Art & Design Degree Courses
Where art and imagination come to life

BA (Hons) Photography Degree

ual photography degreeCapture your world through the lens with Northbrook College's BA (Hons) Photography degree. Shape your vision, build your portfolio, and launch your creative career.

The course encourages individual development through experimental, explorative projects that are then developed into a specialist portfolio and major exhibition during your final year.


Course Overview

  • Location: Northbrook College, Worthing, West Sussex, England
  • UCAS code: W642
  • Duration: 3 years full-time
  • Application deadline: 15 July 2024
  • Start date: September 2024
  • Fees: £16,500
  • Entry requirements: 2 A-Levels and 3 GCSEs in other subjects grade 9-4 or A-C (or equivalent)
    1 A-Level, a Foundation course (or equivalent) and 3 GCSEs in other subjects grade 9-4 or A-C (or equivalent)
    a portfolio of work or audition to demonstrate ability in the specialist area.
  • English language requirements: IELTS certificate or equivalent with an overall score of 6.0, with 6.0 in the writing element and 5.5 in all other sub-elements.

The assessment of your application will include a review of your grades, interview, portfolio/audition and any experience.

BA PhotographyCourse Information

Course Content

Course content

This conceptual and practical course includes opportunities to work across various photographic genres, developing different photographic and visual communication skills.

Facilities include three professional studios: the infinity studio, the black portrait studio and the TV studio, which also has a product table for professional shots. Our cameras include full-frame digital and a range of lenses from
wide-angle to telephoto. We have a darkroom suite, comprehensive digital post-production facilities, and professional lighting and effects machines.

We also host visiting speakers throughout the programme, which enables you to build connections and prepare for your future career.

Teaching Method

Teaching Method

We use a variety of teaching methods, including: 

  • practical and creative studio-based workshops
  • discussions
  • lectures/seminars
  • tutorials
  • small group study
  • self-directed study
  • study trips

Key Features

Key Features

  • Be part of a close-knit community of creatives through cross-collaborative work with other arts students.
  • Excellent connections with the industry allow you to build your professional network.
  • Client-based projects provide an opportunity for you to work with top professionals

Course Structure

Year One

Unit 1

Unit 1: Fundamentals of Photography

A series of sessions and workshops that build a strong foundation in photographic techniques and processes. You will engage in a range of workshops and inductions across photographic equipment and work in both studios and on location. You will be introduced to the language of photography, and work with a range of lighting, cameras, studio setups, darkroom practice and key concepts such as composition. This unit will encourage you to look, consider how a photograph communicates and to critically review your work.

Unit 2

Unit 2: Establishing Practice

This unit will build on the development of skills, experience and knowledge introduced in Fundamentals of Photography. It will encourage you to further develop your range of skills, and consolidate those learnt in the previous unit.  

You will begin to consider what the photographer does, who they are,  and the power of the photographic medium. The unit builds on the fundamentals to allow you to consider how photography can be used to communicate.  

You will explore the breadth of photography in a range of photographic genres such as Fine Art, documentary etc. and begin to consider how to situate your practice. This is the beginning of a journey that will enable  

you to evaluate and experience photographs, analysing their content and considering the audience that will inform an introduction to semiotics and other forms of visual analysis.  

The photographer’s link to their work will be a key consideration in this unit and there will be explorations of how the relationship of the photographer differs across genres. The role of the audience will also be explored.  

You will engage in a range of workshops and sessions that will further explore technical equipment, professional working, software applications and critical and cultural concepts.

Unit 3

Unit 3: Cultural and Contextual Studies

A series of sessions and workshops that form the basis of your understanding of theoretical frameworks, cultural, historical and social contexts from a design and creative perspective and begin to develop research and investigative skills. You will engage in discussions and debate, as you explore a range of topics and be asked to communicate your response through self-initiated research and critical examination.

Unit 4

Unit 4: Digital Editorial

A series of sessions and workshops that introduces the range of editorial work that photographers engage with, and the digital context of the photographic medium.
You will learn how to produce editorial work across a range of genres such as Documentaries and a range of editorial formats such as magazine spreads, brochures or zines.
Ethics and representation will be considered alongside legal issues inherent in the production of an editorial.
The unit will also allow you to work with software to digitally manipulate, retouch and process work to support editorial outputs.

Unit 5

Unit 5: Minor Project

A series of sessions and workshops that encourage you to produce a photographic response to an individual project that also considers the development of your practice. Topics and discussions will include cultural considerations, planning, project and time management, self-directed working and independent research, as well as technical support. You will present your proposal and be supported in the development of your final outcome with planned stage-posting and goal-setting for the production and realisation of a negotiated brief.

Year Two

Unit 6

Unit 6: The Photographic Manifesto

This unit will develop the power of visual communication as a photographer. You will undertake a range of experimental workshops that will interrogate your practice, exploring work that conveys an agenda, a message or a viewpoint.
Your ‘voice’ will also be developed and challenged with lectures and seminars that engage with current discourses and invite you to contribute to them.
You will be encouraged to begin defining what you have to say to the world with your work and how you will achieve this.

