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MSc/Diploma in Design and Digital Media


Programme Handbook 2016-17

NB - This version of the handbook applies only to the 2016-17 session, and the content is now out of date. The handbook for 2017-18 session is available via LEARN

About this Handbook

This handbook is intended to provide students with basic information on the programme content, aims and objectives, teaching and assessment, support and other issues. It indicates what is expected of you, and will help you to make the most of your time on the Programme. It should be read carefully and frequently, and used in conjunction with other material provided by the University and the School (Edinburgh College of Art), especially the Code of Practice for Taught Postgraduate Programmes (also available on the Web at, the Students Association Postgrad Handbook (also known as the "Postgrad Survival Guide" available via and the Architecture General Handbook. Questions or problems should be addressed in the first instance to the Programme Director. Note: This handbook is published by the Edinburgh College of Art to give information to candidates about the MSc/Diploma programme. This programme handbook does not supersede the University regulations, and the formal requirements for the programme are as set out in the University's Postgraduate Study Regulations (; a copy of the Degree Programme Table entry for this programme appears in the Appendix of this document. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information in this handbook is correct at the start of the session. However, details are subject to change during the course of the year, and will then be notified to students as appropriate. The online version of this handbook will also be updated.

Programme Director

Dr. Jules Rawlinson

Edinburgh College of Art Alison House, Room G.14 12 Nicolson Square Edinburgh EH8 9DF, UK Phone: +44(0)131 650 4122 Direct line: 50 4122 Email: jules[dot]rawlinson Web: Dr. Jules Rawlinson will be acting Programme Director during Prof. John Lee's sabbatical absence in the 2017-17 session The Programme Director is responsible for the smooth running of the Programme, including coordination of teaching and assessment, and programme evaluation. The Programme Director aims to facilitate your orientation and smooth progression through the programme, from initial induction through to transition to the project/dissertation stage, and final completion; and is also available as the first line of pastoral support (see the section on support services below).

Degree Aims and Outcomes

The degree aims to provide a rich cross-disciplinary programme of study for its students to develop skills in the area of computer-aided design, multimedia, networking and other digital technologies applied to design. Its graduates will be conversant with appropriate technologies and with the practices and social contexts in which such technologies are developed and used. The programme will impart practical skills within the framework of a critical and reflective appreciation of the impact and influence of digital technology. The programme of study assumes all students are at the beginner level in design computing, but are prepared to advance quickly. The programme is designed to allow you to develop according to your skills and interests. Specifically, the aims of the programme are to:
  • develop specific knowledge and provide a broadly-based foundation in design technologies
  • encourage the development of good design in its broadest sense
  • foster the ability to work co-operatively in groups in the context of design
  • develop understanding of the potential for new technologies
  • enable the use of existing computer-aided design techniques in a creative way
  • provide an analytical and critical framework to enable students to develop fresh thinking in design by building on their undergraduate or industrial experience
  • assist students in discovering new creative uses of advanced technologies
  • give students an understanding of the scope and limitations of computer applications in design
  • encourage the development of business and entrepreneurial skills in working with digital media
The outcomes of the programme fall into several categories, as follows. Knowledge and understanding On completing the programme students should be able to a advise on the applicability of digital technologies in a professional design context b critically evaluate digital technologies and their applicability to design c analyse requirements and derive design solutions for presentation and information applications d demonstrate understanding of the cultural and business context in which digital technologies are developed and promoted Subject-specific skills On completing the programme, students should be able to: a apply techniques of CAD, multimedia, video editing, sound and 3d modelling b design effective multimedia presentations c develop a dynamic web site d program interactive behaviours using a scripting language e draft a business plan in a design context f relate technological options to considerations of practice g develop and respond to critical argument on cultural issues relating to the use of digital technologies Key skills On completing the programme students should be able to: a use information technology creatively in solving problems b put together presentations and installations using digital media c assess the value and applicability of developments in digital technology as they emerge d critically assess the popular and academic literature that accompanies the promotion of digital technologies e manage time and prioritise work tasks f follow an independent programme of study through to completion g present themselves for interview and demonstrate the ability to work in a professional context h demonstrate that they have a learning and professional development strategy


Our overall objective is not to produce highly skilled technicians or programmers, but to encourage the development of rounded professionals with a wide appreciation of the issues of digital design in the contemporary world. This is a one-year programme, and as such has certain limitations. It may be taken, for example, by designers, computer specialists, social theorists and managers. It aims to inform any of these about the others, to allow them to understand each others' points of concern, and to work together in teams. It cannot, in most cases, directly convert students from any one of these specialisms into another, e.g. designers into computer specialists, or vice versa. It should, however, equip those who wish to pursue conversion with a solid foundation from which to move forward in the desired direction. Students who begin at an advanced level in any area are encouraged to exploit and share their skills, but cannot expect dedicated tuition to cater to their further development. In assessment, credit is given for advanced performance, but perhaps even more for grappling with, using and benefiting from material outside an area of original specialisation. In assessment, we seek especially to acknowledge sensitive and effective teamworking with fellow students from a diversity of backgrounds, both academic and cultural. We endeavour to offer and support recent and highly-specified versions of the software we use; however, these are never crucial, and we aim to promote a flexibility that includes addressing projects by making appropriate use of whatever tools are available.

University Context

The MSc in Design and Digital Media is organised and run within the Edinburgh School of Architecture & Landscape Architecture (ESALA) ( ECA includes also the subject areas of Music, Art, Design and History of Art. In the University structure, ECA is formally a School within the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (

Programme Structure and Content

The full time programme runs through two semesters and the summer "vacation" period.  Work on the supervised dissertation project occupies the whole of the summer "vacation" period. Each semester typically includes 11 weeks of teaching, plus an "examination" period. Official session dates are given at Note that in this programme we are not committed to avoiding all teaching during those weeks that are nominated as "examination" weeks, since our own courses have no examinations. However, we will do our best to avoid any clashes with external option courses that students may take.  The period following the spring vacation will otherwise be dedicated to beginning work on the Final Project. Courses Semester 1: Introduction and Orientation Compulsory Courses: ARCH11002: Media and Culture ARCH11192: Introduction to Digital Design Course Options: ONE of the following two options: * ARCH11248: 3D and Animated Design ARCH11251: Interactive Visual Design   * OR Introduction to Community Arts Practice: Modes, Methods and Meanings OR Design For Informatics Semester 2: Practice, Reflection and Action Compulsory Courses: ARCH11004: Dynamic Web Design Course Options: SELECT EITHER ARCH11006: Digital Media Studio Project OR ARCH11247: Digital Playgrounds for the Online Public (20 credits) AND (ONE OF) CMSE11201: Innovation-driven Entrepreneurship (20 credits) OR ARCH11254: Game Design Studio OR OTHER OPTION * * Other options: Select exactly 20 credits from Level 11 courses in Schedules A to Q, T and W, during Semester 2. Note that course options may be considered with the approval of course organiser and programme director. Students must check before notifying course secretary of their choice that their selected option does not clash with compulsory programme course timetables. Suggestions include: Designing with Data Internet, Society and Economy ICT for Development Mediating Film   "Semester 3" Summer period (Vacation): Integration ARCH11007: Final Project In each semester, the three courses run concurrently through the whole semester. Each course carries 20 credit points, and the Final Project carries 60.  The programme may be taken part-time, in which case four courses (ARCH11192, ARCH11193/73, ARCH11003, ARCH11004 and CMSE11201 [or option]) are normally taken in the first year, and the two other courses (ARCH11002 and ARCH11006), as well as the Final Project, in the second.  


Two prizes will be awarded at the end of the session.
  •        The Aart Bijl Student Prize
For outstanding leadership in the learning and welfare of the student body (£200). Aart Bijl was a pioneer in the development of CAD and AI applications. He led the EdCAAD research group in Architecture from 1968 to 1994.
  •        The John Lansdown Project Prize
For outstanding contribution to the final project (£200). John Lansdown was a pioneer in multimedia in art and design. He proposed the creation of the MSc in Design and Digital Media in collaboration with Middlesex University in 1997.


The following are times for scheduled workshops and seminars. Tutorial assistance will also be available at various times outwith these hours. Studio facilities are accessible once students have attended a Health and Safety awareness training session. For Semester 1:
9-10 10-11 11-12 12-1 1-2 2-3 3-4 4-5
Tuesday Interactive Visual Design (lecture/activity) 3D Animation and Design (lecture/activity)
Wednesday Tutorial groups (as advised)
Thursday Media and Culture (lecture) Intro to Digital Design (lecture/activity)
Courses in both semesters will usually use these same time slots, but are subject to variation, and the whole length of a time slot may not be used. The final summer vacation period is necessarily organised very flexibly. See the Programme Calendar for further details, but be aware that changes may be notified at any time as the year progresses, possibly at short notice. Tutorial group meetings will be organised periodically throughout the programme (not necessarily on Wednesdays) and students will be advised as necessary. Full attendance is expected at all sessions, including tutorial groups. Other events include the regular ESALA Postgraduate Seminar Series, in which participation is strongly encouraged. Students are expected to spend a large proportion of the working week in the studio or libraries; it should be assumed that several hours of preparatory reading and/or writing may be needed for lectures or tutorials associated with the essay-based courses. A general guideline in the University is that full-time students will be putting in at least 40 hours of effort per week across all their courses and during the Final Project period. (1 credit point broadly equates to 10 hours of expected overall student effort.)  

Teaching locations

The studio for this programme is in the "Atrium" area of Alison House, Nicolson Square (internal telephone extension 508133). View Map MSc lecture/seminars will also take place in other lecture rooms, which will be advised. The studio is normally available for MSc use, but may on occasion be booked for other purposes, e.g. teaching evening courses, visiting lectures, concerts or screenings. ECA Opening Hours, including evening and weekend access Opening Hours for all ECA buildings; 7.00am – 11.00pm Monday to Friday 10.00am – 11.00pm Saturday, Sunday throughout the calendar year, excepting the University’s annual building closure period over Christmas and New Year during which all ECA buildings will close completely. For 2016/17, Postgraduate students, Taught and Research, whose programmes are based at Alison House will have 24-hour access to specialist facilities in Alison House. Please consult your MyEd timetables for details of individual teaching locations and times. This can be accessed here: (Please note that some of our class times, especially tutorials, may not appear in MyEd: see the Programme Calendar for details.) The ECA Postgraduate Office is located at the 3rd Floor, Evolution House, on the corner of West Port and Lady Lawson St. (about 10 minutes' walk from Alison House), and is where all forms of administrative support for the programme can be accessed. Please note that the office is open to students only during the hours 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-16.30, Monday to Friday. The Secretary for MSc Design and Digital Media is Ryan Farrell - Tel: 0131 651 5740 - Email: View Map  

Computing Facilities

The studio is well provided with a number of computers and other equipment, including advanced software, and is normally reserved for MSc use. Further machines, all on the same network, are available in the Multimedia Studio (room 2.08) in the Architecture building (Minto House) at 20 Chambers Street, which is shared with undergraduates. However, at peak times (especially when a submission is due) demand may well exceed availability. It is very much in students' interests to even out the load by working flexibly. Note also that some software will be available on only one or a small number of machines, so cooperation and negotiation are essential.While strenuous efforts are made to maintain all the equipment in excellent order, students also need to appreciate that advanced computing machinery and complex leading-edge software are often by their nature unreliable, and our computing support staff are a finite resource. Systems will sometimes crash, usually at the most unfortunate moment. Any problems that arise should be notified to the computing staff immediately. Details of how to contact computing support, and other useful information, can be found at Please in general use the contact form link provided on that page, and do not directly phone the computing staff. It is important to follow good practice in saving and backing-up all work. Personal hard disc drives and USB memory sticks are a useful resource. Responsibility for any lost material rests ultimately with the student. Where possible, we seek also to accommodate and encourage students' use of their own laptops etc., including wireless connection to the studio network. Note that all such use, along with use of any University equipment, carries responsibilities in terms of sensible and legal use of software and networks. Infringement of the University Computing Regulations, which are signed up to by all students at matriculation and which cover any machine attached to the University network, even if only by wireless for a short time, is a potentially very serious disciplinary and legal matter. These regulations may also be supplemented from time to time by the Edinburgh College of Art. In addition to ECA computing provision, a wide range of University facilities are available to students, including open-access computing labs in Alison House and the Main Library; these offer mainly standard office applications, but there are also a number of more specialised facilities. The University Computing Service also offers a number of training courses in the use of various applications. For the University Computing Regulations, see   Students should use one of the following routes for IT support: * Email: * Web form:   * Phone: (0131 6)51 51 51 Links to self-help documentation, are available on the ECA intranet:

