BA(Hons) in Marine & Natural History Photography


Program Description

Harness your passion for photography and filmmaking to inspire audiences about nature and the environment. On this forward-thinking course, you’ll learn how to communicate scientific ideas and conservation stories through images, and raise awareness of other global issues, including habitat loss, climate change and plastic pollution.


The outdoors will be your studio, and you'll have fantastic locations on your doorstep, as well as opportunities to travel the world. You'll also benefit from the expertise of staff members who are global practitioners, with links to the BBC Natural History Unit and National Geographic.

You will:

  • Have the opportunity to take part in regular field trips and residentials to places like Dartmoor, where you'll complete first aid training for the outdoors. There are also optional international field trips, including visits to the Cairngorms, the Galapagos Islands and the Red Sea.
  • Have the option to learn professional underwater photography.
  • Have the chance to complete a two-week work placement in your second year.
  • Organise, fund and complete a self-devised project in your third year, mirroring an industry project, which could be based anywhere in the world.
  • Access our cutting-edge photographic equipment, as well as studios, dark rooms and post-production suites.

What we're looking for

We want someone who:

  • Shows a genuine passion for photography and the natural world.
  • Shows a reasonable level of technical knowledge and skills.
  • Has good visual awareness.
  • Can research, write and analyse to a reasonable level.
  • Intelligently and articulately expresses ideas and responds to questions

What our graduates do

Some of our graduates’ recent projects include filming dolphins in Hong Kong harbour, photographing salmon and bears in British Columbia, photographing sharks in Fiji and documenting a nomadic tribe in Mongolia.


What you'll learn

Blending professional practice with theoretical knowledge, this environmental photography course will help you develop a critical understanding essential for your future career. You'll also have the chance to gain real-world experience during and after your studies through our relationships with agencies and conservation trusts and paid opportunities through our in-house photo agency.

Year one

You'll practice photographic skills alongside research and critical thinking. During this year, you'll explore biodiversity and habitat, as well as the marine environment, and will participate in a number of local field trips to land and marine environments.


  • Developing Practice
    You'll be introduced to basic photography skills and camera techniques.
  • Research and Critical Thinking
    Learn how to generate ideas, understand the impact of photography and improve your writing.
  • Biodiversity and Habitat
    Study the intricate web of life in a local habitat.
  • Exploring Practice
    More advanced photographic skills and camera techniques.
  • Communicating Nature
    Learn to communicate scientific ideas through text and photographic sequence.
  • The Marine Environment
    Explore and photograph the seashore and oceans.

Year two

Alongside studying moving image and still photography, you'll develop your research and critical thinking skills, explore global conservation, and get ready for your own research project.


  • Moving Image and the Natural World
    Work in groups to create a short film.
  • Photography of the Natural World
    Learn about natural history photography and develop your own portfolio.
  • Conservation and its Representation
    Examine conservation issues and learn how photography and moving image can make an impact.
  • Independent Practice
    Create your own short film and photographic story.
  • Culture and the Environment
    Devise a research project focused on an issue that interests you.
  • Work Experience
    Spend a short period of time undertaking work experience in a relevant professional context.

Year three

You'll keep building your photographic skills, develop your final portfolio and dissertation, and prepare to enter the industry.


  • Project Development
    Begin to develop a major project using still photography or moving image.
  • Dissertation
    Research and write a dissertation on a subject of your choice.
  • Major Project
    Complete your major project and develop a professional portfolio.
  • Professional Profile
    Build your profile to a professional standard and make contacts within the industry.

The modules above are those being studied by our students or proposed new ones. Programme structures and modules can change as part of our curriculum enhancement and review processes. If a certain module is important to you, please discuss it with the Course Leader.

How you'll learn

You'll learn through field trips, photographic and scientific excursions, technical workshops, lectures, seminars and tutorials. The course includes an optional underwater programme with dive tuition and international photo shoots. There will also be chances to join photographic expeditions to places like the Galapagos Islands, Borneo and the Red Sea, and to take on national and international placements.

Students have previously created projects that have documented climate change in Norwegian glaciers, conducted research in the Ecuadorian rainforest, and filmed conservation work in the Amazon rainforest.

Assessment methods

  • Continuous assessment with no formal examinations.
  • Portfolios, presentations and essays.
  • End of year project and exhibition.


You’ll be guided and supported by practising photographers, scientists and explorers. Their careers span working and exhibiting photographs internationally, producing wildlife films and leading expeditions.

Some members of staff only teach on specific modules, and your course might not feature every member.


  • Multiple studios, darkrooms and print suites.
  • Photography store containing a wide range of professional equipment free to loan.
  • Macro and long lenses, macro flash, infrared triggers and time-lapse and underwater cameras.
  • Digital suite with Adobe software.
  • Photo-microscopy laboratory.
  • Digital and traditional processing facilities.
  • Walled garden with a fully equipped hide for nature study, photography and filming.

How to apply

Apply via UCAS

Ready to join us? If you're applying through UCAS Apply and Track, you'll need to reference the university and course codes below. 

  • University code: F33
  • Course code: WF67

Applying as an international student? 

International students can apply for a course through UCAS, via an agent or directly with the university. 

Entry requirements

We consider all applications on their own individual merit and potential. We invite all applicants to an interview day or audition to give them the opportunity to demonstrate this along with what inspires and motivates them in their field. Applicants will also be able to show their portfolio or give a performance depending on the course. We welcome applications from all subject backgrounds, whether you’ve specialised in STEM, the arts or humanities.  

As a guide our typical offer at an undergraduate level is 104 – 120 UCAS Tariff points, primarily from Level 3 qualifications such as but not limited to A-levels, a BTEC Extended Diploma or a Foundation Diploma. 

Language requirements

For applicants whose first language is English, we require you to have or be working towards GCSE English Language Grade 4 (C), or equivalent. 

If English is not your first language you will need to meet the same standard which is equivalent to the IELTS Academic 6.0 overall score, with at least 5.5 in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. We accept a range of in-country equivalencies and approved tests.  

If you need a Tier 4 student visa to study in the UK, you’ll need to take an approved Secure English Language Test (SELT). You can read our English Language Requirements for more information.


  • UK/EU applications: 15 January 2020 (for equal consideration) 
  • Late applications will be considered if there are places available. 
  • International fee payers can apply throughout the year. But we recommend applying as early as possible, to make time for visa and travel arrangements.

Tuition fees 2020-21

  • £9,250 - full-time UK/EU
  • £16,000 - full-time international

Tuition fees are set annually and are subject to review each year. The University may, therefore, raise tuition fees in the second or subsequent years of a course, in line with inflation and/or the maximum permitted by law or Government policy. Students will be notified of any changes as soon as possible.

Last updated May 2020

About the School

Established in 1902 as Falmouth School of Art, it has grown over a century to become a digital innovation hub. Today, its portfolio of undergraduate and postgraduate courses represents the breadth of ... Read More

Established in 1902 as Falmouth School of Art, it has grown over a century to become a digital innovation hub. Today, its portfolio of undergraduate and postgraduate courses represents the breadth of the Creative Industries, the fastest growing sector in the UK economy. Now, as we face the fourth industrial revolution; as technology provides great opportunities as well as challenges, it’s clear that Falmouth’s specialisms of creative innovation; creative thinking, problem-solving, communication and storytelling, will be key to future economic and cultural success both at a local and global level. Read less
Falmouth , Penryn + 1 More Less