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BA (Hons) Photography

Make your pictures say more than a thousand words – study photography

Enquire: 023 8201 5066

The rising popularity of photography has seen a wealth of opportunity spring up for creative photographic practitioners. A degree in photography from Southampton Solent University will help position you at the cutting edge of this medium, preparing you to enter the world of work with highly developed and refined creative and technical skills.

Three years of dedicated photography study will also give you the chance to create a distinctive and unique portfolio, ideally suited for starting a successful career in the arts and creative industries.

  • Southampton Solent University was voted one of the UK’s top creative universities in Which? University’s 2013 and 2014 student surveys.
  • Southampton Solent has produced highly commended students, including a Sony World Photography Awards Student Focus Programme 2015 finalist; an Association of Photographers award winner; a LPA Award winner; and a winner of the the Photographers’ Gallery annual graduate competition, ‘Fresh Faced and Wild Eyed’.
  • Learning methods integrate theory and practice, allowing students to develop their critical thinking and photographic practice hand in hand.
  • The course encourages experimentation. Through this, students develop their creative and problem solving skills to become flexible, responsive and enterprising.
  • Students have free access to a range of professional photographic studios, developing rooms and Adobe post-production suites, as well as our recently refurbished media academy.
  • Students can also access a comprehensive selection of professional equipment including professional lenses, large and medium format cameras, lighting rigs and tripods.
  • Professional printing services are available on the campus, perfect for mounting and presenting photographic projects or professional portfolios.
  • The course teaching team is made up of practising photographers with diverse expertise, industry experience and research interests.
  • Solent Creatives, our in-house creative agency, gives students the opportunity to pitch for real industry clients and collaborate with other students on multidisciplinary projects.
  • Southampton Solent’s BA (Hons) Photography course has excellent links with agencies, such as Magnum Photos, and is affiliated to the Association of Photographers in London (The AOP). This affiliation entitles students to free student membership of the AOP, which supplies further links with industry and access to many professional resources. 

The industry

With the success of highly visual online media platforms and the continued popularity of more traditional formats, there has never been a better time to take a passion for photography and turn it into a rewarding career.

Graduates may enter a wide range of careers within photography and the related creative industries. These careers include in-house photography; freelance photography (for fashion, editorial or commercial clients); photojournalism; art direction; post-production; picture editing, research; photo shoot production, positions within the gallery and museum sector; and teaching. Many graduates go on to postgraduate study, pursuing PGCE, MA and PhD qualifications.

90.5% of our graduates go on to either full time employment or further study within 6 months of graduating (DLHE Survey 2015).

The programme

Key to securing these opportunities is creating a rich and varied professional portfolio. Solent’s teaching team will guide you through this process, ensuring that you have the creative freedom to make a portfolio that best represents your own unique style, while at the same time demonstrating that you are a competent, adaptable and employable practitioner.

You’ll also get the opportunity to exhibit your work in our purpose built Solent Showcase gallery. Not only is this a great chance to get your work seen by the public, it also teaches valuable curation skills.

Regular lectures are often supported by a programme of industry guest speakers, which in the past have included appearances from Richard Billingham, Catherine Yass, Charlotte Cotton, Ori Gersht, Brian Dillon, Peter Fraser, Dan Holdsworth, Chrystel Lebas, Jeremy Millar, Sophy Rickett, Margaret Salmon and Tom Hunter.

These speakers, as well as the regular teaching team, focus on contemporary photographic debates and industry best practise, as well as essential business skills and entrepreneurship.

Next steps

Think a career as a photographer might be for you? With first-class facilities and a unique emphasis on freelance work, Southampton Solent University’s photography programme is a great first step towards your dream career.

Have you got a question about applying?


UCAS codes


  • 3 Years Standard entry W651

Typical entry requirements

2016 entry
280 UCAS Tariff points

2017 entry - New UCAS Tariff
112 UCAS Tariff points

Which Creative University Award 2014



Year one:


Core units

  • Orientation
  • Image Lab
  • Representation
  • Photographic History and Theory 1
  • Photographic History and Theory 2
  • Visual Exploration.

Year two:


Core units

  • Photographic Concepts and Themes
  • Photographic Methods and Approaches
  • Image Text Analysis 1
  • Image Text Analysis 2.


  • Photography and the City
  • Photography and the Figure
  • Photography and the Moving Image
  • Photography and the Landscape
  • Photography and Global Cultures
  • Photography and the Domestic and Public Sphere
  • Photography and the Styled Portrait
  • Photography and the Book
  • Freelancing at Solent Creatives
  • Model Your Business
  • Curriculum Plus/Languages.

