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Photography in the Arts (BA)

The Photography in the Arts degree course at Swansea College of Art UWTSD is all about exploration, self-discovery and innovation.

We’ll encourage you to experiment and challenge convention, to pursue your personal interests and develop a unique vision to take you forward into a successful career in the creative industries.

The photo department at Swansea College of Art has superb, state-of-the-art facilities and a very friendly atmosphere with small class sizes offering exceptional student/staff interaction.

Our graduates go on to work in all areas of the visual arts and along with our excellent rota of visiting artists.  We often ask them to come back and talk to you about their experiences.

View the Swansea College of Art Summer Degree Show 2020


Photography in the Arts (BA)
UCAS Code: W643
Apply via UCAS

How to apply
All applications to study for a full-time undergraduate degree programme are made through UCAS - Swansea College of Art UWTSD is part of University of Wales Trinity Saint David.  All our course come under the institution code T80

Visit the University's How to apply section to find out more.

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Tuition Fees 2020/21:
£9,000 (Home/EU)
£11,850 (Overseas)

5 reasons to study this course

  1. Exceptional student/staff ratio and interaction
  2. Excellent visiting lecturer programme of artists, curators and picture editors
  3. State-of-the-art facilities
  4. Direct personal input from industry professionals, including the curator of Photographer’s Gallery, London
  5. Opportunities to undertake internships work with local galleries, museums and community organisations.

Take a look at our ratings and rankings page.

What you will learn

Course Overview

Based in the Dynevor Centre for Art, Design & Media in Swansea‘s city centre, our Photography in the Arts programme provides an exciting platform from which to explore the unique and critical position that the still and moving photographic image finds itself within contemporary culture at this exciting time.

The course encourages you to explore and challenge the conventions of contemporary photographic art practice.

Underpinned by historical and critical research, you will be encouraged to undertake an extensive, risk-taking enquiry into the possibilities of photography, with individual creativity and personal ambition at the core of the course’s philosophy.

The programme is predominantly self-directed and allows for a flexible approach to image-making in relation to both subject-matter and technique.

This flexible approach reflects the evolving nature of photographic art practice, with photographers increasingly pushing the potential of the medium in unexpected and innovative directions.

You will be encouraged to explore ideas and develop skills applicable to contexts such as contemporary art, publishing, advertising, fashion, interiors, architecture and travel. To this end, the course enables you to position and critically articulate your work in relation to your audience and a wider cultural context.

Module Topics

Year 1/ Level 4 Modules

  • Photography Production
  • Photographic Art Practice 
  • Visual Studies 1 
  • Ways of Thinking 
  • Fugitive Testimonies 
  • Individual Practice 
  • Visual Studies 2 
  • Ways of Perceiving 

The first year provides a thorough and intensive grounding in key techniques, theories and concepts through a series of projects supported by regular contextual seminars, group tutorials and critiques.

You are initially required to work with traditional photographic materials (both black & white and colour) whilst also attending workshops on digital capture and output. 

Year 2/Level 5 Modules

  • Experimental Strategies 
  • Collaborative Photographic Practice 
  • Visual Enquiry 1 
  • Creative Research 
  • Personal Philosophies 
  • Professional Photographic Practice 
  • Visual Enquiry 2 
  • Research Practices 

During year two, you continue to explore the myriad photographic possibilities whilst beginning to forge an individual path through an extended personal project.

Popular and important aspects of this are a site-specific group exhibition and a photographic book assignment. 

Year 3/Level 6 Modules

  • Major Project and External Liaison 
  • Dissertation 
  • Marketing & Self Promotion 
  • Advanced Creative Enquiry (Fine Art and Photography)

The third year is predominantly self-directed and enables you to adopt a more independent approach to your work. There is an external project requiring you to produce work in real-world contexts, either for professional clients or for public exhibition.

The year is dominated by the major practical project, theoretically underpinned by a written dissertation. The Marketing & Self Promotion module involves presenting work to external agencies or curators and acts as a launch-pad for your career.

The year culminates with exhibitions in both Swansea and London. 


Assessment is carried out through coursework, both written and practical. There are no exams on this course. Students are formatively assessed throughout a module, summative assessment takes place at the end of a module. A variety of teaching and learning methods are used throughout the course which includes:


Usually at the start of a scheduled contact period, lectures will generally consist of a formal presentation giving information relevant to the module, accompanied by visuals, and followed by a screening or group tutorial/activity.

Group Tutorials

Depending on the cohort size, module content and individual lecturer preferences, these are usually in groups of no more than six students at a time and delivered over a set period.

Individual Tutorials

Most often scheduled for level 5, level 6 & level 7 students, individual tutorials offer a more focused and in-depth opportunity for student feedback and development of ideas. Most often arranged in relation to individual practice modules such as Student Led Projects. 


