Digital Design - BSc (Hons)
with a Year in Industry

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Are you excited by design and the creative possibilities of new technology? Do you want to learn how to blend the two together? Our Digital Design degree allows you to develop your design and technical skills, helping you to bring your ideas to life whilst equipping you with skills sought after by employers.

Overview

On our Digital Design degree, you take a practical and theoretical approach to design. You will develop the technical skills you need to showcase your creativity. Using the latest technology, you can work with a broad range of design assets and immersive technologies including audio, still and moving image, 3D, and interactive interfaces, to create new experiences for audiences, setting yourself up for an exciting and fulfilling career in the creative industries.

Teaching in the School of Engineering has been rated as excellent. It is taught by a team of experts and industry professionals in the areas of 3D production, online design immersive experiences and interactive applications, and human-computer interaction. Most modules consist of a mixture of lectures, seminars, practical workshops and computer sessions. All modules are continuously assessed.

Our degree programme

In your first year, you are given a broad grounding in digital design, including content creation, 3D design, virtual environments, and design thinking.

In the following years, you go on to explore 3D production and simulation, online design, virtual and mixed realities, and interactive environments.

You also complete a final-year project based on your own interests. This could be an interactive or immersive experience, 3D project, or web-based application. We often also have a range of briefs for projects students can undertake in association with an industrial partner.

Year in industry

Your year in industry takes place between your second and final years. You can apply to companies offering either design or technology-oriented placements, depending on your own interests. As well as gaining invaluable workplace experience, you also have the chance to evaluate a particular career path, and, if your placement goes well, you may be offered a job by that employer after graduation.

You can also take this course as a three-year degree without a year in industry. For details, see Digital Design.

Year abroad

it is possible to take this programme with a Year abroad. For details, see Digital Design a Year Abroad.

Student work

Four final-year students from the School of Engineering worked with the BBC to produce a five-minute animation documenting mental health treatment as part of Mental Health Awareness Week. It tells the story of Sophie, who suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder, and details her experiences with mental health services in the UK.

In May 2018, the animation won a BBC Ruby Award. The Ruby Awards celebrate outstanding programming from across the country and span a range of categories from news coverage and best programme to awards for individual journalists.

Find out more:

Study resources

You have access to industry standard equipment, such as

  • 4 high-end computer suites
  • Engineering laboratory
  • Production studio (including photography, video and green screen facilities)
  • VR suite
  • Makerspace
  • Large teaching and design studio
  • Nikon and Canon DSLRs
  • 3D printers.

Extra Activities

There are a number of student-led societies at Kent which you may want to join. These include

  • UKC Digital Media
  • TinkerSoc – Kent’s Maker Society
  • Women in STEM

Professional networks

We have close links with those working in the creative industries and have worked with industry practitioners including:

  • the BBC
  • Warner Bros.
  • Disney
  • the Moving Picture Company (MPC)
  • BAFTA award-winning filmmakers.


Flexible tariff

Make Kent your firm choice – The Kent Guarantee

We understand that applying for university can be stressful, especially when you are also studying for exams. Choose Kent as your firm choice on UCAS and we will guarantee you a place, even if you narrowly miss your offer (for example, by 1 A Level grade)*.

*exceptions apply. Please note that we are unable to offer The Kent Guarantee to those who have already been given a reduced or contextual offer.

Entry requirements

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. All applications are assessed on an individual basis but some of our typical requirements are listed below. Students offering qualifications not listed are welcome to contact our Admissions Team for further advice. Please also see our general entry requirements.

  • medal-empty

    A level

    BBB

  • medal-empty Access to HE Diploma

    The University welcomes applications from Access to Higher Education Diploma candidates for consideration. A typical offer may require you to obtain a proportion of Level 3 credits in relevant subjects at merit grade or above.

  • medal-empty BTEC Nationals

    Distinction, Merit, Merit.

  • medal-empty International Baccalaureate

    30 points overall or 15 points at HL

  • medal-empty International Foundation Programme

    Pass all components of the University of Kent International Foundation Programme with a 50% overall average (plus 50% in LZ013 Maths and Statistics if you do not hold GCSE Maths at 4/C or equivalent).

  • medal-empty T level

    The University will consider applicants holding T level qualifications in subjects closely aligned to the course.

If you are an international student, visit our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country, including details of the International Foundation Programmes. Please note that international fee-paying students who require a Student visa cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

Please note that meeting the typical offer/minimum requirement does not guarantee that you will receive an offer.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you do not meet our English language requirements, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme.

