Photography, Video and Digital Imaging with Integrated Foundation Year BA (Hons)

Apply Online

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

Course starts: 14 September 2020Apply now

Apply now

This is a four-year version of our popular BA (Hons) Photography, Video and Digital Imaging course, with an integrated foundation year. Based at the Northern Centre of Photography, you will be part of our dynamic community and will be equipped with the confidence, knowledge and skills to embark on a successful career in the creative industries.

Watch our IFY webcast


Creative content producers today use photography video and digital imaging fluidly. Our highly engaging programme enables you to explore a diverse range of photographic skills both digital and traditional. You will explore the cultural meaning of photography and its different fields including fine art, documentary and commercial. By also acquiring skills to share content and build audiences both online and off-line you will develop your own distinct visual language that opens up a wide range of career pathways.

Why us?

  • Join our unique creative community, working alongside professionals in the North East Photography Network (NEPN) 
  • The University of Sunderland was ranked 12th in the Courses and Lecturers category of the Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2019
  • Hone your skills in our darkrooms, studios and digital suites housed in our dedicated facility, the Northern Centre for Photography
  • Be inspired by our team of award-winning teaching and technical experts

New Sunderland Culture logo

A city brimming with creative potential

Offering a year-round programme of exhibitions, events and performances, Sunderland Culture brings big-name artists from the worlds of contemporary visual arts, glass, ceramics and performance to the city, alongside showcasing the best and most exciting local talent. There is a huge range of opportunities for students to visit the venues, take part in events and get involved in the programme. Learn more about Sunderland Culture.

Student work

Course structure

In the first year – the foundation year – you will study five modules; a module about the foundations of art, design, performance and media production, an essential study skills module, a foundation project module, practical numeracy skills, and an introduction to creative practice module. After completion of this foundation year, you will then move onto the Photography, Video and Digital Imaging honours degree course.

This course is structured so that you will explore different approaches and styles of photography and moving image 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 more student work in our student galleries.

Foundation Year

The Creative Industries: Arts, Design, Performance, Media Production Integrated Foundation Year includes five modules:

  • Foundations of Art, Design, Performance and Media Production (40 credits)
  • Essential Study Skills (20 credits)
  • Foundation Project (20 credits)
  • Practical Numeracy Skills (20 credits)
  • Introduction to Creative Practice (20 credits)


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

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.

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.

More about BA (Hons) Photography, Video and Digital Imaging with Integrated Foundation Year at Sunderland

Discover more articles
  • 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 D90, D5600, D800 and D810 cameras for high-end digital studio work as well as HD video
    • 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, Alternative Print 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.

See the Virtual Tour for a 360 view of our facilities.

Entry requirements

The Integrated Foundation Year is specially designed to support you where you have just missed the grades required for direct entry onto a three-year degree, or if you have relevant work experience and are now looking to broaden your subject knowledge but want more time to develop study skills before starting your degree.

Entry requirements are provided for guidance only and we may offer you an entrance interview which will help us determine your eligibility for your chosen degree. This enables us to consider making you an offer if you are perhaps a mature student who has been out of education for a period of time, or you have gained significant knowledge and skills through employment rather than traditional education.

Eligible entry qualifications:

1. Normally a minimum of three Level 2 qualifications (NVQ, GCSE or equivalent ), including Maths and English at grade C or above** and a minimum of 40 UCAS tariff points from Level 3 qualifications (e.g. A or AS Levels, BTEC certificates/diplomas, access courses or equivalent)
2. Demonstrable evidence of appropriate knowledge and skills acquired from at least three years of post-school work experience.

Find out how many points your qualifications are worth using the UCAS Tariff calculator.

If you are unsure of whether you think you might be suitable for the course, please contact us!

** If you have studied for a GCSE which has a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above. Equivalent alternative qualifications are also accepted, such as Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number. If you have not achieved a grade C in Maths and English we may be able to work with you to ensure that you are able to gain these in the first year of the course, depending on your experience.

If English is not your first language, please see our English language requirements.

For more information about Integrated Foundation Year programmes, including more detailed module information, please see our Help and Advice articles.

Fees and finance

If you join us in September 2020, the foundation year will be £5,000.

For the following three years, the annual fee will be £9,250 but you will receive £1,250 cash-back in the first and final year of the full-undergraduate course.

In addition, you may receive free travel across the Tyne and Wear region and a University of Sunderland StudyPLUS Card loaded with additional offers up to the value of £200, plus a bundle of study skills books worth £80.

If you are a full-time UK student you may be eligible to receive financial support to cover your fee and maintenance loan for the full four years.

Please note, this course is not available to international students.

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.

Use our scholarships calculator to see what you may be entitled to.

Scholarships calculator

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. Graduates have also taken up internships using their creative and management skills and established their own small businesses operating throughout the country.


You will be working in the Northern Centre of Photography, a unique grade 2 listed building and a dedicated photographic space in the heart of the city centre. With opportunities to meet and learn from many visiting international photographic practitioners, you will be joining a centre of research and teaching excellence in the North of England. Part of a vibrant city campus, we have links to major cultural and industry organisations and we host NEPN, the region’s professional development agency for photography. 


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, Rosy Martin, John Davies, Peter Fryer, Paul Seawright, Liz Wells, Jem Southam, Tomoko Yoneda, Melanie Friend, Julian Germain, Dinu Li, Susan Derges, Peter Kennard, Crystel Lebas and Julian Stallabrass.

Creative Industries Week

Creative Industries week gives everyone in Arts and Creative the opportunity participate in a range of projects, workshops, talks, industry visits and career events. This exciting week encourages interdisciplinary working, broadens your experience, to build your confidence and help develop your career path.

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

Sign up to receive more information

Sign up to receive emails about your subject area.

Keep me up to date relating to my interest in the University of Sunderland via:


You may unsubscribe at any time.

Oops! You've not opted in to receiving other useful information about the University of Sunderland.


Using Your Personal Information
The University of Sunderland is collecting this data in order for you to receive information on your chosen subject(s). Your information will be stored securely in our Customer Relationship Management system which is provided by a 3rd party and used only for the administration and provision of this information. Should you choose to opt in to further communications we will also use your information to facilitate other useful marketing information based on your preferences. Further information on how your data is stored and used can be found in our Privacy notice - marketing.