Photography BA Honours | Middlesex University London
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Photography BA Honours

Learn about the course below
October 2018
EU/International induction: September 2018
3 years full-time
4 years part-time
£9,250 (UK/EU) *
£12,500 (INT) *
Course leader
Michael Bradley
Phil Pleasants

If you are curious about the world and about people, BA Photography will enable you to explore photography as a communicator of visual ideas and information, developing the skills and knowledge essential for a career in the creative industry.

Why study BA Photography at Middlesex University?

Our students are given the tools, opportunities and inspiration to explore the world we live in now, investigating the communication of ideas, opinion, comment, reportage, analysis and meaning through the medium of photography in a commercial context. We focus on editorial photography, photojournalism, portraiture and studio and fashion photography for magazines, newspapers, books, exhibitions and new media.

Many graduates have received industry recognition for their work. In recent years this has included several D&AD New Blood Gold Medal Winners, six finalists for the National Portrait Gallery Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize (including the 2015 John Kobal New Work Award), winners in all three '5 Under 30' competitions run by the Daniel Blau Gallery and a national advertising commission from one of the world's leading advertising agencies, John Walter Thompson.

At Middlesex we have some of the best facilities and staff in the country to help you realise your creative vision, and we will always encourage you to develop your own personal style, to think creatively and to enjoy yourself. You can see the range and depth of our students work on the student work tab.

Course highlights

  • You will have access to a wide range of state-of-the-art facilities including digital media facilities, studios, camera and lighting equipment, darkrooms and an extensive library
  • Our committed, supportive staff have a broad range of professional expertise in photography in areas including digital imaging technology, editorial portraiture and reportage, and fashion
  • Benefit from a high standard of expert technical support from our friendly and approachable specialist technicians
  • We have strong links with professional printers and darkrooms in London - you can take advantage of discounted rates and make valuable industry contacts through these links
  • At the end of your degree you will exhibit your work at the Degree Show in central London, a great opportunity to showcase your talents to the creative industry
  • As a student of this course you'll receive a free electronic textbook for every module.

What will you study on the BA Photography ?

This degree encourages you to use your imagination and experiment at the same time as developing your skills. Throughout the course you will undertake a range of projects covering studio photography, portraiture, lighting and art direction, location shoots, landscape photography, sports and events, still life photography, fashion photography, architectural photography, urban landscape, reportage and photojournalism. With every project you are required to give a critical perspective of your own work.

Your first year explores photography through eight different projects that will give you the opportunity to investigate different approaches including black and white photography, digital imaging and hand colour printing. In your second year you will work on themed projects where you will be able to develop your own style and hone your skills. For example, photographing an area of London that is new to you or photographing different types of people. By your final year of study, you will be prepared to build your own professional portfolio informed by a research project related to your studio practice.

There are regular visits from high-profile guest speakers from diverse professional backgrounds, such as Professor Phil Cleaver, Simon Roberts, Dewi Lewis, John Blakemore, Tom Hunter, Professor Jem Southam and Julian Calder.


  • Year 1

    • Introduction to Photography (60 credits) - Compulsory

      This module aims to introduce the range of skills and knowledge which define the parameters of editorial and commercial photography practice. You will work on projects which explore the medium from a historical and technical perspective and the range of commercial photography practice from documentary, reportage, portraiture, fashion, sport and advertising through to photographers as authors. You will learn to develop solutions which balance a number of conflicting criteria and develop story telling techniques. You will also learn how to work with others, to win trust and gain access and to be aware of the ethics involved.

      The module aims to define photography as part of a visual communication language and as relatively new development historically that has borne witness to many of the events that shape our society. It is the intention of the module to sensitise you to the messages contained in the photographic image and to foster the ability to research and analyse objectively and critically. This context is intended to form the basis for a number of photographic assignments. By the end of the module, you will have encountered several stages of the photographic process with a special emphasis on research and analysis.

    • Understanding Communication Arts (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module aims to encourage you to question how practitioners from Visual Communication Design the Communication Arts, here understood as Photography, Illustration and Graphic Design, both shape, and are shaped by, our material world. You will extend and deepen your understanding of the relationship between your developing practice and the practices that have developed at other times and at other places. With particular reference to the Communication Arts of the modern and postmodern periods, and using resources available in London, we aim to encourage an appreciation of how the design and consumption of Visual Culture is intimately bound up with cultural change. You will be enabled to place the history of communication arts and your own practice within the broader contexts of the histories of art and design, and to understand these in turn in their relation to the histories of society, culture and ideas. You will apply a range of critical approaches in order understand a range of images, texts and objects.

