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Photography (with Foundation Year)

Please note there are no vacancies on this course for September 2019

About this course

Entry year:
Course code:
Tariff points:
Film and Journalism
City Campus
Four years full-time
Programme leader:
Julian Scott
Key fact:
Study in a studio environment with professional-standard facilities and the focus on the real-world skills you need to succeed in your career.

Page last updated 13 August 2019


Why study photography?

Images are everywhere. Studying photography enables you to understand the language of images and develop your 'visual voice' to communicate effectively and with confidence.

It helps you understand the contexts in which images exist and circulate, and locate opportunities to get your images published, exhibited and commissioned.

Becoming a photography professional opens doors to a wide range of careers within a global landscape of creative industries.

Why UWE Bristol?

BA(Hons) Photography is based in the city of Bristol, a vibrant arts and media community that will challenge and inspire you.

The course offers a vibrant, collaborative environment, modern facilities, supportive workshop instruction and expert input, all underpinned by theory and critique.

Study at Bower Ashton Studios, part of our City Campus, where exceptional facilities and resources include industry-standard digital media studios.

Explore traditional tools and the latest technology in our production and fabrication workshops. Develop your creativity and the high-level practical skills needed to become a successful photographer. Work across all areas of the discipline, from editorial and documentary to fashion, advertising and fine art.

We'll encourage you to transform your broad-based photographic practice into an individual visual style. On graduation, you'll have a unique and compelling body of work for the marketplace.

Work to briefs set and assessed by external individuals and organisations, including photographers, filmmakers, publishers, clothing labels, product designers, theatre groups, musicians and festivals.

Our City Campus is a creative powerhouse. It spans across Bristol and is made up of Bower Ashton and renowned contemporary arts centres Spike Island, Arnolfini and Watershed.

Attend talks from creative professionals and visit photographers' studios, agencies and picture libraries. Showcase your work to talent scouts and potential employers at the final year Creative Industries Degree Show and graduate with an impressive portfolio of work.

International students

This course will give you the skills and confidence to find out what type of artist you are. Not only will you develop your creative portfolio while studying the foundation year, but you will have the opportunity to reach and improve your English language and communication skills through a unique module designed for those in the creative arts.

Find out our country specific requirements on our Country Information pages

Where can it take me?

Our graduates work in fields from editorial and fashion to movie stills and medical photography. Employers include the BBC, Sunday Times Magazine and the Tate.  

Past students have assisted photographers such as Martin Parr, Steve McCurry, Zed Nelson and Tim Walker, and have been published and exhibited in FT Weekend, Vogue Italia, Oh Comely, The Photographers Gallery, National Portrait Gallery and the Tate.

Graduates have also established important collectives and exhibiting networks such as The Lost Light RecordingsLoupe Magazine and Splash and Grab.

Some graduates go on to further study at Master's level, including our own postgraduate MA Photography course.

Accreditations and partnerships:



The optional modules listed are those that are most likely to be available, but they may be subject to change.

Year zero (foundation year)

You will study:

  • Observation and Making
  • Developmental Projects: Building a Creative Identity
  • Academic Skills
  • Foundation Project.

Year one

You will study:

  • Exploring Practice in Photography 1
  • Photographic Foundations
  • Exploring Practice in Photography 2
  • Introduction to Professional Practice in Photography.

Year two

You will study:

  • Developing Practice in Photography 1
  • Photography in Context
  • Enterprise and Marketing in Photography.

Plus one optional module from:

  • Developing Practice in Photography 2
  • International Exchange.

Final year

You will study:

  • Extended Study in Photography 1
  • Independent Research Study in Photography
  • Extended Study in Photography 2
  • Career Strategies for Photography.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we will inform you.

This structure is for full-time students only. Part-time students study the same modules but the delivery pattern will be different.

Learning and Teaching

Learn through workshops, seminars, group and individual tutorials and lectures. Your main teaching and learning environment will be the tutor group, which will meet regularly to discuss student work and other course-related issues.

Broaden and deepen your knowledge of photography and your own approach to the medium. Take part in practical workshops including digital and film camera use, film processing, black and white and colour printing, location lighting, studio practice, Photoshop, video, software for page layout, silk-screen printing, lithography and other specialist print disciplines.

Read how Angus Fraser, Senior Lecturer in Photography at UWE Bristol, won a national photography award.

Attend contextual theory lectures, seminars and symposia to underpin your practical process, combine your creative practice with a high level of critical reflection and produce a substantial body of creative work. Develop a rigorous critical approach to your own work and the work of others, and foster an understanding of collaboration that will be valuable to you when you start working.

Hear talks from celebrated photographers and creative professionals. Recent guests have included photographers Martin Parr, Mimi Mollica, Juno Calypso and Ingrid Pollard; agents Olivia Gideon-Thomson and Marco Santucci; art buyers Stephen Ledger-Lomas and Sarah Thomson; picture editor Emma Bowkett and photographic writer-curators Aaron Schuman and Colin Pantall.