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Course structure

Duration: 4 years full-time

Modules

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.

On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘elective’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

Stage 1

Compulsory modules currently include

This module introduces design thinking; how design principles are embedded everywhere: from electronic devices to objects, commercial products, visual and audio communication, advertising (digital / print), online systems, services, and built environments.Considering current and historical design approaches, students will learn about design processes as they apply to different domains of design (e.g. audio-visual, graphic, 3D, systems, interaction, electronic devices) and to evaluate the context for the design and the stakeholders that engage with the designed artefact.Indicative topics include: basic design concepts, current and future trends, design in digital mediated society, speculative design, design for humans/non-humans/things.

This practice-based module introduces key principles of Digital Content Creation. Students will learn to conceptualise design problems and produce work using industry-standard software tools. Indicative topics include: audio and visual (still and moving) content creation, use of colour and typography, design fundamentals.

This is a practical module which covers the steps for integrating computer-generated elements. Each workshop includes hands-on training in 3D design and compositing software. The module covers 3D modelling and texturing as well as digital camera and lighting techniques. The module introduces the basic 3D design production techniques using the appropriate industry-standard software.

This module introduces you to the theory, principles and practice behind designing Virtual Environments and enables you to create a real-time application demonstrating the acquired core skills. The module will cover specific production skills needed for the development of assets for various applications, programming concepts for navigating and interacting in Virtual Environments, AI, user interfaces. Theory is followed by practical workshops in different aspects of Virtual Environment design, culminating in project.

This module provides an introduction to human-computer interaction. Fundamental aspects of human physiology and psychology are introduced and key features of interaction and common interaction styles delineated. A variety of analysis and design methods are introduced (e.g. GOMS. heuristic evaluation, user-centred and contextual design techniques). Throughout the course, the quality of design and the need for a professional, integrated and user-centred approach to interface development is emphasised. Rapid and low-fidelity prototyping feature as one aspect of this.

This module introduces the stages of the workflow of 3D rigging and animation to familiarise students with what is involved in production. Weekly module workshops introduce an array of industry-standard applications and the techniques necessary for production, resulting in a practical understanding of the entire process. Indicative topics include; inverse kinematics, forward kinematics, joints system, Maya Embedded Language (MEL), scripting for rigging, skinning, mechanical rigging, humanoid mechanical rigging, character rigging, facial rigging, animal rigging, modelling for rigged bodies.

This undergraduate module introduces the practical techniques for creating interactive visual display using Processing, a Java-based IDE. We will also develop interesting tangible interfaces using Arduino IDE, with a range of sensors and actuators. Students will learn to manipulate images, create realistic motions, use motion sensing and speech recognition, in a series of lectures and workshops.

The module provides an introduction to the basic knowledge required to understand, design and write computer programs and the basic principles underlying the process of Software Engineering. No previous programming experience is assumed and the module proceeds via a sequence of lectures supported by simple exercises designed to give practical experience of the concepts introduced in the lectures. 

Stage 2

Compulsory modules currently include

This module introduces the 3D Design pipeline using industry-standard software packages.Each technical workshop session includes hands-on training in 3D Design and compositing software. Practical sessions cover 3D modelling, texturing, lighting, animation and compositing.

More information to follow

More information to follow

More information to follow

Introduction to entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, circular design; Team building and effective team collaboration;

New technology development, technology lifecycle, technology readiness level (TRL); Financial management of large-scale projects and new ventures, sources of financing; Protecting and securing intellectual properties (IPs); Business planning tools for a new technology and start-up; Prototyping and commercialising a new technology and mitigate market risks.

The module is concerned with undertaking a substantial digital media project against time and resource constraints. Topics include: intellectual property rights, privacy, data protection, research methods, project planning and management, working in teams. This module prepares students for the demands of the final year project

Year in industry

You spend a year working in industry between Stages 2 and 3, gaining valuable experience and improving your employment prospects. Employers are always keen to employ graduates with knowledge of the work environment and some students receive job offers from their placement company.

We have a dedicated Employability Officer who will help you apply for placements; but please note that it is your responsibility to secure a placement, which cannot always be guaranteed. The School has excellent industrial links, providing students with many placement opportunities.

Please note that progression thresholds apply. In particular, in order to be considered for an industrial placement, students are required to achieve an overall mark at Stage 1 of at least 60%.

