Virtual and Augmented Reality MA

Study level: Postgraduate
Young woman wearing a VR headset playing against a green screen

This course aims to help develop the creative, critical and technical skills required for practitioners to develop, craft, perform, co-create and share immersive arts experiences.

Year of entry

2024-25

Location

Coventry University (Coventry)

Study mode

Full-time
Part-time

Duration

1 year full-time
2 years part-time
16-24 months (with professional experience)

Course code

AHT086

Start date

September 2024
January 2025
May 2025


Course overview

The course will explore the use of a range of immersive techniques and technologies4 in contemporary creative practice including but not limited to:

  • Headset Technologies: Virtual Reality (VR) / Augmented Reality (AR) / Mixed Reality (MR)
  • Narrative Forms: Interactive Storytelling / Hypertext / Choose your own adventure
  • Play: Role Playing Games / Escape Rooms / Street Games
  • Performance: Immersive Theatre / Performance Capture / Digital Dance
  • Leisure: Theme parks / Outdoor and “Secret” Cinema / Heritage Settings
  • Sonic experiences: Multichannel Audio / ASMR / Spatial Composition
  • Site-responsive Working: Projection Mapping / Real-time Mobile Technologies / 5G and IoT4
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Joint Top Modern University for Career Prospects

Guardian University Guide 2021 and 2022

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5 QS Stars for Teaching and Facilities

QS Stars University Ratings

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Top 10 UK Student City (Coventry)

QS Best Student Cities Index 2024

Why you should study this course

The course has been structured to allow you the opportunity to gain a breadth of experience and also to work in-depth on a chosen specialism, with the aim of becoming a dynamic and agile graduate who is prepared for an evolving, creative-critical discipline, not tied to the limitations of any one particular technology or approach. Graduates from the course should be able to excel across the realisation and actualisation of live projects with collaborators across communities and industries, digital, cultural, creative and third sectors. Benefits include:

  • Working alongside the university’s Office of Teaching and Learning, the Disruptive Media Learning Lab and the Global Opportunities team, delivering high-quality projects and learning experiences2.
  • Opportunities to participate in a range of exciting field trips and industry visits2 – previous students visited the Ai Weiwei Exhibition in London, ESL Games in Leicester, the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, Somerset House in London, Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers Museums in Oxford, and the National Media Museum in Bradford.

What you'll study

The course will take a broad interdisciplinary interpretation of what we mean by immersive practices. Rather than focusing solely on headset immersive technologies, you can expect to work across disciplines, producing hybridised post-digital work that challenges the conventions of media disciplines and encourages you to operate at the forefront of the rapidly expanding immersive sector.

The course builds upon extensive school expertise in the research and practice of immersive forms including performance/motion capture and networked performance, spatial, 360 and volumetric filmmaking, interactive media arts, installation, projection and site-specific working, immersive sound design and multichannel music composition, animation and games art, and play and games design (staff are subject to change).

The course has been designed to prepare you for working at the forefront of the rapidly evolving, emergent immersive creative industries. You will aim to build upon your prior experience and/or learning in creative practice.

Modules

  • This module aims to critically examine the creation, extension, management, augmentation and design of spaces in the context of immersive experiences. The module examines theoretical conceptions of space and place, focusing on the understanding and application of space-making to create immersive experiences.

    Compulsory

  • This module provides you with the theoretical, conceptual, investigative and practical tools needed to develop your own independent research and comprehend which methods will best support your response to a particular research project.

    Compulsory

  • This module explores the changing world of work which Arts and Humanities students enter after study. New technology and the changing global economy mean that jobs and skills are changing and evolving quickly and will continue to do so. This is an exciting and new world, and this module is designed to empower you to realise your potential in it.

    This module provides tools for you to develop into changemakers, thrive in a changing world of work and participate in creating a better future for society. You’ll be guided through a process of reflection that explores four possible futures for the world of work and how to situate your own professional identity as the future of work changes through your careers. This module is designed in collaboration with The RSA (Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), and upon successful completion students will receive RSA digital badging.

