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  • Photography BA (Hons)

Photography BA (Hons)

Why choose this course?

Photography is pivotal to fine art, fashion, advertising and editorial photography, as well as digital applications: this course is centred on the making and understanding of photographic production and critical thinking; applied to any subject area.

You'll study both analogue and digital photography; the key focus of the course is for you to develop your creative ideas alongside your professional skills, within a multi-genre approach to the medium. The course takes maximum advantage of Kingston's proximity to the vibrant art, photography and cultural life of London, one of the major photographic art and commercial centres of the world.

There will be opportunities to work with historic manual processes such as cyanotypes and salt prints as well as other 'craft' processes including creating unique one-off photobooks.


Attendance UCAS code Year of entry
3 years full time W640 2020
Location Kingston School of Art, Knights Park

Reasons to choose Kingston

  • You'll be taught by staff who are actively involved in photography and research and who publish and present their work nationally and internationally.
  • On this course, you'll develop key skills for employment, including an excellent photography skillset, project management and aligned communication and research skills.
  • Through an optional work placement and experience, you can prepare yourself for employment and increase your workplace skills.


What you will study

You'll develop your creativity and photography through workshops and self-initiated projects. A programme of seminars, lectures, workshops and tutorials will enhance your learning and preparation for your professional future. Our teaching relates your own ideas and ambitions to the critical, contemporary and historical contexts of photography.

The degree programme sets out to structure your learning and appreciation of and about photography and its potential through a process which identifies distinct aims and progress each year.


Years 1 and 2 are made up of four modules each worth 30 credit points; Year 3 is made up of three modules - two worth 30 credits and one worth 60 credits.  Typically a student must complete 120 credits at each level.

Year 1

Year 2

Optional year

Final year

In your first year, you'll become aware and critical of the range of photography practices and the possibilities of a personal photography practice. You will be encouraged to experiment with new approaches and techniques.

Core modules

Independent Photography Practice

30 credits

This module introduces the course. It introduces active learning, research and reflection through practical photography projects which lead from thematic and conceptual to self-initiated and developmental projects. These projects will involve increasing engagement with conceptual and thematic concerns utilising different methodologies for work. There is an emphasis on the self-initiated development of critical photography in response. You will develop and independently produce (with tutorial support) a body of work(s) that can be considered "personal photography" arising from personal concerns. In effect a committed and serious independent practice on reflection, rather than purely a set response to project briefs.

Photographic Production Processes

30 credits

This module's focus is on the attainment of an array of production and technical skills to expand and enhance the development of a personal (and professional standard) photographic language. It is primarily concerned with the development of a critical awareness of photography processes, photography and related transferable skills, research and critical thinking. It begins with active learning through skills based projects, both analogue and digital. All projects will encompass conceptual concerns, individual development and critical engagement with a photographic ‘way of seeing' and working with light, both natural and artificial, which lead from thematic and conceptual to self-initiated and developmental projects. Each project will be introduced and continue with technical workshops, group seminars a series of group project reviews. and individual tutorial support.

Modes of Presentation for Photographers

30 credits

In this module you will develop and progress further your independent photography and begin to engage with the moving image, extending your skillset and enhancing the potential for all image based work. The intention is for you to explore and exam the implications of different modes for editorial presentation with your photography and image making. You will be supported to develop appropriate methods of presentation through tutorials, workshops aligned with your contribution to the seminar programme where you show and discuss work-in-progress to your peer group.  You will self-publish photographic books and other photographic series of works for summative assessment at the end of each teaching block.

Contextualising Contemporary Practice: Photography

30 credits

This module introduces the various contexts in which the contemporary practices of photography, are defined, debated and displayed. The module is designed to support your first steps as practitioners within the wider field of the visual arts in the 21st century. Through lectures, discussions, screenings and exhibition visits you will be introduced to the historical framework of modernity and post-modernity in order to understand the development and contemporary situation of your discipline. The module is organised as discrete but related teaching blocks that progress from broader questions of cultural practice to the more specific debates that have framed the historical development photography and its associated fields - for example moving images and fine art. In the first block, the emphasis is broad and focused on developing in you, an understanding of the notion of practice in the visual arts, by addressing the historical, theoretical, social and political factors that have affected our understanding of its function. In the second block, you will be encouraged to consider the key debates, theoretical questions and changing contexts that inform your discipline. Throughout there is an emphasis on the introduction of key analytical, critical and research skills, and through close engagement with visual sources, historical texts and contemporary critical writing, you will begin to develop the tools necessary to discuss, conceptualise and reflect on your own emerging practice.

In Year 2, you will develop your own independent and self-directed photography practice with critical support. You will continue to develop your ideas, skills and folios in more depth.

