Course specification and structure
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UDPHOTFY - BA (Hons) Photography (including foundation year)

Course Specification

Validation status Validated
Highest award Bachelor of Arts Level Honours
Possible interim awards Bachelor of Arts, Diploma of Higher Education, Certificate of Higher Education, Bachelor of Arts, Preparatory Diploma, Preparatory Certificate
Total credits for course 480
Awarding institution London Metropolitan University
Teaching institutions London Metropolitan University
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Subject Area Art
Attendance options
Option Minimum duration Maximum duration
Part-time 6 YEARS 8 YEARS
Full-time 4 YEARS 8 YEARS
Course leader  

About the course and its strategy towards teaching and learning and towards blended learning/e-learning

The BA Photography Extended Degree encourages students to approach photographic practices through challenging and exciting projects, fostering an in-depth understanding of visual aesthetics, concepts, and techniques of image production, distribution and consumption. Students gain proficient knowledge of conceptual and technical skills essential in today’s fast-paced, image-led world, developing innovative and highly creative work through industry-facing projects. We offer strong links with practitioners and the course features portfolio reviews, visiting lecturers, exhibitions and studio visits.
The course has been designed in consultation with students and employers in order to ensure that it meets the aspirations of our students and the demands of the contemporary employment environment. It aligns with the University’s Strategic Plan, the Education for Social Justice Framework and Student Partnership Agreement in promoting accessible and inclusive education in an environment that respects and values the identities of our students and accommodates diversity in all its forms. Consideration has been given to the QAA Subject Benchmark Statement for Art & Design (2019), the QAA Higher Education Qualifications Framework and the University’s Academic Regulations.

The course is highly student centred. It promotes individualised learning opportunities and student choice in curriculum and approach to study. Employability is fostered through learning from direct experience and real-world contact with external partners and live project opportunities. Independent and critical thinking and an awareness of our social responsibility to consider the impact of our decision and actions is fundamental to the course’s principles. It is designed to create a supportive, engaging, enjoyable, deep and creatively and professionally relevant learning experience. It will allow you to construct a unique and personal creative identity making photography that you are proud of based on your interests, concerns, ideas, experiences, background and identity. We will work together with you as a community to understand and develop the best version of yourself as a creative and professional practitioner.

The professional level facilities give students access to and experience of a wide range of approaches to image making. Our facilities are complimented by excellent industry standard range of digital cameras and postproduction facilities. The facilities will also give students an exciting opportunity to make work with a combination of traditional analogue and digital processes that challenges and expands the old boundaries of photography as a medium in contemporary contexts.

The addition of a preparatory Foundation Year provides a programme of study whereby students are able to explore their chosen field of study whilst simultaneously being exposed to a broad range of creative disciplines through workshops, review, exhibitions and a rich programme of school-wide events. Multidisciplinary, experimental practice is at the core of the foundation experience where students are nurtured in their pursuit of independent inquiry. Experimentation and exploration are encouraged through the wider lens of common creative practice. Knowledge and contextual awareness provide a sound footing for students seeking to develop their confidence as creative practitioners.

Course aims

Graduates will have developed knowledge and understanding of contemporary and historic photographic discourse and practices. They will understand how this may be applied with investigation and experimentation with photographic and creative processes in order to create lens-based works relevant to the principles and expectations of contemporary practice.

Graduates will develop strong critical, evaluative and analytical abilities. They will develop understanding on how to use convergent and divergent forms of thinking in order to address, assess, question and challenge social, ethical, environmental and economic issues within their own work and the work of others. They will be able to set their work, personal experience and individual cultural capital within critical and cultural debates whilst considering the needs and perspectives of diverse specialist and non-specialist audiences.

Graduates will have developed a set of photographic, lens-based and other creative skills appropriate to their creative and professional aspirations that will allow them to pursue the opportunities available upon graduation.

On completing the course graduates will have developed a strong set of transferable skills that will enable them to have the resilience to plan, engage in, manage, self-motivate and drive forward professional level careers. They will have developed the necessary skills and understanding to communicate and to work effectively and collaboratively in a variety of creative sector and broader professional settings.

Course learning outcomes

Demonstrate confidence, resilience, ambition and creativity and will act as inclusive, collaborative and socially responsible practitioners/professionals in their discipline.

