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BA (Hons) (Top-up)

Study Photography at University Centre Leeds

Transition from student to working professional as you solidify your photographic understanding using industry insight to steer your career trajectory towards your own devised specialism. Our Photography BA (Hons) Top-up Degree will allow you to sharpen your skills and zoom forward towards a career as a photographer in a range of contexts.

  • Starts:
  • Duration: 1 year
  • Venue: Quarry Hill Campus
  • Fee: £8,745 full-time (per academic year for UK students)
  • UCAS Course Code(s): W641
  • UCAS Institution Code: L21
  • Study Mode: Full Time
  • Validated By: The Open University
photography student taking pictures


Our top-up programme encompasses academic study to contextualise your practical work. You will focus on your specialist area to conduct a personal photographic project that reflects and represents you as a photographer. You will also build a professional network and explore professional and photographic practice with a view to move directly into the industry.

Throughout the course you will be encouraged to develop your own professional practice and undertake new experiences, discovering new cultural and employment opportunities. Our students have previously visited cities such as London, Paris, Budapest, Berlin and New York. Additionally, draw inspiration from local artists in the Cultural Quarter of Leeds.

Your final practical photographic project will be exhibited externally, introducing you to the local art scene. You will also meet guest speakers from a variety of photographic genres such as Pippa Oldfield, Tessa Bunney, Danny North and Juno Calypso.

This course is validated by The Open University 

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We are proud to work in partnership with:


We are part of Screen Yorkshire’s Connected Campus initiative which works to forge closer links between TV and Film professionals, production companies, broadcasters and students. Through this initiative you will have access to a range of boot camps, masterclasses and special events, including visits to live sets and studios, industry workshops, visiting speakers and the opportunity to gain feedback on your work from industry professionals. The scheme is encouraged and supported by the broadcasters based in the region, including Channel 4, the BBC and ITV.

We are also members of Film Buddy UK who offer bespoke employability services to encourage, inspire and assist students directly into work experience placements and employment within the Film, Television & Creative Media Industries. UCL Creative Arts students have free registration with the company throughout their studies and have access to live Q and As with some of the world's leading specialists, mentoring support, access to work experience opportunities and FB-1, an online catalogue of interviews and podcasts with specialists from the screen industries.

How to Apply

If you would like to apply for to study full time, please do so via UCAS.

The institution code for University Centre Leeds is L21.

The application fee for applying through UCAS is £27.50.

Apply via UCAS

If you are a student currently studying at Leeds City College, Keighley College or Harrogate College and if all of the following applies:

  • you do not already have an application with UCAS
  • you only wish to study your full time undergraduate course with University Centre Leeds
  • should you be successful in your application and enrol onto this course, you agree to us submitting a record of prior acceptance (RPA) application to UCAS on your behalf 

Then you can make a direct application via the following link:

Internal Students - Direct Application Form

For further information in regards to this please email

Course Information

Modules may include

  • Exploratory Photographic Practice
  • Making a Professional Network
  • Professional Practice
  • Personal Photographic Project
  • Research Project

The course is designed to build upon your previous knowledge and skills in photography developing your ideas through your contextual understanding of a photography and how to build a photographic project. This is underpinned by the Dissertation and the work related learning modules.

You will be assessed in a variety of modes. This will vary depending on the style of module, you will be expected to undertake written work in the form of blogs, workbooks and essays. Presentations and portfolio reviews, along with practical submissions.


Foundation Degree: Pass on the second year of a foundation degree in a relevant subject.

HND: Pass grade in a relevant subject.

IELTS: IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any component.

International qualifications: International qualifications will be assessed against these criteria.

Mature applicants: University Centre Leeds welcomes applications from candidates who may not precisely match the academic criteria but can demonstrate experience in their chosen field as well as academic achievement at level 5. Candidates in this category will be interviewed to assess their suitability for the course and asked to provide a portfolio of evidence to support their application.

*21 years and over at the start of the course

RPL Claims: The course structure actively supports claims for Recognition of Prior Certified Learning (RPCL) or Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL).

Portfolio: All students are to present a portfolio and supporting academic text.

Interview / Audition: A successful interview required.

Further study at postgraduate level including master’s or PGCEs, or relevant employment.

Job opportunities may include

  • Freelance/contracted photographer
  • Picture editor
  • Photographic assistant
  • Educator
  • Curator

For the latest version of the programme specifications for this course please click here.

For the latest version of the course handbook for this course please click here.

For the latest version of The Open University regulations please click here.

There are additional costs associated with the practical elements of this programme, which may include:

  • Art materials
  • Printing
  • Framing and display of work
  • Optional trips and visits

These costs will be led by the nature of the work that you produce, however you will be expected to meet the costs of production of your projects.



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