Bachelor of Arts with Honours
Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
School of Communication and Media
The UCAS code for Ulster University is U20
Want to work in the film, television or creative industries? Then this is the highly practical, industry facing degree choice for you.
The BA (Hons) in Screen Production is an intensely practical, industry facing degree, designed for those who want to work in the film, television or creative industries. You will study specialist skills modules in cinematography, editing, screenwriting, sound production, live TV, documentary and virtual production to name a few.
Screen Production combines the craft skills needed for fiction, documentary, live television production and virtual production with the kind of research, theoretical and critical skills, employers tell us are essential for new entrants going into the creative industries. The BA (Hons) in Screen Production is taught in a brand new studio complex in Belfast's city centre. The huge array of industry-standard equipment available to you will enable you to finish your work to festival or broadcast standard. You will be taught by academics and industry professionals with years of experience in screen production, to give you the skills and confidence you need to succeed in your future career. Many of the staff, including the technical staff, have a vast array of film and broadcast credits on award-winning content gained over the past 20 years.
Your creative work will be supported by learning about the ideas and histories that underscore the forms and genres that make up the world of contemporary film and television. The aim of this is to encourage you to be bold in your thinking and imaginative in your work.
Ulster University is one of the longest standing and most respected of providers of education in film, television and related media, supported by pioneering research and creative practice.
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The BA (Hons) in Screen Production is delivered in a brand new studio complex in the heart of Belfast's city centre. It is part of the Ulster Screen Academy, bringing together courses in film, television, interactive design and media, animation and gaming design. It is located in an exciting and dynamic part of the city known as the 'Cathedral Quarter'. Nearby, are many of the biggest production companies in Northern Ireland and the campus is only a short distance from the famous 'Paint Hall' studios where Games of Thrones was filmed.
The BA (Hons) in Screen Production will introduce you to the widest possible experience of film and television production, combined with critical thinking to help you originate new content and unlock your creativity. We can help you develop the craft skills you will need to enter the industry a very significant percentage of your class time will be spent in production modules.
The degree can be taken over 3-4 years. 4 years, if you decide to take year three out to work in the industry on placement. During the placement year, you can also earn a Diploma in Professional Practice.
You will receive significant software training in non-linear editing using the Adobe Creative Suite for both sound and video. We have a dedicated screening room, large Apple Mac labs offering full access to the Adobe Creative Suits software on campus. Our studio space is fully equipped with green screens, lighting desk and live broadcast facilities. We have a full range of 4k Blackmagic cinema cameras and can edit and colour grade video footage in our dedicated editing suites. Screen Production at Ulster is unique in that you will have access to the latest, cutting-edge technologies in film and TV production including our brand new virtual production studio.
Screens are part of our everyday life. We want you to be prepared to join a fast-growing, exciting and ever-changing industry that creates the content for all of the screens in our lives, big or small. Through practice-based learning, you will acquire advanced knowledge of the kind of skills needed for digital film and television production combined with a knowledge of how the industry works, and the writing skills to tell the stories you want to make your way.
The screen-based sector is one of the fastest growing sectors of the Northern Ireland economy. This programme has been developed with industry partners to ensure that it addresses current and future skills gaps in the sector helping to create entrepreneurial and creative graduates who can develop new businesses to grow the local creative economy.
Year One – Much of your time in the first year will be spent learning the craft skills you need in order to create high-quality film and television outputs. You will study Cinematography and Editing to develop technical and production skills for the screen. You will study Sound Production and Screenwriting to develop your storytelling and audio skills for TV and film production. These are combined with two core modules in the critical and theoretical aspects of screen production: Screen Stories and Screen Cultures. You will be introduced to the core of Film and TV production: compelling stories. You will also gain an understanding of how media affects the world around us and how culture and politics are reflected in the media we produce and consume.
Year Two – building on your technical and storytelling skills from year one you will focus on a number of core genres: Short Film, Documentary, Live Television and Virtual Production. Working in teams to develop a wide range of outputs and experience a range of industry roles, you will get the opportunity to better understand and focus your career pathways. Alongside the production modules, you will study Screen Audiences to help deepen your knowledge and understanding of audiences and media publics.
