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Undergraduate study

W640 BA/Photo (W644 BA/PhotoFY for Year 0 entry)


Course overview

Learn all the tools photography has at its disposal in the digital age to make striking images for the gallery, industry and beyond. Aspiring professional photographers will develop both technical and conceptual skills as they explore many styles and forms of image making. You can focus on fine art, fashion, commercial, or editorial photography and take part in both on and off-campus exhibitions, visits to local and regional galleries, workshops and visits from guest speakers working in both fine art and industry.

Explore the practice and theory of photography, practice your art in a supportive community, and enjoy access to professional staff and resources.

Discover what it would be like to study one of these degree subjects and get advice on careers in the industry with one of our interactive sTUdio12 sessions.


Course details

In Year 1, you gain a thorough foundation in both historic and contemporary production processes of still and moving images and develop the relevant ideation and creative skills to become a meaningful producer of content within the disciplines of photography. Production is explored via the modules in photography production (the dark room and digital image), and audio-visual literacy. Contextualisation is delivered via the visual perspectives and photography workshop modules with assessment strategies designed to build a cohort identity and foster confidence. The Professional Development/Industry: Curatorial Imaginations module is designed to foster a deep understanding of display and exhibition practices be that commercially, artistically or professionally, with curriculum focusing on comprehension of audiences and delivery models.

Year 2 is devised to advance and facilitate greater ownership and authorship of production work, and you will enhance your production knowledge and techniques through core production modules in photographic narratives and photography production. You will begin to build your professional portfolio and understanding of enterprise, learning industry standards and industry-facing concepts. You engage with the history, theory and contemporary contexts of production, expanding your visual vocabulary and ability to think creatively.

In Year 3, you become fully-fledged producers and content creators and your ideas and sense identity and authorship are backed up by solid theory and practice. You are given industry-specific training in freelancing and commercial work via real-world simulated briefs. Solid research and reflection, coupled with experimental approaches in Hybrid Project enable you to complete a major self-directed photography project, preparing you for the world of work.

Course structure

Year 0 (foundation year) core modules

Creative Media Production

You explore the basic technical components of the process of making video or audiovisual materials for outputs such as online publishing, documentary or drama. You are introduced to media languages and how to communicate clearly to target audiences.
The module is project based and you carry out writing, composition and editing of your own short video or online publication. You learn basic skills in risk assessment for technical equipment, filming, editing and using online resources.
Your assessment is the creation of a video in response to a brief and the submission of a written review.

Digital Platforms

You examine the impact of social media on cultural perceptions, cultural values and also the reliability of knowledge and information online. You are introduced to a range of digital literacy skills, digital research methods and digital platforms. You explore a variety of digital media and think about your own presence and impact in the online world. How are you perceived by others in this space? How might you (including the information you provide) be valued by others, including future employers, collaborators and commercial agents?

Final Project

This module aims to guide you through the production of a small-scale individual project defined in part by you, with guidance from the tutor. The final project aims to develop an individual working approach and good project management. You will develop original ideas and concepts for an appropriate project in your chosen field of study. These may take the form of a short story, artefact, report, campaign, comic, concept art or other appropriate form related to the arts and media industries.


Here, you apply acquired knowledge and skills to a selected project according to an area of your individual interest or specialism. This module provides an overview of professional graphic practice and enables you to reflect on your own learning and personal career aspirations. You review work from modules through your portfolio presentation and set goals for the next stage.

Study Skills

You explore learning skills for undergraduate study at University, providing you with a range of learning material and practical sessions. You develop your professional skills including teamwork, researching a topic, report writing and delivering presentations, as well as time management and learning practice.
You learn by a combination of lectures, e-learning material and support.

You are introduced to the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) at Teesside University, exploring e-learning material and reading lists, and student support and learning resources.

Your assessment is a portfolio based on set tasks, including research into set problems.

Understanding Media

You explore a range of contemporary media theories and ideas in their broader historical, social, cultural, technological and economic context. You learn how these contexts can help us understand the power and influence of the media and how to begin to read the media through identifying codes and conventions.
Your assessment is a short essay that researches one area of media production.


Year 1 core modules

Audio/Visual Literacy

You discover and apply technical skills relating to audio/visual production. You develop your camera-handling techniques and ability to capture and manipulate sound in a negotiated practical production project.

You explore the main principles of single-camera operation, methodology and workflow, including; filming character dialogue, creating continuous action sequences, and shot composition for factual documentary and drama. You also explore how decisions made ‘on-set’ can influence creative choices in the post-production/editing process.

