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Photography Certificate

Stulberg ClassDesigned for individuals who have recently purchased a DSLR camera, or who have been shooting independently without formal instruction or guidance, the Photography Certificate program provides a solid foundation in the technical and visual aspects of digital photography.  Courses guide students through the technology, and expose students to the core principles of effective photography, including digital image capture, editing, composition, and lighting.  Led by instructors who are working photography professionals, students leave the program with the technical background and making processes that make a strong photographer.


  • Photography I (4 units)
  • Photography II (4 units)
  • Lighting I (4 units)
  • Photographic Portraiture (4 units)
  • Portfolio Workshop (4 units)
  • 1 Electives (4 units)

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does the Photography Certificate program take?

Completion depends on how many courses you take per quarter.  Students who take 2 courses per quarter will finish in 3 quarters (just under a year).  Students are free to skip a quarter, or take more than two courses – the schedule is flexible.  Once you officially enroll in the Certificate, your candidacy is good for 8 quarters (2 years).

Can I take individual courses without first enrolling in the program?

Yes, most courses offered through UCLAx Visual Arts and Design Communication Arts are open enrollment.  Students may take individual courses from the program now, and then later apply them towards the certificate should you decide to enroll.  Individuals should select “Credit/Letter Grade” when enrolling in a course, as students must achieve a grade of ‘C’ or better in a course to count it towards a certificate program.

I own a DSLR camera and have done some independent shooting, but never taken a class.
How do I know what level I’m at?

Most students begin with the course Photography I, which covers aperture, shutter speed, depth of field, focus, ISO, file management, basic lighting skills (including contrast, direction, color, white balance, histogram), composition, and digital imaging (including an introduction to Adobe Lightroom).

If you feel confident in your knowledge of the topics listed, you’re welcome to move on to an intermediate course. If your understanding is hazy or you struggle with some of them, Photography I would be the best place for you to refine your skills and get a solid foundation in technical understanding. Many students who are not technically “beginners” take an introductory class as a way to test their current ability and for the challenge of assignments and instructor critique.

Can I complete the Photography Certificate program entirely online?

No, the Photography Certificate is unfortunately not able to be completed entirely online.  Although some courses are available in both online and in-class formats, many required courses in the Photography Certificate are only offered in-class.

How much homework is involved?

The amount of time spent working on assignments and projects outside of class will vary for individual students, but as a general guideline we suggest you expect 2 – 3 hours per week for introductory level courses and 3 – 5 hours per week for advanced courses.

What is the candidacy fee?

The $250 candidacy fee officially establishes you as a Photography Certificate student, and confers the following benefits:

  • Discounts on Adobe and other software through the UCLA Student Store
  • Access to Visual Arts Program Advisor to help with course planning
  • Eligible to apply for UCLA Bruincard for just $10 – good for campus discounts, reduced bus fares, campus library access, UCLA gym memberships, and more
  • Locks in your Photography Certificate requirements for the duration of your candidacy

Does the Photography Certificate program accept International Applicants?

No, unfortunately the Photography Certificate program is not approved for I-20/F1 Visas.  International students who wish to study at UCLA Extension in Los Angeles are encouraged to visit the International Students Office webpage for a list of approved certificate programs.  You can also reach them by emailing iso@uclaextension.edu or calling 310.825.9351.

Do you offer job placement?

Certificate students can access CareerSpot, which offers a job board, professional resume review, and career advice.  In addition, your coursework provides you with opportunities to network with instructors and other students, many of whom are working professionals.  Though we do not match students with employers, we can help you improve your portfolio and your attractiveness as a professional candidate.

How much is tuition and is Financial Aid available?

Individual course fees are due upon registration each quarter, and the tuition listed on the Photography Certificate page is an estimate of your total course costs upon completion of the program.

Financial Aid options vary for individual students, and we encourage you to consult UCLA Extension’s Financial Aid office for the most detailed information on grants, loans, scholarships, and other payment methods.  You can visit their webpage here, or contact them by emailing finaid@uclaextension or calling 310.825.4246.

What if I have other questions or want to speak to an advisor?

You can reach us anytime during normal business hours (Monday – Friday, 8am to 5pm ET) by calling 310.206.1422, emailing us at visualarts@uclaextension.edu, or by filling out our contact form.

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