Anyone can press the button on a camera. Our BA (Hons) Photography course will encourage you to critically consider every aspect of this art form, from the composition, to the audience and post-production. You’ll learn about the world of visual language and image making, from art direction to curating, and learn to use a wide range of traditional and digital formats and equipment.

We’re looking for students with a range of interests and an open mind, who embrace broader practices around photography, which is becoming increasingly important as photographers work across genres.

You will have access to our award-winning facilities and equipment including 35mm, medium and large-format cameras, medium-format digital camera backs, digital SLRs, lenses and lighting gear. You will learn how to use our fully equipped lighting studios, infinity coves, and black-and-white darkrooms with 35mm, medium and large-format capabilities. We have colour-film processors, film scanners, digital video cameras and edit suites, and Mac suites that feature industry-standard software.

This is an outward-looking course, designed to maximise your employability or freelance success on graduation. Beside learning extensive technical skills, you’ll benefit from enterprise and business skills (including copyright and licensing), networking, mentoring, work experience opportunities and guest speakers. Collaborations with students on other courses will help you to build a diverse portfolio of experience.

Our programme of internationally renowned speakers has included Martin Parr, Erik Kessels, Ewen Spencer, Anouk Kruithof, Cristina De Middel, Guy Martin, Thijs Groot Wassink (WassinkLungdren), Simon Roberts and Kevin Cummins. In the past there have been study visits to Paris, Los Angeles, Berlin, Shanghai, Tokyo and New York, plus day-trips within the UK and to the Format International Photography Festival in Derby.


course details

What You'll Study

Year One — You’ll focus on developing your technical photography skills and learn about historical and contemporary perspectives on photography. You’ll develop your studio practice and photographic workflow.

Year Two — This is a more conceptual year which also builds on your own specialist photographic practice. You’ll learn business skills for freelancing or running your own business, and guest speakers will relate their own experiences. You’ll respond to live commercial/community briefs and you’ll have the opportunity to arrange work experience.

Year Three — You’ll continue your practice to build an extensive portfolio, and contribute to the end of year show. A module will develop your professional practices, and you’ll be encouraged to seek feedback from industry on your work.

Work Experience

Work experience covers a broad range of activities and students are encouraged to undertake work placements during their time at University. As well as guidance from the course team our Careers, Employability and Enterprise team offer support that enhances employability skills and underpins engagement with industry.


Students have won a raft of international awards and gained industry attention, including:

  • Student work featured on i-d Italy in 2017
  • Student work selected by Mike Trow, Picture Editor, British Vogue and Anne Lyden, International Photography Curator, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, published in Source Photographic Journal in 2016
  • An international competition to photograph the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship in Sweden, leading to regular work as a sports photographer
  • A competition to participate in a Magnum Photos workshop at Goa Photo Festival in Panaji, India with Magnum Photographer, Stuart Franklin (winner 2015)
  • RPS Photobook Competition (winner, selected by Gerry Badger)
  • The Clothes Show Live Young Fashion Photographer of the Year
  • WPO People’s Choice Video Award
  • The Fuji Student Photographer of the Year

Course Specification

Contact Hours & Teaching/Learning Methods

Undergraduate degree programmes at Leeds Arts University are delivered and supported through a range of teaching and learning strategies. Programmes are made up of modules, these are elements of study that are taught and assessed separately. Each module carries a clearly identified credit value, the accumulation of which will allow you to progress to the next level of the programme. 100 hours of learning are expected for every ten credits of the programme. Each level (year) of the programme is made up of 120 credits and therefore requires 1200 hours of learning. This equates to 40 hours of study per week throughout the academic year.

For every 100 hours of learning, approximately 25 hours are delivered as taught or supported sessions and remaining hours are allocated for studio/workshop access and independent learning. Individual programmes have their own learning cultures based on their specific use of the teaching and learning methods listed here. These methods feature differently depending on the programme, level, aims of module, content of the sessions and progress through an academic year.

