Cardiff School of Art & Design>Courses>Photography - BA (Hons) Degree

Photography - BA (Hons) Degree

Entry Year

Photography is a powerful language. It enables us to communicate complex ideas and emotions. It tells us what is considered important, and helps us to understand and question the past and the present.

Your unique vision can help to redefine the way we see the world around us. As a critical and creative photographer, you can contribute to creating the visual landscapes of the future.

The BA Photography degree at Cardiff Met will develop your understanding of technical, creative and conceptual approaches to photography, drawing inspiration from artistic and editorial approaches to image-making and experimental lens-based practices. You will acquire professional digital and film photography skills alongside a knowledge of photographic history and practice.

The BA Photography degree at Cardiff Met will develop your understanding of technical and conceptual approaches to photography, drawing inspiration from commercial, artistic and experimental lens-based mediums. You will acquire professional digital and film photography skills.

You will learn to critically evaluate your creative approaches to contemporary photographic practices, positioning these within wider visual culture. We will encourage you to pursue your own photographic interests, nurturing a unique way of seeing, and creating a dynamic portfolio of work.

You will develop a distinctive visual identity and an understanding of the ways in which your personal style might be applied to a range of contexts from fashion and fine arts to advertising and editorial.

This BA in Photography is based at our Cardiff School of Art & Design. The school has a longstanding partnership with Ffotogallery, the National Photography Agency for Wales, focused around short courses and workshops, paid internships and opportunities for students to exhibit and volunteer during their biennial Diffusion: Cardiff International Festival of Photography.

This degree will undergo a periodic review in 2023/4 to ensure the course content is and remains current. Should any changes to course content be made as a result of the review, all applicants will be informed once changes are confirmed.

Course Content

This course will develop skills and expertise in the following:

  • Analogue and digital image making skills
  • Studio & location lighting techniques
  • Photographic genres
  • Editing and sequencing
  • The language of photography
  • Digital workflow and post production
  • Portfolio development
  • Ethical protocols
  • Professional contexts (including budgeting, pricing, copyright, agencies, and market awareness)


Year One

Photography Fundamentals - 40 Credits

This module aims to introduce students to the basic fundamental skills, ideas, and technical processes relating to the field of photography and encourage them to apply appropriate production techniques to realise their ideas.

It will facilitate the planning of a response to a creative brief whilst developing students’ understanding of visual languages nurturing their ability to communicate ideas, emotions, and information via the photographic image.

The module will introduce students to the work of practitioners working in the field of photography, both contemporary and historical, and the critical ideas behind their work with the aim of developing students’ own ability to produce images actively and with purpose.

The focus is on manual camera handling, working in the photo studio, traditional darkroom techniques and digital imaging processes.

Photographic Perspectives - 20 Credits

This module aims to provide students with the opportunity to develop more advanced photographic skills and techniques whilst introducing them to a range of genres and contexts with regard to photographic and lens-based practices.

The focus is on working with professional formats and exploring key photographic genres and preparing images for display.

Students will develop creative image manipulation techniques and explore the differences between conceptual, functional and aesthetic approaches to photography.

It will develop students’ ability to reflect upon, and evaluate their own skills in order to identify the most appropriate approaches to the production of images in specific contexts.

The module will encourage students to consider the expectations, perceptions, and responses of their audience and reflect upon the historical, societal, and cultural dimensions of their own practice.

Collaborate - 20 Credits

The Collaborate module provides students with the opportunity to work collaboratively with students and academics from other subject areas on a holistic theme/problem introducing them to the concept of interdisciplinary collaboration.

Through focused engagement in their specific discipline area followed by collaborative engagement with other subject areas students will be able to identify key attributes of their discipline and how these can be utilised within an interdisciplinary context.

By working in a range of collaborative and independent mode of practice students will be given the opportunity to develop interpersonal and networking skills.

Concept - 40 Credits

The aim of the Concept module is to introduce students to a series of diverse historical and theoretical concepts and debates. Students will be introduced to a range of academic tools that will enable them to engage discursively with one another and the wider academic community.

Through exposure to research material in a series of Study Groups students will be encouraged to nurture independent interests and to locate these within a range of paradigms. This module will develop skills of academic research and writing alongside autonomous and enquiry-based learning.

It will develop a basic understanding of the relationship between theory and practice within both their core subject and transdisciplinary areas. The application of historical and contemporary theoretical perspectives relevant to global cultural contexts will also be addressed.

It will aim to introduce the possibility of a coherent and creative position in relation to art and design.

