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Digital Media Design - MSc Online Distance Learning

MSc online distance learning


2 - 6 years
Full-time; Part-time Intermittent Study


This innovative online programme is for people interested in practically exploring the complex relationship between design, in its many aspects, and digital media. It provides the ideal balance between a busy life and studying towards an internationally recognised graduate qualification, without the disruption or expense of relocation.  

Over the course of the programme, you will have the opportunity to develop design projects in animation, interaction, video and mobile games, the web and social media, e-commerce and entrepreneurship, media installations, UI and UX design and more.  

You don’t have to be a designer: if you aspire to design, manage, develop software, teach or research in or around the creative industries, this programme could be for you.  

As well as offering a full MSc programme, there are other options. You could work towards a Postgraduate Certificate or a Postgraduate Diploma.  

Alternatively, for greatest flexibility, you can select individual courses as part of your professional development. Students taking courses as individual CPD elements may transfer these credits to degree registration at a later time.  

Whichever approach you choose, our programme is designed to fit in around your ongoing work or family commitments.  


The prospects for employment are diverse. Recent graduates from the closely allied on-campus programme in Design and Digital Media are now working in multimedia and web design for architectural and urban design practices, advertising, computer system design and management, and tertiary level teaching. The programme is also ideal if you are considering continuing on to advanced research at a doctoral level. 

How to apply and entry requirements

If you'd like to study on a postgraduate programme at Edinburgh College of Art, you must apply through EUCLID, our online application system. You can find out how to do this on the University of Edinburgh website, where you'll also be able to:

  • see detailed entrance requirements for each programme on the Degree Finder
  • get information on what to expect after you apply
  • find out about study modes, start dates and fees
  • find out if, and how, you need to submit a portfolio, showreel or research proposal
  • find out where to go for further advice and guidance.

Get in touch

Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Admissions
+44 (0)131 650 4086

Learning: What you will need

To study online you’ll need the following:

Basic requirements:

  • A reasonably fast computer, with a modern browser and a good video card
  • Headphones / microphone / camera for online communication
  • Video-screen capture software
  • Word processing software (e.g. MS Word, LibreOffice, Latex)

In addition, individual courses will have specialised software / hardware requirements. Wherever possible we base courses around freely available software and resources.

  • For all sound courses you will need: access to a reliable, high quality monitoring environment; professional headphones; recording equipment; editing software (e.g. ProTools, Cubase, Reaper, Logic)
  • Image manipulation software (Photoshop, The GIMP)
  • Adobe Flash
  • Blender (open source 3D modelling and animation)

Programme structure

You can choose to apply for the MSc either full-time (in a year) or part-time (between 2 and 6 years). Part-time students can exit the programme at any stage with the qualification they have earned, which is determined by the number of courses completed. You can study for a single course, a certificate, a diploma or the MSc, with a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 60 credits being undertaken in any given semester.

There are two 12-week semesters each year, September to December and January to April. There are no courses offered during the summer months to allow students working towards the Digital Media Design Final project (Masters Dissertation) to access supervision.

Studying for a single course (20 credits)

Studying a single course will take a semester. You may select any 20-credit course from the list below.

Studying for the certificate (60 credits)

To graduate with a postgraduate certificate, you must complete three courses.  You may select any three 20-credit courses from the list below.

Studying for the diploma (120 credits)

To graduate with a diploma, you must complete six 20-credit courses from the list below.

Studying for the MSc (180 credits)

The full MSc is expected to take a year to complete via full-time study, or up to six years part-time. You must complete six courses (as detailed below) before beginning the Digital Media Design Final Project.

Compulsory courses

The following two courses are compulsory if you are doing the full MSc Programme part time or full time.

  • Media and Culture | Semester 1 | 20 credits
  • Digital Media Design Final Project | Semester 2 and summer period | 20 credits

Course options for semester 1

If you are studying full time you must select 40 credits from the following list of courses:

  • Introductions to Digital Design | Semester 1 | 20 credits
  • Design for Interactive Media | Semester 1 | 20 credits

Course options for semester 2

If you are studying full time you must select 40 credits from the following list of courses: 

  • Dynamic Web Design | Semester 2 | 20
  • Game Design Studio | Semester 2 | 20
  • Design, Entrepreneurship & Innovation | Semester 2 | 20

Compulsory course options for semester 2

If you are studying full time you must select 20 credits from the following two courses:

  • Digital Media Studio Project | Semester 2 | 20 credits
  • Digital Playgrounds for the Online Public | Semester 2 | 20 credits

The Course transcript will include the mode of study “Online Distance Learning”.

Programme structure and courses are subject to change and may be updated every year.

Courses and final project

Courses available

Introduction to Digital Design (semester 1)

This course provides a foundation in techniques and theory used in the design and development of digital media for screen and print publishing. Areas covered include an introduction to graphic design theory (form, colour, typography etc.), page layout (grids), user interfaces and web design (HTML, CSS, Canvas animations). The content of the course addresses design context such as aesthetic and audience, usability and the impact of form and platform on functionality. Practical work includes designing user interfaces and showcasing these via web pages and interactives.

Design for Interactive Media (semester 1)

You will study a broad, flexible and integrated range of key and emerging digital design practices across multimodal interactive formats and platforms, that will provide a good foundation for further work in this area (e.g. virtual and augmented reality, game development, application development, user interfaces, user experience, data visualisation). You will develop fluency and extend existing skills in digital media production and you will aim to understand the potential of digital media to be combined into innovative and engaging forms and so that it may serve multiple purposes.

Media and Culture (semester 1)

This is an introduction to the dynamic intellectual context in which digital design and innovation takes place. Tutorials and lecture sessions cover topics that will enable you to discuss the impact of digital technology ranging from its immediate practical application to the long-term redefinition of the design professions and creative practice, including musical composition. The development of a broad social and psychological understanding of the nature and role of information, metaphor and interaction will also form an important component of the course.

Game Design Studio (semester 2)

This course will familiarise you with other technologies involved in digital design, in particular the complex processes involved in computer-game production. You will advance through a series of lectures, demonstrations, practical project work, exercises and critique in a group context.

Digital Media Studio Project (semester 2)

Students work as a group on a collaborative, extended project that brings together their various design skills in the context of a selection of exploratory project briefs. The course will be conducted as a studio with iterative development, group discussion, design development, presentations, criticism, and feedback. Tuition will be provided in the use of computer tools and devices where applicable.

Digital Playgrounds for the Online Public (semester 2)

The course is directed particularly to the creative aspects of the Internet and digital media. It explores current and emerging artistic practices and theories in the virtual public sphere This course will help to strengthen the academic core of both Digital Design Media and Digital Design Media ODL programmes by supporting the transfer of theoretical aspects of design and digital media into your design practice. The course aims to expose you to discursive frameworks through which your work can be discussed and to enable you to contextualise and reflect on your own creative ideas whilst developing a project.

Design, Entrepreneurship and Innovation (semester 2)

This course covers the skills required to become an entrepreneur in digital design and informatics. It will raise your awareness of the legal, business, managerial, creative, analytical and interpersonal skills relevant to setting up and running an innovative ICT application company.

Final Project (semester 2 and summer period)

This is the main project, the equivalent of the Master’s Dissertation in other programmes, which may be pursued as a group or individual exercise. The final project will allow you to demonstrate the knowledge and skills you have developed during the MSc, employ investigative methods of creative problem-solving and develop skills in group work.

Programme structure and courses are subject to change and may be updated every year.

Scholarships and bursaries

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Facilities and resources

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