Photography Foundation Degree FdA (Subject to validation)

This course is validated by: Lancaster University
Location: University Centre at Blackburn College
UCAS Code: W640
Code: IA2520A14
Fees: View fees and financial information
Validated by: Lancaster University
Study Mode: Full Time, Part Time
Duration: Full time: 2 academic years
Part time: 4 academic years
Start Dates: september 2020
Term Dates: View term dates

Our Foundation Degree in Photography has been designed to give you the knowledge and real-life skills that are needed to join and sustain a range of graduate-level jobs in the varied Photography industry.

This is an exciting, but challenging, time to be entering the photographic industry. Never has photography been so popular, nor so competitive. As such our course has been designed to ensure our graduates are tenacious, flexible and excited by the new opportunities that are available in photography and are fully aware of the niches that can be carved within the creative industries.

Our Photography degree will provide you with all the skills necessary to succeed in this competitive industry and lets you specialise in areas that are of interest to you in the later stages of the programme. Our staff team includes practitioners who have international reputations and that understand the current trends and demands of the photography sector.

The course is small enough to cater for a variety of specialist interests but large enough for you to collaborate with fellow students and undertake substantial group projects. Opportunities have existed to support students with interests from photo-journalism, to contemporary fashion, to develop specialisms in the use of either digital or conventional photographic technology. Visits and trips both internationally and nationally take part throughout the course as part of the curriculum.

Opportunity for trips throughout the course also include: London, New York, Paris, Berlin as well as visits closer to home such as the National Media Museum in Bradford and the Liverpool and Manchester galleries and museum. Location photography shoots in Lancashire and Cumbria, both countryside and coastal regions, also form part of the course.

What will I study?

During the course of the programme you will study a range of subjects directly associated with the photography industry.

In the first year, if you study full-time, modules are designed to help you experience the breadth of opportunities that are available in the photography sector and will encourage you to consider your own career options and personal development to enable you to specialise in a personal project in the later stages of the course.

Studio photography plays an important part of the first part of the programme, with key workshops that reflect current lighting techniques used in contemporary photography, delivered by practitioners from the area of fashion and portrait photography.

You will also undertake a larger module and learn how to research, plan, instigate and carry out a large photography project. The skills developed in the first stage of the foundation degree will help you progress to later stages in the course.

In the second year of the course you will consider the business of photography and develop the skills required for industrial practice as well as refining and developing your specialist photography skills. Students will the opportunity to undertake a range of live assignments within a professional setting. The programme is affiliated to the Association of Photographers, to ensure our curriculum meets the expectations of the profession.

During the course you will be required to spend at least 240 hours (120 hours per year if you study full-time) working in a relevant role in order improve your photography knowledge and practice as well as gaining photographic work experience. This may be through paid employment or via a voluntary ‘placement’ in a relevant role. You'll be offered a great deal of flexibility surrounding your work-based learning experience. You'll build up the skills you'll need if you wish to go on to become self-employed. Additionally, you might shadow/assist studio photographers, press photographers, work within the Press or newsroom environments or alongside other industry professionals. Students have also worked with museums, archives or marketing or product photography for local employers.

In the later stages of the course you will conduct a Personal Project and a Live Project which will allow you to focus on an area of photography of interest to you (e.g. Fashion, landscape, product or press photography.)

Alongside all the modules you will develop your academic skills that will help you progress smoothly onto BA (Hons) Photography (Top Up) to complete an Honours level qualification.

All students take a total of 120 credits per level.

Level 4 Modules (all modules are mandatory) include:

  • The Industry
  • The Reflective Practitioner
  • Planning a Photography Project
  • The Studio
  • Contextual Studies
  • Research Methods

Level 5 Modules (all modules are mandatory) include:

  • Critical Studies
  • The Business
  • Work Based Learning
  • Personal Project
  • Live Project
  • Technology and Innovation
Entry Requirements

You’ll need 48 UCAS points to join this programme (formerly 120 UCAS points). All applicants must show that they have a good level of spoken or written English, and if English is not your first language you’ll need to demonstrate the ability to study in English.

All applicants will have to interview successfully and must show a portfolio of work indicating an awareness of what constitutes art and design theory and practice, competence in basic skills such as drawing and computing and enthusiasm for the subject.

Applicants who do not meet the standard entry criteria but have relevant work / life experience will be considered on an individual basis and may be invited to interview. 

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed by a range of methods throughout the course. These have been designed to help you build a range of skills that will help prepare you for your future employment. As such, assessments on the course include: the production of online course blogs, final practical solutions to photography briefs, the production of logbooks, Journals, Sketchbooks and production diaries. Assessments also include: Portfolio productions, Peer assessments, Group assessment, Exhibitions, Presentations and project pitches, Written essays, Project proposals and schedules, Project reports and the preparation of Evaluative statements.

