.
Ranked #1 art and design school in the United States, Parsons is a degreed program education center with the main campus in New York City.
From their website: “The New School in NYC is the only university where a world-renowned design school comes together with premier undergraduate and graduate programs and colleges to seek out ways to create a more just, beautiful, and better-designed world.”
Founded in 1896, Parsons was the first school in the United States to offer programs in fields such as fashion design, interior design, graphic design and advertising and it was one of the earlier schools in the world to offer programs in fashion design.
Photography is an integral part of the fashion and design world, Parsons students will learn as much as they need to know to be a success in their chosen field. It offers degrees for under grad, graduate, and AAS programs.
Parsons also offers online studies with awarded certificates, and continuing education in various fields. An online degree program is also available. Cost of the education will depend on what type of course study you are interested in, but the online courses are very reasonably priced.
This fine arts school in Switzerland is a well known and very respected school for both photography and for the business side of the arts. Besides its long standing tradition of quality, the school is also known for its International Photography Award, a grant for photography projects or initiatives.
Students at the Vevey School of Arts enjoy a comprehensive and detailed curriculum which covers both the print and electronic media. This school also provides courses for students who want to work in photography workshops, labs, or in sales.
You can earn a Masters degree at this London school of Arts, established in 1837. Photography is one of main courses of study available at this premier university. RCA provides a critical and educational environment in which students can develop as artists.
State of the art equipment, world renown teachers and guest lecturers, and specialty classrooms provide what students need for a well rounded education in fine arts and photography.
It is considered to be the only postgraduate art and design institution in the whole world to offer its postgraduate students Master of Philosophy, Master of Arts, and Doctor of Philosophy.
Also known as School of Image Arts, this Canadian school has one of the best fine arts programs in the world. The School of Image Arts delivers comprehensive undergraduate and graduate education in the linked disciplines of film, photography, and integrated digital
Photography studies at Ryerson are full-time studies, lasting four years. The degree earned is Bachelor of Fine Arts.
The curriculum of the photography course is very broad and covers subjects from traditional formats of image making to conceptual practices. The school has the Cooperative Education Program which gives the students an opportunity to experience internships in Chicago and nearby cities.
The degree offered is Bachelors of Fine Arts in photography. Courses include large format film, color concepts, black and white, lighting, fashion photography, and nature photography.
In Köln Germany, this school is geared toward design and the fine arts. It offers a selection of courses geared specifically toward photography and a wide selection of other courses. The other courses are related to photography and help widen the scope of skills a person may need to get ahead in the world of photography.
This private art school in San Francisco, California was founded in 1929 and offers degree programs and online courses in various fields of art and photography. It is the largest accredited private art and design school in the United States.
Degrees up to Masters of Fine Arts and basic certificates of completion for online courses are available, depending on what the student is desiring. On campus studies are attended by up to 18000 students enrolled at the academy.
The name of this design school means European Institute of Design and is commonly referred to as IED. The school was founded in 1966 in Italy. Students can study in 4 languages at 10 different cities. Milano, Barcelona, Cagliari, Como, Firenze, Madrid, Roma, San Paolo, Torino, and Venice. A truly international school.
Offering scholarships and degrees in multiple fields. Fashion Designer, Fashion Marketing Expert, Fashion Stylist, Graphic Designer, Interior Designer, Jewelry Designer, Photographer, Product Designer, Sound Designer, Transportation Designer. It must be nice to study fashion photography in Milan!
Located in London and Paris, classes taught in English and French, Spéos focuses on providing students with the photographic technical skills in addition to creativity.
The mission of Spéos is to prepare students to meet current market demands and accompany them in becoming successful photographers in the field of their choice. Courses at Spéos are organized mainly in small groups, hands-on with a lot of practice, and supervised by a team of highly qualified professionals.
The school offers everything from weekend seminars to full two year study programs. There are several different photography programs, depending on the desired field.
A well respected art school, at the European Academy of Fine Arts, you can study such diverse art topics as new media, painting, drawing, pottery, sculpture, ceramics, and photography. One of the largest private academies of art, the Academy focuses on constantly developing and gaining knowledge that is essential for creating amazing art and passing it to future generations
Degrees available for fine arts in a variety of majors, the environment for study rewards study and high performance.
