This programme is largely skills and practice based and encourages the exploration of the photograph within a range of contemporary practices and contexts, for example, from commercial to art based photography. The study of photography will also extend to a critical understanding of the subject and allow students the scope for professional and creative development.
The course challenges students to explore questions surrounding the applications of both traditional silver processes and digital technologies. Photographic production is evaluated and at the same time, the still image is studied in relation to both the moving image and newer interactive technologies. In addition to lectures, seminars and practical workshops, the teaching programme facilitates critical discussion and analysis of student work, both in the form of individual tutorials and group critiques and develops an understanding of the place of photographic work within leisure, commercial and cultural contexts.
The course encourages exploration of the photograph within practices such as art and independent photography, editorial, product, services and industry, performance and entertainment and communications. Independent learning is encouraged in the course as students will learn to adapt and develop skills in working to client commissions, personal research methods and the study of photography in a variety of contexts and across a range of genres.
View some of our students’ work from the Degree Show 2016.
2016 Subject Futures Week
Please see below the 2016 Subject Futures Week video, which highlights just some of the creative industry guests who attended to share knowledge and insights with students about the reality of working and life after university.
Just two miles away from Park Campus and linked by a regular weekday discounted bus service, Avenue Campus has an excellent reputation as an ‘Arts Centre for all’. It boasts theatre performances, exhibitions and its own art gallery, which exhibits work from established artists, students, graduates and University staff.
The campus is equipped with workshops, innovative laboratories and computer-aided design suites. Facilities available include Bassett Lowke Halls of Residence with various room options available to suit all budgets, the Students’ Union, student bar, restaurant and nightclub.
The University of Northampton
St George’s Avenue
The University partners with leading businesses across the industry
Introduction to processes and techniques of photography and the consideration of the different conceptual approaches to photography, supported by theory lectures alongside practice. Students will be introduced to using a 35mm camera, digital SLRs, medium and large format photography, studio and location shooting and working in both wet darkrooms and digital media suites within this stage of the course.
Development of a body of practical work around both fine art and commercial applications, supported by theory lectures on the place of photography within visual culture; visiting lectures from a range of industry professionals and artists as part of continuing professional development.
Stage three will allow students to consolidate the skills gained in previous stages of the course, culminating in an exhibition, and either a professional development portfolio, or a dissertation for those with strengths in critical writing.
Course modules (16/17)
Photography and its Changing Uses
- Module code: PHO1002
- Core module Y
Photographic Techniques and Concepts
- Module code: PHO1001
- Core module Y
Reading the Image
- Module code: PHO1003
- Core module Y
Converging Practices on Screen
- Module code: PHO1004
- Core module Y
Photography and Visual Culture
- Module code: PHO2003
- Core module Y
Photography in a Design Context
- Module code: PHO2002
- Core module Y
Photography and Arts Practice
- Module code: PHO2001
- Core module Y
Professional Studies (Photography)
- Module code: PHO2008
- Core module Y
- Module code: PHO4001
- Core module Y
Professional Development Portfolio
- Module code: PHO3002
- Core module N
- Module code: PHO3001
- Core module N
Local and Regional Exhibition trips
All photography students are encouraged to attend exhibition trips that are organized throughout the year. The University usually pays for journeys by coach; the student pays for any additional journeys by rail. Costs for this are dependent on how far in advance the student books the rail tickets, whether or not a student rail card is used, or if underground travel is required. Some of the bigger exhibitions at established institutions will charge an entry fee, but is reduced on presentation of a student card.
Study Trips Abroad
International study trips are organized annually for groups of around 30 students from across the arts. These are optional, even though students who have joined these trips found real value in these events towards their studies and experience.
There are usually one or two trips to Europe each year and at least one long haul trip further afield. For an approximation of costs:
Study trips to Europe cost approximately £200-250
Study trips to America/Asia cost approximately £750-850
Methods of Learning
In addition to lectures, seminars and practical workshops, the teaching programme facilitates critical discussion and analysis of student work, both in the form of individual tutorials and group critiques and develops an understanding of the place of photographic work within leisure, commercial and cultural contexts.
