Student using darkroom equipment. BA (Hons) Photography.
UCAS Code
W640
Mode of Study
Full-time, Full-time sandwich with work placement
Duration
3 years Full-time, 4 years sandwich with work placement
Start Date
September 2022

Overview

Discover and develop your photographic vision on this BA (Hons) Photography degree.

Through research, industry, and professional practices, you'll master advanced analogue and digital photography techniques and engage with multidimensional technologies – such as computer-generated imagery (CGI), photogrammetry, virtual reality (VR), and 3D printing. Our distinctive mix of traditional and modern approaches will empower you to be innovative and shine among others in the competitive creative industries.

After you graduate, you’ll have many career options at your fingertips. Want to work for a business or by yourself on client projects? Planning to pursue a postgraduate degree? Join the 90% of our graduates who have taken these paths (HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey, 2019).

Course highlights

  • Advance your skills in industry-level equipment and image-processing software that professionals use – including digital media format cameras and DSLRs, Adobe Suite, Capture One, and Cinema4d
  • Produce stand-out work by using our excellent facilities – from traditional dark rooms to photographic studios
  • Gain valuable professional experience and boost your CV by doing an optional one-year placement – either with a company or by setting up your own
  • Broaden your craft and collaborative skills by working with fellow students on other courses in the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries
  • Promote yourself to potential employers by showcasing your work at self-produced exhibitions, industry portfolio reviews, and our annual Graduate Show
  • Be in the know of historic and modern photography forms by visiting galleries and festivals in major cities like Berlin, Paris and London
  • Build your professional contacts by attending guest lectures and meeting eminent speakers – past ones include Faisal Abdu'allah, Sunil Gupta and Brian Griffin  

90% Graduates in work or further study (HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey conducted in 2019)

TEF Gold Teaching Excellence Framework

91% Overall student satisfaction (NSS, 2021)

"I wanted to study at Portsmouth because of its beautiful location and vibrant art community. The decision was made when I met the lecturers at my interview; I could see how excited they were about the course, and I instantly knew it was right for me."

Aurora Way, BA (Hons) Photography 2021 graduate

Read Aurora's experience

Entry requirements​

BA (Hons) Photography

Typical offers
  • A levels – BBB–BBC
  • UCAS points – 112–120 points (calculate your UCAS points)
  • BTECs (Extended Diplomas) – DDM–DMM
  • International Baccalaureate – 25

See full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept

Selection process

All shortlisted applicants will need to attend an interview with a portfolio of work.

For more information on how to put together a portfolio, read our Photography creative portfolio guide.

English language requirements
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

See alternative English language qualifications

We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

A man photographing a woman in a studio

Photography studios

We have three studios kitted out with flash and tungsten lighting, coloured backdrops and lighting accessories. You can edit on-the-fly at iMac stations with photo editing software.

Explore studios

Two people developing film in a darkroom

Photography darkrooms

Develop your images in our digital darkrooms with calibrated display monitors, large format desktop inkjet printers, and virtual drum scanners for negative scanning.

Explore darkrooms

A hand holding a camera with viewfinder on

Equipment loan stores

Whatever your work, you can borrow computers and professional-standard film, photography, lighting, and performance equipment from our loan stores in the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries. 

A group of students on computers in a room

Open Access Suite

Our open-plan space includes PCs and Macs equipped with Adobe Creative Suite and other professional software.

Explore Suite

Careers and opportunities

When you finish the course, you'll have a range of options within the creative industries to start your career. You can also continue your studies to postgraduate level.

Graduate roles

Previous students have gone on to work as:

  • studio photographers
  • video directors
  • picture editors
  • retouchers
  • photojournalists
  • curators
  • artists
  • fashion photographers
  • teachers/lecturers

Ongoing careers support

Get experience while you study, with support to find part-time jobs, volunteering opportunities, and work experience. You can also venture into freelancing, or set up and run your own business with help from the University Startup Team.

Towards the end of your degree and for up to five years after graduation, you’ll receive one-to-one support from our Graduate Recruitment Consultancy to help you find your perfect role.

Placement year (optional)

After your second year, you can complete a work placement to gain professional industry experience and enhance your skills. Placements are an excellent way to increase your employability after graduation.

You can work for a company or organisation, or go independent by setting up and running your own business as a group or alone.

Whatever you choose, you can get full support from our Creative Careers team.

A person with blue hair and top standing before walls of colourful illustrations

Creative Careers

Our in-faculty Creative Careers team has extensive recruitment experience and knows the creative sector well, making it easier for students to find placements within the creative industries.

They can guide you through every step of the application process, including:

  • Searching for the ideal job through their database of vacancies
  • Giving tips on how to write an interesting CV that will catch employers' attention, no matter the role
  • Organising mock interviews, so you can hone your technique and familiarise yourself with the recruitment environment
  • Writing your startup business proposal – if you're going down the self-employment route

The team will continue to give you support throughout your placement year.

Placement roles

Our students have done placements in a variety of roles, such as:

  • Photographer
  • Picture Editor
  • Junior Stylist
  • Studio Assistant
  • Archival Assistant

Placement destinations

Our students have either run their own businesses or worked with prominent companies, including:

  • Camera Work London
  • Miraculous Entertainment
  • Dimples & Daisies Photography
  • Ellen McArthur Cancer Trust
  • Hermione De Paola 

Featured placement

Aurora Way – Liberty Studios

Aurora explains how her Photography placement helped her skills, knowledge and personality flourish – as well as the confidence of those she photographed.

Read Aurora's placement story

What you'll study

Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, four modules worth 20 credits and one module worth 40 credits.

