Our January entry (Spring term) BA (Hons) degrees allow students to study flexibly at home, in the studio or at our dedicated international host institution. You'll complete your first year of study by the beginning of August, progressing straight into your second year in September 2021 after a summer break.
How it works
We are excited to offer a selection of BA (Hons) creative courses through our new distance learning provision, starting in January 2021. Our vision for excellence in art and design distance learning, under the banner of our Connected Campus, affords students flexibility in their studies whilst being a valued part of our community.
These three-year courses all share a common distance-learning first year, while specialising in a chosen subject, then progressing into named awards in year two and three. The first year of your January entry BA (Hons) Commercial Photography course can be studied at home, in your own studio space, or at our dedicated international host institution. You will begin in January 2021, and your studies will finish in July 2021, allowing you to immediately progress on to your second year of study in person at Plymouth College of Art, in September 2021.
What will I study?
Our BA (Hons) Commercial Photography course will equip you with advanced technical skills in studio and location lighting, digital capture and post-production techniques. This is an integrated programme of study with the industry-oriented assignment, hands-on workshops and expert tuition. You will also develop your industry knowledge and professional skills to enable you to find work in high-end commercial photographic practice.
Our curriculum is geared towards employability and enterprise. We develop photographers who are technically proficient, visually sophisticated and professionally astute – who understand trends in the industry, how to pitch for business, and who graduate with a broad range of transferable skills that enable them to succeed in the creative industries.
Working both individually and with real-world mentors, you’ll gain vocational experience to be able to flourish both academically and professionally. You will acquire a broad range of entrepreneurial abilities in marketing, self-promotion and business development, enabling you to develop a financially sustainable practice, fundamental to your success in the industry.
Alumni Shorts: Andy Ford | BA (Hons) Photography from Plymouth College of Art on Vimeo.
Our curriculum includes a rich schedule of visiting lecturers and photographers, many of whom also take an active role in running practical workshops, contributing to group critiques and seminar discussions, and providing portfolio review sessions. And we are regularly visited by talented photography alumni, with graduates including Harry Borden, Suki Dhanda, Tom Oldham and Candice Farmer. Some also provide work placement and assisting opportunities. Sessions by visitors are recorded wherever possible and shared with the college community.
Our students attend world-class events including the annual Visual Culture Symposium in London, where speakers have included picture editors from The Telegraph and The Guardian, amongst acclaimed international photographers. You’ll also be encouraged to enter graduate showcases and awards, with one of our recent graduates winning Best in Show - first runner up, at Free Range 2019.
How will I learn?
Beginning in January 2021, your accelerated first-year will take place online, learning remotely with the support of our teaching and technical team, as well as industry practitioners. You’ll develop your confidence in responding to client briefs while demonstrating creative problem-solving and conceptualisation skills.
Our Commercial Photography course also benefits from a strong connection with the prestigious Association of Photographers (AOP), with UK students offered free membership.
In the second year, you’ll be able to learn face-to-face with real industry clients and build a professional portfolio using our state-of-the-art facilities. Recent course contributors include Getty Images, The Met Office, Mercedes-Benz, and Pro-Direct Sport. You’ll also benefit from our affiliation with the prestigious Association of Photographers (AOP).
What will I have access to?
Our UK students can enjoy access to our photographic resources including industry-standard studios, with an infinity cove to create seamless backdrops for shoots and a series of well-equipped studios for portrait and product photography. We also provide access to lighting and high-end digital camera equipment, large-format scanners, post-production suites and 6000 pieces of kit that are free to hire from our Equipment Resource Centre.
International students can access facilities available at our dedicated host institution, based in China. Access to specialist facilities can support your studies, however it is not essential to succeed on this course.
Although many of our students do come in with top grades and high UCAS points, these aren’t necessarily essential for entry. We typically ask for a minimum of 112 UCAS points, but we understand that talented artists, designers and makers can have a wide range of relevant strengths and skills beyond formal qualifications. We’re just as interested in exploring your portfolio and discussing your creative experiences as we are in seeing your grades.
We recognise the value of a variety of qualifications and relevant experience and welcome applications from students who have followed less traditional routes. We also accept a range of international qualifications and will look at each application individually.
Course and Units
The School of Design + Communication acknowledges the rich history of the design relative to industry and manufacturing, whilst embracing radical new forms of design as modes of intervention, play and transformation. By utilising new technologies, identifying emerging markets and defining more sustainable methods in their work, we bring purposeful design into everyday lives to solve the most urgent issues we face as a community and society.
Study with us and you’ll expand your critical approach alongside developing skills in research and analysis. Our creative programmes encourage diversity in thinking and making - from practical applications through to reflective, analytical writing.
We provide a dynamic, stimulating learning environment from which to test new models of practice while investing in the rich relationship between practice and theory - based on the potential in material and visual exploration, collaborative working, cross-fertilisation of ideas and the exploration of histories and contemporary contexts.
*Please note unit details listed are correct at time of publication and indicative content only. If you have any questions about course content and structure please email email@example.com
Year 1 (distance learning)
Module 1: Academic Skills for Creative Learning
Module 2: Exploring Practice
Module 3: Contextual Studies
Module 4: Professional Practice
Module 5: Amplifying Practice
Module 6: Interdisciplinary Practice
BACP201 Commercial Digital Production
BACP202 Client Brief
BACP203 Professional Practice & PDP 2
GCOP200 Contexts of Practice
BACP301 Research and Experimentation
BACP302 Creative and Professional Development
BACP303 Creative and Professional Conclusion
BACP304 Contexts of Practice 3
Careers & alumni
The content of this course has been designed in close consultation with industry professionals so that you can be confident your learning will future-proof you for a dynamic and competitive job market.
