Photography, Video and Digital Imaging BA (Hons)

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Course starts: 16 September 2019Apply now

If you are applying for the course from outside the UK/EU, click apply now.

Course starts: 16 September 2019Apply now

If you are applying for the full-time course from within the UK/EU, click apply now.

Course starts: 16 September 2019Apply now

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In a world that is full of photography this course lets you make your work stand out. Photography is key to the creative industries you can be a part. Be radical, be creative.

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On this course you will develop your own creative and critical practice. Using still and moving imagery, you will learn how to be a visual story-teller and position your work in the world. Our leading academics will encourage you to explore creative ideas and understand the theorised context to develop your own visual voice.



Video credit: Nat Wilkins – Graduate

Why us?

  • 100% of our BA (Hons) Photography Video and Digital Imaging graduates are in employment, further study or training within six months of graduating, according to DLHE 2016/17 (based on full-time, first degree, home leavers)
  • Our Cinematics and Photography courses are ranked 9th in the UK for Learning resources and are in the top 25% for Organisation and management, Student voice and Overall satisfaction, according to the National Student Survey 2018
  • Recognised for teaching excellence (awarded Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence by the Higher Education Academy 2016)
  • You can work with the North East Photography Network (NEPN) which links professional photographers working in the North East
  • Sunderland's Film Production & Photography courses are 6th in the UK according to The Guardian University league tables 2019
  • A leading photographic library collection
  • Excellent resources for chemical and digital practice, based in the Northern Centre of Photography

Course structure

This course is structured so that you will explore different approaches and styles of photography and moving imagery to build your skills, your creative approaches and understanding of the practice as you develop your own aesthetic and intellectual position as an image maker.

You will have opportunities to experiment and challenge yourself, present your ideas to your peers and test your work in the real world as well as giving feedback to your peers.

View our student galleries.

Year 1 (national level 4):

  • Genres of Photography (20 credits)

An introduction to the way of working in the photography department and the study skills you will need for your practical and written work.

  • The Digital Image: Moving and Still (20 credits)

Explore how digital technology has impacted on video and photography and develop your own work informed by technical skills and contemporary practitioners, from Video Art to YouTube and inkjet prints to Instagram.

  • Realist Photography (20 credits)

Explore realist approaches to photography, from social documentary to landscape photography and learn black and white film processing and printing.

  • Studio Photography (20 credits)

Explore the possibilities of light in your images through using studio lighting and different format cameras. Extend your technical, aesthetic and practical skills and consider how to an image in the studio.

  • History of Photographic Genres (20 credits)

Take a look at the historical development of different areas within photography by looking at portraiture, landscape, still life, advertising, fashion, documentary, architecture, photo-montage and art.

  • The Alternative Print (20 credits)

Think differently about the photographic print in a module divided into two sections. Consider the digital print and how to make a high-quality digital photographic print, and get an introduction to a range of alternative print processes.


Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.

Year 2 (national level 5):

  • Colour Photography (20 credits)

Gain a practical and intellectual understanding of how colour photographic images are seen and used as a medium of personal expression.

  • The Image (40 credits)

Put your work into the public domain and explore the challenges of how to communicate with an audience. Get real-world experience of working in a professional setting.

  • Photography and Critical Theory (20 credits)

Get an introduction to the main critical ideas and theoretical concepts which have informed photographic practice since the 1960s.

  • Photography and Narrative (20 credits)

Explore different ways of story-telling through photography. Learn how to sequence your work to create either a book or a multi-media piece, and consider the impact of text and/or sound with your imagery.

  • Self-Negotiated Project A (20 credits)

Initiate your own individual project and develop your working practice. Working closely with the academics you will be working within a professional environment and enhance your skills, from production and editing to motivation and research skills.

Final Year (national level 6):

  • The Commission (20 credits)

Look at professional photographic practice and commissioning.

  • Self-Negotiated Project B (40 credits)

Build on the experience already encountered at Stage 2. Initiate a project of independent study and visual practice, reviewed at regular group and individual tutorials.

  • Research Project (20 credits)

Explore an interdisciplinary approach to the theory, history and practice of the photographic image as a form of representational expression.

  • Exhibition/Presentation (40 credits)

Develop a self-negotiated project. Submit the work as your final degree level presentation.