Modules

Core modules in this year include:

  • Creative and Industry Skills
  • Introduction to Photographic Practices and Research
  • Introduction to Visual Culture
  • Professional Practice and work experience

There are no optional modules in this year.

Core modules in this year include:

  • Advanced Skill and Innovation
  • Photographic Critical Practices and Research
  • Photographic Practice and Project Development
  • Professional Experience and Freelance Experience

Optional modules in this year include:

  • Art, Design and Performance Study Exchange
  • Visual Culture: Cult, Taste and Collecting    
  • Visual Culture: Performing Identity     
  • Visual Culture: Technology and the Image
  • Visual Culture: Visions of the Body
  • Research in the Public Sphere
  • Student Enterprise 
  • Professional Experience
  • Engaged Citizenship through Interdisciplinary Practice

After your second year, you can complete a work placement to gain professional industry experience and enhance your skills. Placements are an excellent way to increase your employability after graduation.

You can work for a company or organisation, or go independent by setting up and running your own business as a group or alone. Whatever you choose, you can get full support from Creative Careers, an in-faculty team that can help you find placement opportunities within the creative industries. With their years of recruitment experience and in-depth knowledge of the creative sector, they can help you find placement vacancies and sharpen up your job search profile (including CVs and interview processes), and can guide you throughout your placement year.

Former students have completed their placements in assorted positions, such as:

  • Photographer
  • Picture Editor
  • Junior Stylist
  • Studio Assistant
  • Photographic and video archival assistant

They’ve either been self-employed or worked for several prominent companies, including:

  • Camera Work London
  • Miraculous Entertainment
  • Dimples & Daisies Photography
  • Ellen McArthur Cancer Trust
  • Hermione De Paola

Core modules in this year include:

  • Advanced Practice Research
  • Major Projects in Photography
  • Professional Practice and Graduate Employability

Optional modules in this year currently include:

  • Blogs, Grants and Catalogues: Writing Visual Culture for the Public
  • Advanced Digital Process
  • Visual Culture: Research Project
  • Visual Culture: Dissertation

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional modules may not run every year. If a module doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

How you're assessed

You’ll be assessed through:

  • photography assignments projects
  • industry and innovative projects
  • professional practice, work and freelance experience projects 
  • research and development reports and journals
  • essays and presentations
  • portfolios and artist books
  • screen-based and moving image work
  • exhibition projects

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

The way you're assessed will depend on the modules you select throughout your course. Here's an example from a previous academic year of how students on this course were typically assessed:
  • Year 1 students: 13% practical exams and 87% coursework
  • Year 2 students: 23% practical exams and 77% coursework
  • Year 3 students: 7% practical exams and 93% coursework

Teaching

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • workshops
  • lectures
  • project
  • seminars
  • individual tutorials

Teaching on this course has a practical focus.

You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a Web connection.

For more about the teaching activities for specific modules, see the module list above.

How you'll spend your time

One of the main differences between school or college and university is how much control you have over your learning.

We're planning for most of your learning to be supported by timetabled face-to-face teaching with some elements of online provision. Please be aware, the balance between face-to-face teaching and online provision may change depending on Government restrictions. You'll also do lots of independent study with support from staff and our virtual learning environment, Moodle. Find out more about how our teaching has transformed to best support your learning.

A typical week

We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your degree. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars, practical classes and workshops, tutorials, fieldwork, project supervision, external visits and supervised time in studio or workshop for about 11 hours a week. The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course. You'll probably do more independent study and have less scheduled teaching in years 2 and 3, but this depends on which modules you choose.

Term dates

The academic year runs from September to June. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter.

See term dates

Supporting your learning

The amount of timetabled teaching you'll get on your degree might be less than what you're used to at school or college, but you'll also get support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff when you need it. These include the following people and services:

Types of support

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.

You'll have regular contact with your personal tutor in learning activities or scheduled meetings. You can also make an appointment with them if you need extra support.

In addition to the support you get from your personal tutor, you’ll also have access to a Faculty student support advisor. They can give you confidential, impartial advice on anything to do with your studies and personal wellbeing and refer you to specialist support services.

You'll have help from a team of faculty academic skills tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
  • understanding and using assignment feedback
  • managing your time and workload
  • revision and exam techniques

If you need support with software and equipment or you want to learn additional skills (including skills not covered on your course), our creative skills tutors provide free workshops, activities and one-on-one tutorials. Skills you can learn include life drawing, film camera operation and video production.

Computing support staff are always available to give technical support in the Faculty's computer suites during normal working hours. There's also some support available from 5pm to midnight at busy times of the year.

As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to:

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

​Course costs and funding

Tuition fees (2022 start)

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £9,250 a year (including Transition Scholarship – may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £16,200 per year (subject to annual increase)

Funding your studies

Find out how to fund your studies, including the scholarships and bursaries you could get. You can also find more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.

Costs breakdown

Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

You may have to cover the cost of professional finishing of prints and portfolios in your final year. The estimated cost is £250–£1,200.

You will incur extra printing costs on portfolio work of around £100–£600.

Material and production costs vary from around £300–£800 per year.

All study trips are optional and you'll need to cover the full cost of these.

Optional study trips abroad cost around £200–£800. Optional UK trips cost £50–£150.

Apply

How to apply

To start this course in 2022, apply through UCAS. You'll need:

  • the UCAS course code – W640
  • our institution code – P80

If you'd prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.

You can also sign up to an Open Day to:

  • Tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
  • Speak with lecturers and chat with our students 
  • Get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join

If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.

How to apply from outside the UK

See the 'How to apply' section above for details of how to apply. You can also get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.

To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section. 

If you don't meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.

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