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BA (Hons) - Photography

Do you want to develop your photographic vision and tell stories that matter? Become a photographer, capturing the world in its many facets and seizing unique moments in time?

From studio portraiture to social documentary to landscape photography, study our photography degree to explore your creativity in a range of genres and bring it to life with technique and ideas.

This innovative course in contemporary photography, based on our dedicated arts campus, will prepare you to embark on a career in the cultural and creative photography industries.


Course Overview

At least two-thirds of this photography degree course is practical photography, from studying technical skills of contemporary and traditional photography to exploring production outcomes for print and web platforms.

Facilities include a darkroom with colour processor, three shooting studios, and a digital darkroom, all supported by a dedicated photography technician. You’ll have the freedom to study photography at university level while pursuing and developing your own individual style.

We run an open-door policy and we’ll be on hand to help you hone your work. Your tutors have current industry links so you’ll always be up to date with the latest technologies and industry trends. Visiting speakers will inspire and challenge you. Field trips and residentials will feed your imagination, and there will be ample opportunity for you to exhibit your work.

On this course you will...

  • Develop your photographic and editing skills while experimenting during workshops and outdoor activities.
  • Work with students across the creative arts, collaborating on projects and exploring new mediums.
  • Be taught by industry experts with experience working freelance and within creative organisations.
  • Have the opportunity to exhibit your work publicly alongside the work of classmates across the arts.

Course Structure

What you will learn

Photography is a fantastically versatile discipline and as such offers many routes into employment within the creative industries.

At the University of Cumbria, we have designed a programme that allows you to experiment with techniques, develop your practical skills, study through critical thinking and enquiry.

Informed by the clear integration of practice and theory, and by an expectation of your intellectual engagement in Photography practice, you will develop transferable skills.

Year one

In your first year, you will focus on The Photographic Environment which deals with the cornerstone craft of photographic image capture, both analogue and digital, in application to and investigation of, your photographic interests.

Research and contextual skills will be established at this level as we introduce the work of significant photographers and explore how influences and themes can be tracked through history, thereby setting the stage for the development of your own work.

  • Photographic Image Capture
    An introduction to technical skills in digital & analogue photographic contexts.
  • Cultural Contexts
    An introduction to the cultural, historical and social contexts in which creative work from a range of disciplines will be considered
  • Picturing Place: Culture & Identity
    Explore the idea of place; different environments, cultures and identities informed by locale.
  • Collaborative Practice
    Develop your ability to collaborate in professional scenarios through problem-solving and project-based learning.
Year two

In your second year, you will explore the Relevant Photograph. This attends to socially engaged practice. Working with the local community and culture with input from industry professionals you will learn to apply your craft to a greater purpose. You will also develop your contextual explorations into photographic theory, critical thinking, and analysis.

We have developed an enrichment module in year two where you can experience and practice traditional techniques and cutting-edge technologies.

Creating the space for experiment and play is enormously valuable in promoting creativity, problem-solving skills, risk-taking, and imagination. The module is intended to expand your practice skills midway through your degree enabling you to explore your own potential and readying you for a more focused journey through your final year and employment beyond that.

  • Networks & Narratives: Photography in the Community
    Explore contemporary themes in photography.
  • Immersive Image-Making
    Enrich your personal photographic practice by experimenting with both traditional and cutting-edge technologies.
  • The Photographic Interface: Industry Experience
    An opportunity to explore your practice through a range of briefs set by industry professionals.
  • Theorising Photography
    Develop the skills to think critically and generate original ideas informed by examples of influential scholarship.
Year three

Your final year will revolve around an Independent Showcase where you will take full charge of your own practice and bring it into the public domain.

Research, practice and professional skills come together in the final year of study to refine and showcase your personal vision and expression of photographic practice. At this point, you will be an independent, intelligent and competent practitioner with a personal portfolio representing the breadth of your skill and the depth of your engagement.

  • Blueprint of Practice
    Refine your autonomous photographic practice through the synthesis of research and creativity.
  • Independent Research Paper
    Develop specialised and focused knowledge and understanding of a subject of your own choice.
  • Resolution of Practice
    Carry out a self-designed, in-depth, and investigative personal project.

Attend an Open Day at Cumbria

An Open Day is your opportunity to explore one of 5 campuses, meet your lecturers, and find out how the University of Cumbria could become your new home.

Take the next step towards achieving your dreams.
A student stands in front of a wall splattered with paint.