BA (Hons) Photography

Course details

UCAS Course code W641

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The BA (Hons) Photography degree explores contemporary photographic practice through practical projects and thinking critically and contextually. Analogue and digital skills are developed alongside explorations into alternative processes. Theory and practice mesh together to encourage holistic and informed thinking about photography.

We offer a course where we are interested in you as an individual. You see us regularly and receive regular tutor support and feedback. We pride ourselves on industry standard kit and facilities. You can borrow kit for free and don’t have to join a waiting list to use the studios. All years of our course happily mix, share ideas and inspire one another.

We like you to be able to say things with your work, to be independent, to freely experiment and to have a desire for innovative practice on location or within studio-based practice.

You will be able to build a broad understanding of independent visual practice in photography and be able to take advantage of professional opportunities. Our students have access to visiting industry professionals, external exhibition and publication opportunities and professional practice, all of which supplement a staff of active industry professionals and research active academics who support you throughout your degree.

Your passion and our expertise will enable you to produce exciting images across a wide range of traditional and digital media, showing your skill, commitment, versatility and creativity to potential employers.

To see much more of what we do please visit our Photography Blog.

Many of our full-time programmes can be studied over a longer period on a part-time basis. Please contact the course enquiries team for further details.

Throughout your degree, you will be given a strong grounding in the principles and practice of photography debates and research methods. We will help you explore a variety of lens-based genre through contemporary and traditional ways of working. You will be encouraged to work experimentally either on location or in the studio, supported with tutorial and workshop groups.

The course has a strong professional ethic; as a result, you will be encouraged to work towards one of the many career opportunities on graduation.

Year one

Compulsory Modules

  • Fundamentals in Photography
  • Historical Contexts and Research Skills
  • Communicating Ideas in Photography
  • Critical Studies in Photography

Year two

Compulsory Modules

  • Principles of Photography
  • Advanced Visual Narratives
  • Exploration of Photography
  • Critical Theories in Photography

Year three

Compulsory Modules

  • Photography Application
  • Photography Dissertation
  • Photography Practice
  • Photography Exhibition and Professional Practice

Programme specification

For detailed summary of all course content please read our programme specification for this course.

Download our programme specification (PDF)

2017 entry

96-112 UCAS tariff points.

The UCAS tariff has changed for 2017, you can find out more about the new tariff and qualification options from the new UCAS tariff table

Please check selection criteria for any additional entry requirements.

2018 entry

112 UCAS tariff points.

Please check selection criteria for any additional entry requirements.

Selection criteria

You should have A levels including Photography, or a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (or equivalent). 
You will be required to submit a portfolio of work as part of the application process which will be reviewed by our Photography team. Your portfolio should contain both work in progress and some examples of finished work. This will be reviewed during a short interview - you should also bring with you any sketchbooks or research folders.
You must show that you can work independently and have a basic knowledge of contemporary photography and visual cultures.

Full-time courses

Apply online through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), between September and January; they will send your application on to us. Applications submitted after this date will be considered late and the course you have applied for might be full by this time; however, we will consider you for alternative suitable courses.

Their website provides all the information you need about universities, courses, locations, entry requirements and financial support. You are allowed to select up to five course choices. You need to use the correct UCAS campus and course codes as not all courses are offered at every campus. You will be asked for the following information when you apply online:

Institution code name: UoC

Institution code: C99

Campus location:

  • A Ambleside
  • B Brampton Road, Carlisle
  • E University of Cumbria at Energus, Workington
  • F Fusehill Street, Carlisle
  • L Lancaster
  • T University of Cumbria in London
  • Y University of Cumbria at Furness College, Barrow-in-Furness

Part-time courses

Applications should be made online directly to the university; visit our website or contact for details and guidance. There is no official closing date but we would encourage you to apply as early as possible, as many courses are competitive.

What makes a good application?

We consider all aspects of your application, not simply your qualifications and grades. We look at your academic background and performance, relevant experience (particularly for professional courses where some voluntary or paid experience is required) and your reference. Above all, we look for motivation, commitment and potential-evidence that you can benefit from study at higher education level.