For further information see our Undergraduate teaching & learning at Leeds Arts University document.

Destination Careers

Graduates have gone on to work as freelance photographers, for agencies, in galleries and curating, and in post-production.

Entry Requirements

We’re looking for students with the best potential to succeed - irrespective of their background. That’s why we welcome a wide range of qualifications and experience.

Click here to view our entry requirements

Portfolio Guide

A well presented portfolio says a lot about an applicant and their work. Our guidance is not meant to limit your creative statement.

In general terms however we would expect the following:

  • Examples of your photographic practice which demonstrate a range of skills, preferably exploring both traditional and digital methods.
  • Examples of idea development.
  • Sketchbooks and notebooks.
  • An example of your written work.

At this stage in your career we would much rather see experimental and innovative developmental work rather than necessarily all finished work showing a final solution. We would like to see a personal and well presented portfolio.

We do not need to see all the work you have produced.

We also run a range of daytime and evening portfolio development courses specialising in preparation for further and higher art and design education. For more information on current courses please click here.

Interview Guide

When you arrive at reception you will be met by a member of the course team who will take you to the studio. You will be part of a small group of applicants who have been given the same half day interview slot.

You and the rest of this group will be given an overview of the course. You will have the opportunity to ask questions. You will then have a 15 minute personal interview with your work.

Since we interview several students in one half day session, you should be prepared to be in the University for up to two and a half hours. If you have had to travel long distances and have a train pre-booked, please let us know in advance and we will try to arrange the timing of your interview so you can get away in time.


This is identified from one or more of the following:

Skill and inventiveness in the use of lens based media.

  • Samples of work

The ability to generate and develop a range of creative ideas in response to briefs.

  • Samples of work

Evidence of research skills, with an awareness of the work of current practitioners in lens based media.

  • Samples of work
  • Interview
  • Personal statement

Ability to communicate ideas and interests effectively.

  • Interview
  • Personal statement
  • Written work

Tuition Fees and Other Costs

Tuition Fees

Our current fees are listed here

Other Costs

Further costs of study are related largely to the costs of materials and depend very much on how individual students choose to respond to University briefs. The costs below are the result of asking our students to state how much they spend during the year and creating an average, as such they are indicative only.

Equipment & Materials

  • Level 4 (First Year) Printing and materials costs approximately £80; £100 for external hard drive.
  • Level 5 (Second Year) Printing and materials costs approximately between £20 and £200
  • Level 6 (Third Year) Printing and materials costs approximately between £20 and £400


In the first year we visit Featherstone Castle in Northumberland for two nights, the cost is approximately £55.

Level 6 are expected to participate in the visit to Paris for the Paris Photo and Offprint events in November. The cost of this is approximately £270.

There are a number of opportunities to attend residential visits overseas (not compulsory). The cost for these trips will be influenced by the destination. We anticipate a European and international trip within each year.


Terms & Conditions and Key Information

Our Terms & Conditions are here.

If you would like to download the Key Information on this course click here.

International Opportunities / Visiting and exchange students

We are delighted to welcome undergraduate visiting and exchange students from Europe and around the world who would like to spend a semester or a full academic year taking credits from our exciting range of courses. You will be fully integrated into the academic and social life of the University during a period of full-time supervised study and your credits transferred back to your home institution.

You can join us through programmes such as Erasmus+, individual university partnerships or as an independent applicant. Please see here for more information and how to apply.

Leeds Arts University students interested in spending some time overseas can find information on the international opportunities available during your course here.

Questions? Contact

3 Years
Study Mode
Full Time
Term Starts
Institution Name
Leeds Arts University
Institution Code
Awarded by
Leeds Arts University


BA (Hons) Photography

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"You will be encouraged to become ambitious, curious and innovative whilst learning how to make sense of the world using visual language."
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BA (Hons) Photography