Located in Mumbai, India, the Sir JJ School provides training in such fields as photography, computer graphics, and stage art. Graduates receive a certificate of completion. Associated with the University of Mumbai, the unique location provides perspectives not accessible in other schools.
13. Zokei University
The objective of Zokei education is to grasp Design and Art comprehensively from a wide perspective. Zokei means creating art and design. One of the best visual arts schools in Japan, Tokyo Zokei University treats the art of photography as a form of literacy and educates accordingly.
Kent State University in the Ohio offers a photojournalism course within the journalism major as well as a Bachelors of Fine Art degree program in photography. In their comprehensive program of study a liberal arts education is balanced with studio offerings in digital photography.
Grounded in formal and conceptual skills, the Photography major focuses on the profession of photography as it relates to commerce. The program provides a thorough education, combining experiential learning opportunities with courses in graphic design and multimedia.
With a mix of full time and part time studies, short workshops, and online courses, Australia’s leading photography school is a wonderful venue for learning photography. Students can prepare themselves for a career in photography, or established professionals can further enhance their skills and knowledge of the art and craft of photography.
Located in the heart of Melbourne’s art district, this award winning school provides a stimulating education in photography.
Two year and four year degree programs in several majors, this school in Ahmedabad, India has a renowned photography program. They have prioritized learning from the field, combining social and industrial factors to create a unique learning environment in a unique area of the world.
In Rome, Italy, one of the fashion capitals of Europe, the Accademia offers students hands on experience in fashion photography. Imagine learning photography, art, fashion, and design, and working in those fields, in a country that is considered one of the fashion giants of the world. This is hands down one of the best photography schools in the world and Europe!
Housed in multiple locations all over the Houston, Texas area, the University of Houston offers over 300 different degree programs. The School of Art, U of H, has several degree programs in such different art categories as design, performance, and photography, among others. Over 700 majors in the art college alone.
A large, vibrant city, Houston provides a great opportunity to learn and grow. From campuses in downtown, to the coastal shores of Clear Lake City (home of NASA), studying at the University of Houston prepares a student not merely to enter their chosen profession, but to excel at it.
Nicknamed Space City, Houston is the 4th most populous city in the US behind NYC, LA, and Chicago. With industry, major league sports, a vibrant art scene, and nearby to numerous natural scenic areas, U of H is a great place to receive a photographic education and degree.
The Colorado Rocky Mountains surround the campus in Boulder, Colorado, creating a fine backdrop for one of the larger arts and sciences colleges associated with a major US university. Media design, journalism, advertising, and technology and art are taught in classrooms with a very low student to teacher ratio.
Photography majors enjoy access to darkrooms, studios and offices, as well as twenty-eight student exhibition spaces.
A three year educational program which provides students with knowledge in fields of classic and digital photography, video, post-production and editing of images and media. It introduces students to the history and theory of photography, media and contemporary art, video art, and new media art, among other studies.
The professors of the school are leading Russian and international artists, curators, and critics. Workshops, seminars, and guest lectures round out a full educational opportunity for Russian students.
Diploma awarded graduates get to display their work in the Multimedia Art Museum in Moscow.
If you would like to know more about any of these schools, universities, and online courses, be sure to follow the links provided with each short description. Many more fine schools exist all over the globe. The NYIPhoto (number one on this list) is one of the most accessible photography learning programs in the world. An education in photography is a wonderful way to prepare for a career in photography.
While I have strived to fill this list with what I believe are the best photography schools in the world. It is of course very subjective depending on how you view the subject. So if you think I have missed a school or university, please let me know as I plan on updated this list. Thanks for reading!
If you used to read Modern Photography, Popular Photography, or Peterson’s Photographic magazines, you are showing your age 😉. What I mean is, if you were reading those periodicals in their heyday (1970s – 1980s), then you were probably very interested in learning all you could about cameras, lenses, techniques, and photography in general.
Inside those magazines, every month, you saw a full page ad, sometimes a multi page ad for NYIP. The ad included a mail in card to get more information. At that time, it was a mail in study course, having closed its last in building classroom in 1975. Now, you can get that education online.