Photography BA (Hons)

photography students in the studio
UCAS code W640
Location Stoke-on-Trent Campus
Duration 3 Years

2017/18 New Entrants, Full Time

  • Home and EU students: £9,250 per year of study
  • International students: £10,900 per year of study
Course start September
LocationModeStart dateApply
Stoke-on-Trent CampusFull-time2017/18 Academic YearApply via UCAS

Course outline

Our Photography degree - affiliated with the Magnum Photos Foundation (MAGNUM) and the Association of Photographers - offers a broad-based programme of study covering a range of approaches to photography.

This course concentrates on photographic communication. You will develop your conceptual, creative and technical skills through practical projects in addition to learning new skills and processes.

With over 40 years of teaching photography at degree level, you'll be supported by a professional team who have all worked in the creative industries. They bring a wealth of experience from across the photographic sector - from editorial, advertising, public relations, fashion, documentary and art. We also have a team of Apple and Adobe certified technical instructors.

Our studios are equipped with industry standard lighting rigs and tethered Mac computers. You'll have access to our top-end digital and film cameras as well as our up to date computers, monitors and printers - from A4 up to A1 print sizes. We also have black and white darkrooms, so you can work with film and print chemically if you want to.

You'll learn through workshops, lectures and visits from professionals from across the sector - including photographers, editors, stylists and artists. We also encourage you to complete work placements.

In your final year, you'll direct your own project that culminates in a public exhibition. You'll also have the chance to visit exhibitions in London, Manchester, Birmingham and Paris.


Course Fees and Finance

The expected study pattern on this programme enables you to complete modules totalling 120 credits in your first year of study and the other 240 credits, split equally over your second and third years of study. If you follow this pattern of study you will pay a fee of £9,250 for your first year in 2017/18. The fee for your second and third year of study will be broadly the same, except that an inflationary uplift may apply each year.*

If you would like to know more about the fees listed and what this means to you then please get in touch with our Enquiries Team.


Undergraduate Loans:

UK and EU students who are studying for their first undergraduate degree may not have to pay these fees up front. For eligible students a loan is available from the Student Loans Company to cover the cost of tuition so you don't have to find the money to pay your tuition costs before or while you are studying. You won't have to start repaying the loan until you are earning more than (currently) £21,000 a year.

A loan is also available for part-time students studying at least 25% (30 credits) per year.

However, if you already hold a degree, or another qualification at the same level, you may not qualify for this loan.

For further information on eligibility and how to apply visit apply-for-student-finance.


Repayment (current arrangements):

9% of income over £21,000 per year.

Interest on the loan is charged at up to Retail Price Index** (RPI) +3% = 4.6% as of 2016/17.

If you are living in the UK: Your employer will deduct repayments when your salary reaches the threshold (currently £21,000 per year). Different arrangements are made to collect repayments from those living outside the UK.

For further information on repayment visit student loan repayment.


*The fees listed are for the 2017/18 academic year only. Any subsequent years may be subject to an inflationary uplift.

**RPI – the Retail Price Index is a measure of UK inflation. The UK Government uses the rate of RPI to set the interest rate charged on student loans.

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Entry requirements

  • Typical UCAS Offer: 112 points
  • A levels: BBC
  • Foundation Diploma Art and Design pass with Merit if taken.
  • All applicants are individually assessed via interview with portfolio.

Teaching and learning

The learning and teaching methods used on the BA(Hons) Photography course are intended to focus upon students achieving the learning outcomes and enable a student to critically reflect upon their learning, and are based upon two complementary and interrelated ways of thinking; `Creative Thinking' and `Critical Thinking'.

Specifically, the learning and teaching strategies are designed to:

Fulfil the aims and outcomes of the course
Develop a range of subject related skills
Develop transferable skills
Promote the ability to be an independent learner.

Teaching Methods
Much of the work produced on the BA(Hons) Photography course will be project and practice based. This approach reflects typical industry practice and provides an important focus for discussion and debate. Project work can involve both self and tutor initiated projects.
To support students engage with the different aspects of learning, a range of working methods are employed and include; lectures, tutorials, seminars, critiques, skills based workshops, project work. The particular methods used for an individual module will be those considered most effective in promoting learning and achievement for the module. Directed study supports and builds upon the knowledge and skills learnt to provide a fuller understanding of the subject. Personal and module tutors are on hand to provide support to students to discuss any queries and to advise on ideas and practical problems.


