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Digital Film Production BA (Hons) - University of Sunderland

Course overview

This course develops technical skills, academic rigour and personal creativity, and is excellent training for careers in the film, television and new media industries.

You will take core modules that develop the craft of digital filmmaking, using the University’s state-of-the-art digital camera systems as well as industry-standard editing software including Final Cut Pro and Avid products. Modules include a series of practical projects, culminating in a major project in your final year. There are also options to study more theory-based modules.

Your studies will be enriched by Sunderland’s cutting-edge research. In the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF), media research was rated ‘world-leading’.

The University is a very supportive environment and you will study with a like-minded peer group. We will encourage you to be creative and to develop your own approach. Throughout your degree, you will have a Personal Tutor who will monitor progress, discuss options and offer appropriate guidance.

 Work placement JAN 2016

In addition to subject-specific skills, you will also build up transferable skills in communication, teamwork and creativity. These will help you move into rewarding jobs in the media after the end of the course. *According to the Department for Culture, Media & Sport.

Work experience

All students studying on-campus undergraduate Digital Film Production courses can take up a CV-enhancing work placement, a University-led industry initiative, or a professional and business development boot camp. *By the term placement, we mean we are offering you a taste of the industry which might last anything from two days to four weeks on a part-time basis.

Student George talks about the experience of studying at the University of Sunderland and the facilities designed for students from the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media:

Get a first–hand insight into the making of the touching short documentary ‘I Am Normal’ from the student filmmakers themselves. ‘I Am Normal’ was Nominated for Student Awards - Factual at the Royal Television Society Regional Awards North East and the Border 2016.

Course content

Modules on this course include:

Year 1 (national level 4)

  • Introduction to Media and Cultural Studies (20 Credits) ‌
  • Media Production Skills (20 Credits)
  • Introduction to Sound Design (20 Credits)
  • Introduction to Film Studies (20 Credits)
  • Visual Storytelling (20 Credits)
  • Digital Fictional Film (20 credits) 

Year 2 (national level 5)

  • Media and Cultural Studies (20 Credits) Digital Film Production on page image 2
  • Documentary (20 Credits)
  • Digital Fictional Film 2 (20 Credits)
  • Experimental Digital Film Production (20 Credits)
  • Film Theory and Criticism (20 Credits) 

Optional modules (choose two):

  • Moving Camera (20 Credits)
  • Digital Effects 2 (20 Credits)
  • Scriptwriting (20 Credits)

Final Year (national level 6)

  • Digital Fictional Film 3 (40 Credits) 
  • Major Practical Project (40 Credits)
  • Film and Feeling (20 Credits)

Optional modules (choose two):

  • Advanced Digital Postproduction (20 Credits)
  • Documentary Production (20 Credits)
  • Screenwriting (20 Credits)
  • Moving Camera 2 (20 Credits) 

Part-time study

If you study this course on a part-time basis you will typically complete 40-80 credits in a year, rather than the 120 credits of full-time students. All modules are taught during the day time and you will be studying alongside full-time students.

Teaching and assessment

We use a variety of teaching methods including lectures, demonstrations, workshops, seminars, screenings, group and individual projects, and independent learning.

In the second year of the course we encourage you to take a work placement module. Developing relevant experience of work is an integral part of the course, and throughout your time at Sunderland, you will be encouraged to continuously liaise with the digital film production industry with work experience placements and industry-run master classes.

According to the National Student Survey, 95% of our media students agree that staff are good at explaining things.

Assessment methods include portfolios of practical work, production files, essays, examinations, reports and presentations. To find out more about modules, credits and how you will be assessed, please see the page how courses are taught. Information about our policies relating to student experience and quality assurance processes can be found on the Academic Services website.

Key Information Sets

All UK Universities and colleges display Key Information Sets (KIS) on their undergraduate courses. The KIS gives you a quick overview of some standard information about a course, and has a link to more detailed information on Unistats.

Facilities & location


We have over 40 full HD tapeless field camera systems, comprising Sony EX1 and EX3 models, with associated location kits, lighting, field monitors and audio mixers. 

