As virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies become more affordable and accessible, many industries are becoming aware of the benefits of immersive narratives. As such, there is a growing need for professional story developers who can harness and explore the extraordinary potential of VR.

MA Virtual Reality is for creative graduates and existing filmmakers who want to enter the radical world of virtual and augmented media production for immersive storytelling in entertainment, journalism, education, marketing and advocacy. It is for independent thinkers, who thrive in experimental, hands-on learning environments.

Due to the evolving nature of this field, we welcome practitioners from both technical and creative backgrounds. This includes filmmakers, theatre designers, sound designers, game designers, animators, software developers, studio/media artists, writers, and journalists.

Why study this course?

A fusion of critical and professional approaches, this course will enable you to explore the dynamic creative and commercial forces shaping virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality (MR).

Combine professional, critical and cultural approaches as you explore the complex forces shaping emerging forms of storytelling. Gain in-depth understanding of the industry's organisation of distribution, exhibition and production, from regional, national and international perspectives.

Develop real-world skills in immersive experience design - including 360° filmmaking - and learn how to design VR/AR on a variety of platforms, from app-enabled mobile devices to head-mounted displays, and augmented reality headsets. Hone your ability to build project teams, direct, produce, and provide a strong creative vision for a variety of projects.

Why UWE Bristol?

MA Virtual Reality is based at the Bristol VR Lab, a distinctive co-venture between UWE Bristol, the University of Bristol, Watershed, and Opposable VR.

This studio lab for VR research and development supports a dynamic ecosystem of talent, training, facilities and research. Fully immersed in this creative testbed, you will benefit from top level partnerships with organisations such as Bristol Games Hub and We The Curious, the city's innovative science centre with its data dome and IMAX cinema.

Our multidisciplinary MA will help you join the ranks of a new generation of storytellers and become a leading content creator in this exciting field.


The full Master's course comprises of 180 credits divided into three 60 credits stages: Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma, and Masters. You need to pass all modules at each stage to be able to progress onto the next.

For the Postgraduate Certificate you will study:

  • Practical Experiments in Interactivity and Immersion
  • Historical and Emerging Concepts in Storytelling

For the Postgraduate Diploma you will study:

  • Virtual Reality Story lab

The Masters involves completing a project:

  • Virtual Reality Collaborative Project.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we will inform you.

Learning and Teaching

This course is practical and production-based: you will work individually and in teams to conceptualise, research, plan and deliver a series of creative projects.

Prepare for your professional career through specialist modules that help you build a unique mixture of editorial, creative and technical skills that you can apply immediately in this rapidly expanding industry.

Discover key theoretical and ethical frameworks in VR and 360° filmmaking and explore visual storytelling, scriptwriting and other aspects of creative development. Develop your critical evaluation, conceptual thinking and communication skills for diverse media and audiences.

Engage with external communities of researchers and attend professional events, festivals and masterclasses with industry practitioners to refine your practice in a real-world context.


You can expect to be assessed through a mix of portfolio work, scripts, proposals, presentations, evaluations and reports. You will be expected to plan, pitch, produce and present a completed VR project.

Entry requirements

We are looking for highly motivated, creative students passionate about immersive storytelling and emerging technology. Applicants will have an honours undergraduate degree in a relevant subject or professional experience, (such as significant filmmaking or multimedia production), and a commitment to research and reflecting on creative practice.

Due to the evolving nature of this field, we anticipate attracting students from different disciplines and backgrounds, technical and creative. We aim to recruit students with experience in filmmaking, theatre, sound design, game design, experience design, animation, graphic design, software development, studio/media arts, scriptwriting, writing, and journalism.

Applications from International students are actively encouraged, as we have a commitment to global film education.

If you are short-listed, we will invite you to interview (telephone interviews will be conducted for international applicants). You will need to provide a show reel or concise portfolio of previous work. This may include audio, film, animation, gameplay, design, photography and writing. Your portfolio must demonstrate your story development flair and experience.

Please note, we are unable to allow applicants with offers to defer their entry to subsequent years.

English language support

If you meet the academic requirements but require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend one of our pre-sessional English courses. Students who successfully complete the pre-sessional course can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking an IELTS or equivalent.

English Language Requirement

If your first language is not English, a minimum score of 7.0 in IELTS (including 7.0 in the written element) or equivalent is typically required.

Careers / Further study

As a successful graduate, you will have the research and planning skills you need to undertake independent, innovative and sustainable projects across multiple industries.

You'll be highly analytical and strategic, with advanced communications skills that will help you articulate your knowledge of new media technology and storytelling.

You could go on to work in content development and production for immersive storytelling experiences. A variety of industries will be open to you, including:

  • filmmaking
  • journalism
  • games and entertainment
  • social media and marketing
  • construction
  • education
  • healthcare
  • aerospace and defence
  • travel and retail.

The innovative combination of practice and research in this MA means you will also be well equipped to pursue careers in both industry and academia. The critical skills you build on the course could act as an effective bridge to a DPhil or PhD.

Program taught in:
  • English

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Last updated September 1, 2019
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