Photography BA (Hons)Study level: Undergraduate
Our Photography degree is designed to create ‘next generation’ photographers – independent, creative, critical, adaptable and professional. With a broad view of photography, we aim to develop your interests towards careers as photographers, editors, art directors, curators, designers, writers, multimedia makers and producers.
Year of entry
Coventry University (Coventry)
3 years full-time
4 years sandwich
The course is designed to be highly motivating – 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.
- Support the development of personal interests through experimentation with a wide range of skills, techniques, materials and equipment.
- Explore global communities and opportunities in photography and related creative industries2.
- Develop critical thinkers that are malleable, responsive and reactive to shape the future of photography.
Global ReadyAn international outlook, with global opportunities
Teaching excellenceTaught by lecturers who are experts in their field
EmployabilityCareer ready graduates, with the skills to succeed
Why you should study this course
- We will provide you with the opportunity to develop your technical skills and teach you to understand what it is to situate yourself within a professional photographic environment. You will have opportunities to use an outstanding set of equipment in brand new facilities at the heart of our creative community.
- We’ll introduce you to wider thematic questions and encourage critical thinking about the medium to help to better equip you to think as an informed image-maker.
- Throughout the course, we make the international photography community our classroom, enabling you to engage directly with global communities and industry.
- We will question and explore the latest developments in photography – recently this has included data mining, geotagging, gif making, glitching, distributed authorship, archives, hypertext navigation, collaborative photographic practices, alternative processes and much more.
- You will be encouraged to develop your understanding of visual communications within the context of different industries, ranging from fashion photography through to fine art. You will have opportunities to learn and work on projects with students from other courses across the faculty. These collaborative opportunities are a defining feature of your learning experience and should place you in an advantageous position in developing your skills and employability on graduating.
What you'll study
This course has a common first year.
The common first year enables you to work alongside students doing similar courses to you, to widen your knowledge and exposure to other subject areas and professions. You will have the opportunity to collaborate with other students, so you can share your insights and experience which will help you to develop and learn.
If you discover an interest in a specific subject you have studied, upon successful completion of your first year, you could swap degrees with another course in your common first year (subject to meeting progression requirements).
Common first year courses
- Fine Art BA (Hons)
- Illustration BA (Hons)
- Photography BA (Hons)
In the first year, the curriculum is shared across related courses allowing you to gain a broad grounding in the discipline before going on, in the second and third years, to specialist modules in your chosen field.
Inspiration – 20 credits
This module investigates the ideas and inspirations that underpin creative practice. Introducing a range of approaches to visual research, the module will explore themes, concepts, and readings, which can be used to shape your own creative outcomes. You will learn to generate your own investigations that underpin your own areas of interest. This module offers you a framework to become a reflective practitioner, who critically evaluate sources and materials.
Processes – 20 credits
This module encourages you to take an experimental approach to gaining skills and developing tacit knowledge of materials, equipment and processes. Learning is shaped through an ongoing evaluative process that enables you to reflect, evaluate and develop your own experimentation. You will look to develop a broad set of skills in a range of specialist fields, exploring both digital and analogue processes. These will become the fundamental tools and techniques helping you to shape your creative practice.
Making – 20 credits
This module enables you to make creative outputs that respond to briefs, ideas or themes. You will use the investigation to further develop theoretical, contextual, practical and creative skills, making connections between research and output. Supporting you to work more independently, this module encourages you to identify the contexts in which your practice is situated, creating a directed and informed body of research that will inform a range of experiments and outputs.
Play – 20 credits
During this module you will have the opportunity to experiment and develop innovative approaches to creative practice with access to a wide range of workshops and technical spaces and develop a unique set of skills. The focus of this module will be on trialling, testing and developing creative skills, with a creative freedom that helps build up a stronger understanding of the processes and techniques that underpin creative work. You will also be encouraged to collaborate across faculty to extend specialist skills.
