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Virtual & Augmented Reality, Graduation Show 2016, UCA Farnham

BA (Hons) Virtual & Augmented Reality

Virtual & Augmented Reality BA (Hons)

Farnham 3 years full-time, 4 years full-time

Course overview

Take your technological know-how to the next level and gain the skills to join a fast-growing sector of industry on our new BA (Hons) Virtual and Augmented Reality degree course.

Based at UCA Farnham alongside students from our School of Games & Creative Technology, you'll enjoy a hands-on, practical learning experience throughout.

You'll be introduced to the fundamentals of immersive technologies, before honing your skills on exciting projects, where you'll also learn about the processes and workflows you'll find in the workplace after graduation.

You have the option to complete a Professional Practice Year as part of this course. This will give you the opportunity to develop your professional, academic and personal potential, equipping you to be confident and engaged in creative workplaces. Employers widely recognise these qualities, and a significant proportion of placement students are offered graduate-level jobs or go onto postgraduate study.

Our standard three year undergraduate degree for those who meet the entry requirements for higher education.

UCAS Code for 3 year/standard: I700

A four year degree programme, including a foundation year to help develop your creativity before you embark on year one of a degree.

UCAS Code for course with Integrated Foundation Year: I70A

A four year course, specifically designed to provide international students with the English language and creative skills before they embark on year one of a degree.

UCAS Code for course with Integrated International Foundation Year: I70C

A four year programme, which sees you spend an entire year gaining valuable industry experience prior to your final year of study.

UCAS Code for course with Professional Practice: I701

A five year course, including a foundation year to help develop your creativity before you embark on year one of a degree, and a year on a professional placement gaining valuable industry experience prior to your final year of study.

UCAS Code for course with Integrated Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year: I70B

A five year course, including an international foundation year concentrating on English language and core creative skills before you embark on year one of a degree, and a year on a professional placement gaining valuable industry experience prior to your final year of study.

UCAS Code for course with International Integrated Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year: I70D

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Course details

Course Details

The content of the course may be subject to change. Curriculum content is provided as a guide.

UCA’s Integrated Foundation Year is designed to give you the skills you’ll need to start your degree in the best possible way – with confidence, solid knowledge of creative practice, study skills and more.

You’ll explore a range of creative techniques and develop your portfolio, with your chosen subject in mind. We’ll work with you throughout the year to ensure you’re on the right track and give you the tools to achieve your highest potential on your degree.

Find out more about the Integrated Foundation Year

For our students coming from a non-UK educational background, UCA has launched an Integrated International Foundation Year, based at UCA Farnham to bring students from around the world to one hub of creativity.

This year of preparatory study is designed to give you the skills you’ll need to start your degree in the best possible way – with confidence, solid knowledge of creative practice, study skills and the English speaking and writing skills you’ll need to succeed.

You’ll explore a range of creative techniques and develop your portfolio, with your chosen subject in mind. We’ll work with you throughout the year to ensure you’re on the right track and give you the tools to achieve your highest potential on your degree.

Find out more about the Integrated International Foundation Year

Launch Week
All launch weeks feature a range of activities, which will comprise an interdisciplinary Industry Guest Speakers’ Series offered to all students across the School of Games and Creative Technology.

There will also be other activities, such as study trips and/or studio visits, Design Sprints, could also take place.

VR Technologies 1
This practical workshop-based unit gives you the space to learn many VR design tools (drawing, sculpting, sketching, animation) within the headset apps themselves, in order to make assets to place within games engines such as Unity 3D or Unreal Engine. This unit offers you the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of working with the software and how to create Virtual Reality experiences using a number of tools.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
The unit provides an opportunity for you to explore what is meant by equality, diversity, and inclusion and the implications of these concepts on your own creative practice.

XR History and Evolution
This short unit is an intensive exploration of the long history and development of Virtual and Augmented / Mixed Reality to where it is now. This is not just an exploration of technologies, but of the artistry and the industry as it has morphed and changed.

Opportunity Week
Opportunity Week gives you the chance to try something a little different, broaden your engagement and your subject knowledge, such as Games Jams and Design Sprints. There may also be study trips and/or studio visits locally, in major hubs like London and even internationally for festivals, or trips museums, galleries and festivals.

VR Technologies 2
This is the next level of your VR learning, designing experiences via Unity 3D / Unreal Engine, and intensively learning key 360 video shooting and editing techniques to make live action and documentary VR experiences and applications.

