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Image Arts: Photography Studies (BFA)

Image Arts Photography students working within photo studio

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Is It for You?

Hone your skills in Canada’s most prestigious photography program, working in analogue and digital formats, with still, moving and computer-generated imagery and in creative, documentary and professional fields. In this hands-on program, you can pursue the Integrated Digital option and have access to one of North America’s largest photo production facilities. Work placements and practical assignments, including exhibitions and professional gallery showings, are also available to students. Finally, you can also access the Ryerson Image Centre, Canada’s leading centre for the research and exhibition of photography, which contains the world-renowned Black Star Collection.

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What You Need to Know

 Program Format(s)
Full Time: Four Year

 Degree Earned
Bachelor of Fine Arts

 Grade Range

 Non-Academic Requirements
Portfolio, written statement, resumé

 Experiential Learning

 Thinking of applying? Make sure the program is still accepting applications.

*Actual minimum grade ranges required for fall 2021 admission/wait list consideration will be determined based on grades and qualifications presented by the applicant pool as they become available. Required grade ranges may fluctuate from year to year (up or down) as a result of competition. Applicants not educated in Ontario may present the equivalent of the Ontario requirements. Ryerson reserves the right to determine equivalency at its sole discretion.

Tuition and Fees 2020/2021

Domestic Fees Range: $7,046 - $7,814
International Fees Range: $28,638 - $29,611

For detailed fees information visit Fees by Program.

Academic Requirements

Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent with a minimum of six Grade 12 U or M courses including the following program specific requirements.

Typically, a minimum overall average of 70% establishes eligibility for admission consideration; subject to competition individual programs may require higher prerequisite grades and/or higher overall averages:

  • English/anglais (ENG4U/EAE4U preferred)
  • The minimum grade required in the subject prerequisite (normally in the 65-70% range) will be determined subject to competition.

Academic admission requirements for all other applicants are available at:
Admission Requirements.

Non-Academic Requirements

In addition to meeting competitive academic requirements, you are required to submit the following non-academic requirements. Your ability to follow and adhere to the requirements is part of the assessment of your application. 

 Your non-academic requirements are due by February 1, 2021 or 10 business days from your application submission date, whichever comes later.

Your portfolio submission is comprised of two parts. Your visual portfolio is an essential part of your admission into the program. It is the principal element in demonstrating your creative talents.

 Please ensure that your twelve examples of visual work are saved, clearly labeled and uploaded as one .pdf file.

Part 1: Six Images Based on a Theme

A carefully edited selection of six images that you have created based on a specific, focused theme.

These works can be done in any lens-based media and may also incorporate mixed media (e.g. image/text, image/sound, photographic/web, etc.). Demonstrate how you see the world, what media tools you use and how you express yourself. These images should be no larger than 2000 x 1500 pixels, at 150 dpi (medium size).

These images should be introduced by a statement describing your theme and what it means to you. You are encouraged to design a cover page/title page for this sequence. Written descriptions should be no more than 250 words.

Part 2: Selection of Your Best Six Images

A selection of six visual works you have created that demonstrate your abilities as an image-maker. These works can be done in any media (e.g. photography, video, painting, drawing) and can also incorporate mixed and hybrid media (e.g. image/text, image/sound, photographic/web, etc.). You are encouraged to present work that shows a broad range of your skills. Demonstrate how you see the world, what media tools you use and how you express yourself. These images should be no larger than 2000 x 1500 pixels, at 150 dpi (medium size).

Note for Part 1 and Part 2: A maximum of three videos will be accepted. Your videos must be uploaded to “Vimeo.” When you have a Vimeo URL (e.g., external link, opens in new window), please include it in a .pdf file and upload that file in your Choose>Ryerson Applicant Portal. Use privacy settings in Vimeo and the password “PHOTO2021”.

From one of the following websites, search one image that you find intriguing and write an essay discussing your interpretation of that image and why you have chosen it. Please download the chosen image and include a copy of the image in your statement, along with the photographer’s name, title, date, and media information. Be sure to include the full URL listed below.

The statement should be no more than 500 words in length in Times New Roman 12pt font, double spaced with margins set at 8½” x 11” with 1” margins around (approximately two typed pages).

Please ensure that your written statement is saved and uploaded as a .pdf file.

Submit a current resumé outlining your education, creative experience and abilities, computer skills and applications you are familiar with (e.g. Photoshop, etc.), work experience, volunteer activities, related skills, interests and any special awards (not to exceed two pages).

Please save and upload your resumé as a .pdf file.

The non-academic requirements assessment fee is $50 CDN and must be paid in order for your submission to be reviewed.

Payment Options

 Pay using a Canadian bank account - by internet or telephone banking:
  1. Sign up with your bank for online or telephone banking
  2. Add Ryerson as a payee - Ryerson University - Tuition & Res Fees
  3. Your nine-digit Ryerson Student Number is your account number
  4. Follow the prompts to ‘pay bills’ and choose ‘Ryerson University - Tuition & Res Fees’ as the Payee
 Pay using Western Union Business Solutions: 

International students who do not have a Canadian bank account can pay through Western Union Business Solutions GlobalPay for Students, external link. This option allows you to pay the Canadian dollar student fees in the currency of your choice. Visit the International Payments section on our Fees Payment web page for instructions.

Applicants are required to submit all components of their non-academic requirements via the Choose>Ryerson Applicant Portal.

Applicants unable to use the Choose>Ryerson Applicant Portal are required to contact the School of Image Arts at: to discuss an alternate method of submission. Due to the volume of applications received and our system performance, we strongly encourage you to submit your documents well in advance of the noted deadlines.

Here’s how to access your Choose>Ryerson Applicant Portal account:

  1. Get your Ryerson Student Number in the email acknowledgement of your application
  2. Activate your Ryerson Online Identity. Fill in the Activation Form at When asked for your Student/Applicant ID, enter your nine-digit Ryerson Student Number. Keep a record of your user name and password
  3. 24 hours after activating your Ryerson Online Identity, visit the Choose>Ryerson Applicant Portal

Instructions on how to upload documents, as well as common questions and answers for applicants can be found on our Ready to Submit Your Documents? web page.

If you are applying for readmission or reinstatement, you are not required to submit non-academic requirements. You must inform the program department of your intentions.

 Email the School of Image Arts at: by February 1, 2021, or 10 business days from your application submission date (whichever comes later).

After Graduation

Apply creativity and experience to visual arts; commercial photography and web production; curatorial and arts administration; editorial and arts publishing. You may work as a commercial photographer, digital image specialist, art buyer, arts administrator or advertising art director. Or, pursue graduate studies, including Ryerson’s master of arts programs in Documentary Media, and Film and Photography Preservation and Collections Management.

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