Photography BA | Coventry University

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Coventry University is a diverse and exciting place to work and we share the enthusiasm of our staff and students to be the best at whatever they choose to do. As one of the City’s biggest employers, we offer some impressive benefits for our staff and are committed to delivering the very best opportunities. We have a comprehensive training, personal and professional development programme that provides our employees with the skills to enhance their performance in the workplace and grow in their careers. There are pension schemes, a generous holiday allowance and flexible working opportunities as well as lifestyle benefits including childcare vouchers, discounted membership to the £4 million sports and recreation centre and schemes such as Cycle to Work and the CU Car Share initiative.

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Photography BA (Hons) 2018/19 entry

Course code:


Study options:

3 years full-time
4 years sandwich


Coventry University


September 2018



Get in touch

For questions regarding study and admissions please contact us:

+44 (0) 24 7765 2222


A photo can capture political or social attitudes instantly. Learn how you can turn your skills into a career with a degree in Photography.

In a fast-changing 24-hour multimedia landscape, where everyone with a camera phone is a photographer, our graduates stand out for their creativity, professionalism and critical understanding of the photographic medium. 

Our continually evolving course is directly informed by input from the world’s leading photographers, editors and curators.  Through a dynamic programme of study, we will work with you to develop your individual creative ability, technical skills, critical knowledge and professional experience, to establish a career using photography as a tool for creative expression and visual communication. 

Why Coventry University?

An award-winning university, we are committed to providing our students with the best possible experience. We continue to invest in both our facilities and our innovative approach to education. Our students benefit from industry-relevant teaching, and resources and support designed to help them succeed. These range from our modern library and computing facilities to dedicated careers advice and our impressive Students’ Union activities.

Global ready

An international outlook, with global opportunities


Career-ready graduates, with the skills to succeed

Teaching Excellence

Taught by lecturers who are experts in their field

Course essentials

A degree which offers you more, at no extra cost

What our students say

There is having knowledge and then there is the ability to share knowledge with others in ways that inspire. The staff at Coventry have both and I have found their guidance invaluable. The learning activities are interesting and engaging, constantly challenging me to think in new and innovative ways."

Lee Morley, current Year Three student, 2016/17

Course information

The course is designed to be highly motivating to students – the teaching and learning activities are conceived to have clear relevance to your future career. We will focus on the development of problem solving, reflective practice, critical thinking, technical and practical skills related to photographic practice.

From the outset, we will develop your technical skills and teach you to understand what it is to situate yourself within a professional photographic environment. We’ll introduce you to wider thematic questions and encourage critical thinking about the medium so you’re better equipped to think as an informed image-maker. You will develop your understanding of visual communications within the context of different industries, ranging from fashion photography through to fine art.

Together, we will question and explore all the latest developments in photography – recently this has included data mining, geotagging, gif making, glitching, distributed authorship, archives, hypertext navigation, collaborative photographic practices and a whole bunch more.

Throughout the course, we invite the international photography community into our classroom, enabling you to engage directly with the industry. You’ll work on projects on location and in the studio, developing high levels of competence using industry-standard cameras, lenses, lighting equipment and editing software in the digital darkrooms.


of students are satisfied with the quality of the course

NSS, 2016

Course specification
Download PDF (199Kb)




  • Histories and Practices

  • Documents and Fictions

  • Digital Photomedia

  • Picturing the Body  

  • Professional Development    


The focus on preparing students for successful futures sets Coventry apart as a university.

The Add+vantage modules teach a range of work experience and extra-curricular activities that are taken each year, and broaden students knowledge and skills within a work focused environment. There is a very wide range of Add+vantage free-choice subject areas, and they are arranged in themes.



  • Concepts and Approaches

  • Community, Culture and Identity

  • Photography and Narrative  

  • Professional Experience  

  • Optional modules

    1 from the following:

    • Post-Digital Publishing
    • Participatory Practices
    • Experimental Narrative
    • Transmedia Practice      


The focus on preparing students for successful futures sets Coventry apart as a university.

The Add+vantage modules teach a range of work experience and extra-curricular activities that are taken each year, and broaden students knowledge and skills within a work focused environment. There is a very wide range of Add+vantage free-choice subject areas, and they are arranged in themes.


Following your second year, you will have an option to apply for a one-year professional work placement or study abroad in a partner institution.


