Course Overview


A quick summary of this course
This one year programme, whilst demanding technical excellence and control, will primarily be concerned with the ‘Image’. Its inherent communicative, persuasive and manipulative qualities, the context in which it is used and the social, historical and contemporary issues that emerge as a consequence. It will foreground the understanding and use of the ‘Image’ as a means of, and a tool for, communication and personal comment.

The emphasis and delivery of the course programme will seek to examine and promote the notion of the ‘image maker’ rather than the ‘image taker’.

The course programme provides the context for a more sustained and personal approach to theoretical photographic practice and practical development, enabling the development of an advanced understanding of the medium and an ability to undertake critical and informed analysis, and subsequent application.

It is anticipated at this level, you will be self-motivated and, to an increasing extent, working independently. However, the course prides itself on the availability of a range of tutors to guide students via tutorials, formative critiques and practical inductions. HCA offers excellent facilities and access to equipment.


Image by Amanda Jackson.

Exhibition practice, working on projects set by clients and portfolio reviews by experienced industry professionals all add to developing confidence in your own career route and potential.
Being located in our new campus with other creative courses means it is easy to cross boundaries, work with students in other disciplines and undertake collaborative projects.


Image by Jason Carden.
  • The course is delivered by a team of experienced and dedicated lecturers and technicians, who practice in various fields and bring their external knowledge to the learning environment.
  • You will be allocated a student mentor to help you settle into the course. The course does not have a ‘house style’ but encourages all students to find their own unique voice. With year groups of around 20 students you are able to access tutors and excellent facilities with ease.
  • Renowned Photographers and successful ex-graduates visit and talk about their work. Recent speakers include Brian Griffin, Tom Hunter, Tom Wood, Timothy Allen, Helen Sear, Chloe Dewe Mathews, Zed Nelson and many more.
  • Individual tutorial support is key to the delivery of the course philosophy alongside technical workshops, seminars, lectures and critiques that provide the space for essential contextual debate.

Critical Studies

These studies are entirely focused around the students’ course area, providing a solid grounding in subject history and in critical ways of thinking about creative practice. The Critical Studies programme enables students to set their own work in a wider context, and also helps them develop a better understanding of how creative work can be interpreted and assessed. Click here for more details.

Careers & Progression

Why take this course?
92% of our BA (Hons) students were overall satisfied with their studies last year.
The majority of our students successfully gain employment in the creative industry. Students have also gone onto study at postgraduate level. Job prospects range from free-lance Photographer, Gallery Artist, Arts Administration and Community Arts, Photography Lecturer, Photo Journalism to Image retouching or Picture editor. Starting salaries for assistant photographers can be between £12,000 and £17,000 a year. Full-time photographers can earn between £18,000 and £50,000 a year.


Image by Jacob Burge – Winner of 2012 London Photography Festival Award
Image by Jacob Burge – Winner of 2012 London Photography Festival Award


What you will experience
  • You will have access using professional equipment from Hasselblad to Nikon cameras, digital backs and traditional film. You may work on location and in the Photo studio and have access to digital and darkroom printing and processing.
  • We go to some great places including Amsterdam, Rome, Paris, Barcelona and Berlin.
  • We have some excellent visiting Photographers who will inspire you in your career.
  • There are clubs such as Film club and great opportunities to get involved in student union and student representation.
  • We have the opportunity to work on 'live' or client-led briefs and will take part in community based projects and exhibitions.

Image by Emily Nicholls.

Workshops & Studios

We have excellent IT facilities all running industry standard software on PC and Apple systems including video editing suites, animation suites and medium and large format professional quality printers. We have a B&W darkroom and 2 Photography studios. We also have excellent craft based workshops for traditional image making techniques such as UV screen printing, stencilling, letter press printing and fabric printing. And, because our courses are small you will be able to take advantage of easy access to all the workshops as and when you need them.


Image by Lorna Brown.


Entry Requirements

  • Successful completion of a Foundation Degree (FdA) or HND in a related subject.
  • Applicants whose first language is not English – proof of an overall IELTS score of 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in all sections (reading, writing, listening & speaking)
  • Recognition of Prior Learning Opportunities - The college welcomes applications from students with prior learning and/or previous experience.  Further details on eligibility can be found on page 15 of our Admissions Policy.  Alternatively, please contact us at and we can advise you on the college’s and the University Awarding body requirements (evidence of prior learning will need to be provided).

What you will study:

The course programme is divided into four modules each contributing to the other in terms of defining personal practice and professional awareness. They are:
  •     Dissertation
  •     The Public Domain
  •     Negotiated Contemporary Practice
  •     Defined Personal Practice

These modules will offer the creative space where you, having reached a level of sustained independent self-development, can make a definitive personal statement about your specialist practice. The body of work produced marks a point of arrival in the ongoing process of achieving a recognisable and personal photographic identity, and a point of departure for the development and production of a resolved and mature body of work that will demonstrate and measure a critical understanding of your place within contemporary practice.

A final degree show allows you to showcase your work, and the course will encourage and help in promoting all individuals at local and national level.