Photography BA (Hons)

UCA Rochester - 2020

Length of study:

Three years full-time


UCA Rochester

Start date:


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Entry year(s)


Entry requirements:

112 UCAS tariff points

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UCAS institution code:


UCAS code:


Course overview

Our BA (Hons) Photography course at UCA Rochester provides a dynamic and challenging curriculum, which foregrounds creativity and is supported by industry-level technology within an inclusive environment.

Our syllabus ensures that our graduates can become informed critical thinkers who understand the breadth and relevance of their subject and are able to establish themselves in the working environment after graduation. 

We ignite your passion to create work and collaborate on both course-related and personal projects, allowing you to make use of our extensive department, campus, national and international connections, and our experienced, widely exhibited and published team of research-active academics and technical staff.

Our BA (Hons) Photography staff are research-active and professionally experienced in a diverse range of areas from documentary photography to installation art.

Throughout your time on the course, you’ll study a wide range of photographic techniques and concepts, and your technical teaching will include studio photography, digital processing, working with large and medium format cameras and darkroom practice.

Our cutting-edge professional photography facilities include studios, digital workshop suites, colour and black and white film processing, colour and black and white darkrooms, and industry-leading equipment available for loan throughout the academic year to develop your projects ready for exhibition. 

We’ll help you produce a portfolio of work and the opportunity to acquire skills which will equip you for life after graduation.

Some of our industry contacts include the AOP (Association of Photographers), Graduate Fashion Week, 125 Magazine, The Guardian, Men’s File Magazine, The Print Space, Genesis Imaging, Free Range, The Photographers’ Gallery, Creative Advice Network and many others. 

Whilst the photography course has strong industry-facing elements, it also provides keen philosophical and conceptual teachings that enable our graduates to work equally well as fashion, fine art, editorial or advertising photographers, as well as re-touchers, art directors, graphic designers, theorists and art buyers.

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Course details

  • Year 1

    In the first year, you’ll learn the technical and conceptual skills that will give you a solid foundation from which to explore your areas of specialist activity. 

    You’ll address core genres and approaches to photography whilst being introduced to the facilities and workshops available to you. 

    You'll examine the relation of photography to environment, with a particular emphasis on space. Internal and external, urban and rural environments are an important feature of our cultural, social and political experience. The critical consideration of the complexities of environment represents an important aspect of contemporary practice. This unit provides the opportunity to explore these ideas through the genres of documentary, architecture, landscape and street photography.

    You'll explore the ways in which identity is expressed in photography through an assemblage or articulation of semiotic elements such as props, pose, gesture or lighting. Identity is never a 'given' in a photograph, it's always a matter of construction and negotiation. When photographing a subject, there are a number of ways in which the identity of the sitter and the photographer are established.

    Image Making
    After a basic introduction to a range of different methodologies, exploring the notions of the singular image, tableau, series and/or montage, you'll decide on the mode of production of your work. Your project can be realised in the studio, with the option to undertake set-builds; or on location, as appropriate to your concept. This will be a visual project with outputs such as a book, exhibition, installation, moving image, magazine, zine or online publication.

    Individual Project
    This concludes the first year and encourages you to reflect upon your progress so far, to consolidate your successes and begin to make work that's not defined by a set brief, but driven by personal research and exploration.

  • Year 2

    The second year focus is on finding your own specialist way of working and you’ll be encouraged and supported to start working more independently.

    You’ll be encouraged to experiment with the medium and the hybrid nature of photography today; part of this includes public exhibition and reflection on your professional future.

    During this year you may also have the opportunity to complete an industry work placement or even study abroad. 

    The Photo-Object Unit encourages you to consider the relationship between photography and objects. This basic premise will be explored through a series of workshops focusing on the composition, lighting and layering of objects, within both studio and external settings. Working alongside these sessions will be a series of related lectures, where you will develop a deeper understanding of how social and cultural meanings are communicated via photographic representations of objects.

    Moving Image
    Working individually or as a team you will develop a film concept and style, while also establishing a timeline to organise the production of your video throughout the unit. As a photographer you have clearly defined skill-sets, but setting images into motion requires you to develop a whole new way of working and thinking. To support you through this transition workshops and visual practice tutorials will encourage experimentation and the creation of technically proficient and exciting audio-visual work. You will also be expected to locate your work within wider industrial, social and cultural developments; a series of lectures and seminars will offer you an understanding of the historical and contemporary convergence of moving imagery and photography, allowing you to draw on a diverse range of sources for inspiration. These sessions, in conjunction with your own research will enable you to develop and deepen the conceptual considerations of your project.

    This unit aims to examine the use of narrative within photographic practice and associated creative disciplines. Stories emerge from media in a number of different ways; including models of mood creation, scene setting and resolution but also through fragmentation, association and juxtaposition. You'll produce a substantial body of work reflecting upon your learning, creativity and individuality. You'll be encouraged to experiment, challenge your image making skills and produce a series of work that forms a coherent narrative. The story, and how you tell it, is up to you but should be considered and reflect upon your research into historical and contemporary practice in visual culture.

    Exposure: Positioning Practice
    This unit serves to consolidate your learning throughout Year 2 and focuses attention on where your practice and career are heading in the short and long term. It is designed to synthesise understanding of your practice with regard to the dissemination of work, possible directions you might take in Year 3, and consideration of where you might want to work within the creative industries.

    Study Abroad (optional)
    Is an optional unit that will allow you to spend a period of time in an overseas education institution.

  • Year 3

    The third year will see you achieve a greater level of independence with self-managed research, study and practice, resulting in a final major project and a written dissertation. 

    Your final year will see you create a specialised and challenging body of work for your degree show.

