Welcoming graduates from all subject areas, this course exploits and encapsulates the knowledge you have acquired from any degree background into a VR environment that can be deployed in an exciting, interactive and immersive way for commercial, medical, research, educational or even entertainment purposes, broadening your intellectual skills from a narrower base of undergraduate knowledge into a multidisciplinary skill set.
This programme aims to:
- Provide graduates with an overview of XR technology and applications
- Enable graduates to understand and apply modern VR technology in the context of social, economic and technical challenges and to take a holistic and multidisciplinary approach to problem solving
- Define and develop effective computer based applications
- Enable graduates to reflect on the importance and individual strengths and weaknesses in entrepreneurial and innovative thinking and to effectively utilise idea generation and problem solving techniques
- Explore theoretical views on media, marketing, culture and human centred design through the project design process
- Engage with organisations effectively to develop project plans
- Develop graduates with a fundamental understanding of project management
Why Virtual Reality at Swansea?
Although the course is relatively new, in its first year it was the only course to receive two honorary mentions in the Swansea SALT awards, one for Best Course and one for Best Use of Technology Enhanced Learning.
While developing VR applications, having the correct tools is crucial. This course provides an all-inclusive package of the tools required, including your own VR development laptop with VR headset and controllers. This equipment is yours to keep after the course is completed at no extra charge, so you can continue applying your new VR skills in your future career. This equipment allows students to carry out all aspects of the course, from learning the basics to developing their final dissertation project.
The provided kit includes:
- VR Laptop
- Oculus quest 2 with carry case and link cable (or nearest equivalent)
- Backpack to transport the Laptop and VR headset
- A home set up of extra monitor with external Keyboard & Mouse and a USB hub
Our state-of-the-art facilities and resources include:
- Dedicated VR workstations with full body, eye and hand tracking for advance applications
- Oculus Go for 360 VR
- Oculus Quests for Simplified Room scale VR
- VR laptops for room scale VR
- VR computers for out-of-class work and relaxation
What industries say about us
“We have had the immense pleasure of being involved with the Swansea University VR MSc course, where one of the students (Seb Vowles) joined our team to deliver an immersive interactive Augmented Reality app for our installation at COP26, Glasgow.
The course leader Marc went above and beyond to provide us with technical support whilst offering a range of digital hardware and devices to test our application in the run-up to the event. The COP26 exhibition was a great success and we have gone on to develop a long-term partnership with Seb, who continues to develop educational virtual reality experiences as part of our fast-growing digital team to highlight critical environmental issues of today.
We feel privileged to have had this opportunity with Swansea University and I highly recommend any student looking to further their knowledge and business prospects in the realms of Virtual Reality to participate in the VR MSC course at Swansea University.”
Ed Harrison, Co-founder of Under the Skin, undertheskin.co.uk
[ Team exercise: An Escape-the-Room App developed by students ]
Your Virtual Reality Experience
What sort of things will you do?
During the first part of the course students will learn how to create virtual worlds, creating and constructing 3D interactable objects. To achieve greater ‘user immersion’ and to make the user feel they are ‘actually there’ the design of immersive soundscapes (ambient, directional, Foley, reverberation zones etc.) and realistic lighting effects is taught. Also, the creation and control of NPCs (non-player characters), including using AI techniques to control their behaviour, is covered. Controlling the VR environment using computer code (C#) is introduced at an early stage as well as industry standard project management techniques (Agile, Scrum, GIT repositories) which the student uses throughout the course. Students will progress from creating simple ‘cartoon’ worlds to constructing much more realistic and immersive VR environments.
During the second part of the course these skills are further refined in three group projects:
(i) An Emotion Machine (designed to induce emotion in the user e.g., the user experiences a physical disability or perhaps must confront a specific phobia).
(ii) A Training Machine (a VR application is created to train the user in a certain task e.g., basic fire safety and evacuation training).
(iii) An Information Machine (e.g., an AR or “Augmented Reality” application using a tablet computer which overlays virtual information and data on top of real machines and equipment and allows the user to interrogate and control the equipment wirelessly via the App).
Apart from the specialised VR development courses, other modules cover such themes as marketing, developing your own web presence and presentation/writing skills. This is to ensure that students are more than merely programmers.
After all this the student should be well-prepared for their main individual project, which takes place over the summertime, when they work on a VR project with an external partner. During this final project (and during all the previous assignments) the teaching staff are available to provide help and guidance - and often a free debugging service!
Virtual Reality Employment Opportunities
It is hard to think of an area of human activity or interest which would not benefit from VR in some way. Numerous industries have already adopted VR practices and as a result are all future employers in this industry. At present, there is a real shortage of VR specialists, especially individuals with additional subject expertise e.g., engineering, science, business, and arts and humanities. This is hampering industry growth. Our aim is to satisfy this shortage by producing experts who are already qualified to degree level in one discipline but who also possess the highly desirable skill of creating their own original VR applications.
“We were excited to hear about the MSc VR course being created by University of Swansea and wanted to assist with the validation of the course content and furthermore, provide a final project brief based upon real-world needs and use cases of immersive technologies. As a growing industry, it is important for organisations at the coal face to reach out and work with educational establishments to ensure that the graduate output meets the needs of the sector, across enterprise and entertainment, and the first successful graduates did not disappoint.”
Sam Watts, Immersive Partnerships Director, Make Real Ltd
Companies involved with our students
Potential Graduate Destinations
Some students have gained employment immediately after the course. All of the others have chosen to start up their own companies.
Industries that are already adopting VR practices (and as a result are future employers of VR specialists) include:
- Manufacturing industries
- Healthcare / NHS
- Data analytics
- Game design
- Arts heritage
- Health & Safety
- Real estate
- Learning & Development
- Sports – including, Sports Research and Sports Entertainment
- Art & Design
- Events & Conferencing
- Space agencies
- Law enforcement