Technical workshops that maximise your skills base run throughout the course. You'll also spend time developing professional skills such as personal branding and promotion, costing and invoicing, networking, communication skills and presentation techniques.

As a graduate, you'll be fully aware of the business and working processes in your chosen area of creative practice.

See our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.

Final year show

Showcase your work at your final year degree show before it's staged at a London venue. In recent years we have exhibited at The Rag Factory, Freerange at Trumans Brewery, the Candid Arts Trust, The Proud Gallery and The Barge House, Oxo Tower. 

Students have won editorial commissions, featured in magazines, sold work and secured solo exhibitions. Recent shows have been critically acclaimed by BJP, Getty Images, FT Weekend and Labyrinth Photographic.

See students' exhibits in our Yearbook, on Tumblr or on our blog, Over Here Please.

Prizes and bursaries

Our students and alumni have been successful in the D&AD Awards, Guardian Media Awards, the South West Photography Prize, BJP Intrepid Prize, Magenta Flash Forward Award, IPF Photo Prize and Magnum Photos Graduate Award.

Six of our graduates also secured bursaries to produce work for the newly re-built Chesterfield hospital in Bristol and the Chelsea and Westminster hospital in London.

Get involved

As a UWE Bristol photography student, you'll be automatically affiliated with the Bristol Photography Research Group, a multidisciplinary network of practitioners and academics. They explore a broad understanding of photographic practices and the complex role photography plays in contemporary society.

Recent activities include the symposia Moving Stills and Feeling Images: Photography's Relationship with Illness, and Mental Health and Wellbeing featuring contributions from Martin Parr, Elaine Constantine, Rosy Martin and Tim Andrews.

Approximate percentage of time you'll spend in different learning activities*: 

YearScheduled learning and teaching studyIndependent studyPlacement study

*Calculated from compulsory and optional modules (where applicable) each year


All modules are assessed according to the specific learning outcomes of that module. We will make these learning outcomes available to you.

You can expect to be assessed through project work, research presentations and essays. You'll critique and analyse their own work and relate it to the broader context of photography and related media.

Approximate percentage of time you'll spend in different learning activities*:

YearWritten exam assessmentCoursework assessmentPractical exam assessment

*Calculated from compulsory and optional modules (where applicable) each year

See our full glossary of assessment terms.



Professional accreditation

This course is affiliated with the leading professional body for photographers in the UK and beyond, the Association of Photographers (AOP), which promotes good professional practice and protects the intellectual property rights of its member practitioners. Our affiliation is testament to the department's commitment to professional practice.


Students who get work experience tend to graduate with better degrees. Experience also hones your skills, industry knowledge and professional network, making you a sought-after graduate.

Find work experience assisting photographers, set designers and curators, or helping with picture desk, agency and gallery work.

The thriving city of Bristol offers opportunities for work experience and placements. We have close relationships with the Martin Parr Foundation, the BBC, Spike Island, the ArnolfiniWatershed, Bristol Museums and Galleries and the M Shed, the Royal Photographic SocietyIC-Visual LabKnowle West Media Centre, local schools and community groups.

Our partnership with the Prince's Trust has seen students working with young people and vulnerable adults. This is particularly valuable for students intending to become teachers or art therapists.

You could also spend the second semester studying abroad at one of our partner institutions in Rotterdam, Barcelona, Taipei, Hong Kong, Berlin, Bologna, Linz, Ghent and Bergen.

Get help to find placements and support throughout from department staff and our award-winning careers service.


Visit photographers' studios, agencies and picture libraries throughout the course.

Photography is an international business and you'll have the opportunity to visit cities like New York, Paris, Marseilles, Barcelona and Vienna for photography festivals.

Professional practice is incorporated into these trips wherever possible. Our recent trip to Berlin included studio talks from photographers Jan von Holleben and Jorg Bruggemann, and talks from curator Ann-Christin Bertrand at C/O Gallery, and from alumni Steph Third and Mel Flash about working in Berlin.

Study facilities

The Photography Department at Bower Ashton Studios offers the latest photography technology.

Our equipment includes:

  • a fleet of full-frame DSLR cameras
  • 10x8, 5x4 and medium format analogue cameras
  • medium format digital equipment
  • lighting kits
  • fully equipped analogue and digital darkrooms
  • seven separate studio spaces.

Get support from our excellent team of technical staff through regular workshop sessions.

Bower Ashton houses the main creative and cultural industries library as well as student support services.

Studying at Bower Ashton offers an excellent base for you within the exciting City Campus, which connects teaching and learning with some of the best creative and cultural organisations in Bristol. You'll attend lectures, seminars and symposia at the Arnolfini and Watershed in Bristol city centre.

