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The ICP-Bard Program in Advanced Photographic Studies offers a rigorous exploration of all aspects of photography through an integrated curriculum of professional and studio practice, critical study, and Resident Artist Projects.

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The ICP-Bard approach emphasizes openness to examining the many iterations of the image, from photography to digital imaging, installation, and video. By considering how photographs are created, presented, discussed, used, and documented, students gain an intimate knowledge of the ways in which images increasingly structure modern society and consciousness.

The graduate seminars, led by ICP-Bard core faculty members, blend in-depth study, intensive discussions, and individual work. Students also gain an understanding of the role of art historians through working with ICP's curatorial team and the Museum's extensive archives—learning how exhibitions are curated, archives are maintained, and research is conducted. In Resident Artist projects and internships, students learn firsthand from contemporary artists about the practical conditions of making art and innovative approaches to photographic practice. With its strong emphasis on writing, the program encourages students to articulate the relationship between their practice and that of other artists. Through ongoing studio work, critiques, and internships, students challenge their ideas and test new approaches to image making, synthesizing the program's varied experiences and defining their own way of working.

Throughout the program, students receive individualized attention and support from a distinguished and dedicated core faculty, as well as noted visiting artists, and mentors with whom students intern. Because the visiting faculty consists of practicing artists, scholars, critics, and historians who have other professional commitments, participants vary from year to year.

The Curriculum

Studio Practice

The foundation of the program, studio practice is a seminar in which students integrate what they are experiencing and learning into their own creative work. Through ongoing studio assignments, group critiques, and one-on-one meetings with faculty, students develop their photographic work and define a personal approach to their practice. A final exhibition of original work, presented at the end of the second year, is required for graduation.

Critical Study

In these topical seminars, students focus on theoretical and critical issues in the history of photography. Working with historians, editors, photographers, and ICP curatorial staff, students engage in research, writing, and curatorial activities. Students' own writing charts the development of their ideas about photography in relation to the work of other photographers. A written thesis, which serves as an anthology of two years of critical course work and professional practice, is required for graduation.

Professional Practice

Internships are an integral part of the program, enabling students to gain practical exposure to various aspects of the field. First-year students are required to intern for individual photographers/artists. Second-year students are required to intern with photographic and media-based organizations, such as museums, photo agencies, and magazines. All students are expected to report on their internship in classroom discussions and to record these experiences as part of their final written thesis.

Resident Artist Projects

Each semester, prominent photographers and critics work with MFA students in focused, project-oriented seminars, exposing the students to a wide range of styles and career paths. Each class provides in-depth examination of photographic techniques and emerging issues in photography, as well as group and one-on-one critiques of student work. By engaging in projects that reflect the visiting instructors' aesthetic, students come to understand the implications of art making in different contexts.

Degree Requirements

Artists who seek the stimulation and challenges of an interdisciplinary environment in their pursuit of the master of fine arts degree are invited to apply for admission to the ICP-Bard Program. Successful candidates should demonstrate a strong grasp of the technical craft, historical background, and current practice of photography, with an interest in the practices of other disciplines. Applications and portfolios are evaluated by the ICP-Bard faculty committee; candidates selected from this pool are invited to be interviewed by the Chair and core faculty.

Once admitted, ICP-Bard students must earn a total of 60 graduate credits in two years, 30 credits per year, in order to receive the master of fine arts degree. At the end of every year, a board of ICP-Bard faculty members reviews each student's achievements. Credits are awarded or withheld at the board's discretion.

Students earn credits by completing the following activities:
Create original artwork: 10 credits, first year
Participate in class discussion and complete assignments: 10 credits per year
Fulfill internships: 5 credits per year/240 hours
outline written thesis: 5 credits, first year
Present final thesis: 5 credits, second year
Produce final exhibition: 10 credits, second year

Course offerings vary from year to year.


Nayland Blake is an internationally acclaimed interdisciplinary artist and educator whose work is included in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Des Moines Art Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the University Art Museum, Berkeley. His writing has been published in Artforum, Interview, Out, Outlook, and numerous exhibition catalogues. He has been on the faculty of the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts and has taught at the San Francisco Art Institute, the California Institute of the Arts, the University of California, Berkeley, Parsons School of Design, New York University, the School of Visual Arts, and Harvard University School of Visual and Environmental Studies. He is represented by Matthew Marks Gallery in New York.

Core Faculty

Elizabeth Brown, Nancy Davenport, Moyra Davey, David Deitcher, Edward Earle, Marvin Heiferman, Joshua Lutz, Christopher Phillips, Carol Squiers, Brian Wallis.

Resident Artist Projects and Critique Faculty

2009–2010: Gregg Bordowitz, Roe Ethridge, Jacqueline Hassink, Bill Jacobson, Justine Kurland, Hank Willis Thomas.
2008–2009: Cecilia Dougherty, Roe Ethridge, Adam Fuss, Bill Jacobson, Justine Kurland, Alison Morley, Barbara Nitke, Taryn Simon, Kunie Sugiura.
2007–2008: Marco Breuer, Joy Episalla, Peter Hutton, Lamia Joreige, Mary Mattingly, Alessandra Sanguinetti, Robert Stevens, Francesc Torres.
2006–2007: Deborah Bright, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Mark Alice Durant, Joan Fontcuberta, Bill Jacobson, Natasha Lunn, Steve Pyke.
2005–2006: Vince Aletti, Barbara Bloom, Larry Fink, Jacqueline Hassink, Craig Kalpakjian, Guy Tillim, James Welling.


  • ICP-Bard MFA 2012–2013 Catalogue & Application
  • Foreign applicants: "How to Get Your Form I-20"

Admission & Tuition

Find out about admissions, tuition, and fees.
© Lavonne Hall


MFA Studio

See what's happening at the ICP-Bard MFA Studio.
© Lavonne Hall


ICP-Bard MFA Student Blog

Keep up with current students as they share their work and ideas.
Photo © Christine Callahan, MFA09

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© 2012 International Center of Photography
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