Digital Film & Screen Arts

BA (Hons)

2018 entry

Digital Film & Screen Arts (DFSA) is an exhilarating and pioneering course with a track record for nurturing raw talent and supporting our students’ transformation into digital specialists. Our graduates leave us with exceptional technical ability and artistic vision and they go on to ground-breaking achievements in the creative industries.

Whether you want to become a filmmaker, an artist or choose a career with a range of digital skills, as are now widely desired by employers, DFSA gives you the freedom to experiment and develop those creative, critical and transferrable skills that will give you the ability to stand out and even revolutionise digital content as we know it.

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Length of study:

Three years full-time


September 2018


UCA Farnham

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Course overview:

DFSA is part of our School of Fine Art and Photography. On the course you’ll be encouraged to develop your contextual and theoretical knowledge of not only moving image, but also media and contemporary art – all while reflecting on your own artistic practice.

Technical workshops will help you build a professional production skill set and, as you move through the course, you’ll broaden your understanding and application of these skills by engaging with a range of interdisciplinary processes and ideas. This will enable you to develop an imaginative and technically accomplished portfolio.

You’ll master the core skills and language of still and moving image practice, such as research, pre-production, lighting, composition, camera operation, sound recording, digital postproduction and compositing. You’ll also look at transmedia and hybrid disciplines in order to enhance your own artistic and professional digital production practices.

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Course content - 2018 entry

In the first year, you'll be introduced to the University and the technical workshops and facilities available to you. On the course you’ll learn the technical and conceptual skills that will give you a solid foundation from which to explore your areas of specialist activity.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Moving Image Culture: Understanding & Interpretation

    We’ll introduce you to the key concepts of historical and contemporary moving image culture. You’ll become familiar with technical innovations and conceptual transformations, and will consider the ideological institutions and cultural practices that shape the production and experience of cinema, computer games and networked media – including the politics of representation.

  • Imagining Reality

    You’ll explore documentary practices as well as the representation of reality through formal approaches such as the poetic, observational, reflexive, expository and performative. You’ll cover a range of diverse methodologies which challenge the notion of the real from historical and contemporary perspectives, while developing skills in film language, cinematography, sound recording, post-production techniques and research methods.

  • Experimental Media

    You’ll be introduced to experimental film, video and sound art, and will examine the inter-relationship between experimental moving image, cinema and fine art practice. You’ll produce a portfolio of experimental video and sound work, enabling you to explore theoretical concepts through practice. You’ll experiment with avant-garde forms and create work that challenges conventions.

  • Portraits

    You’ll further develop your visual language and familiarity with lens-based practices by considering the core skills of photography and image manipulation. You’ll explore aspects of identity and develop an awareness of the constructed nature of the ‘self’ in relation to gender, sexuality, socio-economic status, ethnicity and community groupings. You’ll produce a series of images that create meaning through montage and sequencing, and you’ll make a multi-screen moving image work.

The second year focus is on finding your own specialist way of working and you’ll be encouraged and supported to start working more independently. During this year you may also have the opportunity to study abroad.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Cultures of Convergence

    You’ll investigate the relationship between contemporary art practice and theory, and the proliferation of new technologies over the past three decades. You’ll expand your understanding of digital convergence, and consider the formation of new social and cultural identities under the influence of new technologies and hybridization. You’ll cover issues such as the critical approaches to new media technologies, interactive multimedia, hybrid artistic practices, post-internet art, and the construction of identity and difference in the digital age.

  • Innovation & Interference

    We’ll encourage you to be inventive and imaginative in your interpretation of conceptual themes, and to develop your critical thinking within the context of moving image and hybrid digital practices. You’ll produce two productions – which could take the form of expanded cinema, an experimental art piece, an installation, an expanded documentary or narrative, or a video dance composition. You’ll reflect upon and refine your work, considering audience and dissemination as key factors.

  • Professional Toolkit

    This technical skills development unit will support the ongoing development of projects during the year. You’ll build on your existing skills to develop specialist knowledge of areas of moving image and digital image production. The specialist areas you choose to focus on may include: digital video editing, visual effects, sound design, 3D or 2D modelling and animation, coding for interactivity, digital photography and studio production workflow.

  • Study Abroad (optional)

    This optional unit will allow you to spend time in an overseas educational institution.

