Bachelor of Arts with Honours
Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Belfast School of Art
The UCAS code for Ulster University is U20
With this degree you could become:
Graduates from this course are now working for:
Develop innovative, unique work in one of Europe's leading photography schools.
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Photography is at the heart of the creative industries. From gallery to magazine, from breaking news to film set, studying photography gives you access to a huge range of art and commercial opportunities. The course is taught by dedicated, respected photographers who exhibit and publish internationally. Our graduates have won high-profile prizes, exhibited around the world and built diverse careers out of their studies here. We are passionate about photography, encouraging and supporting our students to explore, learn, question and become experts. At Ulster we will help you develop your own creative style and individual voice. You will leave with a valuable set of skills and a fresh way of thinking that help you stand out as you embark on a career in an exciting sector.
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A globally recognised hub of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship
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Our course takes a very contemporary approach to studying photography with video. It combines practice, theory and professional experience to help you develop unique and innovative photographic work. You will learn a wide range of skills across both still and moving image, using analogue and digital. Our facilities include a photographic studio, portable lights, Imacon film scanners, a 44” Epson printer, new iMacs, medium and large format cameras and a darkroom. We also have two photographic technicians to help you.
The teaching team consists of photographers who exhibit and publish around the world. We invite visiting speakers to give lectures and recently hosted photographers Lorenzo Vitturi, Tereza Zelenkova, Matthew Finn and Eleanor Macnair, writer Sean O'Hagan, and curator/publisher Hannah Watson.
You will learn through a programme of lectures, seminars, critiques, tutorials and gallery visits. Contextual studies are integrated into the practice modules to build your understanding of contemporary ideas and help you develop sophisticated, cutting-edge work. Your project outcomes will include photobooks, exhibition prints, moving image, research blogs, presentations and portfolios.
You will have opportunities for funded study abroad through Erasmus and Study USA as well as undertaking placements in industry. The close links we have with galleries and photo festivals help you build your own networks and experience from the start of your studies and beyond. Our students and graduates have been selected for high-profile prizes including the Jill Todd award, the RUA Young Artist award, the Genesis Imaging award and the Kassel Photobook Dummy award.
We have been profiled by the British Journal of Photography as one of the most significant photography schools in Europe. The digital era has brought new possibilities for the creation and distribution of images. This is a hugely exciting time to study photography.
Diploma in Professional Practice DPP
Diploma in International Academic Studies DIAS
Diploma in Professional Practice International DPPI
Find out more about placement awards
The course runs over three years with a timetable covering lectures, seminars, critiques, visits and tutorials. Teaching usually takes place over three days each week. On the other days you will be photographing on location or in the studio as well as carrying out your own research.
Year 1 is an exciting, intense year with three practical modules and two contextual modules running alongside. Year 2 consists of four 12-week modules, two practical and two contextual, which build your own voice as a photographer. In Year 3 you will complete one self-directed practice module, a dissertation and a professional practice module.
You will learn practical skills at all stages. Throughout the course we emphasise independent study to build on what you learn in the taught sessions.
We teach through a combination of illustrated lectures, seminars, practical workshops and tutorials. Throughout the course you will build your ideas and processes through a Research Development Book (RDB). This is a really key element in your learning. Its design, format and structure are entirely down to you - the important thing is that it is meaningful and useful for you. You will submit it for each module, along with other outputs such as wall prints, photobooks and presentations.
We introduce every module with a clear explanation of what you need to produce and how we will assess it. You are also given a handbook for each module and access to extra materials and information on our learning website Blackboard. This gives you access to helpful information both on and off campus, at any time.
The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.
Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:
As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.
Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.
The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.
Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.
Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.
Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.
Calculation of the Final Award
The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).
Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.
All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
Members of the course team are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy
The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.
Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).
We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.
The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.
Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.
Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.
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Beginning with a consideration of the photographic narrative, the module introduces the component parts of narrative structure, the fundamental building blocks upon which storytelling and the communication of ideas are visually created. The module brings the practitioner into contact with the subjects of documentary photography. It introduces an understanding from the outset of some of the central processes and challenges pertinent to documentary practice and examines the potential of articulating specific information through the medium of photography. Whilst consolidating key skills, this module will also encourage a curiosity of the contribution Documentary makes to wider photographic culture and equips the student with the skills to explore the histories, ideas and roles photography plays in our contemporary world.
This module is an introduction to the construction of meaning in the photograph through the control of lighting, staging, 'mis en scene' and camera viewpoint. It will introduce students to the use of studio and portable and hand held electronic flash lightning. Students will be involved in the production of group and individual staged photographic projects informed by a critical consideration of 'staged' images as they occur in portraiture, campaign, promotional, editorial, fashion, advertising and gallery contexts.
This module uses lectures, workshops and seminars to introduce students to key ideas about the meaning of photographs. The seminars encourage establishing sound research practice and communicating thoughts and questions. The image analysis and research blog offer students an opportunity to research and present their ideas about topics that interest them more deeply.
This lecture and seminar-based module introduces students to key ideas about city and narrative that inform and influence current photographic practice. The seminars encourage students in establishing sound research practice and communicating their thoughts and questions. The presentation and essay offer an opportunity to develop more confident and articulate communication of their findings from the module.
