BA (Hons) Single

Photography is a practice-based course where you are encouraged to develop a highly individual approach.

Photography is an exciting and dynamic course of study, developing each student's individual approach to making photographic images. The programme is supported by guest lectures from international photographers, artists, writers and curators. 

The cross-flow of ideas between Photography and Fine Art is a core feature of the programme. Through the course you are encouraged to explore the material possibilities of the medium by developing digital and darkroom skills while investigating a wide range of different photographic forms including the print, artist's books and the photograph as object. We encourage a wide range of approaches to the medium including documentary, fashion and portraiture and fine art photography practice.

We also encourage interdisciplinary study and support access to other art production facilities and teaching contact across the department. Over the three years of the course, we encourage you to reinforce your practice with thorough and wide-ranging research.


The Photography programme at Chester is taught by artists, writers and curators, practicing in national and international contexts. This creates a learning environment which stimulates creative practice where the student is encouraged to explore all aspects of art photography.

The programme also relates photographic practice to other areas of study, including popular culture, cinema, sociology and psychoanalysis. The city's proximity to the cultural capitals of Liverpool (40 mins), Manchester (1 hour) and London (2 hours) by rail provides access to important archives, galleries and museums.

The modules given below are the latest example of the curriculum available on this degree programme.  Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to change from time to time as part of the University’s commitment to curriculum enhancement.

Year 1 (Level 4)

Photography Practices (40 credits)

Students are introduced to all aspects of the medium - analogue and digital and are taught to use all camera formats via location, studio and workshop teaching whilst relating their work to the practice of other photographers. Students begin to prepare a professional approach to portfolio and exhibition possibilities which continues throughout the course.

Photography Theory (20 credits)

A series of lectures and seminars address the histories and theories of photographic practice from its pre-existence and its invention through to its contemporary usage as part of contemporary art practice.

Year 2 (Level 5)

Contextual Practice (40 credits)

This module merges practice and theory as you develop an emerging visual identity as a photographer. In agreement with your tutor you will start to identify personal work supported by thorough artist research. You are encouraged to explore and experiment in more than one area of investigation which could include moving image, printmaking or artist's books.

Collaborative Practice (20 credits)

This is an optional module where you develop an in-house and public display of your work within a group context. You are encouraged to explore contemporary approaches to showing work which could include making artefacts, an installation, a performance or a time-based piece. The module is supported by teaching which deals with the logistics of this practice, curation, and the history of artist collaboration.

Fine Art Experiential Learning and Work Based Learning

During the second year, students elect to study either the Work Based Learning module or Fine Art and Photography Experiential Learning module. Work Based Learning is a more general option providing work experience within a wider social and/or commercial context. Fine Art and Photography Experiential Learning provides the opportunity to work in a creative environment related to an area of Fine Art or Photography practice. Previous students have undertaken work in agencies, photographic studios, museums and galleries, as well as in forensics, or undertaken practice-based travel or residential projects at home and abroad.

Year 3 (Level 6)

Negotiated Photography Project (40 credits)

By Year 3, you will have established a self-directed approach to your photographic practice which is supported by individual tutorials where your specific interests are discussed with a view to the final degree show exhibition.

Students continue to explore the boundaries of their practice and produce experimental and innovative work. This includes the production of handmade books, moving image, performance, and installation-based photographic artworks.

Fine Art and Photography Professional Practice (20 credits)

Photography Critical Essay

Students who major in Photography engage in seminar discussions which the address key issues informing contemporary photographic art practice. This is delivered via a series of lectures which are orientated around the relationship of still and moving image (video and cinema), and a wide range of other subjects. Students negotiate their own essay topic and write an extended essay, which relates to and informs their practical work.

All teaching is delivered via studio, location and workshop teaching, seminars and tutorials. Group and individual tutorials are key to each student's progress where advice is given specific to each individual's need. As a result, students ultimately develop an autonomous and critical approach to their own learning whilst production time and teaching/technical support is available outside timetabled teaching.

Study visits to museums and galleries are key to the student's knowledge base and understanding of photography. These include trips to galleries and archives locally in Liverpool and Manchester, in London, and abroad in Paris and New York.

You may be assessed by the following methods:

  • An examination of practical work presented in a portfolio (which may be in a digital audio or video format) or as an exhibition/installation.
  • An assessment of a written assignment.
  • Assessment of a research journal that documents the contextual framework that emerges out of any given set of practical work.
  • A verbal presentation.

These forms of assessment contribute in various proportions to the overall mark of any given module. This type of assessment is usually referred to as summative assessment.

Formative assessment occurs as part of an ongoing review of your work, but no marks are awarded as part of this process. Through reflection, discussion, comparison and feedback within individual and group sessions, you will be encouraged to develop your work in an informed and critical manner. An important factor in this type of feedback is the development of your own ability to self-assess and reflect critically upon your work.

You will be equipped with transferable skills which are valued by employers such as:

  • creativity;
  • observational skills;
  • time management;
  • technical skills;
  • capacity to work independently;
  • entrepreneurial skills;
  • ICT.

If you are studying this course on a combined basis you should look at options with both subjects.

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UCAS points:

280 UCAS points from GCE A Levels or equivalent, including Art & Design, Fine Art, Photography or an Art-related subject. Typical offer - BCC/BBC

BTEC Extended Diploma (Art & Design): DMM

BTEC Diploma (Art & Design): D*D*

Irish/Scottish Highers: B in 4 subjects, including Art
International Baccalaureate: 26 points, including 5 in HL Visual Arts
Access: Access to HE Diploma (Art & Design) to include 45 credits at level 3, 30 of which must be at Merit

OCR National Extended Diploma (Art & Design): Merit 2

OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma (Art & Design): DMM

OCR Cambridge Technical Diploma (Art & Design): D*D*

Additional information:

Please note that we accept a maximum of 20 UCAS points from GCE AS Levels and that the Welsh Baccalaureate (core) and A Level General Studies will be recognised in our offer.  We will also consider a combination of A Levels and BTECs/OCRs.

Note: Applicants will be required to attend an interview, before an offer of a place can be made. 

Contact us

For details about your course or your application please get in touch.

Laura Clarke

I also chose it because they offered combined courses and I was still a little unsure as to what I wanted to study. This way I got to do both.”

Photography and JournalismLaura Clarke