  • Year 2

    • Photography Practice (60 credits) - Compulsory

      This module aims to develop your understanding of specialist pathways within editorial photography, to be aware of their historical context and be aware of current practice. Self directed projects will develop your ability to take the initiative. The module will encourage you to further specialise in different aspects of commercial photographic practice. This builds valuable experience and also helps you decide on a personal pathway. Photography is critically examined as part of a visual language that can be subjected to manipulation and many different meanings. You will learn to work in areas of specialisation and explore open pathways within the subject focus. Projects explore studio photography, portraiture, lighting and art direction, location shoots, landscape photography, sports and events, still life photography, fashion photography, architectural photography, urban landscape, reportage and photojournalism.

    • The Critical Image (30 credits) - Compulsory

      The nature of the photograph is changing. As traditional forms of image making persist alongside continual developments in the way photographic images are made, circulate and are put to use, how can we make sense of the expanding field of photography today As practitioners, we have a particular relationship with photography which necessitates an informed, responsible approach to the task of consuming and making photographs. This module aims to equip you with a range of critical tools you can use to understand and engage with the photographic environment.

  • Year 3

    • Critical and Contextual Research Project (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module aims to enable you to identify and deliver a research project related to your studio practice. The project will involve an analytical engagement with a range of research resources in order to have a greater understanding of an aspect of studio practice through its historical, theoretical and social contexts. The module will consolidate the development of skills of project identification, research organisation and development, time management, visual analysis and critical argument. You will extend your ability to think creatively about the presentation of conceptual, critical and contextual material in both written and visual form. You will further consolidate the development of skills required for autonomous learning.

    • Photography: Professional Portfolio Development Major Projects (90 credits) - Compulsory

      This module aims to give you the opportunity to work on self-initiated projects which will explore how photographers identify commercial opportunities through your professional practice. You will investigate specific areas chosen from ethics, politics, fashion, sport, business, social issues, events, locations, environments and human interest through the broad avenues of photojournalism, documentary and studio exploration. The module will explore the role of the photographer as author investigating self-initiated projects within the area of commercial photographic practice and the broader visual communication context. The module will give you the opportunity to initiate a photographic practice-based research proposition to explore a chosen area of current commercial photographic practice and to develop specific individual photographic practices. The module aims to enable you to develop your professional practice in editorial photography through producing a professional portfolio or collection of work tailored to the area of the creative industry that you wish to pursue as a career destination or as postgraduate study.

You can find more information about this course in the programme specification. Module and programme information is indicative and may be subject to change.

  1. Overview
  2. Teaching and learning
  3. Assessment and feedback
  1. UK & EU
  2. International
  3. Interview and portfolio
  4. How to apply
  1. UK & EU
  2. International

Degree Show

The photography work that our students create is world-class. Each year, our final year students, some of whom are award winners, exhibit their work at our Degree Show.


Follow our Instagram account and keep up with what our students are creating and showcasing.

Lupe magazine

Take a look at our very own magazine, Lupe, to see a showcase of our students work.

In the news

Image gallery

How can the BA Photography support your career?

This degree will prepare you for a successful career in the creative industry. By the end of the course you will have created a professional portfolio essential for entry into studio, portraiture, fashion, architectural, reportage and photo-journalism, art direction, location, landscape, sports, events, still life, magazine, newspaper, book, exhibition and new media photography.

Meeting Employer Demand

  • There are agencies and studios that employ Photographers but most photographic practitioners are self-employed or work in small groups.
  • Photographers compete for work from a wide range of clients from Fashion magazines to picture agencies. Clients are looking for a personal vision. We encourage students to develop a strong personal language, together with a highly professional and responsible approach.
  • To meet this demand, students are encouraged to develop a strong technical understanding. Workshops and a range of projects in level one emphasize different technical outcomes. This forms a strong foundation so that students begin to develop an individual approach. Further projects encouraging a creative approach and acquisition of further technical skills take place at level five.

Student success

  • Sony World Photography Student Focus Award solo winner
  • Middlesex Photography Best in Show Free Range Truman 2016 and also Best Student Photographer 2016
  • Several winners of the D&AD Yellow Pencil over a period of several years
  • Three finalists in all three of the Daniel Blau Gallery ‘5 under 30’ exhibitions
  • Joint first prize-winner in the Onward Compe award
  • Magenta Foundation prize winner
  • Either a student or staff member has been selected to show in every year of the National Portrait Gallery Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait prize since its inception (about seven years ago) including the John Kobal Award for new work last year and two students (one 2016 graduate and one current final year student) in the current 2016/2017 show.


There are two Base Rooms for use by BA Photography students each equipped with visual aids and tables.used for tutorials, seminars and critiques as well as for lectures by visiting speakers.

Photographic Studios

The Photographic Studios in the Basement of The Grove building offer a variety of spaces for photographing at different scales. The infinity cove is used for a wide range of portrait and full figure or group photography applications. There are areas which can be used for three dimensional, portraiture, close up and macro photographic work. ‘Colorama’ systems are provided for easy change of background colour and effects. The professional level lighting equipment and lighting tracks available throughout the studio includes Bowens synchronised flash units. Canon EOS 5D Mk III full frame digital cameras with a range of lenses are available for use in the studio, as well as a Hasselblad film camera with a wide range of lenses and backs. Phase One equipment is also available.