Unit 7

Unit 7: Advanced Cultural and Contextual Studies

A series of sessions that continues to develop your understanding of theoretical frameworks, cultural, historical and social contexts. You will engage in discussions and debate, and be supported in the continued development of academic and research skills. You will engage in self-directed research and critical examination of a topic, presenting your response in an academic format.

Unit 8

Unit 8: Professional Practice

This unit will develop the transferable skills which will allow you to develop your confidence and experience of working in an industry-facing context on a ‘live’ brief.
A ‘live’ brief is a brief set by an external practitioner who will engage you in current working practices. These could include project proposals, funding and pitching, installation and public art, and the commissioning process.
There will be opportunities in this unit to work collaboratively. This unit will contain sessions and workshops that support the development of skills and experience of working in a professional context in the photographic sector as well as developing your photographic and technical skills.
You will be encouraged to consider how to critically respond to the requirements of a ‘live’ brief, while also understanding the legal, ethical, cultural, aesthetic and practical contexts of producing their work and developing their photographic practice.
You will gain valuable transferable skills through the development of pitching and presenting.

Unit 9

Unit 9: Independent Project

A series of workshops, where you will design your learning, to support a self-initiated photographic response to a negotiated brief.
This unit should explore risk-taking and experimentation to define practice and prepare for level 6 study.
You will be encouraged to develop your specialist areas of photographic practice, building on the skills developed at both Level 4 and Level 5.
You will be encouraged to engage with increasingly sophisticated image production that considers theoretical frameworks, including semiotics, that were introduced in the first year of the degree.
This unit will introduce collaborative working and you will undertake the planning and production of your work to create a group show. The work for this unit can be made collaboratively with other students, or independently within the parameters of a group exhibition. The planning/space/curation and organisation of the show will be undertaken by the group.

Year Three

Unit 10

Unit 10: Specialist Practice

This unit begins with a diagnostic phase, followed by a self-initiated response informed by the initial phase. The diagnostic phase consists of five weekly topics where you will generate ideas and creative responses in this limited time frame for each topic. These tasks are fast-paced, creative and explore ideas.
This diagnostic phase of the unit is then followed by a self-initiated photographic response where you will submit a proposal and identify a series of workshops that are tailored to the development of specialist areas of photographic practice, either revisiting existing skills or introducing new ones.
You will be supported in your development and response to a negotiated brief through the delivery of the workshops and individual guidance and feedback.

Unit 11

Unit 11: Collaborative Project

This unit begins with a diagnostic phase followed by a collaborative project. The first part of the unit introduces group work and considers personal qualities and skills in the context of group projects.
You will undertake three short tasks where you will explore working collaboratively, and take on different roles, to produce a creative response. For the second part of the unit, you will work on a collaborative project to meet the requirements of an external participant, taking on a specified role within their group. You will be encouraged to consider different approaches to collaborative working in the photographic sector and reflect on your specific roles, your individual contribution and the group contribution to the project.

Unit 12

Unit 12: Creative and Critical Research Project (Dissertation)

This unit supports a self-directed, detailed research examination of a topic, which takes the form of a critical investigation
An initial series of sessions will support you in your proposed choice of topic, which is then presented in the form of a proposal and includes an overview of research sources and resources that have informed your choice of research activity.
The second part of the unit will be carried out through self-directed research where you will critically investigate and form a response to a negotiated research area topic, supported by individual feedback and tutorials as the investigation is undertaken.
The final presentation of the results of the research will use academic convention in its layout and identification of research sources and include a detailed critical commentary offering a perspective of the research and investigation into the topic. The presentation style will be informed by the type of research undertaken and could include a dissertation, report or case study for example.
All submissions will be Harvard-referenced.
A formative presentation of a proposal for a detailed research investigation which includes:

  • Outline of proposed topic for investigation
  • Presentation of, not less, than 10 research sources to support investigation of topic
  • Identification of additional resources required in support of the research activity
  • Rationale in the choice of presentation style for the chosen topic to be investigated
  • Bibliography of research sources

Unit 13

Unit 13: Exit Portfolio

You will present a proposal for a self-initiated photographic outcome that will form the basis of a robust and comprehensive project. This will also include an exit portfolio to complement the final project.
The project should demonstrate a clear knowledge of the photographic medium, within a contextual sphere, and relate to your photographic practice and professional profile within the sector.
Following the presentation of your proposal to a panel, your response to their negotiated brief will form the basis of your graduate show and portfolio and will include work that can be exhibited both internally and externally.
During this unit you will produce individual timetables, contributing to the curriculum to ensure that you have the workshops and lectures to support your individual direction. You will also include feedback and tutorial cycles in your planning. You will engage with high-level professional production processes in the development of your photographic outcome and with curatorial practice in the planning and presentation of final imagery.





Northbrook is in the seaside town of Worthing, just a short train ride from the City of Brighton.
Northbrook College, in Worthing, is home to our creative arts degree programmes.
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