Photography Foundation Degree FdA

This course is validated by: Lancaster University
Award: Foundation Degree in Photographic Media
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 Years
Part time: 4 Years
Start Dates: september 2018
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.

Modules include:

  • The Industry
  • The Reflective Practitioner
  • Planning a Photography Project
  • The Studio
  • Contextual Studies
  • Research Methods
  • Critical Studies
  • The Business
  • Work Based Learning
  • Personal Project
  • Live Project
  • Technology and Innovation

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.

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. 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.

If you are an International Student from outside of the EU it is a requirement for you to have a Tier 4 Visa in order to study with us. In order for you to undertake this particular programme of study, you will also need to demonstrate that you have a good level of written and spoken English and will require a UK VI Academic IELTS score of 5.5. Please note: the fees for International Students from outside of the EU, for this particular programme are £9,250 per year. Fees are subject to change in subsequent years.

New UCAS Tariff 2017 Entry. UCAS has introduced a new tariff system which aims to provide a fair and more transparent process of allocating tariff points across a wide range of qualifications. This new tariff system will be used for courses starting 2017. Applicants should note that new tariff points for a qualification may be different to the points for the same qualification in the previous system – generally tariff points will be lower on the new tariff.


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. Summative 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 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.

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. 

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“I’ve been able to gain a huge amount of work experience through the course and tutors at Blackburn College and have hooked me up to work with local agency Source Creative, BCW Engineering in Burnley, Blackburn-based Daniel Coletta Chocolat and Darwen company Bowland Trading. I am now earning money from my photography even though I’m still studying.”

Richard Tymon - Photography student
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