Digital Film Production with Integrated Foundation Year BA (Hons)

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This is a four-year version of our popular BA (Hons) Digital Film Production course, with an integrated foundation year. Kick start your career in film. Explore your personal creativity through practical projects. Develop technical skills, with excellent training in film, television and new media.

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Whether your interest is action, animation, documentary, horror or Sci-Fi, this course provides an excellent environment for you to develop your own exciting and rewarding career in the film industry. With a mix of practical skill and theoretical knowledge, you’ll be set to turn creativity into reality.

In the first year – the foundation year – you will study 4 modules; a subject-related module, a numeracy skills module, a study skills-related module called 'Succeeding at University and Beyond' and a foundation project module. After completion of this foundation year, you will then move onto the Digital Film Production honours degree course.

Develop practical production skills including camera, sound, editing, post-production, lighting, colour grading, producing and directing. Your learning experience will be greatly enhanced by our top class equipment including specialised digital cameras, Steadicam rigs, drones and professional editing software packages like Avid and Final Cut Pro.

You will increase your understanding of the history of cinema and different film genres with our theory based modules. Options include European Cinema and Contemporary Cinema. You will gather a broad understanding of many varied aspects of the film industry.

We encourage you to take full advantage of our creative and business services, which prepare you for careers in digital film and broadcast industries. Supported by our experts you will engage with industry from year one through work experience with a number of broadcasters and film shoots.

Students have gone on to win awards from the Royal Television Society and have seen their work used in promotional material for organisations and cities.

You will acquire transferable skills in communication, teamwork and creativity which are essential to success in the industry. This course will give you the skills and experience to move into rewarding jobs in the media.

Why us?

  • Inspirational graduate success stories – former students have worked on I, Daniel Blake, Victoria, Beowulf and The Dumping Ground
  • Students have undertaken work experience on films and TV shows including Avengers: Infinity War, Vera and Netflix original productions
  • All our academics are working or researching in media so you’ll study alongside scriptwriters, filmmakers, radio producers, and independent film producers with expertise in moving camera, cinematography and SteadiCam
  • All students studying on-campus undergraduate media courses can take up a CV-enhancing work placement
  • Study in our purpose built media centre, a base for Made in Tyne & Wear and BBC Newcastle
  • Media and Film Studies courses at Sunderland are 15th in the UK according to The Guardian University league tables 2018

Course structure

Teaching and assessment

Our teaching methods develop subject-specific knowledge and transferable skills that enhance employability. These include skills in communication, analysis, research, teamwork, writing and presentation.

You will receive lectures, demonstrations, workshops, seminars, screenings, group and individual projects, and independent learning.

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.

Assessment methods include portfolios of practical work, production files, essays, examinations, reports and presentations.


Foundation Year

The Media, Humanities and Creative Industries Integrated Foundation Year includes five modules: 

  • Essential Study Skills (20 credits)
  • Maths (20 credits)
  • Foundation module (40 credits)
  • Project (20 credits)
  • Subject Specialism (20 credits)


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

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)
  • 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 (20 credits)
  • Major Practical Project (40 credits)
  • Film and Feeling (20 credits)

Optional modules (choose three):

  • Advanced Digital Postproduction (20 credits)
  • Documentary Production (20 credits)
  • Screenwriting (20 credits)
  • Moving Camera 2 (20 credits)
  • The David Puttnam Media Centre has a 203-seat cinema with 7.1 surround sound facility.

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

    The cinema is used for film screenings, critique, lectures, live broadcast screenings and student film nights.

  • Develop your skills in one of our 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.

    You’ll also access our digital audio postproduction area with voiceover booths.

    Digital editing
  • Get hands-on in our two broadcast-quality production studios complete with green room and changing facilities.

    You’ll 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.

    Film facilities
  • 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
  • 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.

  • 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.

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.

This course is under review. The course title and modules are subject to change.

Fees and finance

If you join us in September 2019, the foundation year will be £4,500.

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.

This information was correct at the time of publication.

Student in the Sunderland Futures department


This degree prepares you for careers in the film and TV 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.

Career destinations

Our students have gained placements or graduate roles with employers such as BBC Radio 1, Capital FM, Channel 4, Heart FM, Metro Radio, Sky TV, BBC Sport, MTV, ITV Studios (Coronation Street), Talk Sport, The Guardian, Jamie Oliver Productions, Lime Pictures, Absolute Radio, BBC Radio 6 Music, I Daniel Blake, BBC World Service, regional newspapers and PR companies.

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

You will undertake a number of practice modules throughout your course, which can include live briefs from clients from outside the University. You will build up a portfolio of work, to show future employers.

In your second year, you may 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.

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.

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 and we have links to Community Media Association.

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

Meet the team

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