New for September 2019: As part of our commitment to improving student experience we are continually enhancing and reviewing our courses. Changes are being made to this course to reflect the evolving nature of the industry and to keep the course in line with industry standards. Curriculum changes proposed will ensure that we equip our graduates with the prerequisite skills and subject knowledge to be successful in their careers. To find out more get in touch with our programme leaders or attend an open day. This webpage will be updated as changes are made to the programme.
With its outstanding reputation for nurturing new talent, our BA Photography 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.This Photography course is centred upon your development as a well-informed and highly creative photographer. You will be encouraged to challenge conventions, break moulds and create your own photographic identity.
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 the latest high-spec cameras so don’t worry about not owning the latest model – we do!
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 industry-standard studio, 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.
We specialise in two very different courses, BA (Hons) Photography and BA (Hons) Commercial Photography:
BA (Hons) Photography
This course is centered upon your development as a well-informed and highly creative photographer. You will be encouraged to challenge conventions, break moulds and create your own photographic identity. Our graduates have gone on to be artists, academics, teachers and curators. 100% of our graduates are in work or further study within six months of completing this course (HESA 2016).
The BA (Hons) Photography course values and encourages imaginative and inventive approaches to photography and supports all types of work, including black and white, colour and digital. You'll learn through a combination of lectures, technical workshops, seminars, group critiques and individual tutorials. You'll also go on regular gallery visits and be able to hear high profile guest lectures regularly.
The BA (Hons) Photography 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.
Some students will get the opportunity to exhibit at Format, one of the UK's leading international contemporary festivals of photography and related media.
As part of the off-year programme for FORMAT International Photography Festival, 2018, we are delighted to present new work by established photographic artists, alongside work by students from BA (Hons) Photography, University of Derby, who explore issues of social wellbeing in the widest sense. These image makers deal with themes ranging from poverty, social exclusion, age, health, the impact of social media, gender representation, environment, and the value of the photograph as social artefact. The exhibition presents a diverse range of media and practices including large scale analogue and digital prints, video, sculpture and installation.
Take a look at BA (Hons) Photography graduate Danielle Shambley's final project, 'Eructate: The 90th Year'.
This course gives you a head start if you’re looking for a job in the image industry or planning to work on a freelance basis. Our graduates pursue career paths in fashion, advertising, documentary, editorial, and landscape photography, or picture re-touching and manipulation.
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 and supports work across a wide range of lens media, including analogue, digital and time-based practices.
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.
- Digital Photography Practices
- Analogue Photography Practices
- Histories of Photography
- Photography and Reality
- Photography and the Constructed Image
- 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.
- Finding your Place
- Discourse and Technologies I (double module)
- Raising your Voice
- Discourse and Technologies 2 (double module)
Diploma in Professional Practice
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 is on establishing your own direction as you prepare for your final BA (Hons) Photography degree show in Derby. In addition, students’ work has been exhibited in London and Hamburg Triennial of Photography. By the end of this year, you will be an independent and confident practitioner who can hit the ground running in your career.
- Vision (double module)
- Practice as Research I
- Practice as Research II
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’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 Association of Photographers, the Artist Information Company, Artquest, Troika Editions, The Photographers Gallery, The Observer Newspaper, Derby Museum and Art Gallery, Magnum, MAC Birmingham and Print Space, to name but a few.
The course culminates in a professional final exhibition at our annual Big Show, where you’ll also have the opportunity to make vital industry contacts during the private view.
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.
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.
September 2019 typical entry requirements
|UCAS points||112 (up to 16 from AS-levels)|
|Specific requirements at A-level|
No specific subject requirements
|Specific requirements at GCSE||GCSE Maths and English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification|
|Interview / Audition||Yes - see interview details|
Alternative entry qualifications:
- BTEC - DMM
- Access to HE Diploma 60 credits: 45 at level 3 with a minimum of Dist: 15 Merit: 24 Pass: 6
We usually consider an A-level in General Studies as a supplementary qualification. A good application/performance will be taken into account if you do not meet the criteria/offer conditions.
Our entry requirements for this course should be read together with the University's general entry requirements, which details subjects we accept, alternative qualifications and what we're looking for at Derby.
By the time you graduate, you’ll be a visually literate, independent, confident, articulate and adaptable photographer. Because the course also places emphasis on analytical, writing, oral communication, teamwork and problem-solving skills, you’ll be well equipped for diverse roles across the photo-imaging sector.
Our graduates have gone on to become artists, academics, teachers, curators, critics, commercial photographers, picture editors, and news and sports photographers.
Some receive major accolades for continuing the creative practice they started on their course. Josh Cole, BA (Hons) Photography graduate, who began photographing DJs, recording artists and dancers during his studies, went on to win a top prize at the UK Music Video Awards for his work on Rudimental’s single Not Giving In.
We also provide support for graduates starting out in the creative industries, through our incubation unit – Banks Mill. 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.
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.Contact us
† Additional information about your studies
Download programme specification
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, state-of-the-art 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.
Included in your fees
- Plus 1 roll colour film. Plus 10 sheets paper) industry speakers, specialist equipment
- Starter packs for introductory workshops (e.g. Black and white roll of film 1 per student, 10 sheets of 10x8 resin coated paper.
- Participation in Degree Show.
- Here at Derby, we provide excellent learning resources, libraries and specialist laboratories and studios.
Mandatory costs not included in your fees
- Additional materials (printing, stationary, portfolio sleeves, folders, USBs/hard drives etc.) (Approx. costs - Year 1= £250, Year 2 = £300, Year 3 = £400)
- There will be occasions when you will be expected to attend exhibitions, screenings, performances and festivals. You will need to budget for these over each academic year.
- 2 study visits (1 in year 1 and 1 in year 2) approximate cost of each study visit is between £15 and £30, depending on the activity / location.
Optional costs not included in your fees
- additional course related publications (approx. costs £100),
- specialist software/hardware (costs up to £1500)
- Final year project costs (costs determined by student £200-£600)
- Travel for work placement opportunities (costs will vary dependant on location)
- We provide full details of all course fees, but extra costs may include field trips (approx. cost £200-£400)
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.