Design for Digital Media

Create pioneering interactive experiences with a critical design approach – for solutions that matter

Star Course Overview

Why take this course?

This course is about designing interactions of humans with digital interfaces. The design focus is on human aspects of digital interaction such as multisensory perception, cognition and emotion. You will have the opportunity to enhance your skill set in terms of creative, technical and visual experimentation, concept development, production and communication.

As a cultural producer with a critical eye for media and technology usage and implementation, you will strive to develop innovative design solutions that matter. Projects are often speculative, allowing a wide scope of creative exploration.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Explore theoretical, practical and cultural frameworks that underpin design research and thinking
  • Use the latest software and equipment, and work in our purpose-built studios and workshops which offer a wide range of production methods to enable you to bring your practical project work to life
  • Opt to do an industry placement
  • Visit our course blog to find out more

What opportunities might it lead to?

This course can lead to considerable success within the professional fields of interactive and digital media design. Your specialist knowledge of digital media will pave the way to careers in the creative, internet, media or services industries (such as retail, finance, tourism or social media to name a few).

Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:

  • online product/service development
  • interaction design
  • multimedia production
  • social media marketing/communications
  • web design
  • digital graphic design/motion graphics
  • video editing
  • further study/research degree
Saratina Shegem, MA Design for Digital Media student 2012

The course really opened my mind to creative possibilities. I’m looking at design in a completely different way now, which is going to have a huge impact on my work in the future.

Saratina Shegem, MA Design for Digital Media student 2012

Key Facts

1 year full time
A minimum of a second-class honours degree in a related subject including design, media, communications, illustration, information technology and cultural and theoretical studies, or equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. An online portfolio submission may be required as part of the selection process. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students:
2016/17 entry: full time: £5,200
2017/18 entry: full time: £5,200

Full-time course is eligible for Government Postgraduate Loan

International students:
2016/17 entry: full time: £12,000
2017/18 entry: full time: £12,600

View tuition fee terms and conditions
View additional course costs

+44 (0)23 9284 2421
School of Art and Design
Programme specification

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Light bulb Structure & Teaching

This course is structured into distinct project-based stages involving a combination of learning modes and progressive development of your project management skills.

The units you will undertake are:

  • Proposal: You will research a topic related to Design for Digital Media of your interest and develop a proposal of a design project, with independent and self-directed research and development.
  • A Question of Research: This unit provides an introduction to debates and research methods relevant for creative practitioners, e.g. Visual Analysis, Ethnography, User Experience Research, and their application to a pertinent research question. It also encourages self-reflection on the research process.
    • Digital Futures: Critical Design: The theoretical input delivered via lectures will provide you with an overview of some of the contemporary issues related to digital interactive design – such as sensory perception, engagement with dynamic data networks and layers of meaning in an interactive space. Through your own research and development, you will design concepts addressing possible future scenarios of technology use, in a critical design approach. The rapid prototypes developed here can act as a catalyst for your own individual body of work in the Major Project.
    • Design, Innovation and Enterprise: The group project at the centre of this phase requires you to investigate the surrounding social and cultural and economic factors when designing for Digital Media. This investigation will be applied within the framework of a live brief in collaboration with external professional partners, such as local businesses or charities. This allows you to connect your design research and practical abilities within an environment under ‘real-world’ constraints, working in a team and communicating your solutions to a real client.
    • The Major Project: The major project will allow you to develop and design your own brief. The range of possible topics and media used/addressed is driven by your personal interest. Outcomes can be speculative, allowing for a great scope of creative exploration. Importantly, the research has to be shown to achieve breadth and depth, your concept needs to be well developed and communicated, and you will achieve and sustain a systematic investigation of a research project. You will also foster relevant skills in your chosen area of study and will combine a body of theoretical and visual research with practical experimentation, to result in a presentable outcome with relevant documentation.

Teaching and Assessment

Though there is an emphasis on self-initiated learning and project work, you will be supervised and receive full support via one-to-one tutorials with staff. We also aim to encourage seminar-based discussions where you will have the chance to participate in group activities, give and receive feedback from your peers or collaborate on projects.

Through the Professional Practice unit you will gain contemporary workplace experience, insight and knowledge that employers demand, making you highly employable upon graduation. During the final stage of the course in the summer term, the learning becomes more independent and self-managed, making your timetable more flexible.

How are you assessed?

The main form of assessment will be the practical artefacts you are producing during your project work. However, you’ll also be assessed for the research, development and written component of each project. This includes:

  • proposals
  • research documentation/journals
  • project logs
  • project reports
Dr Simone Gumtau

Tutor's view

Dr Simone Gumtau
Design for Digital Media

You will really enjoy the freedom and philosophical approach on this course, which enables a wide variety of creative outcomes. There is no set medium or technological paradigm, the key is to be fascinated by how digital technology impacts on our world today, and how we can design this impact.