By the final year of the degree, you should have the knowledge, confidence and expertise to be publishing and exhibiting your work on international platforms, and leveraging those forces that are changing the face of the photographic world.


  • Independent Research

  • Independent Practice: Exploration  

  • Independent Specialist: Realisation

  • Professional Futures  


The focus on preparing students for successful futures sets Coventry apart as a university.

The Add+vantage modules teach a range of work experience and extra-curricular activities that are taken each year, and broaden students knowledge and skills within a work focused environment. There is a very wide range of Add+vantage free-choice subject areas, and they are arranged in themes.


Our Film Production and Photography courses are ranked no.1 by Guardian University Guide 2019

In more detail...

  • Excellent links with industry, many of whom provide employment, placements or professional guidance, such as GRAIN, Photomonitor and Magnum Photos.
  • Outstanding graduate employability record – 100% of graduates in work or further study after six months (DLHE 2014/15), three-quarters of those employed in professional level roles.
  • Well-stocked Media Loan Shop so you can borrow an extensive range of specialist, professional equipment, including digital medium format camera equipment, large format cameras, Bowens lighting, Canon and Nikon full frame digital SLRs and a full range of film cameras.
  • Opportunity to participate in self-funded study trips abroad to places like New York, Paris, Barcelona, Dublin, and Madrid to visit key industry events such as Paris Photo and centres for photography like the International Centre of Photography New York, and participate in workshops and receive talks by industry experts.
  • Regular speaker programme features esteemed experts like John Blakemore, Susan Bright, Pete Brook, Lewis Bush, Elinor Carruci, Bruno Ceschel, Emma Critchley, Elizabeth Edwards, Paul Gaffney, Patricia Holland, Tom Hunter, Lucy Levene, Sian Macfarlane, Rebecca McClelland, Kate McMillan, David Moore, Christiane Monarchi, Jennifer Pattinson, Martin Pover, Alafuro Sikoki-Coleman, and Simon Terrill.
  • Strong track record of student success in national and international competitions, including the winner of the Master Photographers’ Association Retoucher Award in 2014 and a finalist in the Association of Photographers’ Student Awards in 2015. Other students have been selected for the prestigious showcase exhibition, New Art West Midlands 2016, or had work featured at the Pingyao Photography Festival in China in 2015.
  • Taught by staff whose work has been featured in the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Academy of Arts, Tate Modern, British Museum, The Saatchi Collection, The Photographers’ Gallery, Source, Photoworks, Photographies, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian, Red, Marie Claire, Southbank Centre London, Glamour, Channel 4, Spirit Square Center for the Arts North Carolina, PhotoIreland, Malmö Fotobiennal, Goa International Photography Festival, Les Recontres Arles Photographie, MAC Birmingham, and Jaipur Photography Festival.

of students said staff were good at explaining things and gave detailed feedback on work (NSS 2016)

Our main study themes include: 

  • Histories and practices: You will be introduced to key debates, themes and histories relating to the photographic medium through exploration of a broad range of concepts, issues and ideas that have shaped critical thinking about photography, historically and in the present day. Developing your analytical skills through written and oral presentations, you will enhance your critical appreciation of issues related to your individual practice-based work.
  • Documents and fictions: The photograph as a document of the ‘real’ world, the apparent capabilities of images to show ‘evidence’ and the role of storytelling in photographic practices provide the areas of investigation. You will explore a number of traditions, approaches and genres, through workshops, assignments and formative feedback reviews that focus on technical, methodological and conceptual ways of working. Your study of this area culminates with the proposal and development of an extended, coherent and considered body of work that demonstrates critical appreciation of issues related to these key themes underpinning photography.
  • Digital photomedia: We will investigate the impact that emergent digital platforms – and associated protocols, standards, languages and software – have had on photography and traditional media, and the rise of new cultural forms. You will explore various concepts, including issues of perception, the performance of embodiment, agency, citizenship, collective action, individual identity, time and spatiality.
  • Picturing the body: When creating depictions of the human form – whether this is the body of one’s self or other people – questions of power, difference, identity and context become particularly heightened. We will explore the photographic encounter between a photographer and their subject, and the various aesthetic, technical, methodological and ethical issues this can involve within a range of genres, contexts and themes, such as gender, science, identity, fashion, performance and anthropology.
  • Concepts and approaches:  We will explore contemporary debates around the interpretation of photographs and the construction of photographic meaning. The genres, contexts and practices in which photographs are produced and consumed are considered through a range of critical frameworks and themes, such as: space and place; death and photography; photography and cinema; psychoanalysis; photography and gender; and photography and nationhood.
  • Community, culture and identity: We examine the role of photography in perpetuating, interpreting or questioning notions of community, culture and identity in order to produce ‘knowledge’ or manufacture ‘visual pleasure’. We will look at a wide variety of practices and contexts, ranging from official identification portraiture, the archive, fashion, advertising, the family album and online networks through to work that seeks to show situations or communicate ideas about the social, political and economic circumstances that shape human experience.
  • Photography as narrative: Focusing on technical, methodological and conceptual ways of working, we will explore a number of traditions, approaches and genres in which photography is used to document the ‘real’ world, show ‘evidence’ and tell stories.