Core modules

Independent Critical Practice

30 credits

You will develop portfolios of independent photography and other supporting research materials that demonstrate a growing awareness of the potential of photography across different genres and critical contexts. The development of an independent photographic practice is supported through lectures, group and peer review (not formally assessed), workshops and individual tutorials. You will be supported to challenge their working practices for photography and extend their critical abilities, research knowledge and understanding, as well as increase their visual communication and successfully resolve their photographic responses to readings of important historical and contemporary texts explored in class.

Photography and Process

30 credits

The module encourages and challenges you to make critical photographic projects responding to different subjects and contexts, focusing on process, audience and refinement of visual literacy. You will have the opportunity to participate in collaborative projects as well as work individually, building and increasing confidence in communication and working in partnership towards resolution. You will continue to use journals/workbooks/blogs as a means of analyzing your practice, context, research, critically reflecting on process and making evident your engagement with subjects and project themes.

Professional Practice and Presentation

30 credits

You will engage directly with professional practice working collaboratively and with a project partner organisation, responding to two 'live' professional briefs. Through this important developmental work process, you will consider the implications of different modes of engagement and presentation on your evolving independent photographic practices. You will develop and produce two new bodies of photographic work in response to the 'live' briefs (set by course team) which forms the core of your portfolio and your end of module presentation. You will then produce and present the folios' selected coursework content as an end of year group exhibition and/or publications as an introduction to professional creative skills development, which will be explored further during level 6.  The 'live' briefs will support your working processes, methodologies and development of professional level transferable skills and knowledge that will equip you for professional life. Teaching and learning will be delivered through a series of lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials. Content will also include support and guidance on preparing a CV, writing supporting statements/letters focussed towards creative industries work, copyright, ethics and legal issues for photographers.

Critical Issues in Photography: Research and Practice

30 credits

Building on the historical contexts introduced at Level 4, this module concentrates on the theoretical frameworks in which photography is produced, consumed and interpreted today. Introducing case studies emerging from current trends in contemporary photographic practice, the module is taught as a combination of lecture, seminar, workshop and exhibition visits through which you will be encouraged and enabled to identify and experience the vital links between practice and research. The political, social, philosophical and aesthetic issues driving current practice will be introduced via lecture and seminar discussion, focused and deepened through independent reading and research, and applied and evaluated through workshops on research practice. With reference to key texts that have informed the development of photographic theory, you will acquire the knowledge and analytical skills to build a framework within which to engage with the critical contexts in which photography operates. You will also develop research methods appropriate to the study and practice of your discipline, propose an area of research for development at Level 6, and begin to contextualise and make sense of the concerns emerging in your own practice.

You can opt to study or work abroad through the University's Study Abroad programme or the Erasmus programme during your Photography degree.


In Year 3, you will become proficient, professional, assured, innovative and outward-facing through a more fully realised and engaged personal photography practice. You will refine your photography and define your ambitions more succinctly.

Core modules

Professional Practice

30 credits

This module is concerned with the development, creation and evidencing of a range of vital professional skills: the ability to respond with limited lead time to a photography brief (using skills gained in Level 4 and L5); the creation of a professional work-seeker's photography portfolio; the ability to present and coherently rationalise work to an audience; the production of a relevant CV; evidence of a web-presence. The aim of this module is to ensure that you are well prepared to further a career in photography (and/or related fields) upon graduation and thereafter.

Final Major Project

60 credits

In this module you will produce and display a coherent body of independent photographic work. You are required to synthesise and consolidate practical skills, critical approaches and understanding of the context of contemporary photographic practice through the production and presentation of a major body of work including exhibition installation. You will develop and apply skills of editing, selection, sequencing, printing, framing and other appropriate presentation to produce this final portfolio and display of photographic works, enabling you to progress to professional practice or further study.

Dissertation: Research and Reflection

30 credits

Building on the links between research and practice embedded at Level 5, the Critical and Historical Studies (CHS) Dissertation: Research and Reflection module focuses on in-depth research, critical enquiry and reflection on questions and critical issues emerging in your own practice, and pertinent to the practice of your own discipline.

Over the module, you will initiate and develop an individual research topic; identify and evaluate appropriate archives, bodies of critical literature, visual/material sources and research methods; manage your study time; engage with and respond to tutorial dialogue and peer feedback, and apply critical and analytical skills to produce a 6,000 word written dissertation, supported by a series of lectures, seminars and tutorials.

Following the submission of the dissertation, and to support the realisation of studio capstone projects, you will be assisted with the conception and development of an individual statement that enables self-reflection and locates you within the contemporary contexts of their discipline. Consolidating the research, reflexive and critical skills acquired throughout your programme of study, the statement engages and applies learning undertaken within CHS modules to studio practice, supporting your self-presentation at degree show, in future post-graduate study, and/or professional practice in a variety of art and design contexts.

The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.