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Monitor Facilities & Features

Specialist Workshops

Take advantage of our many workshops on offer, from wood and metals, plastic and plaster to printmaking, 3D and photographic workshops. There are excellent facilities for you to create prototype images and objects with specific areas for fabricating and forging metals, plaster mould making, body casting and sculpting. We can also source the materials you need direct from suppliers, securing the best possible discounts for you.

Design Studios

As well as our purpose-built studios for our material workshops, we also have a variety of digital print studios. From letterpress and screen printing equipment, a digital darkroom, a lightbox room and computer suites with Macs and PCs running industry-standard software, our design facilities can cater to whatever project you are working on.

Computer Suites

We have dedicated computer suites equipped with the latest software to enable you to produce digital media and design interactive content through manipulating images, editing videos and sound. You will also have access to a virtual reality and motion capture suite to be able to create the finished products for your projects.

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

Budgeting for your studies

There may be extra costs arising from your studies which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Some are common costs to all courses of study. These may include the cost of study texts, reference books, photocopying and computer supplies. Others relate to specific courses and may include field trips, materials and specialist equipment.

Other costs to consider


There are costs relating to the purchase of materials and / or reprographic requirements in the production of project work. This may be in the region of £100 - £600.

If you choose to complete a project not supported by existing University resources, you may wish to purchase extra materials or software. These costs will depend on the nature of the project.

For optional study trips you will be expected to pay full costs. Optional study trips abroad will cost in the region of £200 - £800. UK alternatives where offered will be £50 - £150.


There are costs relating to the purchase of materials and / or reprographic requirements for work. This may be in the region of £100 - £1000. These costs will depend on the nature of the work and the media used.

For optional study trips, you will be expected to pay full costs. Optional study trips will cost in the region of £200 - £800. UK trips, where offered, will be in the region of £50 - £150.

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Mortarboard Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Once you have completed this course you could find yourself working across a range of media including design for print or web, interactive design, motion graphics and film, which are converging fields in the creative industries.

Depending on your chosen focus of study, you will develop skills relevant to a range of digital media jobs such as designer, producer and/or manager. Your strength will be in the ability to connect these fast moving fields by having a critical overview of not just the state-of-the-art, but also the ability to conceive of future scenarios.

Roles our graduates have taken on include:

  • web designer/developer (employed/agency/freelance)
  • head of online product development
  • graphic designer
  • digital marketing associate
  • video editor
  • general manager for digital media development
  • PhD student
  • graduate trainee
  • lecturer in higher education

Career planning

One of the benefits of studying at Portsmouth is the support that we provide to our Master's and Research Degree students in career planning. Our careers and recruitment service can assist you in career research and finding employment opportunities. Help is also available if you wish to find a part-time job while studying your degree.

We offer our postgraduate students and alumni one-to-one appointments with a careers adviser, or an online service for those not able to travel back to the University. Our alumni can call on our career services for five years after graduation.

In addition, regular employability events offer you the chance to meet employers, find out about different career sectors and improve your applications or CV. The Graduate Summer Programme provides a range of guidance and employability seminars and workshops.

Benefits of Postgraduate Study

Regardless of whether you are seeking to build on your studies, further your career or pursue a career change, a postgraduate qualification adds to your achievement record.

  • Postgraduate study may greatly improve your chances of getting that first break.
  • Many graduate employers prefer the higher intellectual rigour displayed in postgraduate students.
  • Recruiters for roles requiring specialist knowledge or research particularly target those with higher level qualifications.
  • Postgraduate study shows you can take the challenge of in-depth study; acquiring transferable skills in team working and problem solving techniques.
  • If you have a passion for a particular subject, postgraduate study can also be something undertaken as part of your own development at an appropriate time in your life.

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Apply now

Online application form

Apply direct using our online form

Your application will be received by the University's Admissions Team before being transferred to individual departments for consideration and processing.

Postgraduate Information Days

Our Postgraduate Information Days for 2016 entry have now finished.

If you would like to visit the campus you can download our free walking tour for a self-guided tour of the University. You can visit Monday - Friday between 8.30am and 4.00pm. We have an open-door policy so you will be able to take a look into our buildings, speak to some of our support services and get a feel for the campus. Find out more information about our self-guided walking tours.

If you are unable to visit us, why not contact the admissions team for your course of interest via our course pages.

If you have any further enquiries about postgraduate study at Portsmouth, including advice on the Postgraduate Loan for 2016 entry plus scholarships and bursaries available visit our postgraduate pages.

International Students

Staff from our international Office regularly attend overseas exhibitions. To find out more about these and our visits to your region see our International Office exhibitions page.

Fees and Funding

Find out more about fees and funding available to you at Portsmouth.