Bachelor of Arts in Visual Communication (Photography)
3 Years Full Time

This Bachelors programme equips students with a firm foundation in contemporary photography focusing on the fusion of critical thinking, technical ability and conceptual communication. This enables students to produce professional images that communicate successfully; develop a personal photographic style and an understanding of both their social and cultural environment. Supporting subjects are tailored to ensure the success of the graduate within a highly demanding industry. Academy generated briefs are coupled with real life campaigns and the opportunity to present ideas to clients.


Photography First Year Introduces students to a range of foundational skills using both analogue and basic digital black and white and colour processes. Set briefs are based on a hybrid of photographic genres including Landscape, Fashion, Portrait, Still life and Advertising. These incorporate primary exploratory themes and discussions to do with the nature of seeing.

The first year at the Academy serves as a foundation year, allowing students to have a hands-on experience of all possible majors. This serves to equip the students creatively with more than one skill, but most importantly it allows them to make an informed choice on their major subject.

Major Subjects:
-Graphic Design
-Art Direction

Supporting Subjects:
-Digital Communications 1
-Marketing Communications 1
-Visual Studies 1
-Integrated Communications 1



Photography Second Year builds on first year by extending technical skills, lighting techniques and digital manipulation. Set in-house and industry live briefs are based on the investigation of photographic movements such as the object, truth, narrative and the document. These are designed to accommodate specific areas of student interest whilst adapting to the photographic marketplace.

After experiencing all majors, students choose one major and one minor subject from the four offered in first year. For example, a student could major in Photography and choose Illustration as a minor. Another could see alignment with Art Direction as better suited to their future plans. This allows individual students to make decisions according to their strengths, which can help define a career path.

Major and Minor Subjects: (Choice of one major and one minor from the four)
-Graphic Design
-Art Direction

Supporting Subjects:
-Digital Communications 2
-Marketing Communications 2
-Visual Studies 2
-Integrated Communications 2



Photography Third Year builds on second year with advanced crafting skills and intense research. There is an emphasis on increased insight into the functions and language of the photographic discipline through scrutinizing meaning, symbolic value and representation.

As this is the final year, emphasis is put on creating a highly individualised industry-ready portfolio based on the strengths of the student. Students continue with the major but should they wish, may choose another minor from those they did not do in their second year. The third year is shorter, academically, due to the fourth term being essentially final examinations and the four-week industry internship (work integrated learning).

A final body of work from the student's chosen major is put on exhibition, assessed by a panel internally and the moderated externally. Should the student pass this and meet all the other academic requirements, they will graduate at the end of the year. Digital Communication is third year is an elective for those wishing to specialise in certain applications.

Major Subjects: (Continuation of chosen major and optional choice of one minor from the below)
-Graphic Design
-Art Direction

Supporting Subjects:
-Digital Communications 3 - Mobile Apps, Action Scripting, Animation, Post-Production, Web Design and After Effects.
-Business Leadership - Copy writing, Account Management, Brand Management, New Media, Strategic Communications and Entrepreneurship.
-Visual Studies 3 - Post Modernism; Post-Colonialism, Semiotics, Gender Studies, Post-Structuralism, SA Culture Studies.

Work Integrated Learning:
Internship of work weeks

Do you want more info on this course and student's work? Visit Stellenbosch Academy's website

Go to Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography's profile

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