Course aims

This is a skills-based course. You will study the theory, practice and history of the photographic medium. Analogue and digital imaging will form the basis of the course.

Entry requirements

There are two pathways onto the photography A Level:

Option one

Grade 6 in an art and design based subject or distinction at BTEC Level 2. Applicants will also require a portfolio when attending interview.

Option two

Applicants may be accepted without an art and design based GCSE or BTEC by providing a strong portfolio of relevant practical work at interview.

Course content

Learners are allowed to work in one or more area(s) of photography, such as those listed below. They may explore overlapping areas and combinations of areas:

  • Portraiture
  • Landscape photography
  • Still life photography
  • Documentary photography
  • Photojournalism
  • Fashion photography
  • Experimental imagery
  • Multimedia
  • Photographic installation
  • Moving image (video, film, animation).

Year One

A skill-building year where learners will have the opportunity to explore new materials and process through various short photographic projects. These skills will provide learners with a strong basis to build on in the second year.

There is no formal exam in the first year, but ongoing assessment throughout.

Year Two

Component 1 – Personal investigation

In this component practical work is accompanied with a written element in which candidates develop a personal investigation based on an idea, issue, concept or theme leading to a finished piece or pieces. Learners pick a theme or idea and produce a range of photography work based on this, showing their critical thinking skills and ability to research in depth. Accompanying text supports the practical work and explains the learners thought process which must be no less than 1000 words and no more than 3000.

Component 2 – Externally-set assignment

Learners are provided with eight topics/questions from which they choose one to study. The summative exam is 15 hours long and learners are expected to create a clearly defined section of work that makes up a whole, leading to a finished piece or pieces.

Course assessment

You will be assessed by a mix of practical and written coursework and assignments. A practical examination is issued in February. There is one coursework module and one practical exam each year.


Photography books are available at the college and a sketchbook will not be required. You will need a USB memory stick larger than 8GB. You will be responsible for supplying your own film and printing paper if your project requires a large quantity. Dudley Sixth will supply chemicals and associated processing equipment.


Higher Education, employment, franchise and self-employment.