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  • Delivery:
    Full time according to Funding Council definitions

Delivered by the National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA), the MA Digital Effects course will provide you with a strong theoretical and technical underpinning for the principal areas of study focusing on the integration of computer graphics into film footage. 

This is a truly international course, attracting students from all over the world with a diverse range of cultures and identities. We aim to take you from no experience to cinema standard photorealism within the first semester and to provide you with the skills and opportunities to realise your ideas into full production sequences that demonstrate a clear mastery of the subject. By the end of the course, you’ll be well prepared for an exciting and rewarding career in the VFX and Animation industry.

  • Become proficient in acquisition filming, 3D animation and 2D compositing, facilitating your understanding of the entire digital effects pipeline
  • Explore toolsets such as dynamics, green screen, tracking and digital assets in order to push yourself and your work to the next level of visual success
  • Undertake multiple projects both individually and alongside students from across the NCCA Master's courses in 3D Computer Animation and Computer Animation and Visual Effects
  • Benefit from visiting speaker talks from industry specialists, including some of our successful alumni. Graduates have worked on many award-winning films such as Gravity, Avatar, Inception, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Black Panther as well as prolific television series such as Game of Thrones
  • Undertake a Master's project with dedicated production time to create a substantial and original digital effects project in preparation for the end of year degree show attended by top industry recruiters
  • Access industry-standard facilities including a new green screen and motion capture studio, as well as animation laboratories, equipped with industry-standard software Houdini and Nuke
  • Attend BU's BFX Festival, the UK's largest visual effects, computer games & animation festival featuring a fantastic line-up of speakers, masterclasses, exhibitions, screenings and networking events
  • BU is ranked 4th in the top 25 animation schools and colleges in the world, 3nd in Europe and 1st in the UK (Animation Career Review 2020).

Watch the course overview presentation from Course Leader, Phil Spicer, to find out more.

For September 2021 entry: In order to take advantage of new approaches to learning and teaching, as well as developments in industry to benefit our students we regularly review all of our courses.

This course is currently going through this process and we will update this page in January 2021 to give you full information about what we will be offering once the review process has concluded.

Key information

Next start date:

September 2021, September 2022


Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus


1 year full-time

Entry requirements:

A Bachelors Honours degree with 2:2 in any subject. For more information see our full entry requirements.

International entry requirements:

If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS (Academic) 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in writing, speaking, listening and reading. For more information see our full entry requirements.

Guest speakers

Over the past five years we have attracted some of the best Visual Effects, Animation and Games studios from around the world to present to our students.

Course details

On this course you will be taught by a range of staff with relevant expertise and knowledge appropriate to the content of the unit. This will include senior academic staff, qualified professional practitioners, demonstrators, technicians and research students. You will also benefit from regular guest lectures from industry.

The course is split into three Semesters, each lasting approximately 13 weeks. The first two Semesters are the Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip), and the final Semester is the Master’s Project.​

View the NCCA Digital FX student showreel on YouTubeDownload the programme specification (pdf 543kb)

What our students say

Your application

This course will be suited to grounded, capable, personable students who can be independent, focused, determined and precise during their time with us. A good MA Digital Effects student will enhance themselves, the reputation of MA Digital Effects, and the wider reputation of the NCCA as a result of their studies.

Entry requirements


Digital Effects graduates are highly sought after in the industry. This is partly due to our level of teaching in this subject area, and partly from students' desire to listen, learn and progress.

Graduates have gone on to work for a variety of International VFX Companies including Double Negative (Inception), Digital Domain (Transformers, X-Men) and Sony Picture Image Works (Smurfs).

All information shown has been taken from Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) or BU institutional data unless otherwise stated.

Costs and fees

You can find full information about the deposits required and how to pay your fees in our postgraduate fees and funding section, including details of the Postgraduate Loan.

All fees are quoted in pounds sterling and are per annum. Fees quoted are for tuition only unless stated otherwise. Your tuition fees will be the same for each year of your course.

Find out more about living expenses for postgraduate students

Our staff

On this course you will be taught by staff with relevant expertise and knowledge appropriate to the content of the unit. This could include senior academic staff, qualified professional practitioners and research students, many of whom are actively engaged in research and/or professional practice which is integrated into the teaching of this course. You may also benefit from guest lectures from industry, including our alumni. Please note that teaching staff can change.

Course changes

What our staff say

Phil Spicer

Digital Effects is the integration of computer graphics into film footage. Students generate elements that blend seamlessly with the footage itself so you wouldn't believe it is computer generated.

What our graduates think

Adam Redhead

This course proved to be invaluable in my career. I gained the skills that enabled me to start working in an artist role in a month of completing the course.

What our staff say

Steve Hubbard

By the end of the course artists know the technical elements of computer animation systems and principals behind them to function to a high level in the visual effects industry.

Statistics shown throughout this page are taken from Unistats and BU institutional data unless otherwise stated.