  • You’ll have access to top-of-the-range camera and studio facilities, including:

    • Cameras include: Pentax 35mm Nikon 35mm, Mamiya RB6x7, Hasselblad, Fuji 6x7, Fuji 6x9, Toyo 5x4, and Sinar 5x4. We provide Digital Nikon D80, D90, D700 D800 and D810 cameras for high-end digital studio work as well as HD video cameras
    • Accessories: Wide range of camera lenses and backs
    • Studios: 4 extensive photography studios equipped with Tungsten and Bowens Esprit studio lighting
    • Lighting: Wide range of portable lighting kits and flash guns
    • Macs: Digital suites with open-access Apple Macs for editing video and digital images
    Cameras and studios
  • You'll be using chemical and digital photography and video facilities, which include:

    • Pixel Lab – a dedicated digital darkroom and print centre
    • Black and white and colour chemical darkrooms
    • Photographic studios with flash and tungsten lighting
    • A full range of film and digital cameras with everything from portable flash to a wide range of lenses to support professional work
  • FabLab Sunderland offers a diverse range of specialist digital design and fabrication equipment. Based at the Hope Street Xchange in Sunderland city centre, it is a creative space where anyone can make (almost) anything. Our students gain free access to FabLab's machines which include:

    • Epilog laser cutter
    • ShopBot CNC router
    • The Roland Modela MDX-20 milling machine
    • Roland Vinyl cutter GS-24
    • Dimension 1200es Series 3D Printer – ABS plastic (large capacity 3D printer)
    • Ultimaker 2 (small scale 3D printer)
    • Ulitmaker 2 Extended (medium scale 3D printer)
  • The University Library has an exceptional collection of photography books and monographs and subscribes to a comprehensive range of academic journals and databases so you can access reliable and up-to-date information.

    A dedicated Academic Liaison Librarian supports students and staff in the arts, design and performing arts disciplines.

    The key resources for your course include:

    Discover: The Library’s multi-disciplinary search tool

    Art Full Text: A major resource for media and arts information

    JSTOR (short for ‘Journal Storage’): Giving access to important journals across the humanities, social sciences and sciences

    Lexis: A major resource on full-text newspaper articles and legal information

    Library Services - arts and design
  • Map and directions


The University provides excellent facilities and industry-standard software so it's easy to make a seamless transition from your studies to the workplace. Photography courses are situated at the Northern Centre of Photography on City Campus.

Entry requirements

Our typical offer is

  • GPA 3.0 or above from High School Diploma along with one of the following at the required grade - SAT I and SAT II, ACT or Advanced Placement

If your qualification is not listed above, please contact the Student Administration team at for further advice.

We also require three passes at GCSE grade C or above, which must include Mathematics and English Language, or an equivalent qualification, for example; a minimum of Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number. If you have studied for a new GCSE for which you will be awarded a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above.

If English is not your first language we will require an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with an overall score of 6.0 and at least 5.5 or higher in each component: reading, writing, listening and speaking. An alternative approved Secure English Language Test (SELT) can also be considered if the applicant's element scores are equivalent to those required for IELTS.


If the above criteria is met you will be asked to attend an interview. For this interview please prepare a portfolio of work, which should be simply mounted and accompanied by preparatory work. Sketchbooks are an important feature of your preparatory work and should be included. Where possible, 3D and large 2D work should be photographed. Digital and screen-based work should be saved on a CD or memory stick.

If you are an international applicant, please supply your portfolio on a CD.

Suitable items for a portfolio include:

‡ Drawing: examples of observed drawing and exploratory drawing

‡ Projects: evidence of project work together with your sketchbooks and development work

‡ Self-initiated work: that you have done out of personal interest

‡ Research: examples of various forms of investigation undertaken for projects

‡ Writing: examples of reports, essays or journals

Fees and finance

The annual tuition fee is:

  • £9,250 if you are from the UK / EU
  • £11,500 if you are from outside the UK / EU

Tuition fees for part-time students are £6,935 per 120 credits. Please note that part-time courses are not available to international students who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more in our Help and Advice article.

Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.

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This information was correct at the time of publication.

Student work Catherine


Graduates from this course are creative individuals who work in a broad range of creative careers. This may be in directly related areas such as arts practitioners, the music press, fashion photography, and portraiture to people facing professions such as teaching, working in the caring professions. Graduates have also taken up internships using their creative and management skills and established their own small businesses operating throughout the country.


You will have opportunities to apply for internships, placements and live projects where you will work alongside industry professionals. You can also participate in visits to exhibitions with other students that are regional, national and international.

Guest speakers

You will have a range of opportunities to meet different practitioners working across the photographic sector. NEPN provides a programme of speakers and events that question and engage with photographic debates.

Previous speakers have included: Simon Norfolk, Helen Sear, Rosy Martin, John Davies, Peter Fryer, Paul Seawright, Liz Wells, Jem Southam, Tomoko Yoneda, Melanie Friend, Julian Germain, Paul Wombell, Dinu Li, Paul Hermann, Nicola Dove and Julian Stallabrass.

Meet the students

  • I enjoyed the freedom of self-expression and the help given by the lecturers at Sunderland.
    Esme Fletcher, Photography, Video and Digital Imaging

    Esme Fletcher

  • Sunderland is an excellent place to develop as an artist and photographer.
    Helen McGhie, Photography, Video and Digital Imaging

    Helen McGhie

  • I wanted to do something that spoke about mythology, culture and our heritage.
    Ignotas Kuprys

    Ignotas Kuprys

  • The University of Sunderland was my route to the best job in the world.
    Luke Newman, Photography, Video and Digital Imaging

    Luke Newman

Meet the team

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