School of Art, Design and Architecture

BA (Hons) Photography

Join our course to develop your passion for photography. On BA (Hons) Photography you will make, use and analyse images, engaging directly with the world around you while exploring the medium’s endless potential. You will develop a clear understanding of photography in its wider cultural, historical and professional context. Our high profile teaching team, purpose-built environment and excellent facilities will enable you to evolve your own unique style and personal visual language.

During the course, you will also have the opportunity to broaden your understanding of photographic practice in other cultures - our international opportunities include a residential field trip to Europe in year one and rich opportunities for studying abroad in countries like Germany, Romania, Sweden, Cyprus, Slovenia, France, Slovakia, Norway, New Zealand and the USA in year two.

Careers with this subject

Advice from graduate Owen Richards:

"Believe in your own work, keep yourself motivated and busy. Also be kind and good to people: the industry is a difficult one to break into, so we all need to help and support each other."

Read more from Owen in his case study.

Key features

  • Experiment - a key feature of our course is the space to experiment. During the three years there is a great deal of focus on the way you develop your photography, both in practice, and in ideas.
  • Document - a growing aspect of the course, in response to contemporary practice, is the importance of the photographic document. This includes opportunities to develop as a contemporary documentary practitioner.
  • Collaborate - a valuable skill for any creative practitioner, collaboration is sewn throughout our course including short studio projects, group presentations, a collaborative practice module, and our unique Set Construction Project that allows you to work collaboratively and develop the skills to build, style and photograph your own studio sets.
  • Think differently - an important aspect of our course is the development of you as a critically aware contemporary photographer. This means that you can move between ways of working that span the commercial and artistic worlds. The life of a contemporary practitioner is a varied and multi-faceted affair, and the skills taught on this course help you to navigate this exciting world.
  • Plymouth - take advantage of our stunning location in the South West. This natural resource will inspire your creative practice with its rural and city landscapes, brooding moors and dramatic coastline.
  • Explore - broaden your understanding of photographic practice in other cultures - our international opportunities include a residential field trip to Europe in year 1 and rich opportunities for studying abroad in countries like Germany, Romania, Sweden, Cyprus, Slovenia, France, Slovakia, Norway, New Zealand and the USA in year 2.
  • Facilities - achieve your creative goals with our excellent facilities and resources, including a custom-built analogue and digital resource and an extensive Artist Book Collection. Be free to work when the inspiration takes you with our resources open from 8am to midnight, seven days a week and throughout the holidays.
  • Visitors - deepen your understanding of the subject with our lively visiting speaker series, featuring well-known practitioners and former students talking about their work and career paths. Past speakers have included: Brett Rogers, Director of the Photographers Gallery; celebrated documentary photographer Ed Clark; image makers Anna Fox, Simon Roberts, Charlotte Dumas, Ori Gersht, Martin Parr, Mark Power, David Goldblatt, Laura Pannack and more.
    We also work with Specialist Professional Practice visitors who create clear links between the creative practice of the course, and professional outlets in the future.
  • The future - follow in the footsteps of our impressive, prizewinning photography students, including graduate David Hedges, a press photographer who recently won two major awards for his images and video work; Anna Jay, prize winning art director for The Debrief; or Louis Little assistant to Martin Parr.
  • Unistats - we have excellent KIS results: 95 per cent students agreed staff were good at explaining things; 80 per cent of students agreed staff made the subject interesting; 85 per cent of students were satisfied overall; 85 per cent of students were in work/study six months after finishing (Unistats).

Course details

  • Year 1
  • Experiment / document / collaborate

    • You will experience a wide variety of approaches to photography, in contexts such as editorial, illustration, bookwork and exhibition practices. You will also get the opportunity to collaborate, both within the programme, and with other areas through Plymouth +.
    • A programme of technical workshops will establish your understanding of a full range of professional working methods, and you will be encouraged to investigate and challenge established photographic history.
    Core modules
    • PHO411 Intensive Introduction

      In this module students develop an understanding of core photographic, technical and methodological processes of observational practice. Key photographic processes are explored through workshops, tutorials and personal photographic exploration. The relationship between individual practice, ideas and the context of others¿ work is explored.

    • PHO412 Establishing Practice 1

      Students develop an understanding of core photographic observational and constructed practice, including self representation and still life. During workshops, seminars, and personal photographic exploration, key photographic skills are developed. The relationship between individual practice, ideas and the context of others¿ work is explored.

