UCAS code: W640
Duration: 4 years
School: Edinburgh College of Art
College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
Introducing BA Photography
This programme prepares you for a career in photography by encouraging you to develop a personal and contextualised vision of the world, and by developing your knowledge of equipment and technical facilities. You will develop a broad visual vocabulary and explore a range of fine art practices, using traditional photographic equipment and processes as well as the latest computer technology.
Our programme promotes high levels of creative thinking allied to advanced technical skills and underpinned by wide-ranging research and academic rigour. Historical and contemporary contexts play a vital role toward the production of your work, which will reflect photography's pivotal contribution to the vitality of today's visual culture. You are encouraged to engage with the medium of photography in its widest sense, to foster the expression of 'ways of seeing', which enables students to evolve into versatile creative practitioners.
A visual culture strand provides a multidisciplinary context for your study syllabus across all art programmes at the Edinburgh College of Art (ECA), involving the imaginative research, analysis and communication of issues raised by the visual aspects of culture. Our students engage in a critical and creative dialogue with the work of their peers and gain an understanding of the nature of today's diverse visual cultures.
You will study the artistic, intellectual, social and professional contexts that shape creative practice in visual arts and learn how to best communicate this knowledge in a range of written, oral, visual and practical forms.
Each of our four-year BA (Hons) programmes in art shares common elements of study during the early part of Year 1. All Year 1 Art students work together in the first semester.
During Year 1 you will experience a wide range of art practices including painting, photography, sculpture and intermedia art and we introduce you to studio practice, workshops and the types of teaching you will experience. For example: what a project brief is for, what a crit is, how a seminar works, what to expect from a tutorial, what feedback is for and how you use it.
We introduce you to key visual culture texts, methods and methodologies of art theory and practice. As the year progresses you have project options to enable you to specialise in the subject most appropriate to your work. In semester two students make decisions about which programme they wish to study supported by feedback and advice from staff.
In Years 1 and 2 your choice of option courses allows you to, in effect, construct a suite of courses that reflect your interests and enhance your main study. The choice of optional courses in Year 1 comprises a total of 40 credits, nominally made up of two 20-credit courses*, which can be taken from within ECA, or across the wider College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences - subject to availability.
Subsequently you will develop your specialist study of photography in relation to the wider field of contemporary art practice, acquiring skills in handling small, medium and large-format cameras. You will gain knowledge of film processing, studio practice, and printing black & white and colour photographs, both chemically and digitally.
You will also enhance your learning by being exposed to a wider range of methods and knowledge beyond the confines of the studio through a choice of option courses.
*revised on 3 May 2019 to reduce 60 credits of option courses to 40 credits. Additional 20 credits are now core.
Within historical and contemporary contexts, projects will explore such areas as environmental portraiture, studio still life, landscape and moving image, with strong emphasis on accompanying research. Students undertake personal, self-directed projects throughout the year. Regular technical instruction is provided across a wide range of digital and analogue photographic practice.
In Year 2 there are a total of 40 credits of option courses available. We offer more than 20 option courses and there are many more option courses from across the wider university to choose from - subject to availability.
As your technical proficiency develops, you will place your output within a definable context, and discuss and present it accordingly. Topics covered include social documentary, typology and gallery practice, with students having the opportunity to exhibit their work in a gallery location within the city of Edinburgh. Research and self-directed projects continue to play an important role in the student learning experience.
A range of study abroad exchange opportunities are on offer in semester two.
Towards the end of your study you will undertake major self-directed projects, in which you will be given the opportunity to explore and research your subject matter in depth, make personal observations, explore your interests and interpret themes.
Year 4 culminates in the submission of student work for the Degree Show where previous photography students have exhibited an impressive range of work ranging from mainstream fine printing to installation pieces, film, video and multimedia productions.
Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.
To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.
Students benefit from studio-based learning in purpose-built workshops and studios for intermedia, painting, photography and sculpture at Lauriston Place, along with the exhibitions and events associated with a vibrant art college.
Some lectures and tutorials will take place in the George Square area. You will have access to the University's libraries and computer facilities.
The University is investing in the Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) estate and facilities to further develop our flexible, stimulating, supportive and sustainable learning and research environment for students and staff.
Further information is available on the ECA website.
The School of Art offers Erasmus and international exchange opportunities with partner institutions across the world.
Adding an international dimension to your programme allows you to become immersed in a new culture, make new friends, expand your working knowledge of another language and realise a degree of self-reliance, which future employers will regard as an asset. Exchanges usually take place in Year 3.
How will I learn?
Most teaching and learning on compulsory courses is through involvement in a range of experiential projects, situated in a studio environment; option courses taken across the wider university will vary in delivery method.
