Undergraduate BA (Hons)

Digital Media and Extended Reality (XR) with Foundation Year

Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology




Four year

Next enrolment

September 2023


In a nutshell

The world of arts and media is changing at a phenomenal rate, and there has never been a better time to explore your creativity and the ways in which you can apply it to the world around you.

This Foundation Year provides the perfect opportunity for you to explore the key principles of art, design and media. The course is designed to help you develop your creative skills, it gives you a chance to build a larger portfolio, and provides a good transition period to familiarise yourself with the School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology and life as a student at Salford. You will then be in a strong position to progress onto your chosen degree pathway. 

This is a shared Foundation Year across Art, Design and Media disciplines, and will give you a collaborative environment to explore ideas, take creative risks and become confident independent learners. You will be joining a thriving and creative community. 

The Foundation Year of this four-year programme aims to provide you with an understanding of the subject to allow you to progress on to the BA (Hons) Digital Media and XR course.

Find out more by signing up to our upcoming Open Day, or if you have any general questions please contact course enquiries.  

You can also find helpful FAQs, learn more about student life at Salford or explore all our Creative Digital Media and Gaming courses. Continue reading to understand more about this BA (Hons) Digital Media and XR with Foundation Year course. 

You will:

  • develop your creative skills and academic confidence
  • familiarise yourself with student life
  • prepare to study on one of our degree programmes

This is for you if...


You have a passion for creative and interactive media


You are interested in the technical and creative elements of digital design and production


You want to challenge the status quo of digital design

Course details

All about the course

The Foundation Year will provide you with a dynamic, exciting and collaborative environment in which you will become a confident self-learner, with the underpinning skills and knowledge to apply in your studies. You will be taught with students interested in progressing to different art, design and media programmes, and study modules that will help you increase your knowledge and understanding of basic art and design as well as other aspects of creative thinking.

Our strong connections within Greater Manchester’s thriving creative sector mean you will also hear from practitioners working in the industry right now about their practice, journey into the world or art and design. 

In the first term you will study modules that introduce the key concepts, skills and knowledge of art and design. Modules will help you to develop your study skills such as note-taking and structuring reports. In the second semester, you will further develop your creative practice and be introduced to the creative industries.

The assignments are flexible enough to allow you to interpret and tailor your submissions to your preferred area of study. Tutors will help and support you, in creating a portfolio of work to progress onto the BA (Hons) Photography here at the University of Salford. You will be integrated slowly into the degree course with opportunities to meet tutors from the BA and by using our shared collaborative facilities within our vibrant New Adelphi building.

This programme prepares you to study on the three-year University undergraduate programme, meaning the duration of your degree is four years in total. The Foundation Year is not a standalone qualification.

Following the Foundation Year, the three years of BA (Hons) Digital Media and Extended Reality


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.  

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.

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.

Foundation year

Digital Media Applications

This module helps you to become more familiar and confident with technology. As well as learning the creative software and photography skills, it will allow you to explore a creative subject of your choice and give you essential time management and research skills.

Creative Methods

This module will enable you to examine the creative and professional practice of others as a way of reflecting on your own practice. You’ll create a range of outcomes to help you build a dedicated portfolio as well as learning about major influences in art and design.

Creative Practice Major Project

This module is designed to allow you to bring together all your prior learning from the previous modules. It gives you the opportunity to propose and create your own brief based on a theme, topic, or issue that you are passionate about. Within this module you’ll be supported by tutors who will guide you in creating in a meaningful body of work that demonstrates confidence in your chosen area. Your work will be exhibited in school of Arts and Media end of year show.

Introduction to the Creative Industries

This module enables you explore the creative industries and its career opportunities, You’ll learn about a range of subjects including responsible design and future trends within your chosen area of art and design. It will allow you to build on the technical skills that you have gained in the first semester to produce a creative publication.

You can choose between the following modules:

Introduction to Creative Coding

This module will provide you with a foundation in computer coding within the context of digital art creation. 

Creative Risk Taking

This module is all about challenging your creative thought and highlighting the importance of creative risk taking. The briefs allow you to produce a range of outcomes that underpin all of the main art and design disciplines as well as giving you the flexibility to interpret the brief to your area of interest.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Year three

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.


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.

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.

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.

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?


Projects and Coursework


Production-based modules are delivered primarily through workshops which integrate new material with practical support in the class.

Underpinning theory modules are delivered through combined lecture/seminar sessions. You will be provided with directed reading and be expected to use the contact sessions to clarify and discuss areas of particular interest or difficulty.

Project work plays a key role in you achieving the intended learning outcomes.


You will be assessed via different methods, including:

  • Projects
  • Coursework
  • Presentations
  • Dissertation


All our Creative Digital Media and Gaming courses are delivered by the Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology.    

Our School and University have strong and long-lasting relationships with local and national industry.    

Once you graduate with us, you’ll join a thriving alumni community in Greater Manchester and beyond.


This courses benefits from fantastic facilities on both our Peel Park and MediaCity campuses, including computer and editing suites, green screen and mo-cap labs, digital production suites and animation labs. 

Employment and stats

What about after uni?

Upon graduating from this course you will have the skills you need to build a career in the digital design sector. 

In particular, Extended Reality (XR) and User Experience (UX) design as disciplines are expanding rapidly as the demand for engaging and interactive content across platforms becomes a standard for the creative industries. The skills you learn on this course will leave you well placed to excel in this field across mobile apps and web-based products.

A taste of what you could become

A Web Designer

An App Designer

A User Experience Designer

A 3D Animator

And more...

Career Links

The course employs a variety of staff from different sections of the industry including design, programming and project and business management.

During the proposal and writing of the course considerable work has been undertaken in direct consultation with industry and aligned alumni from other course currently working in the digital creative sectors. It was essential to underpin the course curriculum with the key mix of what industry wants to be seeing in graduates that can be employed and hit the ground running post graduation.


What you need to know

This course isn’t suitable for international students. If you are an international student and interested in studying a foundation year, please visit our International Foundation Year course page.

By applying to this Foundation Year you are applying to a four year programme - the shared Foundation Year, followed by a three year art, design or media degree here at University of Salford. The Foundation Year is not a standalone qualification. 


As part of the selection process, you may be invited to submit an online portfolio of your work. You may then be invited for an interview with our tutors. If you are called for interview we will send you further guidance well in advance.

Standard entry requirements


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.

A levels

64 tariff points from A-levels (or equivalent) to include an Arts & Design qualification preferred 

UCAS tariff points

64 tariff points from A-levels or (equivalent) to include an Arts & Design qualification preferred 

T Levels

Pass: D or E in core subject

BTEC National Diploma


Access to HE

Pass Level 3 Access to HE Diploma with 64 points (relevant subject)

Scottish Highers

64 points including a relevant subject

Irish Leaving Certificate

64 points including a relevant subject

International Baccalaureate

24 points including a relevant subject

European Baccalaureate

Pass Diploma with 60% overall (relevant subject)

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 £8,250 for Foundation Year and £9,250 for subsequent years.
Full-time home 2024/25 £8,250 for Foundation Year and £9,250 for subsequent years.

Additional costs

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

Apply now

All set? Let's Apply

Enrolment dates

September 2023

September 2024

UCAS information

Course ID A8J9

Institution S03