Digital Media Studies | CDM | IDEA-X Pathway

The IDEA-X Pathway, in collaboration with the Centre for Digital Media (CDM), provides a route for international and resident undergraduate students to digital media-related academic options or careers in the games and digital entertainment industry. It also helps students create digital projects and upgrade academically to meet the admission requirements for the Master of Digital Media (MDM) program at CDM.

The eight-month IDEA-X Pathway is comprised of the seven-month Digital Media Studies (DMS) diploma program held at Pacific Link College, and the one-month certificate Project Development Practicum held at CDM.

The DMS program explores the interrelationship between digital media and information technology as well as new media design.

The Project Development Practicum is a one-month intensive course held on-site at the Centre for Digital Media that teaches students to build digital media tools such as mobile apps and games while giving a taste of the Master of Digital Media program.

The IDEA-X Pathway is the only program that partners with the Centre for Digital Media to provide language, academic and portfolio upgrades to students wanting to eventually attend CDM’s Master of Digital Media. It is also a perfect program for working professionals looking to gain skills to transition into careers in digital media.

The IDEA-X Pathway also helps students whose first language is not English improve from IELTS 5.5 or lower to 7 through comprehensive writing and public speaking courses. This is ideal for people wishing to work in an English language environment or wanting to apply to academic programs such as the Master of Digital Media at CDM that requires IELTS 7.

In Partnership with the Centre for Digital Media (CDM)

The Centre for Digital Media – a multi-million dollar research and education facility located on Great Northern Way Campus near downtown Vancouver. The Centre for Digital Media is owned and operated by four top Canadian post-secondary institutions: University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, and British Columbia Institute of Technology.

The CDM was created to support industry and academic collaboration in digital media. Find out more about the CDM here. See Student Information and Testimonials here.

Tour the CDM campus.

Lydia Zhu, Marketing Coordinator

Delia Gao, Marketing Coordinator

Phone: 778-861-9255

Career Opportunities

The program is designed as a communication and academic pathway to lead into university programs. However, graduates can apply (language) knowledge and communication skills gained into a career path in digital media and related IT careers in the private or public sectors.

Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver is a dynamic city and international digital media hub. Vancouver has one of the top video game clusters in the world and has the world’s largest VFX and animation hub.

Companies such as EA, Microsoft, Sony Pictures Imageworks and Industrial Light and Magic all have studios in Vancouver. And game companies like Bandai Namco Studios Vancouver and Blackbird Interactive have studios at the Centre for Digital Media.


  1. Student must be at least 19 years of age
  2. Language requirement: Evidence of IELTS 5.5 (or equivalent) with no band under 5.0; or
  3. The student can take an English Placement Test at DMS Burnaby Campus
  4. Admissions for those wishing to eventually apply for Centre for Digital Media Master of Digital Media: Evidence of a 4-year university degree
  5. Students will be required to bring their own laptops to classes

Student that do not meet minimum language requirements will have to take a four-month intensive English for Digital Media program at the Burnaby Campus.

Courses (8 Courses + Final Project)

Social Media Marketing examines the role of social media marketing as well as the use of online social networks in marketing strategy. The course is both theory-based and also builds hands-on experience with social media planning and practice. Students will analyze a variety of social media platforms for developing professional and company profiles. They will learn how to create accounts, professional networks, develop shareable content and collaborate. Students will examine how to perform social media audits and create social media plans, and use a combination of social networks and tools to research for, communicate on behalf of, and market their organization.

Academic Writing consists of learning theory and skills relevant to academic writing in the context of digital media and the interrelationship between this discipline and information technology (IT) as well as new media design. Language upgrading and advancing relevant academic skills are taught and practiced in the context of the course.

Project Development Practicum is a one-month intensive course held on-site at the Centre for Digital Media in which students learn rapid prototyping, collaborative design, team building, project management, critical thinking skills and pitching and presentation skills. Students also attend visual-based design and VR workshops. It involves working with the CDM faculty and students on digital media based application, on-site visits with digital media companies in the Vancouver area (e.g EA, Microsoft, Hothead Studios), instruction in English as a Second Language in a digital industrial environment, as well as lectures in a variety of digital media related subjects. It concludes with students getting a certificate from IDEA-X.

Public Speaking / Presentation Skill Advanced teaches higher level public speaking/presentation skill competences in the context of digital media and academic skills. Students will learn to develop presentation outlines, connect/engage with their audiences, apply skills to overcome public speaking anxiety, respond to audience needs, use non-verbal communication, apply visuals in presentations and avoid common public speaking mistakes.

