Photography - HND

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The programme is suitable for students who wish to make an in-depth study of the medium of photography and related subjects and techniques. A diverse range of students are welcomed; students from differing age groups, life experience and educational backgrounds can share knowledge and experience within the tutorial system and during group activities. The programme allows for study to be organised around part-time employment, day release from work or personal responsibilities.

Designed and taught by practising photographers, academics and artists, this programme provides a rich and diverse experience.  A range of transferable skills are embedded within the programme and there is a strong emphasis on professional development to equip you for employment. 

The programme provides you with the opportunity to develop skills in the following areas: - A wide range of traditional processes and techniques along with medium and large format photography - Use of specialist software widely used in the industry, such as Photoshop and In Design - Digital colour management as used in a professional context and various post-production techniques - Studio and location photography using electronic flash - Video – Premier Pro and moving image capture - Design – you will be asked to produce books, page layouts and other promotional material.

Entry requirements

Applicants should hold a minimum of 64 UCAS tariff points from one of the following quali?cations: 
- BTEC Extended Diploma in a relevant subject at Grade MPP or above 
- Two A-Levels at Grades CC or above, including a relevant subject 
- BTEC Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at Pass Grade or above 
- An equivalent quali?cation in a relevant subject 

Although not a mandatory requirement for entry to the programme, students’ aptitude for study at this level and their future employment prospects will bene?t from holding GCSEs in English and maths at Grade C or above (or an equivalent Level 2 quali?cation). 

Mature applicants (those aged 21 years or over at the start of the course) who do not hold one of these quali?cations but who possess relevant experience or skills, and who can present a portfolio of work which demonstrates their creative potential, are welcomed and will be considered on an individual basis.

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. 

Please note that meeting this typical offer/minimum requirement does not guarantee an offer being made. Please also see our general entry requirements.

New GCSE grades

If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.

  • Certificate

    Access to HE Diploma

    The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

    If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

  • Certificate

    BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

    The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances.

International students

The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country. 

However, please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.

Meet our staff in your country

For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme. 


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Course structure

Duration: 2 years full-time

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  

Stage 1

  • Concepts in Photography (30 credits) 
  • Visual Design (30 credits) 
  • Digital Imaging (20 credits) 
  • Photographic Techniques and Materials (25 credits) 
  • Professional Practice 1 (15 credits) 

Stage 2

  • Professional Practice 2 (30 credits) 
  • Critical Studies (30 credits) 
  • Digital Media (30 credits) (study of video) 
  • Specialist Project (30 credits)

Additional costs

A materials fee is payable for each year of the programme to cover the cost of equipment maintenance and the supply of basic materials, including film stock, chemicals and printer ink. This fee is currently set at £65 per year. You will need to budget for the cost of photographic materials, presentation and framing. The scale of this cost will depend greatly on the nature of your work and how it is presented, since some production and mounting methods incur a greater cost than others. As a guide, the College estimates an average cost of £500 per year, although some students will spend more than this whilst others will spend substantially less. Trips to London galleries and events are an integral part of the programme and the College will organise one trip in each year of the programme. We advise you to budget approximately £50 for each of these trips to cover travel and admission costs.

Contact West Kent college for more information about accommodation and living costs


For more information about funding, please see the West Kent College website.

Teaching and assessment

Your work will be assessed continuously throughout the course. This occurs via critiquing sessions, presentations and a formal assessment at the end of each module. There are no timed examinations for this programme. Practical workshops, lectures and seminars are a key feature of higher level study and you will be expected to attend and participate in these activities. You will be given ongoing, regular feedback to assist your decision-making and to support the direction of your work. Regular attendance is essential so that a good design dialogue can be maintained as this forms the basis of the design process. This largely occurs through one-to-one meetings. You will keep a record of your research and development as these underpin the journey taken to arrive at the final outcomes.

Contact Hours

For a student studying full time, each academic year of the programme will comprise 1200 learning hours which include both direct contact hours and private study hours.  The precise breakdown of hours will be subject dependent and will vary according to modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Methods of assessment will vary according to subject specialism and individual modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • Widen participation in Higher Education by providing opportunities for students to gain a HND/C in Photography.
  • Support and encourage learners to develop their artistic, professional and personal approach to the subject through the provision of high quality teaching, guidance and learning within a creatively stimulating and well-resourced environment.
  • Offer opportunities to capable learners, regardless of culture, background, learning difficulties or disability, to develop academically and creatively within the medium.
  • Increase learners’ knowledge of photography with regard to historical and contemporary issues and contexts so as to provide an intellectual basis for the understanding of attitudes, issues and debates within contemporary visual culture.
  • Encourage independent learning and the ability to begin to work in an autonomous and professional manner.
  • Enable learners to understand photography’s place within visual culture and facilitate their ability to place their own work in an appropriate context. Produce achievers who have an intellectual understanding of the structures and institutions of photographic practice and who are equipped with a range of knowledge, skills and techniques to carry the practice of photography forward both professionally and with regard to further study and research.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain a knowledge and understanding of the following:

