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Fees and Funding

Here's the fees and funding information for each year of this course

Overview

Can you imagine a world without photographs? 

We are looking for a new generation of photographers who understand how photography shapes the world and want to know how to push the boundaries, explore new processes and use their knowledge to work for change.

We will support you to gain advanced skills in photographic production, while developing a sophisticated understanding of the historical and contemporary uses of photography.

As part of the unique Art and Design Cluster, you will have opportunities to collaborate on inter-disciplinary projects, preparing you to engage in a competitive job market equipped with skills for the fourth industrial age (4iR). 

You will develop a professional photography portfolio reflecting both your specific interests and your career aspirations whilst gaining confidence in a wide range of creative practices from medium/large format cameras, self-publishing, audio and moving image production to e.g. 3D fabrication. You will also have access to one of the largest darkrooms in London to explore analogue photography. 

Image credit: Danae Ennever-Roach (detail)

What makes this course different

Gold cup

100%

100% overall satisfaction in the 2020 National Student Survey.

People standing while looking at images on a desk

Annual newspaper publication

You could be involved in producing interdisciplinary student-led publications such as Anthropocene, developed by the class of 2019-20.

A globe

Global photography optional module

This is a theory-into-practice module in the final year focusing on cultural debates and diverse practices assessed in the form of a new media project.

WHAT YOU'LL LEARN

Practice-as-research and the development of contemporary photographic practices are at the core of the course. The teaching programme is based on practical assessment and employability, with established practice in editorial, documentary and fine art photography, focused on photography as a catalyst for social change. 

Some sessions run in the Visual Arts Subject Cluster alongside other disciplines, equipping you with expanded skills to produce professional outcomes with confidence. Professional Practice: Mental Wealth and Cultural Manoeuvres sessions will allow you to further develop your creative understanding and engagement with the creative industries. 

The course offers you a range of activities for personal and professional development where you will gain a wealth of transferable skills. You can promote your practice to a range of audiences in the form of external publications, collaborations, film screenings, community practice and exhibitions. 

You will learn from a team of international practitioners who are leaders in their field, and will be able to take advantage of our extensive links to professional organisations and networks in London such as the Photographers' Gallery and Autograph. You will also get opportunities to meet our highly successful alumni who will join your pin ups, exhibitions and portfolio reviews.

Each year we also host an innovative week of guest talks called Detour Ahead, where you will have an opportunity to learn from inspirational photographers, designers, film-makers, curators, picture editors, artists and experts in professional practice essentials such as copyright, tax and self-employment. 

The common level 4 cluster structure allows you to switch between BA (Hons) Photography and BA (Hons) Commercial Photography depending on your personal development.

DOWNLOAD COURSE SPECIFICATIONS

MODULES

  • Core Modules
  • Core Modules
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    Professional Life 1 (Mental Wealth)

    Developing the key psychological and physical determinants of human performance are increasingly critical for successful graduate-level employment, entrepreneurship and career progression in the 4th industrial revolution.

    This module will provide students with the opportunity to identify the skills, competencies and experience required for successful development to, and in, a range of potential future career areas.

    Herein they will begin to recognise the areas for their own personal professional development (including emotional, social, physical, cultural and cognitive intelligences) through taught and workshop activity.

    Central to the developmental process is for each student to cultivate the reflective skills, openness and self- awareness to enable themselves to assess what they are doing, identify areas for improvement, and confidently receive and give constructive feedback. Students will additionally develop knowledge of strategies to advance their own physical intelligence through ‘life style’ and ‘self-care’ approaches to inform their health and wellbeing.

    Having acquired understanding of the key developmental areas, students will have opportunity to join in-house activities as a trainee, mentored and supervised by students from higher years. In this position they will learn and begin to apply the cognitive, cultural and social intelligences developed elsewhere in their studies (and from  external activities) as required in the workplace, namely cognitive flexibility, emotional resilience, motivation, ethical decision-making, managing your audience, coordinating with others, negotiation, creativity, active listening, attention, problem solving, research, synthesis and analysis.

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    Practice 1

    The module serves as a rigorous introduction to a creative practice, an overview of fundamental skills that will enable experimentation and application, developing their own working practice. The module aims to provide students with an introduction to practical and critical study, to understand the role of research in creative practice and in supporting the development of creative projects. The approach aims to imbue an experimental and open-minded attitude that enhances levels of production, strengthens adaptability, personal confidence and the ability to creatively solving visual ideas. Through experimental and production of work, students become to understand their work in relation to research and feel empowered. The module allows students to discuss and develop their work with the help of group critiques and views of others in the enhancement of ideas through to creative outcomes.

