Cardiff School of Art & Design>Courses>Photographic Practice BA (Hons) Degree - Cardiff Arts Academy (Bridgend)
BA Photographic Practice

Photographic Practice - BA (Hons) Degree (Franchised)

Key Facts

UCAS Code:

Place of Study:
Franchised to the Cardiff Arts Academy

Course Length:
Three years full-time

Course Overview

Please note: This is a franchised degree in Photographic Practice which is delivered at the Cardiff Arts Academy.

Photography is a relatively new medium. Despite its short existence it has become an extremely important vehicle for human communication. Where there is light there is photography. Photographers, by photographing, say; “Look at this!”. This course is here to help you have your say.

The BA Photographic Practice degree is a welcoming practice-led photography course with the individual student’s experience firmly placed at its centre. The focus is on the development of each student, helping them to achieve their photographic aspirations. As such, the course has a relatively low number of students in each group, to ensure that their needs are being met, and that the access to facilities supports their success.

The course has a broad outlook on Photography, and students are welcomed with a full range of photographic interests. Indeed, past students have specialised in areas of photography such as Fashion, Fine Art, Sports, Wildlife, Architecture, Documentary, Historical processes... and more besides. 

The course, and its staff, takes great pride in creating the supportive environment needed for individuals to flourish. The course aims to prepare students with both professional skills and academic development, enabling them to become creative individuals that are responsive to the needs of the Photographic, and associated industries. Students will progress through three levels of study and will be provided with the opportunity to develop a sustained body of independent, commercially viable, practical work, in conjunction with a body of academic research.

Course Content

Year One/Level 4
Offers students the opportunity to engage with, and explore, the materials and techniques of both contemporary and traditional photography. Learners will also be introduced to new ways of thinking about their own and others photographic practice

Modules studied at Level 4:

  • Perspectives on Photography 
  • Photographic Foundations 
  • Photo Essay 
  • Photographic Studio 
  • Practice Darkroom Practice 

Year Two/Level 5
Offers opportunities for increasing independence and specialisation in photographic practice. Students will be challenged to work in increasingly sophisticated ways reflecting their own aims and ambitions. 

Modules studied at Level 5:

  • Photographic Contextualisation 
  • Expanding Photographic Possibilities 
  • Specialist Photographic Realisation 
  • Negotiated Practice Multimedia 

Year Three/Level 6
Allows students to fully realise their potential, culminating in an exhibition and portfolio that sees them ready for their next steps into industry, or post-graduate study. 

Modules at studied at Level 6:

  • Professional Photographic Practice 
  • Advanced Independent Practice 
  • Dissertation - or - Reflective Practice Dissertation   

Learning & Teaching

A blend of teaching methods are used throughout the course, including lectures, workshops, seminars, demonstrations and practicals. 

The nature of the Learning and Teaching changes during the course and reflects the positive progression of each student's photographic understanding, as well as their intellectual, creative and personal development. The amount of lecturer-led teaching is greatest in Level 4 and this develops, during the course, into increasingly student-led project work, supported by the lecturing staff through group critiques, and one-to-one feedback. 

This strategy of experiential Learning and Teaching is to support the overall aims of the course and thereby enable the student to perform self-directed study, and fully gain a preparedness for entry into the industry upon graduation. 

The course is taught at the Cardiff Arts Academy in the centre of Cardiff. Students will be using industry standard facilities, including Apple Mac suites furnished with Adobe Creative Cloud software. 

Generously sized and equipped Photographic Studios, with professional lighting and backgrounds are available. There is also a full Darkroom facility. Students will also have access to Professional Scanners and Digital Cameras. 

Formal, timetabled sessions are delivered at Cardiff Arts Academy for an average of about 13 hours per week, which includes a tutorial. This would normally be over the course of two/three working days. 

A drop-in facility is available outside of these sessions, and access to specialised areas, such as Darkrooms/Photographic studios is managed by a booking system. Independent and directed study hours of up to 30 hours would be expected per week. 

