Review and Retention for Photography

Newly admitted students enroll in BDS 101 (Design Thinking and Making) for the Fall semester and in PHTO 200 (Foundations in Photography) for the Spring semester. Students must earn a “C” (2.0) or greater in both classes to advance forward in the program.

Beyond first-year studies there is a maximum of 20 seats available for degree-seeking Photography majors each year. The top-ranking 18 students by GPA are allowed first opportunity to enroll in PHTO 303 (Photography I), the first of the two-part second-year foundational sequence. Enrollment for PHTO 303 is done ONLY during the Spring Advising & Enrollment period (for the following Fall term) and entry into the course is based solely on cumulative GPA standings. In order to qualify, students must have successfully completed BDS 101 and be enrolled in (or have completed) PHTO 200 (or equivalent) at the time of Spring Advising and Enrollment.

In order to accommodate transfer students into the second year, two (2) of the 20 seats for PHTO 303 will be reserved. Transfer students must be declared and admitted for the Fall semester no later than March 1st. The top two transfer students will be considered and placed according to their ranking on a descending cumulative GPA list. If the transfer student seats are not filled, those seats will be offered to the next first-year students in line. 


Students must earn a “C” (2.0) or greater in PHTO 303 (Photography I) and PHTO 304 (Photography II) to advance forward in the program. A grade of “C-“ (1.7) or below in either PHTO 303 or PHTO 304 automatically eliminates the student from advancing forward in the major. They do not have the option of repeating either course and must transfer to another major.

After successful completion of the second-year studies (PHTO 303 and PHTO 304), students must participate in and pass a one-time Second-Year Review. The primary component of the review is the submission of a photographic portfolio (10-15 images) of work made over the course of the previous year. Each portfolio is evaluated by a faculty committee upon the following criteria: originality, treatment of form and composition, engagement with subject matter and medium, quality of ideas, technical ability, and craftsmanship. In addition to their portfolio, students are also evaluated on attendance, work habits, professionalism, participation, and GPA.

Students who pass the review are allowed to advance to the upper-level coursework and through the degree program so long as they remain in good academic standing – students must earn a “C” (2.0) or greater in all subsequent Major Studies courses (PHTO) and maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0. Those who do not pass the review must transfer to another major.