This practice module will introduce students to the important role that narrative plays in any photographic series, whether it is a photographic book, multimedia piece or video. The module will guide students through a range of conceptual methods for telling visual stories via an illustrated lecture programme and group seminars. This theoretical and practical teaching will be further supported through peer review, individual tutorials and practical workshops that provide students with technical skills.
This module will introduce students to the professional aspects of being an artist/designer in a rapidly changing society. It investigates the role of an independent creative artist/designer and also explores other fields where their attributes and skills are increasingly acknowledged, needed and valued as having wider application.
This 40-credit practice module asks students to think and work outside the box by employing photographic strategies that involve construction, performance, intergrated text and archival material, and concept. Experimenting with strategies in new areas, students will develop new ways of working that help to further pinpoint and define their individual voice as author.
Introduces a range of publication and exhibition contexts for photographic practice and encourages appropriate project development within specific contexts.
Level 5 focuses on the refinement of interpretive skills necessary to explore and challenge historical and contemporary voices within photography, from curators, to writers to photographers. It encourages increasing independence of research and writing through specialization - drawing out convergences within the student's individual strands of research/practice towards a greater understanding of a unifying voice, towards the selection of a thesis topic at the end of the academic year in preparation for Level 6.
This module is optional
This module provides an opportunity to undertake an extended period of study outside the UK and Republic of Ireland. Students will develop an enhanced understanding of the academic discipline whilst generating educational and cultural networks.
This module is optional
This is an optional placement year for students who have completed Level 5 prior to the final year of study. The placement must be a minimum of 25 weeks duration and can be in a broad range of Art/Professional practice. A programme of work is agreed by the student, the Placement Tutor and the Placement Partner and usually takes place in Europe with respect to the relevant health and safety and disability regulations.(SENDO). The placement is designed to increase experience of workshop/studio/communal and technical practice, while broadening and enhancing the student's social, personal and professional development. Upon successful completion of the placement year the student is awarded a Diploma in Professional Studies (DPP) or a Diploma in Professional Practice (DPP) International upon graduation from the course.
The Photographic Dissertation is the penultimate contextualising studies module on the photographic course. In this module students individually locate and discursively evolve their own investigative research project related to photographic practice.
The Photographic Dissertation contextualises photographic and visual cultural enquiry in a focused, critical form. Moreover, it teaches skills in visual literacy, intellectual enquiry, and research, raising appropriate enquiry, critical writing and cultural understanding.
The final, practice-based module of the course is designed to provide a clear and committed direction that will result in a body of photographic work characterised by a refined resolution of ideas and practice and distinguished by a clear, individual vision. From this body of work an appropriate selection will be made for exhibition or publication within the degree show.
The module introduces aspects of the photography sector, including practitioners' experiences, career insights and professional practice. The module also supports the development of a promotional website and examines students' ability to work to a commercial brief.
We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.
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The A Level requirement for this course is BCC - BBB.
Applicants can satisfy the requirement for one of the A level grades (or equivalent) by substituting a combination of alternative qualifications recognised by the University.
Overall award profile BTEC Level 3 QCF Extended Diploma DDD - DDM.
Overall award profile BTEC Level 3 RQF National Extended Diploma DDM - DMM.
The Irish Leaving Certificate requirement for this course is H3, H3, H3, H4, H4 – H3, H3, H3, H3, H3 and English Language at grade O4 or above.
The Scottish Highers requirement for this course is CCCCC - BBBCC.
The Scottish Advanced Highers requirement for this course is CDD - CCC.
Overall International Baccalaureate profile minimum 24 points (12 at higher level).
Successful completion of Access Course with an average of between 65% - 70%.
GCSE Profile to include English Language at minimum grade C.
English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
Applicants may be selected through interview and/ or portfolio submission.
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Graduates from this course are now working for:
With this degree you could become:
Photography students go on to diverse careers in fine art, design and the media. These include documentary, editorial, advertising, publishing, project management, gallery curation, fashion photography, writing, picture research, magazine editing, music, portraiture, architecture, medical, wildlife, forensic photography and specialist technical support roles.
If you would like to develop your own work to a higher level after the BA (Hons) Photography you can study for an MFA Photography at Ulster or further afield. Beyond this there is a PhD pathway in our highly regarded Research Institute.
There are also opportunities for those wishing to pursue a teaching career with the completion of a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE).
We have a number of exciting partnerships with other institutions, including MOME Budapest, the Royal Academy in Antwerp, and KABK in the Hague.
Applications to full-time undergraduate degrees at Ulster are made through UCAS.
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Important notice - fees information
Fees illustrated are based on 19/20 entry and are subject to an annual increase. Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Visit our Fees pages for full details of fees
Northern Ireland & EU: £4,275.00
England, Scotland, Wales and the Islands: £9,250.00 Discounts available
International: £14,060.00 Scholarships available
Discounts for student from England, Scotland and Wales:
You have three discount options to choose from:
£2,000 discount on tuition fees. £1,000 discount on tuition fees
£1,000 discount on tuition fees
International Undergraduate Scholarship
£2,000 scholarship applied as discount to your annual tuition fee.
Other awards and prizes:
Information provided is for guidance only as scholarship details are subject to change - please refer to the source website for up-to-date and accurate information.
Students purchase materials for their own coursework.
Consumable workshop contribution of up to £100 is optional and contributes to materials used by students.
Field trips to museums, galleries and exhibitions may incur additional costs.
Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.
We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.
There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.
Please contact the course team for more information.