Screen Performance with Integrated Foundation Year BA (Hons)

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This is a four-year version of our popular BA (Hons) Screen Performance course, with an integrated foundation year. Perfect performance for TV, film, radio or voiceover. Equip yourself with technical ability, and master audition and pitching skills. Gain experience that will launch a media career in front and behind the camera or microphone.

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Course overview

Explore the practical, theoretical and contextual aspects of the highly specialist areas of screen performance with this exciting new course. You will learn the insider skills and techniques for Television, Film and Radio and master industry standards and conventions alongside practitioners and leading researchers. We’ll guide you through the different genres of screen performance such as drama, comedy, soap opera and factual reportage.

Preparing you for your career is at the heart of this course. You’ll develop key industry skills and techniques and gain professional practice in areas which have been identified as ‘skill gaps’ by industry practitioners, e.g. multi-camera acting and directing, story-lining, project management, acting for green screen and acting/presenting for live broadcast.

You can specialise as you progress and you’ll have the opportunity to pick up modules from across our performing arts and digital production offer. Working alongside students from other courses, you’ll share knowledge and expertise that replicate industry projects. You’ll build a profile on our internal Sunlight casting website, so you can learn and practice industry standards and conventions.

Why us?

  • We are a University that is nationally recognised for supporting learners particularly from non-traditional backgrounds and many students come to us with no formal qualifications but with valuable work experience
  • 93.4% of our graduates are in employment, further study or training within six months of graduating, according to DLHE 2016/17 (based on full-time, first degree, home leavers)
  • Our Media and Film Studies courses are ranked 15th in the UK according to The Guardian University league tables 2018
  • Get involved with our internationally award-winning community radio station Spark, which broadcasts 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
  • All students studying on-campus undergraduate media courses can take up a CV-enhancing work placement
  • Rub shoulders with BBC Newcastle, Made in Tyne and Wear and internationally award-winning Spark Sunderland; all based in our dedicated Media Centre

New Sunderland Culture logo

A city brimming with creative potential

Offering a year-round programme of exhibitions, events and performances, Sunderland Culture brings big-name artists from the worlds of contemporary visual arts, glass, ceramics and performance to the city, alongside showcasing the best and most exciting local talent. There is a huge range of opportunities for students to visit the venues, take part in events and get involved in the programme. Learn more about Sunderland Culture.

Course structure

In the first year – the foundation year – you will study five modules; a module about the foundations of art, design, performance and media production, an essential study skills module, a foundation project module, practical numeracy skills, and an introduction to creative practice module. After completion of this foundation year, you will then move onto the Screen Performance honours degree course.

Alongside your practical work, teaching methods include lectures, demonstrations, workshops, seminars, screenings, group and individual projects, and independent learning. The course has been designed to include a number of employability initiatives and links to industry, which are embedded throughout the course.

As you progress through the course, you’ll develop the core skills in screen acting, while having the opportunity to follow your own interests and specialisms to support your individual career choices. The course culminates in a major screen/media project in an area of performance that supports your individual preference and/or career interests.

You will be assessed in a variety of different forms, with learning outputs mirroring industry outputs in terms of showreels, audition and on-set standards and etiquette, video essays, adverts, jingles as well as developing essay writing, research and presentation skills.

Foundation Year

The Creative Industries: Arts, Design, Performance, Media Production Integrated Foundation Year includes five modules:

  • Foundations of Art, Design, Performance and Media Production (40 credits)
  • Essential Study Skills (20 credits)
  • Foundation Project (20 credits)
  • Practical Numeracy Skills (20 credits)
  • Introduction to Creative Practice (20 credits) 

Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.

Year 1 (national level 4):

  • From Script to Screen (20 credits)
  • Techniques for Screen Performance (20 credits)
  • Voice Acting (20 credits)
  • Media Production Skills (20 credits)
  • Live to Air (20 credits)
  • Studying Stage Performance (20 credits)

Year 2 (national level 5):

Core modules

  • Methods and Meaning of Performance (20 credits)
  • Life, Love and Laughter: the Multi-camera Performance (20 credits)
  • Methods and Practice of Performance (20 credits)
  • Guerilla Filmmaking (20 credits)

Optional modules (choose two):

  • Think, Point, Share (20 credits)
  • Moving Camera (20 credits)
  • Scriptwriting (20 credits)
  • Radio Production (20 credits)
  • Experimental Digital Film Practice (20 credits)
  • Musical Theatre (20 credits)
  • Animated Film (20 credits)

(Availability and timetable permitting).