Organisation of Teaching

The programme is taught by a combination of lecture/seminars, tutorials, practical sessions and studios. However, much of the responsibility for study will be the student's own and you will be encouraged to form study groups, work together and share expertise. Teaching will be available at various times outwith the timetabled hours of specific sessions. Students will also be expected to meet individually with their Personal Tutor at times that will be advised. Each taught course provides tuition in a specialised aspect of the subject. Certain courses are based mainly on lecture/seminars, while others emphasise short creative production projects which develop, exemplify and integrate practical skills in the use of digital media. Each course has a Course Organiser, who is the first recourse for questions about the content, assessment and other specifically course-related issues. Commonly, project work will be team-based. Projects are required to display evidence of original thinking, independent achievement within a framework of team-working, and creative ability. Collaborative team-based projects will be structured so that the individual contribution of each student in the group can be identified and assessed. The Final Project in particular will, of course, be mostly self-directed work (again perhaps as a team), with periodic supervision meetings. Although this is a "taught programme", our emphasis in these courses is more on facilitating learning than on teaching. We aim to provide an environment in which learning can be maximised, and the teaching staff are just one resource among many that students can exploit. Even when not explicitly team-based, learning is to us a highly collaborative activity, and the students themselves are the key resource for each other. We prescribe little; we expect to be challenged and questioned. We are often not expert users of particular software applications; we expect students to explore, exploit the internet and the wider University, seek other sources of expertise, engage with practices of research. We will usually reward experimentation, innovation, creativity and boldness of conception in all courses. Note that in this research-led university, staff are engaged in research projects as well as teaching, which brings benefits to students involved in taught programmes. Research informs teaching, and there may be opportunities directly to engage in research projects during the year and beyond. In the spirit of sharing, discussing and developing a creative profile, students are encouraged to maintain a blog, on which they can record ideas and discussions, as well as posting work in progress and copies of submissions. This should be something suitable for viewing by the wider public; it will not be in itself assessed, but if used well can form a strong complement to the assessed work of the programme and assist the development of a professional portfolio.


In common with general design education practice, the main assessment of design progress is by means of project-work (some of it group project-work), usually complemented by a relatively short written report. Assessment will take into account:
  • the extent to which a student has contributed original ideas to the projects
  • the creative ability displayed
  • the depth and breadth of coursework understanding revealed
  • the extent to which the intention of the project has been revealed
  • skills in visual, written and verbal communication of the project ideas
Criteria for the assessment of group work vary, and will sometimes be based on the overall product of a group, sometimes more on individual contribution. Assessment of project work, in particular, may require students to engage with techniques of self assessment and peer assessment. Criteria for assessment are further elaborated in each course description and in the marking scheme. In all cases the limitations and potential of the available resources will be taken into account. The importance of written reports is not to be minimised. There will also be longer assessed essays in certain courses. In our own courses, there are no traditional written examination sessions, but these may arise in courses provided by others. Note that, in accordance with Appendix 1 of the Code of Practice for Taught Postgraduate Programmes, any form of plagiarism will be treated as a very serious disciplinary issue. See also the University regulations at, and on plagiarism the useful student guidance offered via the links on the page at (see especially the link to the document at Submission of written work will normally require at least two hard copies, plus a digital version. All other work must be submitted digitally, either on SD card or similar media, via our own or the University's online submission systems, or by transfer to an appropriate hard disc, according to instructions from the course organiser. Written copies and memory cards or media are to be submitted to the ECA Postgraduate Office. All submissions will be given a mark which remains provisional until ratified by the Board of Examiners, which meets in May/June to decide on course marks and progression to the project stage, and again for Final Project assessment in September/October. The Board of Examiners includes an External Examiner, whose role is to assure standards of assessment and to provide a further source of advice on the Programme. Students are usually invited to an informal meeting with the External Examiner in May/June (see the Programme Calendar). The External Examiner for this Programme is Prof Andre Brown (from the University of Liverpool). **Students must NOT make direct contact with the External Examiner.** The University has a procedure for academic appeals, which can be found in section 10.3 of the Code of Practice for Taught Postgraduate Programmes (

Academic Misconduct and Plagiarism (Report and Essay Guidelines)

These guidelines are very important. Failure to adhere to them may result in the disciplinary offence of Plagiarism, which is very serious and can lead to your immediately failing the degree, or even summary expulsion from the University. Pay special heed to the warning about plagiarism in the University's policy statements and guidelines (see URL in the section on Assessment): read these very carefully and make sure that nothing in your work can possibly be construed as plagiarism. Remember that plagiarism can arise if you present the distinctive thoughts or ideas of another person as your own, even if you have changed all of the original words. Remember also that plagiarism applies to images, sounds, scripts, code or any other authored material. You must always properly acknowledge the source of anything in your work that is not entirely original. If you are unsure and require clarification and assistance, please speak to your tutor. You must make yourself fully aware of what might constitute plagiarism in the context of your programme of study. For further information see: Follow the reference and footnote conventions outlined in Russell (1992), or the APA style guide ( ). Reference ALL material used from other sources, especially direct quotes. Include the page number of the source of the quote in your reference wherever possible. Give clear URLs for all materials accessed from the Web. Do not include material copied directly from any source (e.g. a web page or a book) unless it is essential for you to comment on it; and then always make sure you enclose it in quotation marks, or in some other conventional way (e.g. as an indented block) clearly identify it as a quotation, and give the source accurately and as precisely as possible. If you are following the structure of someone else's argument and not your own then you need to reference this fact (e.g. Following Vidler's (1992) argument on the uncanny we see first that...). Also indicate where you are following someone else's use of a reference to a text you have not read. For example if Vidler makes an interesting reference to Freud, and you have not read the Freud text, then reference Vidler as the source, not Freud (e.g. According to Vidler (1992), Freud uses the uncanny to...). Provide references for illustrations if you have any. You may also find the classic Elements of Style (Strunk, 1916) useful, if not quaint. Use the UK English spelling checker on your wordprocessor. The grammar checker can also be useful. Diagrams and images must also be attributed, even when digitally manipulated. Use of the WWW for research is encouraged, but it is inappropriate to copy and paste ANY text (or image etc.) from the web without indicating its status as a quotation and without full attribution to author and URL, since this would count as plagiarism. Do not cite or quote from Wikipedia (or any similar resource) as a source: Wikipedia is a good place to find references to sources that you can follow up and then cite or quote from. Note that inappropriate use of web material can often be detected by the examiners undertaking spot checks on key words and phrases using web search engines and other tools, including specialised plagiarism detection software (especially Turnitin). Note that making superficial changes to copied material to disguise its origins also constitutes plagiarism and is not allowed. Do not ever take even part of a sentence from somewhere, change a few words, and then include it in your text without attribution as if it were your own: this is plagiarism and will be treated as such if detected. As work by MSc students is often published on the Internet, issues of copyright are also a major concern. This applies as much, or more, to project work as to essays. It is imperative that all source material external to the course is referenced, and where necessary permission to reproduce is obtained. Students are requested generally not to use visual or sound resources (e.g. images, music, movie clips) from other sources (including the WWW, CDs, DVDs, MP3 sources, etc.), even where these are public-domain libraries, except for critical commentary as permitted under copyright law. There are important educational reasons why we encourage the use of resources generated from within the courses, and copyright is also a crucial consideration in any kind of professional design practice. For information on copyright law in the UK, see


