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BA (Hons)

Photography

Student work by Agnieszka Horbaczewska and Gianfranco Castagna
  • UCAS code(s): W640
  • Level(s) of study: Undergraduate
  • Study mode(s): Full-time
  • Location: City Campus
  • Starting: September 2021
  • Course duration: 3 year(s)
  • Entry requirements: More information

Explore all aspects of what it means to be a professional photographer in the 21st Century on this degree course.

Learn practical skills including exposure and metering, digital workflow, colour and black and white printing, studio lighting, large and medium format, planning and installing exhibitions, professional photographic portfolio development and moving image.

You’ll work across the subject of photography choosing to focus on areas such as art, documentary, editorial, commercial, advertising and critical writing on photography, tailored to your own personal interests and career aspirations.

With access to traditional and digital photographic facilities with industry-standard equipment, you’ll learn how to use and adopt skills to develop your creativity, working between analogue and digital. Explore a range of self-directed learning experiences combining practice with theory, enabling you to develop the creativity and autonomy to establish your own photographic practice.

Our graduates are leaders within the creative industries and you will be joining an extended alumni club who help us to create opportunities for you in terms of work experience and graduate career prospects.

Key features

  • We're delighted to be ranked as one of the top 10 universities in the UK for Film Production and Photography (Guardian University Guide League Tables 2020).
  • This course produces graduates that are in high demand - 96% of our students are in employment or further study within six months of graduating (DLHE survey 2016/17).
  • Work with industry-standard facilities, learning skills in traditional photographic methods, digital media and emerging technologies.
  • Work broadly across the subject, including art, documentary, editorial, advertising and fashion photography, and critical writing.
  • Develop your professional skills through work experience placements, industry competitions, and collaborations with organisations.
  • Benefit from our guest lecturer series, with speakers from a range of photographic practices.
  • Opportunity to apply for a European or international exchange to one of our partner institutions, such as RMIT in Australia.
  • Take part in the development and organisation of a photography festival in your final year, showcasing your work at venues across Nottingham, with further opportunities to exhibit at other graduating events.
  • Alumni have gone on to roles such as creative director at Jamie Oliver and companies such as Getty Sports Images.
  • We are proud to be in the top ten in England and Wales for Art and Design (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020).

Student work

What you'll study

Develop the creativity and autonomy to establish your own particular photographic practice, investigating areas such as art, documentary, editorial, commercial, advertising, fashion photography and critical writing.

  • Year One

    Conversations with Photography

    (20 credit points, full year)

    This module will help you to understand, critically engage with, and challenge what you think photography is as a subject. You will be introduced to concepts and themes related to historical and contemporary photography, and start to question how photography functions in the wider world.

    Exploring Photography

    (100 credit points, full year)

    The emphasis in this module is on making and creating. You will be responding to briefs during workshop sessions and exploring and questioning the definitions and possibilities of photography. This will expose you to technical skills, and your work will be centred around the critical ideas and themes you explored in Conversations with Photography.

  • Year Two

    Photography and the World

    (60 credit points, full year)

    Combine theory and practice as you explore contemporary photographic culture, debates and issues such as surveillance and the data image, documenting the 21st Century, temporalities of still and moving image, activism, ethics of participation and class perspectives, the ethnographic portrait and colonial discourse, space, place and architecture, and the Anthropocene landscape.

    Futures

    (20 credit points, full year)

    Through a live project and a development portfolio, you will apply your practical and critical skills and begin to focus on identifying opportunities and areas of interest around your own personal, subject and career development.

    Co Lab: Research, Exploration and Risk-taking

    (20 credit points, half year)

    Through active participation with team-based problem-solving, you will work together in mixed teams on a project where you will use your creative ideas to generate solutions to the challenge or brief. This collaborative learning experience will expose you to a range of new processes and approaches that will develop your creative thinking.

    Optional module

    You will also choose one 20-credit module from:

    • Publishing: Experimental Formats
    • Telling Stories
    • Digital Marketing and Communication
    • The Art of the Video Interview
  • Final year

    Writing Photography

    (20 credit points, full year)

    Drawing on your learning across the first two years of the course, you will research and critically evaluate an area of photography theory and practice and produce a written piece of work that explores your ideas.