The course normally lasts three years when studied full-time. Students successfully completing the first two years of the course can opt to take a Professional or International Enhancement module, spending a year out between the second and third years on placement or study abroad. 

Your personal tutor, who will be a member of the photography team, will review and discuss your progress with you and will be available for advice

Teaching staff on our Photography Degree are actively engaged in pioneering teaching and learning photography. We run ‘open’ and connected classes that have been internationally recognised by the European Parliament for ‘breaking new ground for photographers’ and by Wired Magazine for ‘shaking up photo-education’. Our open classes include #picbod, which examines the aesthetic, creative and technical issues and visual messages associated with photographing the body; #phonar, which questions what it is like to be a 21st century photographer; and #CCI16, which draws from a variety of visual methodologies that examine and respond to themes of community, culture and identity. These classes are opened up to international contributors, encouraging wider participation and engagement with the learning community of the course.

Our teaching places an emphasis on experimentation, critical research, versatility and technical expertise. It is informed by staff practice and research in areas such as photobook publishing; documentary photography; collaborative photographic practices; socially-engaged practice, photography education; digital appropriation and expanded photography practices; the representation of death in contemporary culture; art and anthropology; the ethics and aesthetics of participation; photography and time; photography and cinema; community photography; the pedagogical turn of contemporary art; and photography and the archive.

We regularly invite speakers from industry or experts in the field, which in the past have included Laia Abril, Marcus Bleasedale, John Blakemore, Susan Bright, Pete Brook, David Campbell, Elinor Carucci, Bruno Ceschel, Emma Critchley, Chloe Dewe Mathews, Paul Gaffney, Dan Holdsworth, Aaron Huey, Barry Hughes, Tom Hunter, Ben Krewinkel, Chrystal Lebas, Carolyn Lefley, Lucy Levene, Graham Macindo, Rebecca McClelland, Kate McMillan, David Moore, Chino Otsuka, Jennifer Pattinson, Mark Power, Fred Ritchin, Simon Roberts, Michelle Sank, and Nicola Shipley.

Teaching methods include: practical workshops and lectures, with associated seminars and small group skills sessions.

Coursework is assessed using a variety of methods including: peer review, group tutorials, individual tutorials, presentations, proposals, critical writing, blogs, lens-based artefacts, project reports, portfolios, research, presentations and development books.

An estimated percentage breakdown of your final grade assessment is as follows:

  • Practical or project work: 60%
  • Coursework, essay, reports: 20%
  • Presentations, etc: 20% 

In order to qualify for the award of Bachelor of Arts, a student must satisfy the University requirements of 360 credits. A student who does not wish to progress to a subsequent year of study may apply for an intermediate award of Diploma of Higher Education if they pass a minimum of 240 credits. A Certificate of Higher Education may be awarded to a student with minimum of 120 credits.  

