College of Fine & Performing Arts


  • Young woman peering out from behind bright pink flowers
  • moonlight circles pass in static phases over a sky and water scene
    Passing Time, Shelby Hagemann
  • two columns of three rows of black and white photos
    Flash: Jeni Hass
  • overexposed photo of young man shirtless and squatting in foreground
    Photo by Liam Schehl
  • two black and white photos
    Flash: Ashly McBride
  • a scenic photo of a sunset
    Photo by Liam Schehl
  • single column of three black and white photos
    Flash: Rachael Andrews
  • a waterfall
    Photo by Liam Schehl

The Program

students consider a large format paperThe photography concentration at Western emphasizes a cross-disciplinary approach with a strong basis in conceptual, historical, and technical development. The primary goal is to prepare students to become innovative practitioners within the contemporary art world. The course sequence begins with the introduction course (370), structured to establish a solid grounding in photographic art practices, including theory and technique. This is followed by a selection of intermediate level courses (371, 372, 373) which offer students an opportunity to develop their knowledge, skills and concepts through, seminars, readings, exhibitions and professional practice studies. The advanced level (470, 492, 493, 494) courses often consist of self-directed projects that afford students time to produce a substantial body of research-driven work, which reflects their individual interests. Please refer to the University Course Catalog for further details.


black and white shot of photo lab

The darkroom facilities include a well-ventilated gang lab with 25 black and white enlargers, 10 individual color labs as well as film loading rooms and an alternative process area with a large ultraviolet light exposure unit. Inside a newly renovated seminar classroom is a digital lab containing iMac computers equipped with Adobe Creative Suite and Lightroom, all paired with Epson V700 scanners. There is also a digital print lab with two large format printers, an Epson 9800 and Epson 7900. In addition, students have access to a wide variety of camera equipment in conjunction with a stewardship program with Academic Technology (ATUS) including the new Canon 5D Mark II’s acquired through a WWU Student Technology Fund Grant.


a lighting fixture hanging from some chains

BFA Degree

The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree is the professional undergraduate art degree. It is an expanded undergraduate degree that requires each student to undertake a program of more than 180 undergraduate credits. In the context of the photography concentration, the BFA is an opportunity for students to focus on the development of a photo-based body of work throughout a nine month academic year, culminating in a BFA exhibition. The students work with their committees throughout the year, in order to develop their emphasis as they progress to their final exhibition. For more information, please visit the BFA’s section of the Course Catalog.

Check out the photo concentration blog!