student with camera, blue overlay


Foundation Degree

Study Photography at University Centre Leeds

Gain exposure to the captivating photographic industry with this degree. You will study a range of photographic techniques and disciplines such as documentary, fashion, portraiture, fine art and commercial, allowing you to create independent briefs. Benefit from guest talks, practical projects and work-based learning to develop into a versatile photographer.

  • Starts:
  • Duration: 2 years
  • Venue: Quarry Hill Campus
  • Fee: £8,745 full-time (per academic year for UK students)
  • UCAS Course Code(s): W640
  • UCAS Institution Code: L21
  • Study Mode: Full Time
  • Validated By: Luminate Education Group
photography student taking pictures


Pursue a personal specialism and build a career in photography with our foundation degree programme. You will gain the technical knowledge of how to use a variety of cameras and how to make the most out of available and studio lighting. Practical learning is underpinned by photographic historical and contextual understanding.

You will explore multiple aspects of photography, ranging from refining your ideas and concepts, to working in the industry. You will develop your creative vision and produce a professional portfolio capturing your talent. You will also visit art and photography festivals such as Liverpool Look Festival and Derby Format Festival.

We emphasise work-related learning so you’ll experience guest lecturers from industry speakers such as Tom Martin, Ian Beesley and Murat Özkasim. We also encourage international residential visits to engage with the international creative industry.

Upon completion of this Foundation Degree, you can progress to study for a third year and gain a full BA (Hons) Photography Top-up Degree

This course is validated by Luminate Education Group

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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

You will study 120 credits per year of the course and the modules may include:

Year 1 – Level 4

Level 4 focuses on skills and knowledge, giving a flavour of the genres of photography with an opportunity to try out ideas and build the skills needed to be a successful photographer. Skills acquired at this level include practical, employment and academic:

  • Commercial Photographic Techniques (20 credits) – You will develop technical photographic skills and build knowledge of cameras, the exposure triangle, simple lighting techniques and post production. You will learn to purposefully select equipment and processes to create a portfolio of photographs. Through exploring and experimenting with a range of new relevant techniques, you will constantly reflect on your findings.
  • Commercial Practice (20 credits) – Allows you to explore how you can make your own work commercial and saleable.
  • Fashion and Editorial Photography (20 credits) – Allows you to practically examine the fast paced world of commercial photography. You will learn skills relevant to the communication of narrative, theme or mood, to be used in a variety of contexts including use alongside a supporting text, or as standalone images.   The module will allow you to develop your research skills, increase your knowledge of well-known practitioners in the field, and build a good understanding of specialised photographic techniques within the fashion and editorial industry. 
  • Fine Art Photography (20 credits) – Delve into the work of photography as art. This will introduce you to historical and contemporary practitioners, creative techniques and concepts, and show you how to build a career as a fine artist within photography. Explore the importance of effective communication through the created image and its presentation to an audience.
  • Photographic Discourse (20 credits) – Through this module, you will be encouraged to think ethically about the role of the photographer in terms of communication and how the image is interpreted by the viewer.
  • The Creative Professional (20 credits) – Allows you to identify a career path. Focusing on a chosen photographer/artist you will explore how you can create a career trajectory based on your findings.

Year 2 – Level 5

Level 5 (FD) incorporates work experience (this is encouraged in level 4) and collaboration, working with your peers as photographers and with other practitioners within the creative arts. Through this level you are supported to find your own photographic style and direct your photographic trajectory, you evidence this is both practical and written forms:

  • Collaboration (20 credits) – You will explore the trial and complexities of working in an interdisciplinary context, by collaborating with students from different disciplines to produce a shared outcome.

  • Advanced Photographic Techniques (20 credits) – Building on from Commercial Photographic Techniques, this module will serve to develop your knowledge of new sophisticated techniques in relation to planning, shooting, post production and presentation of images. With these tools you will be able to work both in the studio and on location when producingcommercial (e.g. PR, fashion and advertising), documentary and fine art photography.

  • Personal Photographic Project (20 credits) – Use your project management skills in the planning, preparation and realisation of a career-defining portfolio that demonstrates your own identity as a practitioner. Think about how to act as a responsible practitioner and reflect the culturally diverse world around you by making considered and ethical choices in your realised projects.

  • Contemporary Issues in Photography (20 credits) – This module encourages you to identify, analyse and further adapt the work of current photography practices that inspire you. Through this, you will think about the significance of your own role as a photographer within the wider industry and begin to defend your practice in a professional context.

  • Working in the Photographic Industry (40 credits) – This live brief encourages you to think about yourself as a practitioner and how you promote your work in the professional arena . You will explore the relationship between the creative, technical ability and communication skills that are required to fulfil professional photography briefs and adhere to client specifications. 

The course is designed to build upon your previous knowledge and skills in photography and develop your ideas through practical and contextual studies and effectively prepare you for the photographic industry. You will develop techniques to support marketing plans and also understand the ethical and legal considerations required for the industry.

You will develop the following skills:

  • Innovative and creative thinking that prepares you for working in the photographic industry
  • Critical understanding of ethics, roles and requirements of becoming a photographic practitioner
  • Self-discipline and independence as learners and as a self-motivated creative professional
  • Critical thinking, study skills, academic writing and time management strategies

Benefits include:

  • Smaller cohorts and personalised support
  • Taught by practising professionals
  • Opportunity for networking and industry links
  • The opportunity to work collaboratively on ideas and projects
  • You will also be developed as a creative individual, learning to appreciate and apply the technical and problem solving techniques that are required of the creative industry.

Assessments aim to provide you with the academic and practical industry knowledge, skills and development for your future careers as a professional photographer through such methods as:

  • Practical Demonstrations and Presentations
  • Portfolios and Portfolio Reviews
  • Reflections
  • Case Studies
  • Collaborative Projects
  • Exhibitions


Tariff offer: 48 UCAS tariff points from two Alevels (or equivalent
qualifications), one of which must be in a relevant subject

A Levels: 2xD grades one of which to be in a relevant subject.

BTEC Level 3 Diploma or Extended Diploma: MP, MPP grade in relevant subjects.

Access to HE Diploma: Overall pass with 60 credits, with 24 credits to be at a Merit grade in a relevant subject.

T Levels: Acceptable in a relevant subject.

GCSE English: English Language grade 4 or above is desirable. Key Skills Level 2, Functional Skills Level 2 and the Certificate in Adult Literacy are accepted in place of GCSEs.

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 mature* applicants who may not have met the academic criteria, but who can demonstrate a wealth of experience in their chosen field. Candidates in this category and otherwise are likely to be interviewed to assess their suitability for the course and may be 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).

Interviews / audition: A successful interview required.

References: An appropriate reference desirable.

Portfolio: A portfolio of work is required.

Upon completion of this Foundation Degree, you can progress to study for a third year and gain a full BA (Hons) Photography Top-up Degree.

Job opportunities may include

  • Freelance photographer
  • Photographic assistant
  • Picture editor
  • Curator
  • Photography teacher (further qualifications required)

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 Leeds City College regulations please click here.

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

  • Photographic film & paper
  • Printing costs
  • 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 photographic projects.



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