20% assessed by coursework, essay, reports

On successful completion, you should be equipped with the skills to:

  • Demonstrate technical skills relating to a wide range of analogue and digital photography, and associated media equipment, platforms and processes.
  • Apply your photography skills creatively to a brief to a high standard of aptitude, demonstrating the appropriate breadth and depth of conceptual development.
  • Apply creative solutions to a brief, using technical means and appropriate application of materials, processes and technologies to develop a coherent body of work that reflects the particular characteristics of your own creative perspective.
  • Conduct research into photography and its related applications and contexts through a process of creative experimentation, conceptual rigor and critical analysis.
  • Communicate themes and ideas about lens-based media clearly, analytically and comprehensively in visual, oral and written forms.
  • Apply critically informed knowledge of professional practice in photography, and the wider visual arts and media related fields.
  • Effectively organise and manage independent and collaborative projects and apply entrepreneurial skills in dealing with audiences, clients, consumers, finances, markets, sources and/or users.
  • Work to deadlines, both individually and in groups.


of our graduates are in work or further study six months after the course

DLHE 2014/15

In a typical teaching week, you will have up to 15 ‘contact’ hours of teaching.

This generally breaks down as:

  • Personal tutorial/small group teaching: a 1-hour smaller tutorial/seminar with focused tutor contact each week.
  • Medium group teaching: up to 10 hours of workshops or seminars each week.
  • Large group teaching: up to 4 hours of lectures each week.

In addition, you will be expected to undertake a further 20 hours of self-directed studying, coursework and revising in your own time.

Our sandwich degree option allows a full-year placement, which can be taken abroad. In the past, photography students have studied abroad at places such as International Centre of Photography, New York, USA; Universidad Europea de Madrid, Spain; Karlstad University, Sweden; Hanze University, Groningen, Netherlands; and Universidad Carlos III, Madrid, Spain. The University also runs a number of schemes to allow students short periods of overseas study, places include: China, USA, South America and parts of Europe. 

Throughout the course, online international learning (OIL) projects are facilitated in collaboration with universities overseas, enhancing your global experience and international networks. Recent OIL projects have taken place with partners in the Universidad de Europa de Madrid, Spain, and Universitatea Nationala De Arte, Bucharest.

Global ready

Did you know we help more students travel internationally than any other UK university according to data from the experts in higher education data and analysis, HESA?

In 2015/16, we were able to provide a total of 2101 experiences abroad that lasted at least five days, 76% of which were our own organised trips for undergraduates and 23% from postgraduate travel.

Much of this travel is made possible through our Global Leaders Programme, which enables students to prepare for the challenges of the global employment market, as well as strengthening and developing their broader personal and professional skills.

Explore our international experiences

1st for

international experiences

Sending more students overseas than any other UK uni


Student experiences

The number of student trips abroad for at least 5 days in 2015/16


and counting

The number of students we’ve helped travel internationally so far


global programmes

As well as trips, we offer other opportunities like language courses

What our alumni say

Studying photography at Coventry University was an amazing experience for me. With an incredible team of lecturers from a wide range of specialist fields, I really feel the course has prepared me for my future in the photographic field. The advice and knowledge I received not only benefited my coursework, but also my practice, and gave me insight into the professional world of photography. The course encourages students to produce their own work, not work that is a carbon copy of another. It pushes you to be a better photographer and to think outside the box, especially with the introduction of digital media modules, as being up-to-date with the latest technology is so important in photography today."

Steve Hird, graduated 2016, now Freelance Photographer

What our alumni say

The Photography programme has greatly helped improve my ability to work well with others. Throughout the course, I was able to enhance my people skills and my planning abilities. With the production of the degree show exhibition, I was able to learn how the correct way to produce an exhibition with a safety net that allowed me to fail and make mistakes. The support of the teachers and the way that they interacted with us students made us feel not only protected and encouraged, but also like colleagues. We were given a huge amount of help throughout our degree that allowed us to move forward with our own work and grow as photographic practitioners. The international experience of the course allowed me to see the world in a more connected light."

Stevie Deale, graduated 2016, now Freelance Photographic Artist

Tuition Fees

We pride ourselves on offering competitive tuition fees which we review on an annual basis and offer a wide range of scholarships to support students with their studies. Course fees are calculated on the basis of what it costs to teach each course and we aim for total financial transparency.

For more information, please visit our Finance pages.



September 2018

£9,250 (per year)


If you're a truly outstanding undergraduate candidate we may be able to offer you a Coventry University Scholarship.

Coventry University Scholarships are awarded to recognise truly exceptional sports achievement and academic excellence.



September 2018

£9,250 (per year)


For the September 2018 intake we're investing in a range of EU Academic Excellence scholarships for high achieving and enterprising students. Fulfil your potential this academic year with Coventry University!



