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Photography degrees | course guide

A Photography degree will develop your talent to capture powerful images that could shape a news story, a fashion brand, or appear in an art gallery.

Side view of photography camera


  1. What’s Photography?

  2. What Photography degrees can you study?

  3. What do you need to get onto a Photography degree?

  4. What topics does a Photography degree cover?

  5. How will you be assessed?

  6. Why study Photography?

  7. What do Photography graduates earn?

  8. What jobs can you get as a Photography graduate?

  9. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

  10. Similar subjects to Photography

  11. Have any questions?

What’s Photography?

Photography is the capture of an image using a camera – but more importantly, a photograph reflects the eye of the photographer. A degree course in Photography aims to hone your talent so that you can build a strong body of work, able to capture the attention of the public, whether in creative or commercial photography.

What Photography degrees can you study?

Photography undergraduate degrees on offer in the UK may focus on artistic expression or the requirement to meet a brief. Examples include:

  • Commercial Photography BA
  • Fine Art Photography BA
  • Photography BA
  • Photography with Video BA

Options can include an integrated foundation year or Year 0 to build your academic or practical skills. Placements and exchanges may be available. Suitably qualified applicants may be able to join courses in the second year.

  1. GO TO 
  2. Find a Photography undergraduate degree 
  3. Types of undergraduate degrees 

What do you need to get onto a Photography degree?

Typically, a Photography degree requires between 88–128 UCAS points, although some courses have lower requirements. Not all unis base their offer on UCAS points; entry requirements may include the following:

  • A Levels: ABB–CCD
  • Scottish Highers: AABB– CCCCC
  • International Baccalaureate: 24 or more
  • Universities will sometimes ask that you have studied an art-related subject

Experience that would look good on your application:

  • You’ll be assessed primarily on your portfolio, so look for experience that develops your style or approach to photography
  • Extracurricular courses
  • Shadowing or assisting a photographer
  • Independent reading that reflects your personal interest in the subject and specific influences
  • Summer schools, if available

Other requirements for this subject include:

  • Applicants will be selected primarily through a portfolio submission and/or interview
  • Portfolios may be required in digital format to be submitted online
  • Subjects aren’t specified, but you’ll need a reasonable level of English to meet the requirements of written academic work
  1. GO TO 
  2. Entry requirements 
  3. About UCAS points 
  4. Alternatives to A Levels

What topics does a Photography degree cover?

Typical modules on a course in this subject may include:

  • Approaches to commercial practice
  • Concept development
  • Contextual studies
  • Issues in representation
  • Professional practice
  • Visual narratives

How will you be assessed?

Some degrees may be assessed entirely on coursework. Others may include a mix of the following:

  • Coursework
  • Essays
  • Dissertation

Why study Photography?

As well as building your creative expression, you’ll also gain a wide variety of skills that enable you to work in photography – or indeed, in a range of creative professions.

Career-specific skills:

  • Knowledge and skills required to become a freelance photographer
  • Knowledge of the photographic sector, professional bodies, outlets for work
  • Studio and darkroom practices
  • Digital image editing
  • Working to meet client briefs

Transferable skills:

  • Organisational skills and project management
  • Independent working or group collaboration
  • Problem-solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Research
  • Communication
  • Presentation and marketing skills

What do Photography graduates earn?

The salary of a Photography graduate will vary widely, even from one year to another.

Many photographers start off earning £18,000 or less – however, those who can build a reputation and gain steady work could make between £20,000–£45,000. It’s common for freelance photographers to combine their photographic work with another source of income, such as part-time work.

Those who go into a related area of work, such as becoming an advertising creative, may initially earn around £18,000. Climb to art director level, and the average earnings are £65,000 a year.

What jobs can you get as a Photography graduate?

Photography graduates could work independently as freelance photographers or artists or in a range of creative or cultural jobs:

  • Art therapist (with further training)
  • Community arts leader
  • Editorial photographer
  • Exhibition curator
  • Gallery curator
  • Media researcher
  • Photographic technician
  • Photojournalist
  • Picture editor
  • Product photographer
  • Teacher
  • Visual merchandiser

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

Many universities offer master’s courses in photography, while others offer specialised courses. For example:

  • Commercial Photography MA
  • Digital Media Processing and Biometrics MRes
  • Fashion Photography MA
  • Photography MFA/MA
  • Photojournalism and Documentary Photography MA
  1. GO TO
  2. Find postgraduate courses for Photography
  3. Type of postgraduate degrees

Similar subjects to Photography

Other creative subjects you could consider include:

Have any questions?

Get in touch with our experts by emailing if you’ve any questions about studying for a Photography degree. We’ll be happy to hear from you!

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