Course Outline

In the three and a half year course (in German, minimum B2 German required), we teach students to be able to successfully and efficiently carry out assignments and projects on a theoretical, practical and formal level. Practical skills include dealing with analogue and digital cameras of different formats, editing, digital printing, studio lighting, developing film and darkroom printing. Theoretical abilities include planning, developing ideas and concepts, and a refined perception of how images work and how they affect and influence the viewer.

Formal knowledge includes contract and copyright law, financing through grants and competitions, budget proposals and billing. Most importantly, students learn to conscientiously express themselves through their work and position themselves within the field of photography.

Foto: Giedre Kuliauskaite

Berlin is the perfect location to study photography: a culture-rich metropolis with a plethora of exhibition spaces and important photographic institutions with which the Neue Schule co-operates. We encourage international exchanges between upcoming photographers in connection with other photography schools in Germany and abroad.

The course at the Neue Schule für Fotografie is three and a half years long. Each year is made up of two semesters. Each semester is comprised of five months with lectures and one month off.

Classes take place on a bi-weekly basis with 2-4 teaching days per week. Classes consist of 8 teaching hours (45minutes) from 10:00 to 17:00. Between classes, students are expected to continue their studies working on their tasks and personal projects. The studio, equipment, darkrooms and printers can be used at any time through the reservation system.

Course Structure

First Year

30 days of classes and 80 hours of work space usage per semester.

The first year at the school is an introduction to photography, teaching students the basics of visual design, the history of the photographic image, and basic technical skills, and most importantly, how to start taking and selecting more coherent images.

Foto: Ben Chislett

The first semester is completely analog, with students learning to use 35mm and 120mm film cameras, meter light, and build their own pinhole cameras as well as learning their way around our darkrooms, developing film, creating contact sheets and enlarging images.

The second semester starts with digital photography, teaching students to handle basic studio lighting and equipment in our studio, building photographic series, with students learning the basics of fine art prints on high-end digital ink jet printers in our printer room.

Subjects include:

Second Year

30 days of classes and 80 hours of work space usage per semester.

In the second year, students hone their skills constructing more advanced series of pictures, learning how to contextualise them in the contemporary photographic world.

Photo: Max Sprott

Students start maturing as photographers and artists, learning the finer aspects of image creation and editing, studying post-production techniques and more advanced lighting methods, as well as acquiring the basics of editorial and web design.

Subjects include:

Third Year

30 days of classes and 80 hours of work space usage per semester.

In the final year, students, guided by a tutor of their choice, focus on a single self-selected project and a theoretical paper, finding their voice in the world of photography.

Foto: Ben Chislett

Seminars, by leading figures in their respective fields from Directors (Dr. Christiane Stahl, Alfred Ehrhardt Stiftung), Head Curators (Felix Hoffman, C/O Gallery), and Photo-Editors (Michael Biedowicz, Zeit Magazine) to theoreticians, authors, publishers, lawyers, accountants and freelance photographers, teach students how to deal with practical issues in the industry from budget proposals, tax, and copyright law, image curation, to making photo-books and mounting pictures.

Subjects include:

At the end of the year a stringent evaluation of projects and papers takes place to decide which students are ready to exhibit the works that will establish their voice as photographers.

Exhibition Semester

15 hours of private tutelage per student and 13 days of self-study: Presentation of final year project in the gallery and a publication.

The seventh semester is dedicated to producing a professional grade exhibition of the final year works, accompanied by a collectable publication. An archive of past graduating exhibitions can be found here.

Fotos: Ute Lindner, Corinna Christa Hengelein, Marc Volk, Ben Chislett

Course Completion

Graduating students are graded based on their third year project and thesis presented at the end of the sixth semester. The thesis is a written work on a selected theme.

Students with exceptional work are then invited to exhibit their work in the gallery of the Neue Schule für Fotografie at the end of the seventh semester. Grades are recorded on a certificate presented at the finissage.

An archive of graduates’ exhibitions can be found here.

Photos: Max Sprott


A selection of prizes won by our students and exhibitions and publications of their work can be found here.

How to Apply

Click here for the application process (German).
If you cannot speak German yet, we have a one-year International Class.

Winter Semester 2021 starts on 23 August 2021 and ends on 20 February 2022. The application deadline for the winter semester 2021/22 is 30 May 2021.

on 22 May 2021

Foto: Tina Wessel