University of Chester

Programme Specification
Photography BA (Hons) (Combined Honours)
2017 - 2018

Bachelor of Arts (Combined Honours)



University of Chester

University of Chester

Kingsway Buildings

Undergraduate Modular Programme

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

3 years

7 Years

Annual - September




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Arts and Humanities Art and Design

Art & Design


Art and Design

Wednesday 10th December 2014

  • To facilitate the study of Photography through practice-based, research-led teaching within a multidisciplinary art-based context.
  • To acquire the specific skills and professional knowledge in the practice of photography which will enable students to seek a career in art-related professions or the cultural industries.
  • To provide opportunities for a wide range of students, with diverse experiences, qualifications, and origins to think in creative, critical and analytical ways so that they may be prepared for graduate employment.
  • To enable students to progressively locate their study of photographic art practice in a theoretical, social and historical context.
  • To develop students critical ability and understanding of the visual and aesthetic implications of the medium through reflection, contextualisation and self-appraisal.
  • To develop self-motivated and autonomous learning in an environment conducive to intellectual and visual experimentation and exploration.
  • To equip students with the practical and intellectual confidence and capability to produce a body of work in the form of an exhibition.

The following outcomes derive in general from the Subject Benchmark Statement for Art & Design.
The programme team understands the importance of the facilitation and acquisition of appropriate knowledge and understanding in regards to key attributes and skills, professional practice, and personal development.

From the outset of the course students will begin to acquire a knowledge-base related to the history and theory of photography in relation to their burgeoning practice. As the course proceeds students will align their own practice with an understanding of the context in which it is situated, set against the research which informs this practice. The course advocates a meeting of practice and theory in the widest sense. 

 Students will demonstrate the ability to: 

FHEQ Level 4:

  • Acquire technical skills in the use of materials, techniques and technologies related to digital and analogue forms of photography (AD4301)
  • Form an understanding of the historical and theoretical contexts within which photographic practice is situated (AD4302)
  • Exercise rigour and self-management with regard to workflow and deadlines (AD4301) 

FHEQ Level 5:

  • Independently generate concepts, proposals and practices as part of self-initiated responses to a range of project briefs (AD5301 & AD5302)
  • Adopt different modes of thinking in order to develop alternative forms of investigation, speculative inquiry, visualisation and making (AD5104, AD5301 & AD5302)
  • Analyse information and critically reflect upon experiences, in order to formulate coherent responses in visual and written form (AD5301 & AD5302)
  • Select, test and make appropriate use of materials, processes and environments (AD5301 & AD5302) 

 FHEQ Level 6:

  • Integrate an appropriate contextual framework related to practical outcomes as either images, artefacts, products, systems and processes (AD6301 & AD6302)
  • Articulate the relationship of a parallel body of research related to their practice in critically reflective annotation and academic writing (AD6301 & AD6302)
  • Apply entrepreneurial skills to enhance their own practice and employability, and/or the practices of others (AD6110) 

The Module Descriptors provide a more detailed account of the learning and teaching processes and their relationship with the following: independent study, set goals, deadline and workload management; contingent situations related to other factors which might include ambiguity, uncertainty, and unfamiliarity, and the ability to work in collaboration with peers and tutors. The programme also assimilates the student's life journey and personal growth, intellectual development and life skills and these are integrated as part of ongoing teaching and learning dialogues.


A student's ability to recognise and situate their own experience as part of their phenomenal relationship with specific and diverse environments  is fundamental for photographic practice. How this phenomena is revealed and transformed by the medium of photography manifests a unique relationship with time and space, which is investigated via a series of project briefs which ultimately lead to a perception rooted in experience, aesthetic production, making and research.

Students will be able to:

FHEQ Level 4:

  • Engage with a range of cultural, critical and contextual debates (AD4301 & AD4302)
  • Investigate the significance and relevance of other photographic and art practices (AD4301 & AD4302)
  • Monitor their progress and evaluate the effectiveness of their strategies and actions (AD4301) 

FHEQ Level 5:

  • Investigate, interpret and analyse a range of different approaches via practical projects based upon experiential and contextual practice and research (AD5104, AD5301 & AD5302)
  • Assimilate ideas and information and develop appropriate working strategies which allow scope for experimentation, which reflects the significance of different photographic contexts (AD5301 & AD5302)
  • Critically reflect upon and evaluate decisions and strategies related to process and subject (AD5301 & AD5302) 