  • The historical evolution of art, design, photography and related media and genres such as film and video. 
  • The significance of the works of other photographers, artists and designers.
  • Visual communication and the use of visual language.
  • The application of appropriate methodologies to critical analysis and ideas development.
  • Research methods and synthesis and the appropriate presentation of findings and analysis. 
  • Professional photographic materials, techniques, processes and materials and their application within a range of creative contexts.
  • Historic and contemporary forms, processes and techniques and how these might be challenged or advanced.
  • The implications and potential of key developments in current and emerging media and technologies.
  • The relationship between photographic techniques and processes and different aesthetic effects and experiences.
  • Contemporary professional practice and the relationship of photographers with audiences, clients and consumers.
  • Knowledge and understanding of the role and impact of intellectual property within photography and creative practice.
  • The contexts and concepts relating to photography and its place within contemporary visual culture together with the development of critical theory and its application within contemporary photographic practice

Intellectual skills

You gain the following intellectual skills:

  • The synthesis of ideas and concepts from the work of others and from historical, cultural and contextual references.
  • The generation, development and evaluation of ideas in response to themes or tasks. 
  • The use of appropriate techniques and conventions to visually represent a range of objective and subjective information, meanings and messages.
  • The effective articulation of knowledge, understanding, attributes and skills in the contexts of professional practice, further study, research and personal development.
  • The undertaking of effective self-directed research using appropriate resources and methods.
  • The visual, oral and written presentation of ideas and concepts.
  • The interpretation, articulation and analysis of ideas and information through the use of visual language.
  • The critical analysis and evaluation of the work of themselves and others.
  • The demonstration of critical thinking and analysis skills through the presentation of arguments and conclusion.

Subject-specific skills

You gain the following subject-specific skills:

  • The effective generation of ideas, concepts, proposals and solutions independently in response to briefs as self-initiated and collaborative work.
  • Employ both convergent and divergent thinking in the processes of observation and visualisation.
  • The use of visual language within photography through the ability to use techniques and materials in an intuitive way to convey intended meanings and messages.
  • The application of appropriate technical and practical skills relating to a broad range of photographic techniques for studio and location work.
  • The effective demonstration of professional practice and presentation skills.
  • The selection, testing and use of appropriate materials, processes, techniques and environments with an understanding of ideas of quality.
  • The application of ethics, resourcefulness and entrepreneurial skills in support of their own professional practice.

Transferable skills

You gain the following transferable skills:

  • Self-development – the ability to manage own roles, responsibilities and ethical applications; to study independently; to manage own time in achieving objectives; to undertake personal and career development; to transfer skills gained to new and changing situations and contexts; to identify personal strengths and needs. 
  • Collaboration – the ability to relate to and interact effectively with individuals and groups; to work effectively as a team member; to undertake collective endeavour and negotiation; to accurately define and review the work of others; to treat others values, beliefs and opinions with respect. 
  • Communication – the ability to organise, analyse and evaluate information effectively; to articulate ideas and information effectively in visual, oral and written forms; to present ideas and work to audiences in a range of situations. 
  • Management – the ability to select and use a variety of information sources; to identify and solve a range of routine and non-routine problems; to work within given time frames and deadlines; to self-identify professional development, entrepreneurial and enterprise opportunities.
  • Technology – the ability to research, source, navigate, use, select, receive, evaluate and respond to a variety of information from a variety of sources; to select and use a range of technological equipment and systems; to select and effectively employ appropriate communication and information technologies. 
  • Creativity – the ability to apply a range of skills and techniques to develop a variety of ideas in the creation of new/modified and potentially innovative photographic solutions; to use a range of thought processes to identify and define intellectual and practical tasks; to articulate reasoned arguments through reflection, review and evaluation.
  • Flexibility – to develop skills of perseverance, openness, empathy, citizenship and adaptability in the face of emerging creative problems, issues and contexts.

Teaching Excellence Framework

All University of Kent courses are regulated by the Office for Students.

Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.


You will be equipped with a solid foundation of the skills and understanding required for employment in the photographic industries. Students who achieve an overall Merit or Distinction classification will also be eligible for progression to the Colleges one-year BA (Hons) Top-Up Degree in Photography.

Apply for Photography - HND

Following receipt of your application, the College will invite you to an interview and ask you to bring a portfolio of your work, including some examples of written work (eg an essay or proposal from your previous studies). The interview and your portfolio will help the College assess your suitability for the programme. They will also consider your UCAS application form, including your personal statement and reference, and the entry requirements when making a decision.

Applications should be made through UCAS using the following codes:

Institution Code: K24 

Course Code: 046W 

Campus Code: W

If you are applying for courses based at Medway, you should add the campus code K in Section 3(d).

Apply through UCAS

Contact us


United Kingdom/EU enquiries

Enquire online for full-time study

For enquiries, please contact West Kent College

T: 0845 2078220




International student enquiries

Enquire online

T: +44 (0)1227 823254