Theory is assessed through essays, a dissertation and presentations. Practical work is judged through portfolio presentations and exhibitions, and aligned with individual module criteria.
Facilities and Special Features
Special course features
- excellent traditional and digital specialist facilities
- research active teaching staff
- talks by visiting artists, photographers and art professionals
- fine art and commercial approaches to photography
We have a large, fully-equipped black and white darkroom in line with industry standards, and a separate colour darkroom with machine print processing. Two large studios (one with daylight, and the other with artificial lighting) provide professional standard facilities for a wide range of studio-based photography using film or digital cameras.
There are two digital Mac suites, the larger of which is a dedicated digital training room. Students have access to a range of film and flatbed scanners (including the Hasselblad Flextight Scanner), and fully colour managed computers which are linked to the digital print room. Students also have access to a video editing suite, with industry standard software.
An in-house exhibition-standard printing and mounting service is also available.
Beyond directly assessed coursework, students are encouraged to present their work on a public platform. Contributing to and setting up exhibitions will incur costs such as gallery hire, printing, mounting/framing and transport to and from the site. These are variable depending on where the exhibition is and the number of participants.
What will you need?
Starting your First Year
A list of basic necessities a Photography student should have is circulated to incoming First year students during the summer before they start, with recommendations of where these products can be purchased at a reasonable price. These include external hard drives, SD cards, portfolio boxes, sketchbooks, stationery etc, the total of which may be in the region of £100-150.
While students are not expected to arrive with their own high-end cameras, many students do choose to buy their own DSLR by the end of their second year. A range of photography equipment is available to loan, subject to availability. Please be aware that our stocks of digital cameras are Nikon and we have a range of lenses that will fit this make.
For longer loan periods, for example over holiday periods, students are required to insure the loaned equipment either by adding it to their parents’ home contents insurance, or alternately by taking out specific camera equipment insurance, of which costs are quite reasonable.
For independent work off-campus, students need to provide their own hardware equipment such as laptops or MacBooks and printers as well digital imaging software such as Photoshop, Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro or Adobe Creative Cloud. On campus, there are digital workstations (Mac and PC) available for students to use as well as a networked top-up card printing facility (including colour) that students pay per print for. There is also 24-hour Mac Suite access should students require it after hours.
Students choosing to shoot on film (35mm, medium or large format) or other media such as polaroid for project work, will be required to purchase their own film unless it is part of a first year workshop. Black and white film processing facilities are available for students to use free of charge. First year students are given two rolls of 35mm b/w film and one roll of colour film for their technical workshops.
Other costs may involve the production of a self-published book as part of a student portfolio, project or exhibition and is usually produced and ordered through an online company.
While visual outcomes that are screen-based or presented in the form of projections will incur no costs, students are often required to print their photographs for different projects, so some cost in ordering prints is expected. The requirements for this is dependent on both the project as well as on student preference in terms of scale, paper type etc.
There is a range of printing services available from an in-house printing and mounting service, to online print companies offering reasonable costs for work print orders as well as professional labs offering high quality exhibition prints and finishing. For exhibition-based modules (in stage two and three), there are additional costs to consider regarding the display presentation of work such as print mounting and framing.
Students can use the University’s colour and black and white darkroom facilities to print film-based images, but students need to provide their own paper, unless the printing is part of a taught workshop.
- Liz Wells (ed.) Photography: A Critical Introduction, Routledge: 2004
- Graham Clarke, The Photograph, Oxford University Press, 1997
- David Bate, Photography: The Key Concepts, Berg, 2009
- Juergen Gulbins and Christina Schulz, Digital Photography from the Ground Up, Rocky Nook Publishers, 2008
- Michael Freeman, The Digital SLR Handbook, ILEX, 2005
- Ian Farrell, A Complete Guide to Digital Photography, Quercus, 2011
- Whitney Davis, A General Theory of Visual Culture, Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2011
A wide range of career opportunities exist in the commercial and public sector, marketing, public relations and specialised fields. Graduates can develop their practice as independent artists and pursue collaborations, commissions, publication and exhibition opportunities, or in postgraduate study.
