Photography BA (Hons)

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 course 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.

Key Information

  • Duration:

    Full-time: Three years, Part-time: Five years

  • Level:


  • Delivery:

    Campus, Full-time and Part-time

  • Award Type:

    BA (Hons)

  • Institution Code:

    CLANC C30

  • UCAS Code:


  • Campus:

    Preston (Campus code: U)

  • Start Date:


  • Work placements and live client-based briefs equip you with the relevant vocational skills and experiences needed to follow a career as a professional photographer.
  • There is an opportunity to study abroad in Year 2 as well as the chance to go on a range of sponsored international trips.
  • We are extremely proud of the range and quality of academic staff, and some continue to work with top London agencies.

Course Overview

Year 1

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

Year 2

  • Open Practice
  • Critical Practices
  • Critical Theory

Year 3

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

More information about programme specifications and module information is available in the course handbook.

Find out more about our virtual open days Find out more about our virtual open days

Fees 2020/21

Full-time: £9,250* per year (UK/EU)
Part-time: £1,540* per 20 credits studied (UK/EU)
Fees for international students

Entry Requirements

Our typical offer is 104 UCAS Points including Photography, Media, Humanities, Social Sciences or Fine Art Grade C/4.  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, Merit
BTEC Diploma: Distinction, Distinction
Pass Access Course: 106 UCAS Points  
International Baccalaureate: Pass Diploma with 104 UCAS points from Higher Level Subjects
IELTS: 6.0
GCSE: 5 at grade C/4 including Maths & English or equivalent 

Applicants are required to attend a Selection Day when they will be interviewed with a portfolio. You will be sent an email by our Admissions Office asking you to book onto a selection day event. Further information on our Selection Day and portfolio interviews.

International Students

View our entry requirements for your country

Scholarships and Bursaries

The University offers a range of scholarships and bursaries to support you through your studies.

Discover More

Not got the grades?

If you do not meet the formal entry requirements specified, Foundation Entry offers an alternative route to study for this degree

Foundation Entry Route

Check your points

Not sure how many points you have? Use our handy calculator and find out.

Points calculator

Further Information


Fine Art and Photography Virtual Degree Show

Welcome to UCLan's first Fine Art and Photography Virtual Degree Show, where we will be showcasing the talents of our final year students’ Degree Show projects. Please join us as we celebrate the work of the Class of 2020.

Book here

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.

Learning Environment and Assessment

A 3 year degree qualification typically comprises 360 credits and each 20 credit (a standard module) equates to 200 hours of study, which comprises of a mixture of lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical sessions and independent study. Independent study is an important aspect of your degree course. The exact combination of study time will be detailed within your module descriptors, and will depend on your option choices.

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 and client briefs.

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.



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.


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Photographic Darkroom

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Course Enquiries

Telephone us: +44(0)1772 892400
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Important Information

This course is based in the School of Art, Design and Fashion

Course Handbook

For detailed information about studying this course at UCLan, please see the course handbook for your year of entry: 2019 Entry | 2020 Entry
For information on possible changes to course information, see our Essential and Important Course Information.

Tuition Fees & Finance

*Tuition Fees are per year unless otherwise stated.
For 2019/20 fees please refer to our fees page.

Further Information for students

You can find regulations and policies relating to student life at The University of Central Lancashire on our Student Contract page.

Entry Requirements

For changes to 2017 UCAS tariff entry requirements please see our Essential and Important Course 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.