BA (Hons) Photography with foundation year

Photography has the ability to reach a global audience presenting information concisely that can delight, educate, express a view or record a fragment of time. Our degree is designed to prepare photographers for professional roles in a wide range of specialist areas.

BA (Hons) Photography with foundation year

Course details

Photographs are the most exciting and important visual form of global communication, forming a significant part of everyday life. It’s estimated that 4.2 billion people now use the internet and that around 1.2 trillion photos were taken last year*. The image has become the most widely used international language, and the ability to communicate concise visual statements that engage audiences is at the heart of our course and teaching.

Starting with foundation studies that offer a structured introduction to a wide range of materials, processes and techniques, we’ll support you as you develop your own line of visual enquiry, explore different areas of art, design and photography, and develop a sound portfolio of creative work.

Following the foundation year, our broad-based degree offers you a unique pathway of visual self-discovery. You’ll benefit from the freedom to pursue your own interests while receiving expert support from our industry-experienced tutors, developed with help from a panel of industry professionals. We offer a supportive market-aware environment, in which you can explore a variety of photographic genres such as documentary, fashion, editorial, photojournalism, commercial advertising, portraiture, architectural, wildlife, landscape and fine art.

We’ll invite industry experts to share their knowledge during guest lectures, and offer you opportunities to work on placements, ‘live briefs’ and commissions. Our industry links will help to enrich your learning experience and provide you with invaluable ‘insider’ information and possible employment opportunities. You can be part of this fully integrated programme of practical and theoretical knowledge, building your confidence and skills ready for a career in this dynamic industry.

Alternatively, on successful completion of the foundation year, you can opt to transfer to one of our other degrees, including Animation and Illustration, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Graphic Design and Photography, or Textiles and Surface Design. You can also explore transferring to another subject area offered by the University of Bolton, such as Special and Visual Effects or Games Art.

* accessed 10/12/2018 and accessed 10/12/2018

  • UCAS points: 48
  • Start date: 21/09/2020 (Full)
  • Location: The University of Bolton
  • Award: BA (Hons)
  • UCAS code: W641
  • Duration: 4 years

Course highlights:

  • Our team of highly knowledgeable and enthusiastic photography lecturers offer face-to-face sessions and one-to-one support, ensuring you can access help and advice when you need it.
  • Based on your interests and strengths, our experienced team will work to help you identify a potential career path and plan your future professional development based on your individual needs. We want to support you as you establish the foundation of your career in your chosen area of the photography industry.
  • Exhibition and display are key themes in the final year, and we’ll offer you the opportunity to present your work in an external exhibition as well as during Bolton School of the Arts’ Creative Showcase.
  • We offer opportunities for you to participate in foreign study trips, as well as visit collections and current exhibitions at galleries, museums and arts centres around the UK. In recent years, visits to major cities such as New York, Paris, London and Toronto have proved valuable learning opportunities for our students.
  • You’ll also have the opportunity to progress seamlessly onto our Master of Arts Photography programme.

Key features:

  • Our custom-designed photography department offers outstanding facilities including darkrooms, a dedicated computer suite with a high output printing facility and four studios with specialist lighting.
  • Practical knowledge, such as studio lighting and location techniques, combined with research and critique help you learn to develop your ideas and produce innovative research-led work.
  • You’ll have access to a rich visiting speaker programme, providing insight into industry experts’ professional practice and up-to-the-minute developments in the sector.
  • The programme offers work placements, internships, masterclasses, awards, competitions and open calls, such as the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition.
  • Our specialist tutors and technical support staff have professional experience and industry connections.
  • As a graduate, you’ll have a wide range of independent, specialist photographic styles based on your own planning and development.

Entry requirements

  • UCAS points: 48
  • Start date: 21/09/2020 (Full)
  • Location: The University of Bolton
  • Award: BA (Hons)
  • UCAS code: W641
  • Duration: 4 years

Your Level 3 subjects should include a relevant subject; for instance, A-level Art and Design or BTEC Extended Diploma in Art and Design.

You should also have five GCSEs at grade C or above or grade 4 to 9 (or equivalent) including English.

You may be required to attend for interview and provide a portfolio of appropriate work.

If English isn’t your first language you’ll also need IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any band (or equivalent). We also accept a range of other English language qualifications – please visit our English Language Requirements web page for more details. Find out more

Career opportunities

Photographs are viewed by everyone and are a part of our everyday culture. From advertising products, illustrating stories in magazines and books to appearing on apps and websites, it is an ideal medium to communicate beyond barriers.

A photography career offers opportunities whether you want to work independently or as a staff photographer for an employer. Our BA (Hons) Photography with foundation year degree helps you to develop valuable transferable skills, such as team working, problem solving, managing large and complex projects to deadline, the discipline of working to briefs and set deadlines, the ability to exploit creative and challenging visual ideas, a comprehensive understanding of digital imaging issues, and the ability to solve and put forward your ideas to address creative problems. These skills can also lead to other professional opportunities such as employment in sales, marketing and customer care, management and other roles.

What can I do with this qualification?

Many BA (Hons) Photography with foundation year graduates work in areas such as fashion, photojournalism, documentary, fine art, advertising and commercial product photography, as well as in publishing, web design and digital output. Other career prospects include marketing, travel photography, studio management, teaching, medical photography, graphic design, visual media, teaching and camera operation.