On completion of year two, you can opt to take a sandwich year, either undertaking a year placement in industry or studying in one of our partner institutions in America, Europe, or Asia. The placement year or study abroad (see Careers and Opportunities for more information) means that students gain an additional qualification, a Diploma in Professional Practice (DPP) and the International Year means that students gain a Diploma in International Academic Studies (DIAS).
Year Three/(Four after a year out) – In the final year of study, you will work with internationally recognised researchers and fellow students in other courses under the Ulster Screen Academy to develop an innovative Major Project. You and your fellow students will take on production and/or technical roles in a range of productions in Short Film, Live/Multi-cam Television, Documentary or Virtual Production. This will allow you to graduate with a portfolio of creative production work, in a range of industry roles helping to demonstrate your skills and knowledge in media production – making you as employable as possible.
Diploma in Professional Practice DPP
Diploma in International Academic Studies DIAS
This course must be completed as a full-time degree over three years or four years should you opt to take a placement or international study year.
In line with the University’s attendance policy, attendance at all taught sessions is compulsory. It is expected that you will engage not only with the taught elements but also with independent learning.
Students are assessed through creative production outputs, written essays and presentations.
The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.
Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:
As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until near the start date and may be subject to change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days of attendance will often be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.
Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.
The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.
Postgraduate Masters courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.
Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.
Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be via one method or a combination e.g. examination and coursework . Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Normally, a module will have four learning outcomes, and no more than two items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.
The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6 (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).
Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Masters degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.
All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Masters degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.
Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (20%) or Lecturers (55%).
We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) by Advanced HE - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.
The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.
Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.
Figures correct for academic year 2021-2022.
The Belfast campus is situated in the artistic and cultural centre of the city, the Cathedral Quarter.
High quality apartment living in Belfast city centre adjacent to the university campus.
At Student Wellbeing we provide many services to help students through their time at Ulster University.
Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.
Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.
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Screen Stories will invite students to explore how film and television dramas resonate with us in profound ways that shape how we see and experience the world, and therefore act in it. The module sets out to establish some key categories of screen analysis - classic narrative, trans-narrative forms, genre, questions of style, auteur and the ideology - and it provides students with many examples of how to analyse the film and television drama. By being better placed to analyse screen drama, the module strives to make students more self-conscious about the aesthetic choices they make in their own screen productions.
The module is an introduction to the essential skills of video production and the moving image. It allows students to acquire skills in video production, sound, lighting and the moving image and develop a portfolio of short films which showcase their technical skills and competencies.
This practice based module considers core concepts in sound for screen and the association of sound and vision in storytelling. The module brings together the core practical skills needed for good location sound and the history and theory of sound for screen. It will also consider a range of technical and aesthetic considerations in producing sound for screen based media. Students will be introduced to sound capture and software manipulation for post production as well as techniques for studio and location sound recording.
Screenwriting is as essential to the development and production of on-screen drama as storytelling is to being human. Complimenting the student's understanding and knowledge acquired during Storytelling for Screen, this module introduces students to the process of screenwriting; its key skills; and a range of technical, aesthetic considerations in developing a script for screen. It presents this writing practice in context of an understanding of the history and theory of screenwriting, and allows students top demonstrate their knowledge in this field.
This module will invite students to think historically and critically about what appears in cinemas, on television and the various mobile devices that entertain and inform us. Students will be introduced to key intellectual figures whose thinking has helped us to understand the social and cultural significance of the media in all its variety. In this respect, the module underpins the screen production elements and helps students to understand the social formation of screen forms, and the theoretical and critical debates relevant to them. Students will look at semiotic, psychoanalytic and political economic approaches to understanding what appears on screen; they will look also at ideology, power and pleasure as these pertain to the media and screen cultures in particular.
This module introduces students to the theory and practice of visual editing. Students will be introduced to key concepts relating visual editing practice such as meaning-making and narrative construction. These will be related to key movements in editing practice such as continuity editing, montage editing and postmodern editing. Students will develop their editing skills through hands-on editing workshops using Adobe Premiere CC and the production of an editing practice portfolio.