    Photography Final Project

    (80 credit points, full year)

    You will test ideas and explore themes as you plan and prepare your final year project before setting a brief with your tutor. Your project will develop from your research and development over the module, and culminate in an exhibition, portfolio or publication that effectively communicates your ideas and themes.

    Futures II

    (20 credit points, full year)

    This module encourages you to reflect on your personal development and learning experience throughout the course, and to extend your skills and networks to support you in identifying and pursuing your future career aspirations.

Course specification

View the full course specification
Please note that course specifications may be subject to change

We're delighted to be ranked as one of the top 10 universities in the UK for Film Production and Photography (Guardian University Guide League Tables 2020)

How you’re taught

Collaboration across courses

This course offers our new innovative collaboration module. This gives you the opportunity to work collaboratively with your contemporaries from a range of different art and design subjects and beyond. You’ll be working alongside artists, designers, illustrators, animators, and filmmakers on daring and creative projects that prepare you for a rewarding career in your chosen industry.

Teaching and learning experiences will include:

  • lectures and seminars
  • studio workshops
  • darkrooms
  • on location practical demonstrations
  • portfolio reviews
  • tutorials
  • live projects
  • study trips
  • peer and self-evaluation.

A series of technical workshops will help you to develop practical skills, and will include:

  • exposure and metering
  • black and white film processing
  • colour printing
  • black and white printing
  • digital workflow (scanning, processing, printing, and managing your digital images)
  • large and medium format
  • moving image.

Assessment

Assessment is 100% through coursework. You will receive feedback throughout each module and will be awarded a grade. There are different tasks and projects for assessment include practical photographic work, essays and written work, group projects, reflective online journal, development portfolio, research work and final exhibition.

International exchanges and study trips

Go on organised study trips to galleries, exhibitions and cultural cities, both in the UK and abroad. Recent destinations have included: New York; Hepworth Gallery, Yorkshire; Paris Photo; European Month of Photography, Bratislava; and Berlin.

A recent Photography student exchange to Australia (image credit: Helen Twin)

If you’re thinking about studying part of your degree abroad, the course has exchange agreements with a number of institutions around the world.

Exchanges take place in Year Two of the course. You’ll receive guidance from the university about where you can go and study, and help in completing your application and arranging your exchange.

Recent destinations include FAMU, Czech Republic; Universitat de Barcelona, Spain; École Supérieure d’Art et Design, France; and RMIT, Australia.

Degree Show

In your final year you’ll exhibit your work as part of our Degree Show. This event includes all final year students across NTU’s art and design courses, and is a great platform for you to showcase your work to members of the creative industries.

Our Photography students collaborate to organise a public photography festival across Nottingham. You’ll work on branding and marketing, produce a website and catalogue, and find a space to showcase your work.

You may also have the chance to be selected to exhibit your work at graduate exhibitions in London, such as New Designers and Free Range.

Assessment methods

  • Year 1 coursework (100%).
  • Year 2 coursework (100%).
  • Year 3 coursework (100%).

Contact hours

A full-time student on average can expect to spend 1200 hours a year learning which will typically be broken down as follows:

  • Year 1 lectures/seminars/workshops (24%), independent study (76%).
  • Year 2 lectures/seminars/workshops (23%), independent study (77%).
  • Year 3 lectures/seminars/workshops (21%), independent study (79%).

Careers and employability

Photography at NTU has an excellent employment rate, with 96% of students in employment or further study six months after graduating (DLHE 2016/17).

The course prepares you for a career in photography or photo-related activities. Depending on your particular interest, you will identify your practice, and research picture agencies, image libraries, arts organisations, and photographers' agents.

You'll learn about proposals and CVs; how to cost your work; how to prepare estimates and invoices; and your rights, responsibilities and obligations as a photographer.

You’ll enhance your employability through things like live projects, guest lectures, industry visits, trade fairs, and work experience.

The following factors also continue to develop, to support the employability of our students:

  • live projects
  • guest speaker series
  • industry visits
  • trade fairs
  • work experience
  • increasing contacts with creative businesses
  • success of our alumni
  • research profile of our academic staff.

Photography students work across the range of the creative Industries when they graduate. Roles include:

  • photographer
  • picture editor
  • artist
  • retoucher
  • filmmaker
  • curator
  • teacher
  • marketer
  • community arts worker
  • blogger
  • writer
  • musician
  • stylist
  • archivis
  • freelancer.