    Compulsory

  • This project module aims to allow you to develop your independent and collaborative working skills through a focused application and response to a specific context. Working with peers from within the School of Media and Performing Arts MA courses and/or external collaborators2, you will develop an interdisciplinary response to a live brief generated by addressing and engaging with a social challenge.

    Compulsory

  • This module aims to critically examine the new and emerging technologies in the field of immersive technologies, augmented and virtual reality, with a specific focus on the different approaches and techniques necessitated by each form.

    Compulsory

  • The aim of this module is for you to develop a body of research-informed work in a specialism of your choosing, which demonstrates a critical awareness of current developments and trends in your area of practice/specialism. This work will form the basis of your final project.

    Compulsory

  • This project module aims to allow you to develop your independent and collaborative working skills through a focused application and response to a specific context. Working with peers from within the School of Media and Performing Arts MA courses and/or external collaborators2, you will develop an interdisciplinary response to a live brief generated by engaging with a community issue with the support or guidance of a local group or organisation2.

    Compulsory

  • This module aims to introduce gameful, playful thinking to your immersive experiences of conceptualisation, design, development and evaluation. The module examines play in its broadest sense, focusing on the understanding and application of game principles and mechanics to create immersive experiences.

    Compulsory

  • In this module you will manage to completion, a substantial piece of independent research practice that is informed by the wider contexts of your discipline, and should be well-conceived, well-rounded, and coherent and of a standard appropriate to master’s level.

    Compulsory

  • This project module aims to allow you to develop your independent and collaborative working skills through a focused application and response to a specific context. Working with peers from within the School of Media and Performing Arts MA courses and/or external collaborators2, you will develop an interdisciplinary response to a live brief generated by exploring opportunities for enterprise within your practice2. You will explore potential routes to monetise your work and consider your roles as a member of the future media and performing arts workforce.

    Compulsory

With professional experience option

The professional experience opportunity2 enables you the opportunity to apply for optional professional experience in semester 1, which, upon successfully securing an opportunity, will extend the duration of your master’s to either 16, 20 or 24 months. The professional experience provides an opportunity for you to develop expertise and experience in your chosen field with the aim of enhancing your employability.

Please note that the optional professional experience modules incur an additional tuition fee3, which for 1 semester of professional experience is £1,333.33, for 2 semesters of professional experience is £2,666.67, and for 3 semesters of professional experience is £4,000.

Professional experience may also be subject to additional costs, visa requirements being met, subject to availability and/or competitive application. Professional experience opportunities are not guaranteed but you will benefit from the support of our Talent Team in trying to find and secure an opportunity. Find out more about the professional experience option.

We regularly review our course content, to make it relevant and current for the benefit of our students. For these reasons, course modules may be updated.


How you'll learn

You will engage with a series of different learning activities and resources which include:

  • Group critiques
  • Artist talks and lectures
  • Masterclasses
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops

This course can be studied on a full-time or part-time basis. Whilst we would like to give you all the information about our part-time offering here, it is tailored for each course each year depending on the number of part-time applicants. Therefore, the part-time teaching arrangements vary. Please request information about studying this course part-time.


Teaching contact hours

The number of full-time contact hours may vary from semester to semester, however, on average, it is likely to be around eight contact hours per week in the first year. These will comprise seminars, artist talks and lectures, as well as workshops, masterclasses and critiques. As you develop your final major project these modules will become primarily tutorial-based. This course operates on a “flipped classroom” basis, and you will be expected to undertake guided reading and preparation tasks ahead of classroom sessions.

Additionally, you will be expected to undertake significant self-directed study of approximately 300 hours each semester, depending on the demands of individual modules e.g. working on course assignments, group project activities, reading and maintaining your own public-facing digital profile. This will be supported by skills sessions.

As an innovative and enterprising institution, the university may seek to utilise emerging technologies within the student experience. For all courses (whether on-campus, blended, or distance learning), the university may deliver certain contact hours and assessments via online technologies and methods.

Since COVID-19, we have delivered our courses in a variety of forms, in line with public authority guidance, decisions, or orders and we will continue to adapt our delivery as appropriate. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety.


Assessment

This course will be assessed using a variety of methods which will vary depending upon the module.

