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About the course

Want to take your digital artwork skills to the next level? Solent’s exciting new virtual and augmented reality design programme will help you build the core skills required to pursue a career as a designer in the exciting virtual and augmented reality industries.

This unique degree places an emphasis on the design principles of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). This is a challenging, multi-disciplinary subject area in which you’ll learn the skills required to create VR/AR simulations, games, visualisations and apps.

You’ll study the creation of digital content and the practical application of VR/AR technologies. You’ll learn how to research and develop your own VR/AR concepts – creating 2D and 3D digital artwork, as well as computer animation and sound for VR/AR. In addition, you’ll study the evolving theories and principals of design-led VR/AR. This includes designing for immersive environments, location-based mobile apps and wearable technologies. You’ll also research and explore theories of user-centred design and user experience.

Throughout the degree, you’ll be encouraged to apply your own practical work. You'll also be encouraged to work collaboratively - essential to understanding how fundamental the production ‘pipeline’ is to VR/AR development, where a single application may pass through several different team members before completion.

To aid your studies you’ll have full access to the University’s computer art studios and dedicated VR/AR labs. You’ll also have access to VR/AR hardware and software, as well as the wider resources of the School of Media Arts and Technology, such as the green screen and Mo-cap (motion capture) facilities.

If you apply for this course with a placement year, you have the opportunity to undertake a year in industry between your second and third years.
Placement year
You have the opportunity to study abroad in one of our partner universities for a semester on this course.
Study abroad
If you're not quite ready for a full undergraduate degree, there's alternative entry through one of our foundation years.
Foundation year available
As part of your studies you will have the opportunity to undertake a work experience placement.
Built in work experience placement
This course has access to Solent's specialist facilities.
Specialist facilities
After successfully completing your studies, there's an opportunity to continue your studies at Solent.
Further studies

The course has been carefully structured to ensure graduating students are well positioned to take advantage of the rapidly growing VR and AR industries.

What does this course lead to?

VR/AR is created by a large team of individuals with a variety of specialisms. These include VR/AR concept design, storyboarding, user interface and experience design, sound design, 2D and 3D graphic modelling, animation, rigging, scripting and creative direction. 

The VR/AR industries are expanding rapidly and are now engaged with a number of other industries. Opportunities are becoming more available in games, animation, film, interior design, engineering, marketing, medicine, military, transport, maritime, forensics and archaeology.   

Who is this course for?

This course is perfect for those who want to break into the virtual reality and augmented reality industries. The degree is one of very few that offers a dedicated experience in VR/AR industry technology, design and creation.

As the course has a strong design emphasis, candidates will require a sufficient portfolio to progress on to the course.  Although not necessarily a pre-requisite, experience or qualifications in art and design, graphics, interactive media or computer game design would be beneficial.

Facts and figures

UCAS codes icon

UCAS codes

Full Time

  • 3 Years Standard Entry VAD1
  • 4 Years Digital Arts Foundation Year VAD3

Placement (480 credit course)

  • 4 Years Standard Entry VAD2
  • 5 Years Digital Arts Foundation Year VAD4
Fees icon

Fees and costs

Tuition fees

The 2020/21 tuition fees are not yet available. For guidance, the 2019/20 fees were:
UK, EU and Channel Island full-time fees: £9,250 per year
International full-time fees: £12,875 per year

For further information, please visit our tuition fees page.

Other costs

While most course costs are covered by your tuition fees, some essential resources and optional extras may need to be paid for separately. These additional costs are listed below. For advice on budgeting and managing your money, please contact

The 2020/21 other costs are not yet available. For guidance, previous other costs have been:

Optional costs

An optional trip to a UK or European destination will be proposed each year. This will be an affordable educational trip to an established exhibition.

European exhibitions include: Augmented World Expo in Germany, Annecy Animation Festival in France or Cartoons on the Bay in Italy. The overall cost of the trip will not exceed £500 per student, inclusive of flight, accommodation and exhibition entry.  It is envisioned that the trip will be no more than two or three days in length.  Trips will be at the students’ own expense.

Trips will not be compulsory but optional day trips, at students’ own expense, will be offered to relevant UK sites, for example, the Cast Galleries in Oxford or Cambridge, industry studios, or to VR/AR meetings in the South or London. 

Bursaries and scholarships

Solent University offers a range of bursaries and scholarships that provide financial assistance or waive fees for tuition or accommodation. Each bursary or scholarship has specific eligibility criteria. Check out our bursaries and scholarships pages to find out more.

Key entry requirements icon

Key entry requirements

96 - 112 UCAS tariff points from A-levels or equivalent

  • A-levels, a BTEC Extended Diploma at DMM or BTEC Diploma at D*D* or equivalent qualifications, which comply with the minimum entry requirement of 96 UCAS points.
  • Direct entry into year two or three may be considered for this course.
  • Alternative entry to this course is available through the Foundation Year in Digital Arts
  • If you are applying from outside the UK, find information about entry requirements, visas and agents for your country here.
  • For further information about UK, EU and international qualifications, please refer to our course entry requirement statement.

