Photography | Four years

BA (Hons)

2017 entry

This four-year degree course includes a preparatory year (Year 0), which will give you a focused introduction to photography and film, and help you to develop skills in moving and still image, and in audio production and editing. The initial year will also offer seminars, tutorials, specialist technical workshops and group critiques to support you in adapting to student-centred learning at degree level.

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Length of study:

Four years (Year 0 + three-year degree) full-time


September 2017


UCA Farnham

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Course overview:

With a distinguished history stretching back over 60 years, this course will develop and nurture your skills in the studio and the field, capturing models, interiors, landscapes, nature and cities to produce beautiful and meaningful imagery.

As a student on our Photography course in Farnham, you’ll have full access to dark rooms, analogue and digital processing suites, studios, computer labs and an extensive range of cameras, lenses and lighting. You’ll have the freedom and the facilities to spend three years exploring both black and white and colour photography in a creative context.

Studying amongst our unique artistic community also affords you the chance to collaborate and share ideas with fellow students from across the creative industries, including filmmakers, journalists, fine artists and advertisers.

Course content - 2017 entry

Year 0 is a preparatory year which provides you with a focused introduction to your chosen area of study and upon successful completion, it'll secure your place on the three year degree without further application or interview.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • The Poetics of Space

    We'll introduce you to practices and procedures for exploring the relationship of sound to image in time-based productions. Thematic content will be the exploration of ideas about place and space.

  • Personal Research Project

    This unit provides you with the opportunity to explore your own personal creativity by looking at development work by a range of artists, photographers, and filmmakers. The emphasis will be on your personal exploration of ideas and sources of inspiration, resulting in a one-minute moving image project, or a series of 15 still images (which could include text).

  • Practices of Looking

    You'll receive a thorough grounding in the conventions of academic writing and discourse in film and media studies.

  • Storytelling and Staging

    Through an exploration of different forms of storytelling, you'll be encouraged to analyse texts and to create your own stories. You'll also be introduced to ideas of narrative and paintings, and work on the staging of a story.

You'll be introduced to the theoretical study and creative practice of photography, as well as the basic tools needed in the production and manipulation of photographic imagery and text. You'll learn the fundamental technical skills required to progress and develop your practice.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Documentary and Environment

    You'll research ideas of documentary and experiment with documentary practices. You'll also explore the representation of the urban and the rural environment, and discover ways to represent the world through photography.

  • Photography in Context

    This unit will explore photography's ability to create meaning within relevant theoretical and contextual frameworks.

  • Constructed Image

    You'll investigate the constructed image within a historical context and provide the skills you need to engage with and work with these methods. Workshops will cover studio production, darkroom and digital modes of image making and manipulation.

  • Self-Directed

    This will be your opportunity to design and carry out a photographic project of your choice, defined and agreed with tutors.

This year's about solving the problems of how to represent ideas in photography by thinking strategically. Building on the critical introduction to photography practices and assumptions carried out in Year 1, we'll consider ways of appropriating, modifying, negotiating, challenging or replacing existing conventions of representation.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Professional Futures

    This unit provides a platform for informed debate both on your own work and the way in which related institutions and professions operate in a political, economical and social context.

  • Critical Approaches

    You'll examine key aspects of a range photographic practices and theory, in relation to their historical origins.

  • Vision and Knowledge

    You'll explore issues raised in various 'objective' photographic practices. Documentary, survey, scientific, medical, forensic and military traditions have at their core the idea that 'seeing is believing', implying that vision and visual representation are equivalent to 'knowledge'.

  • Narrative

    You'll begin to engage with how meaning can be constructed within a single image, often referred to as a 'tableau', or across a series of images or by combining image with text, learning how to tell a story and guide the viewer to a desired conclusion, be it truth, fiction, nonsense or lies.

  • Study Abroad (optional)

    This optional unit is designed to broaden your educational experience and deepen your understanding of cultural diversity. It will enable you to study within a different cultural context and gain fresh perspectives.

You'll have the opportunity to draw on the experience, knowledge and skills acquired so far. A core theme of this year is the major project, where you choose the areas of your practical studies that you'd like to concentrate on. You'll be provided with a range of professional and career planning topics which help you to develop your future career.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Dissertation

    This covers a substantial period of sustained, individually negotiated research on a subject related to the contextual and/or theoretical concerns of your discipline or chosen area of practice, towards the provision of structured written argument.

  • Independent Study

    You'll pursue a substantial practical project before the final major project.

  • Resolution

    The culmination of your studies will involve the independent and sustained research, development, production and presentation of a substantial photographic project, drawing on everything you've learnt over the three years.

Course staff

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International study

Find out more about studying in the UK, or studying part of your course abroad at one of our partner institutions (study abroad option not available on all courses).

Course connections

On this course, you'll be exposed to a world of opportunities

As a long-established photography course, our renowned teaching team bring with them high-profile industry connections, both nationally and internationally. We regularly arrange visits to, and lecturers from, a wide range of companies and institutions, such as:

  • Autograph
  • Impressions Gallery
  • National Media Museum
  • Berg, Blackwell, Focalpress, Routledge and other publishers
  • bookRoom
  • Brighton Photo Biennial and Brighton Photo Fringe
  • National Institute of Design, India
  • The Photographers’ Gallery, London
  • Photography & Culture journal
  • Photoworks magazine
  • Source: The Photographic Review.


As well as a course team including a number of practising professionals, we're connected with the Association of Photographers, a national body that works to give student members a head start as photographic practitioners.

Skilled and creatively gifted photographers are needed across an enormous range of industries, and many of our graduates have secured professional roles in a variety of fields, including:

  • Fashion
  • Editorial
  • Advertising
  • Fine Art
  • Documentary-making
  • Curatorial posts
  • Gallery/ project management
  • Writing
  • Teaching
  • Lecturing
  • Technical support.

Alumni of this course include Paul Seawright, Gareth McConnell, Eileen Perrier, Andrew Bruce, Jane Bown, Stephen Bull and Anna Fox.

You may also like to consider further study at postgraduate level.

How to apply - 2017 entry

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Entry requirements - 2017 entry:

Entry requirements

The standard entry requirements* for this course are:

One of the following:

  • 64 new UCAS tariff points (equivalent to 160 old UCAS tariff points), see accepted qualifications   
  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • Merit, Pass, Pass at BTEC Extended Diploma
  • Pass at UALAB Extended Diploma
  • 64 new UCAS tariff points from an accredited Access to Higher Education Diploma in appropriate subject.

And four GCSE passes at grade A*-C and/or grade 4-9 including English (or Functional Skills English/Key Skills Communication Level 2)

Other relevant and equivalent Level 3 UK and international qualifications are considered on an individual basis, and we encourage students from diverse educational backgrounds to apply.

*We occasionally make offers which are lower than the standard entry criteria to students who have faced difficulties that have affected their performance, and who were expected to achieve higher results.

New UCAS tariff

UCAS has made changes to its tariff system.

Find out how these changes will affect you

Your portfolio

No formal portfolio is required for this course. But, if you want to bring work for discussion at your interview, you're welcome to do so. We'll require you to attend an Applicant Day which will include an interview. This will also give you the opportunity to visit us, meet the course team and see the facilities.

Fees & finance

Uncover all the costs involved, as well as the grants, loans and other financial support you may be entitled to.

Student regulations

Find out more about the operation of our courses, student conduct, assessments and examinations.

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