School of Art, Design and Architecture

BA (Hons) Photography

UCAS tariff 96 - 120
UCAS course code W640
Institution code P60

3 years

Course type


Location Plymouth

Make, use and analyse images, engaging directly with the world around you while exploring the medium’s endless potential. Develop a clear understanding of photography in its wider historical, cultural and professional context and be equipped with the skills to achieve and sustain your career ambitions in the creative industry. Our diverse teaching team, purpose-built environment and advanced facilities enable you to establish your unique style and personal visual language.

Photo credit: Natalia Salaskiewicz

Careers with this subject

Studying photography at the University of Plymouth will open a wide range of career choices. You could look at channelling your creativity into pursuing a self-employed career as a freelance photographer or look to be employed by a big commercial brand or studio. If you decide to go freelance, you will be taught how to set up your own business, market and network yourself, and win commissions from magazines, advertising and design agencies, digital marketing agencies as well as sourcing other income streams from picture libraries, gallery print sales, etc. 
Many self-employed photographers specialise their practice, so you could consider a career working in portraiture (studio-based or environmental), weddings, landscape, documentary, sports, editorial, studio still-life, fashion... the variety of options are endless. 
If you would prefer being employed by a big commercial brand or company, then you will be taught how to put together a portfolio for interview, how to conduct yourself professionally in an interview situation, how to create an impactful CV and how to win that job position at the first time of asking. Some key companies that employ photographers include Next, Primark, Ikea, Pro Direct, and the NHS. 
Whether you choose to be a self-employed freelancer or in-house photographer, you can work in a variety of industries including fashion, fine art, advertising, education, science, graphic design, film and digital/web design. Typical employers include magazines, newspapers, journals, retail websites, catalogues and large companies. 
Due to the variety of transferable skills you gain from studying photography, you could also enter into the creative industries as a digital retoucher, picture researcher, art and photo editor, art director, graphic designer, art buyer, researcher or museum or gallery curator.
You could also use your creative skills to inspire others and work as a teacher (primary, secondary, or further education) or higher education lecturer. Teaching opportunities are also available outside of a traditional classroom setting and you could consider using your artistic flair to engage with people as a Community Arts Worker.
When considering your options, remember that your physical and digital portfolio are essential to presenting your work to potential employers and evidencing your skills. 
Many photography graduates take the skills they have learned elsewhere and find their way into less directly related graduate professions, including marketing, the civil service and the charitable sector. 
Careers service
Careers advice is embedded into your academic programme through workshops, events, placements and networks, working with the academic staff teaching on your course.
We also offer materials, networks and resources online through our 24/7 portal, and a wide-range of activities, opportunities and support centrally in the Careers Service space within the Student Hub.
We are here to help you to explore, connect and succeed.

Key features

  • Experiment. Have the freedom to develop your photography using our extensive analogue and digital facilities and resources.  
  • Promote change. Use your photography to raise awareness and promote change in response to global challenges and environmental issues. 
  • Collaborate. Work with creative businesses, charities and organisations to gain real-world experience.
  • Explore. Experience international opportunities through European field trips and established connections for studying abroad. 
  • Lifestyle. From making images on Dartmoor National Park in the morning to paddleboarding on the Plymouth Sound in the evening, enjoy the varied and unique quality of life in the city and its coastal location.
  • Expert-led. Learn from contemporary professionals to help shape your future via our Artist Talks programme.
  • Career ready. Follow in the footsteps of our prize-winning and successful alumni and achieve a career in various fields of the industry: editorial, commercial, art direction, assisting, styling, curating, picture editing, teaching and arts practice.

Course details

  • Year 1

  • Experiment & Explore
    • Technical workshops and hands-on activities establish an understanding of professional working methods, including studio practice, analogue processes, digital workflow, bookmaking, and digital and traditional printing.
    • Work with new people in new places in new ways. Whether it is making images on the Dartmoor field trip or working collectively on a brief directed by an industry professional, new opportunities will be available to you.
    • Lectures and seminars contextualise your work through the study of contemporary and historical practices.

    Core modules

    • Essentials (PHO401)

      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.

    • Developing Practice (PHO402)

      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.

    • Tableaux (PHO403)

      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.

    • Storytelling (PHO404)

      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

  • Develop & Collaborate
    • Develop new ways of working and thinking about photography through the teaching of new technologies and methods of production and publication.
    • Work across disciplines using one of the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals to engage with and promote awareness of global (environmental) concerns.
    • Begin to consider your future and life after graduation by researching career opportunities and engaging in the Artist Talks programmes with established professionals.

    Core modules

    • Mediations (PHO501)

      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).

    • Futures (PHO502)

      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.

    • Common Challenge: Collaboration (PHO503)

      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.

    • Establishing Practice (PHO504)

      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

  • Resolve & Exhibit
    • Research, produce and resolve a major body of work for publication and exhibition at the Summer Degree Show.
    • Consolidate and refine career ambitions and life after graduation through talks and workshops from graduates and industry speakers.
    • Contextualise and critically articulate your work in relation to various audiences and the opportunities these provide: editorial, commercial, fashion, fine art, post-grad study and research.

    Core modules

    • Common Dissertation: Critical Practices (ADA600)

      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.

    • Negotiation (PHO602)

      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.

    • Resolution (PHO603)

      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

    • Extended Dissertation (PHO604)

      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.

    • Professional Futures (PHO605)

      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.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

96 - 120

A portfolio is a requirement for entry onto this course. 
A level
A minimum of two A levels; General Studies accepted.
International Baccalaureate
26–28 points.
18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma
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. 
T level
Merit in digital production, design and development.
Mathematics and English Language grade C.
Equivalent qualifications may be considered; please contact
We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications, please refer to our tariff glossary.  

Fees, costs and funding

Student 2023-2024 2024-2025
Home £9,250 £9,250
International £16,300 £17,100
Part time (Home) £770 £770
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. More information about fees and funding.

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

Graduate perspective

"The main reason to study photography in Plymouth for me was a mix between the course size and location. I went to view a lot of universities at the time, and I was completely put off by the large course size and the idea of being a number on a page in such an emotive subject. I wanted a personal relationship with my lecturers and a personal relationship with other people on the course. This support system was very important for me, and I feel like I really got that here."
Graduate Ellie Jenkins is a photographer for the retail company NEXT.

Learn from experts in their field

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