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Photography: Images and Techniques

Professional Certificate

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About the Photography: Images and Techniques Program


Delivery Method
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  • Live Online
  • In-Person
  • Online
  • Hybrid
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All five are required

Photo I: Aperture, Shutter Speed & ISOART-40629

Units: 3.00


Photo I: Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO 9 Weeks | $425 | OnlineCapturing a memorable photograph takes more than just pressing a button! Being a form of visual art, photography is often defined by t...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer

Digital Photography WorkflowART-40705

Units: 3.00


Digital Photography Workflow 9 Weeks | $425 | Online Effectively managing the hundreds of digital photos you ve taken can be unnecessarily challenging and time consuming if you do not develop an ...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer

A Short History of PhotographyART-40412

Units: 2.00


A Short History of Photography 6 Weeks | $350 | OnlineExamine major photographic movements and the individuals who have shaped the history of the medium in A Short History of Photography. Beginning w...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered: Winter, Summer

Photo II: Technique & StyleART-40631

Units: 3.00


Photo II: Technique Style 9 Weeks | $425 | Live Online with In-Person Field Trips Designed to inspire intermediate photographers who are comfortable with the basics of photographic camera work (ap...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

Photo III: PortfolioART-40632

Units: 3.00


Photo III: Portfolio 9 Weeks | $425 | OnlineThe key to success as a photographer is distinguishing yourself from your contemporaries through process, practice and vision. This advanced course helps s...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered: Winter


14 units total. Students can choose electives from both "Artistic" and "Technical" categories.


Courses focus on aesthetic development

Architectural PhotographyART-40607

Units: 2.00


Architectural Photography 6 Weeks | $350 | OnlineArchitecture, new and old makes for amazing photographic subject matter! Build the skills necessary to photograph structures both exterior and interio...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered: Winter, Summer

Documentary PhotographyART-40507

Units: 3.00


Documentary Photography 9 weeks | $425 | OnlineDocumentary photography is a powerful tool for telling a story, making a point or giving voice to people who have none. In this course, you will learn t...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered: Spring

Environmental PortraitureART-40494

Units: 3.00


Environmental Portraiture 9 weeks | $425 | OnlineIn environmental portraiture, the surrounding background is used to convey crucial information about a subject s personality, interests, and lifestyle...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered: Spring

Family PicturesART-40229

Units: 3.00


Family Pictures 9 weeks | $425 | OnlineExplore your photographic voice and personal style in this portraiture class focused on photographing the familiar. In this course, we will learn about the comp...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered: Fall

Food and Product PhotographyART-40730

Units: 3.00


Food and Product Photography 9 Weeks | $425 | OnlineHave you ever wondered how a photograph of a delicious dish can make you want to visit a specific restaurant? Or how you can see a product in a glo...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

Introduction to Photo JournalismART-40693

Units: 2.00


Introduction to Photo Journalism 6 weeks | $350 | OnlinePhotographs can change the world and how we see it. In this course, students will be introduced to the history of photojournalism, exploring th...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered: Summer

Nature Photography: From Vision to PrintART-40081

Units: 3.00


Nature Photography: From Vision to Print 9 weeks | $425 | Live Online w/ In-Person Field TripsLearn how to take beautiful nature photographs and examine different methods to produce and display them....

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered: Spring

Postcards from the City: Exploration with Artistic PhotographyART-40165

Units: 3.00


Postcards from the City: Exploration with Artistic Photography 9 Weeks | $425 | OnlineLearn to take photographs of urban scenes and display your work in a form that is almost as old as photography it...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered: Winter

Smartphone PhotographyART-40734

Units: 2.00


Smartphone Photography 6 Weeks | $350 | OnlineWith the evolution of digital photography, current smartphones have quality built-in cameras that allow us to take images of anything, anywhere! Aside fr...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered: Winter, Summer

Travel PhotographyART-40575

Units: 2.00


Travel Photography 6 Weeks | $350 | OnlineAre you planning the trip of a lifetime or even a local excursion and you want to capture better images? Designed for photographers with sound experience wit...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered: Summer

Wedding PhotographyART-40733

Units: 3.00


Wedding Photography 9 Weeks | $425 | OnlineWedding Photography offers both a creative and commercial outlet for photographers. Through readings, educational videos, discussions, and shooting assignme...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring


Courses focus on technical skill sets

Adobe PhotoshopART-40311

Units: 3.00


Adobe Photoshop I: Introduction 9 Weeks | $595 | OnlineAn introduction to Adobe Photoshop, the imaging software application used by professional graphic artists to create and modify images for use in...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer

Photographic Portraiture IART-40689

Units: 3.00


Photographic Portraiture I 5 weeks | $425 | Hybrid (Live Online with In-Person classes)Develop competence and confidence as a portrait photographer while learning the photographic techniques associat...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered: Winter

Strobe Workshop: Lighting with Speed LightsART-40511

Units: 2.00


Strobe Workshop: Lighting with Speed Lights 4 Weeks | $350 | In-ClassLearn how to light your photographs without the use of heavy or expensive gear. This intensive workshop teaches the art of strobe ...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered: Spring

Understanding Photographic Light: Studio & LocationART-40398

Units: 2.00


Understanding Photographic Light: Studio Location 6 Weeks | $350 | OnlineLighting is an essential part of every photographic genre. This fundamental lighting class will introduce students to light ...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered: Fall

Conditions for Admission

Please see the application for specific admission requirements for this program.

Although a college degree or professional experience in the field are not required, applicants with such experience may receive preference for admission when program capacity is limited.

Current UCSD students may be considered for admission depending on their academic and career focus and educational performance.

Certificate Guidelines

To fulfill the certificate program, students must complete at least 28 quarter units in Photography. Student may enroll in the certificate program during any quarter of the year. Most students should be able to complete the program within 15 - 27 months but have up to five years to complete the program. The series of courses with both artistic and technical emphasis are organized into levels of increasing difficulty ensures that students develop and refine their skills over time. Students work at their own pace and choose from a wide variety of electives.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Who is this certificate for?

Our program is designed for adults with little or no photography background. The curriculum helps students progressively develop sound skills including an understanding of the aesthetic and technical processes essential to the field of photography. The certificate program focuses on creativity and technical abilities, as well as developing a body of work.

Students choose from a variety of photography courses while improving their abilities to observe, capture compelling images, and express individual creativity. The program is purposefully flexible, with a wide range of elective courses; students may choose an area of concentration and enroll in electives that fulfill their personal interests.

Do you provide job or internship placement?

No, we do not currently offer job placement assistance, internships, or career services assistance.

In Photo III: Portfolio which is the capstone course in the Photography: Images & Techniques program, student's will develop a portfolio and learn essential business practices to market themselves in the photography industry. For more detailed information on the the learning outcomes for Photo III: Portfolio please visit the course homepage.

What are the expected Learning Outcomes?

Students can expect to:

  • Develop basic photographic skills
  • Pursue creative ideas
  • Broaden artistic vision
  • Sharpen perceptual skills
  • Work with fellow photography enthusiasts
  • Study with professional photographers

Will I get any hands-on experience in the program?

Most courses combine theory with hands-on exercises. Our courses are taught by professionals who work in the field they teach, and will bring real-life projects and examples to your course.

How many classes are there in the Photography: Images and Techniques Certificate Program?

This program requires a total of 28 units.

There are 5 required courses, making up 14 units:

  • Digital photography Workflow
  • A Short History of Photography
  • Photo I: Aperture, Shutter Speed, & ISO
  • Photo II: Technique and Style
  • Photo III: Portfolio

The remaining 14 units are electives, in topics such as:

  • Artistic
  • Technical
  • Digital Printing & Workflow
  • Lighting
  • Special Topics

Can this program be completed entirely online?

This program can be completed entirely online. Though for the optimal experience we recommend students are located in the Greater San Diego region. Fully remote students will be limited in which elective courses they can take. In addition, some of our Live Online courses (taught via Zoom) include field trips which take students out to different locations throughout the Greater San Diego region. Remote students are required to complete the field trips as self-guided photo shoots. For questions please reach out to

If I work full-time, will I still be able to complete this program?

Yes. Our programs are designed to be working-student friendly and most of our students are working professionals. The courses vary between two and three units, which amount to approximately 18-20 hours of class time for a two unit course and 27-30 hours of class time for a three unit course.

How long does it take to complete this certificate?

You officially have five years to complete all requirements for the certificate, although students can usually complete the entire program in15-27 months by taking 1-2 courses per quarter.      

How much does this program cost?