Year Two

Creative Photographic Practice - 40 Credits

This module will build on students’ foundational knowledge and will focus on their individual creative expertise within the context of contemporary cultural, ethical and professional photographic practices. It will support students’ development through independent enquiry, personal innovation, and risk taking, encouraging them to explore, experiment with, and gain an understanding of different forms of contemporary photographic practices.

The focus is on Experiment, Narrative and Context.

The module aims to extend students’ professional, technical, and intellectual skills and develop their confidence in order that they can identify where their individual creative practice is located within the broad spectrum of photographic and lens-based practices.

The module will require students to explore alternative and diverse avenues of expression, production and presentation to further develop their skills whilst developing a cohesive portfolio of work.

Explore - 40 Credits

This module aims to consolidate transdisciplinarity in the generation of creative ideas by offering students the opportunity to experience skillsets which exist outside the students’ subject specific domain and offers an environment to experiment and explore.

This allows students to plan a personal trajectory from a range of existing projects that can illuminate their creative path into their third year and beyond.

These pathways direct students towards possible professional avenues of practitioner, entrepreneur, and academic. This module will also nurture the students’ reflective writing skills that will illustrate the development and contextualising of ideas from their projects.

Critique - 40 Credits

This module aims to develop students’ confidence as they explore creative possibilities within their area of interest, underpinned by historical and theoretical concepts and debates through a process of critical evaluation within Constellation. The student will increasingly develop a personal stance from which to address a particular research interest that will form the foundation of their third year research.

It will build upon the skills of academic research, analysis and critical writing to engage in critique and further develop autonomous learning. It will identify relevant and challenging transdisciplinary contexts within which to situate specific areas of interest in Art and Design and critically apply historical and contemporary theoretical concepts and debates.

It will confirm and cohere creative positions in relation to theory and practice.

Year Three

Professional Photographic Practice - 40 Credits

This module aims to develop students’ understanding of strategic planning, negotiating workloads, and developing a professional portfolio. It will nurture students’ advanced professional intellectual and technical skills and develop the aesthetic judgement required from them at this level.

The focus is on photographic projects made for publication and planning a career in Photography.

Students will be able to deploy knowledge of general and specialist discipline areas through the engagement with an individually developed project that will demonstrate intellectual depth and rigour, synthesising ideas from a breath of a theoretical and practice based contexts. Creative thinking techniques will be evident through experimentation and innovation that clearly demonstrates an understanding of the specificity of audience.

This module will extend practical skills through the production and presentation of independent, high quality photographic work that has the appropriate intellectual underpinning.

Exposure - 40 Credits

This module is designed to enable students to actively build upon their own strengths and interests and to make critical decisions which will affect the ways in which a viewing public interpret and read their work, ultimately shaping their career, by building an advanced level of intellectual expertise and vocation into the core of their practice.

The module does this by a studio practice which exposes students to the intellectual, professional and strategic rigour of a public exhibition.

Thus this module is both the culmination of their creative practice and in many cases the launch pad for their professional careers and professional practice.

Contribution - 40 Credits

The final year Contribution project is a key element to any undergraduate degree as it represents the synthesis of the student’s creative endeavours within Constellation.

This is an opportunity for students to demonstrate independent study, to analyse and articulate information from a wide range of areas as presented in and inspired by Constellation, and to consolidate research in an intellectually ambitious arena.

This module challenges students to create a critical fusion between the student’s practical work, and transdisciplinary theoretical matters. In this module, students will be able to focus their academic interests and demonstrate academic skills, and present evidence of refinement and of autonomy, signifying a capacity to defend the critical position at the centre of their work. It will produce and effectively communicate an outcome that is situated in a relevant and challenging context of Art and Design.

It will present and defend a set of theoretical and contextual issues in an ambitious manner.

Learning & Teaching

Learning, teaching and assessment strategies seek to promote effective learning styles to create an environment of student participation and engagement in each subject; to encourage independent and life-long learning capability and to realise the full potential of each student.

The programme seeks to develop a teaching and learning culture that cultivates the inquisitive and creative mind whilst recognising the need to respond to the demands of professional photographic practice.

Acquisition of core knowledge and understanding is achieved mainly through a combination of lectures, tutorials, seminars, studio and practical workshops. More ‘advanced knowledge’ and understanding is obtained by the former as well as through independent study and specific group teamwork.

Within studio practice, the major teaching and learning strategy is the Project. Projects are of relatively long duration and are intended to broaden the student's intellectual and creative abilities. They seek to promote an attitude of critical analysis which challenges prior assumptions and aims for genuine innovation. They have prescribed limits and objectives but they do not necessarily have prescribed outcomes.

