Photography (Foundation Entry) BA (Hons)

Photography (Foundation Entry) BA (Hons)

School of Journalism, Media and Performance




Under- graduate



Contact UCLan

University of Central Lancashire
Preston, PR1 2HE, United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400

  • Duration:

    Four years

  • Level:


  • Delivery:

    Campus, Full-time

  • UCAS Code:

    P468; Short form: BA/Pfe

  • Campus:

    Preston (Campus code: U)

  • Start Date:


  • Award Type:

    BA (Hons)

Why study this course?

Foundation Entry degree courses are designed for students who have the ability to study for a degree, but don’t have the necessary formal qualifications to enter directly onto their chosen Honours degree programme. The modern world is saturated in imagery. Understanding how to interpret it and create it are now key skills for contemporary living. Our practical photography degree aims to help you develop a clear understanding of how photographs can be used to communicate and express yourself in the professional world of the creative industries. Intensive workshop sessions will allow you to pick up relevant skills and undertake innovative types of visual problem solving. Carrying out work placements and collaborating on live client-based briefs will help equip you with the relevant vocational skills and experiences you need to follow a career as a professional photographer.

Entry Requirements

Our typical offer is 72 UCAS Points. We operate a flexible admissions policy and treat everyone as an individual. This means that we will take into consideration your educational achievements and predicted grades (where applicable) together with your application as a whole, including work experience and personal statement. General Studies accepted.

BTEC Extended Diploma: Merit, Merit, Pass
BTEC Diploma: Distinction, Merit
Pass Access Course: 72 UCAS Points
International Baccalaureate: Pass Diploma with 72 UCAS points from Higher Level Subjects
IELTS: 6.0 with no score lower than 5.5
GCSE: 5 at grade C/4 including Maths & English or equivalent

For changes to 2017 UCAS tariff entry requirements please see our important information. UCLan requires all undergraduate applicants to have a minimum attainment of five GCSEs at grade C and above, or equivalent, (including Maths and English). In 2017 and beyond we will view the new Grade 4 as being equivalent to a C grade and will therefore require students to achieve GCSE Grade 4 or above. However, if the subject is relevant to our degree programme and requires a higher GCSE grade (e.g. GCSE B grade), and/or includes a Professional body that governs the entry requirements, Grade 5 or above may be required.

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Course at a Glance

Year 1

  • Approaches to Photography
  • Introduction to Filmmaking
  • Scriptwriting for Production
  • Film and Media Theory
  • Web Fundamentals


  • Extended Media Project
  • Audio and Video Technologies
  • Self-images: Identities, Diaries and Documents
  • Introduction to Animation and Games
  • Sound recording and Design

Year 2

  • Introduction to Photography
  • Photography and Narrative
  • Photography and the Everyday
  • The Photographic Image
  • Visualising Ideas
  • Experimental Practice

Year 3

  • Open Practice
  • Critical Practices
  • Critical Theory

Year 4

  • Dissertation or Extended Research Project
  • Portfolio Development
  • Professional Development
  • Independent Practice
  • Final Project

Further Information

Why study this course?

Our photography degree course aims to help you become a multi-skilled, lateral thinking practitioner with a critical and vocational awareness of photography and its role in society. Throughout the course you will develop your creative skills and your ability to effectively communicate within your chosen context by studying with experienced practitioners.

To learn more about our School and the range of courses within it, go to our homepage. If you’d like to learn more about the successes and awards experienced by our students, staff and alumni, visit our news page. Each year, BA (Hons) Photography students produce an end-of-year publication; this year’s is available to download.

This Photography degree course offers a range of learning experiences which is developed through the following broad strands:

Practical - You will study through a practice based approach and will be actively engaged in problem solving in order to sharpen your perception and ideas through strategic experimentation. There will be a structured progression of your practical work from the introductory stages to the final year projects. Modules will be designed to ensure that in the earlier part of the course you will be able to explore a range of approaches, from which you will be able to build your own in-depth practice at later stages. Your development as a practitioner will lead to the production, in the final year, of a highly developed body of work in a selected area of practice, which reflects your own interests and ideas. 

