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Computer Arts

Computer art is everywhere in today's culture, from film and advertising to computer games and gallery installations. Abertay's BA (Hons) in Computer Arts will prepare you for an exciting career in a rapidly expanding industry.

Next Start Date: September

Degree type: BA (Hons)

UCAS Code: GW42 BA/CoA

Duration: 4 years (full-time) or 3 years (accelerated)


Why choose this course?  

  • The Computer Arts programme is structured around industry led project briefs and collaboration with industry partners. These include computer games studios, digital media production companies and visual effects studios. These collaborations ensure that students develop the knowledge, skills and creativity required to stand out when applying for internships or employment. 
  • During your studies, you will collaborate in cross-disciplinary creative industries teams, and working with industry mentors in order to conceive, design, and create digital media prototypes.  Team working is core to working within the creative industries, and to have experience of completing a project in collaboration with team mates from other disciplines will greatly aid your communication and negotiation skills, and will enhance your portfolio.
  • The Computer Arts programme is tailored to fit specialist interests, and to develop depth in your subject knowledge.  Years 3 and 4 utilise open project briefs and optional modules to support students wishing to specialise in concept art and design, animation, game art production, digital illustration, installation and/or time based digital media artwork.
  • This programme is taught within open plan interdisciplinary studios alongside students in game design, games technology, sound production and games production techniques.  You will have the opportunity to collaborate across disciplines utilising cutting edge technology - including motion capture facilities and VR technology - to enhance your creative projects and stay at the forefront of digital innovations.
  • The programme has a strong theoretical backbone ensuring that you are not only creatively and technically skilled, but also actively engaged in the historical, cultural and contextual aspects of your field of practice, allowing it to be both conceptually and technically driven.
  • Abertay is the home of Dare to be Digital, an international computer games competition. The University also hosts the Dare Protoplay Games Showcase. Dundee is a cultural centre within Scotland. 
  • Dundee has a long history of game development and an up-and-coming creative arts scene, including the opening of the V&A Dundee Museum in 2018. This state-of-the-art facility will complement a wealth of existing galleries, theatres, museums, artists' studios and creative collectives.  Dundee is a hotbed for creative talent, with a developing maker scene that drives creative and cultural events, festivals and performances throughout the year.  It is an ideal location to develop your practice in digital media and is able to support internships and employment during and after your studies

Our BA (Hons) Computer Arts is an internationally-acclaimed course, and is recognised by the interactive entertainment and broadcast sectors as one of the best digital arts degrees available. The course is accredited by Creative SkillSet, the UK Sector Skills Council for Creative Media industries, which ensures our graduates have the skills and knowledge required for successful professional careers.

The Computer Arts programme explores digital arts practice across the creative industries, exposing you to a diverse range of subjects including 2D and 3D digital art, animation, computer games, physical computing and visual effects.  You will develop your professional practice within these fields, working independently and within a team on creative projects throughout your studies. You will also develop your critical and contextual understanding of the field and will develop your knowledge of industry best practice through engagement with industry practitioners, participation in visiting lectures, masterclasses and project mentoring. 

The creative industries are pervasive in today’s culture, from film to advertising, from computer games to gallery installations.  By studying this programme, you will be equipped with the knowledge and skills required to lead the design and production of content for computer games, animation, visual effects and transmedia projects.


PlayStation First logo Skillset Logo

What you study

What you study
In Year 1 and Year 2, you will form a solid conceptual, creative and theoretical foundation around digital arts practice to inform specialisation in later years. 

In Year 1, you will explore how traditional visual art and design practice applies to digital media production, and will develop software skills.  Subjects include animation, visual arts practice, 3D production and augmented spaces.

Year 2 focuses on professional skills development, technical and procedural practices.  Subjects include entertainment design, narrative and animation, digital visualization and 3D production.

Year three prepares you for specialisation. Team working and live industry projects are hosted within Professional Project modules, whilst students can customise their studies through optional modules, including technical art, environmental storytelling, and animation; or physical computing.

In year four, students undertake a creative research project, where practice and theoretical underpinning come together to create an extensive computer artwork. This is presented alongside a thesis exploring the link between practice and theory. Students showcase their final year work in a final exhibition, which is supported by local and national creative industries companies.

Students can choose to undertake an accelerated version of the degree or the traditional, four-year full-time study route. 

For more information on the course content, download the Programme information - BA with Honours in Computer Arts

How you learn and are assessed
Much of your time will be spent in lectures and practical tutorials where you work with staff, peers and industry mentors, to develop solutions to project briefs.  Tutorial sessions focus on developing ideas, process and technique to lead to a final outcome.

Portfolios of creative work form the majority of assessment, often submitted with supporting documentation to underpin creative practice.  Academic writing contributes to many assessments, often in the form of critical analysis or reflective reports.  Verbal presentations are core to assessment, exposing your research and development process to the programme team and industry mentors.