Russell, Terence M. 1992. Essays, Reports and Dissertations: Guidance Notes on the Preparation and Presentation of Written Work, Architecture, University of Edinburgh. [Available in the Architecture Library.] Strunk, William (1918). Elements of Style, Geneva, N.Y.: Press of W.P. Humphrey. [Available on line at .]

Marking Scheme

All courses and projects will be marked on the University of Edinburgh’s common postgraduate marking scheme, as laid out in the Code of Practice. The marking scale is in accordance with the University’s Extended Common Marking Scheme (CMS4), see for full details of CMS4. *Assessment of the dissertation component: In those programmes where a diploma may be awarded for the taught component only, a failed dissertation may be put aside and the diploma awarded. (MSc Sound Design is such a programme.) The standard of work required to achieve these grades is as laid out below. Note that you may be used to a different marking system in your previous institution, especially if this was overseas. Here we expect to use the full range of marks, and marks in the 70% to 100% range are not as common here as in some systems. Standards are checked by the external examination process, and staff are involved in external examining in programmes in other universities, which ensures parity with other UK institutions.

A1 (90+) Excellent

Requirements are as for A2, but with all or almost all aspects of the work being of exemplary standard. Normal expectations will have been substantially exceeded and there will be clear evidence of originality. Work at this level may be considered to be publishable in a scholarly or academic conference, or similar context.

A2 (80-89) Excellent

Requirements are as for A3, with the addition that most aspects of the work will be of exemplary quality, normal expectations of the brief or task having been clearly exceeded. There may be evidence of originality in thought, conception or execution.

A3 (70-79) Excellent

Design work

Requirements are as for a B, with the addition that the design is of excellent quality, in terms of concept, resolution and level of integration. It is well justified and there are no obvious gaps in the presentation, whatever means are used. The approach taken may entail some risk but the work has been successful in terms made clear in its presentation. In the case of team work there may be evidence of team leadership. The work may be excellent in its totality, or there may be some aspect of the work that is exemplary. This aspect should be well communicated and be important in terms of the project brief. Where there is evidence that the student has exceeded the time and effort normally required for the project then this time and effort is evident in the quality of the work.

Written work

The Structure will demonstrate a close, critical engagement with the question and demonstrate a strong grasp of its wider implications. The piece of work will have a clear argument and factual material will be used in an analytical, rather than descriptive way, to further that argument. The Language and Expression will be appropriate to the task and demonstrate a clear understanding of the appropriate scholarly apparatus. It will aid the development of the argument through its fluency and clear evidence of independent thought. A piece of work at this level will have a strong base in a Range of Knowledge that is both broad and deep. It will demonstrate a clear understanding of the complexity of the subject, an ability to argue at both the general and particular level and to evaluate information and make discriminating use of it. In general, the work will meet the requirements of the assignment brief in a way that is exemplary through its thoroughness and/or it may exceed the expectations of the brief in certain respects. The work may be excellent in its totality, or there may be some aspect of the work that is exemplary. The approach taken and the argument followed may entail some risk but this has been successful in terms made clear in the work. Where the work entails the collection and collation of data, this will be handled with appropriate rigour and be very well integrated into the argumentation. In the case of team work, there may be evidence of team leadership. Where there is evidence that the student has exceeded the time and effort normally required for the task, this will be evident in the quality of the work.

B (60-69) Very Good

Design work

The project meets the requirements of the project brief or challenges them in a way that is creative and well argued. The design is of high quality with good justification for the decisions made. Where a student is given scope for defining the problem tackled, then the problem presents a high degree of challenge appropriate to the level of the course. The presentation is complete, though there may be gaps that could be resolved with minor modification. There is evidence of consistency of application in developing the design from the early stages of the design. Where group work is involved then there is evidence of full engagement in the work of the team. Where the project emphasises the production of a complete design then the work shows an ability to resolve the design at an appropriate level.

Written work

The Structure will demonstrate a serious attempt at critical engagement with the question and demonstrate an appreciation of its wider implications. The piece of work will have a clear argument and will employ relevant factual material. This may be used mainly analytically, although with less critical engagement than A-grade work. The Language and Expression will be accurate and show an understanding of the appropriate scholarly apparatus. It will aid the development of the argument through its clarity and make a serious attempt to develop independent thought. A piece of work at this level will be based on a Range of Knowledge that is extensive, even though it may be uneven. It will demonstrate an understanding of the complexity of the subject, and will show evidence of an ability to argue at both the general and particular level. In general, the work will meet the requirements of the assignment task and will approach them in a way that is creative and well argued. The level of ambition will be high, both in the student's approach to work set by a tutor and where a student is given scope for defining the topic. Where the work entails the collection and collation of data, the work will be handled with appropriate rigour and be well integrated into the argumentation. Where group work is involved, there will be evidence of full engagement in the work of the team.

