Undergraduate BA (Hons)

Digital Media and Extended Reality (XR)

Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology

Attendance

Full-time

Course

Three year

Next enrolment

September 2023

Introduction

In a nutshell

Digital Media informs the way we create, play, communicate and interact with technology. It is also essential to a wide range of industries and creative subjects, including web and app design, XR, entertainment technologies, social media, online marketing and data visualisation.

Based within Greater Manchester, you’ll be studying in one of the fastest-growing creative technology centres in the UK. This course benefits from our facilities at our MediaCity and Peel Park campuses. These include state-of-the-art digital production labs and 'Maker Spaces' equipped with a broad range of cutting-edge tools and technologies to turn your ideas into reality.

Taught by creative technology specialists and leading researchers within the field, you’ll have access to a wide range of industry-standard technologies, including VR headsets, green screen studios, motion capture suits, 3D printing technology, testing devices, and digital production labs.  

Supported in gaining the necessary skills to contribute to the creative technology industries, you’ll be ready to be part of new and exciting technological advances. As a Digital Media and XR student, you’ll be best placed to pioneer the implementation of new digital tools and production pipelines into various creative industries. Our students have gone on to work with recognised brands related to the world of global technology, such as the BBC and digital design studios, including Epigram, MatMe, Persona and Stein.Find out how our student collaborated with Barclays Eagle Lab to create a virtual reality experience prototype.

Through this programme, you’ll gain creative, technical and entrepreneurial skills that will enable you to secure various job roles, whether in strategy, design or the development of digital experiences bringing creative digital solutions to real-world problems.

Do you want to find out more about our Digital Media courses? Why not sign-up to an Open Day or attend a campus tour.

You will:

  • Develop the technical skills needed to excel in a range of existing and emerging employment roles in XR development.
  • Learn to build solid working relationships with those in the creative sector through our industry partnerships.
  • Explore current issues and practices within the creative technologies sector.
Placement

options available

International

students accepted

This is for you if...

1.

You have a passion for digital design and you want to master a range of tools to use within creative and interactive media

2.

You're interested in the technical and creative elements of designing XR experiences and its production process.

3.

You want to become a creative practitioner and launch a professional career offering services to marketing and advertising agencies.

Course details

All about the course

The aim of this programme is to form digital designers equipped with a thorough understanding of current and emergent digital technologies, with an emphasis on Extended Realities (XR) design and development. You will be equipped with an in-depth understanding of core design and production techniques and tools for:

  • Interaction design, the design of interactive digital products, environments, systems, and services with a focus on XR design.
  • Creation of immersive and augmented user experiences: the design of real-and-virtual combined environments and apps.
  • Design and Evaluation of User Experiences (UX) and User Interfaces (UI).
  • Graphic and Motion design, the use of animation and digital storytelling techniques to convey messages across media.

In the first year, you gain first-hand experience with a wide spectrum of digital design techniques and practices, defining your interests and strengths within emergent areas of specialism.

In the second year, you further define your specialism, enhancing the practical, theoretical and technical understanding of digital design. During your second year, an emphasis is given to emergent technologies such as VR and AR. Through practice-based modules, you are provided with opportunities to apply problem-solving and technical skills to complex design briefs.

In the third year, you apply your specialist skills by engaging in design projects developed in collaboration with industry partners. This involvement provides you with valuable professional experience while also developing a strong portfolio showcasing your design and technical abilities.

Gain a deeper understanding of what you’ll explore on this Digital Media and Extended Reality (XR) degree within each module below.

Year one

Website Design and Development

This module will guide you through the practical and conceptual aspects of web design and development. Moving one step at the time, we will learn how to develop ideas from initial sketches to functional, fully testable web prototypes, exploring the expressive potential of this medium.

Introduction to Creative Play

This module will allow you to explore the context of risk taking and innovation in your digital design process. It will build a foundation to assess the pros and cons within a project's design and production journey, developing a culture of experimentation, innovation and collaboration.

Design Fundamentals

This module introduces you to the fundamental principles of design. Through a series of short projects, you will be guided to acquire a grounded understanding of visual communication, composition, color, typography, and motion design.

Advanced Web Design and Development

Building from the foundational skills acquired in the previous semester, in this module we will develop proficiency on advanced web design and development techniques. This semester will focus on responsive web design, web apps, animation and the implementation of advanced online interactions.

3D Modelling and Visualisation

You will develop your understanding and technical proficiency using the tools and techniques for three-dimensional production. Working with industry-standard applications, you will develop your skills in 3d modelling, materials, texturing, lighting and rendering.

Creative Collaboration

Digital designers very rarely work alone. In the complex digital landscape we live today, designers and developers almost never work in isolation from other professionals. This module will provide you with the opportunity to work with students from other programmes in industry-led briefs, developing your understanding of project management and professional communication.

Year two

Digital Contexts

This module will revise digital cultural contexts focusing on the key issues that have determined its evolution to its present forms, encouraging a critical view of their impact in society as a whole. We will review and discuss critical topics and apply theoretical perspectives to analyse digital media products. Also, and perhaps most importantly, you will have the opportunity to develop your academic research and writing skills, which will play a crucial part in future modules within this programme.