Photography employs a wide range of assessments including photographic portfolios, visual development/research workbooks, essays, examinations, reports, reflective/evaluation documents, and oral presentations. Assessment records the progress of a students learning through individual modules and across the whole course, based exclusively on the submission of coursework, this is the best way to assess the integrated approach to theory and practice that our students engage in. Coursework, carried out in response to assignments, project briefs or self-initiated proposals and presented in forms appropriate to professional creative practice, allows students to demonstrate the acquisition of interrelated learning outcomes through a variety of different kinds of practice.

The University has designated eight generic Learning Outcomes for all undergraduate awards and allowed for up to two further to be specified for each award. For the Photography course, as with other courses from the field of Art and Design two course specific outcomes are included: Visual Analysis and Working with Others. The course team see this as a significant additional marker of vital transferable skills that employers look for when recruiting graduates.

Formative Assessment
This form of assessment provides ongoing feedback and advice, to help students plan a course of action to improve their work and the understanding of the principles introduced. Formative assessment is an ongoing feature of the courses, occurring through tutorial discussions, peer assessment, formal and informal critique and self-assessment.

Summative Assessment
This type of assessment takes place on completion of a module and is provided in the form of a grade point (on a scale of 0 - 15), this is accompanied by written feedback from the module tutor to each individual student, relating his/her achievement to the learning outcomes of the module. The grade point scheme is linked, within the Undergraduate Modular Framework Regulations, to a set of general `assessment criteria which distinguish attainment at particular levels.

Employment opportunities

Industry links and understanding current industry/professional practice are fundamental to the success of this Photography course and the students who graduate from it. A programme of visiting professionals, not just photographers, but picture editors, picture researchers, teachers and artists ensure that students develop a sophisticated understanding and insight into the specialist pathways available. These visits provide valuable insight into how things actually operate realistically `on the ground'. All students are encouraged to undertake work placement opportunities, many work placements are secured by the contacts students have made through networking, `live' projects set by industry contacts and in particular through the Level 5 module, Photographic Practices. 

The Level 6 Careers and Enterprise module explores in more depth a students understanding of the creative industries and their place within this industry in the future, students research potential employment opportunities and develop personal promotional materials that will communicate effectively to future employers. Skills such as creative thinking, problem solving, professional presentation techniques and effective communication are highly prized in the industry but also excellent transferable skills for employment generally.

Graduate destinations

We believe that photography is primarily a means of communication and therefore the question is how best might you participate in that process? With the skills acquired over three years your choice is not a narrow one.

In an image-rich environment photographers may produce the images, but, if you are visually aware, have intellectual flexibility, initiative and skills in research and writing, you are able to consider many other options that require an understanding of how photographs function and are seen. The list includes; picture research; curatorship; arts administration; picture editing; teaching.

Our photography prize winners include:

The Jerwood Photography Prize
Natural History Museum's Wildlife Photographer of the Year
Tate Modern Street/Studio Winner
Popular graduate destinations include:

Freelance Photographer/Assistant
Reportage and Editorial Photographer
Forensic and Medical photographers
Magazine Picture Editors
Design Consultants
Digital Retouching
Celebrity Photographer
Studio Manager
College Teacher/Technician
Postgraduate study

Student experience

'The course at Staffordshire enabled me to develop my personal vision within Photography. Thank you to each member of the Photography Department, without these people I wouldn't be in this position.'

James Pogson (Photography Graduate 2008 and winner of the Jerwood Photography Prize)

‘Photography at Staffordshire University is an intense and challenging course, which constantly pushes you to reach your full potential, whilst giving you the freedom to be creative and dynamic in a supportive and enjoyable environment.’

Charlie Gajda (Photography Graduate 2008)

Programme specification

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Enquiries Team
Cadman Information Point
College Road
United Kingdom
t: +44(0)1782 294400
Enquire about this course