September 2018

£14,850 (per year)


For the September 2018 intake we're investing in a wide range of Academic Excellence scholarships for high achieving and enterprising international students. Fulfil your potential this academic year with Coventry University!

Course essentials at no extra cost

We're committed to communicating study costs clearly to make sure you're not faced with having to make any unexpected payments.

This is why our ‘Flying Start’ package provides you with a few course essentials. Your full-time fee for an undergraduate degree will cover the following:

UK field trips

Any mandatory site visits and trips within the United Kingdom.

Key material

This can include core textbooks, software and equipment.

Laser prints

1,000 A4 sides of black and white laser printing credits per year.

Optional year

Pay no tuition fees for optional work placements or study abroad trips.

As well as covering UK field trips, key materials and laser print, the fees for this course also include:

  • A pack of photography materials in level one
  • Black and white film processing (35mm and medium format)
  • A mobile technology pack, which enables you to benefit from mobile working and learning with 24/7 access

The following are additional costs not included in the fees:

  • Any optional overseas field trips or visits: £400+ per trip
  • Any additional printing: £50+ per year
  • Any optional site visits and trips
  • Media consumable items: £150+ per year

What our students say

There is having knowledge and then there is the ability to share knowledge with others in ways that inspire. The staff at Coventry have both and I have found their guidance invaluable. The learning activities are interesting and engaging, constantly challenging me to think in new and innovative ways."

Lee Morley, current Year Three student, 2016/17

Career prospects

Like all of our creative courses, Photography is very much practice-led and informed by research and critical thinking. Throughout your course, you will be encouraged to develop projects that enable you to determine which fields you wish to specialise in, while at the same time building a portfolio of work which will stand out from the crowd.

We benefit from the department’s longstanding relationships with regional, national and international media producers, galleries and museums, including the BBC, Birmingham Open Media, GRAIN, The Photographers’ Gallery, The National Portrait Gallery, Photofusion, and Belfast Exposed Photography.

As well as having the option of a year-long work placement as part of a sandwich year, you also have an opportunity for shorter self-initiated placements. Coventry University BA Photography students have worked with photographers as far afield as New York, with such luminaries as Annie Leibovitz, GQ and Vogue photographer Chris Floyd, World Press Award winner Peter Dench, Simon Roberts and Martin Parr.

To celebrate the culmination of students’ studies with us, we produce a Degree Show every year, showcasing the best of their work. This is an important platform for graduates as professionals from across the industries of photography are invited to view the exhibition and receive copies of its accompanying catalogue. The Degree Show is also an important opportunity to host portfolio reviews with high profile industry experts, picture editors, curators, and commissioners. In the past, we have invited experts from a vast array of organisations, including: Magnum; Photofusion; 1000 Words; Victoria and Albert Museum; Photocaptionist; The New Statesman; The Sunday Times; The Photographers’ Gallery; GRAIN; and Photomonitor to review portfolios.

Our Creative Futures employment team is on hand to offer tailored career and enterprise support if you wish to gain employment or take advantage of professional practice opportunities within course specific industries. It provides specialist careers information, advice and guidance to all our students from their first year through to final year and beyond graduation, helping them achieve their desired career outcome. Our dedicated enterprise officers also offer valuable assistance on how to begin as a freelancer/entrepreneur.

Coventry University is committed to preparing you for your future career and giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market. The University's Careers and Employability team provide a wide range of support services to help you plan and prepare for your career.


of students in work or further study six months after finishing this course

DLHE 2014/15

Where our graduates work

Graduates from this course have gone on to work as freelance photographers, visual artists, picture editors, curators, archivists, researchers, writers, gallery and museum educators, art therapists, and teachers.

What our alumni say

The photography course fully encourages the exploration of your creative potential, whilst supporting the development of your critical thinking and practical learning. Through open classes and student-led exhibitions, you will have the chance to gain valuable industry skills, whilst collaborating with your cohort and working professionals. With the added advice, expertise and industry experience of its teaching staff, this course is an amazing opportunity to not only aspiring photographers, but to young curators, print-makers, technicians and content creators’.

Brontë Cordes, graduated 2016, now Freelance Photographic Artist

By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the University. The Contract will detail your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and will contain the obligations that the University will owe to you. We encourage you to read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the University. A copy of the 18/19 Contract can be found here.