Digital Media Arts BA (Hons) – 2017 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

Year 1 (FHEQ Level 4)

Compulsory modules:

Year 2 (FHEQ Level 5)

Core modules:

Compulsory modules:

Optional modules:

Professional Training placement (optional)

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.

Year 3 (FHEQ Level 6)

Core modules:

Compulsory modules:

Optional modules:

  • Contemporary Arts & Intervention
  • VR/MR and Emergent Media

Professional Training placements

Types of placement are varied and can take place anywhere in the country or overseas. 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 Dept)
  • St. Thomas and Guys Hospital (3D design in Ophthalmology Dept)

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


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.


Degrees are awarded on the basis of the assessment of coursework, end-of-semester examinations, projects, folios and performances, exhibitions and installations, as appropriate.

Contact hours

The following represents an indicative estimate of how you can expect your time to be split on this programme, based on the information available at the time of publication (February 2016):

  • 13 per cent medium group teaching
  • 3 per cent large group teaching
  • 84 per cent studying and revising in your own time


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)

Career opportunities

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

Global opportunities

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

2017 Entry requirements

What qualifications do you need?



Access to HE Diploma

QAA recognised Access to Higher Education Diploma with 39 Level 3 Credits at Distinction and 6 Level 3 Credits at Merit

BTEC (QCF Level 3) Extended Diploma


European Baccalaureate

75 per cent

International Baccalaureate

35 points

Scottish Highers

Scottish Advanced Highers AAB/Scottish Highers AAABB

Welsh Baccalaureate

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma and A-level AA

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

GCSE English Language at grade C/4 or above and GCSE Mathematics at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent)

The BA in Digital Media Arts is an interdisciplinary programme. As such, applicants to the programme are required to have Creative qualifications combined with either Science/Technology qualifications  and/or Humanities/Social Science qualifications. 

Creative A-levels include:
  • Art and Design
  • Media Production
  • Film/Media Studies
  • Performing Arts
  • Music
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.

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 IELTS minimum overall

6.0 IELTS minimum in each sub-skill

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 2018 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

Major/minor Courses

What does it mean to study a course as a major or minor?

A Major/Minor degree lets you build in-depth knowledge of one subject (your Major) while also studying another topic (your Minor). At Surrey, your Major/Minor degree also includes an integrative module that allows you to develop a unique understanding of how your two chosen subjects relate to each other.

The type and title of the degree conferred upon you will reflect your Major subject while acknowledging your Minor. For example, you could receive BA (Hons) English Literature with Psychology, BSc (Hons) Politics with Creative Writing, BMus (Hons) Music with Digital Media Arts, etc.

What are the pros and cons of studying a Major/Minor course?

A Major/Minor degree gives you the opportunity to build a much broader base of knowledge than a traditional single-subject degree, but without sacrificing the opportunity to acquire real expertise in a particular field. You will come into contact with students, academics and ideas from two disciplines rather than one.

There are a small number of careers that require graduate membership of a chartered institute, for which an accredited single-honours degree may be necessary, or which require particular postgraduate or doctoral qualifications that may only be gained after completing an undergraduate degree in a specific, single-honours subject. However, for the overwhelming majority of career paths this is not the case and in most cases there are conversion courses or equivalency allowances should you later decide you wish to follow a career with these requirements. Please speak to a careers advisor for further clarification.

What would studying a Major/Minor course mean for my job prospects?

Modern employers rarely demand a specific degree relevant to their field or sector, instead preferring culturally aware people who can place their knowledge in a wider context, who have used their time as a student to develop personally and intellectually as well as academically, and who leave university with impressive professional workplace experience already under their belt.

Because of this, it is the graduates who have combined academic achievement with the development of critical skills, who have acquired the capacity for independent learning across a range of subjects and who are comfortable dealing with a wide variety of colleagues and clients who will find themselves in greater and greater demand.

How will my time be split on a Major/Minor programme?

As you'd expect, the majority of your degree modules, exams, coursework and assessment marks will come from your Major subject. As a guideline, we would expect you to spend around 70% of your time studying for your Major, with the remaining 30% dedicated to your Minor. However, our Major/Minor framework allows you to choose from a flexible range of optional modules, so the actual balance will depend on your own preferences and requirements.

Remember also that Surrey Major/Minor degrees include our unique integrative modules, which bring you together with your fellow students to reflect on how your Major and Minor subjects complement each other.

See all Major/Minor courses

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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