Accessibility links

Photography A Level at Coulsdon Sixth Form College

Course description

This course is largely practical and focuses on visual communication skills as well as encouraging students to develop creative, innovative methods of expressing their personal vision. Students will carry out projects, in-depth research and critical analysis of the work of other photographers, designers and artists, and will also use black and white photographic techniques and experiment with digital media.

What goes well with this course?

Advanced Level courses in Photography, Art and Graphic Design involve a high level of practical work, which is extremely time-consuming. Although these three subjects complement each other, it is not advisable to take more than two because of the expected workload.

Course content

Students will learn the practical skills involved in processing and printing black and white film. The majority of images will be produced using a 35mm camera.  A key component of the course will be the use of digital photography and processing.  Students will use Apple Macintosh digital imaging studio, using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator software, to produce work which has a relevance to current design practice.  The College studios are equipped with an impressive suite of computers, scanners and an A3 colour laser printer, with a large darkroom equipped with 16 enlargers.

The course will include:

  • Shooting a film using the lighting kit
  • Processing a film and working in the darkroom   
  • Researching photographers and techniques through books, the internet and gallery visits
  • Watching and participating in demonstrations and professional practice talks
  • Giving a presentation of your own work
  • Digitally manipulating images on the computer
  • Visually documenting and writing up the results of an experiment in a workbook
  • Gathering and discussing ideas in a group

Students following this course will need to own a 35mm SLR camera.  A basic manual camera, obtained second hand will be perfectly adequate.  An advice sheet about camera types will be available at enrolment.  The College provides all chemicals for processing and printing, together with film and photographic paper for an introductory project.  Students will need to purchase film and paper for the coursework projects (approx. cost £50 per year).

Entry requirements

Students wishing to include A Levels in their programme need to have (or expect to achieve) at least five GCSE passes, with at least two at Grade 5 or above (and a satisfactory school reference) in order to be accepted on an A Level/BTEC Level 3 Programme. 

 In addition, students should meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Grade 5 in GCSE Art or relevant Design Technology

If students only have a Merit for their BTEC Level 2, then a portfolio of work is also required.  

Students will need full-time access to both a 35 mm film SLR camera and a Digital SLR (DSLR) camera.


Component 1: Personal Investigation 60% including an Essay

Component 2: Externally set assignment 40% including a 15-hour practical exam

The exam board for Art A Level is EDUQAS (WJEC).

Future opportunities

After studying Photography at A Level, students can either take a one-year foundation course at an Art College, progress directly to a degree in Photography, or move into employment (as a Photographer's Assistant for example).

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Coulsdon Sixth Form College directly.

Last updated date: 12 October 2017
Provider logo

Key information