Students enrolled after Summer 2016, please see Integrated Studio Arts.

The photography program is designed to encourage critical thinking and to expose students to the theoretical as well as technical practices of photography, in both the historical and contemporary spheres.  The faculty is strongly committed to helping students find a working balance between the aesthetic, theoretical and politicial aspects of photography, along with the, at time, rigorous technical expertise required to realized these goals.  A Socratic model - one which nurtures an open critical debate between students and instructors, and which allows for challenges and discovery - is ideally suited to the classroom critique as a forum in which to investigate new ideas. 

A portfolio is not required to begin this major as a freshman. However, students are required to pass a comprehensive portfolio review in the spring of their sophomore year. The review is based on the student's work in Purdue photography courses. Students not selected to continue in upper-level photography work with their academic advisor to change to their second-choice major.

Points of Pride

  • Photography is housed in the new Visual and Performing Arts Building, a state-of-the-art facility built specifically for the visual and performing arts at Purdue. This building includes chemical and darkroom facilities for black-and-white film development, digital color equipment, photo studios, and integrated computer systems to facilitate photography work and file manipulation.
  • This academic program yields a Bachelor of Arts rather than a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. This helps students develop a well-rounded perspective, critical thinking, creative problem-solving abilities, and communication skills applicable to work in many environments - within and outside a photography studio or business. 


  • Advertising
  • Industrial and architectural photography
  • Photojournalist
  • Commercial and corporate photography
  • Digital photography adjunct faculty
  • Mass media
  • Interactive media
  • Many other positions in business/management, not necessarily related to photography but able to capitalize on strong sense of composition and students’ broad-based liberal arts skill set 

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Plan of Study

Students enrolled after Summer 2016, please see Integrated Studio Arts.

2015-16 Plan of Study

2014-15 Plan of Study

Integrated Studio Arts

Patti & Rusty Rueff School of Design, Art, and Performance

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907 (765) 494-4600

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