Course details

Study options

Full-time: 3 Years

UK fee

£9,250 per year (2021/22)

International/EU fee

£14,045 per year (2021/22)

UCAS points

112 (September 2021 entry)

UCAS code


Course level



BA (Hons)

Start date



Markeaton Street, Derby Campus

This course is being updated, please keep checking back for more information.

If you do not achieve the typical entry points required, you may want to consider studying this course with foundation year.

View with foundation year optionView with foundation year option

Course description

With its outstanding reputation for nurturing new talent, this course will help you become a highly creative, technically experienced professional. You’ll develop imaginative approaches to image making which will set you apart within the creative, media and arts industries. You will be encouraged to challenge conventions, break moulds and create your own distinctive identity as a well-informed and highly creative thinker and image maker.

The School of Arts has a long-standing reputation for excellence in the field of photography. Our state of the art facilities are the envy of many experienced professional photographers. We offer a free equipment loan centre for students, full of high-spec analogue and digital equipment.

We were one of the first UK institutions to launch a photography degree and boast over half a century of heritage in photographic education. You’ll draw on that proud tradition while working at the cutting edge of technology. You’ll learn from experienced professionals and tutors of the highest calibre, using extensive, darkroom and digital facilities. Live briefs set by external clients, gallery visits, overseas study trips, exhibitions, festivals and competitions will bring an exciting dimension to your studies.  

If you don't have the appropriate qualifications to start this course, you can study the Year Zero - Arts programme for a year first. 

Top20for Film Production and Photography**The Guardian University Guide 2021
100%overall satisfaction - BA (Hons) Photography**National Student Survey, 2020
A photo of a female student dressed casually with a backpack on her shoulders

The facilities, specifically the dark rooms, Digital Design Hub, and Media Loan Hub, are fantastic. The lecturers and technicians go above and beyond and always give sound advice and guidance.

Abi Wells
BA (Hons) Photography


All Art and Design, Film, Photography and Music courses are based at our Markeaton Street site where industry-standard, purpose built studios and labs provide a modern and creative space for our students. Markeaton Street encompasses Chandos Pole Street which is home to our Fashion and Textiles courses and Britannia Mill is home to Fine Art, Illustration and Interior Design studio spaces. Our Theatre students learn from professionals at the professional producing and learning Derby Theatre in the heart of Derby city centre. 

Markeaton Street is a 15 minute walk from Kedleston Road, and is serviced by regular free site shuttle buses.

Studying Photography at Derby

This course will take you on a creative journey exploring what photography has been, what it is now and what it can be in the very widest sense.

The programme will support, encourage and challenge you to expand upon the conventions of photography and develop the confidence, ambitions, skills and abilities to produce work and forge your own identity as a maker and thinker of images for the future.

The programme blends creative and experimental approaches to photographic image making across the widest range of media with high level skills in research, critical thinking, communication, methods of presentation, exhibition and dissemination, and skills in digital technologies that will prove essential in life beyond your degree. There are no boundaries to what photography can be. You will be encouraged to explore and exceed the limits of photography throughout the creative journey of your degree.

We will foster your passion, support your aims and guide your ambitions to equip you with the skills, knowledge, awareness and experiences required to become a sought-after professional, enabling you to forge a bright future in the creative sector and beyond. 

Throughout your studies you will engage with and explore a wide range of traditional analogue and contemporary digital media. You will be introduced to time based and moving image media and be able to explore installation, sculptural and performance approaches, and the hybridisation of photography by combining media to blend and create new forms and uses of image making.

This degree finishes with a professional final exhibition at our Degree Show, where you'll have the opportunity to make vital industry contacts at the Private View evening. You could also continue your studies by taking our MA Film and Photography course. Please note, minimum entry criteria includes everything in an application, including a strong personal statement, a good reference and where asked for, a portfolio.

Students will have the opportunity to apply to exhibit their work for Format International Photography Festival, the UK's leading international contemporary festival of photography and related media.