The estimated cost of the certificate program is $4,290. The estimated cost of textbooks/materials is an additional $1,625 which includes an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription and purchasing an entry level DSLR.

Your mileage may vary depending on what electives you choose. How students pace their coursework may affect the program cost since many courses require software subscriptions, which are charged by month.

Students pay as they go when they register for classes, not in one lump sum.

Is the program accredited?

UC San Diego is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). UC San Diego Division of Extended Studies is accredited by WSCUC through the university. All courses and certificate programs offered by UC San Diego Division of Extended Studies have been developed and are administered in accordance with Extension policy, the regulations of the Academic Senate of the University of California and WSCUC standards.

How do I get my certificate once I have completed the requirements?

When you have paid your certificate fee and successfully completed all program requirements, you will need to request an audit by Student Services.

How to Request Your Certificate
Request a certificate audit after you have completed all of your requirements:

  • To request a certificate audit, log in to My Extension and navigate to:
    • My Courses
    • My Certificate Programs
    • Request Certificate Audit

Your certificate will be awarded and mailed to you after all final grades are posted. Please allow three weeks to receive your certificate. If your certificate is not successfully delivered, you will have 60 days from the date on which it was sent to request a second copy. We will send one complimentary replacement transcript to the same delivery address within the 60 day window.

Is financial assistance available?

UC San Diego Division of Extended Studies facilitates private education loans through UC Approved Lenders for students officially enrolled in a certificate. More informaiton can be found on our Financial Resources page or by contacting State-Funded Training is available through EDD (Employment Development Dept.); more information can be found on their website:

Is this certificate open to non-California residents and international students?

Yes, the program is open to non-California residents, including non-US residents. The tuition is the same for all students. No student visa is required, nor does this program qualify for a student visa since it is a part-time program.


In what order should I take these courses?

Students may take courses in the order they prefer, keeping in mind that some courses do have prerequisite requirements. 

Students may enroll concurrently in more than one course, as their schedule permits. 

Certificate students should begin the program with Photo I: Aperture, Shutter Speed, & ISO.

How do I apply to the certificate program?

STEP 1: If you have a My Extension student account, skip to Step 2.  If you do not have a My Extension account, go to, click “Create an account” on the right side of the page, and follow the instructions to create an account. Once you have a My Extension account, continue to Step 2.

STEP 2: Click on the “Apply Now” button on the certificate page. Complete the required fields on the application. Then click the “Save” button. Once you have saved the application, the “Submit” button will appear. Click the “Submit” button to submit your application for review and consideration. Once submitted, your application cannot be changed.  You can track the progress of your application at My Extension.

Is there an application fee for the certificate program?

Current application or certificate enrollment fees, if any, are listed under the “Apply Now” button on the certificate page on our website.

Can I register for the certificate program at any time?

Yes, you may enroll in the program at any time. However, it is recommended that you enroll as soon as possible. The program curriculum may be updated at any time; if certificate requirements change, you must adhere to the curriculum at the time of your enrollment into the certificate. Enrolling in the certificate also gives you access to quarterly, personalized enrollment reminders from the program manager.

Can I take a course without registering for the certificate?

Yes, you may take any course in this program except for the final capstone portfolio course without registering for the certificate, provided you have fulfilled any and all prerequisites for the course.

When should I enroll in my class(es)?

We recommend enrolling as soon as possible. Many of our core certificate courses will fill up before the course start date. 

Each quarter we also offer an early enrollment discount of $25 on select courses if you enroll by the discount deadline. 

How do I enroll in a class?

To enroll in a class, click on the class link in the course matrix above and that will take you to the specific class page. On the class page you can find additional details about the course such as start date, time, classroom number, instructor and textbook info.  To enroll click on “Add to Cart” which will lead you to complete the registration/payment process. You can also register over the phone with Student Services at 858-534-3400.

Why was my enrollment in a course blocked?

Enrollment in a class may be blocked in the following situations: The class is closed (see FAQ on when enrollment closes). OR The class is at capacity. If the class is at capacity you will only be able to join the waitlist. Students on the waitlist are contacted in the order they joined the waitlist. OR The class is cancelled due to low enrollments. OR The class has prerequisites that the student has not completed yet. If you feel that you have fulfilled the prerequisites, please contact

What are the grading options?

When students enroll in a class they are given three grading options: Letter grade, Pass/No Pass, or Not for Credit. Students taking a class as part of a certificate need to complete their classes for credit (i.e. Pass/No Pass or Letter grade) and receive a C-/Pass or higher grade.