Compulsory modules currently include

Students spend a year (usually a minimum of 44 weeks) working in an industrial, commercial, public sector or similar setting, applying and enhancing the skills and techniques they have developed and studied in the earlier stages of their degree course. The work they do is entirely under the direction of their industrial supervisor, but support is provided by the CEMS Employability and Placements Team . This support includes ensuring that the work they are being expected to do is such that they can meet the learning outcomes of the module.

Participation in the placement year, and hence in this module, is dependent on students obtaining an appropriate placement, for which support and guidance is provided through the CEMS Employability and Placements Team. It is also dependent on students progressing satisfactorily from Stage 2 of their studies.

Students who do not obtain a placement will be required to transfer to the appropriate course without a Year in Industry.

Find out more about EENG7910

Students spend a year (usually a minimum of 44 weeks) doing paid work in an organisation outside the University, in an industrial, commercial, public sector, or similar setting, applying and enhancing the skills and techniques they have developed and studied in the earlier stages of their degree course.

The Assessments required for this module should provide evidence of the subject specific and generic learning outcomes, and of reflection by the student on them as an independent learner.

The placement work they do is entirely under the direction of their industrial supervisor, but support is provided by the CEMS Employability and Placements Team. This support includes ensuring that the work they are being expected to do is such that they can meet the learning outcomes of this module.

Participation in the placement year, and hence in this module, is dependent on students obtaining an appropriate placement, for which support and guidance is provided by the CEMS Employability and Placements Team. It is also dependent on students progressing satisfactorily from Stage 2 of their studies.

Students who do not obtain a placement will be required to transfer to the appropriate course without a Year in Industry.

Find out more about EENG7920

Stage 3

Compulsory modules currently include

More information to follow.

More information to follow.

More information to follow.

More information to follow.

Optional modules may include

The module explores the current creative industries, particularly focusing on music industry characteristics and structures, music organisations and relevant arts groups. Students will be guided to appreciate a broad range of career opportunities in these areas and they will develop an understanding of the skills and specialisms required for specific areas. This will provide a clear context for their further studies on their chosen degree programme. Students will also develop their critical awareness by examining recent historical trends in music and the creative industries.

The module investigates music for media in both theory and practice. The focus will be on music used in moving image media, including an exploration of musical languages and compositional techniques commonly deployed in relation to moving images. Students also study film music history, gaining insight into critical approaches that have informed the practice.

The main strand of the lecture material will establish the foundations of organisational behaviour in the context of the historical development of ideas and theory. The theories will be related to practical examples and thence students will be introduced to modern experience, practice and scholarship. Once the information of the foundation of organisational behaviour is established, at the next level, contemporary topics of management will be touched upon briefly. This will provide students with basic knowledge related to modern management practices. The content of the module will, therefore, be based on the following topics:• Scientific Management• Human Relations School• Bureaucracy• Post Bureaucratic Organizations• Contingency Approach• Group and teams• Motivation• Power and authority• Managing diversity.

This module is designed to provide students across the university with access to knowledge, skill development and training in the field of entrepreneurship with a special emphasis on developing a business plan in order to exploit identified opportunities. Hence, the module will be of value for students who aspire to establishing their own business and/or introducing innovation through new product, service, process, project or business development in an established organisation. The module complements students' final year projects in Computing, Law, Biosciences, Electronics, Multimedia, and Drama etc.

This is a practice-based module exploring the photographic medium and the contexts of its use through the production of photographs in response to a project brief and group-based critical discussion of the work produced. Students investigate how the context in which photographs are made affect how the world is represented, and how in turn these images shape perception. Students choose two practical project briefs that are designed to enable them to explore the medium creatively and through informed and reflective practice. The emphasis of the module is upon this creative practice rather than the acquisition of specific technical skills, and as such students are at liberty to use any photographic production and post-production technologies they wish to experiment with or find appropriate. A camera phone and access to a computer and printer are all that is needed for this module, though students who wish to make use of digital image processing or analogue processes, including use of a darkroom, are encouraged to do so. Each of the practical project briefs will be supported through a series of lectures closely examining various genres, styles and other contexts of photographic production through the work of those who have shaped them. In addition students will present the work they have produced in response to their project briefs, and engage in a broad critical discussion or their own and other's work.