FHEQ Level 6:

  • Critically reflect upon process and adapt knowledge gained in order to consider alternative approaches and strategies (AD6301)
  • Develop perceptual and cognitive skills in the selection and analysis of information and resources visual or otherwise (AD6301)
  • Visually communicate complex ideas via photographic practices which have a self-reflexive relationship with the medium and subject (AD6301)


Students are encouraged to explore all aspects of the medium and its technical usage whether analogue or digital. Fundamental practical skills related to exposure control and light are key in developing the foundation upon which aesthetic practice is based where the image making process is commensurate with its subject. This is extended in how a student develops the necessary means to capture and output (image modification, selection and editing and archiving processes). Professional skills related to the arts and creative industries form part of the contextual position and ultimately lead to career or creative choices based on individual decisions related to photography multiple roles.

The programme requires students to: 

FHEQ Level 4:

  • Achieve competence in the use of photographic apparatus and technologies (AD4301)
  • Respond to different contexts and challenges and formulate responses in visual and written form (AD4301 & AD4302)
  • Implement a controlled and coherent approach to work flow and time management of projects (AD4301)
  • Adhere to health and safety and good working practices (AD4301) 

FHEQ Level 5:

  • Integrate visual and text-based source material derived from art and design or other subject areas (AD5301 & AD5302) 
  • Develop applications of photographic practice which reference other art related contexts and the creative industries  (AD5104, AD5301 & AD5302) 
  • Work collaboratively in small groups with peers, associates and external individuals and organisations in the origination and installation of an exhibition with a coherent visual theme (AD5302) 

FHEQ Level 6:

  • Negotiate and undertake an independently conceived project, which is self-sustained across the course of the year and which leads to exhibition and related outputs (AD6301) 
  • Make effective use of analogue and digital modes of photographic practice (AD6301)
  • Communicate ideas/theories via process-led practice in visual, oral, and written form (AD6301 & AD6302)
  • Assimilate the critical input of their peers and others and recognise and critically reflect upon their position (AD6301 & AD6110)

Philosophically, photography is grounded in its indexical relationship with what it reveals of the world it reproduces. As a form of communication it is at once medium specific and equally open to technological processes, which continually reconstitute its form. The photographic message is dependent on the individual student's understanding of genre, context and significantly dissemination of visual images. Practice-as-research uncovers experiences and contexts as well as strategic or conceptually driven approaches. Both are explored in a reflexive articulation of process and outcome. Students develop a sense of embodied practice that is manifest in forms, which are then rearticulated by users or audience.  

Students will be able to: 

FHEQ Level 4: 

  • Develop responses to project briefs which ultimately lead to the development of self-directed practices (AD4301)
  • Utilise presentation skills and techniques in order to effectively articulate, in oral and written form, the relationship between practice and theory (AD4301, AD4302) 

 FHEQ Level 5:

  • Explore the technological developments of the medium and related media in relation to contemporary practice (AD5301 & AD5302)
  • Adapt and respond to set goals and anticipated outcomes within different settings and situations (AD5104 & AD5302)
  • In collaboration with others organise and facilitate site-specific and public-art projects (AD5302) 

FHEQ Level 6:

  • Deliver exhibition projects, visual outcomes or related forms of dissemination which are commensurate with intention, form, content and meaning (AD6301)
  • Anticipate and adapt to change dependent on varied contexts (AD6301)
  • Engage in critical dialogues with staff and peers (AD6301)
  • Formulate a question related to a topic and context which is articulated in coherent written form in an Extended Essay which conforms to academic writing practice (AD6302)

The undergraduate Combined Photography degree is composed of two essential strands – (1) photographic practice supported by (2) critical and contextual studies. These are intended to progressively develop the student’s capability as a photographer and his or her critical and intellectual understanding of contemporary photographic art practice. The two elements run concurrently, so that students develop a critical perspective and self-understanding simultaneously, with the technical confidence to work with all formats of the medium. Students pursue preliminary studies at Level 4 and establish a basis upon which to make informed decisions about photographic practice which are extended in modules at Levels 5 & 6. The emphasis upon photographic practice informed by (both verbal and written) critical and interpretative reflection, contextualisation, and self/peer criticism is seen as key to the department’s teaching philosophy.

