Browser does not support script.

Undergraduate Course

Photography BA (Hons)

Become a photographer who develops ideas through experimentation and critical thinking. Learn to communicate through the visual language of photography.

Photos in exhibition

When you study photography with us you have the freedom to explore your artistic interests. We will help you develop professional photography skills and explore the ideas behind contemporary image making. You will develop skills in documentary, editorial and studio photography, using both film and digital approaches to image creation.

York campus

  • UCAS Code – W64W
  • Duration – 3 years full time, 6 years part time
  • Start date – September 2023, September 2024
  • School – School of the Arts

Minimum Entry Requirements

    104 UCAS Tariff points

    3 GCSEs at grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language.

Tuition Fees

    UK 2023 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2023 entry £13,000 per year full time

Course overview

This course will give you the confidence and skills you need to reach your potential as a photographer. You will focus on your practical photography skills and develop an understanding of photography theory to support your practical work. While studying with us you will:

  • Learn techniques for processing images both digitally and in a dark room
  • Create images in studios with controlled lighting
  • Work on location with available light
  • Work with a range of camera formats, lenses and technologies
  • Study the theories and histories of photography
  • Consider the impact your photography has on society, culture and the creative industries

You will apply this learning to different genres of photography. This might include documentary, art, editorial and studio photography.

Our facilities are available for you to use outside of taught classes. Our photography studio, Mac suite and dark room provide everything you need to create inspiring photographs. You can borrow equipment to try out different brands and lenses.

When you choose to study with us, you get more than the skills you need to succeed. You gain experiences that make you stand out. We give you opportunities to:

  • Learn from visiting photographers
  • Take part in work placement opportunities and projects with local businesses
  • Showcase your work at our annual degree show and national graduate exhibitions
  • Visit cities around the world to enrich your cultural awareness

Course structure

Year 1

In your first year, if you are a full time student, you will study: 

  • 3 compulsory modules in semester 1 
  • 2 compulsory modules in semester 2

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.

Modules

Credits: 40

Compulsory module

This module is your introduction to key photography principals and practices. You will explore analogue and digital imaging using a range of cameras, lenses, studio techniques and software. In our darkroom you will learn to process film and print your photos using traditional methods. Moving onto digital imaging you will come to understand the rationale for the development in technology. By the end of the module you will have a portfolio of images you can reflect on and discuss with your peers. This will be supported by a digital research journal which documents your research and ideas.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you to experiment with a wide range of media and expand your knowledge of photography principals beyond the digital still photograph. You will develop your confidence in working with film cameras, light sensitive materials and chemicals. You will also consider philosophical ideas which look at our relationship with materials, and question our understanding of seeing and knowing. Throughout the module you will document your processes, engage with peers and tutors, and use this as a tool to help you develop your work further.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module we will introduce you to the history and theory of photography. In your lectures and seminars you will consider the key debates in the field of photography. You will explore how photography has evolved, from the invention of the medium to its popularisation. Understand the relationship between research and practice as you consider how different theories can influence the work you create and help you to reflect on it. You will also develop your core skills in academic writing, referencing and critical thinking.

Credits: 40

Compulsory module

This module will introduce you to a number of narrative approaches and contemporary themes within photography. Following a series of short tasks, which will help you explore these approaches and themes in more detail, you will write your own project proposal. The proposed project will develop into a piece of work, or collection of works, of which you will produce, document and reflect on.

Themes for your project might include:

  • Landscape and memory
  • Photography and chance
  • Photography as interdisciplinary practice
  • Ethics of representation
  • Photographing the self

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will build on your knowledge from History and Theory in Practice 1. Informed by literary texts and contemporary publications you will analyse different types of representation. Key concepts you will cover include reality, ethics, gender representation and politics. This will help you take a critical approach to contemporary representations. It will help you to adopt an analytical approach to both your photography and your written work.

Year 2

In your second year, if you are a full time student, you will study:

  • 1 compulsory module across semesters 1 and 2
  • 2 compulsory modules in semester 1 
  • 2 compulsory modules in semester 2

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.

Modules

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

On this module you will build on the knowledge and understanding you developed in your first year. You will explore the role of the photographer as an active participant in society through engaging with the themes and people represented in the images that you create. You will experiment with ways of using your photography practice as a tool, to respond to society and related issues. Throughout the module you'll document your processes, engage with peers and tutors, and use this as a tool to help you edit and develop your work further.