The course is delivered by a highly qualified staff team with significant teaching experience. The team is professionally active, engaging in freelance photographic work, taking part in exhibitions, and publishing photographic books. 

Students are invited to join an organised international study trip each year. Recent visits have included; Berlin, Krakow, Budapest, New York. There are also UK visits to galleries, and photography location shoots. .


A module Handbook will be issued to students for each module. This will set out in detail the requirements of the module. Within each module there will be one, or more assignments. At present no modules on this course contain more than two assignments. All modules are assessed by coursework. There are no separate examinations. 

Practical Photographic modules are normally assessed by portfolio submissions, supported by evidence of research and development. There will be some group work at both Level 5 and Level 6 since students will be participating in photographic exhibitions. 

One module per Level will be Photographic Theory, and the assignments will contain written elements such as; case studies, essays and dissertation. 

After submitting their module assignments all students will be given a written module assessment sheet with summative feedback/feedforward and details of the percentage received. All module assignments will be 2nd marked or internally verified. 

During assignments students will be offered verbal feedback and support. Where indicated, usually in longer modules, students will receive written formative feedback in line with the School of Art & Design.

At each Level of the course Learning Resource Centre training, support and access will be provided. The course will also use a Virtual Learning Environment to offer students remote access to learning materials.

Employability & Careers

Whilst your learning is designed to develop you into a rounded and capable photographer and intellectual, your curriculum is similarly structured with your potential in mind. As such, the emphasis that will have been placed upon your work ethic, both creatively and academically, is matched with significant focus on real world experience.

The Level 6 module Professional Photographic Practice, where engagement with the industry is a requirement, acts as a vital preparation for you to begin freelancing from the moment you graduate.

Throughout your time at the Arts Academy, partnered with CSAD, you will be meeting and hearing from professionals within your industry, honing your skills and ideas for commercial and professional advantage. Certain projects will prepare you for the teamwork you will need later on, whilst industry style briefs will prepare you for deadlines and the demands of tight specifications.


Entry Requirements & How to Apply

Applicants should have a strong art and/or design portfolio and demonstrate a commitment to art and/or design. Applicants should also have GCSE English Language at grade C or above/grade 4 or above (for applicants holding newly reformed GCSEs in England): 

  • A minimum of 3 A levels at grade C or 96 points. Welsh Baccalaureate Skills Challenge Certificate considered as third subject
  • RQF BTEC National Extended Diploma in an appropriate subject grade MMM
  • Foundation Diploma in Art & Design
  • 96 points from a combination of Scottish Highers and Advanced Highers
  • 96 points from the Irish Leaving Certificate at Highers to include 2 x H3 grades from any subject. H4 at Higher Level is the minimum grade which can be counted towards an offer
  • 96 points from the Access to Higher Education Diploma within a relevant subject
  • Other appropriate qualifications and a photographic portfolio of relevant work will be considered if applicants do not have the above (or equivalent). 

In addition, applicants will normally be interviewed with their portfolios to ensure that they are suitable. The course will also recognise prior learning in line with the guidelines set out in the School of Art & Design.

International Applicants
Students whose first language is not English will need to provide evidence of fluency to at least an IELTS 6.0 standard or equivalent. For full details about how to apply and English Language qualifications please visit the International pages on the website.

Selection Procedure:
Selection is usually on the basis of a completed UCAS application and a portfolio based interview. 

How to Apply:
Applications for this course should be made online to UCAS at For further information please visit our How to Apply pages at

Recognised Prior Learning (RPL) and Credit Transfer into year 2 & 3

If you are interested in transferring credit from another institution to study at Cardiff Met for a course which accepts entry for year 2 and/or 3, you can find further information on this and information on how to apply on the RPL page. Please contact Admissions for any queries that you have on RPL.

Contact Us

For general enquiries please contact the Admissions Team on 029 2041 6044, email or tweet us @CMetAdmissions

For course specific enquiries, please contact the programme leader:
Tel: 02920 340296

Full terms and conditions in relation to accepting an offer to study at Cardiff Metropolitan University can be found by visiting