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Photography and Digital Imaging UAL (University of Arts London) Level 3 Extended Diploma

The course has an emphasis on practical hands-on work, is enjoyable and fast-moving in its structure and delivery.

The department is staffed by a friendly and experienced team who work with you to develop your skills when producing images in a range of photographic situations such as: the studio (fashion and still-life photography), on location and in the Digital Zone (digital editing and manipulation using Photoshop and InDesign).

Initially in year one you will study for a Subsidiary Diploma. Successful students will be invited to study for the Extended Diploma which they will complete in year two of the course.

What do I learn?
This course will introduce you to the creative potential of photography. We aim to provide you with an experience that balances the development of creativity with the technical skills involved in the creation of pieces of photographic work. The course aims to introduce ‘new’ photographers to the potential of the photographic medium, support you in your development as image-makers by establishing strong technical, conceptual and visual skills, expand your knowledge of both contemporary and historical photography (commercial and art-based), and enable you to progress successfully into higher education or employment on completion of the course.

Alongside specialist photography topics you will also work on projects that develop transferable skills that are relevant to all areas of creative arts and will prepare you for the next career step. Many of your tutors are practising artists and designers bringing current industry practice to the classroom. From our teaching team you can expect enthusiasm and commitment, individual guidance to help you progress and achieve, help with working on your individual strengths, extensive guidance for application to higher level courses, help with building a varied portfolio of work, and help with exploring careers within the creative industries.

The course is taught through a range of approaches designed to provide you with the opportunity to develop your technical and conceptual skills. You will be given assignments to work on at regular intervals throughout the year. The teaching team will help guide you through all of the assignment requirements. There are no formal timed exams on this course so all of your work will be assessed as you complete the assignments. Staff will provide you with feedback to help you better understand the processes behind the subject matter.

Delivery methods will include practical workshop sessions in the photography studios, classroom-based theory sessions supported by IT and computer-based research and educational visits to venues within the UK. There may be the opportunity to a have a residential trip abroad.
What do I gain?
During the first year of the programme you will work towards an Art and Design (Photography) Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma (equivalent to one A-level). Successful students will be able to progress onto the second year of the programme where they will work towards either an Art and Design (Photography) Level 3 Extended Diploma (equivalent to three A-levels) or Art and Design (Photography) Level 3 Diploma (equivalent to two A-levels).

Throughout the duration of the programme you will develop a portfolio of work, photography industry knowledge and skills to help you find employment, or support an application for a higher education course. Additional learning and pastoral support is offered through the tutorial system.
What do I need?
Five GCSE grades C or above to include an art-related subject or evidence of self-initiated photography, English Language and preferably maths or a Level 2 Diploma with a Merit profile, or a Higher Diploma and supporting Functional Skills.

A satisfactory reference is required.
What do I gain?
Students who successfully complete the two-year programme will be able to progress on to the Art and Design Level 4 Foundation Diploma, a Foundation Degree or Higher National Diploma in a Photography or Digital-related subject.
What else do I need to know?
The fee for international students for the 2016 entrance is £6,300 per year.

case study

Studio owner Richard Pinches credits Reading College with unlocking the key to a career in the industry he loves. Richard, who studied the BTEC National Diploma in Photography at Reading College, knew that getting industry experience would be essential to get his career off the ground: "It was the experience from working in a real studio that did it for me. The professional environment was a real eye opener in still life technique." Read more about Richard's story.


When Tanya Ahmed enrolled in a BTEC course at Reading College in the early 1980s, she couldn't have imagined how far her career would take her. Across the pond, to be precise.  Tanya had always wanted to see life from behind a photographer's camera. She chose to pursue her passion with a BTEC and BIPP Photography course at the Berkshire College of Art and Design (as Reading College was then known). Read more about her story.

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