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“I Forgot Where We Were; is here...,” (2018) by Johnnie Chatman.
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This program nurtures interdisciplinary activity, multimedia integration and provides ever-expanding opportunities for students.
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Charles H. Traub

The lens and screen arts affect every discipline within our ever-changing digital universe. The camera has always been a multidisciplinary tool that encompasses the sciences, humanities and the arts. Our students are engaged in the management, understanding and creation, production and interpretation of the lens-generated image.

The future of our discipline is in the hands of these emerging talents who are making a new image culture. Mastery of the “vision machines” is the stuff of their professional practice. A new artist is an interlocutor who enables others to create and see.

A new space now houses the MFA Photography, Video and Related Media Department at SVA. This is the place here image-makers initiate investigations into the creative practices of the lens and screen arts. Since 1988, the department has produced remarkable graduates who have flourished as exhibiting artists, journalists, curators, scholars and teachers. The hub of New York City provides an invaluable network of creative and professional support that students require throughout their matriculation and long after graduation, as they continue to pursue their goals.

Why We Stand Out:
  • Extensive and innovative courses in all aspects of the trans-media engaged by still and moving imagery

  • Creating and understanding new technologies, criticism, and professional practices for success in a world driven by social media

  • We draw faculty, lecturers, mentors, and advisors from a worldwide creative network

  • Merit-based scholarships available

Student Work

More About the Department

The MFA in Photography, Video and Related Media program is dedicated to the creative practice of the lens-based arts. We encourage diversity in our student body and welcome applicants from a wide range of educational and professional backgrounds.

The program is designed for full-time study over a two- or three-year period. Candidates for the Master of Fine Arts degree must complete at least 60 credits and all course requirements, maintain a 3.3 grade point average and produce a successful thesis project to be eligible for degree conferral. Students are approved to proceed to each successive level of study based on yearly faculty assessments.

Students personalize their program from a wide variety of electives. Certain courses in other SVA undergraduate or continuing education departments are also available as electives via the audit program. Fulbright, DAAD Scholars and other students on similar scholarships or grants are encouraged to apply.

Two-year program

Applicants accepted to the two-year program have met specific artistic standards and academic prerequisites for graduate study. The focus of the two-year curriculum is a required Master Critique class in each semester. Other first-year requirements include: Studio Imaging I and II, and at least three other academic courses chosen out of four subject categories—historical perspectives, criticism and theory, studio and contemporary issues. Students in the two-year program will take Thesis Forms I in the fall of their Thesis (final) year, and focus on completing the thesis in the spring during Thesis Project, Thesis Forms II and Thesis Project Presentation classes. Entry to the second year is based on successful completion of all first-year requirements and a portfolio review.

Three-year program

This unparalleled three-year program is designed to give exceptional students with baccalaureate degrees in fields other than photography or video an opportunity to pursue the lens and screen arts at the graduate level. The first-year course of study allows each student to engage in coursework such as history, theory and criticism, as well as studio practice, which may not have been studied in his or her undergraduate education. With the successful completion of the first year of the three-year program, students automatically continue on to the two-year MFA Photography, Video and Related Media program. These students are given the time and exposure to develop as fully matured artists and practitioners, and many of our most renowned graduates have matriculated in this manner. The curriculum is tailored particularly to those who have not concentrated on the lens arts during their undergraduate studies, adults interested in pursuing a career change and international students who may need additional support adapting to a new educational environment.