    Major Project
    This requires you to make a significant body of work. You'll draw upon the skills and knowledge you've acquired on the course. You're encouraged to employ an experimental and creative approach to the generation of ideas and the making of work, supported by an advanced creative methodology. Essentially, your independently led project requires sustained critical development, strong conceptual ideas, risk taking, aesthetic judgement, and sophisticated communication with a detailed understanding of context.

    The Exposure unit has several outcomes and is intended to help you progress your photographic practice within an external context along with your communication and professional skills. The unit is run throughout Year 3 and has two distinct elements. The first element is to produce a photographic body of work along with associated contextual input with a professional client. Secondly, you will produce a professional dossier that will include your career plan, personal branding, evidence to accompany your input into the Year 3 exhibitions and a photographic portfolio.

    Independent Research
    This unit consists of a substantial period of sustained, individually negotiated research on a subject that is likely to be related to the contextual and/or theoretical concerns of your chosen area of study (which may include specific disciplinary concern and/or wider cultural practice). This unit supports you towards the provision of structured engagement around your area of study. You have the opportunity to articulate this as a written response in a mode that conforms to academic conventions utilising detailed analysis and evaluation.

  • Study abroad

    This course offers the opportunity to study abroad for part of your second year. To find out more about studying abroad as part of your course please see the Study Abroad section:

  • Fees and additional course costs

    Tuition fees
    The course fees per year for 2020 entry are:

    • UK and EU students - £9,250 
    • International students - £16,250 (standard fee)
    • International students - £15,600 (full early payment fee)

    Additional course costs
    In addition to the tuition fees please see the additional course costs for 2020 entry.

    Further information
    Find out more about our course fees and any financial support you may be entitled to:

    These fees are correct for the stated academic year only. Costs may increase each year during a student’s period of continued registration on course in line with inflation (subject to any maximum regulated tuition fee limit). Any adjustment for continuing students will be at or below the RPI-X forecast rate.


There are two large photographic studios with digital work stations; film processing and photographic printing facilities including colour and black and white darkrooms and a dedicated digital area with specialist software for photo editing and high quality photographic printers.

What our students say

Course connections

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

  • Industry links

    Through a mixture of industry- facing project briefs, strong links with practitioners at multiple levels, portfolio reviews, visiting lectures, studio visits and a notable series of course publications and annual exhibitions, you’ll have the opportunity to gain valuable contacts and experience within the real-world of photographic discourse. A selection of contacts include:

    • theprintspace
    • Metro Imaging
    • Carl Lyttle
    • 3D Specialist
    • DDB
    • Advertising Agency
    • Burnham-Niker (leading photographer’s agency)
    • Getty Images
    • Royal Engineers Museum & Archive
    • 125 Magazine
    • Medway Council
    • Association of Photographers.
  • Careers

    Whilst the course has strong industry-facing elements, it also provides keen philosophical and conceptual teachings that enable our graduates to work equally well as:

    • Fashion/Fine Art/Editorial/Advertising photographers
    • Retouchers
    • Art Directors
    • Graphic Designers
    • Writers
    • Theorists
    • Academics
    • Art Buyers
    • Researchers.
  • Further study

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


Apply now

UK/EU applications

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2019:

Apply for part-time study - starting September 2019:

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2020:

Apply for part-time study - starting September 2020:

International applications

If you are applying for more than one course in the UK please apply via UCAS, to apply direct to UCA please use the links below:

Apply for full-time study - Year 1 - starting September 2020:

Apply for full-time study - Year 2 - starting September 2020:

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2020:

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2020:

Apply for full-time study - starting January 2020:

Apply for this course and other courses in the UK - full-time study - starting September 2019:

Due to visa requirements, this course is not available to students that require a Tier 4 (General) visa

If you have another category of visa please contact us: to find out if you are eligible to study.

If you're interested in joining Year 3 of this course, please contact our Admissions Team on +44 (0) 1252 892 960 or

When to apply:

The UCAS application deadline is 15 January. If you are applying directly to us, you can apply throughout the year but we recommend you apply as early as possible so you have time to arrange accommodation and visas.

For more information visit our how to apply pages

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

Along with your portfolio, the standard entry requirements* for this course are:

One of the following:

  • 112 new UCAS tariff points (equivalent to 280 old UCAS tariff points), see accepted qualifications
  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • Distinction, Merit, Merit at BTEC Extended Diploma
  • Merit at UAL Extended Diploma
  • 112 new UCAS tariff points from an accredited Access to Higher Education Diploma in appropriate subject
  • 27-30 total points in the International Baccalaureate Diploma with at least 15 IB points at Higher level, see more information about IB entry requirements.

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. We consider the strength of our applicants’ portfolios, as well as their grades - in these cases, a strong portfolio is especially important.

International entry requirements

To view the equivalent entry requirements for your country please select it in the list below.

Pick Your Country

Non-UK equivalent qualifications

English language requirements

Don't meet the international entry requirements or English language requirements?

You may be able to enter the course through the following entry courses:

Pre-sessional English courses in the UK or China

International Foundation courses in the UK

The UCA International College

Your portfolio

For this course we will require you to attend an Applicant Day and bring your portfolio for assessment. You’ll need to present a visual portfolio, one or two selected sketch books and/or supporting material, and two samples of written work (ideally essays). We’d prefer to look at visual work in a printed format, and are happy to see this complemented with digital work. We don’t expect polished portfolios, but we are looking to see that you’ve put some thought and effort into the making of your images and into the organisation and presentation of your portfolio. Further information on how to compile a portfolio and the specific requirements for examples of work to be included will be provided on the Applicant Portal after you apply.

More portfolio advice

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