In the 2020 National Student Survey (NSS), 100% of BA (Hons) Photography students were satisfied with the overall quality of the course. The NSS is managed by the Office for Students and gathers opinions of current students on the course. Additional results include:

Degree Show work

Take a look at BA (Hons) Photography brochure for the Degree Show 2019, BA (Hons) Photography In the Making catalogue 2019, and take a look at BA (Hons) Photography graduate Danielle Shambley's 2018 final project, 'Eructate: The 90th Year'.

Female student looks through a camera with a specialist light in the background

BA Photography In the Making catalogue 2019

Take a look at BA (Hons) Photography catalogue for the degree show 2019, BA (Hons) Photography In the Making catalogue 2019

Omar Soomro

Make it Real
at Derby

We want you to realise your vision for your future. The University of Derby is a place where you can take your passion and talent and use them to create a better world.

Find out how we can make it real for youFind out how we can make it real for you

What you will study

The course has been written and designed in order to provide you with a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of the ideas, creative applications and potentials for photography today. The course values and encourages imaginative and inventive approaches to photography. We support work across a wide range of lens media, including analogue, digital, and time-based media, as well as opportunities to expand upon the conventions of photography

You will study modules such as:

You will gain a thorough grounding in both technical skills as well as the historical, theoretical, cultural and political debates surrounding lens-based media. The Stage One modules will also help you orientate yourself in our department and allow you to become familiar with the staff and facilities available to you throughout your studies on the programme. 

  • Histories of Photography  
  • Exploring Analogue Photography  
  • Exploring Digital Photography  
  • Theories of Photography 

You will continue to develop your skills to a higher level, exploring interdisciplinary methods of working. Fieldtrips, visits to exhibitions, guest speakers and an introduction to photography networks will provide specific contact points with the industry. A key aspect of stage two is the development of you identity as a well informed and highly creative image maker.

  • Expanded Media 
  • Image Musing Text 
  • Raising Your Voice 
  • Making Your Future

If you want to gain work experience, you can take an optional work placement between stages two and three to apply your academic knowledge in a work environment. During the Photography placement, you'll study an additional qualification, the Diploma in Professional Practice, which features modules such as: 

  • Applied Professional Practice
  • Contemporary Issues in Professional Practice 

The focus on the final stage of your studies is on establishing your own direction and identity as you develop, prepare and realise a major work of photographic art. By the end of this year, you will be an independent and confident practitioner who can hit the ground running towards your future career. Modules for the final stage of your degree are as follows:

  • Writing the Image 
  • Realisation 

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

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Campus Tours

Campus Tours are a great way for you to explore our campuses, facilities and halls of residence and to get a feel for what it is really like to be a student at the University of Derby.

Book your Campus TourBook your Campus Tour

How you will learn

This course involves an inspirational combination of learning and teaching methods. Technical workshops will develop the full range of photographic skills, including black and white, colour, digital, CGI and 3D. There are also lectures to introduce new concepts and knowledge; seminars to enable group discussions; critiques for constructive feedback; small group tutorials to encourage the development of ideas; individual tutorials to monitor your progress and clarify your artistic direction; group research activities to encourage team working; and individual presentations to help you develop communication skills.  

Your learning will be supported by a programme of guest lectures, contact with our high-profile visiting professors, regular gallery visits, and the chance to take part in prestigious competitions and festivals. These include the acclaimed FORMAT International Photography Festival which is hosted and organised jointly by the University and QUAD. You will also have the opportunity to work on the FORMAT International Conference, organised by the academic staff on the programme.

You’ll also benefit from our partnerships with various leading professional organisations and employers. These pave the way for you to go on study visits, gain work experience, and contribute to live briefs. We have links with the FORMAT, Association of Photographers, GRAIN Photography Hub, Derby Museum and Art Galleries, Magnum Photos, MAC Birmingham, ESMAD Porto, The Art Institute of Las Vegas, to name but a few.