We also have two production studios complete with green rooms and control rooms. Equipment includes four Steadicam rigs plus dolly, track and mini crane. ‌

Digital editing

There are 70 workstations with state-of-the-art HD Edit systems, including Final Cut Studio and Avid Media Composer. There is also a digital audio postproduction area with four voiceover booths. 

Radio studios

We have five radio studios including a transmission suite for Spark FM, our student-run community radio station. It broadcasts 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with a target audience of 15-24 year olds.

Other media facilities

There is a 203-seat cinema with full HD projection, 7.1 surround sound facility and the capability to play 3D feature films.

We have a live Sky feed and off-air recording facility, including DVD and Blu-ray recording, plus extensive footage archive/library.

University Library Services

We’ve got a wide range of books, journals and e-books on relevant topics, with many more available through the inter-library loan service. Some useful resources for your studies include:

  • Archival Sound Recordings with over 12,000 hours of recordings
  • British Universities Film and Video Council (BUFVC), which provides resources for the production, study and use of film and related media in higher education and research


The David Puttnam Media Centre

The Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter's, St Peter's Way, Sunderland, SR6 0DD

Entry requirements

Our typical offer is 120 UCAS points from a minimum of two A Levels or equivalent (e.g. 1 x AVCE double award). Read more on the new UCAS Tariff point system for 2017.

We accept a maximum of 6 points from Level 3 Key Skills qualifications. 

We also require three passes at GCSE grade C or above, which must include Mathematics and English Language, or a minimum of Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number.

If English is not your first language, please see our English language requirements.

If you are studying a HND or Foundation Degree you may be able to enter onto the final year of our degree courses. For more information, please contact

Other acceptable qualifications

BTEC National: 120 points from a BTEC Certificate or Diploma.

Access Courses: We would require successful completion of an Access to Higher Education course that is accredited by the Quality Assurance Agency. We would also require a minimum of grade C in GCSE in Mathematics and English Language or the equivalent as part of your course.

Scottish Highers: Our typical offer is for 120 points.

Irish Leaving Certificate: Our typical offer is for 120 points.

International qualifications: Please call the Student Helpline for advice on other acceptable qualifications. The number from outside the UK is +44 191 515 3000.

Any other qualifications: If you have any other qualifications not listed here, you may still be eligible. Please contact the Student Helpline for advice: 0191 515 3000.

Returners to Learning: If you are a mature student, you may benefit from our dedicated Returners to Learning Progression Scheme. For further information email or call the Student Helpline: 0191 515 3000.

If you wish to be considered for direct entry to a different year of a course, please contact the Student Helpline: 0191 515 3000.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

If you feel you already know some of the topics covered in this course, either due to previous learning or from experience of work, then you may not need to study all of the course.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) is the name given to the process of gaining credit towards a qualification because of something you have learnt in the past. If you are eligible for APL you won't have to learn the same topic again, and so you can be exempt from a module, set of modules or year of a course. 

Read more about APL in the Quality Handbook (.pdf). If you think you may be eligible for APL, please contact the course leader.

Fees & finance

The annual fee for this course is:

  • £9,250 if you are from the UK / EU
  • £10,750 if you are from outside the UK / EU

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, please see the International section of this website.

Scholarships and bursaries may be available to you – please see the Fees and Finance section of this website for more information.

Part-time fees 

Tuition fees for part-time students are £4,880 per 120 Credits.

Please note that part-time courses are not available to international students who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, please see the International section of this website.

Scholarships and bursaries may be available to you – please see the Fees and Finance section of this website for more information.

Employment & careers

Career destinations

This degree prepares you for careers in the film, TV and new media industries. In addition, your training in communication, teamwork and creativity will be highly relevant to roles in many different businesses and in the public sector.

Recent graduates from Sunderland have gained jobs with employers such as:

  • BBC
  • Channel 4
  • Sky TV
  • MTV
  • Production companies

You could also choose to continue your studies with a Masters degree at the University of Sunderland, such as MA Media Production (Television and Video) or MA Film and Cultural Studies.

