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BA (Hons) Photography (with Foundation Year option)
BA (Hons) Photography (with Foundation Year option)

BA (Hons) Photography (with Foundation Year option)

  • ID:BU440056
  • Level:3-Year Bachelor's Degree
  • Duration:
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Admission Requirements

Entry Requirements

  • This course requires 104–120 UCAS tariff points including a minimum of 2 A-levels or equivalent. We are happy to consider a combination of qualifications and grades to meet the overall tariff, for example A-levels A*CC, ABC, BBB or BCC, BTECs DDM or DMM. You can use the UCAS calculator to see how your qualifications equate to UCAS tariff points.

  • If you do not meet these requirements, you may want to consider our foundation year, a one-year course that will prepare you for degree-level study.

English Requirements

  • If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS (Academic) 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in writing, speaking, listening and reading or equivalent. 

Course Information

Why study BA (Hons) Photography at BU?

  • Explore photography as a craft and a business, through a combination of practical and theoretical approaches 

  • Access industry standard digital cameras, lighting, studio space and image manipulation software throughout your degree 

  • Work alongside internationally recognised lecturers and practitioners 

  • Emphasis on real-world collaboration with others

  • Choose optional specialist units in a particular area of interest in more detail to match your career ambitions 

  • Make invaluable industry connections during a work placement in industry.

Foundation year: We have a foundation year option for UK students who do not meet the entry requirements for the degree course. This additional year of study will give you a grounding in the media & communication skills required for this course, building your confidence, knowledge and skills for further study. After successful completion of the foundation year, you will progress to the full degree. 

UCAS Code: W690

With foundation year: W691

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Foundation year

Core units

  • Academic & Professional Practice: You will build your confidence in both academic and professional skills. This unit will cover the academic skills which will be required at degree level study and you’ll practice them throughout the unit with support from key university services including the library and study skills team. There will also be the opportunity for you to reflect on and develop your own professional skills through interactions with employers, careers services and online resources. 

  • Collaborative Communication Project: The unit focuses on the centrality of communicaiton, both as a process and as a project. Through the collaborative development of a communication solution to a specific communication problem, the unit aims to promote the principles and practices of team-based iterative project work. 

  • Media & Current Debates: You will be introduced to a) the important role and responsibilities of the news media within democratic societies and b) the varied nature of reporting of key events, issues and debates within the contemporary 24/7 news cycle. You will gain an essential level of understanding of what constitues news and what the work of journalists entails. You will also develop an awareness and appreciation of differing coverage of particular stories by a range of news organisations. 

  • Media Work: You will become familiar with a range of profiles and career paths in the communication and media industries and be inspired to reflect on and develop your own professional identity. Through case studies of seminal campaigns, programmes and artefacts, profiles of ground-breaking personalities, masterclasses from industry professionals, and guest talks from BU staff who have worked or currently work in marketing, PR, media production, journalism and communications, you will encounter and interact with diverse role models, career trajectories, and types of profressional practice. 

Year 1

Core units

  • Photography Fundamentals: This unit will introduce you to fundamental tools and techniques of photography. Through practice, theory and historical context, you will develop an understanding of the technology within the camera and how it works. From a practical perspective the unit will advance your skills and knowledge in a broad range of photographic practices, terminology, methodologies and techniques. There will be an introduction to studio, lighting and post production effects. The final output will be a portfolio that can demonstrate your understanding of various techniques.

  • Understanding the Image: This unit emphasises the practice of analysing and interpreting photographs from historical, stylistic and aesthetic perspectives. Key historical movements, trends and styles will be explored from different theoretical frameworks including: representations of reality, photographic composition, visual culture, narrative structure, etc. This unit will help you develop a stylistic, aesthetic and intellectual orientation for your future work. You will work on a number of published works and photographers in order to analyse, apply and interpret the content discussed in class.

  • Ambitions: You will explores different techniques for reflection, organisation and study skills. You will explore the various prospects for personal growth while at university, in a learning context but also through to social and well-being opportunities on campus and in the wider community and industry.

  • Portfolio: During this unit you will be introduced to different styles and forms that exist within contemporary practices of photography, including but not exclusively fine art, portraiture, fashion, product, lifestyle, event, sports, architectural and speciality photography. You will build an understanding of the various types of photography through practice, theory and historical context. Working with a range of photograhic equipment, you will advance your skills and knowledge in a broad range of photographic practices, terminology, methodologies and techniques. The final output will be a portfolio.

Option units (choose two)

  • Creative Collaboration: This unit aims to introduce you to the process of effective collaboration through a series of exercises and workshops designed to explore and examine how creative people work together.

  • Community: Here you will engage in a short project that focuses on a particular issue within your community. The aim is for you to develop confidence and a sense of global citizenship; working with external partners on causes that benefit society.