    • PHO414 Establishing Practice 2

      Students explore figurative and sequential practice within documentary photographic practice, as well as developing a self-initiated project. Work is presented in bookwork and sequential editorial format. The relationship between individual practice, ideas and the context of others¿ work is continued.

    • CART400PP Conscience (Communicating an Ethical Message)

      Students explore `Big Picture' ethical / sustainability issues in contemporary society. A real-world problem is researched / established through collaboration across Subject areas and students explore different visual responses through critical evaluation of each other's practice. Students are encouraged to consider future, holisticism, conscience, caring, imagining, listening, mindfulness, contemplation, soul, spirituality, grace and nourishing and important to ethical understanding.

    • PHO413 Practice of Research: Establishing Histories 1

      In this module students are introduced to a wide range of photographic histories which chart the development of the medium, its characteristics, its practitioners and practices, and its proliferation throughout society. Students gain a broad knowledge and understanding of these histories and acquire skills in critical thinking, research, writing and presentation which are used to explore and challenge conventional understandings.

    • PHO415 Practice of Research: Establishing Histories 2

      In this module students expand their knowledge of photographic histories and further develop their skills in critical thinking, research and writing, building upon the knowledge and skills developed in PHO413, with greater emphasis being placed on the practice of academic writing.

  • Year 2
  • Explore / develop / contextualise

    • The second year allows you to grow as a photographer, developing your image making whilst considering the context in which your work will sit.
    • Your projects can be linked throughout your second year, with the relationship between history, theory and practice being developed all the time. 
    • Collaborative-practice continues in year 2, both in the studio, with the unique Group Set Construction Project, and in your individual practice. 
    • You will also have the opportunity to study abroad, in countries such Germany, Romania, Sweden, Cyprus, Slovenia, France, Slovakia, Norway, New Zealand and the USA. 
    Core modules
    • PHO512 Collaborative Practice 2

      The module offers the opportunity to work collaboratively. Individual practice is developed either through projects collaborating with an external organisation or within a national/international photographic competition.

    • PHO513 Practice of Research: Establishing Theories

      In this module students are introduced to a wide range of photographic theories and related discourses. They develop more advanced critical skills, including analysis and evaluation, and the application of theoretical concepts to photographic practice, as well as academic writing and research skills. Students continue to develop undergraduate research processes through the use of the University's ILS facilities and procedures and prepare for the final year Dissertation.

    • PHO511 Collaborative Practice 1

      The module offers the opportunity to work collaboratively. Students work in groups to build and photograph an ambitious set construction in the studio or on location

    Optional modules
    • PHO515 Critical Practices

      In this module students investigate the integration of theoretical ideas into photographic practice, exploring the various forms that this can take within historical and contemporary practice. They devise a plan of personal work that explores such correspondences, giving careful consideration to subject matter, visual (and textual) approach and presentation of work. The final part of the module will be concerned with preparation for the final year dissertation.

    • PHO516 Professional Futures

      Through practical project work and its refinement, students prepare for the final year of study through the development of a self-negotiated study programme. Technical, methodological and theoretical elements of practice are consolidated.

    • PHO517 Exchange Project

      The module is designed to extend students¿ experience and understanding of subjects through study abroad. Students spend a minimum of ten weeks abroad, offering the opportunity to increase communication skills, self-reliance, a greater awareness of cultural values and increased vocational prospects.

    • PHO514 Developing Practice

      This module presents an opportunity to build on previous experiences in order to further develop personal creative skills and interests within the context of contemporary photographic practices.

  • Final year
  • Develop / progress / present

    • In the third year you will undertake a unique and ambitious individual programme of work, preparing you for your future career. 
    • The written dissertation will focus and consolidate your intellectual and imaginative research skills in a self initiated piece of writing.
    • A programme of seminars, complemented by visits from graduates and professionals, will help you to consider, and realise your ambitions for life beyond university.
    • Your third year practice will be developed into significant bodies of work that will help to introduce you to a diverse audience.
    Core modules
    • PHO615 Major Project

      After an initial period of self-initiated preparation, research and consultation, a written proposal for the production of a body of work is prepared and submitted. Subject to the approval of the programme team, the student undertakes a period of self-negotiated study leading to the production of a substantial body of work, supported by a report.