You’ll take part in a short brief or mini project each week using the tools learned in each class, adding to a suite of projects that will assess skills acquisition and creativity.

Client Brief
You’ll be asked to use your skills and knowledge to work on a client-facing brief. You’ll work individually or in teams to respond, building your collaborative skills. And you’ll focus on refining your presentation skills to ensure outcomes are shared successfully.

XR Practice & Context
This short unit is an intensive exploration of the various industry contexts and different practices that XR finds itself in and that a designer might undertake when developing a new project commission.

You’ll examine contexts such as: museums and cultural institutions, fashion, journalism, architecture and construction education and training, archaeology, medicine and healthcare, marketing/communications/advertising, aerospace, military training and defence, travel, retail, manufacturing, maintenance and repair, consumer design, hazard detection, HiFi audio, engineering design, robotics and entertainment.

You’ll also look at the different disciplines and practices XR has evolved from.

ATOM Activities
ATOM activities are tiny pieces of diverse individual learning that facilitate interdisciplinary exposure and give you the chance to learn topics that would not otherwise be scheduled on your timetable.

PLE Digital Outcome 1
Your PLE Digital Outcome is a purposefully edited, self-directed record of your constructive engagement with and presence on, digital media platforms across the year. Examples of this could be an online portfolio or blog/vlog, or social media activity.

 

Launch Week
All launch weeks feature a range of activities, which will comprise an interdisciplinary Industry Guest Speakers’ Series offered to all students across the School of Games and Creative Technology.

There will also be other activities, such as study trips and/or studio visits, Design Sprints, could also take place.

Augmented Reality Technologies
You’ll examine the advanced specialist tools, methods, concepts and processes relevant to Augmented Reality through a series of projects, workshops and advanced technical sessions. This is a practical workshop-based unit where you’ll learn how to design and develop in augmented reality and all the technical and creative differences AR and VR.

This unit offers you the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of working with software, and coding for mobile AR applications, to design and prepare assets and graphics for AR, and how to develop exciting AR experiences using a number of tools, such as Vuforia, Wikitude, ARKit, ARCore and ARToolKit.

The Conscious Practitioner
You’ll explore global perspectives and influences on creative practice, drawing upon interactions with varied identities, cultures, politics, and histories. The unit will explore how beliefs, values and attitudes drive behaviour and practices.

Environmental Storytelling (elective)
Learn about how narrative works in environmental design – how the surroundings of a game can convey mood and atmosphere. You’ll use game engines and 3D modelling to build original scenes, implementing them in a fully realised game environment for player habitation, movement and interpretation.

You’ll explore the fundamentals of environmental storytelling: discovery, interpretation, participation and play; advocate an understanding of the historical, social and cultural factors underpinning any design, and finish with the delivery of an original narrative architecture embodied as a playable project.

Motion Capture Technologies (elective)
Motion-capture techniques now widely impact many core disciplines with the creative industries, such as Games, Fashion, Film and TV, VFX, Animation, Digital Performance and beyond. This intensive unit is designed to give you a grounding the core skills, knowledge and understanding required for motion-capture production. As part of the unit, you’ll earn how to use VICON Motion Capture technologies at UCA for a wide variety of disciplines.

Opportunity Week
Opportunity Week gives you the chance to try something a little different, broaden your engagement and your subject knowledge, such as Games Jams and Design Sprints. There may also be study trips and/or studio visits locally, in major hubs like London and even internationally for festivals, or trips museums, galleries and festivals.

Spatial Interaction Design
You’ll explore the human element of designing XR. Without getting the human element correct, no amount of technology fixes will make XR experiences interesting. Using case studies and XR principles developed by experts, you can map out a framework of user experience and interaction design guidelines.

This unit will also explore haptics and touch interfaces, controllers and inputs for interaction design and 360 sound design to direct attention and guide users in XR storytelling and spatial interaction.

Industry Brief
You’ll use your skills and workflows to produce work for an industry brief, who will set specific parameters and conditions to be met by a deadline. This could include style guides, historic markers, format conditions, audience, and genre.

You’ll work as individuals or in a team (depending on the brief) and develop new skills in engaging and communicating effectively with your fellow students, including your ability to respond to an industry focused brief. In addition, you will focus on refining your presentation skills to ensure that you successfully share the outcomes, reflecting on your output.