Project objectives are established at the outset and form part of the brief.

The assessment methods are also identified at this stage. Several types of project are used:


  • Mandatory Projects: staff-set with prescribed objectives and outcomes
  • Student-led Projects: determined by individual students in consultation with staff
  • 'Live' Projects: set by outside or Institute-based clients in consultation with staff.


All project work demands problem analysis, research, creativity, decision-making, practical and technical skills, communication and justification. Project outcomes are generally studio-based but may also be research-based.

Within a project a number of other learning and teaching strategies are utilised. These include:

  • Briefing sessions: used to clarify project objectives and limitations.
  • Project critiques: used to give students the opportunity to present and justify their work to their year group and to staff
  • Workshops: offering a range of practical and theoretical skills
  • Exercises: used to define and clarify specific aspects of the design process
  • Demonstrations: to promote 'learning through example'
  • Presentations: intended to encourage creativity, clarity and confidence in the oral and visual presentation of group or individual work.



Lectures deliver a coherent programme of study and general inspiration. They are supported by visual material and/or textual material. The content can be historical, theoretical, contextual or practical. Where appropriate, lectures are structured to involve students in discussion.

Modular Subject Tutorials

Tutorials are meetings of a student or group of students with a lecturer or lecturers and are used in two ways within the programme:

  • Expanding upon material covered in lectures through an enquiry-driven problem solving approach
  • Remedial work to overcome any deficiencies in a student’s background knowledge.
  • Workshops: offering a range of practical and theoretical skills



Seminars take three forms: those guided by staff where texts or artefacts are provided for students to present an analysis to their group; those where students select texts/artefacts for discussion within the group; and those where students present their own work or research findings.

Seminars are designed to encourage articulate and analytical presentation and, through group discussions, to develop an understanding of the subject and its context.

This is a central teaching & learning method particularly when relating the learning gained from the field and constellation and contextualising it and relating it back into the subject of photography.

Seminars may involve a student or students presenting previously prepared work to peers and a lecturer. This strategy is used to extend specific theoretical or practical concepts as well as introducing problem solving exercises.

Seminars provide students with valuable experience in presentational skills, blogs, wikis or podcasts, as well as providing staff with a method or assessing student-centred learning.

Practical Workshops

Practical workshops enable students to practice and refine their skills in a supportive environment where they can get feedback from a member of academic staff.

Practical workshops represent a valuable transition between theory and practice. Practical studio sessions, emphasising the application of fundamental principles of photography, focus on problem solving and development of creative and technical solutions to photographic projects.

Simulations, exercises and live projects involving external client provide a stimulating challenge for students working both independently and in groups to experience real world problems.

Students are encouraged to articulate their proposals in an objective and critical manner and to develop interpersonal communication skills that are vital to a professional photographer.


The Moodle virtual learning environment (VLE) is extensively used on the programme to enhance the student learning experience.

Apart from its widespread use as a repository for learning material and resources, the VLE is used to engage students in their own learning using wikis, blogs and discussion groups.

In addition, the VLE is used in formative assessment with the use of quizzes and self-diagnostic tests. It is also valuable as a means of communicating with students and a ‘home’ module for photography has been created to provide a focal point for communicating and posting information of a more general nature.

Electronic feedback is used through the VLE via use of the Grade Center.


Critiques are held at each assessment stage (interim or final) of an assignment or project in the studio-based modules where students present their work to the year group and tutor for feedback and debate.

This event is a cornerstone of the learning process. Assignments are designed to ensure that students tackle a wide range of case studies or precedent that illustrates a variety of situations or solutions.

The critique process ensures students learn from work being done by others as well as through their own efforts.


Throughout the duration of your studies, you will be evaluated on three main criteria, which underpin all of the disciplines being taught at CSAD: 

The practical, technical and conceptual skills you acquire during your course.

Your understanding and knowledge of broader intellectual context within which your discipline and work is located. This includes historical, environmental and ethical issues and will often be explored in your 'Theory and Context' modules.

Your understanding of intellectual and creative ideas from within and beyond your discipline; plus your ability to acquire new concepts and form new ideas. Ideas will be explored in your written work, as well as being evident in your practical progress. Each of these criteria is given equal weighting during the assessment process. That is to say that they are seen as equally important and critical to your development; an emphasis which is designed, for example, to enable a more well-rounded skill set from a student who may be skilled technically, but weak in generating ideas, or a student with much creative flair who may struggle to hone a broad concept into a strong, individual design. 

