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Photojournalism and Documentary Photography

BA (Hons)

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What is Photojournalism and Documentary Photography BA (Hons)?

Exploring the world through your lens, you’ll have the opportunity to work on documentary projects abroad with recent third year projects being undertaken in Thailand, the Caribbean, Iceland, the Philippines and Israel. You’ll also be inspired by professional photographers in lectures with recent guests including
VII photographer Laura El-Tantawy; documentary and interiors photographer, Marc Wilson; documentary photographer Julian Germaine and press photographer, Neil Turner.

You’ll develop a professional portfolio of photography from which to launch your career as a photojournalist and documentary photographer and study a range of exciting modules covering photography on-location, moving and still image. You’ll produce in-depth coverage of news topics and important societal issues and collaborate with fellow students to edit and publish your best work in an annual newspaper.

Learn from working photographers who work for clients such as Time Magazine, The Sunday Times, The Football Association and The Scottish National Portrait Gallery who will share with you how to be a successful Photojournalist or Documentary Photographer and develop the skills to get your stories noticed.

Study style

In your first year you’ll work as a photojournalist on-location at two local events. You’ll also develop skills to produce diverse photographic responses in our Street and Studio module whilst refining your passions to begin producing your portfolio.

In your second year you’ll progress your unique photographic passions, refining your projects to your own professional ambitions and vision whilst learning the techniques of documentary film making and photo book publishing.

In your final year you’ll have the opportunity to travel internationally with students producing critically acclaimed projects in destinations across the world. Many of these have gained industry exposure in the UK including at AOP Open national exhibition and the Royal Photographic Society’s annual international print exhibition.

Designed to reflect the diverse skillset you need in industry, assessments are varied and include moving-image work, photobooks, portfolios, public exhibitions, online presentations and written work.

Get Photojournalism and Documentary Photography BA (Hons) course updates and hear more about studying with us.

Entry requirements

    • Because we want to offer this course to creative students with talent and potential (and because we know that exam grades don’t always tell the whole story), we make offers following an interview instead of using tariff points.

      You will need to have, or be studying for, a NQF level 3 qualification – that’s A-level/BTEC/Welsh Baccalaureate or equivalent.

      Once you apply, we will invite you to interview so we can decide whether to make you an offer.

      Check out our Interview Guide to learn what to expect and help you prepare.

    • We welcome applications from mature students (aged 21 and over) and do not necessarily require the same academic qualifications as school leaving applicants though the entry requirements still apply.

      Some courses require several years of working experiences in the relevant industry.

    • English and Maths Grade 4/C in GCSE (or equivalent) are normally required.

Course modules


Fees and costs

See the further details of fees and potential extra costs when studying a course at the University of Gloucestershire.
Start date Location UCAS code Fee (UK)
per year
Fee (international)
per year
Sep 2021 Hardwick, Cheltenham WP65 £9,250 £14,700
Sep 2022 Hardwick, Cheltenham WP65

Possible careers

Our graduates move into a range of photography roles, both employed and freelance including for South West News Service, Getty Images, Daily Mail, The Times, the Press Association and Demotix. Other roles include forensic medical photography for the NHS and exhibition roles at the Imperial War Museum North. Jobs include:

  • Press and Editorial Photographer
  • Forensic Photographer
  • Picture Editor
  • Freelance Photographer

Industry links

Through the course, you will also have the opportunity to undertake a work placement, with recent destinations including Magnum Photos New York, The Michael Hoppen Gallery, The Daily Mail, South West News Service and The Sunday Times.

You’ll benefit from our strong links with media professionals, our course network has links with organisations such as The Press Association, The British Press Photographers Association, The Association of Photographers and The Martin Parr Foundation and offers you the chance to undertake annual trips to Paris Photo, Tokyo and Berlin.

One of the UK's leading professionally-focused Photojournalism and Documentary Photography degrees

Our external examiner for this course reported: ‘The strengths in developing convincing narratives continues to be a feature of this course. The course team are making strategic partnerships with industry and respected professionals. Impressive. The course could well be a flag bearer for the University’.

Students on the MA Photography course looking into a camera

Engage with professional photojournalists and major documentary photographers

Through our extensive connections, you’ll have opportunities have your work recognised by photographers such as Tom Stoddart, Laura el Tantawy and others. You can also exhibit your work in London at our major end of year exhibition, Free Range, where you can expect major industry employers to see your photography.

A girl is holding a camera preparing to take a photo
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Film Production and Photography - Career Prospects - Guardian University Guide 2021

Our Film Production and Photography courses rank in the UK top 20 for career prospects, according to the Guardian University Guide 2021.

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Film Production and Photography - Value Added - Guardian University Guide 2021

Our courses in Film Production and Photography rank in the UK top 25% for added value, according to the Guardian University Guide 2021.


As part of your course you can gain valuable experience on an optional placement year.

  • Duration – 12 months, full-time (minimum 35 hours a week)
  • Location – popular destinations include the UK, USA, China and Europe
  • Visa – you may need a visa if you’re on placement abroad
  • Finance – your tuition fee is reduced for your placement year – and you can still apply for a maintenance loan and get money advice
  • Placement support – we’ll help you find a great placement and get the most out of the experience

"I’m a news photographer at The Press Association, the National News Agency for the UK and Ireland. I cover everything from royals and politics to sports."

“The Photojournalism and Documentary Photography degree has been my foundation to my career with the lecturers and course alike helping me get a foot in the door to kick start my career. The professional practice module helps build industry connections and put what we learned into practice, mine being a couple of weeks at a regional news agency which ended in a full time job in my third year of University.

The output of our work is always of focus with each module, we worked as a tight knit group to produce a newspaper zine of our works and exhibited on and off, in the Gardens Gallery in Cheltenham. Culminating in a final major project which took myself and another course member to the refugee camp in Calais ‘The Jungle’, supported the whole time by the lecturers.”

Aaron Chown, Photojournalism and Documentary Photography student

A photography student poses for a photo at a stadium

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