Critical - The link between practice and critical theory will be central to the course. Active testing and exploration of relevant theoretical ideas will play an important role in your development. Through the core modules you will explore cultural theories of particular importance.

BA Photography

Contextual - Opportunities will exist for you to apply skills learned on the course to situations outside of the academic institution. You will undertake projects that involve contact with outside organisations. Independent Practice modules will provide a particular opportunity for a range of projects linked to your own interests, and will give the opportunity for commercial placements. At the centre of the programme is the notion of you taking control of your own learning. Independent learning will be encouraged at all levels and you will be expected to adopt a pro-active approach to expanding your study.

During the photography course you'll work to live-briefs, giving you constant contact with industry. Additionally, you'll have scope to work to live-briefs in the area of photography you wish to work.

There is no ‘house-style’ imposed, and the staff help each student to find their own interests, inspirations and styles. The aim of the course is to create contemporary practitioners, with a portfolio of quality work who are ready to work in the area of photography they wish to.

This photography course is not about creating a certain type of photographer. You'll be given a base of knowledge and taught a range of the theory and techniques needed. You'll be supported to apply this knowledge and become the practitioner you want to be.

We are extremely proud of the range and quality of academic staff. The staff have a common theme that they’ve all worked in professional photography and can call upon a diverse range of skills and experience.  Some staff work part-time with top London agencies, whilst also working at UCLan.

Academic Expertise

John Aitken has worked in the Photography Area at UCLan since 1999. His background is in freelance and in exhibition based work. Since 2001 he has centred his practice primarily in urban-based photography. Currently he is working on long-term projects in the former Eastern Europe centring on utopian expressions of urbanism and in Salford, Greater Manchester, examining the effects of gentrification on local communities and public space. He works collaboratively with his partner Jane Brake (MMU). Their work is included in the book The Politics of Space and Place (Cambridge Scholars 2012).

Jonathan Purcell has worked in the Photography Area at UCLan since 2010, having worked as a freelance photographer as well as working he has participated in a number of awards and commissions and exhibitions including the Northwest Open at Open Eye Gallery Liverpool, the ‘Setting up Scheme’ led by the Arts Council of England, Bury Arts Gallery’s Centenary, Axial Dance in Wieblingen. Work Town for Lowry Art Gallery reworking the methodology of Humphrey Spender’s Mass Observation in collaboration with residents in Salford. Jon qualifications include: MA Photography (Nottingham Trent University) and Cert Ed; Higher/Adult Education (Manchester Met University).

David Dennison has worked as a photography lecturer at UCLan since 2010; before then he was programme leader for the photography degrees at another institution in the region. His research interests are divided between Photography and Pedagogy – his photographic work focuses on the natural world and the environment, and his interests in pedagogy include the transition issues encountered by first year HE students and the means by which we support students with disabilities. He is an active member of the university’s Pedagogic Research Forum and has contributed to a number of seminars, workshops and publications.

Adam Mead graduated from the Manchester School of Art in 2010 with a degree in Photography. After entering the industry, he assisted photographers from all over the UK, working on varied shoots for clients such as Nike, Manchester City, Vivienne Westwood and many others. Alongside assisting international artists in their technical output, he is also a practicing visual artist and has exhibited in London and the Northwest. Working with both the BA and MA cohorts, he delivers the practical elements of the course. These small group sessions range from inductions into state of the art equipment, through to the application of skills required to achieve the realisation of your practice.

Brian J Morrison is Belfast based artist who works primarily with photography. He has exhibited and seen his work published across the U.K and Ireland. Morrison’s practice navigates stereotypically male dominated social collectives, in an attempt to explore photography’s relationship with the construction of currently accepted normative masculine values. Brian is also a cinematographer for Source Photographic Review and has produced 16 documentary shorts, exploring the photographic archive, the notion of ‘conceptual photography’ and photography’s relationship with literature.

Mark Reeves specialises in high end digital photography, working on client led briefs for a variety of projects within the design industry, he works as a freelance photographer. As a lecturer Mark works developing professional standards and skills with the students, attempting to bridge the gap between industry and education. Marks research interests are mostly centred around the built environment, exploring architectural spaces and human impact on the landscape.