We provide a number of ways for you to track your progress en route to submitting your work for marking. Understanding that the emphases will revolve around the core areas of skills, context and ideas, you will also become familiar with the structured assessment form used by your tutors and learn to relate to your work back to the intended learning outcomes of each brief. 

The main types of formative assessment are; academic (feedback from your tutors); peer (from your course-mates or project partners); and self-assessment (which is your own critique, in light of other forms of feedback). You won't just be receiving feedback at the end of a brief, however – your tutors will often assess your progress as your work develops, providing formative feedback at crucial moments where it is hoped to encourage you to take risks, maintain your motivation or shape-up your ideas ahead of deadline.


Employability & Careers​

Graduates from the programme are well placed to work as independent photographers, join media & design companies or advertising agencies, or to be employed in the wider creative art and design industries.

During the course, there will be the opportunities to undertake live briefs and obtain work experience. This will include building contacts and undertaking placements as well as exposure to photography professionals through industry talks and mentoring. You will be offered support in forming your own business should you choose to do so.

Some graduates become teachers by taking a PGCE. Some graduates elect to take their studies further by studying at CSAD for a Master's level qualification and there are opportunities to take this further still, into research with a PhD or a Professional Doctorate in Art or Design.

Entry Requirements​ & How to Apply

Typical Offers

  • Tariff points: 96-120
  • Contextual offer: See our contextual offers page.
  • GCSE: Preferably five GCSEs at Grade C / 4 or above to include English Language / Welsh First Language, Mathematics / Mathematics – Numeracy.
  • English Language Requirement: Academic IELTS 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in all elements, or equivalent.
  • A level: Minimum three A levels. No specific subjects required. Welsh Baccalaureate – Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate considered as a third subject.
  • BTEC National / Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma: MMM-DDM
  • T Level: No specific subjects required.
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma: No specific subjects required.
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma: 24 points. No specific subjects required.
  • Irish Leaving Certificate: No specific subjects required. Higher level subjects only considered with a minimum grade H4.
  • Scottish Advanced Highers: No specific subjects required.
  • Other requirements: Successful interview and portfolio review. Applicants will be required to submit a digital portfolio.

Combinations of the above qualifications are accepted if they meet our minimum requirements. If your qualifications aren’t listed, please contact Admissions or refer to the UCAS Course Search.

Further information on Overseas qualifications can be found here.

If you are a mature applicant, have relevant experience or RPL that you would like us to consider, please contact Admissions.

How to Apply

Further information on how to apply can be found here.

Tuition Fees, Student Finance & Additional Costs

For up to date information on tuition fees and the financial support that may be available whilst at university, please refer to

Undergraduate costs of study in CSAD 


CSAD provides a variety of basic materials. These enable students to develop their competence in a range of skills and demonstrate their technical ability. Materials needed in unusual quantities, or those that are specialised, expensive or unusual are at the student’s expense. Advice will be given about how ‘unusual’ is defined, which materials are deemed to be ‘expensive’, and examples given of what is viewed to be ‘unusual’. CSAD students often elect to spend on materials they prefer to work with, including sketchbooks and pens, as well as specialist equipment of their own choosing. 

In the main, no charges are made for the use of equipment, with the exception of some specialist high end equipment such as the Mimaki and 3D printers. Access to Cardiff FabLab is subject to student membership; it offers reduced fees for student use. 

For further information about additional course costs, including fees, equipment requirements and other charges for each undergraduate programme, please visit

Field trips and visits 

Field trips that are part of core learning will be paid for by the School. Additional visits are occasionally arranged which are optional and where the students may be asked to share the costs. The costs of study abroad, including exchanges, placements and projects are the responsibility of the individual student.

Contact Us

For general enquiries please contact the Admissions Team on 029 2041 6044 or email

For course specific enquiries, please contact BA (Hons) Photography Admissions Tutor, Dr Duncan Cook:


We endeavour to deliver courses as described and will not normally make changes to courses, such as course title, content, delivery, and teaching provision. However, it may be necessary for the university to make changes in the course provision before or after enrolment. It reserves the right to make variations to content or delivery methods, including discontinuation or merging courses if such action is considered necessary. Please read our Terms and Conditions for the full information.

Key Course Information

UCAS Code:
W640 - 3 year degree

Place of Study: 
Cardiff School of Art and Design, Llandaff Campus

Cardiff School of Art & Design

Course Length:
Three years full-time. Four years full-time if undertaking year-long sandwich placement.

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