Work experience

We actively encourage students to gain relevant work experience while at university. In every year of your course, you will be guided and encouraged to gain meaningful experience that will fit around your studies.

In your second year, you will have the opportunity to take a work placement module. Many of our students have used this time to work for media and film companies such as the BBC, Tyne Tees Television or one of the region’s many smaller production companies.

You will also undertake a number of practice modules throughout your course. Assignments can include live briefs where the outcome is dictated by clients from outside the University. You will build up a portfolio of work, culminating in a major project in the final year.

External links

We encourage you to take part in competitions; our students have a record of winning awards from organisations such as the Royal Television Society.

Our students also submit work to, and attend, BBC North Developing Talent events. We are involved in the BBC Connect and Create Partnership.

Throughout the course, we invite guest speakers to run workshops and master classes that allow you to relate your learning to real-life experience.

University Language Scheme

It is usually possible to take a module from the free University Language Scheme. This can be studied on top of your 120 credits or in some cases, can earn credits towards your degree.

Language skills increase your international mobility and you can choose between French, German, Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese and Arabic at a range of levels. If your first language is not English, please check with your tutor about entry requirements.

Staff and students talk about the benefits of the University Language Scheme:


The University of Sunderland is committed to ensuring that every student has an impressive range of opportunities to enhance their CV and gain valuable experience.

  • Work placements
  • Graduate internships
  • Studying abroad
  • Student Ambassador Scheme
  • Mentoring
  • Starting your own business
  • Student jobs and volunteering
  • Careers advice

 For more information, visit:


Support for your learning

You can expect stimulating contact time with tutors. There is also a significant amount of time where you will be researching and studying on your own in preparation for assignments and seminars. If you have individual queries or difficulties within subject areas, you can book an appointment with your tutor to gain more in-depth support and guidance. 

From the start of the course you will be allocated a Personal Tutor. You’ll meet your Personal Tutor at agreed times throughout each year of the course. Personal Tutors encourage your personal development and are a useful point of contact for any queries about your course, extracurricular activities and issues where they can point you towards specialist services at the University. These include student counselling, financial advice and chaplaincy support. 

Further support is provided by our technicians who help you make the most of the University’s equipment and software.

Support for your development

To help ensure the course is meeting aspirations for personal development, we invite students to fill in questionnaires at the end of modules. This provides a structured way for you to keep us up-to-date with your views. 

During your course, and particularly towards the end of it, we encourage you to make full use of the resources at our Careers and Employability Service. The Service helps you explore your options, clarify your ideas, develop a career focus and make effective applications.

Extracurricular activities

The University supports student-led initiatives that enhance the extracurricular activities available to you. Some of these are related to particular subjects while others allow you to pursue interests and social activities. It’s all part of the vibrant and life-changing atmosphere at the University of Sunderland.

For more information about all the support services you will have access to as a Sunderland student, please see Student support and guidance.

Student work

These videos were created by Digital Film Production students.

Apply for this course

Interested in this course? Apply straight away through UCAS, or read our 7-step guide to applying to university

Part-time study: if you want to study this course on a part-time basis, you need to apply directly to the University of Sunderland by downloading the part-time application form (.pdf).

Want to know more about this course or the University of Sunderland? Download your personalised prospectus or come to our next Open Day to see the facilities and talk to academic staff:

    Next Open Day

  • Date: Thursday 23rd February 2017
  • Time: 3:00pm-8:00pm
  • Type: University Open Day
  • Location: Science Complex, City Campus, Sunderland SR1 3SD

Contact Sunderland

Contact the Programme Leader for specific questions about the course:

Jo McCullock
Tel: 0191 515 2169

Social media: To see what events we run and to ask a question about this course, contact the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media on Facebook and Twitter.

Contact the Student Helpline for further information about studying at the University of Sunderland:

Tel: 0191 515 3000

The details

Course Name Digital Film Production
Classification BA (Hons)
Course Mode Full-time/Part-time
Course Level Undergraduate
Duration 3 years
Study Location On-campus (Sunderland)
Starting 18 September 2017
UK/EU Fee £9,250
Intl Fee £10,750

Entry requirements

120 points

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