This module introduces you to the principles and practice of video game design and development. Indicative topics include: game physics, AI, level design, player behaviour and cognition, game rules and mechanics, user interfaces, novel sensor devices, as well as programming concepts for gaming. Theory is followed by practical workshops in game development, culminating in a substantial project.

In taking this module, you will have the opportunity to become a future creator, shaping and changing the landscape of how we tell stories. Whether through multi-platform storytelling, alternate reality games, immersive theatre, locked room experiences, interactive art and gallery exhibitions, virtual and enhanced (augmented, integrated, mixed) realities, cross-media marketing campaigns, or hybrid projects, the possibilities for interactive and immersive narratives are constantly growing and developing, as audiences, readers and users begin to expect more from the ways in which stories are told.This module explores how interactive and immersive fictions enable and empower us to rethink and reshape how stories are told within a range of different contexts. In an interdisciplinary and collaborative environment, students will develop creative skills such as how to build immersive imaginary worlds; how to craft story archaeologies; and how to incorporate user interactivity into different forms of fiction, in order to create experiences that have emotional and psychological value. We will examine questions such as: what makes a meaningful interactive or immersive story? How do interactive and immersive forms change the way we think about terms like narrative and reader? What influences a person's experience of an immersive or interactive story? And what do current, past and future technologies make possible for the telling of stories?To take the module, students need only have an interest in the craft of storytelling and a vivid imagination; previous experience of gaming or programming may be useful but is not essential. With an emphasis on practical creative work and collaborative learning, this module will interest students from a range of backgrounds, including creative writing, game design, arts, marketing and theatre.

The digital sphere has given voice and meeting spaces to communities and activist groups, enabling social action, art and change. It has also been used by reactionaries, nationalists and the far-right groups to amplify hate filled messages. Analysing platforms that may include Facebook, Twitter, Uber and Wikipedia, the module engages with concepts such as participatory and collaborative culture, sharing economies, democracy and surveillance.Students will engage in sourcing, analysing and critiquing social media content by way of a Digital Portfolio. This work will be contextualised by an essay that situates students' multimedia exercises within key debates in online culture. To facilitate this, lectures and seminars will explore various case studies - from mainstream politicians’ use of social media in campaigning, to the intensification of hate speech in the cyber sphere, to the ethics of using unpaid journalists and the economy of sharing - in order to encourage students to engage critically with the relationship between politics, economics, personal expression and art making practices in the digital age.

Fees

Fees for 2023/24 have not yet been set. As a guide the 2022/23 UK fees for this course are:

  • Home full-time £9250
  • EU full-time £15900
  • International full-time £21200

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Fees for Year in Industry

The 2023/24 annual tuition fees for UK undergraduate courses have not yet been set by the UK Government. As a guide only full-time tuition fees for Home and EU undergraduates for 2022/23 entry are £1,385.

Fees for Year Abroad

The 2023/24 annual tuition fees for UK undergraduate courses have not yet been set by the UK Government. As a guide only full-time tuition fees for Home and EU undergraduates for 2022/23 entry are £1,385.

Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status. 

Additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.

Funding

University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.

Scholarships

General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. 

The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages

The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either mathematics or a modern foreign language. Please review the eligibility criteria.

We have a range of subject-specific awards and scholarships for academic, sporting and musical achievement.

Search scholarships

Teaching and assessment

Most modules consist of a mix of lectures, seminars, practical work, computer sessions and private study. The workstations in our computer suites are equipped with current industry-standard software.

All modules contain design and project work, and are continuously assessed. The specialist project at Stage 3 is assessed by a written report, poster, a critique and, of course, the outcome of the project itself. Both Stage 2 and 3 marks count towards your degree result.

The industrial placement year is assessed by a written report, poster, and industrial assessment that together count as 10% of your overall degree result.

The year abroad is assessed on a pass or fail basis.

Our students have 24-hour access to our extensive air-conditioned computer suites and are able to take advantage of a dedicated production studio, with green-screen, VR suite and makerspace.

Contact hours

For a student studying full time, each academic year of the programme will comprise 1200 learning hours which include both direct contact hours and private study hours.  The precise breakdown of hours will be subject dependent and will vary according to modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Methods of assessment will vary according to subject specialism and individual modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Programme aims

The course aims to:

  • provide a multidisciplinary education for students who seek professional careers in the field of digital design
  • produce graduates who have an informed, critical and creative approach to understanding digital design and its applications in contemporary society
  • prepare students to meet the challenges of a broad and rapidly changing field while providing them with a wide choice of careers
  • provide proper academic guidance and welfare support for all students
  • create an atmosphere of co-operation and partnership between staff and students, and offer the students an environment where they can develop their potential
  • give an opportunity to gain experience as a digital media practitioner working in a professional environment
  • develop employment-related skills, including an understanding of how you relate to the structure and function in an organisation, via a year in industry.


Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • the audio, visual and verbal conventions through which sounds, images and words take meaning
  • fundamental concepts of IT and software engineering
  • the creative processes involved in visual design
  • the contextual, historical and conceptual dimensions of the discipline
  • audio and video technology
  • the multimedia authoring process
  • fundamentals of 3D modelling and animation
  • key production processes and professional practices relevant to the design industry
  • the legal, ethical and regulatory frameworks which affect the development of multimedia applications
  • the role of technology in terms of mixed media production, access and use
  • aspects of the core subject areas from the perspective of a commercial or industrial organisation.

Intellectual skills

You develop the following intellectutal skills:

  • examining multimedia applications critically with appropriate reference to their social and cultural contexts and diversity of contemporary society
  • awareness that technologies are rapidly changing and that you should expect to update your knowledge throughout your working life
  • awareness of the objectives, constraints and conditions of a commercial environment, including financial and time constraints
  • designing and developing software-based on an analysis of system requirements
  • researching and integrating information and data from a variety of sources for essays, projects and multimedia applications
  • analysis of a problem and development of a solution based on technical, aesthetic and economic factors
  • consideration and evaluatation of your own work in a reflexive manner with reference to academic and professional issues
  • analysis, interpretation and exercising critical judgement in the understanding and evaluation of multimedia applications
  • applying some of the intellectual skills specified for the course from the perspective of a commercial or industrial organization.


Subject-specific skills

You develop the following subject-specific skills:

  • ability to use scripting and programming languages in the implementation of interactive applications
  • ability to demonstrate creative and technical skills in design
  • ability to develop specific proficiencies in utilising a range of multimedia design tools including 3D modelling, video editing, image manipulating and multimedia authoring
  • ability to integrate text, graphics and time-based elements to produce effective design solutions
  • ability to initiate, develop and realise distinctive and creative applications which demonstrate the effective manipulation of digital assets
  • ability to utilise a range of research skills, for example, research into potential audiences and markets, as a production tool
  • ability to prepare technical reports and presentations
  • ability to apply management techniques to the planning, resource allocations and execution of a design project
  • apply some of the subject-specific skills specified for the programme from the perspective of a commercial or industrial organisation. 



Transferable skills

You develop the following transferable skills:

  • ability to generate, analyse, present and interpret data
  • use of information and communications technology
  • personal and interpersonal skills, teamworking
  • ability to communicate effectively to a variety of audiences and/or using a variety of methods
  • ability for working in flexible, creative and independent ways and for critical thinking, reasoning and reflection 
  • ability to organise and manage time and resources within an individual project and a group project.

Careers

Graduate destinations

Digital Design prepares you for careers in areas such as: 

  • 3D production and animation
  • digital marketing
  • user experience design
  • web design and development.

Help finding a job

Employers are always keen to employ graduates with knowledge of the work environment and some students receive job offers from their placement company.

The University also has an award-winning Careers and Employability Service which can give you advice on how to:

  • apply for jobs
  • write a good CV
  • perform well in interviews.

Career-enhancing skills

Studying on this degree not only equips you with an in-depth understanding of some of the most exciting technologies of the 21st century, it also helps you to develop useful workplace skills such as:

  • planning and organisation
  • leadership
  • effective communication. 

You can gain extra skills by signing up for one of our Kent Extra activities, such as learning a language or volunteering.

Applications

UCAS application cycle for 2023 entry opens on 3 May 2022.

Our Open Days are a great way to discover more about the courses and get a feel for where you'll be studying. Along with campus tours, online chats and virtual events there are lots of other ways to visit us.

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Contact us

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United Kingdom/EU enquiries

Enquire online for full-time study

T: +44 (0)1227 768896

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International student enquiries

Enquire online

T: +44 (0)1227 823254
E: internationalstudent@kent.ac.uk

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School website

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Discover Uni is jointly owned by the Office for Students, the Department for the Economy Northern Ireland, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and the Scottish Funding Council.

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Find out more about the Unistats dataset on the Higher Education Statistics Agency website.