- UCAS Code
- Penryn Campus
- 3 years full-time
- Direct line
- 01326 213730
Mile upon mile of coastline, sweeping landscapes and all sorts of different habitats – for aspiring marine and natural history photographers Falmouth is the place to be. Aided by this incredible environment, our course is aimed at those who want to enhance their creativity and expand their skills, ready for an exciting career behind the lens.
Inspiration is everywhere. On land you could wait in a hide for that elusive raptor to appear, explore the subtropical gardens of Cornwall, examine woodland life or reach for a microscope and delve into the world of diatoms. Our additional underwater photography option brings you closer to a wide range of sealife, from basking sharks to dolphins.
This is a unique programme of study; a natural history photography degree course covering both marine and terrestrial life, which will challenge you to extend your skills as a communicator using photographs, words and moving image. Blending craft skills, professional practice and theoretical knowledge, the course sets you up to develop a critical understanding of your work, to further your research skills and working methodologies – all vital when you begin your professional career.
Our staff are all practising photographers and scientists so, through their expert tuition, you’ll gain valuable insight and experience, whether it's drawing on their industry connections or benefiting from their understanding of key environmental and ecological debates. Altogether, it means we can ensure you're ready to hit the ground running when you graduate.
How is the course taught
You'll study habitats and species, and understand the scientific basis for the planet's diversity of life – all aided by field trips and our contacts with organisations, independent wildlife photographers and film-makers. Each of the practical photography modules is underpinned with historical, social, scientific and theoretical studies.
What you'll do
In your first year, you will engage with the fundamentals of photographic practice. We'll get you to start thinking critically about your work and your research methods, as well as studying biodiversity and habitat.
MNHP110: Photographic Practice 1 (20 credits ECTS 10)
This module will introduce, develop and consolidate a range of photographic craft skills through a series of individual and group projects relative to marine and natural history photography that will familiarise you with the Photography Centre and the functions of various hardware and software. These introductory projects will begin to explore the expressive, critical and technical potential of photography and will provide the underpinning for the opportunities for more individually led work later in the course.
MNHP120: Informing Contexts 1: Research & Critical Thinking (20 credits ECTS 10)
This module aims to introduce you to the historical and cultural contexts within which marine and natural history image making has developed as a genre. Particular emphasis will also be placed on the development of your research, IT and study skills as well as oral and written communication. This module reinforces the practical photography you produce in MNHP110.
MNHP130: Biodiversity & Habitat 1: Photographic & Scientific Enquiry (20 credits ETCS 10)
This module requires you to engage with a scientifically informed appreciation of the issues affecting both habitats and species to develop your photographic practice. You will develop a new body of photographic work in response to the themes of biodiversity and habitat. It provides an introduction to the evolutionary process and how it informs understanding of the global diversity of animals, plants, fungi and microbes. It also provides you with a basic understanding of animal behavior and how organisms are classified, as well as a basic understanding of the importance of taxonomy in species conservation, the importance of accurate identification of organisms, and the classification of habitat types in the UK.
MNHP140: Photographic Practice 2 (20 credits ETCS 10)
In this module there are a variety of opportunities to work both on your own assignments and with colleagues on team projects. The module provides an opportunity to extend your control of the communicative process through an understanding and ability to construct effective photographic narratives in a range of circumstances.
MNHP150: Informing Contexts 2: Research and Critical Thinking (20 credits ECTS 10)
This module aims to further establish your critical awareness of historical and contemporary issues within marine and natural history photography and introduce key ideas in the critical study of photography and the language used in the critique and analysis of visual material. In your research journal you continue to evidence your critical awareness and analytical skills directly in relation to your evolving photographic practice. It will explore methods of describing, analysing, critiquing and theorising about photographs, as well as key concepts within visual culture and media studies which impact upon marine and natural history photographic practices.
MNHP160: Biodiversity & Habitat 2 (20 credits ECTS 10)
This module consolidates and develops the skills introduced in Module MNHP140 and also encourages a scientifically informed appreciation of the issues affecting both the habitats and species within and around which you develop your photographic practice.
With a growing confidence, you will continue to work on both your practical skills and your composition. You will also begin preparation for your research project, as well as engaging with the theme of global conservation and how this informs your work.
MNHP210: Photographic Practice 3 (20 credits ECTS 10)
This module enables you to expand your powers of observation and interpretation, creatively using the photographic medium. You will build upon, enhance and utilise the knowledge and skills developed in Stage 1 by being introduced to elements of technical skills and conceptual work that help define the genre within marine and natural history photography.
MNHP220: Informing Contexts 3: Professional Practice and Critical Awareness (20 credits ECTS 10)
This module aims to engage you in issues relating to business and professional practice, whilst allowing further development of communication and other transferable skills. Work placement opportunities will be encouraged. The module will help guide you in the development of an appropriate photographic portfolio as well as different elements of business practice and the application of ethical, professional and management disciplines. Rights, ethics and business practices will be investigated in order to highlight problematic areas of photographic practice and aid you in situating your own developing practice in professional contexts.
MNHP230: Global Conservation 1: Photographic and Scientific Enquiry (20 credits ECTS 10)
This module aims to introduce you to the increasingly complex interplay of factors affecting the natural environment, and the interpretation and application of skills required to put global habitat, diversity and conservation into the context of photographic practice. You will explore global distributions of main habitat types and their characteristics, and methods of recording habitat status by photographic and other means (including ecological survey techniques). You will also explore the future sustainability of the natural environment in the context of natural resources and the human impacts on these. You produce a presentation and a report relating to a survey project.