The course structure focuses largely on self-directed, practice-based study, where under the guidance of staff, students become familiar with a range of technical skills and associated critical concepts, as they evolve a personal visual photographic identity. The skills, knowledge and understanding acquired through these processes lead to the articulation and manifestation of ideas in visual form that are creative and innovative.

Students in combined subject pathways progressively acquire an increasing autonomy in their learning; the curriculum is organised to promote the acquisition of  technical and aesthetic skills, alongside a contextual and critical knowledge-base. The programme is modelled on a structure where the student's autonomy and identity is guided via directed (Level 4), semi-directed (Level 5) and self-directed study (Level 6). Students are taught, evaluated and monitored and receive feedback through group and individual tutorials and critique sessions. Lectures and seminars are delivered to large and small groups dependent on the nature of the teaching activity.

Level 4: Students acquire a technical and critical skills base required to practice photography as they begin to define their own visual identity. Photography Practices (AD4301) & Photography Theory (AD4302) facilitate and support the acquisition of the key practical and technical skills of the medium alongside an introductory exploration of the textual, historical, critical and contextual frameworks of photography.

Level 5: Students begin to explore a meeting of theory and practice as part of semi-directed study. Contextual Practice (AD5301) introduces advanced practical photographic skills while addressing the need for students to establish a critical and intellectually-driven approach in the development of a considered and contextualised personal folio of images. Collaborative Practice (AD5302) addresses installation, site-specific and the public artwork possibilities. Students work in collaboration in small groups to initiate and produce a professional exhibition at a local venue whist simultaneously developing the skills needed to market and promote their work. Fine Art and Photography Experiential Learning module (AD5104) offered towards the end of Level 5 allows students to work off-site in a 'placement' in an area related to their photographic practice.

There are further employability focused, options available such as WB5004 and WB5008.

(WB5004) Learning in the Wider World is similar in ambition to WB5101 but facilitates undertaking the work based learning placement at a location outside the UK. WB5004, although available to all students as an alternative to WB5101, this module must be applied for and participation is restricted to students who meet the criteria of interview, attendance and behaviour during Level 5. All students will be required to receive clearance from their PAT prior to departing on their overseas placement. Students must complete and have a Risk Assessment approved before they are eligible for this module.

(WB5008) The Study Abroad Experience This module will be offered as a complementary year of study abroad to students who have successfully completed their second-year of study (level 5). Application will occur in January of Level 5. As such, students may be required to present evidence of successful completion of Level 4, satisfactory on-going assessment, academic references and attendance in order for their application to be accepted. Students must also complete a Risk Assessment to indicate that they are fully aware of the requirements for the exchange, university/college and destination that they are applying for.

Level 6: Students are equipped to originate a Negotiated Photography Project (AD6301) which leads to the final exhibition. This module is undertaken by all students (Major, Joint & Minor) and is accompanied, for Major students only, by Critical Essay - Photography (AD6302), which is a predominantly self-directed research module in which students address contemporary issues pertinent to their ongoing practice in the form of an extended essay. Major and Joint students also take Professional Practice (AD6110) where they prepare materials and resources associated with the final exhibition. At the same time students are prepared for the next step in their career as artists or industry creatives through professional folio interviews conducted by individuals from external organisations. This is augmented by a series of lectures by guest lecturers which include critics, writers and curators from the museums, galleries and the art press.

At Level 6 students will study Photography as either a:

Major: Negotiated Photography Project (AD6301), Critical Essay- Photography (AD6302) & Professional Practice (AD6110)

Joint: Negotiated Photography Project (AD6301) &  Professional Practice (AD6110)

Minor: Negotiated Photography Project (AD6301)

The structure of the programme takes into account the Subject Benchmark for Art & Design and the Higher Education Qualifications Framework (FHEQ).

The module learning outcomes and the assessment criteria for the programme are based on the descriptors of ‘Characteristics of Learning’ at each level. The programme recognises that qualifications should be awarded to mark achievement of positively defined outcomes not as a compensation for failure at a higher level or by default.

FHEQ: Level 4 is consistent with the FHEQ certificate level and students who successfully complete this level, but do not progress into Level 5 will be awarded a Certificate of Higher Education. Level 5 is consistent with the FHEQ intermediate level and students who successfully complete this level but do not attain a degree will be awarded a Diploma of Higher Education. Level 6 is consistent with FHEQ honours level and students who successfully complete this stage will be awarded a BA (Hons) degree in Photography.