Narrative – 20 credits
This module introduces you to key ideas and concepts around narrative and enables you to develop personalised creative outcomes relevant to your practice. You will develop ways to express ideas and communicate these through a variety of media or platforms. The module will look at a range of narrative approaches and how these might communicate to different audiences and within different contexts.
Audiences – 20 credits
This module will help you to understand the importance of audiences in the dissemination of your creative practice. You will consider audiences and creatively respond to the different contexts in which outputs are made, used, shaped, developed, and presented. Using continuous reflection, you will be encouraged to consider the appropriate contexts and environments in which you are producing your work.
In year two you will continue to develop the skills and knowledge you’ve learnt. We do this by embedding the following four principles into the curriculum and developing your:
- Technical skills – digital fluency, backed with the right academic knowledge
- Study skills – to be an adaptive, independent and proactive learner
- Professional skills – to have the behaviour and abilities to succeed in your career
- Global awareness – the beliefs and abilities to be a resilient, confident and motivated global citizen
You will develop more advanced knowledge and skills to do with: culture, post-digital publishing, and creative collaboration, amongst others.
Culture and Place – 20 credits
The relationship between our identity and the influence of the cultures and places we inhabit is a significant area of photographic practice. The way in which we create, consume and interact with visual culture and media has a significant impact on the way in which we construct our identity, differentiate between cultures and understand our place in the world. This module will enable you to conduct in-depth research in order to examine concepts of identity and place, and their impact on visual culture.
Concepts and Approaches – 20 credits
This module is concerned with contemporary debates around the interpretation of photographs and the construction of photographic meaning. Building upon the earlier ‘Inspiration’ module the genres, contexts and practices in which photographs are produced and consumed are examined to unpick the social, cultural and ideological function of photography.
Participation – 20 credits
The act of bringing people together by facilitating an encounter or inviting subjects, participants or audiences to take part in strategies of co-production, facilitation, pedagogy and collaboration is the focus of this module. Participation enables you to explore the practical, ethical and representational issues involved in the creation and analysis of collaborative work. Questions of intention, authorship, agency and process are focused on you reflect critically on your own and others work.
Post Digital Publishing – 20 credits
Focusing on publishing in its broadest sense in relation to photography, lens-based, and time-based narrative works you will explore publishing opportunities within your own practice. This module includes a lecture series that explores debates, questions and practices related to the role of craft in post-digital print, hypertext structures and their impact on narrative possibilities, and the importance of context and audience in determining meaning and engagement.
Responsive Practice – 20 credits
Responsive Practice explores the production of narrative forms, contexts and structures in photographic practice. Historical and contemporary case studies are drawn upon to address fundamental questions exploring how narrative is conceived, formulated and read. Through this module it is intended that you will identify and develop areas of personal interest in the creation of work to clearly articulate visual themes, stories and concepts using a range of creative, analytical and practical skills.
Creative Collaboration – 20 credits
In this module you will have the opportunity to collaborate with students from courses across the School of Media and Performing Arts and/or industry collaborators, external groups or organisations to respond to an issue in the local, national or global community2. You will isolate the issues, define the scope of the project and produce material that helps to provide creative responses. You will work collaboratively with fellow students in roles that reflect industry practice developing skills in management and organisation.
There’s no better way to find out what you love doing than trying it out for yourself, which is why a work placement2 can often be beneficial. Work placements usually occur between your second and final year of study. They’re a great way to help you explore your potential career path and gain valuable work experience, whilst developing transferable skills for the future.
If you choose to do a work placement year, you will pay a reduced tuition fee3 of £1250. For more information, please go to the fees and funding section. During this time you will receive guidance from your employer or partner institution, along with your assigned academic mentor who will ensure you have the support you need to complete your placement.
Whilst we would like to give you all the information about our placement/study abroad offering here, it is often tailored for each course every year and depending on the length of placement or study abroad opportunities that are secured. Therefore, the placement and study abroad arrangements vary per course and per student. Request further information about going on a placement or study abroad year.
