Our Photography degree takes a practical approach to exploring the photograph within a range of contemporary practices and contexts. This will extend to a critical understanding of the subject and allows the scope for you to develop your creativity and professionalism.
Starting university is a big step and we want you to have everything you need from day one. That’s why if you choose to study this course full-time at Northampton from September 2018, you will be provided with your own brand new Hewlett Packard laptop* to keep at no additional cost. For more information on this and many other benefits you can enjoy, please visit our benefits webpages.
*Terms and conditions apply. Please see the benefits webpages for more information.
We will challenge you to consider traditional silver processes and digital technologies, evaluating photographic production and studying the still image in relation to both the moving image and newer interactive technologies.
You will develop your understanding of the place of photographic work within leisure, commercial and cultural contexts, to understand the impact that photography can have and the change it can inspire.
We encourage you to explore the photograph within art, editorial, product, services and industry, communications, performance and entertainment. You will be given the space to adapt and develop skills independently, so that you can work to client commissions and function as a professional when you graduate.
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.
*Terms and conditions apply. Please see our benefits webpages for more information.
Waterside is our purpose-built campus, designed to provide you with the learning experience and opportunities you expect from a modern university.
We know our staff and students want the very best, and that’s what Waterside will provide. It is the embodiment of our mission to transform lives and inspire change.
We’ve designed Waterside to put you first – it is flexible to the changing needs of our students but also makes the most of our fantastic staff. A University that teaches in a way that mirrors the skills you will need when you graduate, a place that provides everything you will need to live and learn, and that will provide a home-from-home as you enjoy one of the best and most fulfilling experiences of your life.
Our new campus opens its doors in September 2018 and while Waterside will be home to most of our teaching, we’ll also be making use of the excellent facilities around the town. We’ll also be retaining some facilities at our current campuses (Park and Avenue) on a temporary basis for the initial period. These will mostly be used to offer off-campus accommodation options to make sure we have a great range of rooms to suit everyone.More about our campuses »
The University partners with leading businesses across the industry
In the first year, we will introduce you to processes and techniques of photography, considering different conceptual approaches, through theory lectures and practice. You will be introduced to using a 35mm camera, digital SLRs, medium and large format photography, studio and location shooting and working in wet and darkrooms and digital media suites.
During your second year, you will develop a body of practical work around fine art and commercial applications of photography, supported by theory lectures on the place of photography within visual culture. There will also be lectures from a range of visiting industry professionals and artists, to build on your continuing professional development.
Your final year will allow you to consolidate your skills, culminating in an exhibition and either a professional development portfolio or a dissertation. You can choose whether to go for a practical or academic route, depending on your interests and strengths.
Course modules (17/18)
Photography and its Changing Uses (20 Credits)
- Module code: PHO1002
- Core module Y
Photographic Techniques and Concepts (40 Credits)
- Module code: PHO1001
- Core module Y
Reading the Image (20 Credits)
- Module code: PHO1003
- Core module Y
Converging Practices on Screen (40 Credits)
- Module code: PHO1004
- Core module Y
Photography and Visual Culture (20 Credits)
- Module code: PHO2003
- Core module Y
Photography in a Design Context (40 Credits)
- Module code: PHO2002
- Core module Y
Photography and Arts Practice (40 Credits)
- Module code: PHO2001
- Core module Y
Professional Studies (Photography) (20 Credits)
- Module code: PHO2008
- Core module Y
Practice Exhibition (80 Credits)
- Module code: PHO4001
- Core module Y
Career Development in Photographic Practices (40 Credits)
- Module code: PHO3003
- Core module Y
Module information is quoted for 17/18 entry. Please note that modules run subject to student numbers and staff availability, any changes will be communicated to applicants accordingly.
Local and Regional Exhibition trips
All photography students are encouraged to attend exhibition trips that are organized throughout the year. We usually cover the cost of journeys by coach, but you will be expected to pay for any addition journeys by rail. The cost will depend on how far in advance you book tickets, whether you use a student rail card or if underground travel is required. Some of the bigger exhibitions at established institutions will charge an entry fee, which will be reduced if you show your student card.
Study Trips Abroad
We organise annual international trips for groups of around 30 students across the arts subjects. These are optional but have proved to be valuable for students’ academic and practical experience.
There are usually one or two trips to Europe each year and at least one long haul trip further afield. Study trips to Europe cost approximately £200-250 while trips to America/Asia cost approximately £750-850.
Methods of Learning
We take a range of approaches to your teaching, including lectures, seminars, practical workshops, individual tutorials and group critiques, to facilitate critical discussion and analysis.
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
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. You will 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. You will also have access to a video editing suite, with industry standard software.
An in-house exhibition-standard printing and mounting service is also available.
As well as your assessed coursework, we encourage you to present your work to the public. There will be additional costs included in contributing to and setting up exhibitions, such as gallery hire, printing, mounting/framing and transport. These will vary depending on the venue and the number of participants.
What will you need?
Starting your First Year
In the summer before you start studying with us, you will be sent a list of basic necessities for the course, with recommendations of where to buy the products at a reasonable price. These include external hard drives, SD cards, portfolio boxes, sketchbooks, stationery etc, costing a total of approximately £100-150. We have our own Art shop on campus, where you will be able to purchase many of these items.
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.
Our equipment can be loaned for longer periods – for example over the summer vacation. However we do ask that it’s insured for this purpose. Costs for this are quite reasonable.
For independent work off-campus, you will need to provide your 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 you to use as well as a networked top-up card printing facility (including colour) that you would pay per print for. There is also 24-hour Mac Suite access should you need it after hours.
You can choose to shoot on film (35mm, medium or large format) or other media such as polaroid. However you’ll need to purchase your own film unless it is part of a first year workshop. Black and white film processing facilities are available for you to use free of charge. In your first year you will be 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 portfolio, project or exhibition and is usually produced and ordered through an online company.
Some projects will make use of screen-based images or projections, with no addition cost, however you will be required to print your photographs from other projects which will incur a cost. This will be dependent on scale, paper type and so on.
We have an in-house printing and mounting service, offering reasonable prices for print orders. Alternatively, you can use professional labs for 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.
You will be able to use our colour and black and white darkroom facilities to print film-based images, but you will need to provide your 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
Our Photography degree is excellent preparation for a range of careers in fields such as the commercial and public sectors, marketing, public relations and specialised fields. You could develop your practice as an independent artist and pursue collaborations, commissions, publication and exhibition opportunities. You would also be well positioned for postgraduate study.
You will have the opportunity to do work experience, either paid and unpaid, alongside your studies. Recently, students have had internships and work-based learning with 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 Study Framework 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.
Please note that tuition fees for EU students will remain the same as UK fees for 2018/19. For more information, please visit the Gov UK website.
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 Study Framework 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, we can offer you a fantastic opportunity to study a four year BA Photography programme which includes a year of foundation study. The Foundation Study Framework will help you develop the technical grounding and academic skills you need, in order to successfully progress to the full award.
The Foundation Study Framework 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).
You will study two 40 credit modules that form the Foundation Study Framework. 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 one 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 three further modules from the BA Photography Award Map.
Typical timetabled week of study
Foundation Study Framework teaching may be a combination of lectures, seminars and/or workshop based sessions. Each module involves a teaching contact time of four hours per week and you are also expected to engage in approximately 12 hours of independent study, to support your learning experience.
Foundation study will 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.