Formative and summative assessments enable lecturers or tutors to monitor the learning that has/is taking place. Formative assessment is not always noticeable by the student as it is a continuous process; lecturers or assessors may observe participation and responses to class discussions and group work, a student’s response to question and answer sessions, participation in workshop practical and engagement with demonstrations. Each module is formally assessed through, for example, examination, open-book test, individual and group presentation, essay, observation of practice, assessment of course work e.g. art portfolio, written report, reflective practice and portfolios of evidence.

Students receive both formal and informal feedback. Formal feedback is through assessments, is usually in writing and given within 3 weeks following the submission date. However, some lecturers will provide group feedback, for example, following an examination they may choose to work through the exam paper in a tutorial. It should be noted that feedback is part of the ongoing learning cycle which is not limited to written feedback. Other forms of feedback include one-to-one meetings with a personal tutor, dissertation and project supervision meetings, a lecturer responding to learner questions or responses during topic or situation discussions.

Teaching and Learning

The learning environment and facilities could include lecture theatres, classrooms, technology suites, laboratories and workshops, library and skills labs, art and photography studios, small group and quiet zones. Learning methods will vary according to the programme of study but will include lectures and group tutorials. In addition, seminars, field trips, work placements, role play or scenario activities, laboratory and workshop practical, demonstrations, guest lectures, discussions and debates all contribute to the learning experience to support the acquisition of subject specific skills and knowledge and the development of transferable and employment related skills.

You should typically expect to have around 15 contact hours per week if you are studying full time.

In addition, you will have timetabled meetings with your personal tutor.  

You will be taught by an experienced teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course.  The team could include senior academics, professional practitioners with industry experience, demonstrators and technical officers.  You can learn more about our staff by visiting our staff profiles.


We endeavour to make timetables available one month before you start your course.  Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week.  Part-time classes are normally scheduled on one or two days per week. 

Overall Workload

You overall workload consists of class contact hours, around 15 hours of independent learning and assessment activity and any field trips which may take place.

Academic Support

We have a dedicated Student Engagement Team who will be able to provide support in the following areas;

  • Study Skills (including reading, note-taking and presentation skills)
  • Written English
  • Academic Writing (including referencing)
  • Research Skills

Work Placement

During the course you are required to spend at least 240 hours working in a relevant role in order to improve your knowledge and practice of the subject. This may be through paid employment or via a voluntary work placement in a relevant role. Your work placement is expected to have a focus on applying the knowledge from your degree programme in an employment context.

Please note: work placements are subject to availability.  You are also responsible for any costs in travelling to and from your work placements, for any accommodation costs and in some instances the cost of acquiring a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) report.

What can I do next?

It is intended that the majority of students will progress to Honours level and go on to complete the BA (Hons) Photography (Top Up) programme. You will need to have completed your foundation degree with an overall grade profile of pass and above to progress to this level of study.

Graduates from the foundation degree have gone on to lead interesting and high profile careers. Destinations include: work as a senior designer at HemmingwayDesign; the owner of a successful wedding photography business in Pendle, Lancashire; full-time employment at a Manchester-based architectural photography practice, full-time press photographer and videographer, freelance photographer for MacDonald Hotel chain – appointed to photograph landscapes for hotels across Scotland; full-time fashion photographer undertaking commissions for fashion houses such as Pierre Garroudi and editorial commissions for magazines including Elle, Amor, Dot Dot Dot and Marie Claire.

After completing BA (Hons) Photography students have also progressed onto PGCEs and are now working as fully-qualified teachers. 

Supplementary Information

Download the Programme Specification for FdA Photography. The Programme Specification will give you further information about the course structure, learning outcomes and detailed information about the assessment you can expect during the course.

Work Placements

Work placements are subject to availability.  You are also responsible for any costs in travelling to and from your work placements, for any accommodation costs and in some instances the cost of acquiring a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) report.

What does ‘subject to validation’ mean?

We are continually looking at enhancing our courses to ensure they are up to date and relevant. This means we may add new courses or update existing courses in our portfolio. As this happens, the courses are advertised as ‘subject to validation’ to make you aware that the course you are looking at may not yet be finalised, or is undergoing changes.

Any course listed as ‘subject to validation’ is in the process of approval. Validation is a rigorous process undertaken with academic staff, students, independent subject experts and employers to ensure the course is current, of high quality, and able to prepare students well for their future employment or further study.

