South Gloucestershire and Stroud College.
Higher, Professional, Technical.
Outstanding by standing out

Art & Design - Bristol School of Art


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New Road
Stoke Gifford
BS34 8LP

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Course Detail

Level 3 Photography

Full time course


From our most recent Ofsted inspection in 2017 we have been rated 'Outstanding' in this area. View our latest Ofsted report here


SGS is one of the few colleges in the region to have an extremely well-equipped darkroom, advanced digital facilities and professional photographic studio. We also have highly skilled, passionate and practising photographers who will guide you in your practical work and studies, enabling you to prepare a strong portfolio of work. Crucial to this course, and for broadening your experience, are group photography trips to various locations. There will also be an overseas visit, which will give you an invaluable opportunity to build your professional skills and develop your own personal approach to photography. You will also develop skills and confidence in presenting and discussing your work, preparing you for university or work interviews.

What will I study?

  • Use sketchbooks to explore and record ideas and processes
  • Street photography
  • Documentary
  • Fine art
  • Moving image
  • Photojournalism
  • Portraiture
  • Landscape
  • Sports and action
  • Presentation and exhibition
  • Ideas generation and creativity skills

Maths & English

A key requirement to obtaining many jobs is achieving a good standard of English and Maths, therefore learners that do not yet have a GCSE grade 4 (grade C) will be enrolled on either a GCSE or Functional Skills programmes alongside their course.


We have a working studio where learners produce images for various clients, helping them to gain valuable experience and confidence at producing images to a professional standard.

Work experience

Students are directed and supported to seek opportunities relevant to their specialism to experience a working environment, whether this is a live project set by industry, creative competitions or working for a local or national company.

Additional qualifications

Employability qualifications may be offered if applicable.

What do I need to join?

You will need to show passion, enthusiasm, commitment and have a portfolio of work to show at interview. You will need 5 GCSEs at grade 4 (grade C) or above, including English and/or Maths, or a Level 2 Diploma in Art & Design with merit or distinction grades, and a proven record of attendance and engagement in English and Math.

How long is the course?

The course will last 2 years, up to 4 days a week at college. You also need to be prepared to undertake independent study.

How will I learn?

There is continual assessment throughout the course, based on course criteria. Each project is marked as it is completed and progress is discussed formally and informally. You will also discuss work as a student group and receive feedback from your peers.Through completion of a wide range of practical assignments which will be complemented by relevant theoretical research. A series of projects will guide you through the process of originating ideas, exploring techniques and realising yourfinal pieces. You will be given technical instruction and guidance that will build your portfolio of skills. In addition to photography, you will use a sketchbook to record all your ideas and processes. Being willing to experiment, and risk making mistakes is a crucial element of creativity and we encourage an open minded approach to practical learning.

How will I know how I am doing?

Project work is set with structured achievable targets that are organised around practical assessment.

You will also discuss project work through group critiques with verbal feedback from tutors and peers. Regular tutorials and reviews will take place with your personal tutor to discuss targets and progress.

Are there any extra costs?

Material fees, educational visits and a foreign trip, financial support is available in certain circumstances.

What can I do next?

Most of our students go on to Higher Education, Apprenticeships or employment. Our students can progress to the best degree courses in the country in every subject.

What are my career options?

A career in art is diverse and can include further study in Art Therapy, Teacher Training, Academic Study at BA Level, or work in industry as an illustrator, graphics or theatre designer, photographer or specialist art teacher in Secondary or Further Education, or work in the ceramics, textiles, fashion industries. Many artists become self employed.


WISE and Stroud Campuses.

Scholarship Opportunity

Splento provides an annual scholarship in order to support beginner photographers. Click on the link for more information on applying.

Dates & Costs

Level 3 Photography

Duration: Year 1 = Diploma, year 2 = Extended Diploma
Qualifications: Level 3 Diploma/Extended
Advanced Learner Loans
If you are aged 19 and over you can apply for a new Advanced Learning Loan for this course. Read more.

Tuition Fees

Between the ages of 16-18 you do not need to pay tuition or exam fees for your course. If you are between the ages of 19 and 23 and have not achieved a full Level 2 or Level 3 qualification before, you will not need to pay tuition, exam or material fees using the Level 2 or 3 Entitlement. If you are aged 19 or over, studying a Level 3-6 and a Level 3 Entitlement does not apply, you will need to pay the full cost of the course. You may be eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan to help with the fees. Please contact the College directly for the most up to date fees – these may be subject to change.

Fee Calculator

Why not try out our MMS FE Financial Support Checker, here you can gain an understanding of the different types of financial support that may be available to you while you study. We have a range of schemes and entitlements available that can help with things like course fees, food, books, travel and other day to day college costs.

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Start End Time Campus
01/09/2019 31/07/2021 SGS Stroud