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Major Maps

Strategic Enrollment Management and Student Success

Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
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2021-2022

Photography and Film

School of the Arts

Concentration(s):
Filmmaking, Photography
Program description

The Department of Photography and Film offers a variety of basic, intermediate, and advanced photography and filmmaking classes leading to a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography and Film.


The program provides students with the ability to intelligently express, investigate or document using photography and/or film, and to interpret meaning in still and moving images. Emphasis is placed on photography and film as contemporary fine arts. The department promotes a fundamental and effective philosophy that students maintain creative freedom, have access to resources, and are enrolled in courses in which they can refine their voices and skills through traditional and contemporary media, tools, and professional working methods. All student work in the program will culminate in an in-person exhibition or film screening in the fourth year.

Career opportunities

Graduates are well prepared to enter the industry as commercial, freelance, industrial and staff photographers and videographers, independent filmmakers, exhibiting artists, media content providers, gallery managers, advertising associates, art educators, film editors, producers and studio, location and production technicians. In addition, they enjoy careers as social media content providers and managers, film festival and museum curators/programmers; film commission and television station personnel.

Change of major requirements

Completion of the Art Foundation Program is a prerequisite for entry into all fine art and design departments.

Students are required to submit their application and required portfolio here.


Typical application deadlines are November 1 (for spring applicants) and April 1 (for fall applicants).


Bachelor-level job titles
  • Exhibiting Artist
  • Independent Filmmaker
  • Advertising Associate
  • Film Commissioner
  • Film Editor
  • Gallery Manager
  • Media Content Providers
  • Social Media Content Manager
  • Staff Photographer
  • Studio Technician
Graduate and professional level job titles
  • Arts Educator
  • Commercial Art Director
  • Museum Curator
  • Professional Artist
Highest level of math required
  • Quantitative Foundations requirement only
Science required
  • Natural Sciences requirement only
Foreign language requirements
  • No
Additional tuition/fees
  • Yes
GPA requirements (to progress/graduate in the major)
Department name:
Department of Photography and Film
Building/room location:
Pollak Building, Room 206
Campus (where 75% of courses are taken):
Monroe park
Phone:
(804) 828-1695
Email:
photofilm@vcu.edu

Major map compass icon [View Image]
Major map

Explore
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Meet and talk to upper-class art students about their projects and research.
  • Schedule an appointment with your advisor to explore minors, certificates, and plan your required REAL experience.
  • Get familiar with the research process with the VCU Libraries Research Basics Guide.
  • Talk to professors about your research interests, electives, and strategies for success in your classes.
  • Explore innovation and business/non-profit creation classes with the da Vinci Center.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
  • Attend student art openings on and off campus.
  • Discuss personal and professional interests with faculty.
  • Get involved with the Commonwealth Times and Ink Magazine.
  • Volunteer at local art non-profits and museums and, very importantly, continue your involvement throughout your years at VCUarts.
  • Take a service-learning class to get involved with local organizations while earning credit.
  • Volunteer to address a social issue and check out Hands on Greater Richmond for opportunities.
  • Learn about the Sophomore Year Experience in Cary & Belvedere.
  • If living on campus, join the Residence Hall Association.
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Consider studying abroad: many Photo + Film students study abroad in their junior year and begin planning in their sophomore year.
  • Make friends with diverse perspectives and join a cultural or identity-related student organization.
  • Explore social issues, develop cultural competency skills, and engage with faculty through iExcel pop-up courses.
  • Investigate globally-focused courses in your major by pursuing language coursework or setting language proficiency goals with advisors and faculty.
  • Apply for the Critical Languages Scholarship.
  • Attend OMSA Social Justice Conference.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Attend Creative Mornings RVA and hear about the careers and lives of local, creative professionals.
  • Complete a gap analysis with your career advisor to identify key skills required for your professional field.
  • Seek out practical experience through independent skill-building, internships, shadowing, or part-time work.
  • Explore global career options with a career advisor to set goals for getting your dream job.
  • Organize examples of your academic and professional experiences, accomplishments, and reflections in an ePortfolio.
  • Attend career and internship fairs and other professional development events.
  • Pursue a digital badge to highlight the knowledge, skills, and experiences employers and graduate schools value.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Connect with alumni on VCULink for career advice, industry contacts, and meaningful professional relationships.
  • Research artists and organizations with whom you'd like to work and start reaching out to potential internships and employers.
  • Conduct informational interviews or shadow someone in a field of professional interest.
  • Ask a faculty or staff member to be your academic and professional mentor and to provide future letters of recommendation.
  • Meet with a coach at The Money Spot to set financial goals, understand student loans, and create spending plans.