Creature Animation (elective)
This unit will start with observational studies, such as a trip to the zoo, where you’ll undertake and shoot reference footage of animals in motion in order to gain a deeper understanding of each creature’s body mechanics.

You’ll then create a walk cycle, a run cycle, and a short emotive piece showing interaction between the creature and an environment.

Pervasive Game Studio (elective)
This unit explores and practices the design of pervasive games. As the name indicates, pervasive game experiences refuse traditional boundaries of games and play, whether this is the field, the board, or the screen.

In this unit, principles of game design are applied to the design, development, promotion and engagement of outdoor play enmeshed with various media and technologies. We explore the campus as a playground, with links to other forms of media including sport, film, theatre, television, websites, social media, augmented and virtual reality. The final deliverable is a pervasive game design.

Virtual Production Studio (elective)
Virtual Production (VP) is a rapidly growing area of content production. By combining CGI, game-engines, and virtual reality technologies, VP enables completely new ways of making digital productions for broadcast and online, to real-time, on-set visual effects. You’ll learn how to use UCA’s Virtual Production Stage to produce live or online virtual productions of all sorts and disciplines.

ATOM Activities and PLE Digital Outcome
These units are an extension of the Year 1 ATOM Activities and PLE Digital Outcome.

If you opt to complete a professional practice year, this will take place in year three. You will undertake a placement within the creative industries to further develop your skills and CV.

While on your Professional Practice Year, you will be required to pay a reduced tuition fee for that year. This fee will be determined using government funding regulations. Based on current regulations, we expect this to be a maximum of 20% of the tuition fee rate that you are charged for your second year of study. You will also incur additional travel and accommodation costs during this year. The University will provide you with further advice and guidance about this as you approach your Professional Practice Year.

Please note: If you are an international applicant, you will need to enrol onto the course ‘with Professional Practice Year’. It will not be possible to transfer onto the Professional Practice Year after enrolment

Launch Week
All launch weeks feature a range of activities, which will comprise an interdisciplinary Industry Guest Speakers’ Series offered to all students across the School of Games and Creative Technology.

There will also be other activities, such as study trips and/or studio visits, Design Sprints, could also take place.

Audience Engagement and Experiences
This unit relies on and build all the previous units in the course and offers you the opportunity to develop unique experiences for specific audiences in varied industries, using the tools and approaches available through XR.

You will evaluate contemporary interactive and immersive experiences, and study specific audiences, their needs and interests.

Through a series of projects and supported by workshops you will design experiences for specific audiences.

Immersion and Storytelling
You’ll broaden your understanding of interactive experiences to influence your future direction by utilising theory from seminars and research and developing your narrative skills. You’ll be encouraged to cooperate, test and rehearse your project ideas with your classmates. Several XR experiences, books, video games, and films will be discussed in class, from different perspectives

Final Major Project – self-directed or team
The Final Major Project is a culmination of your skills, passion and creativity. The final major project and your role in it if a team member, should be ambitious but achievable and framed within how you want to promote yourself as a XR Experience Designer.

Through projects, workshops, and lectures you will undertake a rigorous investigation into an aspect and topic of personal interest within XR. You are encouraged to critically engage with the discipline and its key debates to initiate and locate your body of work.

You will produce a creative, challenging, detailed and logical proposal for a body of work that you’ll complete in the final semester. You will plan the production of this work using a common industry methodology, the approach of which will be covered during this unit.

Alongside the project, you will be compiling a showreel of work to showcase your mini-projects and prototypes thus far. The unit and year will finish with an exhibition which celebrates the prototypes and projects completed for this unit and throughout the course.

Tuition fees - 2023 entry

UK students:

  • Integrated Foundation Year - £9,250
  • BA course - £9,250

EU students:

  • Integrated International Foundation Year - £9,250 (see fee discount information)
  • BA course - £9,250 (see fee discount information)

International students:

  • Integrated International Foundation Year - £16,950
  • BA course - £16,950

If you opt to study the Professional Practice Year, for 2023 you will be required to pay a reduced tuition fee of £1,850 (UK students) and £3,390 (International students). You will also incur additional travel and accommodation costs during your Professional Practice year. The University will provide you with further advice and guidance about this.

Additional course costs
In addition to the tuition fees there may be other costs for your course. The things that you are likely to need to budget for to get the most out of a creative arts education will include books, printing costs, occasional or optional study trips and/or project materials. These costs will vary according to the nature of your project work and the individual choices that you make. Please see the Additional Course Costs section of your Course Information for details of the costs you may incur.

