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Photography - BA (Hons)

Why study this course?

This innovative Photography BA undergraduate course is taught in the heart of London's art and media hub where you'll find inspiration all around you. You'll develop essential digital and analogue photography skills alongside moving image expertise, as well as learning about the industry, exploring links with other art forms and discovering the history and aesthetics of photography through theory and practice. In the most recent (2014-15) Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey, 100% of graduates from this course were in work or further study within six months.

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On this forward-looking Photography BA undergraduate course you'll develop the creative practice and portfolio needed for a career as a professional photographer. The degree covers both digital and analogue photography, and is taught at one of the UK’s few art schools equipped with both colour and black-and-white darkroom facilities.

As well as gaining vital practical experience through studio and workshop sessions, you’ll study the relevant theory and contemporary practice within the industry. You’ll also have the opportunity to find out how photography is linked to moving image and other art forms, as well as putting your own knowledge into practice through collaboration with students on other art-based courses.

We'll introduce you to how the industry works so you can learn about the advantages offered by digital and social media, as well as honing the writing skills you’ll need to create funding proposals, promotional copy and artist statements.

As you progress through your undergraduate degree, you’ll be able to focus your learning on your personal areas of interest. You will network, discuss and explore ideas while also participating in relevant field trips and workshops.

Within the School, you’ll be supported by our team of experienced tutors, all of whom are active practitioners and regularly showcase their work nationally and internationally.

Alongside regular University exhibitions of your on-going work, which will be open to the public, you’ll be encouraged to exhibit your own work through the local arts groups we work with, including Alternative Arts, Photomonth Festival, Four Corners Film and Photography, London Independent Photographers and the Uncertain States group. You’ll also have access and the chance to contribute to the East End Photography Archive at The Cass.


There are no exams on this course. Instead, you'll be assessed through practical and written coursework at the end of each year and throughout the course you’ll be given valuable verbal and written feedback as your work progresses.

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

  • a minimum of grades CCC in three A levels in art or design subjects (or a minimum of 96 UCAS points from an equivalent Level 3 qualification, eg BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma/Diploma, Advanced Diploma, Progression Diploma or Access to HE Diploma with 60 credits)
  • GCSE English at grade C (grade 4 from 2017) or above (or equivalent)

Applicants with relevant professional qualifications or extensive professional experience will also be considered on a case by case basis.

We encourage applications from international/EU students with equivalent qualifications. We also accept mature students with diverse backgrounds and experiences.

Suitable applicants living in the UK will be invited to a portfolio interview. Applicants living outside the UK will be required to submit a portfolio of work via email.

If you do not have traditional qualifications or cannot meet the entry requirements for this undergraduate degree, you may still be able to gain entry by completing the Film, Photography and Media Extended Degree (with Foundation Year).

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants who require a Tier 4 student visa may need to provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

The modules listed below are for the academic year 2017/18 and represent the course modules at this time. Modules and module details (including, but not limited to, location and time) are subject to change over time.

Year 1 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday morning

    The module offers a sequence of three intensive programmes or ‘mini-blocks’, tailored to the interests of specific groups of students. The module engages the student in thinking about their subject area, how it is defined and practiced, the richness of its resources, and how it opens up questions of context. In particular the module investigates how context might be framed, for example culturally, historically, economically, socially, theoretically or through practice. Students are encouraged to see connections and reflect on what they see in ways that build skills of communication and help articulate ideas. The module also helps the student, through learning how to identify, access and use knowledge profitably, to become knowledgeable about their subject area, its extent, its language and conventions, its history and practice.

    The three mini-blocks have equally weighted single assessments. The assessments include a range of different modes of written assignments, for example, Patchwork, Case Study, or Essay.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday afternoon

    In this module, drawing processes are explored alongside lens-based technologies and approaches. Students are supported to undertake a range of exercises and short projects, leading to a sustained piece of project work that they have devised, following tutorial guidance and ongoing discussion.

    The module enables students to explore and test a range of approaches, for example close observation; data collection; recording; analysis; and communication. Work on the module is informed by workshops and talks that consider the role of materials, techniques and cultural contexts in the development of a visual language.

    The module informs all other level 4 course modules and runs throughout the year. Students will be expected to consider and construct relationships between their work on modules during the year. The learning environment in level 4 fosters experimentation and direct testing of different approaches.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday morning

    This module provides an introduction to a range of approaches to photographic practice, through workshops and set briefs. Areas explored include: use of materials, equipment, processes and technical applications and how ideas can be developed through making.

    The module involves a series of demonstrations, exercises and short projects, introducing and developing particular technical applications, in relation to different aspects of lens based practice.

    This module relates to and is linked with other modules at this level and encourages students to test out and explore different approaches to photographic practice.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Friday morning
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday morning
    • all year (September start) - Friday afternoon

    FA4003 Studio Practice 3 has a close relationship with other Level 4 course modules. Focusing upon the student’s own evolving fine art or photographic practice, this module provides an opportunity for students to develop an individual negotiated project, relating to research undertaken within other modules during the year. The module considers the relationship between method, medium and meaning, with reference to relevant theory, as well as traditional and contemporary practices.