MNHP240: Photographic Practice 4 (20 credits ECTS 10)
You will be required to negotiate a self-devised assignment/project (SDA) that meets the unit aims and learning outcomes. Therefore the chosen direction of this module will be specific to your particular interests, expertise and ambitions. It is envisaged that the portfolio of work you produce will indicate the further development of your photographic signature, expressed within a clear appreciation of genre within marine and natural history photography, informed by environmental, regulatory and ethical awareness
MNHP250: Research Project Preparation (20 credits ECTS 10)
In this module you will continue to build on the photographic and theoretical questions introduced in MNHP210, and you will be further supported in situating your own developing photographic practice within contemporary discourse. You will prepare and test your analytical, evaluative, critical and written skills in preparation for the contextual units PHOS320 and PHOS340 which you will undertake in Level 3.
MNHP260: Global Conservation 2: Photographic and Scientific Enquiry (20 credits ECTS 10)
This module consolidates and develops the skills introduced in Module MNHP230 and also encourages the learning and application of intellectual skills required to make informed choices as to which species should be conserved on a global scale. You will develop a portfolio and Biodiversity Action Plan, in which you explore why particular species are under threat or have become extinct, and develop an appreciation of the ecological, economic and cultural contexts within which conservation must be considered. You will also be introduced to the future of species conservation and the history, present status and future of international legislation.
Using both your technical skills and your ability to think conceptually, you will be constructing the portfolio that will carry you into the industry. You will also identify and complete your dissertation.
PHOS310: Photography Major Project Development Portfolio 1 (40 credits ETCS 20)
The photographic work undertaken in this module will result in a 'major project development portfolio’, the first of two portfolios delivered in your final year of study. The ‘major project development portfolio’ is a photographic exploration and ‘test bed’ through which you identify the subject that you will consolidate in your second semester ‘final major project’.
PHOS320: Dissertation (20 credits ECTS 10)
This module provides an opportunity for you to carry out in-depth research and critical analysis of a topic relevant to the direction and development of your practice. The dissertation provides the opportunity for you to engage with research and analysis into historical and professional concepts and theories that will help inform, develop and resolve your photographic practice. As such it may potentially encompass a wide range of subject matter being typically determined by the nature of your practical work, together with advice and support from tutors.
PHOS330: Photography Final Major Project Portfolio 2 (40 credits ECTS 20)
This module is designed to deepen and broaden your understanding of your preferred area of study, and enable the achievement of a very high level of creative and critical practice. In consultation with tutors, you will negotiate and determine the nature of this practice, thus establishing the specific thrust of your learning activity.
PHOS340: Photographic Practice in Context. (20 credits ECTS 10)
This module enables you to synthesise and reflect upon the critical, conceptual, technical and professional skills and understandings required in producing a professional photographic portfolio. It also affords you the opportunity to demonstrate the critical understanding of your own work in relation to the work of your peers and professional photographers operating in their field. The Critical Review of Practice is closely linked to the development of your own photographic work (developed in Module PHOS330). It is intended to confirm that your practice is underpinned from an informed position, and allows you to locate your photographic practice in a historical, cultural and professional context and comment on how the earlier investigation undertaken in the Dissertation (Module PHOS320) has informed your final images. It is also designed to expand your thinking and develop skills in exploring and reflecting on your practice, and the development of a critical self-awareness within the broad field of photography, media and communication.
The high-spec, industry-led Photography Centre is at your disposal. Specific facilities include:
- The latest equipment for marine and natural history photography
- A specialist laboratory to house microscopes, aquariums and equipment for wildlife specimens
- Digital and traditional processing facilities
- Our 'Walled Garden', a facility unlike any other; a fully equipped hide for the study, photography or filming of birds and other animals
Experience you'll get
- Field trips
- Contact with AONB, Wildlife Trusts, National Maritime Museum, Oxford Scientific, Royal Horticultural Society, Natural England, National Trust, RSPB, National Farmers Union, Shark Trust and independent wildlife photographers and film-makers
- Using traditional, electronic, still and moving image technologies
- Photomicrography, close-up, time lapse and film-making experience
By choosing to study for a degree in Marine & Natural History Photography at Falmouth you will:
- Benefit from being taught by staff who are all practising photographers and/or scientists.
- Develop your analytical, critical, problem-solving and practical skills.
- Engage with key environmental and ecological debates that will be vitally important to whichever profession you choose.
- Be based at our cutting-edge Photography Centre, which boasts a wide range of world-class facilities.
- Benefit from Falmouth and Cornwall's amazing natural environment, which features access to hundreds of miles of coast, sweeping landscapes and a variety of different habitats including the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
- Be part of a course that is a major sponsor of WildPhotos, the national conference for natural history photographers and filmmakers.
- Benefit from the course's unique educational partnership with Oxford Scientific, the UK's leading picture library specialising in natural history images.
- Continuous assessment through verbal and written assignments
- Portfolio of photography or moving image work
- Final year dissertation and critical review
- Career as a film-maker, photographer or picture researcher
- Work producing images for television companies, publishers and picture libraries, the marine leisure industry, wildlife and environmental agencies and conservation groups
Interview and selection process
Interviews will be held on:
- 7, 14, 21, 28 January 2014
- 18 February 2014
- 4, 11 March 2014
Student mentor scheme
Our student mentors are now on Facebook. To chat to a mentor about the course, living in Cornwall or what to expect at Falmouth, check out the Marine & Natural History Photography group. You need to join the group before you can post. Our student mentors have already done the first year of the course ... so ask them anything you like!
If you do not have access to Facebook please email your name and your course to firstname.lastname@example.org