English language requirements

Applicants who do not have English as their first language will be required to demonstrate an approved level of proficiency in the use of the English language. The agreed minimum requirements for this course are:

  • IELTS minimum 6.0 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each individual component
  • TOEFL IBT minimum 80 with a minimum of 19 in each individual component
  • or equivalent.

Qualifications are checked before enrolment, and international students must bring their original certificates or certified copies when coming to study at the University.

The University also offers a pre-sessional English programme for international students who wish to improve their level of English before starting a degree course.

Study location

East Park Terrace

Got a question about this course?

Contact our Ask Solent team: 023 8201 5066

How to apply

Any student applying for the first year of a full-time/sandwich undergraduate course must apply through UCAS (University and Colleges Admissions Service). This includes mature, overseas and EU students.

Nearly all schools and colleges offer their students the facility of applying electronically through the UCAS website using 'Apply'; it may also be used by those applying independently in the UK and overseas. This facility and all course information can be found on the UCAS website:

Your application should reach UCAS by 15 January if you hope to enter a course the following autumn. Early application is advised for the most popular subject areas. Late applications may be made until the end of June. The UCAS code for the University is S30, code name SOLNT.

Please click the links below to apply through UCAS:

Mode of study
Full-time 3 years Apply
Placement Year 4 years Apply

Digital Arts Foundation Year route:

Mode of study
Full-time 4 years Apply
Placement Year 5 years Apply
How to apply

What you'll study

Year one

Core units
  • Programming Fundamentals 
  • Scripting for Game Engines 
  • Media Design 
  • Introduction to Digital Arts and Technology
  • Introduction to 3D
  • Introduction to Computer Arts

Year two

Core units
  • Media Creation
  • User-centred Design
  • Advanced Media Creation
  • VR/AR Production
  • Virtual and Augmented Reality Design
  • Virtual and Augmented Reality Prototyping

Year three

Core units
  • Project Research and Preparation
  • VR/AR Design Project
  • Professional Development


  • Experiential Design
  • Sound for Video and Computer Games

Please note: Not all optional units are guaranteed to run each year.


Web-based learning

Solent's virtual learning environment provides quick online access to assignments, lecture notes, suggested reading and other course information.

The Student Hub

The Student Hub is a central space where you can access all of the information and support you need during your time at University.

Professional and experienced staff can help resolve any query, and if they cannot answer the question themselves they will find the person who can.

Career support

Meet the course team

James TerKeurst academic profile James TerKeurst Senior Lecturer View profile
Adam Barton academic profile Adam Barton Senior Lecturer View profile

The university cannot guarantee any particular members of staff will teach specific aspects of the course in the future, but will endeavour to ensure the teaching team maintains their balance of experience and qualifications.


Students will have access to a dedicated VR suite, green screen and Mo-cap facilities. Several of the leading VR/AR headsets (including the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive) are also available for use, as well as mobile devices for testing VR/AR.

Industry-standard software in our fully-equipped digital art studios includes Autodesk 3D modelling software, Adobe Creative Suite, Pixologic Z Brush, Unity and Unreal Engine 4. The design software is complemented by software development kits relevant to VR/AR, such as Oculus, ARToolkit, Vuforia, EasyAR, Apple’s new ARKit and ARCore for Android devices.

Students are taught by a combination of lectures and workshops, led by university staff with recent professional experience and with substantial links to industry. Students are able to work collaboratively with others from multiple disciplines on VR/AR projects.   

Your future

VR/AR is created by a large team of individuals who will bring different specialisms to the group. These may include: VR/AR concept design, storyboarding, user interface and experience design, sound design, 2D and 3D graphic modelling, animation, rigging, scripting and creative direction.

The VR/AR industries are expanding rapidly and are now engaged with a host of other industries. Opportunities may be available in games, animation, film, interior design, engineering, marketing, medicine, military, transport, maritime, forensics and archaeology.

Industry links

Staff are continuously building relationships with organisations within the VR/AR industries. The team have established links with several UK and International VR/AR bodies. These include Sony VR, Google, Microsoft and UK bodies such as the Chamber of Commerce and Department of International Trade.

Additionally, staff teaching on the course also have a well-established network with connections to ‘traditional’ digital companies including Sega, Rockstar Games, Weta, PTC and MPC, several of whom are now moving towards VR/AR.


Although optional, gaining work experience or placements are actively encouraged by the course team. Students must find their own work experience or placements, however assistance will be provided by course tutors.

The course also has a four-year industrial placement option.

Further study

Enhance your career prospects by continuing your study at Solent.

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