From writing and making the most of your CV to gaining industry experience, the acquisition of professional skills has been written into the programmes of study by our staff teams, who have ‘real world’ experience. They are also supported by our Industry Liaison Groups, who help inform the development of the higher education curriculum.
The commercial focus of this programme includes excellent business and professional practice sessions and the opportunity to work on live briefs, and work placements with a wide range of brands and media titles. Throughout your studies, you will have the opportunity to develop key transferable skills for employability in the creative industries and work in partnership with other sectors locally, nationally or internationally.
As soon as you enrol on this programme, you will automatically become a member of the prestigious Association of Photographers (AOP) and you’ll work alongside our expert teaching and technical team, as well as practitioners from industry who’ll help you to develop the confidence to respond to client briefs while demonstrating excellent creative problem-solving.
Our strong international connections also allow our students to take a semester of study with one of our partner institutions within Europe and North America, and in turn, we welcome overseas students from those institutions to join us in our studios, creating an exciting cultural exchange.
Andy Ford andyfordphotography.co.uk – Freelance photographer for NME, Kerrang, Converse, SoccerBible
Grace Elizabeth Clarke graceelizabethphoto.com
Irina Iljina www.irinaphoto.co.uk
Taylor Harford www.taylorharford.com
Codie Hobbs www.codie-hobbs-photography.com – Fashion photographer
Tony Cobley tonycobley.com – Commercial photographer
On this January Entry course, our facilities will be available to UK based first-year students to supplement their studies. International students will have access to facilities at their dedicated host institutions in China. Access to specialist resources will support your learning but is not essential to succeed on Spring Entry BA (Hons) Commercial Photography for Fashion, Advertising & Editorial.
Upon progressing to the second year of study, all Jan Entry students will be based on-campus and have full access to studios, equipment and seminars. You’ll have excellent access to technical support, professional studios and audiovisual equipment which are among the best in the country and include a range of industry-standard photographic studios, one of which provides an infinity cove to create a seamless backdrop for shoots..
Our photographic resources, studios and digital suites are among the best in the country and include a range of industry-standard photographic studios, one of which provides an infinity cove to create a seamless backdrop for shoots. We also provide access to lighting and high-end digital camera equipment as well as large-format scanners and post-production suites. You’ll be encouraged to use all of the resources available to you – including the 6,000 pieces of kit that are free to hire from our exceptionally well-stocked Equipment Resource Centre.
Film and Photography Studios
Our students make full use of our industry-standard dedicated studio spaces – including our infinity cove, green screen, and specialist sound studio (with Foley pit and vocal recording booth) – plus our stop-motion suite, our darkrooms, and plenty of individual edit suites, all up-to-date with the latest industry-standard software, etc.
The Learning Lab comprises several teams who design and deliver activities, resources and workshops to support the academic and professional development of all HE students. Find out about The Library, Careers, Learning Technologies & IT Support and more.
Drawing Studios and Drawing Lab
With north-facing windows, a ‘methods and process’ area, individual studio space and a specialist life-drawing studio, our impressive, open-plan, triple-height Drawing Studio is a huge space, perfect for many different activities and specialisms.
Fashion Studios and Sew Lab
Our large professional studio offers a real-life fashion experience in a light space with panoramic sea views. Specialist industrial and domestic sewing machines, a range of knitting machines and a wide stock of fabrics and knitting yarns sit alongside a media and marketing Mac suite, a fully operational CAD cutting facility, and a library of designer garments to inspire.
Jewellery Design Studio
Housed in our fantastic Craft, Design and Fabrication Workshops, this stunning space provides everything for contemporary and traditional techniques in jewellery design, including benches supplied with gas and oxygen, in-house metal casting resources, hand and machine-forming tools, facilities for vitreous enamelling, and a separate chemical room for etching, anodising and patternation. We also have larger metalwork equipment for welding, brazing, cutting and grinding.
Our ‘fabrication laboratory’ is kitted-out with the latest in digital design technologies – from 3D printers to 3D scanners, a vinyl cutter, CNC milling machine, CNC router and laser cutter. It adds a whole new level of opportunity for students across all creative walks of life.
Imprint Lab and Digital Print Bureau
Our Digital Print Bureau offers affordable and quick print services for all our students who are looking for anything from large-format or solvent printing, to photo printing, scanning or vinyl cutting, and a wide range of finishing services.
Multimedia Lab & Equipment Resource Centre
Our Multimedia Lab offers you the kit and expertise to become skilled in a wide range of processes and techniques across the fields of photo media, moving image and sound.
Woods and Plastics Workshop
Alongside the latest in new technology, we value the long-standing traditions of making in wood and plastics – and have developed an excellently-resourced workshop that is open to all our students. It boasts a wide range of kit, including an impressive CNC router, plenty of saws and lathes, and strip-heaters, as well as greenwood-working facilities.
With views out to sea and 35 metres of print tables to encourage experimentation, our Printed Textile Design Studios also boast a fantastic Mimaki fabric printer, digital embroidery resources, industrial sewing machines, sublimation printers, a dye lab, heat presses, a tufting gun and a Mac suite. It’s got to be one of the best-printed textile workshops in the UK.
In the Material Lab, you will be encouraged to acquire haptic – touch-based – and manipulative skills and gain an understanding of material properties.
In the Fabric Lab you will acquire material and process knowledge around texture, pattern, colour and construction – interlacing your skill-set through an understanding of textile and fabric properties.