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Study Programme and Professional Objectives

Graduation project 'Place to be' | Sanja Marusic, Bachelor Photography 2013, Nominee Department Award

Image: Graduation project 'Place to be' | Sanja Marusic, Bachelor Photography 2013, Nominee Department Award

Propaedeutic year

(Exploration and visual development)

Full-time / part-time: semesters one and two

The propaedeutic year is concluded with an exam during which the student is assessed on the basis of his suitability for the discipline. The student presents and substantiates his work and shows its accents. The work done for theory courses is part of the exam. The study attitude, especially the student’s commitment and level of independence, in the work process are also taken into consideration. The vision and depth demonstrated in both the process and the end result are of importance in passing the exam, but also for the selection of the specialisation. The student must be deemed able to complete the programme in the specified period and then work as an independent photographer.

The objectives are:

• Learn to study and organise the work and design process. This includes the acquiring of knowledge, understanding and skills related to the employment of substantive and formal visual means. Apply the acquired knowledge, understanding and skills to improve given assignments.

• Develop an inquisitive, examining and self-critical attitude, own initiative regarding the work, verbal and written communication skills and reflective and analytical ability.

• Acquire theoretical knowledge and insight regarding the study content of the project. 

• Gain technical skills related to photographic tools and techniques and 2D tools and techniques such as drawing, painting and graphic techniques.

• Gain insight into the desired professional field: editorial, commercial or otherwise.


The competences for the propaedeutic year are:

• The student can create new work in which he explores new methods based on the experiences and insights he has gained through the programme.

• The student is able to reflect on his work and can evaluate its quality and effectiveness.

• The student demonstrates the will to make new discoveries and acquires new knowledge, skills and insights and is able to apply them on a theoretical, practical and photographic level.

• The student can organize his own work process and is able to document and archive his work.

• The student is able to substantiate his choice for, and deployment of, resources, materials and/or visual solutions.

• The student shows a broad interest in social, sociological and cultural developments and is able to distinguish different photographic visions.

• The student can achieve his own goals while collaborating with others.

• The student is able to substantiate his choice of specialisation.


Artistic technical domain

The development of a photographer/image maker commences at the start of the programme. A professional photographer is not just someone taking pictures: he shows strong similarities with other artists in the visual arts. That is why the student’s general visual development is primarily prioritized in the curriculum. Additionally, attention is given to specific visual aspects related to the medium. The focal point is the work process with concept development as its goal. It is equally important that students develop skills with regard to photographic tools and techniques and in the digital field.

Theoretical domain

All propaedeutic year students are taught general art and cultural history and academic skills. Furthermore, students participate in a programme covering art and photography history and reflection, which offers them an extensive frame of reference. Students visit exhibitions and museums throughout the year, where they analyse and reflect on the work of others. This is done both verbally and in writing. Debating skills on various topics are developed in the course Field Orientation. In different courses students are asked to write reports.

Professional social domain

Professional development takes place throughout the year, mostly through self-study. Students are required to independently visit exhibitions and create and maintain a personal archive of reviews, book reviews and general information relating to the profession. In the module Career Orientation this is connected to the attitude necessary to work in the field and meet to the demands of the discipline. In addition, a project week focused on the professional field is reserved at least twice a year. In one of these weeks the students visit photographers, editors, agencies and bureaus. In the other project week students engage in fieldwork or visit a photo festival. Guest lectures are organised regularly in the academy in relation to current events in the field. Participation in lectures and workshops in the field is encouraged.

Main Phase / year 2

(Proficiency and in-depth research)

Full-time / part-time: semesters three and four

The first part of the main phase has as its main objective to provide students with a clear understanding of the field and the professional practice of the specialisation 'Documentary' or 'Fiction'. This means that the programme is both broadened and deepened. At the end of the academic year, the student’s professional competence must be fully applied to the creative process. This refers to both a command of the profession itself and the student’s professional attitude. The execution of assignments is therefore assessed according to the field’s requirements.


The competences for the second year are:


• The student can undertake methodical and well-organised research and develop his own idea.


• The student can evaluate his own images and those of others on their content and visual and communicative qualities, and is able to justify the choices he makes in his photography.


• The student knows to use research to acquire new knowledge, skills and insights, and can appropriate external criticism to benefit the development of his work.


• The student is able to prioritise and time-effectively manage his work process.


• The student can interpret an assignment and express it in word and image.


• The student refers to social and cultural resources to formulate a precise hypothesis for his work, and he can name the target audience and aim of his photography.


