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Graduate Diploma Photography

Jellyfish against a grey background
Yaqing Tang 2019, Graduate Diploma Photography, London College of Communication, UAL
London College of Communication

Graduate Diploma Photography will help you enter the field of photography and work at the cutting edge of contemporary practice. You will build a foundation of technical skills, from analogue to the latest digital technologies and develop professional skills through set course projects. Finish the course with a high-quality portfolio, a strong conceptual approach and personal identity to your practice.

Please note

We regularly review our courses to ensure we’re responding to student feedback and offering the best possible student experience.

From the 2022/23 academic year, our Graduate Diploma Photography course will no longer be running.

Instead, our new Master's course, MA Commercial Photography, will replace the Graduate Diploma and will start in September 2022. Find out more about MA Commercial Photography.

Course films

What to expect on Graduate Diploma Photography

Course Leader Adrian Mott talks about what to expect on the Graduate Diploma Photography course at London College of Communication.

Online Open Day

(Recorded March 2021)

Course Leader, Adrian Mott, gives an overview of studying Graduate Diploma Photography at London College of Communication.

Student work

  • chai-ming-yang-graduate-diploma-lightbox-image-600x951.jpg
    , Work by Chai Mind Yang
  • anna-peftieva-graduate-diploma-photography-600x854.jpg
    , Work by Anna Peftieva
  • andrea-abril-graduate-diploma-photography-600x774.jpg
    , Work by Andrea Abril
  • anna-markhof-graduate-diploma-photography-600x599.jpg
    , Work by Anna Markhof
  • do-gyulee-graduate-school-photography-600x803.jpg
    , Work by Do Gyulee
  • filipe-enger-graduate-diploma-lightbox-image-600x602.jpg
    , Work by Filipe Enger

Student voices

Yachu Hsu (Joy)

Student voices

Joy talks to us about her final year project looking at loss and the city.

Heather Buchanan

Student voices

Heather talks to us about her final year work – a night time landscape project on farming.

Course stories


  • Red light indicating recording is taking place.
    Image © Vladimir Molico
    Lens-Based and Audio-Visual

    Find out about the workspaces and studios that support Lens-Based and Audio-Visual practice.

  • Student reading a book in between two bookshelves in the Library
    Students in the Digital Space. London College of Communication, UAL. Photograph: Alys Tomlinson
    The Digital Space

    The Digital Space is an open-plan, creative hub with computers set up with specialist software.

  • A vintage camera enclosed in a transparent box atop a plinth.
    Image © Lewis Bush
    Media Photography

    Photography students benefit from access to resources held in the Media Photography areas.

Course overview

Graduate Diploma Photography will give you the practical skills to define yourself as a leading professional photographer.  

Building on the rich heritage of photography teaching at London College of Communication, this course will prepare you for a variety of career opportunities in the industry. 

What to expect 

  • Through a practically-focused, career-orientated approach, you’ll produce work to industry standards and have ample opportunities to learn from industry contacts within professional environments.  
  • You’ll gain an invaluable understanding of the industry and business aspects of professional photography. We'll introduce you to key contacts and help you to build relationships. 
  • The first part of the course will provide you with a strong foundation in technical, critical and research skills that will enable you to develop a strong conceptual awareness to your personal practice while establishing a distinctive individual identity to your work.  

Work experience and opportunities 

Graduate Diploma Photography takes an enquiry-led approach to independent learning through discovery, interaction and response to change. You’ll work within a supportive teaching environment, and also have access to outstanding, industry-oriented technical facilities.  

Throughout the course, you'll develop a high-quality professional portfolio that will be suitable for presentation when approaching clients for future commissions or when applying to industry roles.  

For those wishing to continue their study, the theory and research elements of the course will also prepare you for continued learning at Master’s-level. 

Mode of study 

Graduate Diploma in Photography runs for 30 weeks in full time mode. 

Contact us

Register your interest to receive information and updates about studying at UAL.

Contact us to make an enquiry.

Course units

Term 1 

Professional Photography in Practice (Photographic Technology and Applied Production Skills) (40 credits) 

This unit will enable you to develop and utilise specialist photographic skills and knowledge to solve photographic problems through a series of technical workshops and project briefs. 
Through planning, implementation, review, and engagement with industry, you'll apply your photographic skills in a realistic and professional context, identifying areas in which you may wish to develop your future practice. 

Critical Approaches (Photographic Culture, History and Theory) (20 credits) 

You’ll have the opportunity to study major developments and critical approaches in photography, enabling you to gain an understanding of its contemporary significance whie placing your work in a historical-cultural context. This unit is particularly useful  if you’re interested in pursuing Master’s-level study. 

Personal Project (Research and development) (20 credits) 

Through the research and development of a comprehensive project,  you’ll be able to recognise creative influences in your own work and develop an understanding of your own creative ambitions. 

