This course is open for applications.
About this course
- Entry year:
- Course code:
- Film and Journalism
- City Campus
- One year
- Full-time, January start
- Programme leader:
- Verity McIntosh
- Key fact:
- This industry-led MA will help you become a creative content developer for new forms of immersive experiences, including VR and 360° filmmaking, with a critical awareness of culture, technology and business.
Page last updated 24 September 2018
As virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies become more affordable and accessible, many industries are becoming aware of the benefits of immersive narratives. As such, there is a growing need for professional story developers who can harness and explore the extraordinary potential of VR.
MA Virtual Reality is for creative graduates and existing filmmakers who want to enter the radical world of virtual and augmented media production for immersive storytelling in entertainment, journalism, education, marketing and advocacy. It is for independent thinkers, who thrive in experimental, hands-on learning environments.
Due to the evolving nature of this field, we welcome practitioners from both technical and creative backgrounds. This includes filmmakers, theatre designers, sound designers, game designers, animators, software developers, studio/media artists, writers, and journalists.
Why study this course?
A fusion of critical and professional approaches, this course will enable you to explore the dynamic creative and commercial forces shaping virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality (MR).
Combine professional, critical and cultural approaches as you explore the complex forces shaping emerging forms of storytelling. Gain in-depth understanding of the industry's organisation of distribution, exhibition and production, from regional, national and international perspectives.
Develop real-world skills in immersive experience design - including 360° filmmaking - and learn how to design VR/AR on a variety of platforms, from app-enabled mobile devices to head-mounted displays, and augmented reality headsets. Hone your ability to build project teams, direct, produce, and provide a strong creative vision for a variety of projects.
Why UWE Bristol?
MA Virtual Reality is based at the Bristol VR Lab, a distinctive co-venture between UWE Bristol, the University of Bristol, Watershed, and Opposable VR.
This studio lab for VR research and development supports a dynamic ecosystem of talent, training, facilities and research. Fully immersed in this creative testbed, you will benefit from top level partnerships with organisations such as Bristol Games Hub and We The Curious, the city's innovative science centre with its data dome and IMAX cinema.
Our multidisciplinary MA will helpyou join the ranks of a new generation of storytellers and become aleading content creator in this exciting field.
The full Master's course comprises of 180 credits divided into three 60 credits stages: Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma, and Masters. You need to pass all modules at each stage to be able to progress onto the next.
For the Postgraduate Certificate you will study:
- Practical Experiments in Interactivity and Immersion
- Historical and Emerging Concepts in Storytelling
For the Postgraduate Diploma you will study:
- Virtual Reality Story lab
The Masters involves completing a project:
- Virtual Reality Collaborative Project.
The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we will inform you.
Learning and Teaching
This course is practical and production-based: you will work individually and in teams to conceptualise, research, plan and deliver a series of creative projects.
Prepare for your professional career through specialist modules that help you build a unique mixture of editorial, creative and technical skills that you can apply immediately in this rapidly expanding industry.
Discover key theoretical and ethical frameworks in VR and 360° filmmaking and explore visual storytelling, scriptwriting and other aspects of creative development. Develop your critical evaluation, conceptual thinking and communication skills for diverse media and audiences.
Engage with external communities of researchers and attend professional events, festivals and masterclasses with industry practitioners to refine your practice in a real-world context.
See our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.
This year long course is delivered full time, with an average contact time of 18 hours each week. However, there will be some full weeks of teaching activities and other periods where contact time will be limited.
You will be expected to do at least an equal amount of independent study and attend relevant events. You will be able to access teaching and learning materials remotely through Blackboard and Lynda.com and use our library resources.
You can expect to be assessed through a mix of portfolio work, scripts, proposals, presentations, evaluations and reports. You will be expected to plan, pitch, produce and present a completed VR project.
See our full glossary of assessment terms.
You will be expected to attend the annual VR World Congress in Bristol. Screenings and discussions will enable you to analyse and critique a range of VR, AR, hybrid-MR and 360° filmmaking technologies and new ideas in this emerging field.
There may be other optional field trips to production facilities and laboratories.
This course is based at The Bristol VR Lab, a new space for research, development, design and teaching at Leadworks in Millennium Square. Based in Bristol City Centre, the lab brings together a network of artists, technologists and academics to explore the future of media. You'll have access to VR and AR kit, workshops, greenscreen and 360° filmmaking facilities, a teaching room and technician support.
Make use of the new filmmaking, animation and photography studios at Bower Ashton campus, including production studios and workshop spaces, a substantial media equipment store and a student production hub. Specialist post-production facilities include digital production labs for picture and audio editing, digital animation and VFX, specialist editing suites, colour grading suites, dubbing theatres and a sound production studio.
Access our specialist library for the creative and cultural industries and student support services to get the most from your studies.
You will be provided with module-specific learning materials, including online and printed texts, reading lists, example code and design materials, video recordings and presentations, as well as online resources.
Careers / Further study
As a successful graduate, you will have the research and planning skills you need to undertake independent, innovative and sustainable projects across multiple industries.
You'll be highly analytical and strategic, with advanced communications skills that will help you articulate your knowledge of new media technology and storytelling.
You could go on to work in content development and production for immersive storytelling experiences. A variety of industries will be open to you, including:
- games and entertainment
- social media and marketing
- aerospace and defence
- travel and retail.
The innovative combination of practice and research in this MA means you will also be well equipped to pursue careers in both industry and academia. The critical skills you build on the course could act as an effective bridge to a DPhil or PhD.
We are looking for highly motivated, creative students passionate about immersive storytelling and emerging technology. Applicants will have an honours undergraduate degree in a relevant subject or professional experience, (such as significant filmmaking or multimedia production), and a commitment to research and reflecting on creative practice.
Due to the evolving nature of this field, we anticipate attracting students from different disciplines and backgrounds, technical and creative. We aim to recruit students with experience in filmmaking, theatre, sound design, game design, experience design, animation, graphic design, software development, studio/media arts, scriptwriting, writing, and journalism.
Applications from International students are actively encouraged, as we have a commitment to global film education.
If you are short-listed, we will invite you to interview (telephone interviews will be conducted for international applicants). You will need to provide a show reel or concise portfolio of previous work. This may include audio, film, animation, gameplay, design, photography and writing. Your portfolio must demonstrate your story development flair and experience.
Please note, we are unable to allow applicants with offers to defer their entry to subsequent years.
English Language Requirement
If your first language is not English, a minimum score of 7.0 in IELTS (including 7.0 in the written element) or equivalent is typically required.
How to apply
For further information
- Email: Admissions@uwe.ac.uk
- Telephone: +44(0) 117 32 83333