BA (Hons) Graphic Design and Photography with foundation year

Can’t decide between graphic design and photography and want to combine these two areas of study? This degree programme develops knowledge and understanding of both subjects, combining digital media with more traditional graphic design and photographic processes. You’ll encounter diverse and challenging practical assignments supported by appropriate theory.

BA (Hons) Graphic Design and Photography with foundation year

Course details

Graphic design and photography are two of the most influential and powerful forms of visual communication. We constantly read adverts, engage with websites and spend money based on choices influenced by messages delivered through graphic design and photography. Graphic designers produce content for digital and traditional media, creatively combining photography, illustration and typography to communicate messages for clients from big brands to small businesses.

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, graphic design and photography, and develop a sound portfolio of creative work.

Following the foundation year, we’ll guide as you develop applied skills in a broad range of graphic design media across digital, screen, multimedia and print-based graphics and gain an understanding of graphic design software. You’ll explore design theories and principles and have the opportunity to learn about the historical and critical elements of design. Alongside all of this, we’ll support you to gain photography theory and practical skills.

Your wider study of visual arts theory will help develop your visual language and understanding. We’ll also focus on helping you to develop career-relevant skills. Creativity, technical knowledge, problem solving, time management, sales, marketing and customer care skills are all essential for success as a professional graphic designer and photographer.

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, 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.

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

Course highlights:

  • Our team of highly knowledgeable and enthusiastic photography and graphic design lecturers offer face-to-face sessions and one-to-one support, ensuring you can access help and advice when you need it.
  • You’ll have the opportunity to work on client-led briefs and be encouraged to engage in additional live briefs during your spare time so that you can gain industry-relevant professional experience to enhance your CV.
  • You’ll be encouraged to apply for placements, internships, awards, competitions, masterclasses and other external development opportunities, such as the D&AD (Design and Art Directors) folder clinics – the ‘Oscars’ of graphic arts.
  • We’ll offer you the opportunity to present your work to the public and impress potential employers during Bolton School of the Arts’ Creative Showcase in your final year.
  • 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 industry.

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.
  • You can learn to use the latest design software, while being encouraged to generate ideas and problem solve by using traditional media and techniques including wood block printing, screen printing and lino cutting.
  • 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. Our specialist tutors and technical support staff have professional experience and industry connections.
  • Practical knowledge, such as studio lighting and location techniques, combined with research and critique helps you learn to develop ideas and produce innovative research-led work.
  • We offer a supportive, market-aware environment in which you can explore different genres such as documentary, editorial, advertising, portraiture, architectural, landscape and fine art photography.
  • You’ll have opportunities to participate in foreign study trips, as well as visit current exhibitions and events at galleries and arts centres around the UK. We also encourage you to attend design-related professional development lectures and conferences.

Entry requirements

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

This degree programme aims to develop your knowledge and understanding of contemporary graphics and photographic practice. As a graduate, you should know how to successfully synthesise research, develop ideas and produce innovative work for a range of research-led and industry-ready outputs. Much of the programme involves the creative use of graphics and photography software, but we’re also strongly committed to ideas generation and problem-solving using traditional media and techniques.

As a graduate of this course, some of the key transferable skills you’ll possess include a high level of creativity, the ability to work independently and to brief, and the ability to present new ideas as well as determine the scope of a project.

What can I do with this qualification?

Graduates can go on to work in areas such as editorial, packaging, moving image, marketing and advertising design as well as commercial, documentary and social photography. Graduating students may also wish to consider a freelance career in print or web design. Some graduates choose to work within the private sector, such as design consultancies, advertising and PR agencies and brand specialists. Others work for the public sector which can include employers such as museums, local authorities, the police, schools, colleges and hospitals.

There are a wide range of options for postgraduate study either within photography or graphic design. Short, further education courses to learn or hone skills in different computer packages are also an option. Other areas of postgraduate research, study and training commonly taken include teaching, advertising, design, film, editing, journalism and creative enterprise.

Alternative career options

  • Teaching and education
  • Film, video and picture editing
  • Visual merchandising
  • Museum curation
  • Art gallery management
  • Graphic design
  • Web design
  • Art direction
  • Fashion
  • Photographic laboratories
  • Conservation
  • Forensics
  • Research
  • Exhibition design
  • Interior and spatial design
  • Marketing

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) Graphic Design and 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
  • Discovering Silver Darkroom
  • Reading Through The Lens
  • Design Principles
  • Visual Thinking
  • Contextual Studies in Graphic Design
  • Location, Light, Camera, Context
  • The Creative Studio
  • The Professional Studio
  • Employability and Enterprise
  • Craft and Digital Production
  • Design for Emerging Technologies
  • Advanced Design Practice
  • Applied Critical Thinking in Photography
  • Advanced Visualisation for Graphic Design
  • Professional Practice
  • Major Project

Teaching, learning and assessment

We use a blended approach to teaching and learning – we offer a combination of face-to-face sessions and online learning. You can expect a mix of seminars, lectures and tutorials, practical workshop demonstrations, our visiting speaker programme, critiques, study visits, self-directed study, IT sessions, library and guided study. 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 set up digital portfolios.

Module-based design briefs help to give you an insight into the professional environment. These involve simulated design briefs, client-led live briefs and competition briefs. Group tutorials and critiques, one-to-one tutor feedback, and regular feedback from clients and collaborators combine to support your learning. You’ll also be able to seek further advice and feedback at the published drop-in sessions, via email and online discussions, and at scheduled tutorials.

Formal assessment is by coursework. This may involve you presenting your portfolio of artwork along with a supporting sketchbook of developmental ideas and a written research journal. It can also take the form of assignments, projects and written work.


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

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

Contact us

Carol Allison
Programme Leader
Telephone: +44 (0)1204 903271

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