  • Negotiated Project: The aim of this unit is to enable you to claim ownership of all stages of the initiation, development and realisation of a media production, as you apply your experience from across the course so far to a self- directed project. The unit reflects the group work realties of contemporary creative media production and will benefit you in terms of professionalism, knowledge of industry practices and personal development.

Year 2

Core units

  • Specialist Portfolio: You will develop a deep understanding within a particular area of photography and build a portfolio that demonstrates your understanding of the practice, theory and historical context of their chosen specialist area.The unit advances your experimental and reflective processes, driven by independent study and organisation. It helps to prepare you for the experiences within the final year, which are much more self-directed.

  • Work in Media Industries: The aim of this unit is to develop your broad and critical understanding of media industries, their dynamic nature, and the implications of this changing culture for the professional demands upon, and subjective experiences of, industry workers.

Option units semester one (choose two)

  • Studio Photography: You will learn a range of photographic studio practices and develop an understanding of the process of photographic production, as well as learning techniques including studio composition, lighting and equipment. You will develop a portfolio of images that can demonstrate your understanding and skills in studio photography.

  • Photojournalism: The unit explores the theory behind how narrative and images interact. You will learn through an investigative approach to various forms of photojournalism (e.g. sports photography, anthropological photography, smartphone journalism etc.) and link these to your understanding of cultural influences, industry developments, and technological advances. 

  • Media Perspectives: This unit aims to further develop your scholarly and analytical skills, as you choose two options from a selection of perspectives/ approaches to addressing media. Optional routes through the unit are not specific to any one medium; you will be asked to critically apply unit content to your own media practice/ interests.

  • Documentary Practice: Here is an opportunity to explore a range of approaches to documentary, drawing on practical, ethical and critical perspectives to inform your own work. Through your own practice, you will reflect on the relationship between the filmmaker, the context of production and what Grierson described as the 'creative treatment of actuality'.

Option units semester two (choose two)

  • Professional Project: You will engage in a short project that focuses on a particular issue within a professional context. The aim is for you to develop confidence and an experience of work in the wider world; working with external partners on a project that may support their business.

  • Open Project: The unit asks you to address one core question: "what do you want to change?" In responding to this question, you are encouraged to work collaboratively, interdisciplinary and transmedially as you take ownership of your project and learning. The unit reflects the complex group work realties of contemporary creative media and encourages you to consider the power of media in relation to change, as you conceptualise, initiate, develop and realise a 'media intervention'.

  • Camera & Lighting: This unit explores the specialist field of camera and lighting for filmmaking, including but not exclusively camera technology, grip and the principles of lighting. You will engage with professional practices and demonstrate your understanding with a portfolio that showcases your ability to act as a director of photography, and reflect upon the role within the context of a larger production coexisting with other specialisms.

Optional placement year

You'll have the option to complete either a 4-week or optional 30-week (minimum) work placement during the course, working in a professional environment.

The placement provides you with the experience of how an organisation operates, as well as an opportunity to enhance your personal development and future employability.

Final year

Core units

  • Entrepreneurship for the Creative Industries: We live in a complex and rapidly changing environment, in terms of social, economic, technological and cultural factors, all of which are closely interdependent. The cultural and creative industries are increasingly dependent on new forms of economic engagement, while creative individuals increasingly expect to have ‘portfolio careers'. The aim of this unit is to explore some of the tools, skills and strategies that can be utilised to build a career as an independent producer or freelance worker in the contemporary creative industries.

  • Graduate Project Development (Photography): The aim of this unit is to provide a route-map for your development and provide you with the skills and support to flourish in your graduate project.

  • Graduate Project (Photography): During this unit you will develop a project, (e.g; dissertation/ portfolio etc.) to produce 'calling cards' for industry. The emphasis is on the appropriate treatment of ideas, and how they are communicated effectively to identified audiences and users through the process of their specialist field of production.

  • Exhibition: The exhibition is a chance for you to select and share the work that you are proudest of from across the course and a platform to invite external stakeholders that may be interested in the work. You will work with your fellow students to arrange, manage and promote an exhibition.

Option units (choose one)

  • Enquiry & Experiment: The aim of this unit is for you to undertake a practice led or research based project. You will look to identify, examine and demonstrate a systematic and critical understanding of a question, issue or debate within your practice. In doing so you will conceptualise your research act through engaging with relevant scholarly literature and appropriate research approaches and method. You will create a research 'artefact' and offer a critical reflection on the artefact, research act and findings. Within this unit you are encouraged to creatively challenge practice conventions.

  • Professional Research Project: Here you will have the opportunity to critically examine your chosen area of practice through the application of research into an aspect of media professions, including ethical and theoretical considerations.

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Pre Courses

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Career Opportunity

Career Opportunity

This course seeks to generate enterprising and entrepreneurial practitioners that are not only geared up to work in industry as it currently stands, but to have an active role in shaping how it may be in the future.

Ability to settle

Overseas Student Health Cover

OSHC: 624 ($) GBP per year

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