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Consider electives that will deepen your skill set and enhance your portfolio.
  • See your academic and career advisors to discuss graduation progress and career planning.
  • Enhance your business, software, technology, and creative skills using LinkedIn Learning.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Build language proficiency and cultural competence by carrying out your plans for study abroad, internships, and service-learning.
  • Join student-run, issue-oriented organizations and associations to meet new friends and build your self efficacy in transforming your community.
  • Get required REAL experience and effect community change by using iExcel’s Active Citizen’s Toolkit to vote and volunteer.
  • Explore new cultures at one of Richmond’s wide array of festivals.
  • Prepare for future work on multidisciplinary and multicultural teams by showcasing your interpersonal skills on your resume.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Apply to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowship and other exhibition, screening and funding opportunities.
  • Take advantage of mock interview opportunities through InterviewStream or meeting with a career advisor.
  • Talk to faculty, instructors, alumni, and visiting artists about the many careers and jobs they have held in the creative fields.
  • Update your ePortfolio.
  • Apply for the Graduate School Mentorship Program to learn more about graduate school and the graduate student experience.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Make a plan with your academic, career, and faculty advisors for applying to graduate school or land a micro-internship.
  • Research essential resources for creative freelancers and small business owners and begin to build your own website, narrow down time-tracking and invoicing software, identify freelance jobs board, communication and collaboration tools, and social media management software.
  • Research job titles and roles in different fields like journalism, commercial and editorial photography, film production, advertising, institutional communication offices, assisting artists and photographers, and art institutions like galleries, museums, and nonprofits.
  • Study for and complete any standardized exams required for graduate school the summer before senior year. 
  • Prepare for job offer negotiation by researching salaries, benefits, and other opportunities for flexibility.

Excel
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Consider electives that might seem “weird” to give you a unique experience or perspective.
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor the semester before you graduate to ensure that all graduation requirements will be met.
  • Choose REAL electives to diversify your skillset and round out your degree.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Carry out globally-oriented research projects with multilingual faculty and international partners.
  • Get involved with local civil society organizations and nonprofits doing work you are passionate about.
  • Read scholarly articles about diversity in your field.
  • Master your answers to interview questions about your experience working with diverse populations.
  • Plan for how you will grow your cultural agility after graduation.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Drop in to see your academic advisor about your shortlist of grad schools and how you can boost your MFA application.
  • Meet with your academic or professional mentor and identify examples of your experiential learning to share with employers.
  • Publish your original research in Auctus: The Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creativity.
  • Consider becoming an educator through programs like RTR, which prepare graduates from a variety of majors to become teachers in high-need schools.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Develop your professional website and portfolio and ask for feedback from peers, faculty mentors, and working artists.
  • Prepare for graduation by making a plan to complete licensing exams, applications, and self-marketing activities.
  • Tailor your social media platforms to match your professional identity.
  • Single out prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy at least 8 months before graduation.
  • Have a personal statement or cover letter reviewed by Career Services. 
  • Connect with the Office of VCU Alumni Relations at Grad Fair, Grad Bash, and the VCULink Industry Network or alumni chapter.
Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
Major map compass icon [View Image]
2021-2022

