Digital Media Arts BA (Hons) – 2018 entry

The art challenges technology. Technology inspires the art.

What you'll study

The video game and interactive entertainment industries are now larger than the film industry and are expected to be larger than the film and television industries combined before the year 2020. The ways we create and deal with media are changing at speeds never before imagined.

This is an extremely exciting time to work in the creative industries and the University of Surreys Digital Media Arts programme can give you a unique set of skills and approaches to work with these emergent media.

Programme overview

This degree gives you expert knowledge of how cutting-edge technology and methods are shaping the creative industries, both in the UK and abroad. By combining theory, practical skills and professional experience, we open up an unbeatable range of career opportunities for you.

Our unique approach combines three principles that are central to our vision:

  • Integration of practical technological skills with critical thinking
  • Transformation of student experience into career opportunities through Professional Training placements with our leading international partners
  • Development of a holistic practice that will enhance your employability, entrepreneurialism and professional adaptability

The University of Surrey has an outstanding reputation for technological advancement, with rich cross-departmental interactions on offer.

In addition to opportunities with departments in the School of Arts (Dance, Theatre, Film, Music and Sound Recording and the Guildford School of Acting), you can also collaborate with our partners in the Computing Department, the Centre for Vision, Speech and Signal Processing (CVSSP), as well as our prestigious academic and research hubs, such as the Digital World Research Centre.

A Digital Media Arts degree from Surrey will provide you with the tools to succeed in twenty-first-century creative industries including video games, experiential design, live performance, advertising, film and television.

It is also a wise choice for creative people who are still considering their career options or who wish to bring modern, creative skills to more traditional organisations.

Digital technologies are transforming community life, culture and the economy. Industries and employment opportunities related to these transformational changes and technologies demand individuals with a mix of creative and critical skills who are able to work across specialisms in flexible and collaborative ways.

The Digital Media Arts programme recognises the challenges of working in this rapidly changing and technically orientated sector. It will equip you with the ability to remain successful amidst a range of portfolio-dominated and highly mobile professional contexts.

The degree is built around the development of your own arts practice. This is supported through an integrated approach combining practical and theoretical knowledge of contemporary digital arts with the development of professional and applied skills.

To promote the flexibility needed to work in rapidly changing fields, the degree places an emphasis on combining and fusing approaches – you will become comfortable working in ways that value and make use of multiple specialisms and perspectives, often working collaboratively.

The result is an unusually dynamic and stimulating environment of creative exploration and innovation.

Programme content covering entrepreneurship, professional training and design will equip you for your career and emphasise applied contexts for arts-based knowledge and skills.

You will be taught by staff with direct industry experience, and teaching and research specialisms in areas of digital culture, arts and technology, new media, and performance and production in creative industries, including:

  • Traditional production (television, film, radio, photography, animation)
  • Interactive productions (video games, websites, UX design)
  • Cultural productions (theatre, dance, music, sound art)

The programme is constructed around three interconnected threads: skills-based learning, historical and cultural studies, and practice. Skills-based learning areas include:

  • Academic (for example, study skills, research methods)
  • Technical (for example, software, cameras, prototyping,)
  • Professional (for example, portfolio development, proposal writing, budgeting)

Historical and cultural studies cover, for example, areas of cultural and critical theory, games studies and emergent media.

Practice is approached through a series of ‘integrative projects’, typically involving:

Collaboration and interface between different colleagues and technologies, combining technical skills, creative development, professional practice and contextual understanding, providing a facilitative space for the application and realisation of the programme content as a whole.

In your first year, you will work with a range of multidisciplinary media, including digital photography and video, web design and audio design.

In subsequent years, you will deepen your knowledge of your chosen media, and also gain wider skills and understanding in mixed-media practices, such as games, net art, virtual worlds and interactive design.

This equips you with the versatility and scope to succeed in an increasingly complex professional environment.

Programme structure

The structure of our programmes follows clear educational aims that are tailored to each programme. These are all outlined in the programme specification documents which include further details such as the learning outcomes. Please be aware that these specifications are applicable to the current academic year.

Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

All programmes operate on a 15 credit modular structure over two semesters. All taught modules are semester based and are worth 15 credits, which is indicative of 150 hours of learning, comprised of student contact, private study and assessment. Project and dissertation modules can be either 15, 30, 45 or 60 credits.

At level 6, DMA students develop a single, year-long focused project of sustained study and in-depth personal enquiry. This project is researched and planned through the 30-credit Project Research and Development module, and further developed through the 30-credit Transdisciplinary Arts Project module. The final semester supports the development and presentation of this project through the Professional Portfolio and Writing Across Technologies modules, with the results presented in a degree show.

This programme is studied full-time over three or four academic years. Three years without a Professional Training Year and four years with a Professional Training Year. In order to achieve the principal award of BA (Hons) a student must complete 360 credits, 120 credits at FHEQ levels 4, 5 and 6 respectively. In order to achieve the principal award with a professional training year students must also complete 120 credits at level P. Students are also eligible to exit the programme with the following subsidiary awards:

  • BA(Ord) – 300 credits with a minimum of 60 credits at FHEQ level 6
  • Diploma of Higher Education (Dip HE) – 240 credits with a minimum of 120 credits at FHEQ level 5
  • Certificate of Higher Education (Cert HE) – 120 credits at FHEQ level 4

In order for students to progress they must achieve a minimum average of 40 per cent and have completed all 120 credits at FHEQ levels 4 and 5 and level P.