Themes for your project might include:

  • Social justice
  • Environment and sustainability
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Photography and community
  • Political consciousness

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

As you develop your knowledge, ways of thinking and research skills, you will start to define your identity as a practitioner. You will develop your artistic practice through the philosophy of aesthetics and explore the ideas and concepts of thinkers such as:

  • Hélène Cixous
  • Immanuel Kant
  • Edmund Burke
  • Martin Heidegger
  • Gilles Deleuze
  • Jacques Derrida

Through exploring both historical and modern ideas, you will learn to form judgements based on research as well as enhancing your practice led vocabulary. Academic staff will set questions for you to investigate as groups by engaging with key works, concepts and methods.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Apply your practice and work on live projects within the arts sector, and start to form professional relationships with external organisations and clients. You will focus on your individual ambitions and gain confidence in communication within professional creative sectors. Networking may also help you to gain other opportunities for independent work-related learning or through a short placement. You will review your practice to find out what transferable skills you have beyond your subject specific skills.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

This module will encourage you to refine your ideas and artistic interests which you have developed in other modules. You will work independently on a project, with support from your tutors, as you develop your idea. By the end of the module you will have produced work which responds to an audience through exhibition or publication. You will also consider the photography industry and begin to develop a professional online presence for your work.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will develop your knowledge, ways of thinking and research skills that will be vital in your third year. Throughout the module you'll engage with issues that impact the sector and learn how to situate your studio work in the diverse world of creative practice. Issue and topics you may cover include:

  • The role of art and artists in the representation of mental health
  • The impact of the internet at its power to spread images and ideas
  • Contemporary culture and politics
  • Art in the age of the Anthropocene
  • Climate change

Credits: 10

Compulsory module*

This module is your opportunity to work on live projects within the creative industries. You will form professional relationships with external organisations or individuals and lays the foundations for the Professional Futures module in your 3rd year. As part of your professional experience, you will develop and build your CV and web presence, creating meaningful networks with fellow artists. By the end of the module you will be expected to have developed and completed a live project with an external stakeholder.

*This module is only offered to students who are studying abroad for one semester. Students will take this module during the semester they are not abroad and instead of the Professional Networks 20 credit module. 

Year 3

In your third year, if you are a full time student, you will study:

  • 2 compulsory modules in semester 1
  • 2 compulsory modules in semester 2

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.

Modules

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

Through experimentation, critique and reflection you will find your personal voice as a practitioner on this module. This module requires you to develop your portfolio and exhibit your work in at least one public exhibition. Engagement in the curation, marketing and discussion of your piece is essential so that you can demonstrate the purpose of your work. You will also consider how you communicate to the public audience and test out ideas in preparation for your Degree Show module.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

Your Dissertation is a written analytical piece that will support your understanding of your studio practice. Your area of enquiry may come from fine art, illustration, photography, film, television, curating or arts education. You are encouraged to pursue a topic that is relevant to your work or career path, as this will help you to develop your degree show and life beyond graduation. The research process will also include a presentation of your work in progress. This will help you to develop clear and concise public speaking skills which will enhance your employability.

Credits: 40

Compulsory module

During this module you will develop your independent body of work and build on your strengths identified in the Advanced Studio module. You will learn how to place your work within the contemporary art world. This module is exhibition focused and you will have the opportunity to try out new ideas. By experimenting using practice-led research you will receive constructive feedback to help you develop toward your final major exhibition.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Apply your skills, knowledge and experience to a professional direction and get ready for your graduate professional practice. During this module you will choose areas of interest to develop your knowledge to help you plan a future direction for your practice. Areas of development may include:

  • Curatorial practice
  • Editorial practice
  • Publishing
  • Socially and politically engaged practice
  • Working in education
  • Entrepreneurial working

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and learning

We deliver your modules through:

  • Tutorials
  • Practical workshops
  • Group critiques
  • Seminars
  • Lectures
  • Studio demonstrations

Each module has 3-6 hours of contact time a week. We schedule our taught sessions between 9.00am and 8.00pm, Monday to Friday.

You will need to conduct independent study outside of this time. This might include creative exploration, reading, writing tasks and research. You can also arrange individual tutorials with your module tutors throughout the semester to receive feedback on your work and discuss the course content.

Our teaching draws on both our research and professional experience. This means your learning is informed by the most current thinking in the subject area. You can find out more about our research and backgrounds by visiting our staff pages.