Combined Honours only
Mod-Code Level Title Credit Major Equal Minor
AD4301 4 Photography Practices 40 Comp Comp Comp
AD4302 4 Photography Theory 20 Comp Comp Comp
AD5104 5 Fine Art and Photography Experiential Learning 20 Optional Optional Optional
AD5301 5 Contextual Practice 40 Comp Comp Comp
AD5302 5 Collaborative Practice 20 Comp Optional Optional
WB5004 5 Learning in the Wider World 20 Optional Optional Optional
WB5008 5 The Study Abroad Experience 120 Optional Optional Optional
WB5101 5 Enhancing your Employability through Work Based Learning 20 Optional Optional Optional
AD6110 6 Professional Practice 20 Comp Comp N/A
AD6301 6 Negotiated Photography Project 40 Comp Comp Comp
AD6302 6 Critical Essay - Photography 20 Comp N/A N/A

Level 4: Certificate of Higher Education (minimum of 60 credits in subject area at this level)

Level 5: Diploma of Higher Education (minimum of 40 credits in subject area at this level)

Level 6: Bachelor's Degree with Honours (at this level, maximum of 80 Credits within subject area for a Major; maximum of 60 Credits within subject area for Joint; maximum of 40 Credits within subject area for Minor)

Photography programmes at the University of Chester are registered with the Association for Photography in Higher Education (APHE). 

For full details of the University's Admissions requirements and procedures, reference should be made to the current University of Chester Prospectus and/or the University and UCAS websites.

UCAS Points

A minimum of 112 UCAS points from GCE A Levels or equivalent, including Art & Design, Fine Art, Photography or an Art-related subject.


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 to HE Diploma (Art & Design) to include 45 credits at level 3, 30 of which must be at Merit or above.


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 8 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.

The Department has its own admissions tutor who liaises with Admissions as appropriate. All UCAS application forms are reviewed by the admissions tutor who will call for interview all candidates who have applied for single honours and a selection of those applying for combined honours. It is the Department’s general policy to look for a good level of proficiency within studio practice from applicants, together with sufficient interest in, or prior study of, Art and Design. Both single honours and combined honours programmes attracts students from diverse backgrounds with a range of previous educational experience (e.g. A-level and Foundation/diploma courses). This can result in some variations in student's personal artistic development upon admission. Both the interview and meeting of prospective candidates on University Applicant and Open Days demonstrates the department's ability to accommodate individual student's aspirations and recognises the essentially personal nature of their artistic ambitions. Applications to undergraduate programmes are made through UCAS. Those applying for Combined Honours in Photography may apply through UCAS. ‘Advanced standing’ applications from candidates who wish to be accredited for prior/experiential learning are carefully considered. Applications from candidates with specific needs are also considered sympathetically on a case-by-case basis. A definitive version of the admissions criteria may be found in the University's undergraduate prospectus and on the University and UCAS web sites.

UCAS entry profiles may be found at Mature students are considered on an individual basis and where appropriate relevant work experience will be taken into consideration. Students with non-UK qualifications should consult the University's Admissions team or its International Office.

Widening Access and Participation

The learning and teaching strategies of the department are consistent with the University's commitment to widening access and participation, to preparing students to make positive contributions in their chosen careers or professions. The department also actively supports staff expertise by promoting research and scholarship which feed into and support teaching. The Department of Art and Design has a flexible admissions policy, and encourages applications from mature students and from groups normally under-represented in higher education.

Normally, a successful portfolio review and interview is required for all applicants applying to Level 5 or 6 of the programme.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

Applicants who have previously successfully completed study evaluated as equivalent to a total of 240 credits at Levels 4 and 5 in an appropriate related subject will normally be eligible for admission with advanced standing to Level 6 of the programme, depending on their respective profile of achievement [i.e. the merit/distinction profile]. This could include completion of a Foundation Degree, HND or an Advanced Diploma from Florence Institute of Design International or Raffles College of Higher Education in subjects benchmark approved by the University of Chester.