Further information
For more detailed information about our course fees and any financial support you may be entitled to please see our fees and finance pages.

The fees listed here are correct for the stated academic year only. Costs may increase each year during a student’s period of continued registration on course in line with inflation (subject to any maximum regulated tuition fee limit). Any adjustment for continuing students will be at or below the RPI-X forecast rate.

Industry placement
offer

Preparing graduates for successful careers underpins everything we do, and all students on this course may be offered support to identify and prepare for an industry placement according to their individual needs. We’ll draw on our wide range of contacts within the creative industries to help provide you with opportunities that align with your interests and future career aspirations.

Course specifications

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change in line with our Student Terms and Conditions for example, as required by external professional bodies or to improve the quality of the course.

Facilities

This course has studios with high end PCs with Alienware Aurora towers and the latest RTX 2080 graphics cards, 4k dual screen monitors and Wacom Cintiq graphics tablets, with software including Unity and Unreal games engines. There is also a VR development studio, and a dedicated Games Incubator Studio for graduate entrepreneurs looking to set up their own companies or looking to release games to market. In addition, our Farnham campus has sound production and Foley studios, pro tools and a specialist library.

Games Arts studio, UCA Farnham

Foley sound studio, UCA Farnham

Games Arts studio, UCA Farnham

Library, UCA Farnham

Entry & portfolio requirements

Entry & portfolio requirements

BA (Hons) course
BA (Hons) course with Professional Practice Year

The standard entry requirements* for these courses are one of the following:

  • 112 new UCAS tariff points, see accepted qualifications
  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • Distinction, Merit, Merit at BTEC Extended Diploma / BTEC National 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, see more information about IB entry requirements.

And four GCSE passes at grade 9-4/A*-C 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.  

Portfolio requirements

For these courses, we’ll need to see your portfolio for review. We’ll invite you to attend an Applicant Day so you can have your portfolio review in person, meet the course team and learn more about your course. Further information will be provided once you have applied.

More portfolio advice

 


BA (Hons) course with Integrated Foundation Year
BA (Hons) course with Integrated Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year

The standard entry requirements* for these courses are one of the following:

  • 64 new UCAS tariff points, see accepted qualifications
  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • Merit, Pass, Pass at BTEC Extended Diploma / BTEC National Extended Diploma
  • Pass at UAL Extended Diploma
  • 64 new UCAS tariff points from an accredited Access to Higher Education Diploma in appropriate subject
  • 24 points from the International Baccalaureate, see more information about IB entry requirements.

And four GCSE passes at grade 9-4/A*-C 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. 

Portfolio requirements

These courses don't require a portfolio. If you receive an offer, you’ll be invited to attend an Applicant Day where you can meet the course team and learn more about the course. 

 


*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.

BA (Hons) course
BA (Hons) course with Professional Practice Year

The entry requirements for these courses will depend on the country your qualifications are from, please check the equivalent qualifications for your country:

Portfolio requirements

For these courses, we will need to see your portfolio for review. We will invite you to attend an Applicant Day so you can have your portfolio review in person, meet the course team and learn more about your course. If you are unable to attend an Applicant Day you can upload a portfolio digitally, there is also the option to submit it online via your UCA Applicant Portal. Further information will be provided once you have applied.

 


BA (Hons) course with Integrated International Foundation Year
BA (Hons) course with Integrated International Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year

For these courses you need to have completed 12 years of schooling (with good grades) and show strong evidence of your ability to successfully complete the programme and progress onto your chosen degree.

Portfolio requirements

These courses don't require a portfolio. If you receive an offer, you’ll be invited to attend an Applicant Day where you can meet the course team and learn more about the course. 

 


English language requirements

To study at UCA, you'll need to have a certain level of English language skill. And so, to make sure you meet the requirements of your course, we ask for evidence of your English language ability, please chcek the level of English language required:

Don't meet the international entry requirements or English language requirements?

You may be able to enter the course through the following entry pathways:

Apply now

Please use the following fields to help select the right application link for you:
  • UCAS Institution

    C93

  • UCAS Code for 3 year/standard

    I700

  • UCAS Code for course with Professional Practice

    I701

  • UCAS Code for course with Integrated Foundation Year

    I70A

  • UCAS Code for course with Integrated International Foundation Year

    I70C

  • UCAS Code for course with Integrated Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year

    I70B

  • UCAS Code for course with Integrated International Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year

    I70D

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