Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs for prospective students

If I come to Waltham, where will I live?

Students coming to Waltham are always concerned about housing. While NESOP does not offer housing facilities or dorms, we do everything possible to help our students find suitable housing. We refer you to online resources, connect you with other incoming students seeking roommates and steer you toward reputable realtors our students have worked with in the past. Rest assured, all NESOP students find appropriate housing. No one ends up living in the lab (though it might seem that way sometimes).

How many hours will I spend at NESOP every week?

Full-time students need to put in a minimum of 27 hours a week.  In the first year of the program, 16 of those hours are spent in class (about four days per week).  In the second year of the program, your class time and required lab time per term are determined by your chosen concentrations and the number of elective supplemental courses you decide to take.  Lab time is time you spend working on your photography, within the NESOP facilities, and it can be earned anytime the building is open and you are not in a scheduled class.  The total class hours and lab hours per week should total a minimum of 27 hours.  Lab hours are able to be accumulated outside of class time and at your convenience, so while you should always aim to accumulate more than the minimum lab hours per week, it is helpful to understand that they are totaled over the term and so you have flexibility in when you earn your lab hours.  NESOP is open seven days a week, from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm Sunday through Friday, and 8:00 am to 6:30 pm on Saturday. We also offer extended hours during finals or other peak periods.  

Can I work while attending NESOP?

Many students work part-time (typically 20 hours per week) while studying at NESOP. However, since your class schedule changes every term, you will need to have a flexible work schedule.

How can I apply for financial aid?

Financial aid is available to students who qualify. Go to www.fafsa.ed.gov to apply and find out more. NESOP’s school code for the financial aid application is 015273.

Is NESOP an accredited institution? And what does that mean, anyway?

NESOP is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) and licensed by the Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure, Office of Private Occupational School Education. Accreditation is voluntary, and means that the school is held to high standards of academic excellence and ethical practices. To achieve educational effectiveness, our accreditation focuses on outcomes. Among other factors, focusing heavily on outcomes means that we are required to meet specific completion and placement rates to prove that our program really does educate and train students to get work in the professional photography field.  ACCSC has recognized New England School of Photography (NESOP) as a 2014-2015 ACCSC School of Excellence. The ACCSC School of Excellence Award recognizes schools for their commitment to the expectations and rigors of ACCSC accreditation, as well as efforts in maintaining high levels of achievement among their students.  In order to be eligible for the award, a school must meet all the criteria established by the Commission for its School of Distinction Award and a majority of the school’s graduation and employment rates from all programs offered must meet or exceed the average rates of graduation and employment among all ACCSC-accredited institutions.  We believe that staying accredited keeps NESOP performing at its best—so we may best serve our students.

Is there parking at the school?

While NESOP does not have it's own parking area, public parking is available at two nearby City of Waltham parking facilities:  Embassy Parking Facility - Off of Pine Street and Crescent Street Lot – Crescent Street btn. Moody and Adams Streets.  Both parking locations offer very reasonable parking rates.

Are there internships available?

NESOP is an integral part of the Boston photographic community, connecting you to a wide range of resources and opportunities. In Year Two of the Professional Photography Program, students have the option of participating in an elective Externship.  An Externship is an opportunity for a second year student to to earn course units while expanding upon the photographic skills learned in the classroom in a real-world setting, guided by a professional in a relevant, modern work environment.  For those students who are unable to participate in an Externship, NESOP's Student Services department works to refer students to photographers looking for interns or assistants.  

What job placement help is offered after graduation?

NESOP offers job placement assistance to students and graduates of our two-year Professional Photography Program.  To learn more about the career and alumni services provided through our Office of Student Services, click here.   

What equipment does NESOP supply? What do I need?

The equipment you will work with at NESOP is the same as the equipment you’ll work with as a professional photographer. We offer a complete range of industry-standard digital and analog equipment and imaging softwares.  Before classes begin, each first-year student will need to purchase and is required to have his/her own digital SLR camera, lenses, a flash and two external hard drives; equipment specifications for these items will be provided during the admissions process.  NESOP strongly recommends that each student purchase his/her own laptop computer; though, this is not a required equipment purchase.  No other purchases of equipment need be made before classes begin.  A complete list of additional equipment specifications is provided by the first week of classes.  

What is the difference between a Degree and a Certificate/Diploma?

When you graduate from our Professional Photography Program you will earn a Diploma. Degree programs require the completion of specific academic and a number of elective classes. These are not required at NESOP, since our exclusive focus is on professional photography.

Can I continue my education after NESOP?

Yes, some graduates from our Professional Photography Program choose to continue their educations at colleges and universities throughout the world. Schools that grant BA/BFAs in photography have accepted NESOP graduates. If you plan to continue your education after NESOP, check with the institution of your choice to see if it will give you credit for the courses you completed as a NESOP student. Many of our students come to NESOP after receiving their BA/BFAs, degrees in other disciplines or graduate degrees. They find that NESOP’s program helps bring together their previous education and experience. At NESOP, they gain the insights and tools they need to develop strong, marketable professional portfolios—along with relevant, hands-on skills necessary to succeed in the field.

