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BA (Hons) Digital Media Design

BA (Hons) Digital Media Design video
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Please note this course is not recruiting for September 2016 or 2017 entry.

This degree will prepare you for work as a future-facing digital media designer, able to create, innovate and assess your practice within the wider industry. You will develop key skills in network and mobile technologies, as well as an understanding of the aesthetics, theory and business of design.

During the course you will be introduced to the principles, practices and contexts of digital media design, exploring ideas of play, interaction and use. You’ll learn to develop strategies to work with a range of media assets, creating applications and experiences that are innovative, interactive, mobile and located. You will also be exposed to the business and practicalities of being a designer in a competitive global marketplace.

The course is project-led and practice-based, where you’ll learn by solving practical problems and sharing these solutions with a range of audiences. Its practical nature means you’ll be introduced to the software packages and coding languages that are used in the sector, as well as having access to industry-standard facilities including recording studios, cameras, development hardware and software and lab environments.

Your lecturers all have experience in the field of digital media design and many continue to work closely with the industry, ensuring they are aware of the latest developments

Key information


Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus


3 years including a 4-week placement or 4 years including a 40-week placement

Relevant subjects:

English language, psychology, sociology, maths, art and design, photography, communication studies, media studies, computing and music

Course details

On this course you will usually be taught by a range of staff with relevant expertise and knowledge appropriate to the content of the unit. This will include senior academic staff, qualified professional practitioners, demonstrators, technicians and research students. You will also benefit from regular guest lectures from industry.

Year 1

Core units

  • Art, Design and Technology Histories: You will be introduced to the philosophies and practices of major art, design and technology movements as they continue to shape contemporary aesthetic and critical perspectives on design.
  • The Digital Studio: This unit introduces a range of media creation activities combining both traditionally and contemporary practices within a digital media studio setting. The unit is intended to provide you with a foundation in the understanding, conceptualisation and production of multimedia artefacts.
  • Creative Methods: You will find out about the identification and formulation of design problems and the range of methods designers and artists have developed for exploring and finding solutions to these problems.
  • Understanding Users: You will be shown data collection and presentation techniques necessary for analysing and interpreting the needs of users.
  • Network Technologies and Society: You will explore notions of identity, ownership, community and culture focusing on the ways in which we design network experiences and media to support and/or subvert these.
  • Collaborative Project: During the summer term you work alongside others in BA Television, Radio and BA Scriptwriting for Film and Television to produce larger, innovative projects that test your collaborative and creative ability.

Contact hours

The hours below give an indication of how you can expect to spend your time during the first year of this course. You will learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops and practical sessions. Your independent learning could include reading books and journal articles, working on group projects, preparing presentations, conducting library research and writing your assignments.

  • Learning and teaching: 181 hours 
  • Independent learning: 1019 hours

Year 2

Core units

  • Critical Practice: You will be asked to reflect on your own practice in detail, to select and critically frame a piece of your own work in relation to relevant contemporary social and cultural theory.
  • Mobile Media: This unit offers you the opportunity to further explore the relationship between users and products to expand your understanding of interaction and experience design.
  • Media Play: You will learn the role of play and playfulness and performance in our digital media experiences.
  • Debates and Scholarship: The unit aims to help you understand and evaluate various research methodologies and to be able to devise and articulate an appropriate research proposal.
  • The Negotiated Brief: By negotiating and developing project briefs for commercial clients students will have direct experience of working across the full life cycle of live projects.

Contact hours

The hours below give an indication of how you can expect to spend your time during the second year of this course. You will learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops and practical sessions. Your independent learning could include reading books and journal articles, working on group projects, preparing presentations, conducting library research and writing your assignments.

  • Learning and teaching: 153 hours 
  • Independent learning: 1047 hours

Year 3

A 4-week or optional 40-week placement, which allows you to practice the skills you have learnt in a professional context. This course has a wide range of established, high profile contacts which offer excellent placement opportunities.

Year 3/4 (final year)

Core units

  • Graduate Project Development: The aim of this unit is to provide an opportunity to define the requirements, direction and scope of a grand creative project.
  • Dissertation: You’ll undertake original and independent research to produce a 10,000-word dissertation on a topic or problem of your choice, using a communication, humanities or social science approach.
  • Industry Perspectives: You’ll reflect upon your work within the context of industry, and learn to deal with the issues that you’ll soon be faced with when you enter the wider world of digital media.
  • Graduate Project Production: This unit is an opportunity to produce a substantial digital media artefact or portfolio of artefacts, which extends upon work undertaken during the Graduate Project Development unit. Drawing on the many domains of understanding and skills developed throughout the course, this project is the culmination of your undergraduate digital media journey.