C (50-59) Good; satisfactory for Masters

Design work

The design is good. Where a student is given scope for defining the task then the work falls short of achieving those ambitions in the execution of the design, or, conversely the ambitions of the task are met, but they are relatively modest. The work may be competent but not be completely resolved in its design or presentation. There is evidence that the work could reach the B grade given more time and effort.

Written work

The Structure will demonstrate some understanding of the question set but may show only moderate awareness of its wider implications. The piece of work will have a point of view but the arguments may be stated rather than developed and factual material, although relevant, may be used more descriptively than analytically. The Language and Expression will be sufficiently accurate and relevant to demonstrate a reasonable grasp of the topic but may lack fluency. The scholarly apparatus will be sufficient but may be incomplete or idiosyncratic. The argumentation may be derivative with little evidence of independent thought. The Range of Knowledge will be sound, although there may be some inaccuracies. It will have been assimilated uncritically and there may be a reliance on information and argumentation already presented in the lectures. In general, the work will meet most of the requirements of the assignment task. Where a student is given scope for defining the topic, it will present an appropriate degree of challenge for the level of the course. Where the work entails the collection and collation of data, this will be handled with appropriate rigour but may not be very well integrated with the argumentation. Where group work is involved, there will be evidence of involvement in the work of the team.

D (40-49) Satisfactory for Diploma but inadequate for Masters

Design work

(i) The work is competent but not good, suggesting that it could not reach the B level without major re-working; or (ii) the work is not sufficiently complete in its design or presentation. In the case of (ii) there is evidence that the work could attain the C level with major re-development.

Written work

The Structure may demonstrate little understanding of the question set and may tend to stray from the topic The argument may be undeveloped and haphazard and the factual material may be used descriptively rather than analytically. The Language and Expression will generally be grammatical but may lack fluency and sophistication. The scholarly apparatus may be deficient. There may be little evidence of an understanding of the complex nature of the inquiry and the answer may show no intentional originality of approach. The Range of Knowledge may be adequate but may contain errors. It will be broadly relevant to the question but may be used in a descriptive and uncritical way. In general, work will be competent but not good. Where a student is given scope for defining the topic, it will present a degree of challenge appropriate to the level of the course. Where the work entails the collection and collation of data, this will be handled with appropriate rigour, but may be poorly integrated with the argumentation. Where group work is involved, there may be some evidence of involvement in the work of the team.

E (35-39) Marginal Fail

Design work

(i) The work may be insufficiently complete to assess its quality adequately or (ii) the work may be judged to be of poor quality whatever the level of completeness. In the case of (i) it would be expected that the work could be brought up to the D level with more time and effort.

Written work

The Structure may be weak, showing little understanding of the question and no understanding of its wider implications. It may tend towards random presentation of facts and opinions. The Language and Expression may present a significant number of basic errors in spelling and grammar and may have deficiencies in the scholarly apparatus. It may fail to present any evidence of coherent, independent thought. The Range of Knowledge may be inadequate, with major errors, and of doubtful relevance to the question. In general, the work may be poor in most, if not all areas. It may also, or alternatively, be incomplete.

F (25-34) Clear Fail

Design Work

The work is not of sufficient quality or at a level of completeness that it could be redeemed to a D without re-starting the project.

Written work

The work may be seriously deficient in most, if not all areas. It may also, or alternatively, be incomplete.

G/H (below 25) Bad Fail

The work, of whatever kind, is extremely poor, incomplete or absent. It is deficient in most or all significant respects.

MSc and Diploma Award Requirements

The programme conforms to the University’s Taught Assessment Regulations. Please refer to: Regulation 41 Borderlines Regulation 53 Postgraduate assessment progression Regulation 54 Postgraduate degree, diploma and certificate award Regulation 56 Award of postgraduate merit Regulation 57 Award of postgraduate distinction   Borderline Criteria for Progression Where a student is borderline for progression, the case will be considered by the Board of Examiners. The decision whether or not to allow progression in such cases is at the discretion of the Board of Examiners. Borderline marks are defined as marks from two percentage points below the boundary for progression, up to the boundary itself, i.e. 48.00% to 49.99%. Where applicable, factors taken into account in such cases will be (a) any special circumstances, such as illness or other adverse personal circumstances, which have been brought to the attention of the Board of Examiners; (b) credit weighting of individual courses; (c) the range of overall course marks; (d) marks and letter grades awarded to learning outcomes. Borderline Criteria for Award – including with Merit Where a student is borderline for award including award with Merit, the case will be considered by the Board of Examiners. The decision regarding classification of degree in such cases is at the discretion of the Board of Examiners. Borderline marks are defined as marks from two percentage points below the boundary for award, up to the boundary itself, i.e. 48.00% to 49.99% and 58.00% to 59.99% Where applicable, factors taken into account in such cases will be (a) any special circumstances, such as illness or other adverse personal circumstances, which have been brought to the attention of the Board of Examiners; (b) performance in final project / dissertation; (c) credit weighting of individual courses; (d) the range of overall course marks including dissertation / final project; (e) marks and letter grades awarded to learning outcomes. Borderline Criteria for Distinction Where a student does not qualify for a distinction as of right, they may be considered for the award of distinction if (a) their dissertation mark and (b) their credit-weighted average mark across all taught courses are both 68.00% or higher. The decision whether or not to award a distinction in such cases is at the discretion of the Board of Examiners. In exercising its discretion, the Board will take into account the following factors: (a) the student’s credit-weighted average across the degree as a whole; (b) the number of courses (including the dissertation) in which the student received a grade of A, and the credit weighting of those courses; (c) any special circumstances, such as illness or other adverse personal circumstances, which have been brought to the Board’s attention.   Academic appeals An academic appeal is a request for a decision made by a Board of Examiners to be reconsidered in relation to: marks progression degree award If you are considering lodging an appeal, it is important that you act promptly. It is important to note that the appeal process cannot be used to challenge academic judgment. That is, a student cannot submit an appeal simply because they believe that they deserve a better mark. There are specific and fairly narrow grounds under which an academic appeal may be submitted.


Students enrolled on the MSc in Design and Digital Media who are eligible to graduate will do so at the Winter Graduation Ceremonies - this includes students who exit with a Postgraduate Diploma or Certificate. The winter ceremonies usually take place in the last week in November and are administered by the Academic Registry.  