Success through validation is not guaranteed, which is why courses are highlighted as ‘subject to validation’. In the event the course is significantly amended, or does not meet the necessary requirements for a successful validation, we will get in touch to support you in finding a suitable alternative, either at Blackburn College or at another provider.


Career Options


  • £
    + starting salary
  • variable hours per week

If you are artistic and love taking photographs, this could be a perfect career for you. As a photographer you would use cameras to take still photographs. You would use your technical skills and artistic ideas to take images of people and products. You will also take pictures of places or events.

A photographer is usually a creative person. You’ll also need to be able to make people feel relaxed.

Most professional photographers take a college or university course to develop their technical skills.

Job Opportunites in Lancashire

Photographic Stylist

  • £
    + starting salary
  • Variable hours per week

If you have a good eye for shape and colour, and you would like to work in photography, this job could suit you.

As a photographic stylist, you would work closely with photographers to create the right ‘look’ and mood for a photo shoot. It would be your job to find props, dress the set and organise behind the scenes.

In this job you would need to have an understanding of photography and lighting. You would also need 'people skills'.

You would normally come to photographic styling from a fashion, photography or design background. You will be able to learn some of the skills you need by doing a college or university course. However, this is a job where it is important to get as much experience as possible, whether it is through paid employment, a work placement or as a volunteer.

Job Opportunites in Lancashire

Photographic Technician

  • £
    + starting salary
  • 37-40 hours per week

Photographic technicians produce images from digital files, either as prints on photographic paper or on a wide variety of other media, such as mouse mats, t-shirts, mugs and posters. If you are interested in photography and can work accurately, this job could be ideal for you.

In this job you would need to have good colour vision. You will also need to have computer skills and be good at dealing with customers.

There aren't any set entry requirements to get into this job, but some employers may prefer you to have GCSEs including maths and science, or qualifications of a similar level. There are college and university courses in photography you can do that could help you develop the skills you would need.

Job Opportunites in Lancashire

Advertising Art Director

  • £
    + starting salary
  • Variable hours per week

Art directors or 'creatives' design the visuals for eye-catching advertising campaigns. If you have imagination and a flair for art and design there could be opportunities for you in this career.

You’ll need to be a good communicator and work well in a team. Resilience will help you deal with the feedback you get on your work and give you the ability to work to tight deadlines.

Your creativity and ability in art and design are the most important things to many employers. However, most new art directors have studied design and have an HND or degree in graphic design, advertising design, illustration or fine art.?

Job Opportunites in Lancashire

Art Gallery Curator

  • £
    + starting salary
  • 37 hours per week

Art gallery curators manage collections of paintings and objects. These are usually of artistic and historical interest.

To work in an art gallery you should have a keen interest in art. You should have good organisational skills. You’ll also need strong communication and people skills.

To do this job you would usually need a degree in a relevant subject such as art or art history.?

Job Opportunites in Lancashire

Museum Curator

  • £
    + starting salary
  • 36 to 37 hours per week

If you are interested in arts and history, and you have organisational skills, this job could be ideal for you.

As a museum curator, you would manage collections of objects of artistic, scientific, historical and general interest.

In this job you would need to be good at making decisions. You would also need to be accurate in your work.

To get into this job you would usually need a degree and a postgraduate qualification in a relevant subject like museum or heritage studies. Paid or unpaid work experience will also be essential.

Job Opportunites in Lancashire

Museum Assistant

  • £
    + starting salary
  • 37 hours per week

If you are a responsible person who likes working with people, and you would like to work in cultural heritage, this job could be a perfect match for you.

Museum assistants are responsible for customer care and security in museums and galleries.

In this job you would need good communication and customer service skills. You would also need to be good at keeping your concentration over long periods of time.

To get into this job you don't usually need any particular qualifications, although a good general standard of education, especially in English and maths, will help you. Some museums may ask for at least for GCSEs or even A levels. Experience of serving customers, specialist historical knowledge or voluntary work in a museum can also help you to get in. You may be able to get into this job through an apprenticeship. ??

Job Opportunites in Lancashire

Reprographic Assistant

  • £
    + starting salary
  • 35-40 hours per week

Reprographic assistants, also known as print room operators, use photocopying machines and printers to produce all kinds of items like documents, brochures, leaflets and pictures. They also ‘finish’ the printed materials by binding or mounting them.

In this job, you’ll need to be well organised, able to follow job instructions and be comfortable working under pressure to deadlines.

You may need some GCSEs to start, for example maths, English and art and design, although this is not always essential. You may also be able to get into this work through an Apprenticeship scheme.

Job Opportunites in Lancashire