Art, Design & Photography

Awarding organisation

Awarding Body: BTEC

Qualifications on offer:

  • Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art and Design (Photography)
  • Maths at an appropriate level if GCSE grade 4 (C) not yet achieved

Summary of course

This qualification covers all areas of Photography, from advertising to photo-journalism and helps you develop competence in darkroom practice, digital imaging, studio techniques and experimental imagery. You will gain an understanding of the history and context of photography and will be provided with a range of skills necessary for a career within the photography-related industries.

First Year: Students will be given in depth practical instruction on all the equipment and processes we have at Northampton College. This will include all formats of camera, 35mm medium format, studio and digital cameras. Students will work with studio lighting in the studio and on location; they will investigate the many styles of photography including advertising, fine art, fashion, photo documentary and landscape. These projects will include professional practice.

The first year will be a mixture of traditional and digital, using computers and software such as Photoshop. Students are required to keep a full and complete set of sketchbooks that include assignment drawings, notes, handouts and ideas.

Students are introduced to Historical and Contextual Studies broadly based around photography and the photographic image. Gallery and exhibition trips during this course will be arranged and we strongly advise students to make the most of these opportunities.

Second Year: The second year offers opportunity for personal and professional development, and working towards a final major project when students work more independently on advanced projects with tutorial input. This is intended to help the student gain either employment or a place in a College or University of their choice at HND or BA level. During the second year, photographers from various backgrounds may visit the college and talk about their work. These may include Police (SOCO), Medical, Studio, Newspaper and Fine Art photographers.

At the end of the second year the student organise and present a show of work as part of the Summer College Exhibition. Ultimately, students should leave with a portfolio of work that best reflects their career aspirations.

What will I study?

The units you will study are likely to include:

Core Units:

  • Visual recording and communication
  • Critical and contextual studies in art and design
  • The creative process
  • Materials, Techniques and processes in art and design
  • Developing an art and design portfolio
  • Managing a client brief
  • Developing and realising intentions
  • Photographic materials, techniques and processes
  • Fine art materials, techniques and processes

Specialist Units:

  • Studio photography
  • Location photography
  • Digital image capture and editing
  • Non-digital photographic techniques
  • Curating an exhibition

All units are subject to change and may be withdrawn.

For further information about the course and the units you will study, please read the awarding body specification by clicking on the link below:

Awarding Body specification.

How is the course assessed?

Assessment is continual throughout each unit, with progress being monitored through tutorials and continual feedback.

The course has internally and externally assessed units.

Your Study Programme

If you are aged 16-18, you will join a Study Programme. We will make sure you are working at the right level on your core qualification and are challenged to achieve the highest level of qualification you can. All students will continue to improve their maths and English and if you don't have a grade 4 (C) at GCSE, we will work with you towards achieving that goal (subject to specific entry requirements for particular courses). Work experience will be part of your study programme and complement your college study and prepare you for employment. You will also get involved in activities to help you develop life skills and to build your confidence so you can make progress in your career. Weekly timetables will include tutorial support which may comprise of full group activities or one to one sessions to discuss individual progress or support needs.

Who is this course for?

This course is ideal if you have an interest in photography, would like to progress to university or related employment and wish to gain a Level 3 qualification in photography.

Progression and Career Opportunities

After successful completion of this course you may consider applying to University or seeking employment.

Entry Requirements for new students

Level Entry Requirements
Entry and Foundation: GCSEs, mainly 2-1 (F/G) grades. Satisfactory school reference*
Level 1: Four GCSEs at grade 2 (E) or above
Level 2: Four GCSEs at grade 3 (D) or above
Level 3 BTEC Courses or equivalent: Four GCSEs at grade 9-4 (A*-C)
Level 3 A Levels: Five GCSEs at grade 9-4 (A*-C) including English and maths
Level 4/5: A Level 3 qualification such as: A Levels, BTEC Level 3, Access to HE, Advanced Apprenticeship; equivalent of 48 UCAS points
Specific Course Requirements: Standard Level 3 entry requirements including GCSE English

*All applicants will be invited in for interview.

Equivalent qualifications will be considered except where English has been studied as a second language and is required at GCSE grade 9-4 (A*-C).

In exceptional circumstances, applications which do not meet the formal entry criteria may be considered on an individual basis.

Interview Requirements

You must bring your interview letter to your appointment and arrive 15 minutes before your interview is due to take place.

IMPORTANT: If you are coming for an interview for this course, prior to the interview you will need to upload a portfolio of work containing between ten and twenty images that demonstrate your creativity, enthusiasm and shows the skills you have already developed. This will need to be uploaded onto the Flickr website, then you must send us a link to your work to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at least three days prior to your interview date.

This portfolio could include GCSE coursework and photographic work you do in your own time. The portfolio will need to be uploaded to Flickr and the link emailed 3 days before your interview is due, this gives us the opportunity to look at your work and feedback straightaway to minimize any second interviews.

WEB ADDRESS: EMAIL ADDRESS: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


You must bring your interview letter to your appointment and arrive 15 minutes before your interview is due to take place.

General Info (materials required for the course)

All students will be required to pay a contribution towards the cost of chemicals. You will also be expected to pay for any trips or visits you take part in and additional materials and equipment. There is also a starter pack, which is essential that you purchase. The approximate cost payable at enrolment will be £360.

Course fee information

All Students will need to enter or register for their course qualification either by examination entry or Board Registration. The course tutor will advise you how to enter or register for your qualification and of the College deadline. All late entries are subject to a late entry fee.

The following fees will be payable in full:

16-18 year olds

  • All re-sits except first re-sit of GCSE Mathematics and English
  • Unauthorised absences from any examination entered
  • Any examination/registration unsupported by your subject tutor
  • Late examination/registration entries
  • Trip/materials/equipment/uniform fees

19 years or over

  • Level 1 course: Examination/registration fees^1
  • Level 2 course: Examination/registration fees^1
  • Second Full Level 3 course: You may be eligible to apply for an Advanced Learner Loan to help you pay for the course fees^2
  • Level 4 course: Loans may be available^2
  • All Levels: Trip/materials/equipment/uniform fees

Overseas Students

  • £6,750 tuition fees in Year 1 of a 2-year course
  • £6,750 tuition fees in Year 2 of a 2-year course
  • £350 non-refundable Examination/registration fee in Year 1
  • Trip/materials/equipment/uniform fees

^1 Fee remission may be available if you are in receipt of a state benefit. ^2 Contact the Enrolment Centre for more information on 0300 123 2344.


student success

Melissa Mehrtens

Melissa Mehrtens

Aspiring hat maker Melissa Mehrtens won the chance to work for a designer who supplies headwear to the Duchess of Cambridge having studied on an HE course at Northampton College.The...

Sorry, you’ve missed the start date for this course but we are planning to offer it again in 2019. If you would like to speak to a tutor about the course please call us on 0300 123 2344 or complete our easy online enquiry form.


Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address

Please select an enquiry topic
Please enter an enquiry message
We use the personal details from this form for administrative purposes and to occasionally contact you with information regarding courses and events that might be of interest.

We want to be clear on exactly why we need your data and we’ve tried our best to explain things simply. Please state that you have read and agreed to the terms and conditions of our Privacy Notice before you submit your application.

You must agree with our terms before submitting your details