FAQs for your family and friends

Why NESOP?

Among the many reasons to choose NESOP are the quality and comprehensiveness of our curriculum, the limitless educational, professional and recreational opportunities our Boston location offers, our renowned faculty, made up of working, professional photographers, our extensive services and support to students and graduates as you build your career and our uniquely supportive community.  

Perhaps the most important reason to choose NESOP can be found by looking at the success of our alumni:   NESOP graduates have worked for and with companies and clients such as Converse, Rolling Stone, Sony, Boston Magazine, American Express, Exxon Mobil, Money Magazine, The New York Times, Time, Apple, Road & Track, The Oprah Magazine, Pepsi, Harley-Davidson Motorcycles, Adidas, The Improper Bostonian, The Discovery Channel, Epicurious, Nike, Hewlett-Packard, Newsweek, Microsoft and Martha Stewart Living.

When you look at the level of success NESOP graduates regularly achieve, there is no question as to "Why NESOP?"  NESOP is the clear choice for those serious about pursuing a career in photography.  

Who comes to NESOP?

Our students reflect diverse backgrounds and interests. They come from around the world to study with our faculty, receive a high-quality photographic education, join our community of photographers and begin their own careers. We have students who come to NESOP directly from high school, students who transfer from colleges and universities—as well as students with BA degrees and MBAs and career changers. The diversity of our student body creates a dynamic, welcoming atmosphere that encourages intensive learning and inspires creative exploration.

Who teaches at NESOP?

Our faculty is comprised of working professional photographers with broad and deep expertise in all areas of photography. In all, we have approximately sixteen instructors teaching in the Professional Photography Program.. Many of them teach at NESOP on a regular basis. Others rotate based on their professional schedules. Our instructors bring their cumulative experience working in photography to our students—who gain an important perspective on the real-world challenges and opportunities of photography.

What is the average class size?

We keep class sizes small to offer individual attention and encourage the free and beneficial exchange of ideas—as well as a close working relationship between our instructors and students. Class sizes range from seven to a maximum of 20 students for instructional/laboratory classes, and to a maximum of 35 students for a lecture class.  NESOP instructional/laboratory class sizes are typically kept under 16 students.  

Is NESOP accredited?

NESOP is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) and licensed by the Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure, Office of Private Occupational School Education. Accreditation is voluntary, and means that the school is held to high standards of academic excellence and ethical practices. To achieve educational effectiveness, our accreditation focuses on outcomes. Among other factors, focusing heavily on outcomes means that we are required to meet specific completion and placement rates to prove that our program really does educate and train students to get work in the professional photography field.  ACCSC has recognized New England School of Photography (NESOP) as a 2014-2015 ACCSC School of Excellence. The ACCSC School of Excellence Award recognizes schools for their commitment to the expectations and rigors of ACCSC accreditation, as well as efforts in maintaining high levels of achievement among their students.  In order to be eligible for the award, a school must meet all the criteria established by the Commission for its School of Distinction Award and a majority of the school’s graduation and employment rates from all programs offered must meet or exceed the average rates of graduation and employment among all ACCSC-accredited institutions.  We believe that staying accredited keeps NESOP performing at its best—so we may best serve our students.

Is financial aid available?

Financial aid is available to students who qualify. Go to www.fafsa.ed.gov to apply and find out more. NESOP’s school code for the financial aid application is 015273.

Does NESOP have housing available?

Finding housing in any urban area is always a viable concern. While NESOP does not offer housing facilities or dorms, we do everything possible to help our students find suitable housing. We refer our students to online resources, connect them with other incoming students seeking roommates and steer them toward reputable realtors our students have worked with in the past. Rest assured, all NESOP students find appropriate housing.

Does NESOP offer health insurance?

No, NESOP does not offer group health insurance. Due to the small average size of the NESOP student group, the rates we would be able to offer for limited health insurance coverage would not be competitive with those that they can obtain on their own. Most students under 26 can include themselves on their parents’ health insurance plan. Others will have to look for health coverage independently—and may find better coverage options using this approach.

Do you help students find jobs?

NESOP offers job placement assistance to students and graduates of our two-year Professional Photography Program.  To learn more about the career and alumni services provided through our office of Student Services, click here.   

How far can a certificate/diploma from NESOP take you?

A diploma from NESOP can help graduates attain many jobs in the market—from assisting successful photographers to working for print or online media. However, it’s important to point out that much of the photography business is focused primarily on freelance/self-employed situations. Most clients and employers look at the portfolio as the key factor in deciding whether or not to hire a specific photographer. NESOP graduates have all had to present their portfolios successfully and have it accepted by a two-thirds vote of NESOP’s second-year faculty in attendance at their portfolio review. This process prepares students to discuss and defend their work—and gives them the confidence that comes from knowing that professionals in their field consider their work acceptable in their chosen areas of specialization.

Business courses and the required business concepts are integral to every concentration at NESOP. This training educates students in self-promotion and business management. It also assists them in handling the many issues they will face as self-employed photographers.

NESOP graduates who want to teach photography at the high school or college level will probably need a BFA or MFA—a route that many NESOP students have pursued successfully.