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Undergraduate courses focused upon various aspects of photography are available at a number of universities and academic institutions. They aim to provide students with all the technical and creative skills and tools necessary to become experts in a fast-changing industry. Degree and HND courses arguably offer the best educational introduction to photography but represent a huge commitment of time and effort.

Digital photography is rapidly becoming a significant force in the shaping of contemporary society. Demand for high-quality work inevitably increases the range of career opportunities for those who have the necessary skills and qualifications. In the last couple of years mobile phone cameras have spawned a type of citizen journalism that has led to the establishment of picture agencies dedicated to images acquired in this way. Add to this multimedia environments such as web design, video editing, publishing and advertising, and the opportunities are seemingly endless.

Public domain image by Mary Gober

BA and MA courses which include photography vary enormously in content and practical detail. Some offer the opportunity to study abroad and focus upon international photography. Others are offered on a part-time basis, and a few are as much as 75% practical. A BA Honours degree in digital photography is offered by the Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences at London's South Bank University. An MA Photographic Studies degree is offered by the University of Westminster, and a Professional Photography degree is offered by Cambridge University. However, these are just a few examples taken from the wide range of study courses available across the UK.

Film and photography courses equip graduates with numerous transferable and subject-specific skills valuable in a wide range of careers. The particular skills acquired depend upon the nature of a chosen course, and whether it is focused upon commercial, technical or creative elements. However, studio-based film and photography courses usually equip graduates with a mixture of practical, technical and theoretical skills.

Photography degrees are also obtainable through off-campus distance learning. This is flexible learning technique allows students to follow programmes similar to those offered to campus-based students, but at a potentially more convenient time and place. Distance learning materials are professionally produced and largely text based. Students are supported by expert tutors via telephone and post, and on-line via e-mail and web-based services.


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