Photography BA (Hons)

photography lenses
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 2019

Overview

Are you a keen photographer looking to turn your passion into a career?

If you want to get expert skills in a particular field of photography such as documentary, editorial and fine art photography or want to learn about the business side of the photographic industry, this BA (Hons) Photography degree course is ideal.

It gives you the knowledge and skill necessary to fine-tune your photography skills and successfully promote your work and abilities in a competitive marketplace.

What you'll experience

On this course you'll:

  • Learn about many approaches of photography and use traditional and modern techniques to hone your skills and find inspiration
  • Be taught by practising professionals with experience in exhibiting, publishing, curating and writing about photography
  • Use extensive photography facilities and equipment, including our photographic studios with flash and tungsten lighting setups, range of digital and traditional cameras, and our digital darkroom
  • Be able to attend engaging guest lectures from respected industry figures, past guest lecturers have included Peter Kennard, Laura Pannack, Oliver Chanarin, Clare Strand, Tom Hunter, Eva Stenram and Brian Griffin
  • Organise group exhibitions across venues in Portsmouth, promoting your work in pubs, shop windows, restaurants and pop-up galleries
  • Go on annual study visits to galleries and photography festivals in locations like London, Paris, Berlin and Brighton
  • Undertake commissions and enter photography competitions
  • Organise and be part of a London show where you'll network with gallery directors, curators, magazine editors and advertising agency directors

Work experience and career planning

To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, our Careers and Employability service can help you find relevant work experience in the photography industry during your course.

We can help you identify placements, internships, voluntary roles and freelancing opportunities that will complement your studies and build your portfolio.

Placement year

After your second year, you can do an optional work placement year to get valuable longer-term work experience in the industry.

You can work for a relevant company or organisation. Or set up and run your own business, alone or as a group.

Previous students have completed placements as a studio assistants at Camera Work London and as a photographic and video archival assistants at Miraculous Entertainment.

We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your aspirations. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.

Careers and opportunities

When you finish the course, our careers and employability service can help you find a job that puts your skills to work in the industry.

Previous students have gone on to work as:

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

Other graduates have continued their studies at postgraduate level or set up successful businesses with help and support from the University.

After you graduate, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability service as you advance in your career.

Entry requirements​

Entry Requirements

Selection Process

  • Applicants will be required to attend an interview.
  • Applicants without art and design qualifications or experience may be asked to submit a digital portfolio in advance of an invitation to interview.

​Course costs

Tuition fees (2019 start)

  • UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £13,900 per year (subject to annual increase)

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.

Additional costs

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

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

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'll need to pay extra printing costs of around £100–£600 on portfolio work. Material and production costs are around £100–£500 a year.

Optional study trips abroad will cost £300–£700

​What you'll study

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

In each year, you need to study units worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 units worth 20 credits and 1 unit worth 40 credits.

Units currently being studied

Core units in this year include:

  • City Spaces
  • Storytelling and the Photobook
  • Introduction to Professional Practice
  • Introduction to Practice Research
  • Creative Digital Photography
  • Introduction to Visual Culture

There are no optional units in this year.

Core units in this year include:

  • Documentary Practices
  • Body and Text
  • Commissioned Briefs and Professional Practice
  • Practice Research

Optional units in this year currently include:

  • Professional Experience
  • Public Exhibition and Professional Promotion
  • Student Enterprise
  • Visual Culture: Visions of the Body
  • Visual Culture: Cult Films and Postmodernism
  • Visual Culture: Design, Style and Identity
  • Visual Culture: Issues of Representation
  • Visual Culture: Technology and the Image

Core units in this year include:

  • Advanced Practice Research
  • Major Projects in Photography
  • Photography and Professional Writing
  • Professional Practice

Optional units in this year currently include:

  • Visual Culture: Extended Research Project
  • Visual Culture: Dissertation
  • Visual Culture: Research Paper
  • Advanced Digital Process

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 units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.

Learning support

As well as support by faculty teaching 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 have a mental or physical disability, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) can give you help, support and advice so you can reach your potential.

Teaching​

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • workshops
  • lectures
  • projects
  • seminars
  • individual tutorials

Teaching on this course has a practical focus.

How you'll spend your time

Each academic year is divided into 2 teaching blocks and an assessment period:

  • Autumn teaching block – September to December
  • Spring teaching block – January to Easter
  • Assessment period – Easter to June

Most teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends.

How you're assessed​

You’ll be assessed through:

  • practical photography projects
  • exhibition prints
  • artists books
  • magazine layouts
  • screen based work and moving image
  • real-life exhibition projects
  • portfolios

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 may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • 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

Apply

How to apply

To start in 2019 you need to apply through UCAS. You’ll need:

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

You can start your application now and submit it later if you want.

Not quite ready to apply?

Come to an Open Day to explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.

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

How to apply from outside the UK

If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply for this course through UCAS (see the 'How to apply' section above for details). You can also apply directly to us or you can 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. 

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.