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. 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 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) Photography (Professional and Applied):
BA (Hons) Photography
BA (Hons) Photography 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.
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.
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.
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'.
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. 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
- Finding Your Way
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
- Facing the Public
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 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
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.
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.
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|
|IELTS||6.0 (with 5.5 in each skills area)|
|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.
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:
- Idris Kahn OBE, leading UK artist
- Jenny Anderson, Director, Argentea Gallery
- Nicola Shipley, director GRAIN Photography Hub
- Michael Sargeant, On-line Education Manager, MAGNUM Photos
- John McLean, leading photographic artist and architectural photographer
- Steve Edwards, leading editorial photographer for UK and US publications
- Bethany Kane, Programming Officer FORMAT Photography Festival
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.
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
- Provision of photographic film and paper for inductions for stage 1 modules
- Access to talks and presentations by industry speakers
- Access to specialist equipment, facilities and technical support
- Access to specialist digital facilities with a wide range of up to date software
- Participation in FORMAT International Photography Festival
- Participation in the Degree Show for stage 3
- Access to excellent learning resources, libraries and specialist laboratories and studios
Mandatory costs not included in your fees
- Additional materials (printing, stationery, portfolio, folders, USBs/hard drives etc.) (Approx. costs - Year 1= £200, Year 2 = £250, Year 3 = £300)
- There will be occasions when you will be expected to attend external exhibitions, talks, workshops. Costs will be kept to a minimum and are estimated at around £40/annum
- UK study visits (at least one per academic year) approximate cost of each study visit is between £20 and £40, depending on the activity/location
Optional costs not included in your fees
- Additional course related publications (approx. costs £100)
- Specialist materials/software/hardware (£200-£800, depending on your ambitions and requirements)
- Final year project costs (£200-£800 depending on your ambitions and requirements)
- Travel for work placement opportunities (costs will vary dependant on location)
- Extra costs may include UK and overseas residential visits (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.