YouFirst – working with our Employability team

Studying a creative degree in a large university has many benefits, none more so than having access to a large employability team.

Our friendly, experienced careers consultants will work closely with you at every stage of your career planning, providing personal support and advice you won't find in a book or on the internet. You can benefit from this at any time during your studies, and for up to three years after completing your course.

Connecting with industry

You’ll benefit from industry professionals from a range of photographic and creative industries practices visiting the course to guest lecture and share their experience. Recent events run by industry organisations for our students include:

  • Genesis Imaging, London: bursary scheme
  • Alamy 100% Student project: designed to promote, showcase and sell student images through an international picture library.
  • Colorama brief: working with Vitec Manfrotto.
  • The Hive: a live photographic project brief working with freelancers, in conjunction with Santander.
  • Art UK Shadowing: opportunities for students to shadow photographers on commissioned projects.

Work placement opportunities

You’ll be encouraged to undertake work experience alongside your studies. Course staff and our Employability team will be on hand to support you.

Our photography students have recently gained work experience with companies and organisations such as:

  • Surface Gallery
  • JD Sports Fashion
  • Impact Media
  • Focus Gallery
  • Nottingham Contemporary.

Entry requirements

What are we looking for?

  • A-levels – BBC or equivalent; or
  • BTEC Extended Diploma – DMM; or
  • 112 UCAS Tariff points from three A-levels  or equivalent qualifications; and
  • GCSEs – English and Maths or Science grade C / 4.

Other requirements

NTU may admit a student with advanced standing beyond the beginning of a course, through an assessment of that student's prior learning, whether it is certificated or uncertificated. Our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy outlines the process and options available to these prospective students, such as recognising experiential learning or transferring to a similar course at another institution, otherwise known as credit transfer.

All prospective students who wish to apply via Recognition of Prior Learning should initially contact the central Admissions and Enquiries Team who will be able to support you through the process.

All applications welcome

We welcome applications from prospective students with a range of qualifications and experience, and all are assessed on an individual basis. Mature applicants who do not meet the standard entry criteria can still be considered providing they have relevant experience to compliment any qualifications.

All applicants will need to apply through UCAS and will be expected to present a  portfolio if invited to attend an interview.

What are we looking for?

We accept qualifications from schools, colleges and universities all over the world for entry onto our courses. If you’re not sure how your international qualification matches our course requirements, please visit our international qualifications page.

Other requirements

NTU may admit a student with advanced standing beyond the beginning of a course, through an assessment of that student's prior learning, whether it is certificated or uncertificated. Our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy outlines the process and options available to these prospective students, such as recognising experiential learning or transferring to a similar course at another institution, otherwise known as credit transfer.

All prospective students who wish to apply via Recognition of Prior Learning should initially contact the central Admissions and Enquiries Team who will be able to support you through the process.

Foundation courses

If you need to do an art and design foundation course to meet our course requirements please visit Nottingham Trent International College (NTIC). If you’re already studying in the UK at a school or college and would like to know if we can accept your qualification please visit our foundation courses page.

English language requirements

If English isn't your first language, you need to show us that your language skills are strong enough for intensive academic study. You can check our language requirements and list of accepted English language tests. Your British Council office can tell you where you can take an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test locally.

Next steps

Please also take a look at our International students page and our application guide for international students, which are full of advice and information about the University.

If you need any more help or information, please contact our International team or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200. Alternatively, you can speak to one of our official NTU representatives for your country.

How to apply

Apply through UCAS. If your application is successful, you'll be invited to an interview where you'll need to bring with you your portfolio.

Download our portfolio checklist.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Keeping up to date

If you need any more help or information, please email our Admissions team or call +44 (0)115 848 4200.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Apply through UCAS (if applying to more than one university in the UK), or through our NTU applicant portal

If you aren't a resident in the UK, we'll ask you to submit a digital portfolio in lieu of an interview.

Get some digital portfolio advice.

Keeping up to date

After you've applied, we'll be sending you important emails throughout the application process – so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

Please also take a look at our International students page and our application guide for international students, which are full of advice and information about the University.