UK Work Placement – 0 credits
This module2 provides you with an opportunity to reflect upon and gain experience for an approved placement undertaken during your programme. A placement should usually be at least 26 weeks or equivalent; however, each placement will be considered on its own merits, having regard to the ability to achieve the learning outcomes.
International Study/Work Placement – 0 credits
This module2 provides you with an opportunity to reflect upon and gain experience for an approved international study/work placement undertaken during your programme. A work/study placement should usually be at least 26 weeks or equivalent; however, each placement will be considered on its own merits, having regard to the ability to achieve the learning outcomes.
Year three aims to bring you to the level to enter the world of work by consolidating your knowledge and skills from year one and two. Your studies could culminate in a final project, which you are expected to research, experiment and produce to a professional standard.
Independent Practice: Exploration – 20 credits
Independent Practice Exploration is focused on the development of a body of work that encapsulates your self-defined practice interests. This module aims to support your independent research and creative experimentation with the technical, theoretical, and conceptual issues that inform the production of your work. Upon completion of this module, it is intended that you will have created an extended body of work supported by a critical rationale.
Independent Research – 20 credits
Here you will be supported to conduct original sustained analytical research in your chosen area of practice and be able to formulate a structured written response that demonstrates critical awareness of contextual concerns relevant to this discipline. You will apply the critical inquiry, written and presentation skills acquired during your programme of study towards a substantial research project in consultation with an individual tutor.
Materials and Methods – 20 credits
Materials and methods support the development of self-defined practice through the identification of professional skills, techniques and production approaches. Through personally tailoring a portfolio of skills an awareness of quality, authenticity and production choices is achieved. Looking to establish career goals and industry expectations, the module functions to develop targeted skills specific to your own practice.
Professional Futures – 20 credits
This module aims to enable you to critically reflect on your employability, experience, and the skills and portfolios you have built throughout the degree, in order to prepare and plan for the achievement of career goals after graduation. This module provides you with opportunities to take part in surgeries, workshops, and skills-building sessions that focus on a range of employment-related resources enabling you to present your portfolio in local, national and international contexts.
Independent Practice Realisation – 40 credits
Building on work undertaken in the Independent Practice Exploration module you will be expected to be able to your practice to specific critical frameworks, discourses and debates, and be aware of their position within your chosen field. You will be expected to be researching, experimenting and producing at a level commensurate with professional industry standards as you resolve a body of work ready for dissemination.
We regularly review our course content, to make it relevant and current for the benefit of our students. For these reasons, course modules may be updated.
How you'll learn
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.
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 (subject to availability, competitive application, meeting visa requirements and additional costs2).
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 contact hours
We understand that everyone learns differently, so each of our courses will consist of structured teaching sessions, which can include:
- On campus lectures, seminars and workshops
- Group work
- Self-directed learning
- Work placement opportunities2
The number of full-time contact hours may vary from semester to semester, however, on average, it is likely to be around 12 contact hours per week in the first and second year dropping to around 10-12 contact hours per week in the third and final year as you become a more independent learner.
Additionally, you will be expected to undertake significant self-directed study of approximately 15 hours each week, depending on the demands of individual modules.
Part of university life is undertaking self-directed learning. During a typical week you will have time that allows you to work independently to apply the skills and knowledge you have learnt in taught or facilitated sessions to your projects or assignment briefs. This self-directed learning allows you to use your research skills, consolidate your knowledge or undertake collaborative group work.
As an innovative and enterprising institution, the University may seek to utilise emerging technologies within the student experience. For all courses (whether on-campus, blended, or distance learning), the university may deliver certain contact hours and assessments via online technologies and methods.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are prepared for courses due to start in or after the 2023/2024 academic year to be delivered in a variety of forms. The form of delivery will be determined in accordance with Government and Public Health guidance. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety.
This course will be assessed using a variety of methods which will vary depending upon the module.
