Film, cinematics, and photography

Exercise your creative muscles in an exciting and fast-paced career.

What is film, cinematics, and photography?

The creative industry is worth almost £100bn per year and it’s growing twice as fast as the rest of the economy. Born again in the digital age, it’s an exciting and dynamic place to be –forge an exciting career while exercising your passion, creativity, and technical talent. If you love the idea of using technology and art to make your mark on the world, then a career in the creative industry may be right up your street.

Film, cinematics, and photography degrees are highly specialised subjects which give you an in-road into your dream career. Whether it’s being a runner on the next big blockbuster, learning how to maintain multi-million pound cinematography equipment, or staking out for weeks to capture the perfect wildlife photograph, the creative industry is always waiting for the next big talent to come along. The skills you learn on a film, cinematics, or photography course will stand you in good stead to move into a variety of other sectors too, including marketing, advertising, communications, and the media.

Film, cinematics, and photography course entry requirements

Not all sixth forms offer these subjects, although if you’ve taken media studies, photography, or film studies then you’ll be in a great position. The good news is that admissions staff will be looking for the skills you have rather than the subjects you have studied. English language or literature, art and design, IT and computing will also show your talent for creativity and technology.

And you should bolster these skills in your personal statement. Showcase the traits which make you the perfect film, cinematics, or photography student. Demonstrate your technical skills, your attention to detail, your eye for something different, a strong personality, and a passion for the creative industry.

A levels – Entry requirements range from CDD to BBB, with the universities and colleges most commonly asking for BBC.

Scottish Highers – Entry requirements for Highers (the most common qualification) range from BBCC to AABBB, with universities or colleges most frequently requiring BBBB. Occasionally, universities ask for Advanced Highers to supplement Highers. If Advanced Highers are requested, universities or colleges typically ask for BBB.

Vocational courses – Other Level 3/Level 6 qualifications (e.g. Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma, or an SCQF Level 6) may be accepted as an alternative to A levels/Highers by some providers. It’s essential that you check alternative entry requirements with universities or colleges.

What you will need to do
  • Apply by the January deadline
  • Personal statement
  • Attend an interview
  • Submit a portfolio
What you won't need to do
  • Audition for a place
  • Pass an entry test
  • Show work experience

What’s the difference between film, cinematics, and photography?

While the three subjects are closely related and often taken as combined degrees, there are important differences. Photography is solely about still images. You’ll learn about cameras, shooting, and editing. Film is mainly about the film industry and filmmaking. Cinematics is somewhere in the middle and spans all kinds of media creation, including television, animation, and video games too.

Why study film, cinematics, and photography at university?

As a booming industry, you can expect to travel to far-flung and exotic locations if you enter the filmmaking and photography industry. Whether it’s to join a set for the film you’re working on, or to capture the perfect shot of wildlife, your art can take you across the globe and back again. Of course, this’ll only be possible if you’re at the very top of the game, and that’s what a film, cinematics and photography degree is designed to do. You need to stand out in an increasingly crowded industry, and a specialised degree can help you do that.

Some modules you may study are:

  • Creative cinematography
  • Storytelling for the screen
  • Production skills
  • Analogue and digital technology
  • The business of Hollywood
  • Film and photography’s role in history
  • Principles of creativity
  • Society of the media

Do I need to be creative to study film, cinematics, or photography?

It depends exactly what you’d like to do. The vast majority of your fellow students will be creative, but if you’re interested in the technological side of the creative industry then you’ll still be suitable for a creative degree. You don’t need the same amount of creativity to be a lighting technician or camera operator as you do to be a scriptwriter or director, for example.

What can you do with film, cinematics, or photography degrees?

You’ll emerge with the skills to dive straight into a creative career, including:

But you’ll also be an attractive candidate as a:

What’s it like to study film, cinematics, and photography?

You’re not going to have too many days the same during your degree. You might spend one day in the lecture hall, learning about the history of your subject and its role in society. The next day you might be five, 50, or 500 miles from campus, shooting film. You might end the week back at university, but this time in the computer lab or dark room, editing and producing your work. That’s not to mention the time that you spend on placement, learning what the management and employment side of the industry is like.

Each subject is a highly specialised, creative discipline. Whilst you might spend a lot of time looking at the difference between reel, digital storage, 4K, and other media types on your film degree, your photography degree would be more concerned about DSLR vs analogue cameras, exposure settings, and other specific technicalities.

One thing all three subjects share is project work. During your degree, you’ll have the opportunity to go through the entire creative and commercial process for your chosen discipline. This means coming up with a concept, scoping it out, researching, preparing, shooting, editing, producing, finishing, and showcasing to your peers. The creative independence will force you to manage your time and resources effectively, and give you great experience for going out into the creative industry. In a market where self-employment is extremely common, these are skills that you should focus on whilst you have the chance.

Film, cinematics, and photography undergraduates can expect the following tasks during their studies:

  • writing reports and essays
  • attending lectures and seminars
  • hearing from industry speakers
  • creative projects
  • technical labs
  • placements and industry experience
  • project and teamwork

Are you considering an accelerated degree? Click here to read more about the possibility of completing your undergraduate course in two years rather than three. 

Let's talk about... creative and design apprenticeships

Not sure if a traditional degree is for you? Listen to our new podcast to learn more about studying degree apprenticeships in creative and design.


If you want to combine work and study while earning a salary, you could consider an apprenticeship. Which apprenticeships are available, and how you apply, depends on where you live.

Find out more about apprenticeships across the UK.

Each apprenticeship sets out occupational standards for specific job roles, designed by employers. The standards outline the skills, knowledge, and behaviours required to demonstrate that an apprentice is fully competent in the job role.

Higher apprenticeships (Level 4)

Degree apprenticeships (Levels 5 – 7)

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