Change the world


Photoshop Lessons 2008 Graham Thompson

Photoshop Lessons ©2008 Graham Thompson

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University for tomorrow – we nurture innovation, foster creativity, embrace technology and develop people to meet the challenges of the world of tomorrow. NMMU unites the best traditions of both the academic and technological worlds into one university that offers the full spectrum of career-focused, academic-orientated and professional programmes – from diploma through to doctoral level.

Formed from the merger of the PE Technikon, the University of Port Elizabeth and the PE campus of Vista University, NMMU is built on a track record of more than 125 years of experience in quality higher education, research and technology innovation.

NMMU is the biggest higher education institution in the Eastern and Southern Cape, with some 20 000 students enrolled on seven different campuses – five in Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth) and two in George.

All National Diploma programmes, offered by the Faculty of Arts, ascribe to the following educational aims:


The development of technical skills and knowledge of processes, as well as the use of appropriate technology and apparatus.


The development of creative thinking and aesthetic understanding, including experimentation, problem identification and solving, and both practical and theoretical application, within a chosen discipline.


The development of professional business ethics relevant to a chosen career in the visual and tactile arts, including the economics of business, finance, marketing, advertising and self-promotion.


Students gain personal confidence in their ability to integrate skills, knowledge and experience relevant to the real-world context.


YEAR 1: Introductory Studies

To prepare students technically, conceptually and theoretically, in order to enable them to identify an appropriate area of specialisation at the next level of study.

  • Educating through a balance of teaching and learning strategies that include lectures, workshops, studio work, group criticisms and individual tutorials.
  • Developing a multi-disciplinary foundation of knowledge, experience and practice.
  • Providing training in a range of skills and competencies, including visual literacy, creative problem solving and design skills, drafting skills and photography and the ability to work in an extended range of media.
  • Providing appropriate experience at developing concepts and realizing these in both 2 and 3-dimensional form.

YEAR 2 – 3: Diploma in Photography

This programme enables the student to:

  • acquire a comprehensive knowledge of photographic / digital imaging processes, materials and apparatus through hands-on experience in the field, the studio or on professional assignment; experiment and think creatively via a variety of photographic and visual communication projects within both open-ended and restrictive parameters;
  • understand the importance of business principles and the professional photographic environment through exposure to real-life situations, professional associations and commercially driven projects;
  • receive education through a supportive, yet realistic environment that helps develop self-esteem and confidence through debate, criticism, written and verbal communication and personal challenge.

NMMU photography field trip to the Cockscomb mountains 2007 John Hobson

NMMU photography field trip to the Cockscomb
mountains ©2007 John Hobson

The photography course is for candidates who intend to make a career in photography, and has a strong professional orientation. All aspects of professional photography are covered both in practice and theory, with the greater part of the time spent on practical workshops and projects, either in our well equipped studio or on location.

We have a strong departmental focus on the photographic genres of fashion, beauty, advertising, portraiture, documentary, fine art and conceptual, digital illustration, landscape, automotive, industrial, and architecture. At all times creativity is king as we are portfolio driven and aim to equip students to hit the ground running.

YEAR 4: Bachelor of Technology Degree in Photography

This intensive programme will focus on a specialised area of photography. It will equip the student with the necessary competencies to pursue a viable career as a practitioner in the communicative, technological, creative and financial aspects of the photographic environment. The students who make the most impact in the industry have generally completed the B. Tech Degree.

Ryan Moss

“The Foundation course in art is the stepping stone into your preferred choice area of study and is a great insight and helps clearly set out your next steps into your career path. The photographic course is of high standards, and many creative talented photographers have emerged from this nationally recognised school of the arts. Studying here at the University, has not just creatively challenged me, but has had a significant influence on my life experiences.”