Contact hours

The hours below give an indication of how you can expect to spend your time during the final year of this course. You will learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops and practical sessions. Your independent learning could include reading books and journal articles, working on group projects, preparing presentations, conducting library research and writing your assignments.

  • Learning and teaching: 117 hours 
  • Independent learning: 1083 hours

Programme specification

Programme specifications provide definitive records of the University's taught degrees in line with Quality Assurance Agency requirements. Every taught course leading to a BU Award has a programme specification which describes its aims, structure, content and learning outcomes, plus the teaching, learning and assessment methods used.

View the programme specification for BA (Hons) Digital Media Design.

Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the programme specification, the information is liable to change to take advantage of exciting new approaches to teaching and learning as well as developments in industry. If you have been unable to locate the programme specification for the course you are interested in, it will be available as soon as the latest version is ready. Alternatively please contact us for assistance.

Placement opportunities

The placement is a valuable opportunity. With the combination of a vocational/professional degree and relevant work experience to offer to an employer, you can be one step ahead in the job market.

The benefits to you as a placement student are many. You will have the chance to:

  • Put the theory learnt throughout the course into professional practice
  • Enhance your study and help you decide on subject options (where appropriate)
  • Learn a wide range of skills such as time management, problem solving and team work (all of these are important to succeed in any career)
  • Make contacts, as it is not uncommon for our students to be offered permanent positions to return to after graduating
  • Gain a real insight into how the industry operates in roles that would be almost impossible to achieve for an outsider
  • Many of our students, during their placement, are given responsibilities normally associated with graduate trainees.

Our students have previously worked for:

  • BBC Interactive TV
  • The Sanctuary Group
  • Zenith Entertainment
  • Sky Television
  • EMAP performance

How long is my placement? 

If you choose the four year course option, you will begin your placement after completion of your second year of study and you must complete a minimim of 40 weeks (or a minimum of 30-weeks for 2017 entry).

Selection criteria

Background and experience

We are looking for applicants who can:

  • Demonstrate both intellectual and creative abilities
  • Show an understanding of Interactive Media have an appreciation of broadcast media and film
  • Show a strong awareness of the visual arts
  • Demonstrate good written and oral communication skills.

Students on this course will typically have a creative background and experience of either multimedia industries or multimedia products and a proven ability to work creatively, in groups and individually.

We look for creative and innovative thinkers who are familiar with current practice in Interactive Media and want to challenge it.

We would encourage applicants who are interested in new ideas, are articulate, can express themselves well in writing, work well in groups and can demonstrate a wide range of interests. Computers are a fundamental feature of Interactive Media so therefore you would find useful to already be familiar with using computers and had developed some programming skills. However these are not essential requirements for the course.

Selection methods

We’ll be selecting the candidates for this course by looking at their UCAS applications – there are no interviews or selection activities needed. For that reason, make sure your application really stands out from the crowd, and leave us in no doubt as to why you should be joining BU. You can find some handy hints about filling in your UCAS form on our how to apply pages.

Unconditional offer scheme

Our Unconditional Offer Scheme seeks to reward exceptional applicants who are predicted to achieve top academic results. The scheme is offered to applicants on all courses who are predicted AAA at A-level/triple Distinction in BTEC Extended Diploma, or above, or equivalent, subject to any course selection measures and meeting other entry criteria (i.e. required qualifications). What’s more we’ll recognise your achievement if you meet these grades with an Academic Excellence Scholarship from £1,500 when you arrive*.

We believe that unconditional offers will reduce pressure on applicants who will continue to strive to achieve the best grades possible. Excellent grades will become a part of applicants’ CVs and are also required for BU’s scholarships. International qualifications are considered in the scheme; however applicants must satisfy the English language requirements. *Our scholarships are subject to terms, conditions and eligibility criteria, detailed on our scholarships pages.


There is a growing need for multimedia designers across all sectors. Mobile devices have become a fundamental part of our lives, not only have they changed where, when and how we work, but perhaps more importantly, they have changed where, when and how we play and socialise. As a consequence, creative graduates with the ability to produce dynamic interactive media artefacts and content, designed with mobility, networking and playful interaction in mind, are highly sought after in the sector.

Our students often go into roles within independent digital media companies, as well as established media organisations. Among the jobs you can apply for are:

  • Web or graphic designer
  • Digital developer
  • Creative coder
  • Games designer
  • Interactive media producer or developer.

Industries worked in

  • Digital
  • Online
  • Design
  • Games
  • Media.