Year three:


Core units

  • Contemporary Studio Practice
  • Final Essay
  • Final Major Project
  • Professional Practice Portfolio.

Teaching, learning and assessment

The course is taught through lectures, seminars, tutorials and hands-on workshops in our studios and production facilities, working both in groups and individually under the supervision of your project tutor.

You’ll receive regular tutorial feedback throughout the course, allowing you to develop your ideas, research and practical work.

Work experience
Work experience is encouraged, and you’ll be able to call on the course team’s strong ties within the industry to help find and secure a suitable placement. Recent students have assisted on local and national shoots during their studies, and our Solent Creatives agency provides significant opportunities for freelance work on live client briefs; for example final-year student James Robinson was recently commissioned to produce images for Southampton Airport’s arrivals lounge.

The course is assessed through a range of assessment forms, including exhibitions, presentations, workshops, project work and written coursework.

Our facilities

Course facilities include an extensive media loans programme, providing access to high-end DSLR cameras such as the Canon 5D MKII, an extensive range of lenses (including many ‘L’ series and Prime lenses), 35mm cameras, medium format cameras (645, 6x7 and 6x9), large format 5x4 cameras and lenses, and a full stock of accessories – light meters, tripods, flash guns, remote-controlled boom-mounted flash systems and more.

You’ll also have access to our digital reprographics lab, featuring commercial-standard and large-format printers, flatbed scanners, three Hasselblad drum scanners scanning up to 5x4 size and a colour-calibrated ProMac-based reprographic suite.

Our recently rebuilt colour and black-and-white darkrooms are of the highest industry standards and students can also freely use our in-house colour film processing machine. Additionally, we have finishing and film processing rooms, a modern multimedia lab featuring 24 iMacs with Adobe CS6 Suite Master Collection and Final Cut Pro, plus large professional photographic studios and associated make-up and styling rooms.

Study abroad

The Erasmus+ programme gives you the opportunity to spend between a term and a year of your course studying abroad at one of our partner universities, or undertaking a work placement for a company in Europe. For more information see

If you're a non-UK student studying at an EU university, the Erasmus programme gives you the chance to come to the UK and study photography units at Solent for between three months and a full academic year.

If you’re studying outside Europe then you may be able to study with us as an exchange student if there is a partnership agreement in place. If you are studying at a university which does not have a partnership agreement with us, then you could apply to study at Solent under our Study Abroad programme.

Web-based learning

Solent’s virtual learning environment provides quick online access to assignments, lecture notes, suggested reading and other course information.

UCAS codes


  • 3 Years Standard entry W651

What do we offer?

From a vibrant city centre campus to our first class facilities, this is where you can find out why you should choose Solent.

You’ll learn skills that will equip you for careers within artistic, commercial, industrial, medical and editorial photography. There are many industries that employ professional photographers, including: creative and marketing agencies, photographic libraries, marketing departments in large organisations, newspapers and periodicals, museums and other arts organisations.

Suitable roles for graduates include:

  • Freelance photographer
  • Fashion photographer
  • Digital photographic retoucher
  • specialist photographer for commercial organisations.

Links with industry

Professional practice is an essential part of this course. We are an affiliated centre with the Association of Photographers (AoP), and have an established educational partnership with the renowned worldwide agency Magnum Photos Ltd.

We also have links with international publications including Vogue, the Sunday Times Magazine, the Sunday Telegraph, The Guardian and the New York Times, as well as the BBC, the National Portrait Gallery and Tate Britain.

Transferable skills

Throughout the course you’ll develop various transferable skills, including creative thinking, communication, presentation, project- and time-management, and critical analysis.

Further study

MA Visual Communication

Examples of employment obtained by recent graduates

Professional practice is an essential part of this course. We are an affiliated centre with the Association of Photographers (AoP), and have an established educational partnership with the renowned worldwide agency Magnum Photos Ltd.

We also have links with international publications including Vogue, the Sunday Times Magazine, the Sunday Telegraph, The Guardian and the New York Times, as well as the BBC, the National Portrait Gallery and Tate Britain.


Key facts


Location of study: East Park Terrace

Study mode: Full-time

Accreditations: Southampton Solent University is an affiliated centre with the Association of Photographers for BA (Hons) Photography.

Entry requirements


UCAS have updated their tariff points for 2017 entry. Please click here for more information.