Your assessment is by 50% group production work and 50% written evaluation.

Curatorial Imaginations

You explore the considerations in preparing work for an exhibition. You consider methods and modes of presentation in different contexts in your lectures and seminars. In the studio you put together a small exhibition of your work and analyse, reflect and articulate the ideas that are emerging within your own studio practice and experiment with ways in which display or presentation might make these concerns clearer. In a personal statement you articulate your findings to identify your artistic concerns and examine the context where these concerns may sit.

Digital Image

You are introduced to photographic technologies and concepts related to a print-based digital environment. You will acquire skills related to digital camera systems, image processing and printing while progressing your understanding of the concepts of lens-based image making. Emphasis is placed on learning core principles of digital photographic technology and fundamental visual skills for photographers.

Photography Workshop

The creative side of photography through a series of open-ended and thought-provoking briefs are introduced. Weekly briefs will challenge you to consider the ways in which the photograph can be used as a representational tool and help them expand their photographic vocabulary. You will also have the opportunity to engage with photography through tutor-led field trips where practical skills can be tested and refined.

The Dark Room

You are introduced to the fundamentals of photographic and lens-based imaging. The emphasis is on applied skills and understanding basic principles of lens-based image making. Short, topic-orientated production assignments explore photography as an art and documentary form and lead to a basic understanding of image making with cameras. The course includes lecture, studio, and critique sessions.

Visual Perspectives

We live in a visual culture. This modules explores how we see and take meaning from images across a range of media platforms including television, cinema, the press and the visual arts.


Year 2 core modules

Contemporary Issues in Photography

Thematic topics in contemporary photography are investigated and the module will also address emerging trends in photography as well as issues related to exhibitions and research projects associated with the MIMA School of Art, the Side Gallery, and the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. Course readings, small group seminars and directed visual research projects will be used to contextualise issues in contemporary photography and to inform the production of student projects.

History and Theory: The Work of Photography

You consider a chronological overview of developments in analogue and digital photography from 1839 through to the onset of digital photography. The module treats photography broadly as a cultural activity with emphasis on its historical, documentary, and social value as well as its own aesthetic developments during this period. Attention is given to the relationship of photography to other media and to the development of photographic theory

Images and the Screen

You are introduced to the tools, applications and creative methods used in making and interpreting of photographic images in a screen-based environment using digital applications. Advanced Adobe Photoshop skills are explored in the creation of high-quality composites, advanced retouching skills, layers, masks and advanced colour correction tools. Digital images are prepared for various screen-based environments and advanced digital workflow is explored in the context of professional practice. You will also explore the way in which photographs are merging with other media such as sound and video on the web to understand the future directions of images and web-based, interactive content.

Photographic Narratives

This module introduces you to the notion of photographic narratives in their many forms: editorials, spreads, photobooks, picture stories, photo-journalism, long-term projects and documentary practices. The focus is on understanding how images link together and form narratives through their unique visual language. Lectures will introduce you to the many forms of narrative production via lens-based media, and encourage you to consider how images can be paired to form unique relationships. Studio time will allow for experimentation and workshops that build on your skillset.

Photography Portfolio

You are introduced to the business side of photography through a series of industry-focused briefs designed to develop your working knowledge of the practice of photography in both artistic and commercial contexts. You will also be taught the principles of photographic business plans, consulting with clients, managing shoots, creating websites and image galleries, marketing, branding, ethics and the legal responsibilities and liabilities of working photographers today.

Studio Practice

This practical and creative investigation modules focusses on the characteristics, qualities and descriptive aspects of controlled lighting, both continuous and electronic flash, in a studio and on-location environment. It also evaluates the importance of controlled lighting and how to effectively and accurately employ it with both digital and analog camera systems in various photographic formats, including tethered shooting. You will begin to acquire the skill sets needed to handle a variety of lighting situations in a creative manner.


Final-year core modules

Final Project: Photography

You will focus on an extended self-directed photography project that will synthesise the theories, practices and industry skills learned in previous years. It demonstrates the ability to analyse, synthesise, and creatively apply what has already been studied on the course whilst demonstrating critical and evaluative skills and professional awareness. You work in regular consultation with an advisor through the research and development stage to the making of your final conceptual and visual production of images. The critique and public display of this project is an integral and mandatory part of the process. You are guided to develop an appropriate sense of work-discipline coupled with a professional outlook. You are expected to take responsibility for the planning and execution of this project, including the consideration of associated legal, social, ethical and professional issues.