     

    At the end of the module students will be able to begin to self-manage the development of a creative practice, and to disseminate ideas.

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    Contextual Studies 1

    Contextual Studies in the first term equips students to understand the history of fine art, fine art technology, graphic design, design interaction, illustration, animation, photography and creative writing and its relevance today. The module comprises thematic lectures, seminars, screenings and field trips as well as keystone research and writing skills such as the use of citation, referencing and academic integrity appropriate to undergraduate study. The module content will support development of students’ practical work on the adjoining modules. At the end of the module, students would have developed the skills for analysing and contextualising their own work, and that of their peers.

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    Research into Practice 1

    Students will begin to establish an intellectual framework within which they can begin to understand a relationship between theory and their own practice. Students will begin to contribute critically in the seminars, in relation to contemporary and historical research methodologies. The module is supported by one-to-one tutorials. At the end of the module, students would have developed the skills for analysing and contextualising their own work, to be applied further in second year of their study. The outcome of this module is both a presentation of the student’s practice or research area and a written work.

    The lectures are complemented by tutor led discussion focusing on student work in progress, interrogating the practical work within the context established by the lectures in order to promote deeper understanding and extend creative ambition.

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    Experimentation and Application 1A

    The module introduces the student to a range of processes and practices, skills and knowledge, through a series of workshops and projects. The module equips the student to discover a range of techniques working within context of their discipline and support their developing practice.

     

    The module focusses on process, developing skills and practical knowledge encouraging students to discover a range of creative ways of working within the context of their discipline as well as extended practice supporting their developing practice. The module is backed up through regular group tutorials.

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    Experimentation and Application 1B

    The module introduces the student to a further range of processes and practices, skills and knowledge, through a series of workshops, projects and electives to extend their practice.

    Technical introductions and workshops enable the student to broaden the scope of their skills and practice, as well as specific workshops pertinent to contemporary processes and methods, including a range of analogue and digital tools.

    These skills and processes are introduced and discussed in relation to the development of a visual language applicable to contemporary fine art, graphic design, illustration, photography and animation practice.

    The module allows students to present their work to audiences, testing their ideas and concepts, receiving feedback feeding forward to their practice and to level 5 of study. Cross-disciplinary exhibitions are encouraged as well as inter-disciplinary discourse.

    The module Practice into Research supports the module, and allows student to contextualise their practice in a form of a presentation of their work.

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    Professional Life 2 (Mental Wealth)

    The module provides a forum for the student to develop a creative, inventive and productive design process in relation to a design project or projects. In particular to raise student awareness and understanding of the occupants and users and their physical, social and psychological needs through the design of both objects and environments at appropriate scales, as well as exploring key characteristics of design projects.

    There is a particular focus on investigations of site and context that may involve the gathering of empirical data, making analytical studies and conducting observations of people, place, context and materials that are appropriate to the project.

    By setting one design project, the module aims to engage with the practices, protocols and conventions that apply to the design and delivery of projects within the design and construction industry. The module fosters the development of a personal position and working methods as part of the attributes required by a professional architect.

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    Design Investigation 2

    The module provides a forum for the student to develop a creative, inventive and productive design process in relation to a design project or projects. In particular to raise student awareness and understanding of the occupants and users and their physical, social and psychological needs through the design of both objects and environments at appropriate scales, as well as exploring key characteristics of design projects.

    There is a particular focus on investigations of site and context that may involve the gathering of empirical data, making analytical studies and conducting observations of people, place, context and materials that are appropriate to the project.

    By setting one design project, the module aims to engage with the practices, protocols and conventions that apply to the design and delivery of projects within the design and construction industry. The module fosters the development of a personal position and working methods as part of the attributes required by a professional architect.

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    Design Integration 2

    This module focuses on the application of knowledge of environmental principles into the student's design projects, using relevant methods of environmental strategies as part of the design process.

    The module aims to encourage integration of environmental design from the outset of a project, giving students the ability to reflect on appropriate environmental design strategies and explore these in a creative and rigorous manner.

  • Optional Modules
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    Optional placement

    This course offers the opportunity of year-long placement between years two and three. If you choose to take this option, you’ll spend your third year on a placement with a relevant company or organisation, adding valuable practical experience to your growing academic knowledge. 

    The extra placement year means it will take four years to complete your studies, instead of three.

  • Core Modules
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    Integrated Technology

    This module establishes a student’s ability to integrate the key areas of their technical design knowledge within the context of the final design project Design Investigation 3 Design Resolution 3 and Design Integration 3.

    The module provides an overview of the necessary design skills required to meet building users’ requirements within the constraints imposed by cost factors and building regulations.

