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About the course

This one year degree gives experienced photographers the opportunity to ‘top up’ their existing skills and qualifications into a full honours degree and spend a year producing work for their portfolio. A degree in photography from Solent University will help position you at the cutting edge of this medium, preparing you to enter the world of work having received training from experienced practitioners on a wide range of techniques and equipment.

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

Students may also get the opportunity to exhibit work in our purpose built Solent Showcase gallery. Not only is this a great chance to get 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. 

Think a career as a photographer might be for you? With first-class facilities and a unique emphasis on freelance work, Solent University’s photography top up programme can help you to turn your existing experience into a full honours degree and take your first steps into the industry.

As part of your studies you will have the opportunity to undertake a work experience placement.
Built in work experience placement
This course has access to Solent's specialist facilities.
Specialist facilities
After successfully completing your studies, there's an opportunity to continue your studies at Solent.
Further studies
If you have an appropriate Level 5 qualification, you can top it up to a degree in just a year.
Top-up option

In recent years, Solent has produced highly commended students, including a finalist from the Sony World Photography Award’s Student Focus Programme 2015.

What does this course lead to?

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.

Who is this course for?

This intensive one-year top-up programme is ideally suited to students who are qualified at a HND level and would like to upgrade to a full undergraduate honours degree.

Applicants should aspire for careers in editorial, fashion, promotional, freelance or fine art photography.

Facts and figures

Fees icon

Fees and costs

Tuition fees

The tuition fees for the 2020/21 academic year are:
UK, EU and Channel Island full-time fees: £9,250 per year
International full-time fees: £13,260 per year

For further information, please visit our tuition fees page.

Other costs

The 2020/21 other costs are not yet available. For guidance, previous other costs have been:

Compulsory film, stationery, digital printing, mounting, framing, study trips, memory sticks and printing costs: £300-600 

Bursaries and scholarships

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


Graduation costs

For graduates in 2020, there is no charge to attend graduation, but you will be required to pay for the rental of your academic gown (approximately £45 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. Extra guest tickets will go on sale after results publication and will be sold on a first-come-first-served basis. The cost per ticket was £15 in 2019, but this fee is subject to change for future years. Please note, we do not guarantee there will be any extra tickets available to purchase.
Key entry requirements icon

Key entry requirements

Relevant HND/Foundation Degree pass with Merit Overall (55 per cent)

  • or 240 CATS points from a relevant three-year degree
  • UK applicants are required to attend a portfolio viewing
  • Applicants resident outside the UK will be required to send an electronic portfolio.
  • If you are applying from outside the UK, find information about entry requirements, visas and agents for your country here.
  • For further information about UK, EU and international qualifications, please refer to our course entry requirement statement.

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
  • 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.

Study location

East Park Terrace

Got a question about this course?

Contact our Ask Solent team: 023 8201 5066

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 15 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 the end of June. The UCAS Code for the University is S30, code name SOLNT.

Please click the link below to apply through UCAS:

Mode of study
Full-time  1 year  Apply 
How to apply

What you'll study

Year one

Core modules
  • Contemporary Studio Practice
  • Image, Text Analysis 1
  • Image, Text Analysis 2
  • Final Major Project


Web-based learning

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

The Student Hub

The Student Hub is a central space where you can access all of the information and support you need during your time at University.

Professional and experienced staff can help resolve any query, and if they cannot answer the question themselves they will find the person who can.

Career support

Meet the course team

Tom Slevin academic profile Tom Slevin Course Leader View profile
Guy Moreton academic profile Guy Moreton Senior Lecturer View profile
Andrew Cross academic profile Andrew Cross Associate Lecturer View profile
Simon Griggs academic profile Simon Griggs Technical Instructor View profile

The university cannot guarantee any particular members of staff will teach specific aspects of the course in the future, but will endeavour to ensure the teaching team maintains their balance of experience and qualifications.


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 standard and students can also freely use our in-house colour film processing machine. Additionally, we offer 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.

Professional printing services are available on the campus, perfect for mounting and presenting photographic projects or professional portfolios. 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.

Your future

Suitable roles for graduates include:

  • Freelance photographer
  • Fashion photographer
  • Digital photographic retoucher
  • Photographic agencies or libraries
  • Marketing departments
  • Newspapers and periodicals
  • Museums and other arts organisations
  • Education
  • Postgraduate study
  • The best thing about this course is the independence, which is really important on a creative course like this. You get regular one-to-ones with tutors and it’s really relaxed. You also get visiting speakers from industry, who really know what they’re talking about. You can have a proper tutorial with them.

    Josie Slade, Graduate

Industry links

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

Students have recently worked in partnership with Southampton City Council and Southampton City Art Gallery to produce public exhibitions and live projects.

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


Our Solent Creatives agency provides opportunities to build your professional skills and a portfolio of creative work through freelance work for live client briefs.

Further study

Enhance your career prospects by continuing your study at Solent.

Solent University Open Days

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