Hybrid Photography Project

Advanced hybrid forms employed in digital imaging are the focus of this module. It emphasises creative production combining still or moving images with audio, basic programming, and digital modes of presentation. Lectures and workshops allow students to acquire production skills necessary for creating innovative web content, site-specific installations and gallery exhibitions. A variety of presentation modes are introduced including projection, digital displays, real-time processing, and digital streaming.

Photography Freelance and Commissioned Work

You develop insight into the commercial photographic sector, helping you prepare for a career as a freelance or commercial photographer. You will develop and manage a series of photographic production projects to professional standards within the constraints of client-centered briefs, adhering to legislative and ethical requirements.

The Researching Practitioner

In this module, you complete a self-managed research project that investigates an area of the arts, and may link to an areas of study in practice, academia, teaching pedagogy and/or business and entrepreneurship.

The module develops your autonomy in decision-making including negotiating the project topic, form and assessment format. You can use and advance on your research, analysis, evaluation, critical reflection and communication skills through a field of study that is relevant to your own interests and potential future career prospects.

You engage in a range of experiences of staff and external professionals’ research projects. You are also encouraged to join and contribute to a community of scholars and place your work in conjunction with the current arts industry and research landscapes.


Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

An academic staff team of specialist practitioners and theorists work in partnership with technical staff to ensure you have access to a diverse and extensive range of photographic and fine art expertise. You have contact with professional guest speakers, have the opportunity to establish a support network for photographic practice and undertake study visits directly related to the field. Studio and industry-focussed tutorials throughout the programme are designed to help you develop clear and realistic objectives for continued professional development and employment. Individual and independent learning priorities become an integral component in final year study modules and are supported by a fully established Negotiated Learning Plan.

How you are assessed

The continuous assessment structure allows key assessment deadlines to be located at the mid-point and end-point of each academic year.

Our Disability Services team provide an inclusive and empowering learning environment and have specialist staff to support disabled students access any additional tailored resources needed. If you have a specific learning difficulty, mental health condition, autism, sensory impairment, chronic health condition or any other disability please contact a Disability Services as early as possible.
Find out more about our disability services

Find out more about financial support
Find out more about our course related costs


Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Typical offer
• Year 0 entry (UCAS code W644 BA/PhotoFY): flexible, each application is considered on a case-by-case basis
• Year 1 entry (UCAS code W640 BA/Photo): 96-112 points

Find out how many points your qualifications are worth using the UCAS tariff calculator. If your qualifications are not listed, contact our admissions team as we may accept alternatives.

We may also be able to help you meet the entry requirements through our Summer University modules.

Maths and English
Acceptable qualifications in maths and English include:
• GCSE grade 4 (or higher)
• Level 2 Key Skills (Communication and Application of Number)
• Level 2 Functional Skills.

We also accept alternative equivalent or higher level qualifications.

For additional information please see our entry requirements

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country

You can gain considerable knowledge from work, volunteering and life. Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credit for this which can be credited towards the course you want to study.
Find out more about RPL



Career opportunities

A large variety of unique options are open to you after graduating with a BA (Hons) Photography. The creative, research and professional skills gained open a broad range of careers possibilities, including:

  • freelance and corporate photography industries (advertising, fashion, editorial, blogging, documentary and art photography)
  • photo-related industries (art buyer, picture editor, publisher)
  • art-related (curator, archivist, gallery admin)
  • further education and academic (teaching, research, education)
  • art directing
  • entrepreneurship.


Information for international applicants


International applicants - find out what qualifications you need by selecting your country below.

Select your country:


Useful information

Visit our international pages for useful information for non-UK students and applicants.

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Entry to 2020/21 academic year

Fee for UK/EU applicants
£9,250 a year

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants

More details about our fees for international applicants

What is included in your tuition fee?

  • Length: 3 years or 4 years with a foundation year
  • UCAS code: W640 BA/Photo
    W644 BA/PhotoFY for Year 0 entry
  • Semester dates
  • Typical offer: 96-112 points

Apply online (full-time) through UCAS



2020 entry

Fee for UK/EU applicants
£4,500 (120 credits)

More details about our fees

  • Length: Up to 6 years
  • Attendance: Daytime
  • Enrolment date: September
  • Semester dates

Apply online (part-time)

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