Loyola University Chicago

Fine Arts

Department of Fine and Performing Arts

Major in Photography

Photography has played a major role in the production of images in visual culture since its invention in the first half of the Nineteenth century. The Program at Loyola University is focused on photography as an artistic discipline that has developed a rich history over the last century and a half, and which continues to evolve with recent innovations in technology. The curriculum guides students in learning the technical foundations, aesthetic strategies and conceptual approaches, and the cultural / historical perspectives of the medium. Through the program, students build their ability to pursue photography as a means of creative exploration and intellectual investigation.


A total of 42 credit hours are required for the Photography Major. 24 credits are common to all applied majors within the division. These consist of 12 credits in Foundations, 6 credits in Art History and 6 credits in Synthesis. Another 18 credits are applied specifically within Photography. A total of 18 credits hours are required for the Photo minor, which is structured similarly.


The first course in the Photography Major curriculum (FNAR 115: Foundations of Photography) introduces students to the technical skills of manually operating a digital camera and using it to produce photography as art.  Furthermore, students learn how to process their files on the computer, create prints through professional inkjet printers, and critically evaluate the works.  Students who pursue a Major or Minor in Photography then take two intermediate-level courses.  FNAR 219: Photography – Digital Imaging expands on the idea of digital technology in the creation and dissemination of images in contemporary society.  At Loyola University, film-based photography continues to play a key role by exposing students to the historical origin of the medium and a process that offers a different experience as well as possibilities from the digital format.  In FNAR 215: Photography – Film and Darkroom, students work in a traditional darkroom where they gain a solid understanding of black and white photography from film development to printing.  Students ultimately complete their coursework in the Photography Program with two advanced-level courses (FNAR 316: Photography – Advanced Darkroom and FNAR 319: Photography – Lighting Techniques).


The curriculum builds a foundation that enable students to pursue a broad range of career paths. It provides an experience that prepares students to apply to graduate programs and pursue a career in contemporary art as an artist or a curator. It develops techniques for students who are interested the commercial applications of the medium (editorial fashion/architecture/product photography). Finally, as a program that emphasizes the ability to create and analyze images, the curriculum offers skills that are relevant to numerous fields beyond photography that rely on conceptual thinking and communication through visual means (architecture, design, advertising, illustration, photo journalism, media studies, and visual anthropology). More information about Fine Arts careers can be found at this page