The structure of the photography programme takes into account the Subject Benchmark for Art & Design, available on the QAA website, and the Higher Education Qualifications Framework - also available on The module learning outcomes and the assessment criteria for the programme are based on the descriptors of the ‘Characteristics of Learning’ at each level detailed in those sources. The programme recognises that qualifications should be awarded to mark achievement of positively defined outcomes not as a compensation for failure at a higher level or by default.

At Level 4 students undertake ‘the acquisition of an understanding of underlying principles and appropriate skills’ and then continue to ‘pursue a programme of development progressing to increasingly independent and personally focused learning’. The programme aims to create a solid base of knowledge and an ‘understanding of the critical and contextual dimensions’ of photography. Students also acquire the technical and communication skills necessary for the practice of photography. At the same time students ‘develop the critical awareness required to learn and articulate their process of learning’ in photography.

The programme centres on the development of the ‘students' intellectual powers and their ability to communicate’. The acquisition of skills, whether ‘subject specific’ or ‘generic’, defines the nature of the student's experience in ‘an enquiring, analytical and creative approach’ which ‘encourages the acquisition of independent judgement and critical self-awareness’.

The transition from study to art-world or industry orientated employment requires the development of professional practice skills. Thus, ‘anticipating and responding to change, public presentation of work, entrepreneurial skills and client/audience negotiation skills’ are essential. The ability to do this successfully is dependent on an understanding of the ‘contextual setting’ of photography and the ‘related theories within historical, contemporary and cultural settings’ which inform photography. The course attempts to integrate practice and theory and develop practical and intellectual skills which can be used to this end which include essays, reviews, and artist's statements to ‘articulate and synthesise their knowledge and understanding.’

The Subject Benchmark makes reference to ‘common characteristics’ shared by a broad range of disciplines which constitute Art & Design. These include ‘... conception, production, promotion and dissemination of material outcomes ...’. The combined programme is structured to initiate debates and practices within a wider fine art context and students are encouraged to assimilate a wide range of influences in order to expand their personal artistic ambitions through a meeting of practice and theory. The emergence of ‘multi’ and inter-disciplinary approaches to photographic art nurtures ‘creative skills, imagination, vision, and - at the highest levels of achievement - innovation.

In addition to the core modules studied, the Fine Art and Photography Experiential Learning (Level 5) and Professional Practice (Level 6) modules facilitate the transition between study and the work environment after University. The development of appropriate skills and strategies aids the negotiation of possible vocational or educational opportunities following graduation.

The emphasis in teaching will be on an environment that is conducive to student's acquisition and application of specific skills in relation to creative and artistic problems and briefs. As students gain confidence they will be encouraged to learn independently and at Level 6 they will be able to work autonomously with tutor supervision and mentoring. From Level 5 students’ learning is structured and monitored through the writing of an individual learning contract or reflective statement.

The learning contract at Levels 5 and 6 will provide students with a point of reference at appropriate stages of their study which documents the progress of their work against stated learning outcomes. This is key to the students' ability to monitor and assess their performance. Tutorials provide a platform where the writing of a learning contract is negotiated at key phases during the year.

Students will be involved in both individual learning and/or learning through collaborative activities. In either case, as they gain confidence and develop their own approaches to learning, they will be encouraged to become more critically reflective.

The practical modules will typically consist of weekly seminar, workshop and studio sessions. These sessions involve teaching and tutorial input where instruction, demonstration, critique, discussion etc. takes place. It is vitally important for students to recognise that a significant additional amount of learning time will be required and that an important part of the learning process will involve students managing their time to undertake productive independent learning (production time). Students are engaged in 'production time' outside of timetabled teaching contact. This is critical to the student's academic development in practice and theory. As such students may also seek additional, individual tutorial input during the year.

In addition to learning through practice, there will be history and theory based lectures and seminars related to critical and contextual aspects of the programme. Students will spend time reading and studying set-readings, visiting libraries and galleries, workshops and exhibitions. This research experience, insight and understanding will establish the context in which photographic art practice takes place. Evidence of this process will be documented in each student's module-specific journals. The learning resources offered by the University also includes access to electronic resources.

The teaching philosophy is aimed at effecting the progression of students towards an engagement with the cultural and aesthetic implications of photography as art. This involves a shift in attitude to how photography as a medium is both democratic in its availability to everyone, but how its use changes as a result of artistic intention. And, at a basic, though by no means insignificant level, the programme should enable students to become ‘visually literate’ connoisseurs of photography within a wider art and design, and interdisciplinary context. Students acquisition of specific technical and critical skills facilitates individual and collaborative production that has been subject to analysis and critical reflection. This will enable the student to articulate and communicate ideas via photographic images which are grounded in their own experience. In so doing they acquire a self- awareness and confidence aligned with skill-based attributes which are beneficial to the student’s potential employability.