Make sure you include:

  • Relevant qualifications/evidence of ability: check our website for the specific entry requirements required for each course. Tell us your previous academic results and your projected grades.
  • A supportive reference, from an employer or your school or college.
  • A good personal statement.
  • Explain clearly what attracts you to the course and tell us about your wider interests and experience. If you are applying for a course that incorporates professional training and placements, you should include any relevant experience or visits you have made in the workplace. Highlight your individual strengths and qualities, personal skills, capacity for teamwork, contribution to the community and your enterprise, originality and determination. Select some activities which bring out these qualities.

What next?

When we receive your application, we will send you an acknowledgement and if you are successful at this stage you will get either an offer (with an invitation to visit the campus to which you have applied), or an invitation to interview on a particular date. If we are not able to offer you a place on your chosen course we will usually try to offer you a place on a similar course and will contact you to discuss this. Alternatively, if we think you are suitable, but cannot offer you a place on your preferred campus because of the level of competition, we will offer you a place at another campus if one is available.

And if I accept?

The admissions team will contact you and send further information from February onwards about accommodation, and from May/June onwards about preparing to join the university. If you have any other queries, please telephone the admissions offices for information and advice on 0845 6061144.

Deferred entry

We welcome applications for deferred entry on some courses. If you have specific plans during your year out, indicate these on your personal statement as they may be relevant to your course and could enhance your application.

International students

Applications for full-time undergraduate study are made through UCAS. Please see the international pages of our website for full details of our entry requirements (including English-language skills) as well as contacts for advice and support.

From 2009 the UK Border Agency introduced a Points-Based Immigration System (PBS) for students coming to the UK from outside the European Economic Area (EEA). Students entering higher education will need to obtain a Confirmation of Acceptance (CAS) plus finance confirmation to obtain a Tier 4 student visa. UK education providers are licensed by the UK Border Agency. When students apply for their visa (or entry clearance) they will need a valid Certificate of Acceptance of Studies from the university. Please note that a CAS is not a guarantee that a visa will be issued.

See the following websites for further details:

A degree in Photography can open up a fantastic range of career options. Freelance or in a permanent position, studio-based or on the move, the skills you learn will help you no matter what route you decide to take. Our former students have gone on to become assistant photographers, picture editors and researchers, forensic and medical photographers, gallery curators and more.

For many of our students, their career path begins even before graduation through commissions and success during their studies. Amy Trantum was given the university's Highest Achieving Student of the Year award in her third year, and Liam Collins won the first Young Cumbrian Artist of the Year in his second year. The shortlist of ten for this prize was exclusively made up of our photography students, so you can be sure of creating well-acclaimed photographs during this course.

Two of our graduates Gillian Gilbert and Anna Bridges have gone on to develop the Carlisle Photo Festival and have gained national and international recognition. Other graduates include Will Wintercross who is an acclaimed photojournalist and has worked extensively in Syria, Drew Gibson has made his mark in automotive sports photography and Caroline Leeming is a very successful fashion photographer working for clients such as Saatchi & Saatchi and Fenwick.

Photograph by Adam Mennell. Train of Thought won second prize in the ‘A World of Unfairness’ competition held by Disability Talk. Professor Stephen Hawking was on the judging panel.

We are immensely proud of our fantastic, industry standard studio facilities, with our dedicated technician on hand to help all our students. You will be able to work with a range of new equipment including Nikon digital cameras, professional digital medium-format and 4x5 large format, on location or in one of the three main professionally equipped studios. We supply high-quality dedicated, Mac workstations for post-production work with the latest printers.

Unlike most other universities, we also believe you should be able to exploit any technical areas your project work may require. We make sure you have access to computer training labs, animation suites, printmaking studios, moving image-editing suites, wood, metal and plastic workshops, textile studios, graphic design studios and even our ceramics department.

Here are some examples of our students' work.

Photograph by Katie Johnston

Student work from BA (Hons) Photography

Photograph by Ruaridh Cameron

Photograph by Amy Trantum