Ongoing opportunities (both paid and unpaid voluntary work) are offered to students alongside a rigorous professional development programme. Recent partnerships, internships, and work-based learning opportunities include The Prince’s Trust, Macmillan Cancer Charity, and The Guardian.
How to apply
Standard entry requirements apply. A typical offer would be BCC at A-Level or DMM at BTEC. In addition, applicants are expected to have studied an Art, Design, Photography or related subject in an A-Level or BTEC level 3 Diploma (or equivalent) or a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design.
Applicants are interviewed and are requested to provide a portfolio of their own work in Art and Design. International students may submit their portfolio electronically. Students with a relevant HND or Foundation Degree with a suitable profile of achievement may be admitted onto year two or three.
Foundation Entry Requirements
Admission to this foundation programme is normally DEE at A-Level or MPP at BTEC. However, we would also like to hear from you if you have professional or industry experience instead, a range of other qualifications or self-developed subject knowledge that relates to the programme you wish to study.
If you are considering a change in career or if you are returning to education after time away, then we suggest you contact Admissions to book an advisory interview with the course leader so we can explore how best to support your study ambitions.
For information regarding English language requirements at the University, please see our IELTS page.
Fees and funding
Fees quoted relate to study in the Academic Year 17/18 only and may be subject to inflationary increases in future years.
|Part Time:||£1,300 per 20 credit module|
|Foundation:||£6,300 as part of a four year programme (subsequent years will be charged at standard BA rate)|
|International Foundation Fee:||£9,400|
This course is available to international students.
Full-time international tuition fees
For information on our international tuition fees, please see our Tuition fees for international students page.
How to apply as an international student
For information on how to apply to study with us, please see our How to apply page.
Scholarships available to international students
For information on the scholarships available to you as an international student, please see our International scholarships page.
The Foundation Year programme offers a new and exciting route into studying for a degree, attracting ambitious and driven students who are willing to learn and advance.
If you have non-standard qualifications or do not quite meet the admissions requirements for BA Photography, the University of Northampton can offer you a fantastic opportunity to study a four year BA Photography programme which includes a Foundation Year that will help you develop the technical grounding and academic skills you need, in order to successfully progress to the full award.
The Foundation Year provides a practical and group-based approach to learning that supports your development and your transition to Higher Education, whilst introducing you to key ideas and skills used by photographers. We are also committed to engaging you with specialist Photography modules from the outset, whilst extending support into your second year of study (Stage One).
In the Foundation Year you will study 2 x 40 credit modules that form the Foundation Study experience. These are:
Subject Studies 1: Practical and Study Skills – provides an introduction to key concepts, theories and principles associated with the area of study.
Research for Practice – provides an overview of the principles of research, research methods and the learning environment of the University. It will also include an introduction to the academic languages of the subject and the learning experience of degree study.
These modules are delivered concurrently with 1 x Level 4 module from your programme: PHO1001 Photographic Techniques and Concepts
Upon successful completion of these modules, you will progress to Stage One of BA Photography, in which you will receive further support through:
Subject Studies 2: Working with Ideas – focuses specifically on the generation and development of ideas, building the key IT/ literacy/numeracy skill sets required by the programme.
In the remainder of Stage One, you will take 3 further modules from the BA Photography Award Map.
Typical timetabled week of study
Foundation Year teaching may be a combination of lectures, seminars and/or workshop based sessions. The three Foundation Year modules, Subject Studies 1: Practical and Study Skills, Research for Practice and Subject Studies 2: Working with Ideas are taken in the sequence indicated above. Each one involves a teaching contact time of four hours per week and students are also expected to engage in approximately 12 hours of independent study, to support the learning experience.
Foundation Study will, therefore, help you to build a solid understanding of the general theoretical and practical aspects that will underpin Photography, with the retained flexibility to possibly transfer later in your studies to other programmes, if they become more appropriate. Throughout all stages of your programme you will also be supported by a Personal Academic Tutor, to guide you through the learning experience and help you make informed study choices.
Foundation Study will enable you to acquire the necessary study skills to succeed in HE, as well as developing your understanding of key subject concepts delivered through taught sessions, practical workshops, tutorials and online support.