School of Art, Design and Architecture

BA (Hons) Photography with Foundation

UCAS tariff 32 - 48
UCAS course code W649
Institution code P60
Duration 4 years
Course type Full-time
Location Plymouth

The foundation pathway provides students with non-standard entry points to progress onto the BA (Hons) Photography programme. The foundation year allows you to develop skills across a range of media and introduces creative best practice in preparation for the first year of the undergraduate programme. During the foundation year you will have the opportunity to explore creative processes relevant to visual design, animation, illustration, print-making, fine art, and photography.

The course is designed to encourage visual exploration and creative discovery within an engaging and vibrant studio setting. Upon successful completion of the foundation course, you will join the undergraduate BA (Hons) Photography programme equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to successfully complete an undergraduate degree.

Photography with Foundation
Careers with this subject

Throughout the course, students will develop and consolidate their knowledge and understanding of what it takes to be a creative working in the photographic industry and the transferable skills required to be sustainable and ultimately successful.

The professional practice modules at each stage are designed to contribute to the refinement of students’ contextual understanding of their discipline and enable them to focus this towards identified personal career aspirations and the opportunities offered – directly and indirectly – by the industry.

Where could your degree in photography take you?

In addition, the course will support students’ understanding of the skills and attributes that develop entrepreneurial capability and strategies for graduation and progression to employment or further study.

Find inspiration from our graduates

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.

Learn about our careers service

We are here to help you to explore, connect and succeed.

Key features

  • Experiment. Have the freedom to experiment and develop your photography using our extensive analogue and digital facilities and resources.

  • Promote. 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 paddle boarding on the Plymouth Sound in the evening, enjoy a varied and unique quality of life in the city and its coastal location.

  • Industry. Learn from contemporary professionals to help shape your future via our Artist Talks programme.

  • Career. 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.

This course is an integrated part of the BA (Hons) Photography degree at the University of Plymouth. Successful completion of your foundation year (Year 0) will not lead to a separate award or qualification in its own right but provides progression onto Year 1 of

Or one of the following related degree programmes:

Course details
  • Foundation year

  • The Foundation pathway provides students with non-standard entry points to progress onto the BA (Hons) programme. The Foundation year allows you to develop skills across a range of media and introduces creative best practice in preparation for the first year of the undergraduate programme. During the Foundation year you will have the opportunity to explore creative processes relevant to visual design, animation, illustration, print-making, fine art, and photography. The course is designed to encourage visual exploration and creative discovery within an engaging and vibrant studio setting. Upon successful completion of the Foundation course, you will join the undergraduate BA (Hons) programme equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to successfully complete an undergraduate degree.

    Core modules

    • Materials, Methods and Media (ADA001)

      This module will introduce students to various techniques, materials and mediums through practise-based experiments, play and problem solving. You will be introduced to different creative processes and methods of working that will help you to develop your ideas and engage in critical and reflective practice.

    • Image, Type and Narrative (ADA002)

      Students will experiment with media, photography and typography to explore the relationship between image and word. This module enables students to gain knowledge within subject areas and explore the importance of developing an independent voice. Projects will become increasingly student driven as they develop their ability to propose ideas and solutions through self-directed inquiry, discovery and production.

    • Risk and Resolution (ADA003)

      Students will consolidate their skills, knowledge and understanding in initiating, researching, developing and presenting a final project and exhibition. This module will also enable students to continue to research and develop their strengths as an independent art and design practitioner and prepare them for their next stage of study.

    • Critical Themes in Art & Design (ADA004)

      This module introduces students to transformative phases within the historical and contemporary context of art, design, photography and media. Students will learn to ask critical questions and find answers through information gathering, reading and research. Through articulating responses, students will be introduced to academic conventions in preparation for progression to further Higher Education.

  • 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; 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 with Foundation Programme Specification 2021 22 6750

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

32 - 48

Don’t have 32–48 UCAS tariff points? We will consider ‘non-standard’ applications on a case-by-case basis.

A levels: For Level 3 entry the Tariff points entry level will normally be 32–48 points from A level or equivalent. Non-standard applicants will normally be interviewed.

BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended

Irish Leaving Certificate: Irish Highers, H5 in five subjects equivalent to 32–48 points.

International Baccalaureate: 24 overall

Proficiency in English: Students for whom English is an additional language will need to demonstrate ability in spoken and written English equivalent to an IELTS score of 6.0 and/or successfully complete the university’s special test before entering the foundation year.

English language requirements

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

We are looking for applicants with good potential including with non-standard qualifications and background, so will consider every application on a case by case basis. Alternatively, if you have any questions or concerns about meeting the entry requirements listed above we would encourage you to contact the Admissions Team on +44 1752 585858 or email, where a member of the team can offer you further advice.

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 2022-2023
Home £9,250 £9,250
International £14,200 £14,600
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. For more information about fees and funding please visit

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

Student projects

Our students' inspiring work

Highlighting the issue of food poverty

Highlighting the issue of food poverty
Harry Gennard captures the stark reality of food poverty in modern Britain.

Documenting preservationists who rediscover the workings and history of old mines
Nicholas Cade discusses his final year project.

Producing portraits that focus on the emotional wellbeing of a person and the way we react to sudden grief
Eliza Naish talks about her project – photo therapy for herself, helping her to come to terms with what is happening in her family.

Graduate perspective

"I have been interested in photography for as long as I can remember, but everyone in Plymouth was hugely supportive in helping me to pursue my dream. To win two national prizes when I am still developing my skills as a photographer is incredible, and my job with South West News is offering me some fantastic opportunities and subjects."

Graduate David Hedges is a Staff Press Photographer with South West News Service (SWNS), and has won major awards for his work.

Learn from experts in their field