Examination techniques
Assessment on the programme is in the form of portfolios of creative work, academic writing of critical and reflective form, and through verbal presentation of own and others work in critical and/or reflective modes.

There are no formal examinations on the programme. 


Entry routes

Minimum Entrance Requirements

Higher AABB  Essential subjects:  to include Art or Photography or Graphic Communication or Production Design
A Level BBC  Essential subjects:  Art or Graphic Design or Design and Technology: Production Design 
Irish Highers H2H2H3H3  Essential subjects: Art 
BTEC Extended Diploma DDM
International Baccalaureate 30 Points  Essential subjects:  Visual Arts or Fine Art at S5 or H4
Essential requirements: applicants are required to submit an eportfolio of work - Computer Arts Eportfolio Guidelines 

Advanced Higher: AAB (to include Computing and Art)
A Level: AAB (to include Computing and Art)
HND - our Coming from College pages list approved HND courses
Essential requirements: applicants are required to submit an eportfolio of work - Computer Arts Eportfolio Guidelines

Not sure if you are eligible for entry?

If you have the potential and motivation to study at university, regardless of your background or personal circumstances, we welcome your application.

We know that some people have faced extra challenges before applying to university and that is why we consider the background in which your academic grades have been achieved when making an offer. 

If you expect to receive passes in 3 Scottish Highers (grades A-C) and have:

  • been in care, or
  • participated in a targeted aspiration-raising programme such as LIFT OFF, LEAPS, FOCUS West, or Aspire North
  • no family background of going to university, or
  • live in an area, or attend a school, where not many people go to university.

We encourage you to submit an application.

International Applicants
You must provide certified proof of your English language level (minimum requirements are listed here).  Our British Council accredited International English Foundation Course can help you reach that level or, if you would like further develop your academic English, Intensive English for Academic Purposes Programme can help you achieve your full potential.

EU applicants:  Entry requirements can be found on our Europe pages.  Overseas (non-EU) applicants:  We're currently developing your country pages, so please email us details of your entry requirements.

Alternative Entrance Requirements
Please email us if you have other qualifications/experience not listed here.

Fees and scholarships

Fee Category Tuition Fees
Scholarships & Bursaries
Scottish and other EU students

Current fees

Other forms of support
English, Welsh and Northern Irish

Current fees

Bursaries & Scholarships
Overseas (non EU) students

Current fees

Overseas Scholarships

Fees shown are payable annually, and may be subject to increase each year.

Accelerated Degree

Students who wish to undertake the accelerated degree will complete the first two years of the degree programme alongside those students following the non-accelerated route.  

Acceleration starts in May at the end of second year, the table below illustrates the difference between the two routes.

Academic Year   Non-accelerated Route  Accelerated Route
 Year 1  Term 1 (Sept-Dec) Term 1  Term 1
   Term 2 (Jan-May) Term 2  Term 2
   Term 3 (May-Aug)     
 Year 2  Term 1 (Sept-Dec) Term 3  Term 3
   Term 2 (Jan-May) Term 4  Term 4
   Term 3 (May-Aug)      Term 5
 Year 3  Term 1 (Sept-Dec) Term 5  Term 6
   Term 2 (Jan-May) Term 6  Term 7
   Term 3 (May-Aug)     Term 8
 (Honours degree completed)
 Year 4  Term 1 (Sept-Dec) Term 7  
   Term 2 (Jan-May) Term 8
(Honours degree completed) 
   Term 3 (May-Aug)    

Further info

Career prospects
Graduates from Computer Arts have secured employment internationally in computer games, film, television and animation.

For the last three years, over 10% of graduates have secured related employment before graduation, including roles as 3D artists and UI artists at leading console game development companies, character animators and scene prep artists in television animation, and character TD and character animators at leading visual effects companies.

Several of our graduates - in partnership with their peers from across the School - have successfully set up their own games companies, publishing their games on mobile, console and online platforms.

Computer Arts enhances your potential for success through sustained development of your experience, skill base and confidence in collaborative practice.  Throughout the programme you will work on relevant project briefs, work with industry mentors and will receive coaching from programme staff, many of whom are practicing artists with industry experience.

Industry links
Throughout the year, students will be able to attend visiting lectures delivered by our industry partners and former graduates from the programme. These lectures relate to game art, illustration, animation and visual effects.

In the third year of the programme you will work directly with an industry mentor to develop a prototype creative project as part of an interdisciplinary team.

More information
As the programme focuses on digital media production, many students choose to invest in a graphics tablet - an interface that better facilitates digital drawing and painting.  The university makes entry level tablets available to students through a loan system. However, many students choose to invest in more advanced graphic tablet technology beyond year one, and this cost should be factored into your plans. 

Want to know more?
Student Recruitment Office
T:  +44 (0) 1382 308080
F:  +44 (0) 1382 308081

"The course is accredited and the university had a good reputation for what I wanted to do. From my standpoint Dundee has a fantastic history of videogame developers."

Paige Shepherd

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