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    Design Investigation 3

    The module consolidates skills and knowledge gained at Levels 4 and 5. Together with Design Resolution 3 and Design Integration 3 which requires highly detailed reflection on the integration of cultural, professional, technical and environmental issues within the design project, this set of 3 modules is intended to prepare students for independent practice, entry into the professional workplace, or for higher studies.

    Whilst improving a student’s practical skills and refining their ability to use them productively, the focus of this module is on developing a depth of knowledge and understanding about research and project development, appropriate to graduate level. It also aims to help students to offer evidence of self-management in respect of planning, monitoring, recording and evaluation within the portfolio work that is produced.

HOW YOU'LL LEARN

In your first year you will gain an understanding of the role of research in professional practice and in supporting the development of creative projects. You will experiment with ideas and explore a range of responses through projects designed to help you to identify your personal strengths and begin to explore skills appropriate to working in the creative industries.

Workshops and projects will include analogue and digital photographic techniques and processes, as well as studio and location lighting. The cross-disciplinary Professional Practice: Mental Wealth and Cultural Manoeuvres sessions will allow you to further develop your analytical skills and engagement with the creative industries. 

At each level, you will take a contextual studies module, gaining an appreciation of the role of photography in cultural development and the contribution of technological innovations to visual culture.  

In the second year a more experimental approach is taken, where you expand on the skills and knowledge gained in the first year but with an emphasis on exploring areas beyond your usual practice. You will have opportunities for advanced image production and experimentation, refining your approach to photography and developing your personal style.

Contextual studies and research-into-practice modules allow for cross cluster fertilisation of ideas and will support your understanding of your practice. Working on cross-collaborative projects will help to develop your professional skills, especially in our flagship Mental Wealth module where you will take on the role of a 'producer'.

Elective workshops and projects in both your first and second year of study include eg., print making, 16mm film, art therapy, digital fabrication, InDesign, AR/VR and more,  allowing you to develop extended skills for the 4iR (fourth Industrial Revolution).

In your final year of study, you will produce of an independent major project, proposed and owned by you, presented as a professional outcome at the degree showcase. The final Mental Wealth module will prepare you for gaining employment, self-employment, entrepreneurship or postgraduate study. Level 6 allows you to focus on your career ambition and develop a professional outcome to fulfil your aspirations.

The modules in level 6 are designed to be inclusive to each students' discipline and respond to differentiated assessments needs. You will have the option of working towards an Extended Research Project. This is a written project, allowing you to contextualise your practice through research into a subject of your choice.

The Global Photography option module examines the emergence of globalisation as a fundamental force in reshaping the production, dissemination and reception of contemporary photography, focusing on cultural debates and diverse - and often non-western - practices in the expanded field. The photography research into practice route is assessed as a new media project, responding to the expanded practices of photography and the development of new media as part of photography discourse. 


Many well-known external creatives regularly visit the photography department delivering talks and workshops. Recently these have included Eileen Perrier (Photographer), Alixandra Fazzina (Photo journalist), Jenny Matthews (documentary photographer), Emma Bowkett (Director of Photography FT Weekend Magazine), Mike Trow (previously a picture editor at British Vogue), Aron Mörel (Morel Books), Steve McLeod (Photographer and Director of Metro Imaging), Laura Pannack (portraiture and social documentary photographer), Rhiannon Adams (portraiture and social documentary photographer), Mimi Mollica (documentary photographer), Luke Archer (Loupe Magazine), Nick Dunmur (Association of Photographers), Hannah Watson (Director of TJ Boulting Gallery), Vivienne Gamble (Director of Seen Fifteen), Marisa Bellani (Director of Roman Road), Sabina Jaskot-Gill (Curator, Photographs, National Portraiture Gallery) Azeema Magazine, Fransesca Maffeo (Director, Fransesca Maffeo Gallery), Cheryl Newman (Picture editor), and Bindi Vora (Curator, Autograph). 

Follow us on Instagram: @ba_photography_uel

Guided independent study

We are investing in key areas beyond your studies including our career services, library and well-being, to be available both face-to-face on campus and online with many of these available 24/7. We have new, modern library facilities on both campuses offering inspirational environments for study and research. Libraries contain resources in print and digital formats, a range of study spaces and dedicated librarian who can assist with your learning.


Academic support

Students are supported with any academic or subject related queries by an Academic Advisor, module leaders, former and current UEL students. 

If you need a bit of extra help with certain skills such as academic writing, maths or IT, our Skillzone and English for Academic Purposes we offer workshops, drop-in sessions and one-to-one appointments to help our students achieve their potential. You can receive advice and guidance on all aspects of the IT systems provided by the university from our IT Service Desks located on all three campuses.