Assessment methods include:
- Practical or project work
The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards the achieving the intended learning outcomes. Assessments may include exams, individual assignments or group work elements.
International experience opportunities
Our sandwich degree option allows a full-year placement, which can be taken abroad2. In the past, photography students have studied abroad at places such as the 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, Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) projects are facilitated in collaboration with universities overseas, enhancing your global experience and international networks. Recent COIL projects have taken place with partners in Universidad de Europa de Madrid, Spain, and Universitatea Nationala De Arte, Bucharest. (Projects are subject to availability2).
Typical offer for 2023/24 entry.
|Requirement||What we're looking for|
|GCSE||5 GCSEs at grade 4 / C or above to include English|
|IB Diploma||31 points|
|Access to HE||The Access to HE Diploma, plus GCSE English at grade 4 / C or above|
For information regarding specific requirements, please fill in our request information form.
You may be required to attend a portfolio showcase, activity session or audition or submit a portfolio via email (as is appropriate to your course), either virtually or face to face, as is practical to arrange. Invites for these sessions will be sent directly to your contact email.
Each application will be considered on its merits.
Are you eligible for the Fair Access Scheme?
We believe every student should have the opportunity to dream big, reach their potential and succeed, regardless of their background. Find out more about our Fair Access Scheme.
Select your region to find detailed information about entry requirements:
You can view our full list of country specific entry requirements on our Entry requirements page.
Alternatively, visit our International hub for further advice and guidance on finding in-country agents and representatives, joining our in-country events and how to apply.
If you do not have the typical entry requirements, you may want to consider studying this course with an international foundation year. Upon successful completion our International Foundation Year - Art, Design and Media will provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to progress onto this undergraduate degree.
Visit our International hub for further advice and guidance on finding in-country agents and representatives, joining our in-country events and how to apply.
You may be required to submit a portfolio via email or alternatively attend a showcase activity session or audition (as is appropriate for your course) which can be virtual or face to face, as is practical to arrange. Invites to send in your portfolio or attend these sessions will be sent directly to your contact email
Each application will be considered on its merits.
English language requirements
- IELTS: 6.0 overall (with at least 5.5 in each component area)
If you don't meet the English language requirements, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
For more information on our approved English language tests visit our English language requirements page.
Fees and funding
2023/24 tuition fees.
|UK||£9,250 per year||Not available|
|International||£19,850 per year||Not available|
If you choose to do a work placement2, you should consider travel and living costs to cover this. There is also a tuition fee3 of £1,250 that will cover your academic support throughout your placement year.
For advice and guidance on tuition fees and student loans visit our Undergraduate Finance page and see The University’s Tuition Fee and Refund Terms and Conditions.
We offer a range of International scholarships to students all over the world. For more information, visit our International Scholarships page.
Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessments, facilities and support services. There may be additional costs not covered by this fee such as accommodation and living costs, recommended reading books, stationery, printing and re-assessments should you need them. Find out what's included in your tuition costs.
The following are additional costs not included in the tuition fees:
- Any optional overseas ﬁeld trips or visits: £400+ per trip.
- Any costs associated with securing, attending or completing a placement (whether in the UK or abroad)
How do you know if you need to pay UK or international tuition fees?
We carry out an initial fee status assessment based on the information you provide in your application. Your fee status determines your tuition fees, and what financial support and scholarships may be available to you. The rules about who pays UK (home) or international (overseas) fees for higher education courses in England are set by the government's Department for Education. The regulations identify all the different categories of student who can insist on paying the home rate. The regulations can be difficult to understand, so the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has provided fee status guidance to help you identify whether you are eligible to pay the home or overseas rate.
If you meet all the criteria required by any one category, including any residence requirements, your institution must charge you the home rate. You only need to find one category that you fit into.
Coventry University is home to superb facilities and our new Arts and Humanities building is planned to open in 20234. We also have a well-stocked Media Loan Shop so you can borrow an extensive range of specialist, professional equipment, including 4K and HD video cameras, DSLR cameras, tripods, audio equipment and lighting (subject to availability).