Typical employers include retail sales companies, design companies, publishing including magazines, books and newspapers, film and television, wedding photographers, medical related organisations, the police, holiday companies, universities, and media organisations such as advertising agencies. A large number of photography graduates are self-employed and work on a freelance basis.

There are a range of photography-related postgraduate options available which can support you to develop a strong portfolio career. Some courses look at specific, practice-based areas of photography, such as fine art photography or photojournalism, while others offer a more research focused approach. Other areas of postgraduate research include curatorial, teaching, design, film, editing, journalism and creative enterprise.

Alternative career options

  • Film, video and picture editing
  • Secondary education
  • Visual merchandising
  • Museum curation
  • Art gallery management
  • Graphic design
  • Web design
  • Art direction
  • Fashion
  • Wedding
  • Photographic laboratories
  • Conservation
  • Forensics

Professional recognition

Fees & funding

Home/EU fees

  Year of study Total
Entry year 2020/212021/222022/232023/242024/25
2020/21 £9,250£9,250£9,250£9,250-£37,000
2021/22 -nullnullnullnullnull

International fees

  Year of study Total
Entry year 2020/212021/222022/232023/242024/25
2020/21 £9,250£12,450£12,450£12,450-£46,600
2021/22 -nullnullnullnullnull

The fees for a student’s course of study will be set for the normal duration of that course subject only to inflationary increases – measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) recorded in March each year to take effect for subsequent start dates.

The University is currently awaiting Government guidelines as to EU fee charges for students commencing study in 2019/20.

UK undergraduate tuition fees are subject to UK government approval and are subject to the outcome of the Teaching Excellence Framework.

How to apply


September start

Please apply through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) for September entry.

The online application form and guidance notes are available on the UCAS website.

You can apply for up to 5 courses through UCAS (at the same or different institutions) for a fee of £24. Alternatively, if you only wish to apply for a single course at a single institution then a reduced applicant's fee of £13 is applicable.

You will need the following information to complete your UCAS application form:

  • Institution Code Name: BOLTN

  • Institution Code Number: B44

UCAS - Universities and Colleges Admissions Service

Tel: 0870 1122211


The University welcomes applications from international students from all over the world. We try to make the application process as simple and as fast as possible for our international applicants.

How you apply is determined by your current location and what you are choosing to study:

  1. Apply direct to the University. Links for the next available intakes of this course are shown below. Please click the link which will direct you to the online application form. Please read the user guidance before completing this.
  2. Apply via one of our approved in-country referral partners. A list of our partners may be found on the International pages of this website.
  3. Apply via UCAS for courses starting in September only – visit

Should you have any queries please contact the International Team on +44 (0) 1204 903110 or email

  • Apply online: University of Bolton BA(Hons) Photography with Foundation Year-21 September 2020 (Course Full)

Teaching & assessment


Modules listed below are a mixture of compulsory and optional. You may not have the opportunity to study all the modules as part of the course.

  • Creative Responses
  • Information and Interpretation
  • Preparation and Progression
  • Specialist Project
  • Digital Imaging
  • Constructing the Moving Image
  • Industry in Context
  • Thinking Photography
  • Discovering Silver Darkroom
  • Reading Through The Lens
  • The Creative Studio
  • Location, Light, Camera, Context
  • Enterprise and Industry in Context
  • Research and Context in Photography
  • The Professional Studio
  • The Photo Story
  • Self Negotiated Photographic Project
  • Professional Practice
  • Applied Critical Thinking in Photography
  • Major Project

Teaching, learning and assessment

We use a blended approach to teaching and learning – you’ll have face-to-face sessions and take part in online learning. You can expect a mix of seminars, lectures and tutorials, practical darkroom/workshop sessions, a visiting speaker programme, critiques, study visits, self-directed study, IT sessions, library and guided study. Technical introduction and support, workshop sessions, demonstrations and activity-based assignments also help to develop your practical skills. The University’s e-learning portal Moodle will support your online learning. We’ll also encourage you to use the internet for research and to create digital and printed portfolios.

Assessment is by coursework – there are no formal exams. You’ll need to complete activities such as assignments, projects, case studies, quizzes, interviews and presentations.


The university will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver your course as described in its published material and the programme specification for the academic year in which you begin your course. Please be aware that our courses are subject to review on an ongoing basis. The content of course modules and mode of associated assessments may be updated on an annual basis. This is to ensure that all modules are up to date and responsive to employment and sector needs. The published course material and the programme specification contain indicative ‘optional modules’ that may be subject to change due to circumstances outside of our control. For this reason we cannot guarantee to run any specific optional module.

Assessment methods

Level Assessment method
Level One Coursework (93%), Practical exams (7%)
Level Two Coursework (100%)
Level Three Coursework (100%)
Level Coursework (100%)

Learning activities

Level Learning activity
Level One Guided independent study (55%), Scheduled learning and teaching activities (45%)
Level Two Guided independent study (54%), Scheduled learning and teaching activities (46%)
Level Three Guided independent study (53%), Scheduled learning and teaching activities (47%)
Level Guided independent study (57%), Placement/study abroad (3%), Scheduled learning and teaching activities (40%)

Contact The University

Key facts

  • UCAS code:
  • Course type:
  • Start date:
    21/09/2020 (Full)
  • Location:
    The University of Bolton
  • Award:
    BA (Hons)
  • UCAS points:
  • Duration:
    4 years

Contact us

Ian Glover
Programme Leader
Telephone: +44 (0)1204 903364

Enquiry Team
University of Bolton
Telephone: +44 (0)1204 903903