Elisava School of Design
Photography & Design Master’s Degree
One Year

In addition to guiding students to a mastery of photographic technique, the Elisava Photography and Design Master’s Degree program focuses on students’ ability to articulate ideas through the production of photographic projects based on a rigorous and critical understanding of the photographic market context, photographic representation in particular and visual communication and culture in general.

Degree Length
One year; Fall Intake.

Application Requirements
Complete online application
Portfolio (4 pages / 2MB size max; PDF)
Letter of motivation (1 page; PDF)
Curriculum Vitae (2 pages; PDF)
Official Bachelor’s Degree transcript
Passport scan (photo page; PDF)
EU privacy consent form

Application Closes: May 1
Apps accepted after deadline as space permits

Program Dates
Early September – Early August

Eligibility Requirements

Age: 18+

Academic: Completed Bachelor’s degree

*contact SAI if you don’t meet requirements

Undergraduate GPA:* 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale)

English Language:* Non-native English language speakers must submit IELTS: 5+, or proof of attending school in English for 3+ years.

Coming soon

Program Description
The current context of contemporary photography is marked by intense competition, constant and unpredictable development of both photographic technology and the use thereof, and the growing importance of photography in the society and culture of the 21st century, not only as a working tool, but as an effective means of communicating ideas and concepts.

These new digital technologies and applications have taken root very rapidly in the fields of photography and design, creating a wide range of possibilities for new photography applications. At the same time, these innovations require the upcoming photographer to acquire new multidisciplinary and specialized training. These circumstances result in a need to train innovative and creative professionals with high levels of independence, initiative, creativity and creative ability to communicate effectively, both visually and verbally, and a critical understanding of current practices and their unstable context.

This master’s degree relies on immediate practical application of what students learn to ensure their full assimilation in a continuous process of photographic projects. Critical analysis and reflection are also fostered via seminars, individual and group tutorials, workshops, debates, individual and group projects and reviews of all projects carried out. By the end of the MA you should be able to produce challenging cutting edge contemporary work that uses photography effectively, exploring beyond the medium specific boundaries in order to produce innovative solutions to new arenas and methods of display and delivery.

Course Aims
The degree adheres to the following objectives, focused on strengthening students’ individual abilities:

  • Provide a flexible but structured interdisciplinary context in which students can rigorously pursue a self-directed research project whose outcomes are embodied within the systematic production of a specific and original body of work within the field of photography.
  • To encourage the development of each student’s own critical reflection as the basis for developing as independent learners capable of advancing their own skills, knowledge and professional and research practice.
  • Provide students with the means for establishing and understanding the place of their own work within the context of relevant and contemporary academic and professional situations and debates.
  • Provide students with professional photography technical skills
  • To encourage the development of research strategies that reflect the contemporary context in theoretical discourse and creative practice and form the basis for informed speculation about future directions.
  • To engage with real audiences, generating new challenging narratives about the nature of the work itself and its relation with changed modes of production, dissemination and consumption.
  • To provide professionals specializing in the area of photography with multidisciplinary training so that they can use photography as a tool for conveying concepts and ideas.

Student Profile
This program is aimed at graduates in Design, Fine Arts, specialties related to communication, culture and advertising; professionals with proven experience in the field of design and photography; holders of qualifications in other disciplines with an interest in the area of photography; active professionals and designers requiring specialization and professional training. Applicant’s portfolios should include 10-20 images that represent their area of interest.

Evidence will have to be provided of university qualifications (university graduate, architect, or engineer) or diploma (diploma holder, architectural technician, engineering technician, or university graduate).

Due After Acceptance
After acceptance, students must submit an Apostille-Certified Bachelor’s Degree of University Diploma. The Hague Apostille (Apostille Convention) is a method of validating a public document for use outside of its origin country. In the United States the Competent Authorities designated to issue Apostilles are the Secretaries of States. Students wishing to enroll in graduate level coursework at Elisava must receive an Apostille on their degree from the state of the degree’s issuance.

The program is structured in two academic parts: the first part responds to the student’s need to know, understand and apply different photographic techniques and theories. In the second part, the student has to propose research, develop and solve photographic projects of high professional standards in different contexts and real situations.

Module 1. Fundamentals of Photography

  • Principles of photography composition, image and visual perception, visual narrative, photographic sequence, narrative and text, photographic edition.

Module 2. Digital Photography

  • Digital equipment, color management, digital zone photometry, building light with a flash, editing software, photo-manipulation, advanced retouching.

Module 3. Photography Equipment

  • Image processing by area, camera and lenses, extreme processing, printing, interior lighting, lighting and exteriors, lighting and the environment.

Module 4. Photographic Context and Process

  1. Visual Thought
  • Image and text, image and aesthetics, image and context, photography and culture, photography and identity.
  1. Uses of Photography
  • Non-conventional tools and contexts, multimedia environments, photographic technique as an aesthetic resource, advertising and communication.
  1. Editing
  • Editing a story, digital editing and tools, representation of space, multidisciplinary approach to photography.

Module 5. Digital Design

  • Photography for design, design for photography, web portfolio, on-page design, printed photography, magazine design and editing, retouching and management, image archiving, publishing world.

Module 6. Uses of Photography

  • The professional photography market, photography in the art market, uses and trends in contemporary photography, marketing for photographers, statements for photographers, multimedia for photographers, photographic interventions, photography exhibitions.

Module 7. Photography Project

  • Project management and dynamics, project analysis and evaluation, tutorials and seminars, public presentation and exhibition of the final project.
SAI Program Fees* USD
Application Fee $140
Program Fee
Includes tuition, Master’s degree and SAI Select Services (see What’s Included).
Contact SAI
Optional / Additional Fees:  
International Mailing Supplement
When applicable, students are charged an international mailing supplement to ensure visa paperwork arrives in a timely manner.

*prices are subject to change

Budget Low Est. High Est.
Airfare to/from Barcelona
$900 $1,100
Cost depends on travel to Consulate.
$160 $360
Books, Supplies & Course Fees $300 $500
Includes groceries and eating out.
$400 / month $800 / month
SAI can provide recommendations.
$1,000 / month $1,300 / month
Personal Expenses $350 / month $450 / month
Transportation within Barcelona
Public transportation with some taxi rides.
$100 / month $150 / month
Weekend Travel
Cost varies greatly by student.
$300 / month $1,000 / month

This is an SAI Select Services Program; it includes the important on-site services!

  • Master’s Degree awarded by Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) and Elisava Barcelona School of Design and Engineering
  • Program tuition
  • Student health insurance providing full coverage and medical emergency evacuation
  • SAI orientation to the host city and school
  • SAI staff on-site providing assistance as needed and 24-hour emergency support

Pre-departure and Re-entry services

  • US-based admissions counselor assigned to you, providing friendly assistance
  • Helpful pre-departure tools and resources
  • Assistance with student visa application
  • Paid registration fees for national re-entry conferences
  • SAI alumni network

Housing is not included in SAI Select Services Programs. However, your SAI Admissions Counselor will be happy to provide you with information and recommendations for housing agencies, dormitories, and rentals in Barcelona. Students who do not have prior housing arrangements should begin speaking with their Admissions Counselor as soon as possible. All students are required to submit to SAI information regarding their housing arrangements prior to program start.

Passports should be valid for 6 months after planned departure from Spain.

Student Visas
In accordance with Spanish law students studying in Spain for 6 months or more are required to obtain a long stay student visa. Those with Spanish/EU citizenship are exempted. Non-US nationals should consult their local Consulate for details on student visa requirements.