Delivery Mode

The greater part of the learning will, aside from key theory lectures, by the necessity of access to specialised equipment and facilities, take place in darkrooms, lighting studios, workshops and seminar rooms within the Department of Art & Design. Thus much of the delivery will be in the form of critical discussion in seminar and 'studio' situations (practice-based including practical workshops and demonstrations); tutorials and group critiques with staff and peer group feedback. Students will also be required to manage their own learning as part of self-directed study or production time.

The needs of part-time students, as far as is practicable, will be taken into account in accordance with the University's widening access and participation strategy. Because of the necessary length of practical studio sessions, it will be difficult to schedule these for evening teaching. In order to accommodate part-time students, personal schedules may have to be negotiated so that they can concentrate their learning at particular levels in specific modules, on particular days of the week.

The module descriptors provide more detail of the allocation of taught hours in all modules across the programme reflecting the way in which students progress towards increased autonomy throughout the duration of their study.

Self-directed study and 'production time' involves a sustained work ethic supported by individual tutorials and supervision, critiques; seminars, and workshops. All these teaching and learning processes are documented through the construction of a critically reflective journal which is itself a piece of creative work.

During their course of study students learn to become independent  and creative practitioners of photography. This is achieved through the acquisition of appropriate practical and technical skills and knowledge. These skills are contextualised via a meeting of practice and theory as part of a process of production, interpretation and reflection. In this way a relationship between the two elements of study: practice and theory (in its widest sense) should emerge. It is appropriate that assessment takes account of these two elements separately as well as how one informs the other. Throughout each module students will be expected to critically reflect on their work-in-progress and to develop the ability to evaluate their own position. From Level 5 students will be expected to negotiate a learning contract with a tutor, which will identify a personal learning programme relevant to the module content, aims and learning outcomes.

Assessment will therefore involve:-

  • An examination of practice-based work (photographs and artefacts) that have been produced during the course of a module or for the specific purpose of a formative or summative assessment. Normally work will be presented in a portfolio case or box and/or as an exhibition. However, depending on the nature of their practice, students may, following negotiation, adopt installation or mixed media approaches, moving-image, publication or make use  other modes of production and dissemination. The volume of work which students present for assessment is dependent on a 'value' judgement or qualitative assessment in relation to the manifestation of their proposed intentions.
  • The assessment of written assignments, eg. For AD6302 Critical Essay - Photography, the word count is 4000 words for a 20 credit module (available only as part of major route at Level 6).
  • Assessment of a research journal that has been kept by the student throughout each module as a means of documenting technical learning, visual experimentation and research, contextual interests and reflection on the emerging photographic practical work.
  • A seminar presentation or critique (group or individual) in which the student orally analyses their work as part of a  presentation which includes visual research, photographs, and/or other contextual material. The extent of the research for each seminar presentation will vary according to the weighting of marks within each individual module.

Each form of assessment will contribute in varying proportions to the overall mark each student achieves in each module. They are generally referred to as summative assessment.

At all levels the student may be required to submit some of the assessment components for some modules during the academic year - marks for those components may be awarded at that stage on a provisional basis. This process of fulfilling some components at the mid-way point (or later) in the year gives the student a valuable benchmark and indicator of their progress at that level and is designed specifically to allow them to focus on the remaining components for the remainder of the academic year.

At Levels 5 and 6 formative assessment is primarily dialogue-based in nature and operates as part of a system of continuous feedback throughout the duration of the year - final marks are not awarded for formatively assessed work. Its function is to support and inform the individual student through a process of reflection, discussion, comparison, and criticism. It may take the form of a one-to-one dialogue in an individual or as part of a group tutorial in a seminar or workshop session. Normally these sessions will highlight areas of shared concern for the students involved, directly and indirectly, by scrutinising work submitted from other view points, where alternate opinions and technical advice is offered in terms of possible courses of action.