Digital Darkroom

The Digital Darkroom is a state of the art digital photographic editing and output facility, which is probably the best of its kind in the UK. The area has over 56 calibrated Apple Macintosh-Pro workstations networked to a series of professional level Epson A2 photographic printers using the latest industry standard software and K3 pigment inks producing high quality prints. There are also five Hasselblad Flextight film scanners, two flat bed scanners offering scans up to A3 and a daylight-viewing booth. All the workstations and printers are calibrated and colour managed. The area is staffed with expert specialist technicians who work with students to help them achieve their creative goals.

Colour Darkroom

For colour, we have a number of individual booths each light tight and equipped with newly serviced DeVere 504 colour enlargers, Kaiser and Durst colour enlargers. A Colenta RA480 (800mm) colour printer is installed in the darkroom.

Black and White Darkrooms

Middlesex has one Black and White Darkroom with 15 enlargers and a print developing area. DeVere 504 enlargers with condenser, cold cathode and Ilford Multigrade heads are available. There are also and DeVere 203 enlargers and a number of Durst and Kaiser enlargers as well. Negatives from 35mmm to 5 x 4 can be printed. A separate darkroom for higher quality prints (eg black and white fibre based paper) is also available.

Equipment loan

A range of cameras including 35mm, 645, 6x7 medium format as well as digital cameras (Canon 5D MkII, 5D MkIII and 650D) and 5x4 technical field cameras can be taken on location. In addition location lighting equipment kits can be borrowed.

  • Scott Thomas with his artwork

    Scott Thomas

    Photography BA graduate

    Being at university allows you to put all your time into a project. Having the time to grow as a photographer and an artist, you start to notice different things. It’s really interesting to look back at the photos you started with to the images I’m able to show on the wall now.

    As part of my final year project, I immersed myself in an alternative community in the depths of Wales - living, eating and talking with them - to capture the essence of alternative living in his photography.

    It really helped with the photography because it made it more of an intimate experience. It was more an observation of living rather than me going there to shoot in a descriptive project. That was only possible when I was living among that community and experiencing it.

    The support you have at university helps you to experiment and dig deeper into a project and the fact that I could come back after a few weeks and get feedback on that work helped me reflect on my own vision of how the project was going.

  • Carly at her exhibition

    Carly Clarke

    Photography BA graduate

    Carly used her time at Middlesex to experiment creatively, and from this was able to carve a career more specifically as a social documentary photographer. She recently completed her MA in Photography, with Distinction, having been awarded the Luck Hill Postgraduate Photography Award.

    I chose Middlesex University because the facilities were outstanding, unlike facilities I had seen elsewhere. I was also inspired by many of the previous students' portfolios and hearing of their success's after their studies.

    I am particularly pleased that I had complete control over subject matter and projects including some working abroad, giving me time to experiment with my own creativity and to discover what works for me.

    The close support from tutors helped me to carve a more specific pathway for myself that applied to the professional practice of photography and prepared me for the real world.

    Ultimately I'd like to follow my interest in portraiture and documentary, combining the two genres and working with people and their surrounding environments to create editorial and fine art photography.

    See more of Carly's work.

  • Shekhar Bhatia

    Photography BA graduate

    BA Photography graduate Shekhar worked as a professional journalist for many years before studying BA Photography.

    I chose to study photography at Middlesex University because of the location and the reception I received when I walked in to inquire about studying here. I wasn't made to feel like an idiot for finally undertaking a degree in my forties, with a Fleet Street and TV career behind me.

    I enjoyed the engagement with the lecturers and my fellow students, and simply learning again. You can't put a price on knowledge and I will always cherish the know-how they passed on to me. It has given me confidence behind the camera.

    I currently have an exhibition called "Brown Brits" at Roast in Borough Market which is dedicated to my tutors David Simmonds and Michael Bradley, and the students who made me feel welcome. I am also working on a photography project called "The Brown Book" and have just produced two TV documentaries for the BBC and Channel 5 on the shooting of Reeva Steenkamp by Oscar Pistorius.

  • Will Lakin

    Photography BA graduate

    Will was one of only four students whose project was recently chosen by a jury for exhibition at the Paris Photo Fair. His work was displayed in large format at the Gare du Nord station in Paris from October to November 2017.

    Having my work selected for the Paris Photo Carte Blanche award meant that I had a focus for the work and a platform to show it soon after I graduated. On top of this, having my portfolio presented at Paris Photo fair gave me the opportunity to get feedback from a focused photographic audience, allowing me to gain experience talking about the work.

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Fashion Communication and Styling BA Honours

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Code: WF30

Foundation Year in Visual Arts

Start: October 2018

Duration: 1 year full-time, + 3 years full-time

Code: See How to apply tab

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