Entry requirements

104 tariff points

Typical offer

104 UCAS points from Level 3 qualifications, including Art & Design subjects (i.e. A Levels, BTEC Diploma, Foundation Diploma in Art & Design, Access Diploma, IB Diploma, etc).

Additional requirements

Entry onto this course may require a digital portfolio as well as an interview as part of the application process.

A short list of selected applicants are invited for an interview. UK-based applicants will be required to attend an in-person group interview with their physical portfolio. Further details about the interview will be sent with emailed interview invitations.

Applicants based outside of the UK may not be required to have an interview but will be required to submit a digital portfolio.  


All non-UK applicants must meet our English Language requirements. For this course it is Academic IELTS of 6.0 overall, with no element below 5.5

Portfolio guidance for Photography BA (Hons)

Information required to support your application

We are looking for eager and enthusiastic students who understand why they want to study photography and can communicate these reasons orally and through their portfolios. We also look for students who are open minded, willing to explore all aspects of photography, and who are self-motivated with the ability to work individually and within a group.

Portfolio guidelines

Once we have received your application, you will be notified by email where you will either be requested to bring your portfolio to an interview OR you will be instructed how to upload your online portfolio.

If you are instructed to upload an online portfolio, please provide this as a PDF document or as a URL link to a personal live website/blog site showcasing your photography folio which will support your application.

Please select the work for your portfolio (up to 20 pages) to show us a creative and representative body of work, which reflects your current interests and ambitions.

Your portfolio will showcase:

  • Current student and/or professional photography work. Please submit sequences or sets of photographs of the subjects that most interest you, rather than single images of diverse themes.
  • Support material. Evidence how you have developed your ideas in a supporting statement making reference to the folio.
  • If appropriate, in addition to your photography, drawing and other media.

Portfolio guidelines for interview

If you are invited for an interview, please select the work for your portfolio to show us a creative and representative body of work, reflecting your ideas and ambitions. Please show us finished work, but also your working processes and methods - how you have developed ideas.

Your portfolio will include:

  • Current student and/or professional work; also be sure to include work which is your own independent photography.
  • If appropriate, in addition to your photography, drawing and other media.
  • We suggest you submit sequences or sets of photographs of what most interests you, rather than single images of diverse themes.

Your portfolio can be of be any size appropriate for the work, and should be labelled clearly with your name, UCAS number, contact and current course details (where appropriate). If you are invited for an interview you can bring either a physical print portfolio/box (10-20 images) or as a digital presentation, eg. a working 'live' website showcasing your photography, social media site (Instagram, Flickr photography profile pages).

Gallery of student work

Teaching and assessment

The course is based on learning through practice and research. You'll be taught through Kingston School of Art's studios and our specialist Photography workshops.

Guided independent study

When not attending timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for exams. Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the online virtual learning platform.

Academic support

Our academic support team here at Kingston University provides help in a range of areas.

Dedicated personal tutor

When you arrive, we'll introduce you to your personal tutor. This is the member of academic staff who will provide academic guidance, be a support throughout your time at Kingston and who will show you how to make the best use of all the help and resources that we offer at Kingston University.

Your workload

Time spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity

  • Year 1: 29%
  • Year 2: 32%
  • Year 3: 26%

Type of teaching and learning

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 1
  • Scheduled teaching
  • Guided independent study
Year 2
  • Scheduled teaching
  • Guided independent study
Year 3
  • Scheduled teaching
  • Guided independent study

How you will be assessed

Assessment is all coursework based (e.g., print portfolios, photo-books, social media including websites, blogs, moving image, research books, essays, exhibitions reviews, artist statements, self-assessment, dissertation). The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows:

Type of assessment

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 1
  • Coursework
Year 2
  • Coursework
Year 3
  • Coursework

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Your timetable

Your individualised timetable is normally available to students within 48 hours of enrolment. Whilst we make every effort to ensure timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week between 9.00am and 6.00pm. For undergraduate students Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities, but there may be occasions when this is not possible. Timetables for part-time students will depend on the modules selected.

Class sizes

To give you an indication of class sizes, this course normally attracts 30-35 students and lecture sizes are normally the same. However this can vary by module and academic year.

Who teaches this course?

All our Photography staff are industry and academic professionals with a diverse set of experiences and skills who exhibit and publish their work to national and international acclaim.

In addition, as part of our professional photographers' series, you will meet visiting professional photographers in class and view their work, as well as engage with them on a personal level, gaining important first-hand insights and knowledge of the professional photography world.  

We have hosted and visited well-known photographers including: Nick Knight, Lauren Maccabee, Nadav Kander, Rosaline Shahnavaz, Franklyn Rodgers, Rhiannon Adam, Simon Roberts, Melanie Manchot, Guy Martin, Bridget Smith, Richard Boll, Sophie Harris-Taylor, Lewis Khan, Sarah Pickering, Natasha Caruana, Alexander Mourant, Ingrid Pollard, Almudena Romero and Marysa Dowling.


