Photography BA (Hons)

We have a 95% satisfaction rate for our Photography course.
National Student Survey, 2023


At Edinburgh Napier University we teach to a high technical standard, facilitating the translation of ideas through the art and craft of photography.

The BA (Hons) Photography is industry facing and provides the professional, technical, contextual and creative skills necessary for a career as a photographer.

You'll be encouraged to think critically and creatively, developing your skills so that you are able to convey your ideas through your practice.

As you progress you'll increasingly define your own area of study. By identifying and working to your strengths, you'll develop an individual creative practice so that by graduation you'll be capable of a high standard of creative output.

The course has recently moved to a newly-built specialist photography facility, which includes five fully-equipped photography studios, a black and white darkroom, dry to dry colour film processor, high-end professional digital scanners and printers, portable photography lighting and a large range of analogue and digital cameras and camera equipment.

Photography students grouped around a laptop, working on a project

Mode of Study:



4 years

Start date:


UCAS code:




Course details

What you study

Year 1

  • Key technical concepts of photography
  • Creative techniques of photography
  • Research and communication skills
  • Introduction to the histories of photography

Year 2

  • Studio and environmental portraiture
  • Still life
  • Constructed photography
  • Editorial
  • Landscape
  • Histories and theories of photography

Year 3

  • Individually tailored photography projects to specific briefs
  • Advanced methodologies relevant to photography
  • Exhibiting, presenting, printing and digital distribution
  • Critical and analytical skills required to support research
  • International exchange opportunities

Year 4

You'll research, develop and produce a body of photographic work, your own bespoke portfolio, a dissertation, and engage with core professional development skills required for your future career.

The course and our recent students and graduates have achieved notable successes, including:

  • Awarded Widening Access prize at The Herald Higher Education Awards 2017
  • Short-listed for Sony Student World Photography Awards, 2017
  • Short-listed for the Peaches and Cream 2017 competition and exhibition, Millennium Images
  • Selected for Internship at the J Autumn Fashion Show, Paris, 2015
  • Achieved Collaboration Award, Creative Edinburgh Awards, 2015
  • Winner of the Jill Todd Photographic Award, 2015
  • Selected for commissions by the National Galleries of Scotland, 2014
  • 'Documentary Photography Residency' at the British School at Rome, 2013
  • Accepted for 'Residency Workshops: Creativity and Photography' at FotoFestiwal Lodz, 2012
  • Internship in the Curatorial Dept. of Asheville Art Museum, North Carolina, USA, 2012
  • Young Photographers' Alliance Best Fashion/Portraiture Series, 'Small Prints', organized by Humble Arts Foundation and Magenta Flash-Forward Awards, 2011
  • calendar

    How you’ll be taught

    Academic modules are taught through a combination of formal and active lectures, seminars, group and individual tutorials, while practical modules combine these methods with workshops, demonstrations, exercises, film screenings, presentations and supervised sessions.

    Academic and practical modules may include visits to galleries and other places of interest, and a regular visiting lecture programme will expose you to a wide-range of approaches and practices in the Creative Industries. There is also an element of individual and group-based self-directed study and research together with appropriate tutor support.

  • note and pen


    You will be assessed on the submission of creative practical work, supporting documentation and essay assignments. These outcomes are measured against students' original intentions, learning contracts, project briefs, self-assessment and supporting research material (sketch books, diaries, logs).

    Assessment may also be based on the submission of other documentation such as technical and creative workbooks, workshop journals, production and project dossiers and case studies. The personal development and engagement of students is also assessed through technical exercises, oral presentations and participation in and group critiques.

    As part of the selection process, suitably qualified applicants will be invited to submit a portfolio.

  • briefcase

    Work placement

    Students have the opportunity to undertake a placement as part of the Design and Media Work-based Learning module. 
  • study abroad

    Study abroad

    We have excellent international exchange links with universities all over the world, including:

    • Ryerson University Toronto, Canada
    • University of Applied Sciences Europe, Berlin, Germany
    • Minerva Academie, Groningen, Netherlands
    • Dun Laoghaire Institute of Arts Design & Technology, Dublin, Ireland
    • Ontario College of Art & Design, Toronto, Canada.

Popular modules

Year 1

  • Photographic Reading and Writing
  • Creative Practice 1
  • Workflow and Creative Camera techniques
  • Histories 1: Photography
  • Applied Camera Techniques
  • Creative Practice 2

Year 2

  • Histories 2
  • Photography
  • Photo: Studio
  • Photo: Landscape
  • Theory for Photo Practice
  • Sequences and Seriality
  • Photo: Constructed

Year 3

  • Editorial and Documentary Photography
  • Collaboration and Investigation: Site and Context
  • The Image and The Archive
  • Scoping Industry
  • Globalising Feminism
  • Photo Practice 3

Year 4

  • Project Preparation Photography
  • Dissertation Photography
  • Professional Development Photography
  • Portfolio Photography
  • Final Project Photography


Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information is available in our disclaimer.