Grades below a C-, No Pass, and Not for Credit do not count towards certificate requirements.

When is the refund deadline?

The refund deadline is typically six (6) days after the first class meeting. This allows students to attend the first class meeting to determine if the class is a good fit for them. The exact refund deadline for each section is listed in the section notes.    

What are the attendance and participation requirements?

Students are expected to attend all class meetings, participate in class, and complete all homework assignments. Attendance is factored as a part of students’ final grades, and varies by instructor. Typically students can miss one class meeting without it impacting their final grade as long as they still complete their homework. Students who miss a class meeting should always reach out to their instructor regarding late work and homework.

When will I have access to my online information session or course?

You will have access to the online Canvas course on the official start date of the class/exam/info session.  Access will be available at 12:01am Pacific Time.

Enrollment to online classes can take up to 24 hours to process and sync up to our online platform, Canvas. For example, if a class started on Tuesday and that is the day a student enrolled, they will likely not have full access to the class until 24 hours later on Wednesday.

How many hours can I expect to spend studying outside of class time?

Each student has their own learning style so this can vary greatly. As a rule of thumb, expect to spend an average of two hours studying for every hour you spend in-class. For online courses, students should plan to spend approximately 8-10 hours per week viewing lectures and completing coursework.

How are online classes formatted?

Online courses will be asynchronous. Students do not need to meet at a specific time online, but will need to log in each week to view the lessons, participate in course discussion, and complete and submit coursework.

What are the instructors’ credentials?

The program courses are taught by seasoned professionals and overseen by an advisory board of leaders in the field. You can view the advisor list under the “Advisors” section on the certificate page. You can find information about a course instructor, including a biography and credentials, on the course page.

How do I communicate with a course instructor if I have a question during the course?

Each instructor has his/her own preferred method of communication and response policy, which will be detailed on the course syllabus. However, most instructors utilize email or the discussion board and will respond within 24-48 hours.

How long is each course?

Three unit courses run for 9 weeks and two unit courses run for 6 weeks. For exact course dates of upcoming sections, visit the webpage of the course you are interested in taking.

Where are the classes held?

All of our in-class courses are held at our University City Center location. For directions please visit: 

Do I need to pay for parking?

Parking is free at our University City Center (UCC) location. Prior to your first class please register your car with this link.


What class materials are used in my course?

Materials and software requirements vary by course. For details, check the course page.

Can I transfer in any courses?

Students can transfer in up to two courses that match the content of our required courses. Please email for more information about the transferability of previously completed courses.

Are these classes transferable?

UC San Diego Division of Extended Studies is not a degree granting institution, however many UC San Diego Division of Extended Studies courses can be transferred to other colleges or universities.

The transferability of credit is determined solely by the receiving institution. Students should discuss how your individual courses will transfer with the Office of the Registrar at the receiving institution prior to enrolling.

Quarter to Semester Unit Conversion

If the receiving institution operates on a semester system, credits will be converted to semester hours during their evaluation. As a general rule, quarter credits are converted to semester credits by dividing the number of quarter credits by 1.5. For example, if the student completed a course worth 4 quarter credits at UC San Diego Division of Extended Studies, the course would be worth 4 ÷ 1.5 = 2.66 semester credits.

I am in high school. Can I take any of these courses?

If you are interested in taking courses at UC San Diego Division of Extended Studies, you will need to obtain written approval from your school principal or counselor. The approval must be signed and printed on school letterhead, and must be included with your registration. If you are homeschooled, your approval needs to be signed by your contact in your local school district. More instructions are on our Registration Policies and Procedures page, or you can contact Student Services at or 858-534-3400.

Additional questions?

For questions regarding our classes and certificates, please contact us at or 858-534-5760.

Advisory Board

Don Bartletti, 2003 Pulitzer Prize


Los Angeles Times

Becky Cohen


Brian Cross

Associate Professor, Visual Arts


Carol McCusker

(Former) Curator of Photography

Museum of Photographic Arts (MoPA)

Lea Rudee

Founding Dean, Engineering


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This certificate requires an application before taking any courses. There will be a $0 fee to apply to this program. Students will also be required to pay a $95 certificate fee upon enrollment into the program after acceptance. View the complete Certificate Registration and Candidacy Guidelines.