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BA (Hons) - Photography (with integrated foundation year)

Capture the world in its many facets and faces. Create and seize unique moments in time. Explore your creative passion and bring it to life.

Based on our dedicated arts campus, this photography degree with an integrated foundation year will help you explore your creative passion and become a professional photographer.

Photography (with integrated foundation year) cover image

Course Overview

Our foundation course in photography will give you a strong grounding to experience life through the camera lens to advance your studies to degree level.

You’ll learn all the essential photography basics - how to use a variety of cameras, both digital and film, how to make creative images, work in a studio and on location, and how to print your photos to a high standard.

In addition, on this photography course you’ll explore historical and contemporary photographers and images to encourage you to develop your own style and flourish as a photographer ready for year one of the degree course.

Former students have gone into a range of photographic careers, become freelance photographers, curators and editors and some have secured solo exhibitions in art galleries just months after graduating.

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

Your introduction to photography will see you exploring a variety of lens-based and other creative media through contemporary and traditional ways of working. You will be experimenting and exploring photography using a variety of techniques and processes.

  • Making Images
    An introduction to a wide range of conventional and unconventional image-making processes.
  • Making Objects
    Examine a wide range of 3D processes in relation to a specific project brief.
  • Visual Enquiry
    Develop your knowledge and understanding to enhance your research methods, contextual awareness, and an evaluative ability.
  • Environment
    Explore your local environment using a range of inter-disciplinary practices such as graphic processes, drawing, 3D, photography, moving image, and collage/montage.
  • Portfolio and Progression
    Produce a professional and substantial portfolio of work.
Year two

In your second 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 three

In your third 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 four

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.