Assessment methods include:

  • Immersive artefacts/Bodies of work
  • Contextual documents
  • Portfolios
  • Proposals
  • Presentations
  • Research books

The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards achieving the intended learning outcomes.


Entry requirements

Typical offer for 2024/25 entry.

Applicants to this master’s degree should normally possess an honours degree (2:1 or equivalent) in a relevant subject. If the degree is in an unrelated subject, applicants need to demonstrate appropriate industry knowledge and experience in their application documentation.

Each applicant will be required to include a short statement regarding their interest in studying this course at Coventry University (300-500 words) and are invited to include a link to an online portfolio in order that the course team can get to know their practice. All applicants will be offered a videoconferencing conversation as part of the application where they will have the opportunity to meet with a member of the course team and ask questions about the programme of study.

Candidates with professional/industrial experience, and/or other relevant training and experience may be admitted with lower qualifications.

Non-traditional entry students are welcome: applicants without formal qualifications but professional/industrial experience may be admitted on the basis of an interview and submission of supporting material.

Each application will be considered on its merits and the final decision will be made by the course director.

Chat with us

Select your region to find detailed information about entry requirements:

You can view our full list of country specific entry requirements on our Entry requirements page.

Alternatively, visit our International hub for further advice and guidance on finding in-country agents and representatives, joining our in-country events and how to apply.

Typical entry requirements

Applicants to this master’s degree should normally possess an honours degree (2:1 or equivalent) in a relevant subject. If the degree is in an unrelated subject, applicants need to demonstrate appropriate industry knowledge and experience in their application documentation.

Each application will be considered on its merits and the final decision will be made by the course director.

Non-traditional entry students are welcome: applicants without formal qualifications but professional/industrial experience may be admitted on the basis of an interview and submission of supporting material.

Each applicant will be required to include a short statement regarding their interest in studying this course at Coventry University (300-500 words) and are invited to include a link to an online portfolio in order that the course team can get to know their practice. All applicants will be offered a videoconferencing conversation as part of the application where they will have the opportunity to meet with a member of the course team and ask questions about the programme of study. Candidates with professional/industrial experience, and/or other relevant training and experience may be admitted with lower qualifications.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall, with no component lower than 5.5

If you don't meet the English language requirements, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

For more information on our approved English language tests visit our English language requirements page.

Speak to one of our advisers today for more information regarding specific requirements.

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Fees and funding

2024/25 tuition fees.

Student Full-time Part-time
UK, Ireland*, Channel Islands or Isle of Man £11,200 | £4,000 (Work placement option additional fee)   Request fee information
EU £11,200 | £4,000 (Work placement option additional fee) per year with EU support bursary**
£18,600 | £4,000 (Work placement option additional fee) per year without EU support bursary**
Not available
International £18,600 | £4,000 (Work placement option additional fee)   Not available

For advice and guidance on tuition fees3 and student loans visit our Postgraduate Finance page.

We offer a range of international scholarships to students all over the world. For more information, visit our International Scholarships page.

Tuition fees3 cover the cost of your teaching, assessments, facilities and support services. There may be additional costs not covered by this fee such as accommodation and living costs, recommended reading books, stationery, printing and re-assessments should you need them.

The following are additional costs not included in the tuition fees:

  • Any optional overseas field trips or visits: £400+ per trip.
  • Any costs associated with securing, attending or completing a placement (whether in the UK or abroad).

If you choose to study this course with a professional placement2, you will need to pay a fee of £1,333.33 for 1 semester, £2666.67 for 2 semesters, £4,000 for 3 semesters. This will cover support throughout your time taking the professional placement.

This course may incur additional costs associated with any professional experience2, which could include (but is not limited to) travel, accommodation, activities and visas.

*Irish student fees

The rights of Irish residents to study in the UK are preserved under the Common Travel Area arrangement. If you are an Irish student and meet the residency criteria, you can study in England, pay the same level of tuition fees as English students and utilise the Tuition Fee Loan.

**EU Support Bursary

Following the UK's exit from the European Union, we are offering financial support to all eligible EU students who wish to study an undergraduate or a postgraduate degree with us full-time. This bursary will be used to offset the cost of your tuition fees to bring them in line with that of UK students. Students studying a degree with a foundation year with us are not eligible for the bursary.