Introduction to XR Design and Development

In this module, you will explore the exciting innovations for extended reality development. Through a series of guided projects, you will hone your skills for the design and production of virtual, augmented and mixed reality applications, developing a grounded understanding of the current state and future of these technologies.

Motion Design

You will be introduced into and design techniques and principles for using the moving image as a mean of creative expression and communication. You will learn about and apply principles for storytelling, animation and filming techniques for the production of motion graphic pieces including but not limited to opening sequences, instructional videos and music videos.

Dissertation Preparation

This module will set the foundation of your dissertation project in the final year. Here you will define a topic of interest and conduct preliminary research, leading to defining your research questions and practice-based methodology. You will also examine in detail the ethical issues involved in your project, pursuing approval from the University ethics panel if deemed necessary.

Designing User Experiences

What does make a website or application to be understandable, memorable or fun to interact with? Why do we spend hours with a mobile application and we delete others after just a brief interaction? In this module, you will explore these questions by developing a mobile UX project from initial ideas to a functional and testable prototype.

Games and Virtual Worlds

On this module, you will learn about gamification and the design of virtual interfaces for multiple design contexts, such as advertising, education and training.

Year three

Dissertation

This module is designed to hone your practice-based skills. Digital design solutions almost never simply materialise out of the blue by some sort of “genius” inspiration. More often, good design arises from a thorough and empathic comprehension of our design audiences, their expectations and specific problems. All this knowledge is grounded in good creative research methods and practices. Throughout this module, you will learn about practice-based research methods and how to use them effectively as part of your creative process.

Negotiated Brief

This module provides you with the opportunity to direct your areas of specialism as a digital designer by engaging with an external brief with real-world constraints. Following a negotiation with tutors, you will define a brief which will provide you with the opportunity to work with an external partner, collaborate with projects within the university, develop a live project or take part in national or international design competitions.

Digital Project Management

This module will provide you with an understanding of the planning and management tools and techniques currently used by the creative industries. You will learn how to manage teams under time and budget constraints, successfully leading projects to completion.

Major Project

This module provides you with the space to develop your emerging specialism as a digital designer. Developing a project in your area(s) of specialism, you will demonstrate advanced skills as a creative and reflective practitioner, able to take informed design decisions and guide a project from conceptualisation to final stages of prototyping and testing. You will engage in design critique at an advanced level, encouraging a positive culture of collaboration with tutors and peers.

Professional Development

This module is designed to help you build a professional identity and develop skills in networking and professional communication. You will create a visual personal brand that will feed across a suit of professional communication components such as personal website, portfolio, business card, CV, etc. You will also work with your tutors in developing a coherent strategy for a successful start of your career.

Watch this video to hear what students say about the module.

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

What Will I be Doing?

100%

Coursework

TEACHING

You are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and laboratory practicals. Lectures will verse among relevant topics and will provide materials for developing your exploration. Seminars enable you to discuss and develop your understanding of topics covered in lectures in smaller groups. In addition, you have timetabled meetings with the tutors.

Practice will be focused on the application of skills and techniques in which you are trained. You will use industry-standard design software and have access to engineering and computer laboratory facilities throughout your course.

At level four you typically have around 10 contact hours per week, typically consisting of:

  • two hours of lectures

  • three hours of seminars

  • four point five hours of supervised lab practicals

  • one hour of one-to-one meetings.

 
ASSESSMENT

Assessment methods include a range of coursework assessments such as essays, reports, casebooks, portfolios, performance, presentations and your final year major project. The grades from formal assessments count towards your module mark.

There are no exams in this course. The total percentage of the course is assessed through practical coursework.

You will receive feedback on all practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback is intended to help you learn and you are encouraged to discuss it with your module tutor. We aim to provide you with feedback within 15 working days of hand-in (formal coursework assessment).

BE A PART OF A CREATIVE, SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY

All  our  Creative Digital Media and Gaming courses  are delivered by the  Salford School of Arts, Media, and Creative Technology. Our focus is to ensure that you have the skills you need to pursue your dreams, and we encourage our students, past and present, to collaborate with each other and achieve great things.  

Each year - through the Create Student Awards – our School rewards the incredible achievements and successes of our final year and postgraduate students.  

Whatever you choose to study with us, you’ll be mentored and supported by experts. And once you graduate, it won’t end there. You’ll join a thriving alumni network across Greater Manchester and beyond, meaning you’ll be supported professionally and personally whenever you need it. 

OUR FACILITIES

Our MediaCity and Peel Park facilities are industry-standard, so much so that they are used by our industry partners themselves.

