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BA (Hons) - Wildlife Media (with integrated foundation year)

Do you have a passion for wildlife and the natural world? Are you interested in photography and filmmaking, and wondering how to become a wildlife photographer or filmmaker?

If you don't quite meet the entry criteria for our three-year programme, this wildlife media foundation degree is the course for you. We’ll combine your interest with technical expertise and scientific knowledge. You'll learn the fieldcraft and naturalist skills to identify and track wildlife, together with the lens craft expertise to create sophisticated wildlife photography and film. Your foundation year will give you the skills, knowledge and experience needed to progress onto the full BA (Hons) Wildlife Media programme.


Wildlife Media (with integrated foundation year) cover image

Course Overview

You will study wildlife biodiversity, habitat, and behaviour, alongside the theory and practice of film and photography. You will benefit from opportunities to work with leading industry professionals in a biodiverse World Heritage Site with regular field trips and visits.

Our foundation year will help you reach the right level for taking the rest of the degree, building a solid foundation of skills from which to expand upon.

This degree will both challenge and support you to produce your own short experimental films; plan photography exhibitions; film, edit and create your own documentaries; and plan and manage an expedition to a destination of your choice. Throughout your learning you will grow in confidence, developing and enhancing your personal skill set, working towards specialisms that match your interests and career ambitions.

On this course you will...

  • Explore the world beyond the classroom through field trips and project work. Learn more about a wide variety of species, habitats and behaviours in the wild.
  • Master complex technical and practical skills and develop sophisticated natural history knowledge, within the supportive and vibrant context of an arts institute community.
  • Work with industry professionals, with strong links to employers locally, nationally, and globally. This includes Cumbria Wildlife Trust, RSPB, WWT, SSSI’s, and AONB to name a few.
  • Develop a portfolio of work to display during public showcases e.g. online gallery exhibitions and the Vallum Gallery on campus. Engage in Degree Shows to celebrate the progress of your work.

Course Structure

What you will learn

Our foundation year will help you reach the right level for taking the rest of the degree, building a solid foundation of skills from which to expand upon. We will hone your skills in a diverse range of media, including photography, documentary film making and writing for wildlife media.

On our course you’ll learn to create polished, professional wildlife documentaries charting the relationship between humans and the natural world. Capture the stories of animals across different environments when you explore bushcraft and wildlife survival skills. Immerse yourself in their world and capture your experience using top-quality photographic and filming equipment.

Throughout the course, you will develop your film and photo editing skills to suit a brief or chosen goal. And, celebrate your success through showcases and presentations where you will learn how to develop a professional portfolio for exhibition and receive feedback for your work.

Year one

Your foundation year will see you build the skills and knowledge that will put you in the strongest possible position to excel academically and professionally.

  • Media in Context
    An introduction to key theoretical frameworks and debates relating to modern media texts and media based practice.
  • Professional Practice
    Develop an understanding of the structures applicable to a range of media organisations, fully exploring their diversity and viability.
  • Media Narratives
    Explore approaches to fiction and non-fiction narratives in reference to a variety of media forms.
  • Published Media Products
    Develop conceptual, practical and technical awareness, at an introductory level, of the production phases for print and online material.
  • Student Initiated Photographic Project
    An introduction into, and the experience of, using traditional and contemporary technical photographic processes.
  • Biodiversity and Habitat for Media
    An introduction to factors that have shaped Britain and it natural history, with a framework for interpreting the natural world from both a scientific and cultural perspective.
Year two

In your second year, you will develop the solid technical and academic skills required to understand and successfully capture the environment.

  • Media Craft Skills
    Develop a working knowledge of a range of key technical skills in the media production making process.
  • Developing Photography Practice
    An introduction to, and the experience of using, technical photographic processes to illustrate natural history.
  • Cultural Contexts
    An introduction to the cultural, historical and social contexts in which creative work from a range of disciplines will be considered.
  • Naturalist Skills
    An introduction to the relevant natural history based skills required for a career in wildlife media production.
  • Communicating the Natural World
    Develop skills as a communicator conveying key conservation messages and engender positive change and activism.
  • Collaborative Brief
    Work with other students to explore and practice the skills involved in creative collaboration.
Year three

Going into your third year, you will further develop and enhance your personal skill set working towards specialisms that match your interests or proposed career path. You'll explore and reflect on key wildlife and media-related issues, together with developing critical analytical skills.

  • Documentary
    Develop a critical understanding of documentary and non-fiction practice whilst developing an informed perspective on the genre.
  • Interpreting Animal Behaviour for Media
    Learn to interpret the animal behaviour you will encounter in practice.
  • Wildlife Photography
    Develop the principles of independent practice in wildlife photography through self- initiated project work with an individual approach looking at the natural world.
  • Natural History Filmmaking
    Prepare to research, plan and execute a natural history documentary.
  • Professional Development
    Review career attributes, ambitions, and trajectory within the context of an evolving ‘professional development portfolio’.
  • Theory & Research Methods
    Prepare to undertake and successfully complete a Research Project.
Year four

In your final year, you will take charge of your own chosen research project, working towards your major final work. This could be a substantial piece of journalism, a set of photos or a film.

  • Graduate Project
    Use practical and conceptual skills developed throughout the programme to complete a final year project.
  • Minor Project
    An opportunity to bring together the various theoretical and practical skills learnt to produce a self-directed practical piece.
  • The Application of Media in Conservation
    Explore the ways in which to deliver conservation-based theory and how this can be applied to media.
  • Festival and Exhibition
    Perfect the skills necessary to identify and successfully engage with the media industries post-graduation.
  • Research Project
    An investigation into a relevant research topic towards submission of a research output.

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.
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