A mix of traditional and hands-on learning environments helps you quickly take on essential knowledge and skills, standing you in good stead for your professional career.


Careers / Further study

Photography is largely a freelance practice and students with experience of live briefs are best placed to make a smooth transition to industry. Our graduates work in fields including editorial, fashion, fine art, advertising, movie stills and medical photography for employers such as the BBC, Sunday Times Magazine, FT Weekend, the Tate and the National Portrait Gallery, French Connection, Prix de la Photographie Paris, We Folk, British Journal of Photography, the Department for Education and Aardman Animations. Careers include:

  • freelance photography (editorial, fashion, advertising, portraiture)
  • photographer's assistant
  • picture research
  • photographer's agent
  • studio work
  • publishing
  • teaching and art therapy
  • arts and gallery administration
  • further postgraduate study/academic research.

Award-winning careers service

Our award-winning careers service helps you develop your employment potential through career coaching, a vacancy service for internships, placements, jobs, global opportunities, volunteering and community activity plus support for entrepreneurial activity, and access to employer events.

Creating employable students

UWE Bristol places strong emphasis on employability and skills development at every level. Through work placements, volunteering, study abroad and initiatives nurturing talent and innovation, you will have opportunities to gain valuable real world experience, allowing you to graduate with diverse career opportunities and a competitive place in the job market.

Visit our Employability pages to find out about careers, employers, real world experience and what our students are doing six months after graduating.

Be inspired

Watch Sarah's YouTube video about her passion for photography and the work opportunities she has found within the media.

Take a look at our students' work:

Useful links

Prospects - careers in the creative arts sector


Full Time Course

FeesAmount (£)
Home/EU-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee9250
Home/EU-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1156
International-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee13000
International-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1625

Indicative Additional Costs

FeesAmount (£)
Additional Course Costs - Full Time - Home/EU - Indicative Maximum Cost Per year420
Optional Field Trip - (Maximum Cost)500

Supplementary fee information

Additional costs are for items you could need during your studies that aren't covered by the standard tuition fee. These could be materials, textbooks, travel, clothing, software or printing.

Learn more about costs.


We are pleased to confirm that our New students webpages are now available for students starting this course in September 2019. Here you can find links to useful information about registering, course start dates, arriving on campus what to expect before and when you arrive.

We automatically send a message via your Welcome website plus an email to notify you once your Preparing to Study information is available. It is important that you regularly check your Welcome website for new messages.

Typical offers

  • Tariff points: 48
  • GCSE: For all applicants, Grade C/4 or above in English Language, or equivalent. Please note the University does not accept Level 2 Key Skills, Functional Skills or Certificates in Adult Numeracy and Literacy as suitable alternatives to GCSEs.
  • English Language Requirement:

    If English is not your first language, you will need to meet the UK Border Agency's and the University's minimum English language requirements, such as the International English Language Test (IELTS) overall score of 5.5 with 5.5 in each component.

  • A-level subjects: No specific subjects required. Points from A-Level General Studies and AS-Level subjects (not taken onto full A-Level) can be included towards overall tariff. You must have a minimum of one A-Level.
  • EDEXCEL (BTEC) Diploma: No specific subjects required.
  • Access: Achievement of the Access to HE Diploma; no specific subjects required.
  • Baccalaureate IB: No specific subjects required.

Entry requirements

Applicants will be invited to submit a digital portfolio for review. We are interested in your creative ideas, skills and ability. For guidance on what to include in your portfolio, watch our portfolio advice video.

We recognise the individual nature of each application and our typical offer should be viewed as a guide. UWE Bristol welcomes interest from applicants who may not have the standard entry requirements. We will consider evidence of your relevant personal, professional or educational experience where it demonstrates an ability and potential to succeed on the course. Please include details of any relevant experience in your application.

Students who expect to achieve a higher tariff score may also be interested in our BA(Hons) Photography.

Read more about entry requirements.

International Students

Our foundation courses will give you the skills and confidence to find out what type of artist you are, as well as delivering a specific module that will improve your English language and help you adjust to studying in the UK.

Find out our country-specific requirements on our country information pages.

Offer Types

If you have not received your exam results, your offer from us will be conditional and will be subject to you achieving the tariff points/grades required for your course.

If you have already satisfied the academic entry requirements of your chosen course, you are likely to be made an unconditional offer. Please note that we will only make unconditional offers if you have already achieved your qualifications.

To make sure our applicants are academically prepared for when they start their studies here, we do not make unconditional offers to those that are still studying their Level 3 qualifications (such as A-Levels, BTEC, Access or equivalent). We hope that this will encourage our applicants to value their academic achievements as much as we do.

How to apply

UCAS Extra: We welcome applications through UCAS Extra for this course between 25 February and 4 July 2019. We aim to give you a response to your application within 21 days.

Read more about undergraduate applications.

For further information

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