This module introduces students to a range of job roles from across the media and creative industries to help them plan and apply for a short placement. The module helps students develop their understanding of defined job roles and build a range of resources to help them interface with the media industry more professionally.
This module engages students in a 2 week (or 70 hour) work placement, or work based learning opportunity in the Media and Creative Industries. The module uses work-based learning and reflective practitioner models to help student develop their professional skills and understanding or the media industry.
This module introduces students to key concepts in relation to the history, theory and practice of the documentary genre. It will cover key movements in the genre such as cinéma vérité and direct cinema, alongside contemporary sub-genres such as reality television and the mock-documentary. The module encourages students to consider how the platform affects the content e.g. short-form broadcast content and long-form content on streaming services such as Netflix. Students will apply this knowledge to their own documentary practice by producing 3x2min short-form documentaries that demonstrate understanding of the codes and conventions of particular forms e.g. expository, participatory and poetic.
Screen Identities introduces students to the historical and contemporary debates about national screen cultures and cultural identity. The module seeks to develop students' sociological and cultural understanding of questions of identity on screen.
In the Short Film module students will produce a 10 minute short fiction film, that draws upon skills already developed previously including sound production, cinematography and screenwriting. The module will seek to build an appreciation of the form as a powerful storytelling medium but also as a development tool for the artist and an industry tool to seek out new talent in fiction filmmaking. The module introduces students to a variety of short fiction film, television drama genres and styles; crime, soaps, comedy, documentary drama, realism, modernism and postmodernism. It invites students to produce a short drama for screen that observes generic codes and conventions of the cinema.
A live television programme module that explores the skills and knowledge required to create live broadcasts. Following the full production cycle of live programme making for television, students get a direct engagement in industry practice, develop enhanced team working skills, an awareness of best practice in industry and build links with the wider community and broadcast industry.
This module is optional
This module provides students the opportunity to experience life as a professional media practitioner. They will be expected to conduct themselves professionally being an employee of a company and an ambassador for the University during this period. They will be supported by an academic coordinator.
This module is optional
This module provides an opportunity to undertake an additional academic year of study which is spent outside the UK. Those who successfully complete it get an extra qualification - the Diploma in Academic Studies (DIAS). Students will develop an enhanced understanding of the media and engage with it first-hand in international contexts. The opportunity to generate educational and cultural networks will be available to the student.
This module will act as the culmination of the students' theoretical study across the 3 years of their degree where they are able to independently plan and research a major project in the key practice areas of drama or documentary. Students will produce a portfolio that evidences the theoretical and professional pre-production planning and processes that underpin their Major Project. Students will also produce a 3000-4000 word textual analysis of existing media texts.
In this module students will create a final year screen production project under the guidance of an appointed member of Media Studies staff in the key practice areas of drama or documentary. Students will identify and analyse the theoretical and ideological underpinnings of their media practice by writing a 3000-4000 word textual analysis of their major project.
This module is optional
This module is an opportunity to focus on research and critical writing skills whilst demonstrating the student's ability to be self-motivated and independent in their learning. The module will explore a topic of the student's choosing related to the area of Screen or Media Studies and key skills needed to deliver this work will be delivered over two semesters with research skills being taught by academics and projects supervised throughout. Students will learn to author extended essays and develop research proposals. The module offers students a more traditional pathway through the Screen Production degree at level 6 and the opportunity to produce a dissertation appropriate to stage.
This module is optional
This module is a pioneering module in the use and application of real time visual effects for film and television. The module is one of the first of its kind in the UK and Ireland in Virtual Production. In this module students will work with green screen and LED monitors, camera tracking technology and computer generated photorealistic virtual worlds to enable them to discover exciting new visual effects techniques for use in their own work and in the industry today. The module will enable students to create new types of content and add value to their portfolio whilst enhancing their own employability and learning experience.
We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.
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Applicants may satisfy the requirement for one of the A Level grades (or equivalent) by substituting a combination of alternative qualifications recognised by the University.