Leave of Absence

For students not on distance learning programmes, leave from attendance and participation is permitted to undertake study, research or other activities outside their programme of study, that enhance the student’s career or study. It requires College approval after consideration of an application by the student’s personal tutor, supervisor or programme director.   A “Leave of Absence Request Form” must be completed by your Programme Director. This form can be found here: Leave of Absence Request Form   The University regulations about this can be found here:   (Item 31)

Students on a Tier 4 Visa

As a Tier 4 student visa holder, it is your responsibility to comply with the conditions of your visa. Failure to follow these conditions will result in the university reporting you to the UKVI. Your responsibilities as a Tier 4 student Further details on the terms and conditions of your Tier 4 visa can be found in the “Downloads” section at Information or advice about your Tier 4 immigration status can be obtained by contacting the International Student Advisory Service Attendance and Engagement Monitoring of All Students UK Government Legislation relating to Points-Based Immigration requires all universities to monitor the attendance of their international students. In ECA we intend to meet this duty by monitoring the attendance and engagement of all of our students, as this will give us a positive opportunity to identify and help all students who might be having problems of one kind or another, or who might need more support. Any non-attendance of international students may affect your sponsorship status

Late submission

It is your responsibility to ensure that your work is submitted on time. If there is a legitimate reason for not being able to meet the specified deadline, approach your course organiser for an extension. Do this as soon as you become aware that you might have a problem. University policy is that work submitted after the specified (or re-negotiated) date will be deemed to be a late submission and will be subject to a deduction of FIVE MARKS PER DAY overdue. After seven calendar days a mark of 0% will be recorded. (This policy applies throughout the University.) Note that late submission of the final MSc dissertation (final project) is particularly serious and could result in failure of the dissertation component, implying failure of the MSc degree. Application of penalties for lateness is at the discretion of the Board of Examiners. Legitimate reasons for lateness must generally be supported by medical certification or other appropriate documentary evidence. All such evidence should be submitted for Special Circumstances consideration before the relevant meeting of the Board of Examiners. Your scheduling of all your work must take into account the vagaries of software and hardware: no kind of equipment failure, lost material, theft of laptops, etc. will normally be taken as a legitimate reason for lateness or non-submission. The Special Circumstances Committee meets before the examination boards to consider the cases of students whose performance has been affected by illness or personal problems and it recommends actions that might be taken in mitigation to the exam board. The Committee deals with issues in the strictest confidence but it can only deal with problems it knows about so it is very important that, if the need arises, you make sure that your Personal Tutor is aware of any problems so that s/he can formally bring it to the attention of the Exam Board. Examples of special circumstances might be: -           physical illness or injury -           depression or similar mental or emotional illness -           specific learning difficulty -           bereavement or serious illness of a person with whom the student has a close relationship -           serious financial or accommodation difficulties For further information see:   Non-submission and Late Penalties Penalties for late submission will be applied as per the Taught Assessment Regulations. Regulation 25 and 25.5.  

Feedback and Return of Marked Submissions

Final course submissions will be marked and returned within two months of the submission date.  Interim submissions will be marked within 15 working days, with feedback and discussion during tutorial meetings. The University has adopted a policy on feedback -

For information on student feedback deadlines, please visit: (Regulation 15). Also see and also Key elements of this policy state that:

  • All students will be given at least one formative feedback or feedforward event for every course they undertake, provided during the semester in which the course is taken and in time to be useful in the completion of summative work on the course. ...
  • Feedback on formative assessed work will be provided within 15 working days of submission, or in time to be of use in subsequent assessments within the course, whichever is sooner. Summative marks will be returned on a published timetable, which has been made clear to students at the start of the academic year.
For our programme this is realised, in practice, by design project-oriented courses having a series of interim submissions, often known as "crit submissions", that exist primarily for the generation of feedback which arises from a later discussion of the submissions in class sessions. Note that feedback in these cases may not include a mark or grade, but will include commentary on the quality of work and advice on improvement. However, there will generally be at least one marked interim submission with written feedback. In essay-oriented courses there will be at least one interim submission (e.g. of an essay abstract) for which written feedback may be given and which will be discussed for feedback in tutorials. The timetable for these submissions and events will be part of the Programme Calendar, which forms part of this Handbook and is regularly updated online. (Notes given as feedback at any stage are not necessarily complete and do not generally reference all of the assessment criteria. Compliance with any suggestions in interim feedback is no guarantee of a good mark in a later assessment.)

Official communications

When you join the University you will be given a University of Edinburgh (UoE) email account and address which will be used for a variety of essential communications. You must access and manage this account regularly as the University will send you vital information from time to time, for example on assessment arrangements or changed class times or locations, and will assume that you have opened and acted on these communications. Failure to do so will not be an acceptable excuse or ground for appeal. If you already have a web-based e-mail account and think that you are unlikely to check your UoE e-mail account, it is your responsibility to set up a forward on the UoE account to ensure that all official University communications are received. (The service is actually provided by "Office 365": please see You can forward email if you click the "Forward your Emails" link on the right hand side of your Office 365 home screen. Type the email address that you wish your emails to be forwarded to and click "Start Forwarding".) You can locate your email by logging into EASE.

Other Forms of Communication

Mobile phones are used in emergency situations and students are encouraged to update their contact details via the MyEd portal. At times we will write to you; it is important to keep both your semester and permanent home address up to date. This is also done via the MyEd portal. Updating Personal Details Via “Student Self Service”, students can view and edit personal and study details within their MyEd Portal. The Student Personal Details channel allows students to review their contact details, address information & emergency contacts. It also provides the ability to edit certain personal details directly:

Use of Social Media

While there are many cautionary tales about the use of social media and the ‘digital footprint’, there are also many positives to engaging with it.  There have been many examples recently of students and graduates using social media to network and, in some cases, find employment.  Social media allows easy exchange of information and ideas and can provide a powerful platform for discussion – all of which is within the control of the account owner.  Do not be afraid to engage with debate but do remember that what goes on the internet stays on the internet – you need to remember that a future employer may discover things about you that you would prefer to keep private.  We expect you to be courteous in your postings and to not make personal or hurtful comments about other students or staff.  You should ensure your comments are lawful, ie are consistent with legislatively protected areas of equality and diversity, and do not constitute a disciplinary offence under the University’s code, which include offensive behaviour (in writing as well as actual) and bringing the University into disrepute.