When you study with us, you’ll learn from our experienced tutors and demonstrators, who’ll teach you how to use our facilities. These include:

  • Digital XR labs – use the latest XR equipment in a space specially designed for virtual and augmented reality development.
  • Fabrication labs - bring your designs to life using 3D scanners and printers, power tools and a range of art and craft materials. 
  • Computer Suites and Editing Studios – our computer suites are equipped with the latest industry-standard software. You’ll learn from our experienced demonstrators, who’ll teach you the skills needed to turn your concepts into a reality.
  • Green screen facilities - these allow you to create effects such as those you see on weather reports and incorporates a camera system and 3D graphics software. 
  • Equipment stores - we have a fully equipped equipment store available for you to use in your projects.
Employment and stats

What about after uni?

EMPLOYMENT

Our students will finish the degree with significant skills in the areas of Digital Design and a deep knowledge of the process of designing for XR technologies. They will be applicants for diverse roles such as XR Developer, XR Designer while having the needed skills for other related industries such as web design (UX Designer, Web Designer), 3D design for XR (Level Designer, 3D Designer) and motion graphics (Web Motion Graphic Designer, 3D Animator).

In recent years, our students have achieved positions in diverse companies related to the Digital Design/XR Design environment, including multimedia Production Houses, Advertising Agencies, and Marketing services. Every year, a small number of students take a different path and develop personal projects as freelancers in the areas of web design, XR design and multimedia production.

FURTHER STUDY

Graduates showing strong academic and research skills can pursue a further postgraduate path through  our Postgraduate programmes  on a full-time or part-time basis subject to a satisfactory proposal. 

A taste of what you could become

A Web Designer

An XR Designer

A 3D Animator

A UX Designer

And more...

Career Links

Our Digital Media and Extended Reality (XR) degree employs a variety of staff from different sections of the industry, including design, programming and project and business management.

Creative briefs are provided for students that wish to develop professional projects for companies such as

  • STUDIO SALFORD (Creative studio based at MediaCity with services on Graphic Design, PR & Comms and Video Production)
  • MATMI NEW MEDIA (Digital Production studio specialized on Gamification and Digital Engagement)
  • BARCLAYS EAGLES LAB (Incubator community for startups and entrepreneurs)
  • CARBON DIGITAL (Visual FX and Virtual Production Studio at Trafford)
  • STEIN. IAS (Global advertising and marketing agency)
  • WATERLOO UNCOVERED (UK based charity combining archeology and welfare support)
  • ESCAPE REALITY (Escape Room in Manchester with innovative projects in XR)
  • BIG BRAND IDEAS (Performance Driven Integrated Marketing Agency in Manchester)
Requirements

What you need to know

We look for curious, open-to-new-experiences and proactive students that are keen to explore different creative solutions for emergent and established problems and creative briefs. The typical digital media student should be independent and keen in exploring new digital technologies, as well as traditions from design, animation, storytelling and creative practice in general.

There’s no need for specific qualifications or prior knowledge to engage with the contents of this program.

APPLICANT PROFILE 

To gain a place on this Digital Media and XR degree, you’ll have to submit a personal statement and meet our entry requirements when you apply.

Within your Digital Media degree personal statement (up to 4,000 characters), we’ll want to understand:

  • What motivates you and what current experiences do you have in art and design and digital media?
  • How have you been involved and what did you do?
  • Are there any particular digital media technologies that you’re interested in learning?
  • Are you a creative thinker and how do you develop ideas?
  • Do you have any knowledge of digital media; are there any projects that inspire you?
  • and why the University of Salford and this Digital Media and XR degree is the right choice for your future goals.

As part of your application you’ll be asked to provide us with a portfolio of work. Once you’ve applied to study with us, we’ll let you know the next steps.

Do you want to know more about this Digital Media and XR degree? You can sign-up to an Open Day or attend a campus tour.

Our supportive course enquiries team can help you with any general questions you may have. You can also explore all of our Creative Digital Media and Gaming courses

Standard entry requirements

GCSE

English Language and Maths at grade C/level 4 or above (or equivalent).

You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below.

UCAS tariff points

104-112 

A levels

104-112 

General Studies not accepted

T level

Merit

BTEC National Diploma

Diploma: D*D* (112 points)

Extended Diploma: DMM - DDM (112-128 points)

Access to HE

104 - 112 points

Scottish Highers

104 - 112 points

Irish Leaving Certificate

104 - 112 points

International Baccalaureate

30 - 31 points

Foundation Degree

Diploma in Foundation Studies Art & Design

Pass = 80 points + 1 A Level

Merit = 96 points + 1 A Level

Distinction = 112 points

International Students

We accept qualifications from all around the world. Find your country to see a full list of entry requirements.

If you are an international student and not from a majority English speaking country, you will need IELTS 6.0 with no element below 5.5.

We also accept a range of other English language qualifications. If you do not have the English language requirements, you could take the Pre-Sessional English course to gain entry onto this degree.

Alternative entry requirements

Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)

We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.

There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or through a formal test.

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home 2023/24 £9,250per year
Full-time international 2023/24 £16,380per year

Additional costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Scholarships for International Students

If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our scholarships. Explore our international scholarships.

Apply now

All set? Let's Apply

Enrolment dates

September 2023

UCAS information

Course ID A8J6

Institution S03