If you need any more help or information, please contact our International team or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200. Alternatively, you can get in touch with our staff at the International Development Office, who are always happy to help. Or speak to one of our official NTU representatives for your country.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Fees and funding

Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there's no need to feel anxious and confused about it. We hope that our fees and funding pages will answer all your questions.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service.

Tel: +44 (0)115 848 2494

What's included in the course fees?

The School will cover the costs of any mandatory study trips.

In Final Year, the School of Art & Design will provide infrastructure costs for your Degree Show, including course catalogue and exhibition set-up costs.

If you’re selected to showcase your work at a graduate show in London, the School will cover the cost of transporting your work and the exhibition stand.

Additional costs

Print and copy costs

We advise you to budget between £50 - £250 (minimum) per year for printing costs.

The University allocates an annual printing and copying allowance of £20 depending on the course you are studying. For more details about costs for additional print and copying required over and above the annual allowance please see the Printing, photocopying and scanning information on the Library website.

Material costs

Depending on the materials you choose to work with, you should budget a minimum of £100 (Year One), £150 (Year Two), and £500 (Final Year) to cover the production costs associated to your course, including things like your final year work. Of course, you may spend less or more than this depending on the nature of your studies.

Stationery and reading materials

Most study modules will recommend one or more core textbooks, which most students choose to purchase. Book costs vary between courses and further information is available in the University’s bookshop, Blackwell’s.

A good supply of these essential text books are available in the University libraries, which students can easily borrow or access directly whilst studying in the library.

You should budget between £50 - £100 per year (minimum) for stationery and reading materials.

Field trips

All essential field trip costs will be included in your course fees. There may be the opportunity to take part in optional field trips, which do incur additional costs.

If you choose to join an optional UK study trip, you’ll need to budget £20 per year (minimum). If you choose to join an optional international study trip, you’ll need to budget £500 per year (minimum).

Placements

If you're undertaking a placement year, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst on placement. Many of our placement students do earn a salary whilst on placement which can help to cover these living costs.

If you undertake work experience or a longer placement, you will have the chance to gain an additional Certificate or Diploma in Professional Practice, dependent on duration.  The Diploma in Professional Practice incurs a fee for the additional placement year.

Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there's no need to feel anxious and confused about it. We hope that our fees and funding pages will answer all your questions.

You might be able to get a scholarship to help fund your studies. We award scholarships to those international students who can demonstrate excellent achievement, passion, and dedication to their studies.

Please take a look at our International students page for information about fees, scholarships for international students, visas and much more.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service.

Tel: +44 (0)115 848 2494

What's included in the course fees?

The School will cover the costs of any mandatory study trips.

In Final Year, the School of Art & Design will provide infrastructure costs for your Degree Show, including course catalogue and exhibition set-up costs.

If you’re selected to showcase your work at a graduate show in London, the School will cover the cost of transporting your work and the exhibition stand.

Additional costs

Print and copy costs

We advise you to budget between £50 - £250 (minimum) per year for printing costs.

The University allocates an annual printing and copying allowance of £20 depending on the course you are studying. For more details about costs for additional print and copying required over and above the annual allowance please see the Printing, photocopying and scanning information on the Library website.

Material costs

Depending on the materials you choose to work with, you should budget a minimum of £100 (Year One), £150 (Year Two), and £500 (Final Year) to cover the production costs associated to your course, including things like your final year work. Of course, you may spend less or more than this depending on the nature of your studies.

Stationery and reading materials

Most study modules will recommend one or more core textbooks, which most students choose to purchase. Book costs vary between courses and further information is available in the University’s bookshop, Blackwell’s.

A good supply of these essential text books are available in the University libraries, which students can easily borrow or access directly whilst studying in the library.

You should budget between £50 - £100 per year (minimum) for stationery and reading materials.

Field trips

All essential field trip costs will be included in your course fees. There may be the opportunity to take part in optional field trips, which do incur additional costs.

If you choose to join an optional UK study trip, you’ll need to budget £20 per year (minimum). If you choose to join an optional international study trip, you’ll need to budget £500 per year (minimum).

Placements

If you're undertaking a placement year, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst on placement. Many of our placement students do earn a salary whilst on placement which can help to cover these living costs.

If you undertake work experience or a longer placement, you will have the chance to gain an additional Certificate or Diploma in Professional Practice, dependent on duration.  The Diploma in Professional Practice incurs a fee for the additional placement year.

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418