Student taking a photo at an event

Photojournalism

Lead the next generation of creative visual reporters and documentarians

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photojournalism program is an ideal training ground for a new generation of creative visual reporters and documentarians. Photojournalism majors learn the traditions of visual reportage and are introduced to the new media and skill sets required in this rapidly changing field.

Students begin with a thorough grounding in the history, techniques, aesthetics, practices and critical understandings of photojournalism. From there, students can advance their photography, audio and video skills in the context of real-life client interaction and project development. Students spend their final year in an intensive sequence of courses devoted to preparing their thesis. The thesis is an expression of each student's individual interest and ambition as a visual journalist. The thesis work is exhibited in the galleries of the former Corcoran Gallery of Art in the annual student exhibition, NEXT at the Corcoran.

The program's faculty includes working photographers from The Washington Post and other news media, White House photography staff and picture editors from National Geographic. The curriculum includes a variety of fine art components that stress the importance of individual creativity in today's marketplace alongside classes that emphasize the legal, ethical and economic challenges of the profession.

With its location in the heart of Washington, D.C., the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design gives photojournalism students access to a constant procession of news and documentary subjects. As the program progresses, faculty also help students identify internship and career possibilities that can advance their photography, audio and video skills further, as well as study abroad programs that promote international, cross-cultural awareness.

Students in the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photojournalism program have interned with The Washington Post, The Washington Times, MediaStorm, National Geographic magazine, The White House, The Pentagon and U.S. News & World Report.

Graduates of the program have secured positions at United Press International, U.S. News & World Report, Politico, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and other major news outlets.

Current Curriculum

The following curriculum is for students enrolled beginning in fall 2015. 

In the 120-credit Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photojournalism program, students start by gaining a thorough grounding in the history, techniques, aesthetics, practices and critical understandings of photojournalism. From there, students can advance their photography, audio and video skills in the context of real-life client interaction and project development.

In addition to the University General Education Requirement and requirements for their major, undergraduate students in Columbian College must complete a further, College-specific general education curriculum. Students can learn more about the new program requirements, as well as general education requirements in the course bulletin.

Legacy Curriculum

The following curriculum is for legacy students, defined as those students who began taking classes at the Corcoran prior to the fall 2015 semester. Students enrolled beginning in fall 2015 should consult the current curriculum.

Required Courses

Specialized Courses

Study-Away Courses

The Corcoran Photography Program promotes an international, cross-cultural awareness with courses that have on-site components in Mexico, El Salvador and Israel.


Sample Curriculum

Year 1 Required Courses

  • CAH 1090 Art History I: Art Now, Contemporary Perspectives in the Visual Arts
  • CAH 1091 Art History II: Historical Perspectives in the Visual Arts
  • CAS 1110 Writing I 
  • CAS 1120 Writing II
  • CFN 1090 First-year Studio
  • CFN 1091 First Year Studio II
  • CPH 1090 Photo Fundamentals I: Light Studies and Optical Culture
  • CPH 1091 Photo Fundamentals II: Techniques and Practice
  • Two Studio Electives

Year 2 Required Courses

  • CPH 2100 Media Lab I
  • CPH 3050 Media Lab II
  • CPH 2090 Photojournalism Studio I 
  • CPJ 2091 Photojournalism Studio II 
  • CPJ 3090 Photojournalism Studio III 
  • CPJ 3091 Photojournalism Studio IV 
  • CPJ 4090 Photojournalism Thesis I
  • CPJ 4091 Photojournalism Thesis II
  • CPJ 6010 Photojournalism Seminar I
  • CPJ 6020 Photojournalism Seminar II
  • CPJ 4170 Professional Practices for Photojournalism
  • CAH 2025 Twentieth-century Art
  • CAH 2026 Contemporary Culture
  • CAH 2162 History and Aesthetics of Photography
  • CAS 2000 Humanities I
  • CAS 2010 Humanities II
  • One Art History Elective
  • Four Arts and Humanities Electives
  • Four Fine Art or Photojournalism Specialization Electives
  • Four Studio Electives

Sample Elective Courses

Students in the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photojournalism program can choose electives from a variety of innovative courses conducted both at the Corcoran and abroad, with focuses on fine art photography or photojournalism. Here are some examples:

Department Life

The Corcoran promotes excellence in a supportive environment where students can develop their artistic and technical skills and cultivate their aspirations. Under the guidance of the department's faculty of professional artists and photojournalists, students in the Fine Art Photography and Photojournalism programs participate together in projects and events that complement the curriculum. Students can mentor peers as a lab tech, reach out as photography and video instructors to young people in the broader Washington, D.C. community, attend lectures, view exhibitions and work closely with visiting artists to help realize and document projects.


FotoWeek D.C.

As a major center for collecting, displaying and studying photography and photojournalism, the Corcoran is a regular participant in FotoWeek D.C., an annual festival dedicated to the photographic arts. Since 2008, the Corcoran has participated as a sponsor of the festival and often as a site for FotoWeek lectures and exhibitions.


Visiting Artists

The Corcoran School of the Arts and Design's Visiting Artist program and other opportunities to connect with working artists and designers enhance the efforts of the faculty to provide a broad perspective on contemporary practice.

The Visiting Artist-in-Residence program brings professional artists and photographers to Corcoran for extended periods of time, ranging from one month to a semester. Their long-term presence at the Corcoran allows students to build relationships with them through lectures, critiques and workshops. And "Critics in the Classroom" brings professionals to the school for a day to participate in lectures and workshops. Their guidance plays a pivotal role in studio and classroom reviews, providing students with focused points of view and a direct connection to the world of a working photographer.

Recent visiting artists have included David Levinthal, Alex Prager, Donna DeCesare and Arnold Newman Distinguished Lecturers in Photography Carrie Mae Weems, Taryn Simon and Paul Graham.

Careers and Internships

With its location in the heart of Washington, D.C., the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design gives photojournalism students access to a constant procession of news and documentary subjects. As the program progresses, faculty also help students identify internship and career possibilities.

Students in the BFA in Photojournalism program have interned with the Washington Post, the Washington Times, MediaStorm, National Geographic magazine, the White House, the Pentagon and U.S. News & World Report.

Graduates of the program have gotten jobs at United Press International, U.S. News & World Report, Politico, the Washington Post and other major news outlets.


Photojournalism in Action

Photo by Reid Westlund

Reid Westlund

BFA Photojournalism, 2017

“The Corcoran is not just a school. It’s a big eclectic family of artists who help foster your creative potential.” 

Explore Reid's portfolio
Photo by Victoria Sarno Jordan

Victoria Sarno Jordan

BFA Photojournalism, 2017

“Our career is facing significant challenges and is competitive now more than ever, and the contact I’ve had with leading professionals at the Corcoran has been invaluable as I take my first steps into the professional world.” 

Explore Victoria's portfolio
Mariah Miranda

Mariah Miranda

BFA Photojournalism, 2017

“The Corcoran School not only fits my needs as an artist, but goes above and beyond. I’m becoming an artist I never imagined I’d be.”

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Photojournalism Faculty

Susan Sterner

Susan Sterner

New Media Photojournalism Program Head, Associate Professor of New Media Photojournalism