University of East London

BA (Hons) Photography

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. 

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

Without Foundation Year

96 UCAS Points from

  • A LEVEL- Must include passes at A2 in at least one subject. 
  • BTEC- Extended Diploma or Diploma.
  • INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE- Diploma with 24 points including a minimum of 15 points at Higher Level.
With Foundation Year

 64 UCAS Points from

  • A LEVEL- Must include passes at A2 in at least one subject.
  • BTEC- Extended Diploma or Diploma.
  • INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE- Diploma with 24 points including a minimum of 15 points at Higher Level.
We would normally expect you to have Grade C in GCSE English and Maths. All applicants are required to attend an interview and submit a portfolio of their work

Additional entry route

Foundation in Art and Design grade Pass and 1 subject at A2 Level

Portfolio and interview advice

We would like you to submit a digital portfolio of 15-20 photographs. Ideally you should submit a .pdf file or a link to a digital platform containing the requested work.

We would like your portfolio to include:

  1. Your current coursework and /or personal photographic work. We are looking for potential, passion, how you communicate through your images.  
  2. Your portfolio can consist of just digitally shot images. However, if you have shot analogue/ film, please include some of these in your portfolio, including darkroom prints.
  3. We welcome you to include drawings, multi-media work and moving image as part of your portfolio (by e.g. including a link to your work on a YouTube site).
  4. Present work that shows your passion & interest in photography.
  5. Include a sample page/s of your sketchbook/visual experimentation/notebook

Other entry routes

Access to HE Diploma (QAA approved) with 60 credits overall and 45 credits at Level 3

English language requirements

Overall IELTS score of 5.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking (or recognised equivalent).
If you do not meet the academic English language requirements for your course, you may be eligible to enrol onto a pre-sessional English programme. The length of the course will depend on your current level of English and the requirements for your degree programme. We offer a 5-week and an 11-week pre-sessional course.

Alternative GCSE qualifications

Level 2 equivalences such as:

  • Level 2 Functional Skills in English / Maths,
  • Level 2 Key Skills in Communication / Application of Number and
  • Level 2 Adult Literacy / Adult Numeracy

Mature applicants and those with no formal qualifications

As an inclusive university, we recognise that applicants who have been out of education for some time may not have the formal qualifications usually required for entry to a course. We welcome applications from those who can demonstrate their enthusiasm and commitment to study and have the relevant life/work experience that equips them to succeed on the course. We will assess this from the information provided in your application – in particular your personal statement - to help us decide on your eligibility for the course.

Career Prospects

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. 

Course Details

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.

Foundation Year

Professional Life (Mental Wealth)
Art & Design Workshops, Processes & Skills
Art & Design Studio Practice Practise & Portfolio
Art & Design Specialist Workshops, Processes & Skills
Art & Design Specialist Studio Practice & Portfolio
Art & Design Contextual Studies

Year 1

Professional Life 1 (Mental Wealth)
Practice 1
Contextual Studies 1
Research into Practice 1
Experimentation and Application 1A
Experimentation and Application 1B

Year 2

Professional Life 2 (Mental Wealth)
Design Investigation 2
Contextual Studies 2
Design Integration 2
Advanced Experimentation and Applications
Advanced Practice

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.

Year 3

Professional Life 3 (Mental Wealth)
Integrated Technology
Independent Major Project Part A
Design Investigation 3
Art & Design Studio Practice Practise & Portfolio
Research into Practice 3 – Global Photography
Research into Practice 3 – Extended Research Project

*The information’s are correct at the time of publishing, however it may change if university makes any changes after we have published the information. While we try our best to provide correct information, It is advisable to call us or visit university website for up to date information.

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