    Working under guidance, the module is structured around a negotiated project. Students are encouraged to develop as autonomous learners, taking increasing responsibility for the progress of their project work. The precise nature of the project will be negotiated and may be related to themes from the CP4010 Critical & Contextual Studies 1.

    Students will be expected to consider and construct critical connections between Level 4 modules.

    Read full details.

Year 2 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday morning

    The module offers a sequence of three intensive programmes or ‘mini-blocks’ tailored to the interests of specific groups of students. It provides a range of studies that address the character and conditions of cultural production including how they operate in practice. The module helps to prepare the student for their final-year dissertation and their future role as professionals and practitioners. The student encounters different perspectives on their subject area and undertakes different forms of coursework aimed at helping inform their choice of dissertation topic and approach.

    The module begins to situate the student within the process of constructing knowledge. This process may be approached from the point of view of the producer or consumer, the critic or the professional, the academic or the practitioner, in that there are a number of players involved. The module recognises that the student is also an active player in the process: what they bring to the construction of knowledge counts; and how effectively they construct it depends on how well they understand and interact with the field. To this end the module encourages the skills of reading and literacy as required – historical, analytical, textual, visual or technical – to help support rigorous and enterprising thought.

    The three blocks have equally weighted single assessments.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Monday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Monday morning

    FA5001 Studio Practice 4: Themes is comprised of thematic workshops, case studies and/or group initiated projects. These provide an opportunity for group work, research and collaboration, including work with outside agencies, as well as individual practice. In investigating the given themes, the module will reflect upon trends in current practice as well as historical models. Case studies and seminar sessions with practitioners are intended to encourage engagement with and understanding of the character, institutional and professional practices of Fine Art and/or Photography.

    The module is delivered in integral relationship with the work of the other core modules in the level. Allied to CCS modules, it is intended that FA5001 Studio Practice 4: Themes informs approaches to the Dissertation in the (Honours) Level 6.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Monday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Monday morning

    This module enables students to develop practical and conceptual knowledge and understanding of contemporary and historical photography through the development of their individual practice. The module builds on the skills and key concepts introduced at level 4, providing students with a sustained and in-depth engagement with photographic practice. Students further develop their technical competence together with confidence in decision making while exploring a range of approaches to photographic practice in the realisation of individual project work.

    This module is taught in integral relationship with other core modules at this level. Students will be expected to investigate and develop their work across the modules to develop a coherent practice.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Thursday morning

    FA5003 Studio Practice 6 encourages and facilitates intermediate development of practical and conceptual knowledge and understanding of contemporary visual arts practice. The module promotes a problem-solving approach towards increasing autonomy in practice.

    The module considers the integral relationship of practice and theory in contemporary discourse, requiring the student to begin the process of situating their evolving approach within relevant critical and aesthetic frameworks, towards developing a distinctive position and perspective. FA5003 Studio Practice 6 is taught in integral relationship with the work produced in other core modules, encouraging new frames of reference to emerge and synergies to be explored.

    The module involves constructive critique and reflection, questioning traditional, dominant and emerging practices and methodologies.

    Read full details.

Year 3 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Wednesday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Wednesday morning

    The module is framed in terms of a dissertation. The student undertakes an enquiry into a topic of his or her own choice and, based on this enquiry, develops an extended critical study. The module involves individual supervision designed to support the student’s ambitions and confidence in becoming an independent learner, building on techniques and knowledge developed in previous years, and providing scope for initiative and development. The dissertation demonstrates the student’s ability to thoroughly research a topic, use appropriate methods of investigation, and work methodically and productively.

    The subject matter of the dissertation can be theoretical, technical, or historical, should be closely related to the student’s main field of study and be complimentary to their practice. It may be envisaged as one of several different types: for example, visual, technical or other non-written material may form the subject of the enquiry and comprise an integral part of the whole; the dissertation may be professionally oriented and include field-work; or it might be academic and theoretical in its source material and methodology. Its form and approach can reflect a broad range of discipline-specific approaches based on discussion and agreement with the supervisor and/or course leader.

    Students may develop their topic independently or, as an option, within a specific dissertation Interest or Subject Group. Interest or Subject Groups will provide a short taught programme. They are offered on an annual basis and may incorporate:

    • research based specialisms
    • areas of scholarly interest in history and theory
    • industry related practice
    • workshop, digital or media based technical studies

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Thursday morning

    This module supports students to further develop their professional and academic skills, including their practical and conceptual understanding of the codes, conventions and issues associated with curatorial display. Students are expected to synthesise the experience and knowledge gained over the course, and employ a range of transferable skills in communication, negotiation, analysis, project planning and project management.

    The module includes lectures and workshops to support students to produce an exhibition proposal, a working document that they will continue to develop, test and revise over the course of the year. A schedule of tutorials, supervision, technical input and workshops, as appropriate are available to enable students to realise their plans in the form of a Degree show exhibition at the end of the module.