On completion of the BA Photography course, the student will be able to:

Knowledge and Understanding
1. recognise the relationship existing between culture, politics and the economy both historically and contemporaneously and its relevance to concepts, principles and theories of photography;
2. describe, explore, test and challenge a range of methods of enquiry associated with photographic process;
3. assimilate into practice the principles, codes and ethics necessary to the practice of photography;

Cognitive Intellectual Abilities
4. employ a range of intellectual skills that contribute to both convergent and divergent forms of thinking, observation, investigation, research and analysis, independently appraising and articulating reasoned arguments to select, organise, structure, reference and formulate responses to historical, theoretical, practice-based or technical questions about photography);
5. apply and test photography ideas by understanding the context and critical issues that surround them and make decisions in the practice of photography based upon social, ethical, environmental and economic issues;
6. consider the needs and views of the photography viewer, audience, community, culture or wider public and assimilate them in relation to specific photography projects, attending talks and events to analyse, appraise and challenge how contemporaries address these needs and views;

Transferable Skills
7. interact collaboratively on photography projects with other photographers, associated professionals, community, as well the wider public;
8. communicate photography ideas, principles and concepts effectively by oral, written and visual means with clarity and confidence;
9. exercise self-directed management skills in photography, including time management, team negotiation and collaboration;

Subject-Specific Practical Skills
10. organise and apply tools, equipment, materials and techniques relating to photography, using both analogue and digital techniques;
11. develop employability and entrepreneurial skills to effectively communicate, present, publish and exhibit project work made by photographers, understanding the roles and expertise of the extended team within the world of photography;
12. exhibit understanding of the roles and expertise of the extended team within the photography sector and work effectively in that context, enabling continuous self- development.

Principle QAA benchmark statements

Assessment strategy

All the course's assessment and feedback practices are typically informed by reflection, consideration of professional practice, as well as subject-specific and educational scholarship. The assessment strategy for the course has been designed holistically, to ensure fairness, accessibility and inclusivity as well as manageable timing, workloads and clarity of expectations for students, and to avoid duplication of assessment of learning outcomes. Where appropriate, students are engaged as partners in the design of their assessments.

The assessment regimes for the modules and tasks are designed together with the briefs, prior to the start of the year, considering student, external examiner, professional collaborator and colleague feedback from previous instances. The requirements of briefs and their components, the assessment criteria, grading scheme and descriptors are published and explained to students at the start of the year and are designed to be used as consistently as possible, to avoid unnecessary complication. All Photography students are provided with regular opportunities to develop an understanding of best academic practice and the necessary skills to demonstrate it. Where possible there is flexibility in submission requirements in order to cater for divergent personal circumstances and learning styles and approaches. For task based modules students are provided with clear mark weighting for each task as well as having the opportunity to use preformatted task journals if they wish that help them organise the evidence of their learning. The volume, timing and nature of assessments enable students to demonstrate the extent to which they have achieved the intended learning outcomes and formative assessment is clearly designed to support students in developing for summative assessment.

Feedback on assessment is timely, constructive and developmental. In every case, there is required formative assessment and feedback prior to summative assessment at set points. This is recorded so that it can be used by both students and staff to track further progress and engage support where it is required. Feedback follows good pedagogic practice in that it is constructed as ‘feed-forward’, with a focus on specific actions and strategies as to how to improve, not only on what requires improvement.

Students are informed of the procedures for first, second and parity marking, and external examiner scrutiny of the assessment process and marks, to ensure that they understand and have confidence in the probity of the process and security of the final marks. Additionally, the course engages in Subject and School parity exercises to ensure that assessment standards are consistent.

Staff and students typically engage in constructive dialogue to promote a shared understanding of the basis on which academic judgements are made.

Organised work experience, work based learning, sandwich year or year abroad

Work-based learning is embedded in the course. The course recognises, and has responded to, changes in the professional landscape. Today photographers are more easily able to make work for a variety of professional contexts. The course follows the example of progressive agencies working within the commercial advertising, editorial and design sectors that engage with photographic artists and documentary photographers whose work is equally valued by publishers, galleries and public institutions.

Students will have the opportunity to take part in both national and international study visits and meet and receive feedback from photographers and individuals working within the creative sector. Students will experience live briefs, publish your work in printed magazines, show work in public exhibitions as well as engage with community arts events, commercial commissions, competitions and other work related opportunities that are offered through the many organisations, businesses, galleries, groups, and individuals with whom the course and its team as well as the university have strong links.