Our Student Support hubs in Docklands and Stratford feature centralised helpdesks to cater for your every need. UEL provides also support and advice for disabled students and those with specific learning difficulties (SPDs).


Workload

Each year you will spend around 300 hours of timetabled learning and teaching activities. These may be lectures, workshops, seminars and individual and group tutorials. Contact hours may vary depending on each module.
The approximate percentages for this course are:
Year 1: scheduled teaching - 300 hours; guided independent study - 900 hours.
Year 2: scheduled teaching - 300 hours; guided independent study - 900 hours.
Year 3: scheduled teaching - 300 hours; guided independent study - 900 hours.

The size of classes can vary depending on the nature of the course, module and activity. This can range from large groups in a lecture theatre setting, to smaller groups taking part in seminars and collaborative work. You will receive your personalised timetable at the beginning of the academic year dependent on your course.

Facilities:

  • Large professional advanced shoot studio with rigged lights
  • Large immersive studio with continuous lights and green screen
  • Black and white darkroom and film processing area
  • Digital darkroom
  • High quality digital printer for portfolio and exhibition printing
  • Large format printer for poster printing
  • 3D Fabrication facility including 3D printers and laser cutters
  • Photography store containing a wide range of equipment for loan including high end DSLR cameras, medium and large format analogue cameras, Bowens and Pro-Foto portable lighting kits, Tascams and microphones (for audio), fig rigs, tripods and much more.

HOW YOU'LL BE ASSESSED

You'll be required to present work for assessment in the form of exhibition, portfolio presentation, oral presentation or in the form of an evaluative learning journal, report or essay.

The course includes 20-credit and 40-credit modules which are assessed at the end of each term. The marks from the second and third years are used to formulate your final degree award.

Feedback is provided within 15 working days in line with UEL’s assessment and feedback policy.

CAMPUS and FACILITIES

Docklands Campus

Docklands Campus, Docklands Campus, London, E16 2RD

WHO TEACHES THIS COURSE

The teaching team includes qualified academics, practitioners and industry experts as guest speakers. Full details of the academics will be provided in the student handbook and module guides.

Carmen Aleman

Carmen Alemán is a visual artist and educator living in London.

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Dr Antigoni Memou

Dr Antigoni Memou is Senior Lecturer in Visual Theories at the School of Arts and Creative Industries.

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Dr Debra Benita Shaw

Debra teaches history and theory on undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Visual Arts and Architecture and supervises PhDs in Fine Art.

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What we're researching

At the University of East London we are working on the some of the big issues that will define our future; from sustainable architecture and ethical AI, to health inequality and breaking down barriers in the creative industries.

Our students and academics are more critically engaged and socially conscious than ever before. Discover some of the positive changes our students, alumni and academics are making in the world.

Please visit our Research section to find out more.

Studying at UEL has been the best decision I ever made. Initially I was unsure if I would fit in as a mature student, but I soon found out that my age provided me with experience that would prove to be an advantage to my understanding of the course. I worked well with my fellow students and was supported by my lecturers. Over the past three years I have learned so much about not just photography, but also about subjects relating to photography such as putting together books and curating exhibitions, which has and continues to benefit my career. Studying at UEL has not just improved my knowledge and technical skills but also improved my confidence, given me contacts in the industry and a bunch of new, creative friends.

Karin Bultje

BA (Hons) Photography graduate 2020

YOUR FUTURE CAREER

Our course shapes and nurtures top-quality photographers. Don't just take our word for it, though. When photography icon and East End boy David Bailey collected his honorary doctorate from UEL in 2014, he and former National Portrait Gallery Director, Sandy Nairne praised the exceptional standard of our students' work.

It is little wonder then that so many of our graduates have gone on to carve out successful careers in various areas of the business and have found careers with, for instance, a collective of freelance photographers, with an award winning feature and documentary director, as studio and production managers and as freelance re-touchers and image makers, collaborating with well-established photographers. Some of our alumni have found success with their own studios. White Rabbit in Shoreditch and Espero Studios off Brick Lane were both set up by UEL Photography entrepreneurs.

The changes in digital technology and distribution in photography have provided opportunities for a new generation of photographers and graduates more able to adapt to the opportunities in multi-disciplinary and expanded practice aided by high quality moving image capabilities of the current DSLR cameras. This has allowed our graduates to become videographers, freelance camera operators, production assistants, producers, social media managers, stylists, freelance designers, and even curve ambassador and activist such as our photography alumna Felicity Hayward. Others have set up innovative publications such as Tirade and Bricoleur. 

Explore the different career options you can pursue with this degree and see the median salaries of the sector on our Career Coach portal.