Year 1 (FHEQ Level 4)

Year 2 (FHEQ Level 5)

Year 3 (FHEQ Level 6)


On our degree programme, you attend a mixture of lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials. Practical projects make use of group discussion to review and develop work. Workshops and lab sessions are also integral to the programme.

Discover more about our academic staff in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.


Modules are assessed individually and credits are awarded for the successful completion of each one. Assessment takes place through a combination of examination and/or coursework, practical examinations and reports.

Contact hours

Contact hours can vary across our modules. Full details of the contact hours for each module are available from the University of Surrey's Module Catalogue. See the programme structure section for more information.


The degree programme is supported by lab facilities containing:

  • Specialised workstations for video games and digital media production
  • Cameras and edit suites for post-production work
  • Motion capture facilities
  • Broadcast television studios
  • Electronics workshops
  • Multiple performance spaces (the Lewis Elton Art Gallery, the Ivy Arts Centre, the Performing Arts and Technology Centre)

Academic support

You are allocated a personal tutor to guide you through the programme and advise on your option choices and future career, helping you to get the most out of your time at Surrey.

Global opportunities

We give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities or by completing a Professional Training placement abroad. In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV. To check where you can go, visit our Global Exchanges pages.

You have the option of studying abroad for one semester in your professional training year. Our partner universities include:

  • University of Cincinnati (USA)
  • North Carolina State University (USA)
  • University of Central Florida (USA)
  • University of North Texas (USA)
  • Texas Tech (USA)
  • Monash University (Australia)
  • Swinburne University (Australia)
  • La Trobe University (Australia) 
  • University of Sydney (Australia)
  • University of Victoria (New Zealand)

If you choose to spend time working or studying in another part of Europe you will be eligible for an Erasmus+ grant.

Careers and Professional Training 

We are very proud of our track record for graduate employability. One of the main reasons for our graduate employability success is our Professional Training placement programme which is one of the largest in the World, with over 2,300 partner organisations in the UK and overseas. To find out more visit our Careers and Professional Training pages.

You can spend your third year working in a professional role for a digital media arts organisation, with help from the Senior Professional Training Tutor to choose an appropriate host organisation and prepare you for the placement period.

Types of placement are varied and can take place anywhere in the UK or overseas, but they all give you experiences that will help you get that all-important graduate job or move on to postgraduate study.

Partner organisations will be drawn from a list, which includes:

  • BuzzSocial (Social Media, Marketing and Design Company)
  • Figment Productions (VR, 3D, Animation Company)
  • Sanofi (Digital Marketing Department)
  • St. Thomas and Guys Hospital (3D design in Ophthalmology Department)

The placement experience helps you to get that all-important first job or move on to postgraduate study.

Graduate prospects

The personal, professional and technical skills that you acquire will enable you to succeed in almost every area of the cultural and creative industries. Indicative career paths include:

  • Cross-platform media development
  • Games development
  • User experience design
  • Animation
  • Film/television production
  • Digital post-production
  • Independent media arts practices
  • Live performance
  • Marketing
  • Advertising

2018 Entry requirements

What qualifications do you need?



Applicants to the programme are required to have Creative qualifications (for example, Art and Design, Media Production, Film Studies, Performing Arts, Music) combined with either Science/Technology qualifications and/or Humanities/Social Science qualifications.

Applicants with a combination of Science/Technology and/or Humanities/Social Science qualifications may be considered if they can also provide a portfolio of Creative Works.

Access to HE Diploma

45 Level 3 credits overall including 39 at Distinction and 6 at Merit

BTEC (QCF Level 3) Extended Diploma


European Baccalaureate

75 per cent overall

International Baccalaureate

34 overall to include 6,6,5 at Higher Level

Science Practical Certificate

Applicants taking the Science Practical Endorsement are required to pass

Scottish Highers


Welsh Baccalaureate

Pass overall with AAB from the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate and two A-levels

Other international qualifications

If you are an international student and you don’t meet the entry requirements to this degree, we offer the International Foundation Year.

Select your country:

Required subjects

English Language and Mathematics at Grade C(4) (or equivalent)

Selection process

Suitable applicants will be invited to interview and asked to bring a portfolio on the day. During the visit to the University the candidate can find out more about the programme and meet staff and students. Offers are normally made in terms of grades.

English language requirements

6.5 overall with 6.0 in each element

If you are an international student and you are concerned that your English is not to the required standard, you may benefit from the International Foundation Year, run by the Surrey International Study Centre.

Please note that the University of Surrey offers English language programmes and is also an IELTS Test Centre.

See 2017 entry information

Course Options

Qualification Course Length Professional Training UCAS code KIS code
BA (Hons) 3 years W212 View KIS data set
BA (Hons) 4 years W213 View KIS data set

Tuition fees

View a complete listing of all ongoing fees for our undergraduate programmes.

The University will assess your fee status. If you are unsure whether you are likely to be considered a home, EU or overseas student for fees purposes, the UKCISA website offers more information.

Professional Training placement fees

Programmes marked with a tick in the table above include a Professional Training placement.

A reduced fee is charged for Professional Training placements.

Fees will not have to be paid up front for those eligible students who decide to take up the Government's loan for higher education fees. The Professional Training placement is a key factor in the high employability rates achieved by students with Surrey degrees.

Bursaries and scholarships

We're committed to making sure that we offer support for students who might need it.

Find out more

International students

Experienced staff in our International Student Office are available to help from the moment you consider studying at the University. We offer professional advice on immigration, visa issues, entry qualifications, pre-departure information, employment regulations and international student welfare.

How to apply

Find out how and when to apply to study at Surrey.

More info


Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

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