Conceptual, material and technical issues are explored through seminars, workshops, lectures, tutorials and critiques. Research, critical thinking and study of the visual, intellectual, social and professional contexts that shape creative practice are regarded as essential to your development. This often involves participation in exhibitions and live projects.
As well as learning through group situations you will also be allocated a studio tutor with whom you will have one to one tutorials on a regular basis.
How will I be assessed?
We conduct continuous formative assessment throughout the year, to give meaningful feedback and to encourage experimentation in the studio and beyond. Assessment can take the form of project work, participation in group events and presentations and written submissions.
Find out more about this programme's aims, what you will learn, how you will be assessed and what skills and knowledge you will develop.
To give you an idea of what to expect from this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.
Many graduates pursue careers as artists or enter other art-related professions and go on to undertake residencies and commissions in a global context. A high percentage of graduates establish themselves in workshops and studios. Many have achieved considerable success and built international reputations.
Our programmes provide a progressive education in contemporary art practice. Our students develop analytical and practical skills, the ability to work with others in an organised manner and the ability to think laterally. These attributes can be applied to a wide range of career possibilities.
Some students continue their studies at postgraduate level. Others have gone on to teach or to make an impact in the wider creative industries.
Standard entry requirement
The standard entry requirement is:
- SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S5. If you haven’t achieved this by the end of S5 we may consider your application based on a strong performance in S6. A minimum of BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
- A Levels: ABB.
- IB: 34 points (grades 655 at HL).
Minimum entry requirement
The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:
- SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6, with a minimum of BBB achieved in one year of S4-S6.
- A Levels: ABB.
- IB: 34 points (grades 655 at HL).
The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:
- SQA: no specific Higher subjects required. National 5: English at grade C.
- A Levels: no specific A Level subjects required. GCSEs: English at grade C or 4.
- IB: HL: no specific subjects required. SL: English at grade 5.
Applicants will be asked to submit a digital mini-portfolio to provide evidence of artistic aptitude and potential, this will form an important part of the selection process. The deadline for mini-portfolio submission is 12 pm midday GMT on 28 January 2020 and late mini-portfolio submissions will not be accepted.
2 December 2019: mini-portfolio submissions site opens
15 January 2020: UCAS deadline for Home/EU applicants
28 January 2020 at 12 pm (midday): mini-portfolio submission deadline
30 June 2020: final deadline for UCAS applications from applicants from outside the EU.
Applicants studying Pearson BTEC Level 3 Nationals in Art and Design will be considered for entry with the following:
Pearson BTEC Extended Diploma with DMM.
Pearson BTEC Diploma with MM plus one A Level at grade A (or DM plus B at A Level).
Pearson BTEC Extended Certificate / Subsidiary Diploma with D plus two A Levels at grade B (or M plus AB at A Level).
Applicants studying the University of the Arts London Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art and Design will be considered with Merit.
We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
International Foundation Programme
If you are an international student and your school qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to the University you may be eligible for admission to this degree programme through our International Foundation Programme.
We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.
Entry to the second year is available. Successful completion of a Foundation Diploma (at Merit Grade), a relevant HND or equivalent is required. Applicants will normally be expected to have undertaken these qualifications in addition to having met the entry requirements (Highers, A Levels, IB etc). In some of our less competitive programmes it may be possible to consider applicants presenting ABC (or equivalent) or above at A Level. These grades must have been achieved in in one set of exams, at first attempt.
You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.
SQA, GCSE and IB
For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:
SQA National 5 Grade C
SQA Standard Grade 3
SQA Intermediate 1 Grade A
SQA Intermediate 2 Grade C
GCSE Grade C or 4
Level 2 Certificate Grade C
IB Standard Level Grade 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)
English language tests
We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:
IELTS Academic module overall 6.5 with 5.5 in each component
TOEFL-iBT 92 or above with 20 in each section
Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency overall 176 with 162 in each component
PTE Academic: Total 61 with at least 51 in each "Communicative Skills" section
Trinity ISE: ISE II with a distinction in all four components
We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.
English language qualifications must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.
(Revised 05/06/2019 to provide more accurate/comprehensive information.)
This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.
It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.
Please note that some programmes do not have Unistats data available.
Your materials costs will vary, depending on your programme of study and the materials used to make your work. Some programmes will offer fieldwork.
There is no additional contribution required for the teaching costs involved, but for the residential fieldwork and individual field-based projects, you are usually required to cover accommodation, subsistence and the costs of travel to the fieldwork location.
Your actual student contribution depends on the programme involved and the courses selected.
For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.
Search the degree finder
6 degrees in Art
- Art (BA) W100
- Fine Art (5-year programme) (MA) W150
- Intermedia Art (BA) W900
- Painting (BA) W120
- Photography (BA) W640
- Sculpture (BA) W130