For detailed information about studying this course at UCLan, please see the course handbook for your year of entry:

For information on possible changes to course information, see our Important Information.

Fees 2020/21

Full-time: The fee for the first year of the course will be £5,500 (UK/EU). Fees for years 2 to 4 will be £9,250* (UK/EU) per year

*Tuition Fees are per year unless otherwise stated.

Further information:

For 2019/20 fees please refer to our fees page.

Scholarships and bursaries

Industry Links

cJAM: Media

Final year undergraduate and postgraduate media students have the opportunity to get involved in our annual cJAM employability event. cJAM shakes-up the traditional career fair format and gives UCLan students face-to-face time with up to 30 successful industry professionals all of whom have come to the event with the offer of valuable work placement opportunities. The cJAM event format consists of four main components:

  • Students hear from keynote industry speakers who share their personal career journey and how they got to where they are now.
  • The industry Q&A session allows students to ask questions to gain further advice and insight.
  • Informal networking opportunities during the breaks and lunch.
  • The key element of cJAM is the giant speed pitching session. The students have eight minutes one-to-one time to pitch to selected industry guests to try and win a placement. Students can choose to pitch an idea, their reasons for wanting a placement with that particular company or to showcase their enthusiasm, skills and talent. Immediately following the pitching session, placements are decided on and the event closes with all the winning students being presented with their placement awards.

In 2018, there were four cJAM events and a total of 320 placements were awarded. All of which enabled our students to establish credible links in line with their career aspirations. To find out more about cJAM: Media, see the video and press release.

Learning Environment and Assessment

At different points in your programme of study you'll be engaged in self-reflection, peer group evaluation, practical work, research, development work, study visits as well participating in lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops.

Assessment methods include:

  • Practical work
  • Written assignments
  • Presentations
  • Research and development work
  • Module Files
  • Collaborative projects
  • Personal projects
  • Client briefs

English Regions Skills Review 2015

UCLan has received a special mention in the English Regions Skills Review 2015 for its investigative work in bridging the gap between education and the workplace. According to the Report:

The bond between education and the industry is far stronger in the regions. The links between the industry and colleges and universities are well forged and productive. Both sides are keen to work together . . . The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is investigating a Spark finishing school to concentrate on specific skills gaps identified by this research (and others) around production management (among others).

At the forefront of this is the ‘soap-in-a-week’ collaboration in which ITV Studios and UCLan are partnering up. Cast and crew from Emmerdale and Coronation Street will work with UCLan students from a host of courses to brainstorm ideas, storyline the first episode, script, rehearse, shoot and show it, all in five days. ITV will be there for guidance only and the idea and execution will be done entirely by the students. For further information on this story, to receive a copy of the English Regions Skills Review, or for more details about how UCLan is bridging the gap between education and the creative industries, contact Emma Speed on 01772 895959.

The course was fantastic and it set up me up for my future career, especially the final show. The tutors were really supportive and enthusiastic, in fact everything you would want in a tutor.

Amberly Valentine


On this course you’ll develop strong critical, creative and technical abilities, giving you the skills to work in photography or as part of the wider creative industries, from writers to curators, picture editors to educators. Our graduates have gone on to work as freelance fashion photographers, sports photographers, and work in digital editing, film-making and further study. The course is also home to a strong postgraduate culture.  You will have the chance to attend Free Range (a professional practice event held in London) in your third year and exhibit your work.

You’ll have the opportunity to study abroad with Erasmus in Year 2 (Year 3 if you started in the Foundation Entry), with many students choosing California. You’ll also have the chance to go on a range of School sponsored trips to places like Europe, Africa and China to work on international projects. Get the practical real-life experiences you’ll need to succeed by working on live briefs based around your own personal type of working practice.



You’ll make full use of our excellent photography facilities in the Media Factory, which include 3 state-of-the-art studios, 2 Mac suites, a high end scanning room, 3 large darkrooms and a post-production room for print mounting and book making.