BA(Hons) Photography - The BIPP Route to a Degree with the Open College of the Arts

Using Your BIPP Qualification as Prior Learning...

If you successfully achieve a Licentiate (or higher) with the BIPP, you now have the option to continue on to a BA Honours Degree with the Open College of the Arts with just one further year of study.

The BA (Hons) Photography Degree is made up of 360 credit points.  Your BIPP Licentiate submission could be considered as ‘prior experiential learning’ of up to 240 points – effectively 2 years of a 3 year course.

If You Would Like To Achieve the BA (Hons):

  • For your work to be considered by the OCA, you will need to successfully achieve a Licentiate (or higher) qualification with the BIPP, by submitting a portfolio of 25-50 prints and supporting evidence.  It’s important to note that only photographers who submit via this ‘portfolio assessment’ will be eligible for this scheme.

  • Once you have gained your BIPP qualification you will need to contact the OCA and offer your work as ‘Prior Experiential Learning’.  This work could equate to exemptions from up to five modules (years 1 & 2 of a standard 3 year course). 

  •  To gain entry to the final level of degree study (ie, the 3rd year) you will need to be granted exemption from all five lower level modules.

  • The OCA will assess your BIPP submission and any exemptions will be awarded. There is normally a £1,000 fee for this entry route, but BIPP members will only pay £500.   

  • Entry to the final level of degree study is subject to the judgement of the OCA assessors and exemption from all five of the lower modules is not guaranteed. 

  • If you have any queries, don’t worry – the OCA provides detailed guidance for potential students who wish to enter by this route, including telephone advice. 

Studying for the Final Level of the BA (Hons) Photography Degree

The Final Level (ie, the 3rd year) comprises of two linked components (3 modules).  You will need to enrol on both of these components at the same time.  The total cost is currently £2,560 (the OCA offers the opportunity to pay for this by instalments).

Full details of both of the components are on

Already Have a Foundation Degree or HND?

If BIPP members already have a foundation degree or HND in photography or a related subject (gained in the last 10 years), your route is slightly different – and is known as ‘Prior Certified Learning.  You will simply need to provide evidence of the degree/HND qualification and pay an accreditation fee of £100 (normally £200).  This will then provide entry to the final level of degree study.

What is the OCA?

The Open College of the Arts offers open and distance learning.  It is an educational charity dedicated to widening participation in arts education.  Established in 1987, over 2000 students each year now study creative and visual arts by open and distance learning.

Their courses are accredited by the University for the Creative Arts.

The OCA are specialists in creative arts education and their approach to flexible learning is ideal for working professional photographers who want to take their development to the next level.

How Do I Start?

Once you’ve achieved a minimum of a Licentiate with BIPP, just get in touch with the OCA.  They will be able to guide you through the entry process.

Their website is

Their phone number is 0800 731 2116.

Their email is

The BIPP would like to know if you decide to go forward with the Degree, and how you’re getting on.  Please let us know by emailing