Assessment

There are no exams on this course. Assessment types vary from module to module. Some of your assessments might include:

  • Portfolios of work
  • Sketchbooks and developmental work
  • Exhibitions
  • Research reports
  • Essays
  • Personal critiques and reflections
  • Presentations

On each module you will receive ongoing feedback on your work from staff and fellow students. This will help you reflect and refine your work before your final submission or exhibition at the end of the module. Each assessment will be marked and returned with feedback so you can improve your work.

Career outcomes

Your future with a degree in Photography

On this course you will gain the specialist creative and practical skills you need to pursue a career in photography. You will also build skills in project management, independent working and practical problem solving that can lead to a range of other creative roles.

This degree could be the first step toward your career as an:

  • Advertising photographer
  • Digital image editor
  • Editorial photographer
  • Events photographer
  • Gallery curator
  • Picture editor
  • Small business owner

Discover more career options on Prospects careers advice pages.

You could also progress onto a postgraduate degree and take your learning even further.

Postgraduate degrees at York St John University

Photography MFA

MA by Research

Whatever your ambitions, we can help you get there.

Our careers service, LaunchPad provides career support tailored to your ambitions. Through this service you can access:

  • Employer events
  • LinkedIn, CV and cover letter sessions
  • Workshops on application writing and interview skills
  • Work experience and volunteering opportunities
  • Personalised career advice

This support doesn't end when you graduate. You can access our expert career advice for the rest of your life. We will help you gain experience and confidence to succeed. It's your career, your way.

Entry requirements

Qualifications

Minimum Entry Requirements

    104 UCAS Tariff points

    3 GCSEs at grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language.

Calculate your UCAS Tariff points

International Students

If you are an international student you will need to show that your qualifications match our entry requirements.

Information about international qualifications and entry requirements can be found on our International pages.

If English is not your first language you will need to show that you have English Language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

International entry requirements

 

Portfolio Day

If your application is successful, you will be invited to a portfolio day. On the day, you will show your work to our tutors and share with them your passion for the subject.

Mature Learners Entry Scheme

If you have been out of education for 3 years or more and have a grade C GCSE in English Language or equivalent, you are eligible for our entry scheme for mature learners. It's a scheme that recognises non-traditional entry qualifications and experience for entry onto this course. Information on how to apply can be found on our dedicated page.

Mature entry offer scheme

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. You can read them on our Admissions page.

Fees and Funding

To study for an undergraduate degree with us, you will need to pay tuition fees for your course. How much you pay depends on whether you live inside the UK, or internationally (outside the UK). Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

UK 2023 entry

The tuition fee for 2023 entry onto this course is:

  • £9,250 per year for full time study
  • £6,935 per year for the first 4 years if you study part time

These prices apply to all UK, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students

You can find out more about funding your degree by visiting our funding opportunities page:

Funding Opportunities

Placement year funding

If you choose to take a placement year, and your course offers it, you can apply for the Tuition Fee and Maintenance Loan for your placement year. How much you are awarded is based on the type of placement being undertaken and whether it is a paid or unpaid placement. The tuition fee for your placement year will be reduced.

Tuition Fees

    UK 2023 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2023 entry £13,000 per year full time

International 2023 entry

The tuition fee for 2023 entry to this course is £13,000 per year for full time study.

This price applies to all students living outside the UK.

Due to immigration laws, if you are an international student on a Student Visa, you must study full time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

Find out more about funding your degree:

International Fees and Funding

Additional costs and financial support

There may also be some additional costs to take into account throughout your studies, including the cost of accommodation.

Course-related costs

While studying for your degree, there may be additional costs related to your course. This may include purchasing personal equipment and stationery, books and optional field trips.

Study Abroad

For more information on tuition fee reductions and additional costs for studying abroad, please visit our study abroad pages.

Accommodation and living costs

For detailed information on accommodation and living costs, visit our Accommodation pages.

Financial help and support

Our Funding Advice team are here to help you with your finances throughout your degree. They offer a personal service that can help you with funding your studies and budgeting for living expenses. 

For advice on everything from applying for scholarships to finding additional financial support email fundingadvice@yorksj.ac.uk.

Course highlights

More to explore

Student writing in notebook at table

Join us in 2023

Two female students smiling in York

What makes us different

Get in touch

Cookie Settings