Further study

Once you have completed an undergraduate Honours degree, you can further develop your education by studying for a postgraduate degree. Please visit our Postgraduate section for further details about our range of Master's degrees.

Course statistics

The National Student Survey

The below information all comes from the National Student Survey completed by some of the students who graduated from this course last year.

  • Students agreed staff are good at explaining things - 70%
  • Students agreed staff made the subject interesting - 70%
  • Students were satisfied overall - 50%
  • Students agreed they got sufficient advice and support - 53%

In response to the NSS feedback, we have undertaken a full programme redesign and will be launching the new programme in September 2016.

Typical cost of university/ college accommodation

The average accommodation price for undergraduate students starting in 2016 is not yet available. As a guide, BU students starting in September 2015 paid on average £4,723.21 (based on a 40-42 week contract).

100% of the course is assessed by coursework

The majority of your assessed work will be coursework, especially in the final year, however you will also be expected to undertake practical assignments during your study.

13% is scheduled learning and teaching activities

You will be engaged in a variety of teaching and learning activity that builds through from technology based workshops led by technical tutors, to academic led approaches to evaluating appropriate software solutions to networks and divergent media and communication platforms, such as tablets, phones etc. During your first year there will be a consistent level of scheduled learning and teaching which includes lectures, seminars and practical workshops through which you will be introduced to media theory and context alongside digital media design skills. Teaching is led by our technical tutors through intensive workshop activity in the first two years, with further additional focussed support in the final year. The approach is shaped by our success in developing students whose skills in relation to digital media and design covers both technical and creative thinking, a key pre-requisite for a broad industry that values the innovation our students demonstrate.

Final year study is supported by individual tutorials with academics that guide you through your production project and dissertation.

Guided independent study will supplement scheduled learning and teaching activities across all the years of your course.

No hidden extras

Course specific material(s) included in your tuition fee:

  • Level C (Year 1) Collaborative Project

As a student at BU we will provide many things to support you and there will also be additional costs you may encounter whilst studying at BU. The information below will help you understand our provision and what you need to budget for.

What you can expect from us

All of your teaching and assessments are included in your tuition fees, including, lectures/guest lectures and tutorials, seminars, laboratory sessions and specialist teaching facilities. You will also have access to a wide range of support and services, many of these are included on the Next Steps insert enclosed with your offer letter.

  • One set of study-related consumables such as a memory stick/ DVD
  • Materials for laboratory and field-based teaching activity
  • Support for placements (UK or abroad) and fieldwork
  • A range of student services – advisors, help desks, counsellors, placement support and careers service
  • The Library – access to a wide range of electronic resources (databases, e-journals and e-books), print and multimedia collections, subject librarians and study spaces
  • IT labs (some open 24/7), wireless network, AV equipment to borrow
  • Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) scheme
  • Disability and additional learning support
  • The BU Language Centre to help you develop/improve foreign or English language skills
  • 24 hours a day, 365 days a year security team.

Costs of living and other expenses you need to consider

  • Accommodation and living costs: view our price guide.
  • Text books: remember that our award-winning library is stocked with a large range of text books for all courses, as well as online resources such as industry journals, free of charge
  • General stationery and other supplies such as print and presentation materials: the Students’ Union shops stock a wide range of stationery supplies on both campuses
  • Travel to, from and between BU campuses: our bus service operates in the local areas offering a subsided travel rate; we also have a large number of secure bike storage compounds
  • SportBU membership: check out our student membership packages, sports events, varsity teams, information about our new facilities and more on the SportBU webpages
  • Fieldwork travel, outdoor wear and footwear (where applicable)
  • Telephone and travel costs incurred when undertaking interviews for coursework/securing placements.
  • A fee will be payable towards the cost of an Educational Psychology Assessment if this is required in connection with additional learning support. BU pays for approximately two-thirds of the cost of this assessment for UK students. For more details and current pricing please visit the students section of the website.

Repeat Units

If you need to repeat one or more units during the course of your studies, you may be required to pay an additional fee of £1,500 per 20 credit unit. 

Financial help available from BU

We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to students who are beginning their studies at BU. Our website also provides details on living costs, budgeting and paying your tuition fees.

What our students say

Grace Miller

The course is great for anyone with a logical mind-set for the coding side of the course but equally a creative touch when it comes to front end designing.

Hear from our staff

Simon Perkins

Our graduates go on to work for leading media organisations such as Google, BBC and Sky as well as media industry specialists and creative digital agencies.

Additional information

Fees and funding

Fees and funding

Find out about fees and funding, including scholarships and bursaries.

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