The tutors and lecturers contributing to the course are practitioners who share their knowledge and experience with students throughout their course of study. The flexible practice-led model of delivery for the course means that evolving opportunities for work-related learning through collaboration with external companies, agencies, institutions, competitions and professionals are taken up as they arise.

Students’ understanding of professional standards and expectations builds as they progress from level to level. During their final year, students work towards completion of interview-ready professional portfolios of project work, exhibited at the annual summer show and associated events.

Course specific regulations

ACADEMIC PROGRESSION: As a condition of progressing from Level 4 to Level 5 and from Level 5 to Level 6, students are required to have gained 120 credits per level, that is, by achieving pass marks (40% or above) in all four modules in the preceding level of study."

Level 6: to achieve an honours degree award on this course, students must have completed and passed each Level 6 module at 40% or above.

Up to 30 credits at Level 4 may be condoned
Up to 30 credits at Level 5 and Level 6 may be condoned
The classification average is calculated from the average of the best 90 credits at Level 6 weighted at two thirds, and the average of the next best 90 credits at Level 5 or 6 weighted at one third.

Part-time study is defined as 60 credits per year. Consequently, in part-time mode, the duration of study for a 360-credit degree will be 6 years. The pattern of study in this instance shall be as follows:

Year 1: AA3001 Project + AA3002 Techniques
Year 2: CP3010 Critical And Contextual Studies Foundation + AA3006 Critical Creative Practice
Year 3 – PH4001 Looking and Making 1 + PH4002 Techniques: Photography
Year 4 – PH4000 Project Work 1 + CP4022 Critical and Contextual Studies (Photography and Fashion Photography) 1
Year 5 –CP5022 Critical and Contextual Studies (Photography and Fashion Photography) 2 + PH5001 Looking and Making 2
Year 6 – PH5000 Project Work 2 + PH5002 Professional Practice 1: Photography
Year 7 – CP6022 Critical and Contextual Studies: Dissertation (Photography and Fashion Photography) + PH6002 Looking and Making 3: Photography
Year 8 – PH6000 Major Project + PH6002 Professional Practice 2: Photography

Part-time Structure

Year 1: AA3001 Project + AA3002 Techniques
Year 2: CP3010 Critical and Contextual Studies Foundation & AA3006 Critical Creative Practice
Year 3 – PH4001 Looking and Making 1 + PH4002 Techniques: Photography
Year 4 – PH4000 Project Work 1 + CP4022 Critical and Contextual Studies (Photography and Fashion Photography) 1
Year 5 –CP5022 Critical and Contextual Studies (Photography and Fashion Photography) 2 + PH5001 Looking and Making 2
Year 6 – PH5000 Project Work 2 + PH5002 Professional Practice 1: Photography
Year 7 – CP6022 Critical and Contextual Studies: Dissertation (Photography and Fashion Photography) + PH6002 Looking and Making 3
Year 8 – PH6000 Major Project + PH6002 Professional Practice 2: Photography

Modules required for interim awards

All modules on the course are core and compulsory (there is no flexibility in choice or in the order in which modules may be taken), interim awards are therefore defined by the course structure. The part time route is prescribed (section 23).

AA3001 Project
AA3002 Techniques
AA3006 Critical Creative Practice
CP3010 Critical And Contextual Studies Foundation

PH4001 Looking and Making 1
PH4002 Techniques: Photography
PH4000 Project Work 1
CP4022 Critical and Contextual Studies (Photography and Fashion Photography) 1

PH5001 Looking and Making 2
PH5002 Professional Practice 1: Photography
PH5000 Project Work 2
CP5022 Critical and Contextual Studies (Photography and Fashion Photography) 2

PH6001 Looking and Making 3
PH6002 Professional Practice 2: Photography
PH6000 Major Project
CP6022 Critical and Contextual Studies: Dissertation (Photography and Fashion Photography)

Arrangements for promoting reflective learning and personal development

The course’s principle of guiding learning through a practice-led curriculum promotes ongoing reflection and personal development. This is supported by regular formative feedback on work in progress that enables students to understand their progress and find opportunities for multiple and individualised routes to successful outcomes. Most modules are year-long with first semester summative assessment. Mid semester points of review, ensure that students, together with their tutors, can devise study strategies appropriate to individual learning styles, while ensuring monitoring of engagement and progress. The system is highly individualised but also benefits from peer engagement in group critiques.

Students are required to employ strong reflective skills across multiple modules. Within the Project modules at all levels students reflect on their own making, identifying ways in which their work can be iteratively developed.

