Level 6

Photography BA (Hons)

Duration Age Group Study Start Cost Available Locations
£8,000 per year * Southend Campus
Duration Age Group Study Start Cost Available Locations
£8,000 per year * Southend Campus
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If you require any support with your UCAS application, please contact the HE Admissions team headmissions@southessex.ac.uk


Course code: W640 

The programme provides students with a broad knowledge and experience of photography and post-production techniques across a range of genres, approaches and contexts. The photography degree is designed to provide you with the skills, knowledge and experience required to become a confident and successful image maker within photography, creative media and fine art. Photography is an exciting creative profession that is continually undergoing changes in response to significant technological developments and the resulting demands from both established and new emerging media that enable creative content to be widely distributed and consumed by a potentially vast audience.

Talented and skilled photography graduates are continually sought to provide the industry and fine art sectors with fresh ideas, new perspectives and innovative approaches to creative problem solving in visual communication. The programme aim is to develop and refine distinctive aesthetics that will engage audiences who have increasingly sophisticated levels of visual literacy. Whilst on the programme you will engage with experienced lecturers who come from a wide range of creative and professional disciplines enabling you to increase your technical ability, expand your commercial, cultural and critical understanding of the photographic world and most importantly, enable you to develop your own personal ideas.

Entry Requirements

You will need a minimum of 64 UCAS points from one or more of the following:

  • Access to Higher Education Diploma
  • A Levels
  • T Levels
  • BTEC/UAL Extended Diploma
  • Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • Or equivalent EU/International qualifications, such as International Baccalaureate Diploma
  • And English GCSE passes at grade 4 or above (grade A*-C) 

This list is not exhaustive, other qualifications may be considered. Entry to this course will also be determined by the quality of your application, looking primarily at your portfolio/showreel of work,
personal statement and reference.

Entry to this course will also be determined by the quality of your application, personal statement and reference.

You will also be required to undertake a portfolio-based interview. Portfolios should include examples of recent project work and may reference a variety of media.

Exceptional Entry

Applications from mature students who do not possess the entry requirements as listed above, but who possess related professional experience or professional qualifications are welcome to apply. You will need to demonstrate by interview, exceptional entry portfolio (this is likely to include evidence of paid or unpaid work experience) and/or written assessment that you are suitable for the course. In the first instance we suggest you contact HEAdmissions@southessex.ac.uk to discuss your application.

Course Structure

Year one offers an introduction to photography and its key concepts, themes, genres and approaches. You will receive both practical and theoretical teaching in lens-based media alongside historical and contemporary studies and cultural theory. Students will gain a wide range of skills to underpin their study, offering you the opportunity to develop an awareness of photography and its uses in contemporary media, art and society whilst acquiring additional skills in communication, presentation and problem-solving.

Year one units:

  • Analogue processes
  • Visual and cultural contexts
  • Location
  • Studio
  • Moving image

 Year two builds upon the skills and knowledge you will acquire during the first year, with emphasis on developing a deeper understanding of ideas and concepts. This will be a time for you to work on more self-directed projects taking your practice in particular directions. You will work on 'live' projects to enable you to gain work experience and develop industry contacts, alongside entering national professional photographic competitions. You will also explore personal career development and the relationship between commercial practice and other visual arts.

Year two units:

  • Materials and methods 
  • Student-led project 
  • Professional development and placement
  • Live Brief
  • Cultural contexts and dissertation proposal

Year three places particular emphasis upon independent learning and the ability to take responsibility for managing your own personal development and planning for your chosen career pathway. These skills are key to supporting your final major project and dissertation. You will complete a substantial body of photographic work that will be presented in an exhibition. You will also work on producing a professional photographic portfolio that is to be supported by a website and other marketing materials that will help you secure employment or further your studies.

Year three units:

  • Dissertation
  • Refinement of photographic intentions 
  • Subject realisation
  • Professional development and portfolio

Teaching & Learning


You are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and workshops, which enable you to discuss and develop your understanding of the discipline of Photography.

You will use industry-standard Macs and film scanners with Creative Suite software and will have access to various facilities including Industry standard Darkrooms, Printmaking & Photographic studios. You also have access to 3D applications should you decide to work with mixed media. You will be introduced to a wide range of industry standard camera and lighting equipment including:

  • 35mm film cameras
  • Medium format film cameras
  • Large format film cameras
  • Full frame and crop frame DSLR cameras
  • Medium format digital cameras
  • Professional studio flash lighting
  • Professional continuous lighting

Emphasis is upon small group delivery in lectures and seminars. A key aspect of study is the opportunity to engage in academic debate through group critiques to deconstruct student work in progress. Equipment induction and technical workshops form an integral part of the course, using our well-equipped photographic studios, black and white darkrooms and digital editing facilities.

Teaching methods involve demonstration, seminar activity, problem-solving, lectures, personal enquiry, and research. One to one tutorials are conducted throughout the course and are integral to the close support network that we can provide.

Independent learning

When not attending lectures, seminars and workshops or other timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library, preparing coursework assignments and presentations. A range of excellent facilities, including the library, the Learning Resource Centre and the Forum, supports your independent learning.

Overall workload

Your overall workload consists of class contact hours of around 13 hours' a similar amount of independent learning, and assessment activity plus group critiques.

The following information gives an indication of how much time you will need to allocate to different activities at each level of the course.

Assessment & Feedback


Coursework is assessed in a range of different ways in order to accommodate a variety of learning styles and aptitudes including portfolio and sketchbook submissions, group presentations, written essays and research folders.

There are no examinations.


You will receive formative feedback as part of your one-to-one sessions with your unit teachers. You will also receive summative feedback on all formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback is intended to help you learn and you are encouraged to discuss it with your unit leader tutor. Feedback can be given in a range of different ways in order to accommodate a variety of learning styles and aptitudes including group critiques, recorded verbal feedback and written feedback.

We aim to provide you with feedback within 20 working days of hand-in (for all formal studio based coursework assessment

Academic support

  • Our Academic Support Team provides help in the following areas:
  • Study skills (including reading, note-taking and presentation skills)
  • Written English (including punctuation and grammatical accuracy)
  • Academic writing (including how to reference)
  • Research skills (in conjunction with the library)
  • Critical thinking and understanding arguments
  • Revision, assessment and examination skills (including time management).

Our Disability Advice and Support Service helps students with additional needs resulting from disabilities such as sensory impairment or learning difficulties such as dyslexia.

Teaching staff

You will be taught by an experienced teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the units on the course. The team includes senior academics, professional practitioners with industry experience, co-ordinators and technical officers. Our teaching is informed by the research and consultancy we undertake, and all of our per cent of our lecturers have a teaching qualification.

Course Cost

Adult, full_time: £8,000 per year

Fees are per academic year for Home/UK students

The following course-related costs are included in the fees:

  • Guest speakers, visiting lecturers and industry focussed workshops will be included in your course over the three years.
  • Third Year students will have the opportunity to showcase their final year work at the end of their studies. This may be a local, national or online platform. Event/exhibition costs will be covered by the Faculty of HE. In the past this has included Free Range. Students will be responsible for any additional costs associated with the production of their personal project (ie: printing, materials).
  • Annual £20 of printing credit per year.

Additional course costs can be found here

What Next...

You can progress to postgraduate study including:

  • MA Photography
  • MA Film Studies
  • MA Cinematography

Graduate Destinations

The great majority of students progress into diverse roles in the creative industry


  • Photographic assistant
  • Freelance photographer
  • Videographer