It may be a significant investment in both time and money, but photographers looking for a qualification can’t do much better than a BA Honours degree. While many will study at university, this type of heavily structured learning isn’t for everyone. With this in mind, the Open College of the Arts (OCA) provides a flexible online/distance-learning course that can be started at any time of the year.

Due to its modular structure, units can be studied for personal fulfilment, or with the aim of collecting credits towards a final degree.

There are three levels to the course: Level 1 introduces photography as a medium and looks at the basic skills required to take a picture.

Level 2 encourages students to develop a personal style, largely focusing on two genres of their choice. Level 3 concentrates on professional practice, including the creation of a portfolio or major body of work.

The course would normally be tackled in three years, but students can take their time and learn at their own pace. There are no exams -assessment is entirely through essays, assignments and learning logs. Tutors provide extensive feedback throughout the course, while the OCA forums keep participants in touch with fellow students.

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