Marine & Natural History Photography BA(Hons)

Penryn Campus
3 years full-time
Direct line
01326 213730

Enjoy the rare opportunity to engage with natural history image making, conservation and the environment. You'll have access to hundreds of miles of coast, sweeping landscapes and a variety of different habitats.

You'll receive expert tuition from staff who are practicing photographers and scientists. We're also one of the only photography courses to offer complementary skills training to help you capture great images. This includes an optional underwater programme with dive tuition. Throughout the course you'll take part in frequent off-site practical visits, with recent destinations including photo shoots in the wilds of Cornwall, diving expeditions in the Red Sea, and field trips to Iceland and Borneo.


  • National and international placements
  • Extensive connections to agencies and conservation/wildlife trusts
  • Professional facilities and equipment free to loan
  • Syndication opportunities with picture agency Rex Features
  • Paid opportunities at our in house photo agency
  • Optional expeditions to destinations such as Iceland, Borneo and the Red Sea

How the course is taught

You’ll be taught by practising photographers and scientists through a combination of field trips, technical workshops, photography and scientific excursions, lectures, seminars and tutorials. This includes an optional underwater program with dive tuition and regional photo shoots to key international destinations.

Course outline

BA(Hons) Marine & Natural History Photography challenges you to extend your skills as a communicator using photography, words and moving image. Blending professional practice with theoretical knowledge, the course enables you to develop a critical understanding of two allied spheres that offer fascinating career opportunities.

Practical exposure and skills tuition play a figurative role in the course, while our dedicated staff encourage you to harness placement and project opportunities. In recent years these have seen students assist documenting climate change in Norwegian glaciers and spend three months in the Ecuadorian rainforest conducting research with American scientists.

What you'll do

Year 1

In your first year you'll focus on photographic practice, research, critical thinking, biodiversity and habitat, including photographic and scientific enquiry.

  • Photographic Practice
  • Informing Contexts: Research & critical thinking
  • Biodiversity & Habitat: Photographic & scientific enquiry

Year 2

In your second year you'll develop your studies in photographic practice, both moving image and stills, research and critical thinking, while exploring global conservation. You'll also prepare for your own research project.

  • Photographic Practice
  • Informing Contexts: Professional practice & critical awareness
  • Global Conservation: Photographic & scientific enquiry
  • Research Project Preparation

Year 3

In your final year you'll look at photographic practice in context and focus on your final photography portfolio and dissertation.

  • Dissertation
  • Final Major Project: Portfolio
  • Critical Review of Photographic Practice


The multi-million-pound Institute of Photography offers professional facilities including:

  • Multiple studios, darkrooms and print suites
  • Photography store containing a wide range of professional equipment for loan
  • Digital suite with Adobe software
  • Macro and long lenses, macro flash, infrared triggers and time-lapse and underwater cameras
  • Photo-microscopy laboratory
  • Digital and traditional processing facilities
  • Walled garden with fully equipped hide for nature study, photography and filming


Our staff are practising photographers and scientists. They have worked and exhibited internationally, with clients including Pepsi, BT, Audi, Barclays, British Marine Industries Federation and the Eden Project. Many are involved in national photography institutes and societies at the forefront of marine and natural history photography.


  • Continuous assessment with no formal examinations
  • Portfolios, presentations and essays
  • End of year project and exhibition


  • Wildlife Photographer
  • Underwater Photographer
  • Researcher
  • Conservationist
  • Cameraman
  • Filmmaker

Work placements

In his 2nd year, 2015 graduate Tristan Poyer secured a placement at Rex Features, which offered hands-on editing experience at a busy picture desk leading to a full-time photographer role at SWNS, a major UK news agency.

Student Mentor Scheme

Falmouth's Student Mentor Scheme matches new starters with a second year student, to help you settle in and find your feet. 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'll need to join the group before you can post.

If you don't have access to Facebook please email your name and proposed course to:

For more information about the application process, portfolios, interviews and selection days, please contact our admissions team using our enquiry form