The following staff contribute to the programme:
John Lee Programme Director; Professor of Digital Media and Deputy Director of the Human Communication Research Centre (School of Informatics) Alison House, Nicolson Square Extension 502335 HCRC: Informatics Forum, rm 4.28 Extension 504420
Jules Rawlinson Acting Programme Director; Lecturer in Digital Design Alison House G.14 Extension 504122 
Andrew Connor Teaching Fellow in Design & Digital Media Alison House
Denitsa Petrova Teaching Fellow in Design & Digital Media Alison House
Richard Coyne Academic Director; Professor of Architectural Computing Minto House, Chambers Street Extension 502332
Martin Parker Programme Director MSc Sound Design Alison House Extension 502333
Geoff Lee Chief Computing Officer, ECA (contact via computing issues web form) Evolution House Extension 502341
Ian Gunn Computing Officer, ECA Maltings 4.12 Extension 508020
Ryan Farrell Secretary for MSc Design and Digital Media, ECA Postgraduate Office ECA Postgraduate Office, 3rd Floor, Evolution House Extension 515740
Other staff may participate in specialised teaching and supervising as appropriate; it is impractical to list them here.

Support Services

Academic Support

Students on this programme are also supported by Architecture services, including technical support and the Architecture Library, which holds stock for this programme. There are also other excellent library facilities within the University, including the ECA library in Evolution House. In addition, the University is well provided with specialist support services through the Main Library, Information Services, etc. These may be approached directly or through the Programme Director. Study skills, English language tuition, and many other general forms of support for students' academic development are also available. See especially the range of support offered by the Institute for Academic Development (

Pastoral Support

Students should feel free to bring problems of any kind (academic, medical, personal, religious, etc.) to the attention of the Programme Director. It is the student's responsibility to do so immediately where the problem may affect their academic performance. The Programme Director will discuss and, where relevant, suggest solutions for any problems, and assist in finding support from other members of staff where appropriate. For problems that are essentially non-academic the student can if necessary be referred to counselling or other specialist support. These and other services, such as The Advice Place (run by EUSA, Bristo Square, extension 516060,, may also be approached directly if preferred. See also sources of specialist support listed in Appendix IV of the Code of Practice for Taught Postgraduate Programmes (

Personal Tutors

In the context of the Design and Digital Media programme, the statement below is interpreted as follows. Each student is assigned a Personal Tutor, who will be one of John Lee, Richard Coyne or Jules Rawlinson. However, although you are welcome to contact your assigned PT whenever you wish, we operate a team approach. After the introductory meeting of the programme (which may be considered the first Group Meeting), all students will have an individual meeting with the Programme Director , though this may not be within the first 2 weeks. Further group and individual meetings will be organised and advised during the teaching year. The points made in this Handbook about the role of the Programme Director remain valid.   ECA Personal Tutoring Statement Information relating to the Personal Tutor system, Student Support Officers, and the student support services available across the University can be found here.   ECA has a specialist Student Support Officer for postgraduate taught students, who is a member of the Postgraduate Office Team: Lucy Hawkins – PG Student Support Officer Tel: +44 (0) 131 651 5734  

Language Support

The University’s Institute for Applied Language Studies run English Language courses for international students and courses in European and other languages for the local community and com­panies all year round. Contact details for the Institute for Applied Language Studies are - Tel: 0131 650 6200 / Web:  / Email: /

 Student Disability Service

The Student Disability Service is a service which supports disabled students. Their main focus is providing advice and support. They support students with dyslexia, mental health issues and students on the autistic spectrum, as well as those who have physical and sensory impairments.    

Institute for Academic Development

The University’s Institute for Academic Development offer study skills support for current students. This includes a range of courses and workshops to help you make the most of assignments, essays and exams as well as access to online and other learning resources:

Student Representation and Participation

Students should elect one of the class, for each degree programme, as Class Representative, who will be invited to join the Architecture (ESALA) Staff-Student Liaison meetings. Additionally, all students are invited to give full and free comments and opinions on all aspects of the programme, both to the Programme Director and to other members of staff, at any time. Note, however, that course organisers may not in all cases be able to provide immediate or written responses to comments. Questionnaires will periodically be used to elicit student opinion on the programmes.

Teaching Quality and Assurance

The quality of teaching on all University programmes is regularly monitored both externally and internally. Student feedback is an important part of this process. Even more importantly, student feedback and evaluation is a very highly valued input to curriculum and programme review. For Design and Digital Media, we provide online assessment forms for each course, which students are asked to complete and submit. These augment, but do not replace, the less formal processes of raising issues or making comments directly to teaching staff. We strongly encourage all comments, it being assumed that students will be at all times constructive, even if sometimes critical, in their feedback. Students are also encouraged to complete the annual University questionnaire for taught postgraduate students, details of which will be made available in May/June.

Complaints Procedures

Complaints should be brought up in the first instance with the Programme Director or the Head of the ECA Graduate School. Where necessary, other University procedures will apply, such as taking the matter to the College Postgraduate Dean and Secretary.   The complaint procedure is designed to ensure that complaints are properly investigated and are given careful and fair consideration. The procedure involves up to two stages and adheres, as far as possible, to a specified timescale. Anyone wishing to raise a complaint about a matter which is the responsibility of the University must do so via this procedure. Information and advice on the procedure can be accessed via the link below:

Other Costs

Additional Programme Costs This Programme has an additional programme cost of £800 that is collected at the same time as tuition fees by Student Administration. This is spent directly on the programme to enhance your studies. For further information, please see the link below.   General Costs Students should be aware that additional costs may arise in connection with any activities that involve travel, e.g. site visits, media purchase (such as memory cards and sticks, additional disc drives, blank CDs, DVDs, DV tapes etc.) and possibly in relation to summer projects.