At level 5 and level 6 students complete specific reflective journals in which they are required to demonstrate an understanding of the use of reflection to connect learning experience to the improvement of future performance.

The course’s engagement with external partners and employers ensures that personal development for career planning is effectively contextualised and suitable for the contemporary workplace. Students increasingly take ownership of career planning as they progress though Level 5 and Level 6. At Level 6 students reflect on the skills that they have developed through the course. They research and outline possible career routes and are required to identify the subject specific and transferable skills required for roles to which they aspire and to formulate a plan of action in order to be able to pursue their career aims on graduation.

Career, employability and opportunities for continuing professional development

The course recognises the importance equipping students for future employability within the creative industries and beyond. You will develop an excellent understanding of how to make the most of your creative identity within diverse professional contexts. You will build a wide array of professional and transferable skills needed for a career as a professional photographer whether within the applied world of advertising, design and editorial photography or within the fine art and documentary fields. Equally students will develop the essential knowledge and understanding that will enable you to begin a career in associated professions, ranging from being a curator, editorial picture editor, community practitioner, educator or academia to a photographer’s agent, photographic producer, retoucher or art director. This is supported by tutors and visiting professionals who are all practising photographers and artists. Across the team you will be able to draw on their many years’ experience working within the editorial, fine art, advertising, design, documentary and academic fields.

Students can also benefit from support and guidance from the Careers and Employability services and the University’s business incubator unit, ‘Accelerator’. Sessions run in conjunction with the Careers Service addressing the skills necessary to plan and pursue careers within the creative sector are delivered at L5 and L6 as part of the Professional Practice module.

Both early career and more established visiting creative professionals will give you insights and knowledge that will enable you to plan and pursue your career on graduation. Simulated and live briefs teach you how to manage a creative commission and help you build knowledge and understanding that can be applied equally as a practicing photographer or artist as they can working within creative production and commissioning. Students enjoy many opportunities to engage with real world clients from community groups to NGO’s to commercial commissions.

Students typically take-up careers in photography or the creative and cultural industries or progress to further study at MA and PhD level.

Career opportunities

Our Photography (including foundation year) BA degree opens up a wide range of careers on graduation. While many of our graduates go on to become freelance or in-house photographers, there are also opportunities in graphic design, illustration, digital marketing, video-editing and education.

This degree is also an excellent foundation for postgraduate study.

Entry requirements

In addition to the University's standard entry requirements, you should have:

  • at least one A level (or a minimum of 32 UCAS points from an equivalent Level 3 qualification, eg BTEC Subsidiary/National/BTEC Extended Diploma)
  • English Language GCSE at grade C/4 or above or will need to take the University English test

You will need to attend an interview with your portfolio of creative work. We encourage applications from international/EU students with equivalent qualifications. We also accept mature students with diverse backgrounds and experiences.

If you live in the UK, you will be invited to a portfolio interview. If you live outside the UK you will be required to submit a small portfolio of work via email.

Official use and codes

Approved to run from 2019/20 Specification version 1 Specification status Validated
Original validation date 15 Aug 2019 Last validation date 15 Aug 2019  
JACS codes
Route code PHOTFY

Course Structure

Stage 1 Level 03 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
AA3001 Project Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR TUE AM
AA3002 Techniques Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR TUE PM
AA3004 Formats Core 30        
CP3010 Critical & Contextual Studies: Foundation Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR WED AM

Stage 1 Level 03 January start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
AA3001 Project Core 30        
AA3002 Techniques Core 30        
AA3004 Formats Core 30        
CP3010 Critical & Contextual Studies: Foundation Core 30        

Stage 2 Level 04 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
CP4013 Critical & Contextual Studies 1 (Art) Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR THU AM
FA4007 Visual Intelligence Core 30        
FA4009 Techniques: Photography Core 30        
FA4P01 Project Work 1 Core 30        

Stage 3 Level 05 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
CP5022 Critical and Contextual Studies (Photography an... Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR    
PH5000 Project Work 2 Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR THU AM
PH5001 Looking and Making 2 Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR MON AM
PH5002 Professional Practice 1: Photography Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR MON PM

Stage 4 Level 06 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
CP6022 Critical and Contextual Studies: Dissertation (... Core 30 CITY AUT WED PM
          CITY AUT WED AM
PH6000 Major Project Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR THU AM
PH6001 Looking and Making 3 Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR MON AM
PH6002 Professional Practice 2: Photography Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR MON PM