The course culminates in a professional final exhibition at our annual Degree Show, where you’ll have the opportunity to showcase your final work to a public audience.  

Assessment is by 100% coursework: your submissions of photographic work will be supported by an artist’s statement and opportunities to discuss the progression of your projects. 

A student developing photographs in the photography lab.

Photography lab

The Photography lab at Markeaton Street has outstanding facilities that are the envy of many experienced professional photographers and artists.

Take a look at the labTake a look at the lab


Recent years have seen significant developments in the imaging sector, thanks to the growth and speed of digital technologies. At Derby, you’ll be equipped to harness both new and existing technologies in our high-specification facilities. 

You’ll hone your skills in an excellent learning environment featuring extensive photographic studios, black and white and colour darkrooms, film processing facilities, dedicated digital suites, and Mac suites offering industry-standard software.

We also have a bureau for professional printing of high-quality colour-accurate images and a well-stocked equipment centre from which you can loan an array of specialist resources.  

Personal academic tutoring

Your personal academic tutor will work with you to help you get the most out of your time at university. Having someone to talk to about your academic progress, your university experience and your professional aspirations is hugely valuable. We want you to feel challenged in your studies, stretched but confident to achieve your academic and professional goals.

Find out more about personal academic tutoring

Who will teach you

Philip wearing a green, plaid shirt standing in front of film negatives.

Dr Philip Harris
Programme leader

Philip has been the Programme Leader for BA (Hons) Photography since 2014.

View full staff profileView full staff profile

Entry requirements

September 2021 typical entry requirements

RequirementWhat we're looking for
UCAS points112
Specific requirements at A-level

No specific subject requirements

Specific requirements at GCSEAt least five GCSEs (or equivalent) including Maths and English at grade 4/C or above
IELTS6.0 (with at least 5.5 in each skills area)
Interview / Audition


PortfolioYes - see portfolio details

Alternative entry qualifications:

Offers will be made initially based on your application, including predicted grades and/or grades you have already achieved. Following this, if you submit a strong portfolio we will make you an unconditional offer, to reflect the quality of your work and your potential.

2022 entry

These are the typical qualification requirements for September 2022 entry.

RequirementWhat we're looking for
UCAS points104-112
GCSEAt least five GCSEs (or equivalent) including Maths and English at grade 4/C or above
Access to HEPass Access to HE Diploma with 60 credits: 45 at Level 3 with a minimum of Distinction: 15, Merit: 24, Pass: 6

Additional entry requirements

English language requirements

IELTS: 6.0 (with at least 5.5 in each skills area)

Fees and funding

2021/22 Fees (August 2021 - July 2022)


£9,250 per year



£14,045 per year


Further information about our fees and support you may be entitled to.

Additional costs and optional extras

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There's still time to apply

If you're interested in finding out more about how to apply for university, we're here to help. We have advice and tips to help guide you as you complete your university application.

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How to apply

Apply for September 2021

Need help applying? Find out how we can help you with your UCAS application

UK students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS.

Part-time students should apply directly to the University.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University


The course places an emphasis on critical thinking, research, writing and oral communication, teamwork and problem-solving skills. As such, you will be well equipped for diverse roles across the photo-imaging sector and beyond, making excellent use of transferable skills.

Our graduates have gone on to become artists, academics, teachers, curators, critics, professional photographers, editorial photographers, picture editors. Here are what some of our graduates are doing now:

We also provide support for graduates starting out in the creative industries in the form of Banks Mill, an innovative space for creative and digital industries located in a landmark building within the heart of Derby city centre. It offers studio workspace and business development activities within a vibrant and thriving community of artists, designers and makers. In addition, there is the option to take your skills to the next level on our MA Film and Photography.

Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

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Additional information about your studies

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Additional costs and optional extras

We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.

The information below is correct for entry in the academic year September 2020 - August 2021 only. Entry for future academic years may be subject to change.

Included in your fees
Mandatory costs not included in your fees
Optional costs not included in your fees

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.

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