Photography and Film

School of the Arts

Concentration(s):
Filmmaking, Photography
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNINGGET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITYBUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCEGET REAL EXPERIENCEPREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
ExploreYear 1
ExperienceYear 2
  • Meet and talk to upper-class art students about their projects and research.
  • Schedule an appointment with your advisor to explore minors, certificates, and plan your required REAL experience.
  • Get familiar with the research process with the VCU Libraries Research Basics Guide.
  • Talk to professors about your research interests, electives, and strategies for success in your classes.
  • Explore innovation and business/non-profit creation classes with the da Vinci Center.
  • Attend student art openings on and off campus.
  • Discuss personal and professional interests with faculty.
  • Get involved with the Commonwealth Times and Ink Magazine.
  • Volunteer at local art non-profits and museums and, very importantly, continue your involvement throughout your years at VCUarts.
  • Take a service-learning class to get involved with local organizations while earning credit.
  • Volunteer to address a social issue and check out Hands on Greater Richmond for opportunities.
  • Learn about the Sophomore Year Experience in Cary & Belvedere.
  • If living on campus, join the Residence Hall Association.
  • Consider studying abroad: many Photo + Film students study abroad in their junior year and begin planning in their sophomore year.
  • Make friends with diverse perspectives and join a cultural or identity-related student organization.
  • Explore social issues, develop cultural competency skills, and engage with faculty through iExcel pop-up courses.
  • Investigate globally-focused courses in your major by pursuing language coursework or setting language proficiency goals with advisors and faculty.
  • Apply for the Critical Languages Scholarship.
  • Attend OMSA Social Justice Conference.
  • Attend Creative Mornings RVA and hear about the careers and lives of local, creative professionals.
  • Complete a gap analysis with your career advisor to identify key skills required for your professional field.
  • Seek out practical experience through independent skill-building, internships, shadowing, or part-time work.
  • Explore global career options with a career advisor to set goals for getting your dream job.
  • Organize examples of your academic and professional experiences, accomplishments, and reflections in an ePortfolio.
  • Attend career and internship fairs and other professional development events.
  • Pursue a digital badge to highlight the knowledge, skills, and experiences employers and graduate schools value.
  • Connect with alumni on VCULink for career advice, industry contacts, and meaningful professional relationships.
  • Research artists and organizations with whom you'd like to work and start reaching out to potential internships and employers.
  • Conduct informational interviews or shadow someone in a field of professional interest.
  • Ask a faculty or staff member to be your academic and professional mentor and to provide future letters of recommendation.
  • Meet with a coach at The Money Spot to set financial goals, understand student loans, and create spending plans.
Year 3
  • Consider electives that will deepen your skill set and enhance your portfolio.
  • See your academic and career advisors to discuss graduation progress and career planning.
  • Enhance your business, software, technology, and creative skills using LinkedIn Learning.
  • Build language proficiency and cultural competence by carrying out your plans for study abroad, internships, and service-learning.
  • Join student-run, issue-oriented organizations and associations to meet new friends and build your self efficacy in transforming your community.
  • Get required REAL experience and effect community change by using iExcel’s Active Citizen’s Toolkit to vote and volunteer.
  • Explore new cultures at one of Richmond’s wide array of festivals.
  • Prepare for future work on multidisciplinary and multicultural teams by showcasing your interpersonal skills on your resume.
  • Apply to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowship and other exhibition, screening and funding opportunities.
  • Take advantage of mock interview opportunities through InterviewStream or meeting with a career advisor.
  • Talk to faculty, instructors, alumni, and visiting artists about the many careers and jobs they have held in the creative fields.
  • Update your ePortfolio.
  • Apply for the Graduate School Mentorship Program to learn more about graduate school and the graduate student experience.
  • Make a plan with your academic, career, and faculty advisors for applying to graduate school or land a micro-internship.
  • Research essential resources for creative freelancers and small business owners and begin to build your own website, narrow down time-tracking and invoicing software, identify freelance jobs board, communication and collaboration tools, and social media management software.
  • Research job titles and roles in different fields like journalism, commercial and editorial photography, film production, advertising, institutional communication offices, assisting artists and photographers, and art institutions like galleries, museums, and nonprofits.
  • Study for and complete any standardized exams required for graduate school the summer before senior year. 
  • Prepare for job offer negotiation by researching salaries, benefits, and other opportunities for flexibility.
ExcelYear 4
  • Consider electives that might seem “weird” to give you a unique experience or perspective.
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor the semester before you graduate to ensure that all graduation requirements will be met.
  • Choose REAL electives to diversify your skillset and round out your degree.
  • Carry out globally-oriented research projects with multilingual faculty and international partners.
  • Get involved with local civil society organizations and nonprofits doing work you are passionate about.
  • Read scholarly articles about diversity in your field.
  • Master your answers to interview questions about your experience working with diverse populations.
  • Plan for how you will grow your cultural agility after graduation.
  • Drop in to see your academic advisor about your shortlist of grad schools and how you can boost your MFA application.
  • Meet with your academic or professional mentor and identify examples of your experiential learning to share with employers.
  • Publish your original research in Auctus: The Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creativity.
  • Consider becoming an educator through programs like RTR, which prepare graduates from a variety of majors to become teachers in high-need schools.
  • Develop your professional website and portfolio and ask for feedback from peers, faculty mentors, and working artists.
  • Prepare for graduation by making a plan to complete licensing exams, applications, and self-marketing activities.
  • Tailor your social media platforms to match your professional identity.
  • Single out prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy at least 8 months before graduation.
  • Have a personal statement or cover letter reviewed by Career Services. 
  • Connect with the Office of VCU Alumni Relations at Grad Fair, Grad Bash, and the VCULink Industry Network or alumni chapter.
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