• The student is able to collaborate with others and can apply his talents and those of others to benefit the collaboration.

Artistic technical domain 

In the second year, the focal point of general visual development shifts to the replication and interpretation of methods. Students gain insight into the coherence of content and form by learning to control the creative process.

Concept development is examined in different courses to create understanding of the working methods. This includes analysing assignments, substantive research, idea development, image development and implementation. It also allows students to broaden their work area with the electives Audio Visual Media and Interactive Media, which support the research into the possibilities of the artistic process.


Theoretical domain

Art and photography history and reflection are taught throughout the year, and students are encouraged to, in addition to the fixed course content, independently extend the framework by engaging in research related to the practice course and/or projects. The building of a personal file is indispensable in this research process. The student is also asked to substantiate his opinions.

In the courses Film Theory and Philosophy of Media, which are chosen in conjunction with the electives Audio Visual Media and Interactive Media, the frame of reference is widened and compared to that of photography. The student is assessed in debates, at the hand of an exam and a paper.

Professional social domain

The demands of the functioning in, and influencing of, the profession(al field), are the points of departure for assignments in the curriculum and are the guidelines for the assessment. The method of working that is used in the field sets the criteria. Additionally, the practice courses of the specialisations are supported by the subjects Communication and Sociology, which focus on the start of the assignment, objectives, target audience and its consequences.

 Main Phase / year 3

 (Professionalisation and presentation)


Full-time / part-time: semester five and six

The entire year is dedicated to career preparation. The student must now demonstrate he meets the requirements to make a unique contribution to the field and that he can live up to standards of the outside world. The objectives of this study year are to exhibit own work and function in the professional field outside the academy. Over the course of the year, the internship is successfully completed; the written professional profile is assessed and adjusted after the internship. The written report, with conclusions about the internship period, is the impetus for the final year, in which the student is supposed to bring this final phase to a successful conclusion. At the end of the third year the individual and collective assessment reviews are merged into one comprehensive assessment.



The competences for the third year are:

• The student is able to formulate an idea, identify his goals and employ research to develop an image concept and make it into a work.


• The student can relate his work to developments in the field in a cultural and social context and define his position.


• The student develops an authentic vision on photography and is able to keep developing this further.


• The student can create a balance between journalistic / commercial, logistic, facilitating and technical activities.


• The student is able to convincingly present and explain his own work (methods) and remains true to his goal and target audience.


• The student is able to connect his own work to that of others, and his own work to the public; the student can adequately address his target groups with his work.


• The student can purposely place himself in the work process in different roles and with different responsibilities, and employ his individual talents to achieve common goals.

Artistic technical domain

The student explores the medium and determines his own position. The attention is centred on students’ individual projects or on the distinguishing features of the execution of assignments. Authorship is evident in the breadth of the work and portfolio. The student demonstrates his ability to use the contexts and settings in which the creative work can manifest itself, such as in exhibitions, in printed media such as magazines and/ or books, interactively and on the web. Concept development is specifically aimed at the outside world. Whether he is working on a job assignment or on an individual project, the student should demonstrate awareness of the outside world and should know how to take advantage of this.


Theoretical domain

In the course of the year, the student’s theoretical knowledge expands further. The art and photography history and reflection are specifically applied to further develop the critical reviewing of the medium in relation to the student’s individual position in the field. The visual art and cultural world keep playing an important role in this, and the subjects communication and sociology support the determination of the position. The theoretical component of AV and Interactive Media is used to extend and expand the boundaries of the photography medium. Students are assessed at the hand of debates, oral presentations and a written paper.

Professional social domain 

During the entire year, the professional social domain guides the curriculum. The outside world is brought into the academy by giving students assignments based on professional assignments. Students present work in a professional setting and are assessed accordingly. The assembling of a portfolio is of great importance in preparation of the internship. The internship is, after all, the opportunity for students to experience working in a professional environment. Additionally, the completed assignments and projects are assessed on the basis of project proposals and plans, budgets, funding and the meeting of deadlines.

 Main Phase + final phase

 (Profiling and positioning)

Full-time / part-time: semesters seven and eight

In the final phase, the student proves his abilities by applying his professional skills to position himself in the field. By doing so he demonstrates his views on the photographic visual language, that he is able to give an artistic interpretation of the work, and that he can manifest himself in such a way that he does not only acquire a starting position in his chosen field, but also manages to influence it. The exam work is professionally presented including descriptions, budget and funding. He also creates support for the exam work outside the academy by getting at least one part of the work published or by finding a commissioning party or sponsors for the project. Students work on the exam work during the entire year.

