BA (Hons)


BA (Hons)


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The Open College of the Arts is the distance learning college of the University for the Creative Arts – one of the UK’s leading specialist art and design universities.


The OCA BA (Hons) Photography degree programme is unique in that it assumes no prior knowledge beyond the basic operations of a camera. It is modular in concept and delivery and the student is free to choose from the available units at each level to suit their own interests and aspirations. Thus it is possible that, with tutorial guidance, each individual student can tailor their course to their apparent and developing talents, their creative and intellectual inclinations.

Degree overview

The BA (Hons) Photography degree will develop your technical, creative and analytical skills through a highly structured programme of study which is made sensitive to your needs as a student through a one-to-one tutor relationship. At Level 5, you will begin to develop your personal artistic voice as a photographer through an exploration of genre, and there will be an increased emphasis on theoretical and critical studies in parallel with your practical work. Level 6 consists primarily of a flexible negotiated programme.These three final modules can be linked and the college’s wide range of tutor specialisms helps in supporting you in your creation of fresh and challenging work that shows a maturity of outlook across the spectrum of photographic practice.

As its Distance Learning arm, all OCA degrees are validated by the University for the Creative Arts (UCA). UCA is the No.1 Specialist University for the Creative Industries in the Complete University Guide and ranked 21st in the UK by the Guardian University League Tables.

Degree aims

  • To widen access to education in photography at undergraduate level through Open and Flexible Distance Learning.
  • To provide an intellectually stimulating programme based on high quality study material and tutor support.
  • To develop students’ creative capacities and their ability in the interpretation and application of imagery.
  • To develop students’ critical understanding of the theoretical and conceptual issues central to the practice of photography and the social, historical and cultural context in which it is practiced.
  • To provide an environment in which the student has the possibility of changing their view of the world and their interaction with it both visually and intellectually.
  • To foster high-level ethical and professional standards and an awareness of the possibilities offered by existing and new developments in photography to expand their application areas.

Degree prospectus

Full details of the content of the Photography degree, and pathways available can be found through the BA (Hons) Photography degree handbook, downloadable here.

OCA BA (Hons) Photography Degree course units

The available course units for the BA (Hons) Photography degree can be viewed below.

Level 1 (HE4)

Level 2 (HE5)

Level 3 (HE6)

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The Open College of the Arts is the distance learning college of the University for the Creative Arts – one of the UK’s leading specialist art and design universities.

“Studying with the OCA has stretched my horizons. I now feel my work has a greater sense of my personal presence and I can communicate my ideas creatively.”


John Umney, Photography student

Re-approaching Photography: Bridging course

If you're not yet ready to study a Photography Degree, our pilot 'bridging' course, Re-Approaching Photography has been designed to give you a good grounding in photographic theory to compliment your practice.

To express interest in this course, which will run as both a cohort and a non-cohort course, please refer to the details on this page: Bridging: Re-approaching Photography.

Programme Leader for Photography

Gina Lundy

I started my photographic career as a photographer’s assistant to the commercial and advertising sector, working in studios in Bristol and London, however I soon realised that my passions lay with socially engaged projects of a documentary nature…

Creative careers

The creative sector employs 1.9 million people in the UK alone.

By studying the OCA BA (Hons) Photography degree, you can kick-start your career in the creative industries by working part-time or doing an internship whilst gaining your academic qualifications at the same time.

Photographers and digital artists typically work, often freelance, in publishing, journalism, public relations, advertising, design studios, teaching, media and broadcasting. Photography careers on offer range from commercial photography, through newspaper and magazine photojournalism to more specific areas such as scientific photography, medical photography and culinary photography. Whatever your aspiration, the OCA’s BA (Hons) Photography degree will prepare you for working in any one of these photography careers that are available to graduates.

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Please fill in this form to enquire about the BA (Hons) Photography degree or one of OCA’s other undergraduate Open degree programmes. You are not committing to anything by filling in this form.