Group critiques are scheduled regularly for all year groups. For level 4 these often form part of the assessment at the end of short projects, for levels 5, 6 & 7 they are scheduled for the purpose of interim reviews and work-in-progress feedback, involving student participation and peer criticism.


Delivered to teach specific skills to students, group size will depend on subject and room size, can include project work. These are not usually formally marked but can be subject to group criticism, and informal feedback will be given.


Formal presentations by students to peers and staff are used for research and development through to finished work. Students usually begin doing presentations at level 4 in small groups to build confidence in the process.

There are then assessed research presentations to peers at level 5 and Major Project Presentations to staff and other year groups in level 6 & 7. The presentation is an ideal vehicle for developing individual confidence and transferable skills.

Our Facilities, Graduates and Industry Links

Student and Swansea Life

Key Information

Entry Criteria

We are interested in creative people that demonstrate a strong commitment to art and/or design and therefore we welcome applications from individuals from a wide range of backgrounds.

To assess student suitability for their chosen course we arrange interviews for all applicants at which your skills, achievements and life experience will be considered as well as your portfolio of work.

Our standard offer for a degree course is 120 UCAS tariff points. We expect applicants to have a grade C or above in English Language (or Welsh) at GCSE level, together with passes in another four subjects. Plus we accept a range of Level 3 qualifications including:

  • Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, plus one GCE A-Level in a relevant academic subject
  • Three GCE A-Levels or equivalent
  • BTEC Extended Diploma in a relevant subject, with minimum grades of Merit
  • International Baccalaureate score of 32
  • Other relevant qualifications can be considered on an individual basis

Qualifications are important, however, our offers are not solely based on academic results.

If you don’t have the required UCAS points then please contact the courses admissions tutor or email artanddesign@uwtsd.ac.uk as we can consider offers to applicants based on individual merit, exceptional work, and/or practical experience.

See our Interview Guide for more information.

Additional Costs

Our students have access to a diverse range of equipment and resources, which in most cases are sufficient to complete their programme of study. We provide the basic materials necessary for students to develop their practical work within our extensive workshop and studio facilities.

However, it is likely that art and design students will incur some additional costs to extend their investigation of their personal practice. For example, purchasing their own specialised materials and equipment, joining in optional study trips or printing. 

Students are expected to bring their own personal art and design equipment with them when they commence the course.  We can advise on the correct equipment needed for your programme of studies and signpost appropriate suppliers if you wish to purchase essential items before or during your studies.  

A basic ‘art and design kit’ will cost approximately £100 but you may well already have much of the equipment required so check with us first.  Also, although we have extensive dedicated digital design studios (PC and MAC) for you to undertake your coursework you may wish to bring your own digital devices. Check with us first before making a purchase. 

Depending on distance and duration, optional study visits can vary in cost from approximately £10 to visit local galleries and exhibitions to £200+ for overseas visits – these costs cover things like transport, entry to venues and accommodation and are normally at reduced rates for our students.

Student Quotes


“This course and it's tutors have encouraged me to experiment and find my own photographic voice. The university has a great environment and in my experience a genuine interest in its students’ and their work”


"The course was great for developing skills and encouraging self-initiated work. With frequent guest artist talks and one-to-one support from lecturers, Swansea was a fantastic place to study."


“The course offered freedom to express yourself and to experiment. A highlight were the regular 'crits', where you had to learn to defend, discuss and explain your work, this helped me to build a thick skin and a more rounded view on my photography”.


“If you're thinking about signing up for Photography in the Arts... DO IT! My time on this course was quite simply the best 3 years of my life! You experience something new everyday, gain many useful skills, and the lecturers are extremely friendly and encouraging too! You will learn, see and do so much whilst having a lot of fun at the same time! I cannot recommend this course enough! (If I could do it all over again, I would!)”.


“Core parts of the course, such as group critiques offered us the chance to present recently produced work or ideas to our peers and welcome input. One-to-one meetings with lecturers anchored our practices and challenged us to think of our work in the context of art history and professional artistic practice”.

Bursary / Scholarship Information

You may be eligible for funding to help support your study.  To find out about scholarships, bursaries and other funding opportunities that are available please visit our Scholarships and Bursaries section.

Study Abroad Opportunities

During your time with us, you will have the opportunity to study abroad with the Erasmus exchange programmes currently running with Universities in Norway, Barcelona and Sweden.

Study Abroad 
Students can also take up the opportunity to study a semester in the USA and Canada.


In addition to our University Accommodation at Llys Glas, Swansea also benefits from a number of private student halls, all within a short walk, including:

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