The third year will see you achieve a greater level of independence with self-managed research, study and practice, resulting in a final major project and a written dissertation.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Dissertation

    This unit consists of a substantial period of sustained, individually negotiated research on a subject that is likely to be related to the contextual and/or theoretical concerns of your discipline or chosen area of practice, towards the provision of a structured written argument.

  • Resolution 1

    This unit focuses on research development and pre-production. You’ll demonstrate your capacity for sustained and high quality work in group and/or independent study. You’ll develop a robust major project proposal and pilot outcomes – determining the subject, range and scope through supportive negotiation with your tutor. You’ll pitch your idea and begin the pre-production process.

  • Resolution 2

    You’ll build upon the development of your work in Resolution 1 to produce a fully resolved body of high quality work, which you can confidently disseminate into the public domain – whether through exhibition, portfolio or other presentational form. You’ll further develop an understanding of the professional context and career potential of your talents and creativity, while reflecting upon your ideas and objectives. You’ll come away with a vibrant portfolio of work and a clear idea of your future goals.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

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International study

Find out more about studying in the UK, or studying part of your course abroad at one of our partner institutions (study abroad option not available on all courses).

Course connections

On this course, you'll be exposed to a world of opportunities

As a student on this course, you'll benefit from our strong industry links, which cover a broad range of sectors. We regularly host visiting lecturers who share their experiences and expertise, giving you a great opportunity to make contacts and gain invaluable insights into areas that interest you, as well as contextualise your studies. Recent guest lecturers have included: 

  • Commercial film and video directors
  • Music video companies
  • Visual effects artists
  • Experimental filmmakers
  • Video artists.

We also have close connections with post-production facilities, games companies, production companies and art venues.

We've produced a host of distinguished alumni, including national award winners. A number of recent graduates have gone on to work on Hollywood movies, BBC television programmes, and on projects with companies such as:

  • Cartoon Network
  • Boomerang
  • Conran Design Group
  • pd3
  • Incentivated
  • M&C Saatchi Mobile
  • Tiger Aspect Productions
  • Double Negative
  • The Mill
  • Framestore
  • Jim Henson's Creature Shop.


Roles include film and video directors, lighting camera ops, sound ops, producers and production managers, digital film editors, digital visual effects artists, CGI animators, sound designers, games designers, phone app creators, flash animators, experimental film and video artists, installation artists and digital photographers.

DFSA graduates have also started their own companies, with recent successes including Kode Media, Bright Stem and This Place.

You may also like to consider further study at postgraduate level.

How to apply - 2018 entry

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Entry requirements - 2018 entry:

As a leading creative arts university, we want to attract the best and most creative minds in the country – so we take a balanced approach to candidate assessment, taking both individual portfolios and exam results into account. 

That’s why your portfolio is an especially important part of your application to study with us – and we can help. Our academics can offer you expert advice on how to showcase your creative work and build a portfolio that will make your application stand out. More advice on how to create an exceptional portfolio is also available here.

Entry requirements

Along with your portfolio, the standard entry requirements* for this course are:

One of the following:

  • 112 new UCAS tariff points (equivalent to 280 old UCAS tariff points), see accepted qualifications
  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • Distinction, Merit, Merit at BTEC Extended Diploma
  • Merit at UAL Extended Diploma
  • 112 new UCAS tariff points from an accredited Access to Higher Education Diploma in appropriate subject
  • 27-30 total points in the International Baccalaureate Diploma with at least 15 IB points at Higher level.

And four GCSE passes at grade A*-C and/or grade 4-9 including English (or Functional Skills English/Key Skills Communication Level 2).

Other relevant and equivalent Level 3 UK and international qualifications are considered on an individual basis, and we encourage students from diverse educational backgrounds to apply.

*We occasionally make offers which are lower than the standard entry criteria, to students who have faced difficulties that have affected their performance and who were expected to achieve higher results. We consider the strength of our applicants’ portfolios, as well as their grades -  in these cases, a strong portfolio is especially important.

Your portfolio

We’ll need to see a portfolio of work that should contain a show reel of moving images (maximum of five minutes) and/or a portfolio of visual work (photography, drawings, animations, web pages, etc.) We’re always impressed by students who show self-motivated projects they’re working on beyond their coursework, as this is an indication of real enthusiasm.

More portfolio advice

Fees & finance

Uncover all the costs involved, as well as the grants, loans and other financial support you may be entitled to.

Student regulations

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