Information Systems consists of learning theory and skills relevant to information systems in the context of digital media, while upgrading language skills. The course ranges from defining key terms related to information systems, to examining design and development, and theorizing future technology.

Digital Branding teaches to identify different types of branding, develop brand identity, identify best practices and marketing strategies, and examine brand identity in relation to product design.

Project Marketing / Advertising outlines marketing and advertising basics within the context of digital media. Students will learn interactive/digital media options within marketing, develop basic marketing strategies, do marketing research analysis, and specify client management techniques.

Digital Media Design includes the use of integrated media to communicate messages, information, and entertainment through video games, movies, special effects, or 3-D animation. Students will be introduced to the theory and some of the technology used in digital media design including relevant software, and will be introduced to their application in web and video. Digital photography will be also explored and Photoshop will be used for image manipulation.  Students will learn related communication skills, including making an effective digital presentation/website.

Final Project is the preparation of a number of useful materials that the student will find useful in the future, to apply to masters programs such as MDM and for their careers. The final project will include the preparation of five digital pieces as part of the student’s portfolio, a letter of intent, a short formal essay on a topic of interest pertaining to digital media, and CV/resume.

We Will Be Offering Support

  1. Providing training to ensure our students meet language / academic requirement to pursue their next level of study or career via weekly English workshops
  2. Three enrollment times per year (May and Oct 2017, and March 2018)
  3. Providing support in completing students’ samples of work
    1. Five interactive digital pieces
    2. Portfolio for master’s application
    3. Letter of intent
  4. Helping create a short formal essay about a topic of interest related to digital media
  5. Computer skills and literacy summary form
  6. Providing reference letters
  7. Program survey form
  8. Preparing and polishing resume

Issac Oommen

IDEA-X Pathway, DMS Program Head


How much does the program cost?

$13,000 in tuition, separate of application fee, accommodation and health insurance. The 4-month ESL program for student who have lower IELTS is an additional $6,500

What is digital media?

What is common between a weather app on your phone, a racing game on your console and a state-of-art imaging tool in a hospital? All of these are digital media products, and to build them requires teams of digital media professionals. Digital media is content that is stored in digital formats and usually distributed online. The world we live in today is populated by digital media products, and the shift from traditional media has taken place in many industries, including industries that aren’t typically associated with digital media – such as health, government and education.

I am finishing my Bachelor's after the application deadline. Can I still apply?

Yes. You will need to have completed your Bachelor’s by the time you apply to MDM, but not to the IDEA-X Pathway.

Can international students apply for the program?

Yes. The program is designed in part to help upgrade language skills for students interested in digital media.

What should I do once I receive an offer of admission?

Once you receive an offer you will need to:

  1. Accept your offer of admission
  2. Pay the tuition fees
  3. Receive the Letter of Admission and tuition receipt if needed to apply for Study Permit
What computer / software skill will I learn?

Although many students will develop new computer skills or learn the basics of certain software applications through the program’s learn-as-you-go model, the development of these skills is not our core focus. Rather, our focus is to train you on effective techniques for team collaboration and project development in a digital media environment. The knowledge and skills you develop in the program include (but are not limited to): the ability to effectively express your ideas; the ability to communicate across disciplines; a proficiency in developing concepts and prototypes; the expertise to manage a project pipeline; the skills to resolve project conflicts; and the understanding of project team roles.

I have computer programming skills, and would like to develop creative skills. Can I do that in this program?

In the digital media industry, technical skills are highly valued because they are a required skill set for nearly every project. However, the computer programming demands of this program are not as extensive as those of Masters of Science (MSc) or Masters of Engineering (MEng) programs leaving some room to explore your creative side. As you will be working in interdisciplinary teams, you will collaborate and share with artists, modelers, designers and project managers. You will learn the methods and principles and applied by these different roles, and see how they contribute to team projects. And as you progress through the program, many opportunities will become available to apply what you’ve learned and experiment with your creative ideas.

Can I take this program part time or online?

No. The program is not available in either of these formats. The majority of the courses take 20 hours per week, with the Project Development Practicum being 40 hours per week. It is an intensive program.

What kind of students make up the classes?

We admit groups of students with a diverse mix of creative and technical backgrounds. Admission requirements are designed to encourage such diversity while setting high standards for acceptance into the program.

Will my certificate bear the seals of all four of CDM's partners?