The course supports the development of a range of techniques and approaches with access to digital and analogue facilities and workshops. Our darkroom and processing facilities offer the opportunity to explore and experiment with film, cyanotypes and anthotypes.
On select courses, you’ll have access to our on-campus TV studio The Tank, with its specialist TV studio equipment, including large cameras, mixing facilities and fibre-optic wiring throughout.
The photography suite is a superb facility that includes virtual drum scanning, photography studios, black and white print darkrooms, free black and white film processing, and a digital print bureau.
Media Loan Shop
As a student, you’ll have access to Coventry University’s specialist Media Loan Shop. This well-stocked facility offers an extensive range of specialist, professional photography and film equipment.
Careers and opportunities
On successful completion, you will 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.
- 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.
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.
To celebrate your works of art, we produce a Degree Show exhibition every year. 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.
Through our strand of professional development modules in all years, we work with you to identify and target specific areas of industry that are aligned with your interests. The culmination of this process leads to clear and specific career goals that we work towards throughout the degree with the aim of immediate career paths after graduation.
Where our graduates work
Graduates from this course have gone on to work at photography companies such as Grain Projects, Multistory, Photomonitor, British Journal of Photography, NHS Wales, FORMAT Festival, Wellbeck Publishing, Cheshire Young Carers, Big Sky Studios as freelance photographers, visual artists, picture editors, curators, archivists, researchers, writers, gallery and museum educators, art therapists, and teachers.
You can choose to continue your studies at Coventry University with the Photography MA. You may be entitled to an alumni discount on your fees if you decide to extend your time with us by progressing from undergraduate to postgraduate study.
How to apply
Full-time students applying to start in September 2023 can apply for this course through UCAS from 6 September 2022. Read our application pages to find out your next steps to apply.
Part-time students should apply directly to the university.
If you'd like further support or more information about your course get in touch with us today.
Chat with our admissions team
Complete our contact form
Full-time students applying to start in September 2023 should apply directly to the university.How to apply
For further support for international applicants applying for an undergraduate degree view our International hub.
You can also download our International guide which contains lots of useful information about our courses, accommodation and tips for travel.
Get in touch with us today for further advice and guidance.
Chat with our admissions team
Complete our contact form
Coventry University together with Coventry University London Campus, CU Coventry, CU London, CU Scarborough and Coventry University Online come together to form part of the Coventry University Group (the “University”) with all degrees awarded by Coventry University.
The majority of our courses have been formally recognised by professional bodies, which means the courses have been reviewed and tested to ensure they reach a set standard. In some instances, studying on an accredited course can give you additional benefits such as exemptions from professional exams (subject to availability, fees may apply). Accreditations, partnerships, exemptions and memberships shall be renewed in accordance with the relevant bodies’ standard review process and subject to the university maintaining the same high standards of course delivery.
2UK and international opportunities
Please note that we are unable to guarantee any UK or International opportunities (whether required or optional) such as internships, work experience, field trips, conferences, placements or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be subject to additional costs (which could include, but is not limited to, equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable travel COVID and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand the visa requirements, please contact the International Office.
The University will charge the tuition fees that are stated in the above table for the first Academic Year of study. The University will review tuition fees each year. For Home Students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, the University may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation.
For International Students, we may increase fees each year but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation. If you defer your course start date or have to extend your studies beyond the normal duration of the course (e.g. to repeat a year or resit examinations) the University reserves the right to charge you fees at a higher rate and/or in accordance with any legislative changes during the additional period of study.
Due to COVID-19, some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) and some non-academic offerings (particularly in relation to international experiences), may vary from those advertised and may have reduced availability or restrictions on their use.
By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the university. The 2023/24 Contract is currently being updated so please revisit this page before submitting your application. The Contract details your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and contains the obligations that the university will owe to you. You should read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the university.