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.

Photography darkroom

Register in advance for Clearing

We'll give you a call on A level results day to discuss your place at Plymouth, meaning there's one less thing to worry about.

Find out more about Clearing

Careers with this subject

Once you graduate, there are far more options than simply being 'a photographer'. Our graduates have gone on to work as commercial freelancers, artists exhibiting and publishing nationally and internationally, picture editors, art directors, designers, lecturers, and company directors.

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.
  • Discover Uni - 94% of students agreed staff were good at explaining things and 94% of students agreed that they were satisfied with the course overall (National Student Survey 2020).*
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
    • PHO401 Essentials

      In this module students are introduced to core photographic, technical and methodological processes and principles. Key photographic methodologies are explored through workshops, tutorials and personal photographic exploration.

    • PHO402 Developing Practice

      This module aims to further establish key processes, skills and methodologies fundamental to photographic activity. Students relate contextual knowledge gained through research via the critical analysis of students’ own work and that of contemporary and historical practitioners.

    • PHO403 Tableaux

      This module enables students to begin to establish their understanding of professional contexts by responding to a ‘live brief’ set by a designated industry stakeholder. The brief will engage students to work in groups to produce, construct and photograph an ambitious narrative tableaux in the studio or on location.

    • PHO404 Storytelling

      Students explore the process of storytelling in the form of a photo essay and bookwork, introducing and expanding the practices of editing, sequencing, layout, and design. The principles of ethical representation will be introduced into their contextual understanding. Students will further develop synergies between practice and historical cultural contexts through written and verbal form.

  • 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
    • PHO501 Mediations

      This module engages students in forms of contemporary photographic practice involving still and moving image, sound and text. A single multimedia time-based output is constructed over the course of the module. Emphasis is placed on developing work that is informed by an understanding of historical and contemporary lens-based practice and culture and associated contextual research (theoretical and practical).

    • PHO502 Futures

      The module is designed to contribute the development of students’ contextual understanding of their discipline, and focus this towards identifying personal career aspirations, means of sustainable career development, and the opportunities offered, directly and indirectly, by the industry.

    • PHO503 Common Challenge: Collaboration

      The module offers the opportunity to students to look outwards, to engage or work with others collaboratively. Thematically, the research and project focus will relate to UN Sustainable Development Goals incorporating an interdisciplinary agenda. Student practice is developed through interaction, exchanging of ideas and actively researching/collaborating with an external individual, group or organisation.

    • PHO504 Establishing Practice

      In this module, students negotiate a theme from which to develop a series of art/media/design works or artefacts. They are expected to experiment with media/s in order to develop and produce a body of work that explores the practical, theoretical and technical aspects of their individual areas of interest within photography. Students are introduced to and prepare for the Common Dissertation module.

  • 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
    • ADA600 Common Dissertation: Critical Practices

      The module engages students in situating practice through research, contextualisation and critical reflection, in relation to their final stage study and post University aspirations. Programmes can offer: a traditional dissertation; preparation for an extended dissertation; situating existing practice; or the construction of a new body of work as practice-based research.

    • PHO602 Negotiation

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

    • PHO603 Resolution

      After an initial period of self-initiated preparation, research and consultation, students prepare and submit a written proposal for the consolidation of a body of work. Subject to the approval of the module team, the student undertakes a period of self-negotiated study leading to the production of a substantial body of work, supported by a critical reflection.

    Optional modules
    • PHO604 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.

    • PHO605 Professional Futures

      Delivered across the third and final year, this module is geared towards students focussing on their career aspirations post university and researching, collating, reflecting and networking to create an ‘exit-strategy’ that will enable them to be ‘ready and able’ and to achieve potential employability.

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 Programme Specification_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.

In light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the changeable nature of the situation and any updates to government guidance, we may need to make further, last minute adjustments to how we deliver our teaching and learning on some or all of our programmes, at any time during the academic year. We want to reassure you that even if we do have to adjust the way in which we teach our programmes, we will be working to maintain the quality of the student learning experience and learning outcomes at all times.
Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

96 - 120

A portfolio is a requirement for entry onto this course. 

A level
A minimum of 2 A levels, General Studies accepted.

International Baccalaureate
26-28 points.

18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma
DMM. 

BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.

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.

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

English language requirements.

We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary

Fees, costs and funding

The UK is no longer part of the European Union. EU applicants should refer to our Brexit information to understand the implications.

New Student 2021 2022
Home £9,250 To be confirmed
International £14,200 To be confirmed
Part time (Home) £770 To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. For more information about fees and funding please visit www.plymouth.ac.uk/money.

Additional costs

This course is delivered by the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business and more details of any additional costs associated with the faculty's courses are listed on the following page: Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business additional costs.

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.

Our facilities and resources

From the fully equipped studios geared at commercial level to our traditional darkrooms and analogue provisions, we have it all.

We are located in the Scott Building, a 19th-century building, which was modernised in 2008 specifically to accommodate BA (Hons) Photography as well as other arts courses.

Benefit from a wide range of analogue and digital provisions and facilities, with an extensive range of Artist Book archive for inspiration. Be free to work when the inspiration takes you with our resources open 08:30 – 17:00 Monday to Friday, with twilight access provided where required.

Are you thinking of applying?

We'd like to help you by explaining the application process, giving you advice on creating your portfolio and preparing for your interview.

Our teaching team like to meet you face to face for an interview. We ask you to bring your portfolio - including sketchbooks, workbooks, printed images and written work. The interview will be very informal and we always enjoy discussing your work with you. Three years is a long time for you to invest, so we will ask you questions to make sure we are the right course for you, and we would like you to ask us questions too – so bring some questions with you


Our staff

* These are the latest results from the National Student Survey. Please note that the data published on Discover Uni (Unistats) is updated annually in September.