Graduate Overview

The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Studio Photography program, widely considered one of the strongest in the country, is continually reinterpreting social and visual culture through both traditional and experimental forms of image making.

SAIC's graduate Photography program is committed to investigating the potential of the medium, providing education that extends far beyond technical considerations. The faculty, extremely diverse in their own practices, support a multiplicity of student approaches and investigations. They train students to be sensitive, perceptive problem-solvers capable of operating as artists, intellectuals, and professionals in complex cultural environments.

Students are encouraged to focus on developing their practices through the study of history and contemporary cultures and to engage in research that contextualizes their personal interests.

An Intellectually Rigorous Curriculum

Through the critique process, students develop and refine the ability to speak about their work and the work of others, and in Art History and graduate seminars, they develop their critical writing skills. To prepare for post-MFA public careers and artist lectures, all graduate students present two public lectures on their work. These presentations offer students the opportunity to reflect upon the trajectory of their work while honing their ability to articulate their personal visions.

The MFA program offers students private studios, ample opportunities for networking and professional practice, state-of-the-art facilities, and guaranteed teaching assistantships for all four semesters, setting the framework for a program that not only emphasizes conceptual and technical discipline, but nurtures the student as an emergent, professional artist.

Engagement with Visiting Artists

Through the student-run Parlor Room Lecture Series, graduate students are given the unique opportunity to select, recruit, and work closely with visiting artists. Students are responsible for all follow through, including travel and accommodation arrangements. Each artist, critic, or curator who comes to SAIC through the program is involved in critiques, a roundtable discussion with graduate students, and a reception. These artist visits often result in collaborations, exhibitions, and other opportunities that would not have been possible without this networking experience.

Take the Next Step

MFA in Studio Admissions Information
Curriculum & Courses
Continue to explore the SAIC Photography department website to learn about our curricular offerings, faculty, students, and alumni, visit the Master of Fine Arts in Studio degree program for more detailed information, or schedule a tour.

Visit the graduate admissions website or contact the graduate admissions office at 312.629.6100, 800.232.7242 or


Photography department hallway featuring student work.

MFA Photography Program Brochure