280 points (for 2016 entry) or 112 points (for 2017 entry) from:

  • A-levels, a BTEC Extended Diploma at DMM or BTEC Diploma at D*D* or equivalent.
  • UK applicants are required to attend a portfolio viewing.
  • Applicants from outside the UK will be required to send an electronic portfolio.
  • Direct entry into the second or third year may be considered for this course.
  • Applicants over the age of 21 may be considered on relevant experience, without having the required tariff points.

Portfolio interview requirements

Before attending your interview or sending us your portfolio, please read the following: Portfolio interview information

We welcome applicants from a diverse range of backgrounds. Applicants who are not in possession of the minimum entry requirements but are able to demonstrate aptitude, enthusiasm and motivation will be considered on an individual basis and may be admitted subject to satisfactory interview and/or portfolio. Please contact us for further details.

English language requirements

Applicants who do not have English as their first language will be required to demonstrate an approved level of proficiency in the use of the English language. The agreed minimum requirements for this course are:

  • IELTS minimum 6.0 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each individual component
  • TOEFL IBT minimum 80 with a minimum of 19 in each individual component- TOEFL is only valid for EU students
  • or equivalent.

Qualifications are checked before enrolment, and international students must bring their original certificates or certified copies when coming to study at the University.

The University also offers a pre-sessional English programme for international students who wish to improve their level of English before starting a degree course.

Note to all international students requiring a visa:

All international applicants need to be aware that the English language requirements to attend Southampton Solent University, and the English language requirements to obtain a visa from the Home Office, may be different. This means that if you meet the Southampton Solent University language requirement to gain a place on the course, you may still have to meet additional requirements to be granted with a visa by the Home Office.

We strongly advise all applicants to visit the Home Office website which outlines all the requirements for a successful visa application and to take a look at this PDF document which outlines both Solent University and Home Office requirements for a number of language tests.  

Non-standard entry

If you do not have these qualifications or are unsure of your eligibility please contact the University using the contact details found at the top of this page.

Costs involved


Tuition fees

The tuition fees for the 2016/2017 academic year are:

UK and EU full-time fees: £9,000 per year

International full-time fees: £11,000 per year

Other costs

Compulsory darkroom equipment/materials, workbooks, study trips and printing in year one: £300.
Compulsory photographic materials (film, paper), digital printing, mounting, workbooks, study trips, memory sticks and printing in year two:
Compulsory photographic materials (film, paper), stationery, digital printing, mounting, framing degree show, study trips, memory sticks, printing in year three:

Optional international study trip each year: £250-£300. 

Graduation costs 

Graduation is the ceremony to celebrate the achievements of your studies. For graduates in 2015, there is no charge to attend graduation, but you will be required to pay for the rental of your academic gown (approximately £42 per graduate, depending on your award). You may also wish to purchase official photography packages, which range in price from £15 to £200+. Graduation is not compulsory, so if you prefer to have your award sent to you, there is no cost.

For more details, please visit:

Bursaries and scholarships

Southampton Solent University offers a range of scholarships that provide financial assistance or waive fees for tuition or accommodation. Each scholarship has specific eligibility criteria. Check out our scholarships page to find out more.

How to apply


Any student applying for the first year of a full-time/sandwich undergraduate course must apply through UCAS (University and Colleges Admissions Service). This includes mature, overseas and EU students.

Nearly all schools and colleges offer their students the facility of applying electronically through the UCAS website using 'Apply'; it may also be used by those applying independently in the UK and overseas. This facility and all course information can be found on the UCAS website:

Your application should reach UCAS by January if you hope to enter a course the following autumn. Early application is advised for the most popular subject areas. Late applications may be made until June. The UCAS Code for the University is S30, code name SOLNT.

Student support and services


Student welfare

Southampton Solent University is committed to giving you the best possible educational experience during your time with us. As such we have a number of support services and policies set up covering funding, careers and employability, chaplaincy, counselling, international advice, student affairs, key academic skills, disability support and general student advice. Find out more about our approach to student welfare.

University facilities

You will have access to a modern, comfortable and efficient environment in which to study, following our extensive refurbishment and modernisation over recent years. Some key facilities include Mountbatten library, a wide variety of sports and watersports facilities, plus superb IT and media facilities. Find out more about our first-class facilities here.

Living in Southampton

Southampton is a vibrant student city and studying at Solent means that you will be at the very heart of the action. Find out more about being a student in Southampton.

Solent Students’ Union

Run by students for students, Solent Students’ Union is a key part of any student’s time at Solent. Visit the Students’ Union website for more information.

UCAS codes


  • 3 Years Standard entry W651