Final year (national level 6):

Core modules

  • Acting Now (20 credits)
  • Final Act (60 credits)

Optional modules (choose two):

  • Film Stars and Stardom (20 credits)
  • Moving Camera II (20 credits)
  • Scriptwriting for TV and Film II (20 credits)
  • TV Drama (20 credits)
  • TV Format Factory (20 credits)
  • Radio Drama (20 credits)
  • Musical Theatre (20 credits)
  • Sci-Fi and Fantasy TV (20 credits)

(Availability and timetable permitting).

  • We’ve got thousands of relevant books and e-books, with many more titles available through the inter-library loan service. We also subscribe to a comprehensive range of print and electronic journals so you can access the most reliable and up-to-date academic and industry articles.

    Resources which will be particularly useful for Journalism and Media studies include:

    • Lexis, which provides full-text newspaper articles as well as access to legal information
    • JSTOR (short for ‘Journal Storage’), which provides access to important journals across the humanities, social sciences and sciences
    • 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
    • Screen Online (BFI), which is an online encyclopaedia of British film and television, featuring clips from the vast collections of the BFI National Archive
    Library Services - journalism and media
  • The University’s facilities for Performing Arts include:

    • Our own 203-seat cinema with 7.1 surround sound facility
    • Two production studios with 4.6k camera system complete with green room and changing facilities
    • Eight Steadicam rigs plus dolly, track, drone and mini crane
    • Field camera systems, comprising 4.6k Blackmagic Ursa, Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro and Canon EOS 5D Mark III, with associated location kits, lighting, field monitors and audio mixers
    • Five radio studios including a Radio Drama Studio and transmission suite for Spark Sunderland
    • Avid Learning Partner (ALP)
    • Avid Certified Instructors (ACI) on staff for Avid Media Composer and ProTools
    • 60 post-production workstations all with Avid Media Composer, Avid Protools, Adobe CC, DaVinci Resolve and Baselight
    • Designated colour grading rooms and Avid S6 audio mixing room
    • Digital audio post-production area with voiceover booths
    • Local TV channel, a BBC reporter and a University owned community radio station on campus
    • Engagement with enterprise teams to encourage entrepreneurship
    Performing Arts Facilities
  • Learn in our 203 seat cinema and 7.1 surround sound facility. Get hands-on in our two broadcast-quality production studios complete with green room and changing facilities. Access four Steadicam rigs plus dolly, track and mini crane. Our field camera systems, comprises Blackmagic Ursa, Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro, Blackmagic 4K Production Camera and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, with associated location kits, lighting, field monitors and audio mixers.

    Get experience with Made in Tyne & Wear, based in the Media Centre providing placements to students and jobs to several of our graduates.

    Go on-air in one of five radio studios, including a larger radio drama studio and a transmission suite for Spark, our award winning student-run community radio station. Spark has a target audience of 15 to 24 year-olds and broadcasts 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

    Develop your skills in our digital audio post-production area with voice-over booths and 70 workstations with state-of-the-art HD Edit systems, including Final Cut Pro, Avid Media Composer and Premier Pro. You'll also use DaVinci Resolve for colour correction. 

    TV and radio studios
  • Map and directions


The David Puttnam Media Centre is a thriving place to study and experience media. Rub shoulders with BBC Newcastle and Made in Tyne & Wear, who are both based in the building. Volunteer with award winning Spark Sunderland, write for one of our suite of websites or edit Spark Magazine in our mediaHUB. Get hands on in TV and Radio Studios, Journalism and Digital editing suites. Learn from experts in this centre of excellence for training.