The competences of the final phase correspond to the final qualifications of the programme.

 Creative ability

The student: 

can create an innovative concept and develop it into a unique and significant image, product, means of communication or spatial design, and place it in a context in an innovative way; 

forms his points of departure from a personal artistic vision and places it in a broader cultural and social perspective;

uses artistic and technical problems to develop comprehensive solutions and demonstrates that he makes use of his knowledge of, and insight in, the way images, shapes, materials, proportions and colours evoke experiences and transfer meanings. He also finds relevant resources to photograph in an effective manner;

employs a method that, on several occasions, questions the concept (and/or process) and uses his findings to come to a better design;

shows in the work that he transfers meanings and can cause experiences.

Capacity for critical reflection

The student:

is able to analyse, interpret and assess his own work and that of others, and can apply the ensuing outcomes to benefit his own work;

evaluates the result on the basis of communicative effectiveness and artistic value, oversees the implications of choices and decisions and can justify these;

demonstrates awareness of different views that exist in the field;

shows the ability to investigate all matters that are important for a design;

extends his knowledge of traditions and theories related to the discipline, of different visions on, and approaches to, the chosen profession, from both historical and contemporary philosophical insights (especially ethics and aesthetics) that may be of importance to a photographer.

Capacity for growth and innovation

The student:

continuously develops his work and method in both depth and intensity, in a way that suits him and relates to his discipline 

shows he wants to further develop his personal artistic vision;

demonstrates the ambition to excel;

shows a critical and inquiring attitude regarding his work. He is able to further develop this into a body of work and an individual position;

is able to acquire new knowledge, insights and skills concerning techniques, legislation, processing and application possibilities, and public and professional approaches;

uses criticism of others to further develop.

Organisational competence

The student:

can create and maintain his own inspiring and functional work environment;

develops his own work process and is able to see how various aspects of the medium in the discipline are interconnected;

makes business arrangements to be able to eventually work as an (independent) photographer;

is able to manage the work process and can find a balance between substantive research, photography, logistics, facilitating and public activities; 

knows how to locate possible expertise of colleagues or specialists from other disciplines and collaborate with them;

knows how to document and archive his work.

Communicative competence

The student:

can present and explain his artistic vision and work, and negotiate about it with clients and others involved;

is able to obtain and interpret job assignments;

shows the ambition to publish and exhibit his work and proclaim is own opinions;

has an overview of the market and the mass media;

is able to find a support for his work;

communicates verbally, visually and in writing about his work;

makes and maintains contacts that are relevant to its own network 

Situational awareness

The student:

has a vision on the role and position of his discipline and is able to relate his work and convictions to those of others and to developments in the cultural and social contexts;

focuses in his work on the user and acquires knowledge necessary to adequately adapt to these (user) groups;

is able research all aspects relevant to the work; 

studies the work and visions of his peers, also internationally;

places his own work in the perspective of traditions and theories related to the field;

recognises a wide range of views in relation to the profession of photographer, both from a historical and contemporary perspective;

is inspired by a range of cultural and social sources and can recognise and name these in his own work;

reflects on the function of the discipline in society. 

Collaborative competence

The student:

is able to guide collaborative efforts and provide content and quality;

is able to achieve his goals while working with others; 

is able to utilise his talents and abilities in a collaboration;

can effectively and respectfully employ different roles, responsibilities and interests in the process of photographing.

Artistic technical domain

Now that the professional field has been extensively explored, the student uses the last phase to hone down and make explicit his own visual signature. Specialisation and profiling within the medium are the starting points. The student consciously strives to find the boundaries of the discipline and move beyond them if possible. This applies in particular to the way of presenting the work. The experience of the work plays an important role in the development of the communication concepts.

Theoretical domain

The thesis is the culmination of the research for the practical work. In the thesis, students establish their work and their position as maker in the broader context of the discipline. The student demonstrates he can engage both the historical and current situation of the medium in this, as well as the situation of culture in general. The determination of standpoints is crucial to this.

Professional social domain

The activities of the exam are placed in the context of the professional practice and further developed. This means that special attention is given to all matters related to the entrepreneurship of the photographer. One part of the exam includes a project in which the student demonstrates he can place the work in the context of the discipline. In addition to the exam work, students are expected to write a business plan and to generate publicity for their exam work.

The content of the final stage of the part-time programme corresponds to that of the full-time programme. The projects are adapted to fit into three semesters. The objectives associated with the final phase of the programme are the same as the final qualifications and the associated competences.

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