QCF Pearson BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma / OCR Cambridge Technical Level 3 Extended Diploma (2012 Suite)
Award profile of DDD
RQF Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma / OCR Cambridge Technical Level 3 Extended Diploma (2016 Suite)
Award profile of DDM
QCF Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma / OCR Cambridge Technical Level 3 Diploma (2012 Suite)
Award profile of DD plus A Level Grade B
RQF Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma / OCR Cambridge Technical Level 3 Diploma (2016 Suite)
Award profile of DM plus A Level Grade B
QCF Pearson BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma / OCR Cambridge Technical Level 3 Introductory Diploma (2012 Suite)
Award profile of D plus A Level Grades BB
RQF Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate / OCR Cambridge Technical Level 3 Extended Certificate (2016 Suite)
Award profile of D plus A Level Grades BB
120 UCAS tariff points to include a minimum of five subjects (four of which must be at higher level) to include English at H6 if studied at Higher level or O4 if studied at Ordinary Level.
Overall profile is minimum 26 points (including 13 at higher level)
Overall profile of 65% (120 credit Access Course) (NI Access Course)
Overall profile of 24 credits at Distinction and 21 credits at Merit (60 credit Access Course) (GB Access Course)
For full-time study, you must satisfy the General Entrance Requirements for admission to a first degree course and hold a GCSE pass at Grade C/4 or above in English Language.
Level 2 Certificate in Essential Skills - Communication will be accepted as equivalent to GCSE English.
English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
There may be limited places available for Y2 entry. Should there be availability personal statements (along with academic qualifications) will be used in the selection process.
Pass HND with overall Merit to include 60 distinctions in level 5 credits/units may be specified.
Pass HNC with overall Distinction to include 90 distinctions in level 4 credits/units may be specified.
You may also meet the course entry requirements with combinations of different qualifications to the same standard as recognised by the University (provided subject requirements as noted above are met).
The University will consider applications for entry with advanced standing on the basis of experiential learning, prior certificated learning and where articulation arrangements exist (i.e. on the basis of the Northern Ireland Media Academy agreement).
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Illustrative graduate roles include:
Relevant progression routes within the University include MA Journalism and MSc Digital Media Communication. In addition, the school aims to develop specialist postgraduate programmes that will serve as a relevant progression route across the various programmes within the Ulster Screen Academy. Across the UK and Ireland, there are further opportunities for relevant postgraduate study. Illustrative examples include:
On successful completion of Year 2 studies, you have the opportunity to take the optional module Diploma in Professional Practice (DPP) or (DPPI). This provides an opportunity for you to gain first hand practical experience within a professional environment such as an advertising agency or brand consultancy prior to your final year of study. This module links the education experience to the real life situation of practice in the creative industries. It provides you with a range of experiences and skills relative to your practice, future career and professional development.
You also have the opportunity to take the other optional module Diploma in International Academic Studies (DIAS). This optional module provides an opportunity for you to undertake an extended period of study outside the UK and Republic of Ireland, developing an international perspective and an appreciation of cultural sensitivities which are desirable qualities in any graduate. You will develop an enhanced understanding of the academic discipline whilst generating educational and cultural networks.
Fees illustrated are based on academic year 22/23 entry and are subject to an annual increase.
If your study continues into future academic years your fees are subject to an annual increase. Please take this into consideration when you estimate your total fees for a degree.
Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply.
Software for editing film and television projects will be provided when on campus as part of the significant facilities supplied to students to support their learning. Students wishing to edit film/sound/video away from the edit suites and off-campus may need to consider a student subscription to the Adobe Creative Suite. This is a small monthly cost and heavily discounted to students at university. Please see the Adobe UK website for accurate educational pricing. It is not a requirement.
Students will need to buy a USB 3 External Hard Drive for storing film rushes and completing their assessments. This size of storage should be at least 2TB and will cost between £50 and £90 as a one-off fee. The university does not supply these drivers and these can be bought freely.
It is important to remember that costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges) and normal living will need to be covered in addition to tuition fees.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses (in addition to tuition fees) we make every effort to highlight them above. We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals, as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free Wi-Fi are also available on each of the campuses.
There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as a part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs, as well as tuition fees. See www.ulster.ac.uk/student/fees-and-funding/tuition-fees/tuition-fees-202223/ni-roi-students for most up to date costs.