Are scholarships available for the program?

The IDEA-X Pathway offers two scholarships per terms to domestic students after enrollment by application. The MDM program offers several scholarships as well. Additionally, you can check out scholarships here.

Will I be able to work in Canada after the program should I choose not to pursue the MDM?

No, student cannot apply for a Post-Graduate Work Permit during the IDEA-X Pathway. However, they may apply for a Post-Graduate Work Permit after the MDM program. IDEA-X will also upgrade career skills for students wishing to work or already working in digital media.

Does the program offer on-campus housing and / or accommodation?

There is no on-campus housing. However, we can link you via our partners to homestay accommodation

Will I have to supply my own laptop and buy books?

The DMS program requires students to bring their own laptops to classes because of the computer-intensive nature of the courses. They will also have to buy books for classes; however, these are not many since this is a digital media program

Is this program useful for upgrading my skills for the workforce?

The program’s challenging curriculum is uniquely designed to transition students from diverse backgrounds into new and expanding digital media markets and opportunities. During the program, graduates develop the professional skills required to be effective creators, practitioners and managers in the digital media industry. Employers demand the high level of creative and technical competence that our graduates possess. Our program has been designed in close collaboration with our industry partners who have helped guide us with their understanding of today’s market and industry needs.

What is the application and registration fee?

These are treated together as $400

How will my application be evaluated?

Applications are adjudicated by a committee that works closely with the Centre for Digital Media, making sure that applicants are able to handle the workload and also are capable of upgrading their skills in order to apply to the Master of Digital Media if they desire to do so.

What are the admission requirements?

Students have to be:

  1. Over 19 years of age
  2. Pass English Requirements
    1. Show evidence of IELTS 5.5 (or equivalent) with no band under 5.0
    2. You can otherwise take the English Placement test at the Burnaby campus
    3. Students that do not meet minimum language requirements will have to take 4-month ESL training at the Burnaby campus
  3. Those wishing to eventually apply for the Centre for Digital Media Master of Digital Media need to show evidence of a 4-year university degree.
What happens to my application materials?

All submitted application materials, including the portfolio, become the property of PLC and CDM, and will not be returned to the student or applicant. By exception, arrangements may be made for the return of irreplaceable documents if a request to this effect is enclosed with the original material. PLC and CDM are not responsible for lost or misplaced materials and will not pay for any brokerage, courier, or mail charges.

Do international students need a study permit?

International students must have a valid study permit issued by Canadian authorities before entering Canada to study. Such applicants must demonstrate ability to pay the tuition fees and have sufficient means to be financially independent while in Canada.

What computer / software skills are needed?

The technical skills applied in the program depend on the skill sets students bring to the project teams. In the case of students from art and design backgrounds, they are not expected to have experience in computer programming (the programmers in your class will fulfill the needed designing, writing, testing, debugging, and maintaining of the source code of software developed in each project).

Do I need prior programming experience for this program?

Our students are drawn from diverse backgrounds and we welcome applications from people with degrees in the arts, sciences, business, social sciences or applied sciences. Computer literacy is mandatory, as is an interest in and knowledge of the creation of digital media.

What are they types of projects that students work on in the Project Development Practicum?

The core differentiator of the Project Development Practicum is the emphasis of experiential learning through project courses. The Practicum course builds the skills so that graduating students are comfortable with all issues – from dealing with dysfunctional teams to scoping and production pipeline.

Are students registered at all four partnering institutions?

You will be registered at CDM for the Project Development Practicum, and not partnering institutions

How much does it cost to live in Vancouver?

For living expenses in Vancouver, you will need to factor in accommodation, food, insurance and spending money. Accommodation costs around $1,000 – $2,000 per month depending on the type of situation. You will have to estimate you food costs, but $400 – $1,000 per month should be sufficient. You will also be required to have basic medical insurance which is about $75 per month.

Do international students need health insurance?

Yes; since you will be in BC for more than 6 months, it is required and can be obtained via

Will the IDEA-X Pathway increase my changes to get into the Master of Digital Media program at CDM?

The IDEA-X Pathway is designed with CDM as a way to increase student skills and also introduce them to CDM’s faculty and programs, which gives IDEA-X Pathway students an advantage over others. Additionally, the IDEA-X Pathway will help students prepare and improve their portfolio, CV and other materials if they wish to apply to the MDM program. MDM is prepared to take an unlimited number of students from the IDEA-X Pathway, pending application approval by CDM.