Facilities

You will benefit from studying on our well-equipped, modern campus. Our aim is to offer you sector-leading facilities in a dedicated environment4. We also have a well-stocked Media Loan Shop so you can borrow an extensive range of specialist, professional equipment.

television studio

Television Studio

Where applicable, you’ll have access to our on-campus TV studio The Tank, with its specialist TV studio equipment, including large cameras, mixing facilities and fibre-optic wiring throughout.

photography suite

Photography Suite

The photography suite is a superb facility that includes virtual drum scanning, photography studios, black-and-white print darkrooms, free black-and-white film processing, and a digital print bureau.

recording equipment

Media Loan Shop

As a student, you’ll have access to Coventry University’s specialist Media Loan Shop. This well-stocked facility offers an extensive range of specialist, professional photography and film equipment.


Careers and opportunities

Upon successful completion of the course:

  • you will be equipped with the creative critical skills to successfully realise a range of multisensory, interactive and immersive artistic products
  • you will have worked independently and collaboratively to produce work in a range of professional contexts, including working to live briefs developed in partnership with industry
  • you will have developed key transferable skills that enable you to operate at the forefront of the emerging immersive sector
  • you may choose to progress into technical roles, but the course also supports those interested in developing agile skills as writers, performers, directors, producers, designers and facilitators of immersive work
  • you should comprehend the interdisciplinary nature of immersive ways of working and the sector’s demand for flexible, ambitious, dynamic and self-aware practitioners.

Preparing our master’s graduates for onward careers is central to our approach to learning and teaching on the course. This includes aiming to develop authentic assessment, collaborative opportunities, placements, and advice and guidance for onward study on PhD programmes here and internationally2. Our three collaborative modules provide opportunities2 to work with students in film and media production, photography, as well as media management and media/communication studies. You will be able to take advantage of cross-school connections and collaborations, as well as placement and onward opportunities2 with the support of our Talent Team.

Where our graduates work

Former students have gone on to work in digital music services in the Netherlands, as research posts at the Five College Women’s Centre, Massachusetts USA, in PR companies in Saudi Arabia, in government organisations and broadcasters in Africa, and as producers in TV stations in China. Our graduates also regularly go on to set up their own companies across the globe.


How to apply

  • Coventry University together with Coventry University London, Coventry University Wrocław, CU Coventry, CU London, CU Scarborough, and Coventry University Online come together to form part of the Coventry University Group (the University) with all degrees awarded by Coventry University.

    1Accreditations

    The majority of our courses have been formally recognised by professional bodies, which means the courses have been reviewed and tested to ensure they reach a set standard. In some instances, studying on an accredited course can give you additional benefits such as exemptions from professional exams (subject to availability, fees may apply). Accreditations, partnerships, exemptions and memberships shall be renewed in accordance with the relevant bodies’ standard review process and subject to the university maintaining the same high standards of course delivery.

    2UK and international opportunities

    Please note that we are unable to guarantee any UK or international opportunities (whether required or optional) such as internships, work experience, field trips, conferences, placements or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be unpaid and/or subject to additional costs (which could include, but is not limited to, equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable travel, public authority guidance, decisions or orders and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand any visa requirements, please contact the International Office.

    3Tuition fees

    The University will charge the tuition fees that are stated in the above table for the first Academic Year of study. The University will review tuition fees each year. For UK (home) students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, the University may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation.

    For international students, we may increase fees each year, but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation. If you defer your course start date or have to extend your studies beyond the normal duration of the course (e.g. to repeat a year or resit examinations) the University reserves the right to charge you fees at a higher rate and/or in accordance with any legislative changes during the additional period of study.

    4Facilities

    Facilities are subject to availability. Access to some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) may vary from those advertised and/or may have reduced availability or restrictions where the university is following public authority guidance, decisions or orders.

    Student Contract

    By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the university. A copy of the current 2024/2025 contract is available on the website. The Contract details your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and contains the obligations that the university will owe to you. You should read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the university.

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