Photojournalism and Documentary Photography (BA Hons)

Student taking photograph in the studio

Study mode

Full-Time or Part-Time


3 Years (Full-Time)
4 Years (Integrated Foundation Stage)


Centre for Art and Photography, Cheltenham

We are in the UK top 20 for film production and photography and 9th for teaching satisfaction according to the Guardian University Guide 2020.

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.

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. The course encourages students to follow their passions in all areas of Documentary Photography ranging from press photography to typographies to sport to landscape and moving image, always with the aim of telling a story and communicating with your pictures.

As part of the course, you’ll exclusively have the chance to enter, The Tom Stoddart Award for Photojournalism and Documentary Photography, our own annual print prize and exhibition supported by Canon, with the winner chosen each year by world renowned photojournalist Tom Stoddart.

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.

You’ll develop a professional folio 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.

No wonder our students rated this course 95% for overall student satisfaction (NSS 2019).


Get Photojournalism and Documentary Photography course updates and hear more about studying with us.

Study style

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.

Course modules

You'll study a variety of modules from 'Documentary Film Making' to 'The Photostory'.

Take a look at the course content for full details of all the modules you'll study on this course.

Entry requirements

Tariff information for 2020 entry

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.

This course is available with an integrated foundation stage to help you prepare.

Mature Applicants: We welcome applications from mature students (aged 21 and over) and do not necessarily require the same academic qualifications as school leaving applicants.

International Students: Please see the full details of entry requirements in your country.

Grade 4/C in GCSE English and Mathematics (or equivalent) are normally required.
Please contact our admissions team if you have a question.


See the further details of fees and potential extra costs when studying a course at the University of Gloucestershire.

UCAS codes

UCAS codes available for this subject
BA (Hons) - 3 years full-timeWP65
BA (Hons) - 4 years integrated foundation stageWP66


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

Graduate Aaron Chown

Student Focus

Aaron Chown

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.

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 will 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.

Image of Paul Roberts taking a photograph

Staff Profile

Paul Roberts

I've worked as a top sports photographer for over a decade, covering everything from Premier League football, top class athletics, county championship cricket and top level horse racing. In this time I've worked with clients such as The Press Association, REX Shutterstock, Well Offside Sports Photography and JMP. In documentary, my work is concerned with the idea of place and memoriam, my work having been exhibited in photo festivals such as Hastings Photo Fringe.

Student work. Will Ashton. Jerusalem

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’.

Student work. Sean Delahay

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.

School of Arts

Our School of Arts provides specialist studios with the latest industry technology so you can develop your creative talent. You will collaborate with other artists and designers and be inspired by practising professionals to refine your own authentic voice.

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The Association of Photographers