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 photo realism 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 degree show in London 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
- This course is accredited by ScreenSkills, joining the ranks of the top creative training and education providers the UK has to offer
- 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 Programme Leader, Phil Spicer, to find out more.
For September 2020 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 May to give you full information about what we will be offering once the review process has concluded.
Next start date:
September 2020, September 2021
Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus
1 year full-time
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.
Houdini Certified School status
Bournemouth University is one of a small number of institutions from around the world who have been granted Houdini Certified School status by Side Effects Software. Houdini is an Award Winning Industry Standard VFX and Computer Animation Software taught across the NCCA framework of Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses.
Our Postgraduate students also have the chance to win the Side Effects Software Prize for Best Digital Effects Project. This prize is a 6 month Houdini License awarded by Side Effects Software to the best NCCA Masters Project created using Houdini.
Aristotelis Xydias - MA Digital Effects 2017 - 18
Isabel Kokuti - MA Digital Effects 2017 - 18
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.
Resources, equipment and technology
Course overview video
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.
Background and experience
How and when to apply
Supporting your study
General entry requirements
International 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.
This course has the ScreenSkills Tick, which indicates the quality of our computer animation degrees and shows that we offer training that prepares you for a career in the sector. The ScreenSkills Tick is awarded by ScreenSkills, the sector skills council for the creative industries. We’ve worked very closely with ScreenSkills to develop a range of ground-breaking short courses aimed at media professionals.
All of our accredited courses have undergone a rigorous assessment process conducted by experts working in the creative media industries and our strong industry links have played an important role in gaining us this accreditation.
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.
Potential job roles
Industries worked in
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.
No hidden extras
Costs of living and other expenses you need to consider
Financial help available from BU
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.
Philip Spicer – Programme Leader
Vikram Chadha – 2013–14
Phillip Tunnicliffe – 2012–13
Vedat Guntay – 2010–11
TJ Singh – 2009–10
Arpita Venugopal – 2008–09
Martin Aufinger – 2006–07
Changes in 2019
Changes in 2018
What our staff say
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
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
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.