You'll get to use a range of professional-grade facilities and equipment, from high-end digital capture, dedicated photography studios and darkrooms (analogue and digital).

Faculty workshops, supervised by qualified technical staff, support and enable further development and production of studio work across all areas of digital and analogue photography.

2020/21 fees for this course

The tuition fee you pay depends on whether you are assessed as a 'Home' (UK or EU), 'Islands' or 'International' student. In 2020/21 the fees for this course are:

 Fee category Amount
Home (UK and EU students) £9,250*
International Year 1 (2020/21): £15,600
Year 2 (2021/22): £15,900
Year 3 (2022/23): £16,200

* For full time programmes of a duration of more than one academic year, the published fee is an annual fee, payable each year, for the duration of the programme. Your annual tuition fees cover your first attempt at all of the modules necessary to complete that academic year. A re-study of any modules will incur additional charges calculated by the number of credits. Home/EU tuition fees may be subject to annual increases but will not increase by more than the fee caps as prescribed by the Office for Students or such other replacing body. Full time taught International fees are subject to an annual increase and are published in advance for the full duration of the programme.

Eligible UK and EU students can apply to the Government for a tuition loan, which is paid direct to the University. This has a low interest rate which is charged from the time the first part of the loan is paid to the University until you have repaid it.

2019/20 fees for this course

The tuition fee you pay depends on whether you are assessed as a 'Home' (UK or EU), 'Islands' or 'International' student. In 2019/20 the fees for this course are:

 Fee category  Amount
Home (UK and EU students) £9,250*
Overseas Year 1 (2019/20): £15,300
Year 2 (2020/21): £15,600
Year 3 (2021/22): £15,900
Islands (Channel Islands and Isle of Man) To be confirmed by the Island Authorities

* For full time programmes of a duration of more than one academic year, the published fee is an annual fee, payable each year, for the duration of the programme. Your annual tuition fees cover your first attempt at all of the modules necessary to complete that academic year. A re-study of any modules will incur additional charges calculated by the number of credits. Home/EU tuition fees may be subject to annual increases but will not increase by more than the fee caps as prescribed by the Office for Students or such other replacing body. Full time taught International fees are subject to an annual increase and are published in advance for the full duration of the programme.

Eligible UK and EU students can apply to the Government for a tuition loan, which is paid direct to the University. This has a low interest rate which is charged from the time the first part of the loan is paid to the University until you have repaid it.

Additional costs

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees.

Text books

Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. You may prefer to, or be required to, buy your own copy of key textbooks.

Computer equipment

There are open-access networked computers available across the University, plus laptops available to loan. You may find it useful to have your own PC, laptop or tablet which you can use around campus and in halls of residences.

Free WiFi is available on each of the campuses.


In the majority of cases coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees.


Travel costs are not included but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses and halls of residence.

For this course you will be 

  • involved in processes of making, as means of exploration, experimentation, and understanding your practice, by using a diverse range of media and materials
  • required to purchase your own copy of books, for required reading
  • required to produce physical artefacts for assessment 
  • able to participate in optional study visits and/or field trips

However, over and above this you may incur extra costs associated with your studies, which you will need to plan for. 

In order to help you budget, the information below indicates what activities and materials are not covered by your tuition fees 

  • personal laptops and other personal devices 
  • personal copies of books 
  • optional study visits and field trips (and any associated visa costs)
  • printing costs
  • your own chosen materials and equipment
  • costs of participating at external events, exhibitions, performances etc.

The costs vary every year and with every student, according to the intentions for the type of work they wish to make. Attainment at assessment is not dependent upon the costs of materials chosen.

Note for EU students: UK withdrawal from the European Union

EU students starting a programme in the 2019/20 academic year will be charged the same fees as those who began in 2018/19 (subject to any annual increase in accordance with the applicable terms and conditions and the Kingston University fees schedule).

They will also be able to access the same financial support for the duration of their course as students who began in 2018/19, even if their degree concludes after the UK's exit from the EU.

No assurances have yet been made regarding 2020/21 and beyond. Updates will be published here as soon as they become available.

After you graduate

Our graduates work in a range of roles within photography and related industries. Many of them also progress to study a range of related disciplines at postgraduate level. These include photography, curating, book arts, conservation and advertising.

Types of jobs:

  • Editorial, fashion, advertising photographer
  • Photojournalist
  • Artist
  • Curator
  • Photographic assistant / technician
  • Software trainer
  • Studio and gallery assistant
  • Stylist
  • Picture editor
  • Web designer
  • Art director
  • Art buyer

Key information set

The scrolling banner(s) below display some key factual data about this course (including different course combinations or delivery modes of this course where relevant).

Undergraduate study
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