    • PHO612 Advanced Practice 2

      In this module each student develops an ambitious individual programme of photographic practice in negotiation with tutors, through careful reflection on personal aims and objectives for the final year of study.

    Optional modules
    • PHO611 Year 3 Introduction

      In this module each student develops their own programme of study, in negotiation with tutors and through careful reflection on personal aims and objectives on joining the programme from the partnership. Students prepare for the following study module and plan an individual programme of research relating to their ambitions.

    • PHO616 Professional Practice

      Across the final semester, students reflect on their individual post University aspirations and prepare relevant material for life after the degree.

    • PHO617 Dissertation

      This module completes the Photography research syllabus with an extended essay, researched and written by each student. Students have the opportunity to research and reflect on a subject of their choice, within an area associated with their practice discipline.

    • PHO618 Extended Dissertation

      This module completes the Photography research syllabus with an extended essay, researched and written by each student. Students have the opportunity to research and reflect on a subject of their choice, within an area associated with their practice discipline.

    • PHO610 Advanced Practice 1

      In this module each student develops and undertakes their own programme of study in negotiation with tutors and through careful reflection on personal aims and objectives. Subject matter, visual approach, research and working practice are all negotiated and conducted with reference to professional practices and knowledge of contemporary debates in photographic theory and practice.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BA Hons Photography 3889

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

International Baccalaureate

24 points.

18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma
DMM.

All access courses
Pass a named Access to Higher Education Diploma (preferably art and design or combined), with at least 33 credits at merit and/or distinction.

GCSE
Mathematics and English Language grade C.


English language requirements.

Equivalent qualifications may be considered, please contact admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

An interview and portfolio presentation are requirements for entry onto this course.

Find further information on our interview and portfolio guidance page.

Fees, costs and funding

New students 2016-17

Full time Home/EU* International**   Islands***
Undergraduate (Classroom based) £9,000 £12,250 £9,000
Undergraduate (Laboratory based) £9,000 £12,500 £9,000
Science and Engineering - Year Zero £9,000 £12,500 £9,000
Management, Government and Law  - Year Zero £7,500 £10,300 £9,000
2 year fast-track (Business only) £9,000 £12,250 £9,000
Integrated Masters (Classroom based) £9,000 £12,250 £9,000
Integrated Masters (Laboratory based) £9,000 £12,500 £9,000
Master of Architecture (MArch) £9,000 £12,250 £9,000
PGCE £9,000 £12,250 £9,000
Management Practice (Online) (First year - part time) tbc £3,996 tbc

Part time (per 10 credits) Home/EU* International**   Islands***
Undergraduate (Classroom based) £750 £1,025 £750
Undergraduate (Laboratory based) £750 £1,045 £750
Science and Engineering - Year Zero £750 £1,045 £750
Management, Government and Law  - Year Zero £625 £860 £625
Integrated Masters (Classroom based) £750 £1,025 £750
Integrated Masters (Laboratory based) £750 £1,045 £750
PGCE £750 £1,025 £750


*The tuition fee for UK students transferring to Plymouth University from a partner institution is £9,000.
**Please refer to the policy for capping of international student tuition fees.

***‘Islands’ refers to fees for both the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

Continuing students

Please note some fees for continuing students may differ slightly.

For a full listing please visit our fees for continuing students 2016-17 page.

Further information

Download our fees brochure

Read our Student Fee Policy for the Ordinary Degree route


How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.



BA (Hons) Photography - Collaborate

Envision, plan, resource, build, style and photograph your own set.

Gain valuable experience and skills by working collaboratively with a group of your fellow students over a three-week period.

Find out more about it

BA (Hons) Photography - Explore

Experience photographic practice in other cultures with our funded residential field trip in Year 1 and opportunities for studying abroad in Year 2.

Visit exhibitions in Europe and study abroad in countries like Romania, Sweden, the USA and New Zealand.

Find out more about our international opportunities

Career opportunities

Develop your own unique visual language with us, and the skills that will help you to stand out from the crowd and pursue your chosen career path.

Photography career opportunities

BA (Hons) Photography graduate profiles

Guy Gunstone - BA (Hons) Photography student

I was attracted to the unique ‘set construction project’ in which, over four weeks, in a group, you collectively work together to build, light and photograph a set – it sounded so exciting!

Find out more about what Guy thinks of the course

People