Term 2  

Professional Photography in Practice (continued) 

Critical Approaches (continued) 

Personal Project (continued) 

Professional Identity and Portfolio Development (Professional Context and Progression) (40 credits) 

A culmination of the previous units, this unit will offer you the hands-on opportunity to develop a professional body of work that showcases your personal identity. 

This is the most significant unit in that  you’ll be expected to produce a professional portfolio of work  which demonstrates a rigorous and critical analysis of your interests in professional photography, strongly influenced by your area of specialism. 


Term 3 

Personal Project (continued) 

Professional Identity and Portfolio Development (continued) 

You’ll explore and gain a working knowledge of contemporary business practice, with an emphasis on operating as a freelance practitioner. 
All units will involve you in original applications of knowledge, together with a practical ability to use and critically assess existing photographic techniques and formats. 

 In the process of the critical evaluation of your own work and the work of others, you’ll develop innovative solutions to creative challenges. 

The end of the course will also provide an opportunity for you to showcase your work in an exhibition context. 

Learning and teaching methods

  • Online lectures/tutorials 
  • Workshops 
  • Lectures 
  • Independent study  
  • Reflective reports  
  • Tutorials 

Assessment methods

  • Practical project work and computer based activities 
  • Prepared writing 
  • Responses to case studies 
  • Oral presentation 
  • Personal presentations of prepared work 
  • Simulations and role plays 
  • Workshop based activities 
  • Written research 
  • A portfolio of work  


Monica Takvam

Visiting Tutors

Ryan Hopkinson, David GrahamSimon TomkinsonLyndsey Goddard

How to apply

Information for disabled applicants

UAL is committed to achieving inclusion and equality for disabled students. This includes students who have:
  • Dyslexia or another Specific Learning Difference
  • A sensory impairment
  • A physical impairment
  • A long-term health or mental health condition
  • Autism
  • Another long-term condition which has an impact on your day-to-day life
Our Disability Service arranges adjustments and support for disabled applicants and students. Read our Disability and dyslexia: applying for a course and joining UAL information.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have an honours degree or equivalent experience to be considered for this course. We are looking for applicants who may be progressing from an undergraduate course (or equivalent) and who already have a portfolio that demonstrates a good level of practice.

Alternatively, you could be considering a career change and already have a portfolio of good quality photographic images, and now interested in expanding your subject knowledge and understanding, and developing a career in photography.

APEL (Accreditation of Prior Learning)

Applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered in exceptional cases. The course team will consider each application that demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by:

  • Related academic or work experience
  • The quality of the personal statement
  • A strong academic or other professional reference
  • OR a combination of these factors

Each application will be considered on its own merit but we cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

Language requirements

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language, we strongly recommend you let us know your English language test score in your application. If you have booked a test or are awaiting your results, please indicate this in your application. When asked to upload a CV as part of your application, please include any information about your English test score.

  • IELTS 6.0 (or equivalent) is required, with a minimum of 5.5 in each of the four skills.
  • If your first language is not English, you can check you have achieved the correct IELTS level in English on the Language Requirements page.

For further details regarding international admissions and advice please visit the International Applications page.

Selection criteria

Your application and supporting material will be assessed for:

  • The quality of the applicant's practice
  • The appropriateness of the applicant's skills, experience and practice to the area of interest identified for development in the course
  • Effective communication of intentions, purposes and issues
  • The level of contextual awareness and expression of perspective
  • The potential for realisation of the stated objectives within the timeframe of the course and envisaged resources
  • Evidence that the applicant has the confidence and ability to benefit

Fees and funding

Home fee


This fee is correct for 2022/23 entry and is subject to change for 2023/24 entry. Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students on courses lasting more than one year. For this course, you can pay tuition fees in instalments.

Home fees are currently charged to UK nationals and UK residents who meet the rules. However, the rules are complex. Find out more about our tuition fees and determining your fee status.

International fee


This fee is correct for 2022/23 entry and is subject to change for 2023/24 entry. Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students on courses lasting more than one year. For this course, you can pay tuition fees in instalments.

Students from countries outside of the UK will generally be charged international fees. The rules are complex so read more about tuition fees and determining your fee status.

Scholarship search

Careers and alumni

Career paths

Graduate Diploma in Photography provides you with the skills you will need for a career as a professional photographer. You'll be encouraged to research, evaluate and develop projects which directly relate to your future aspirations and be given the chance to develop a portfolio suitable for presentation to clients to help you gain commissions or employment on completing the course.

The creative, research and professional skills gained on the course enable a broad range of careers possibilities, including:

  • Photographer (advertising, fashion, editorial, blogging, documentary, picture researcher)
  • Art buyer
  • Picture editor
  • Publisher
  • Stills production
  • Digital operator
  • Art director
  • Entrepreneur

See examples of work by our graduates: