Marine & Natural History Photography BA(Hons)

Tony Sutton
Penryn Campus
3 years full-time
Direct line
01326 254350

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 still and moving images in the natural environment. This includes an optional diving programme, training you in the skills of underwater photography. The course includes a period of work experience, professional development and the opportunity to gain First Aid and survival skills. You'll take part in frequent off-site practical visits for photo shoots in the wilds of Cornwall and Dartmoor. There are also optional international field trips, where recent destinations have included Iceland, the Galapagos Islands, Sri Lanka, Borneo and diving expeditions in the Red Sea.


  • 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

Fees, Costs and Funding

Tuition fees 2018-19

£9,250 - full-time UK/EU

£15,000 - full-time international

Typical course costs

£350 - Recurring annual costs

£600-£650 - One off costs for the course duration (compulsory trips, final portfolios or shows, etc)

£3,800 - Optional study visits and placements for the course duration

Additionally, if you need to bring equipment or materials with you, these will be outlined in your Welcome Letter

The figures above don't include accommodation and living costs


For information about funding available, please visit our undergraduate funding page

How to Apply

You'll need to apply via ucas using University code F33, and course code WF67 

For detailed information on the application process and entry requirements, use our application guidance.


All UK/EU applications must be made through UCAS by 15 January. Late applications will be considered if there are places available on the course.

International fee payers may apply after the deadline but are encouraged to apply as early as possible, to have plenty of time to make visa and travel arrangements.

Course-specific tasks

This course requires all eligible applicants to attend an interview and show a current portfolio of work. Take a look at our portfolio advice 

Applicants who are based outside of the UK may request an online interview.

For details on what to expect and how to prepare, read our course interview information.

Entry Requirements

A typical offer is between 104 and 120 UCAS points for entry to undergraduate courses, primarily from Level 3 equivalent qualifications such as A levels, a BTEC Extended Diploma or a Foundation Diploma.

You can check how many points your qualifications are worth using the online UCAS Tariff Calculator
Due to the creative nature of our courses, you will be considered on your own individual merit and potential to succeed. We encourage you to get in touch if you are predicted points below this range, thinking about transferring from another institution, or if you have other qualifications or professional experience as we may be able to consider you. More information is available on our Apply page
English language requirements
You must have a minimum of Grade 4 (or C) or above in GCSE English Language, or equivalent, for entry to our undergraduate courses.
If English is not your first language, we accept a range of recognised language qualifications that are equivalent to the IELTS Academic minimum score of 6.0 overall, with a minimum of 5.5 in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. If you require a Tier 4 student visa to study in the UK, you must take an approved Secure English Language Test (SELT) to fulfil government visa requirements. Please read more about language requirements on our Apply page
Our Applicant Services team are here to help you with advice and guidance throughout your application journey. We invite you to contact them with any questions you may have.
+44 (0)1326 213730
Online enquiry form

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.

How you'll spend your time 

YearTime spent in timetabled teaching and learning activityTime spent in guided independent studyTime spent on placements

How you'll be assessed 

Year   Assessment by written exams                                                        Assessment by practical exams                           Assessment by coursework     

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 one

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 two

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 three

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

Take a virtual tour of our facilities


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

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 mentors can be reached on the Marine & Natural History Photography BA(Hons) Facebook group

They'll help with topics like living in Cornwall, what to expect at Falmouth, and the course itself.

Also worth a look are additional groups that offer assistance for LGBTQ studentsdisabled studentsmature studentsinternational students, and Cornish locals

You'll need to join the groups before you can post. If you don't have access to Facebook, please email your name and proposed course to