Entry requirements

What are the entry requirements for Photography?

Our entry requirements indicate both Standard and Minimum qualifications with which we normally accept students. Competition for places varies from year to year and you aren't guaranteed a place if you meet the minimum qualifications.

As part of the selection process suitably qualified applicants will normally be invited to submit a portfolio. This applies to all years of entry. Find out more about what to include in your portfolio here.

Can you go straight into second year of university?

Advanced entry into Year 2 of this course is possible for students with suitable qualifications. See the individual year tabs for more information.

Can I make an appointment with an advisor to discuss further about the admission process?

If you want to get more information on the admission process, please get in touch with the undergraduate admissions team by submitting an enquiry form above.

Mature Applicants

Applications from mature applicants are welcomed and, where appropriate, the minimum entry requirements can be replaced by the recognition of prior learning and experience, such as knowledge and skills gained outside of formal learning situations.

Minimum year 1

SQA Higher

  • Standard Entry Requirement: BBBC
  • Minimum Offer Entry Requirement: BCCC 

You may be given an adjusted offer of entry if you meet our specified minimum entry requirements within our widening participation criteria, and outlined in our Contextual Admissions Policy. Click here for further information about our entry requirements and admissions policies.

A Level

  • CCC

Irish Leaving Certificate

  • H2, H3, H3, H3 at HL 


  • Pass HNC in an accepted subject with grade B in the graded unit.
  • Accepted subjects: Photography, Contemporary Art Practice, 3D Interior Design, Visual Communication, Art and Design, 3D Interior Design, Interior Architecture, Interior Architecture and Design, Interior Design, 3D Design and Product Design, Computer Aided Draughting and Design, Social Sciences, Advertising and Public Relations, Journalism, Radio, Practical Journalism, TV Production, Advertising and PR, Creative Industries: Television, Audio Visual Technology, Creative Industries: Media & Communication, Film, Creative Industries: Professional Writing Skills, Events Management, Music Business, Sound Production, Marketing.

BTEC (QCF) Extended Diploma Level 3

  • Minimum grades MMM (Merit, Merit, Merit) in a related subject.

BTEC (QCF) National Diploma Level 3

  • Minimum grades D*D (Distinction*, Distinction) in a related subject.

International Baccalaureate Diploma

  • Award of Diploma with 27 points overall including three HL subjects with grades 6,5,4. 

T Level

  • Grade Merit.

Minimum year 2


  • Pass HND in an accepted subject with grade B at SCQF Level 8 in all graded units.
  • Accepted subjects: Contemporary Art Practice, 3D Interior Design, 3D Design and Interior Design, Visual Communication, Art and Design, 3D Interior Design: Interior Architecture, Interior Architecture and Design, Interior Design, 3D Design: Product Design, Computer Aided Draughting and Design, Social Sciences, Creative Industries: Media & Communication, Advertising and Public Relations, Journalism, Radio, TV Production, Advertising and PR, Creative Industries: Television, Audio Visual Technology, Film, Creative Industries: Professional Writing Skills, Events Management, Music Business, Sound Production, Marketing.

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test and our minimum English language requirements will apply.

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English. Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
Entry requirements by country

Please note that international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:
  • BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery
  • All Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

See who can apply for more information on Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

We’re committed to admitting students who have the potential to succeed and benefit from our programmes of study. 

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures, and how we use the information you provide us in your application to inform the decisions we make.

Undergraduate admissions policies
Postgraduate admissions policies

Fees & funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you will depend on a number of factors including your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. We also have a number of bursaries and scholarships available to our students.

Tuition fees
Students from 2023/24 2024/25
Scotland £1,820 £1,820
England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland £9,250 £9,250
Overseas and EU £17,580 £19,340
Students from England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland will be invoiced the tuition fees for 3 years of their 4 years of study. The University offers a range of attractive Tuition Fee bursaries to students resident in specific countries. More information on these can be found here.
Please note tuition fees are subject to an annual review and may increase from one year to the next. For more information on this and other Tuition Fee matters please see Frequently Asked Questions about Fees Click this link for Information of Bursaries and Scholarships
If additional compulsory costs other than the tuition fees are applicable, these will be detailed in the course details.
Please note that the tuition fees liable to be paid by EU nationals commencing their studies from 1 August 2021 will be the Overseas fee rate. The University offers a range of attractive Tuition Fee bursaries to students resident in specific countries. More information on these can be found here.


Girl holding up a camera to her eye for a photograph in Edinburgh

Career opportunities

You’ll be prepared for a position in the highly competitive media and creative industries in Scotland and around the world. Students from the course are established in many areas of the industry and internationally.

Graduates enter the fields of freelance photography, including advertising, architectural, commercial, editorial, fashion photojournalism, and social photography. You could engage with public relations, act as a picture editor, work as a curator, pursue roles in creative agencies, or give back through the widening areas of visual education.