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Photography BA (Hons)

  • Level(s) of Study: Undergraduate
  • UCAS Code(s): W640
  • Start Date(s): September 2022
  • Duration: Three years full-time
  • Study Mode(s): Full-time
  • Campus: City Campus
  • Entry Requirements:
    More information

Introduction:

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 your creative style and establish your unique 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

  • You’ll have the opportunity to complete a work experience placement of up to a year in length. Dependent on the duration of your placement, you could gain an additional Diploma or Certificate in Professional Practice.
  • Work with industry-standard facilities, learning skills in traditional photographic methods, digital media, and emerging technologies. View our Nottingham School of Art & Design Facilities Hub here.
  • Work broadly across the subject, including art, documentary, editorial, advertising and fashion photography, and critical writing.
  • During your time here, you will be given the opportunity to showcase your work to members of the creative industries. You can view our graduating students’ showcase here.
  • Develop your professional skills through live projects, 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.
  • Alumni have gone on to roles such as creative director at Jamie Oliver and companies such as Getty Sports Images.

Student work

What you’ll study

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

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.

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. Your project will allow you to explore how creativity can make an impact in society, as you choose a theme of sustainability, social justice, enterprise and innovation or community. 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:

  • Critical Histories
  • Materials and Making
  • Publishing: Experimental Formats
  • Telling Stories
  • Ethical Design
  • Typography: Use and Expression
  • Digital Marketing and Communication
  • The Art of the Video Interview

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.

Video Gallery

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How you’re taught

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.

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. Your project will allow you to explore how creativity can make an impact in society, as you choose a theme of sustainability, social justice, enterprise and innovation or community.

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.

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.

Showcase

You will be given the opportunity to exhibit your work during your time at NTU to members of the creative industries. Visit our ‘We Are Creatives’ showcase to take a look at the work of this year's graduating students’.

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.

Contact hours

  • 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%).

Staff Profiles

Max Kandhola

Principal Lecturer

Visual Communication

Max Kandhola race identity black asian photography colonialism sikh cultures portraits decolonialisation

Emily Andersen

Senior Lecturer

School of Art & Design

Emily Andersen graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1983. She is a photographic artist and lecturer.

Martine Hamilton Knight

Senior Lecturer

School of Art & Design

Senior lecturer on the MA Commercial Photography and MA Photography Senior lecturer on BA (hons) Photography

David Summerill

Senior Lecturer

School of Art & Design

David Summerill is a Senior Lecturer and Acting Course Leader of BA Hons Photography.

How you’re assessed

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

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.

Careers and employability

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, and work experience.

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

  • live projects
  • guest speaker series
  • industry visits
  • 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.

Creative Industries Federation

We are members of the Creative Industries Federation (CIF), which means students in the Nottingham School of Art & Design have the opportunity to sign up to free student membership. Creative Industries Federation are an organisation that represents, champions and supports the UK’s creative industries and membership grants students exclusive access to their selection of resources and events to help advance your career and connect with industry.

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.

Campus and facilities

You’ll be based in the Bonington building, a dedicated art and design hub. View our Nottingham School of Art & Design Facilities Hub here. Recent sponsorship with WEX Photographic introduces NTU’s first Camera Club, bringing discounted equipment to both students and staff.

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

Other qualifications and experience

We will consider equivalent qualifications and combinations, please see UCAS course search for details and use our calculator to help you work out how many UCAS points your qualifications relate to.

We may also consider credits achieved at other universities and your work/life experience through an assessment of prior learning. This may be for year one entry, or beyond the beginning of a course where applicable, for example, into year 2. Our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy outlines the process and options available for this route.

Contextual offers

As well as assessing your application and qualifications, we use contextual data and information to make offers for this course. Depending on your circumstances, we may make you an offer up to two grades below the standard entry criteria. Find out how we assess your application.

Getting in touch

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

International qualifications 

We accept qualifications from all over the world – check yours here:

Undergraduate preparation courses (Foundation)

If you don’t yet meet our entry requirements, we offer Foundation courses through our partner Nottingham Trent International College (NTIC), based on our City Campus:

English language entry requirements 

You can meet our language requirements by successfully completing our pre-sessional English course for an agreed length of time, or by submitting the required grade in one of our accepted English language tests, such as IELTS:

Advanced standing (starting your undergraduate degree in year 2 or 3)

You may be able to start your undergraduate course in year 2 or 3 based on what you have studied before.  This decision would be made in accordance with our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy.

Would you like some advice on your study plans? 

Our international teams are highly experienced in answering queries from students all over the world. We also have members of staff based in Vietnam, China, India and Nigeria and work with a worldwide network of education counsellors.

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 Nottingham School of Art & Design will provide infrastructure costs for your Showcase. 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 Nottingham School of Art & Design will provide infrastructure costs for your Showcase. 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.

How to apply

Apply through UCAS.

We will ask you to provide a digital portfolio. Visit our webpage which has some advice on what to include to help make your portfolio stand out. After you have submitted your portfolio, we may also invite you to an online interview to help us make our final decision.

Keeping up to date

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

You can apply for this course through UCAS. If you are not applying to any other UK universities, you can apply directly to us on our NTU applicant portal.

Application advice

Apply early so that you have enough time to prepare – processing times for Student visas can vary, for example.  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.

Writing your personal statement

Be honest, thorough, and persuasive – we can only make a decision about your application based on what you tell us:

Your portfolio 

If your initial application is successful, you may be asked to upload a portfolio of your work and you may also be asked to attend an interview.

Portfolio advice

Would you like some advice on your study plans? 

Our international teams are highly experienced in answering queries from students all over the world. We also have members of staff based in Vietnam, China, India and Nigeria and work with a worldwide network of education counsellors.

The University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.