Other Related Documents

University regulations and other important information for all students:

Appendix 1: Health and Safety

The University of Edinburgh operates a no smoking policy. It is very important that all students give full consideration to health and safety in the studios, the crit rooms, and in all parts of the building. All students should familiarise themselves with the location of fire exits and the routes to them. Nothing more dangerous than a modelling knife should be used in the studio: activities involving e.g. woodworking tools or power tools should always be carried out in the workshop. The same applies to glues, paints, solvents and other volatile or flammable materials. Any such tools or materials found lying about in the studios or elsewhere will be confiscated, and their unauthorised use may give rise to disciplinary action. Any hazardous waste items (especially broken glass etc.) must be disposed of carefully in the workshop. It is particularly important to keep stairways and corridors open and free from clutter, debris and flammable materials of any kind. Activities such as gluing or spray-painting in these areas will be treated particularly seriously. In the studios, it is critical to maintain clear escape routes from any point to the nearest fire exit. These may be marked on the floor, or may be otherwise designated by the studio tutor. Nothing should be allowed to restrict these routes, or access to them, even for a limited period. This will sometimes be inconvenient, but its importance must be appreciated by everyone involved in studio work. Accumulations of clutter are common in studios, but must be avoided where there is any possibility of resulting fire risk. Piles of paper or components of models, for example, should be tidied and kept out of harm’s way. Nothing should ever be allowed to restrict access to fire extinguishers; and these must never be moved or interfered with except in the event of a fire. Crit rooms and other spaces are equally subject to these points. Similarly, they are often through-routes for cleaners and other staff, and students must have full consideration for possible dangers represented by items on the floor, suspended from wires, involving spikes or sharp edges, etc. In all cases of installations, a risk assessment should be carried out, using the risk assessment checklist (with adaptations for specific projects if necessary). Note that crit rooms and other exhibition spaces should be used only for displaying work — the construction of all pieces should be carried out in the studio or workshop. Before the construction of anything large or heavy is undertaken, careful thought, including an assessment of risks, should be given to how it will be moved, displayed, stored and ultimately disposed of. Please recognise that these points are made in the interests of all users of our buildings. Good health and safety practices need be neither onerous nor obstructive if they are carried out continuously and routinely. Failure to comply with the ever-growing array of regulations in this area may easily have very serious consequences, e.g. the withdrawal of facilities such as 24-hour access to studios. An appreciation of health and safety is also an important general aspect of the design and use of all buildings, and increasingly of any professional or managerial role in any walk of life.

Appendix 2: Degree Programme Table

This is the official Degree Programme Table for Design and Digital Media. Design and Digital Media (MSc/Dip)

Degree Type: Postgraduate Taught Masters/Diploma [also available by part-time study]



Introduction to Digital Design A 11 20
Introduction to Interactive Design  * A 11 20
Introduction to Digital Modelling and Animation in Design  * A 11 20
Media and Culture A 11 20
Dynamic Web Design A 11 20
Innovation-Driven Entrepreneurship  # A 11 20
Digital Media Studio Project  A 11 20
Design and Digital Media Final  Project A 11 60
* One of these two courses must be chosen. # Replacement can be any 20-credits offered by the University of Edinburgh or the Edinburgh College of Art that meets with the approval of the Programme Director and the Head of ESALA.

Appendix 3: Programme Calendar

Please note that while every effort is made to ensure accurate details, this calendar should be treated only as a guide to the structure of the year. The University Calendar is here: On the calendar below, many events are subject to alteration but whenever possible, advance notice will be given, especially if the date and time of a lecture or seminar is going to change. The titles of many events and lectures are meant as placeholders and may change depending on the weekly needs of the class. You can subscribe to the course calendars by searching Google Calendar if you have a google account: However, you can also subscribe to these calendars with Apple's iCAL and other calendar readers using the links below. (Right click or control+click to copy and paste the link.) We strongly recommend you subscribe to these calendars in order to keep up with updates and changes to the schedule.

Subscribe to the MSc calendars with these links:

Design and Digital Media: XML iCAL HTML ARCH11002 Media and Culture: XML iCAL HTML ARCH 11192 Intro to Digital Design: XML iCAL HTML ARCH11193 Intro to Interactive Design: XML iCAL HTML ARCH11173 Intro to Digital Modelling: XML iCAL HTML ARCH11004 Dynamic Web Design: XML iCAL HTML ARCH11006 Digital Media Studio Project: XML iCAL HTML Special Events: XML iCAL HTML

Appendix 4: Printing

Taught postgraduates start with a printing allocation of £10.  Once this quota is reached, you can top up your printing account via machines at the main library. This quota is intended to help you consider whether you need to print a certain document or whether it can be read on screen.  A lot of paper and ink is wasted each year, so we have found this quota system necessary. The quota should be enough to print our your submissions and other pieces of information like project briefs.  A good way to save paper is, when printing, to print two pages per side.  This can be done by selecting LAYOUT from the print menu and choosing to print two pages per side.  With most of our printers, you can also print on both sides of the paper.
how to print two pages
Notice also on the bottom left of this image that you can export a PDF file from any print command.  This is a good way of preserving web pages without printing them out on paper. For further details, see

John McGovern Media Centre

The John McGovern Media Centre is open to all students and staff of the Edinburgh College of Art and provides a professionally supported facility for large-scale printing and scanning.  It is based in the Department of Architecture on Chambers Street. Other reprographics facilities may be accessible in Lauriston Place.


Guidelines for submissions

(a) The fully “official” version of any submission is by copying the file(s) or a digital version of the written text (for essays etc.) to the online SubSys submissions system. This must always be submitted by the due date, and will be treated as the real submission for any formal purposes.  Login to  You will see a link for each submission appropriate to the courses you are registered on. Please drop in here exactly the material required for the submission.  These folders will lock after the deadline. Name your files so that it is clear which part of the submission each file constitutes. (b) Accompanying each official submission, we require a completed online Declaration of Own Work form. (c) Where asked, you should also upload your submissions to infrar.ed.  It is a requirement that you tag each file uploaded with the appropriate metadata. Note that the infrar.ed submission is NOT the official submission, so do make sure you have also submitted to the drop-box. Websites
  1. Place the site in your 'playground' directory (location to follow).  There is a subfolder for each website submission.  Ensure that your site works in this location.  The best way to use these is actually to build your site in this location from the start.  So that we always know exactly how to view it, your website for the submission should appear online using exactly the URL derived from the name of the folder, e.g.: .../your_folder/submissions/idm1/.  This will only work if you have an index.html file directly in that folder (not in another folder inside that one), so please construct your site this way.
  2. You must still also copy the content of this folder into the SubSys.  This ensures that nothing has changed on the site between the submission deadline and marking, whilst also ensuring that a  working version remains online.

Submission Dates

For all submission dates, please see the Programme Calendar.