    There are three components of assessment for the module: the realised Exhibition; an accompanying Artist’s Statement; the exhibition proposal, including a Risk Assessment and Exhibition Agreement.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Monday morning
    • all year (September start) - Monday afternoon

    This module marks the summation of the BA (Hons) Photography programme of studies. It involves a major piece of independent study, produced under supervision and guidance. The purpose of the final project is to demonstrate the application and integration of the skills and knowledge gained throughout the course.

    The module requires the student to submit an initial project proposal (in the companion module FA6001) for discussion and feedback with tutors, followed by a period of research and development, culminating in the submission of a final body of work building upon the initial aims and objectives of the proposal.

    The module will be supported by a series of project planning workshops and will require students to frame their project in relation to contemporary discourse. Students will be expected to reflect upon and evaluate the methods they employ and the conceptual and practical aims of their projects and intended audience/reception. Students are also required to keep an illustrated reflective journal documenting the evolution of their project.

    The Final Project runs alongside the Project Development module and is delivered in integral relationship with the work produced in the other core modules at this level – CP6010 and FA6003. Students are expected to reflect upon and represent the complexity of critical and creative relationships between and across the body of work they have undertaken at this final stage of their degree.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Monday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Monday morning

    This module supports intensive research and development to support the realisation of the Final Project in the parallel module FA6002 (BA Fine Art) and FA600X (BA Photography). The module involves students in preparing a project proposal, planning, project management, research and testing approaches to practice. Students employ both practical and critical skills and address key questions that relate to their ongoing project such as the works relationship with audience and how they might need to negotiate and collaborate with others.

    During the module, students test out working methods, clarify their intentions, and frame their project proposal in a contemporary context. It involves an extensive period of independent research practice and development, culminating in the submission of project material and reflective documents. The module is supported by a Project Planning workshop.

    Students are expected to reflect upon and represent the complexity of critical and creative relationships between and across the body of work undertaken in Level 6.

    Read full details.

If you're studying full-time, each year (level) is worth 120 credits.

Year 1 (Level 4) modules include:

  • Critical and Contextual Studies 1
  • Studio Practice: Ways of Seeing
  • Studio Practice: Photography Workshop
  • Studio Practice: Photography Professional Practice

Year 2 (Level 5) modules include:

  • Critical and Contextual Studies 2
  • Studio Practice: Photography Workshop
  • Studio Practice: Photography Professional Practice
  • Studio Practice: Photography Personal Projects

Year 3 (Level 6) modules include:

  • Critical and Contextual Studies 3: Dissertation
  • Final Project: Development, Exhibition and Display
  • Photography: Professional Practice

"This is an enjoyable and rewarding course which provides an exciting engagement with current photography practice. It allowed me to develop my own approach to the discipline, equipping me with a range of subject-specific and transferable skills. It also provided me with the experience and confidence to go on to my MA."
Elizabeth Vicary, former student

The Photography BA course opens up a number of job roles in the photography and creative industries, enabling you to pursue a career in magazines and newspapers, editorial and freelance photography, archive work, photo libraries, education and local or national arts organisations.

Previous students have gone on to find work at a diverse range of companies and have taken up roles such as photographer, curator, photo journalist, web designer and videographer. Others have used the transferable skills they developed through this course to fulfil roles in local government, teaching and entrepreneurship.

Successful artists who have attended The Cass include Tracy Emin, Paddy Jolley, Sam Taylor-Wood, Suky Best, Leticia Valverdes and many others.

This degree is also excellent preparation for postgraduate study.

Between 2016 and 2020 we're investing £125 million in the London Metropolitan University campus, moving all of our activity to our current Holloway campus in Islington, north London. This will mean the teaching location of some courses will change over time.

Whether you will be affected will depend on the duration of your course, when you start and your mode of study. The earliest moves affecting new students will be in September 2017. This may mean you begin your course at one location, but over the duration of the course you are relocated to one of our other campuses. Our intention is that no full-time student will change campus more than once during a course of typical duration.

All students will benefit from our move to one campus, which will allow us to develop state-of-the-art facilities, flexible teaching areas and stunning social spaces.

Please note, in addition to the tuition fee there may be additional costs for things like equipment, materials, printing, textbooks, trips or professional body fees.

Additionally, there may be other activities that are not formally part of your course and not required to complete your course, but which you may find helpful (for example, optional field trips). The costs of these are additional to your tuition fee and the fees set out above and will be notified when the activity is being arranged.

Unistats is the official site that allows you to search for and compare data and information on university and college courses from across the UK. The widget(s) below draw data from the corresponding course on the Unistats website. If a course is taught both full-time and part-time, one widget for each mode of study will be displayed here.

How to apply

If you're a UK/EU applicant applying for full-time study you must apply via UCAS unless otherwise specified.

UK/EU applicants for part-time study should apply direct to the University.

Non-EU applicants for full-time study may choose to apply via UCAS or apply direct to the University. Non-EU applicants for part-time study should apply direct to the University, but please note that if you require a Tier 4 visa you are not able to study on a part-time basis.

All applicants applying to begin a course starting in January must apply direct to the University.

When to apply

The University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) accepts applications for full-time courses starting in September from one year before the start of the course. Our UCAS institution code is L68.

If you will be applying direct to the University you are advised to apply as early as possible as we will only be able to consider your application if there are places available on the course.

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