Entry requirements

The Integrated Foundation Year is specially designed to support you where you have just missed the grades required for direct entry onto a three-year degree, or if you have relevant work experience and are now looking to broaden your subject knowledge but want more time to develop study skills before starting your degree.

Entry requirements are provided for guidance only and we may offer you an entrance interview which will help us determine your eligibility for your chosen degree. This enables us to consider making you an offer if you are perhaps a mature student who has been out of education for a period of time, or you have gained significant knowledge and skills through employment rather than traditional education.

Eligible entry qualifications:

1. Normally a minimum of three Level 2 qualifications (NVQ, GCSE or equivalent ), including Maths and English at grade C or above** and a minimum of 40 UCAS tariff points from Level 3 qualifications (e.g. A or AS Levels, BTEC certificates/diplomas, access courses or equivalent)
2. Demonstrable evidence of appropriate knowledge and skills acquired from at least three years of post-school work experience.

Find out how many points your qualifications are worth using the UCAS Tariff calculator.

If you are unsure of whether you think you might be suitable for the course, please contact us!

** If you have studied for a GCSE which has a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above. Equivalent alternative qualifications are also accepted, such as Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number. If you have not achieved a grade C in Maths and English we may be able to work with you to ensure that you are able to gain these in the first year of the course, depending on your experience.

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

For more information about Integrated Foundation Year programmes, including more detailed module information, please see our Help and Advice articles.

Fees and finance

If you join us in September 2020, the foundation year will be £5,000.

For the following three years, the annual fee will be £9,250 but you will receive £1,250 cash-back in the first and final year of the full-undergraduate course.

In addition, you may receive free travel across the Tyne and Wear region and a University of Sunderland StudyPLUS Card loaded with additional offers up to the value of £200, plus a bundle of study skills books worth £80.

If you are a full-time UK student you may be eligible to receive financial support to cover your fee and maintenance loan for the full four years.

Please note, this course is not available to international students.

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more in our Help and Advice article.

Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.

Use our scholarships calculator to see what you may be entitled to.

Scholarships calculator

This information was correct at the time of publication.

Student in the Sunderland Futures department


This degree prepares you for a variety of careers in media production in front of and behind the camera or microphone. You will gain highly transferable skills in communication, presentation and collaboration with others which will be very relevant to roles in TV, radio, new media, advertising and performing arts.

Career destinations

Recent graduates are currently enjoying success in the radio field with Heart, Capital, Metro, BBC Radio 1 and Viking FM.

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

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.

You will also undertake a number of practical assignments, which can include live briefs from clients outside the University. You will build up a portfolio of work, to show future employers.

All students studying on-campus undergraduate media 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 are offering you a taste of the industry which might last anything from two days to four weeks on a part-time basis.

Industry links and facilities

We frequently invite guest speakers to run workshops and master classes, allowing you to relate your learning to real-life experience.

We have excellent links with national employers such as the BBC and ITV, and strong links with regional productions like Vera, Wolfblood and the Dumping Ground.

Throughout your studies you’ll be guided and supported by our experts, all of whom are working or researching in media and performance. You’ll study alongside scriptwriters, film makers, choreographers radio producers, presenters, actors, and independent film producers who will share their experience and encourage you to build your network.

We're known for excellent media facilities and have over 50 workstations with state-of-the-art HD Edit systems, including Final Cut Pro, Avid and Media Composer. We also have our own 203-seat cinema with full HD projection and a 7.1 surround sound facilities.

Award-winning radio

You have the opportunity to be actively involved in Spark Sunderland, the 24/7 Community Radio station based in the campus Media Centre.

Spark has won many awards including:

  • Finalist Certificate for Best Student Radio Station category in the 2017 New York Radio Awards
  • Silver award for Best Student Radio Station in the 2016 New York Radio Awards
  • Bronze award for Best Student Documentary in the 2016 New York Radio Awards
  • Bronze award in the Best Student Radio Station category in the 2015 New York Radio Awards
  • Gold award for Best Student Radio Drama in the 2015 New York Radio Awards
  • Bronze award in the Best Student Radio Station category in the 2015 Student Radio Awards

We also have links with Community Media Association, Community Radio and The Royal Television Society.

Meet the team

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