Assessment Methods and Criteria

The proposed standard which should be achievable on the undergraduate programme should reflect the progress made by a capable student who has undertaken a three-year period of study in art as part of a combined honours degree course. Assessment will take account of the fact that the programme represents a process of study that enables personal development through an engagement with visual concepts, artistic concerns, process-based strategies, materials and techniques as well as the understanding of aesthetic and critical contexts. It is to be expected that there will be sufficient evidence that the student has a clear understanding of the aims of the programme and has achieved the overall objectives and learning outcomes of the modules.

Assessed submissions include: exhibition/installation work, print portfolios, bookworks, video, visual and contextual journals, written assignments, dialogue/presentation assessment, essays.

Typical graduates of the programme will be competent and accomplished in the use of established photographic media and processes, they will be cognisant with the history of the medium and the key themes and debates that inform contemporary photographic art practice. They will also be able to recognise the wider scope of their learning in a wider art and design context. They will be able to construct and carry out research which utilises a diverse range of resources in order to make decisions based on critical and interpretative analysis. They will be able to synthesise ideas which have originated as a result of practice-based learning in order to contextualise their own position. They will have developed a creative sensitivity and a critical awareness that will enable them to shape meaning. They will possess a solid knowledge-base of artistic, cultural and aesthetic precedents. This will allow them to critically evaluate the work of other photographers and artists alongside their own work. This potentially leads to the recognition of the 'value' of artistic production related to sustained and rigorous critical scrutiny. Students will be able to physically actualise their ideas visually as well as be able to articulate them orally and contextualise them in written form.

The transferable skills acquired by graduates of this programme typically equip them for employment in the creative and cultural industries. A significant number of photography graduates secure employment in related roles such as curators, gallery workers, photographers' assistants, as well as in the press and publishing, or in image libraries and photographic agencies. Others secure employment where transferable skills, which include visual literacy, the critical eye and creativity of the photographer are valued but not used directly. These roles are exemplified in the television and film industries. Education is another route open to those with a conventional and/or strong academic profile accompanied by photographic/artistic expertise. Photography embraces many subjects and offers possible alternative careers exist for those who are motivated and flexible after gaining their first degree. The list includes: fine art, fashion/magazine photography, photo laboratories, digital imaging, advertising photography, public commissions and employment within museums and galleries, and the retail sector in visual merchandising etc. Such examples serve to confirm the significance of students’ transferable skills and subject knowledge. As a result of their experience in dealing with complex problems and their ability to think laterally, graduates would also have the potential to consider a number of other career paths - such as public relations or marketing.

Significantly the nature of the programme, with its emphasis on autonomous creative production where graduates have worked as photographic practitioners, is such that it will also equip them to contemplate freelance photographic work or to become independent or self-employed artists. Some may choose to go on to study for a higher degree either in the Department’s MA Fine Art Programme, or another similar or alternative postgraduate course at another institution.

The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.

A one week induction period is provided for all new students. Sessions typically encompass familiarisation with the structure of the programme and introductory lectures and/or practical workshops or study/orientation visits. Students are also introduced to the Art & Design undergraduate experience, and wider University areas related to managing finances and issues of health and safety. Students will have learning resources and library induction sessions and will be able to meet with and discuss any concerns they may have with Department staff.

Personal Academic Tutors
The Department fully endorses and adheres to the University's established Personal Academic Tutor scheme. All students on degree programmes administered by the Art and Design subject group are allocated a Personal Academic Tutor, and students are required to see their PAT on a regular basis  particularly during their first year of study. Your PAT will usually remain your tutor throughout your studies and will advise on your academic development and progress. He or she is also there to offer support at a pastoral level in both academic and non-academic matters.

Academic and Learning Support
In addition to the PAT system, academic members of the Department remain accessible at most times. Students who wish to discuss matters with a member of staff should approach the relevant lecturer to arrange a mutually convenient time. Although students will receive written feedback on their work, they may also make an appointment to see the relevant lecturer regarding any work submitted.

The University's Learning Resources Centre has dedicated Art & Design librarians who also provide study support for students who encounter difficulties with their learning.

Programme Information and University Regulations

Students will be provided with a programme handbook detailing the structure of the programme. All relevant information concerning the University's regulations is widely available through Portal.

Careers Advice
Careers Advisors have been allocated to the Faculty and students of Art & Design are able to access information concerning both vocational and educational opportunities following graduation.


Back - to previous page  Print - launches the print options panel