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BA (Hons) Visual Effects

TARIFF: 80 - 104
  • Study Mode: Full time
  • Location: High Wycombe / BNU at Pinewood Studios
  • Duration: Three Years
  • Start Date: September 2021

You can also study this course:

Visual effects bring stories to life on the big screen. Using the latest techniques in 3D computer graphics you’ll create stunning objects and characters – and put these into real life footage to make believable scenes that will wow audiences.
We’ve linked up with industry specialists based at Pinewood Studios, to create this unique course. It’s been designed by experts with industry needs in mind, so you’ll have the practical skills employers look for.
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Open Days

We understand that when it comes to deciding where you’d like to study, there are a lot of things to consider. Come along to our Open Day and discover why BNU could be the place for you. You can find out more about your course, meet the course team, and get all your questions answered.

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Application Guide

For everything you need to know about applying, check out our Application Guide. You can find useful information for each stage of your application journey – from before you even apply to what to do if you receive an offer, and everything in between.   

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Students' Union

At BNU, we believe in putting our students first. That’s why our Students’ Union has been ranked in the top three in the UK in the National Student Survey (NSS 2020). We’re the only university in the UK to offer free access to such a diverse and exciting range of activities – all to enrich your university experience. It’s a big deal!

Why study this subject?

With a degree in visual effects, you could be working in the film industry or as a major part of TV and commercials, or using your skills you could choose to work in games or architectural visualisation.

Whatever your dream career, with industry-focused teaching at BNU, you’ll graduate with the skills employers are looking for and a portfolio to impress.

Why study at Buckinghamshire New University?

The film industry is a fast-moving world. You need to immerse yourself in it to stay in the game. That’s why we’ve made sure you’ll spend time studying at our Pinewood Studio base, so you can use their connections to get up-to-date, inside knowledge of what the industry really looks like. Whilst also spending days around professional digital artists and some of the most exciting projects happening right now.

Being a student at Buckinghamshire New University, you can expect smaller classroom sizes, committed lecturers, a great support network and, on top of all that, one of the country’s best Students' Unions (NSS 2020). 

What facilities can I use?

To really learn the craft, you need access to professional software and equipment. We provide industry standard software tools like Nuke, Z-Brush, Maya and Houdini. And with a motion capture studio, a VR lab,a renderfarm and state of the art face capture kit and Xsens suits available, you’ll be able to fully realise your creative vision.

What will I study?                           

The course begins with essential CGI skills and the fundamentals of animation. You’ll use 3D modelling to create objects and characters and learn about the pipeline of a professional project. Moving on to year two, you’ll learn how to integrate your objects and characters into existing footage to create stunning scenes, which could even include destruction simulation You’ll also learn how to build an organic character using industry standard sculpting and character FX techniques.

By your final year, you’ll have found the specialism you want to focus on in the industry. Your projects will give you the opportunity to hone your skills, work in realistic industry scenarios and you will have opportunities to collaborate with students on other creative courses at the University. You can take your place in the production pipeline and see what it’s like to contribute to a major project.

How will I be taught and assessed?

Our lecturers, tutors and mentors offer an industry-experienced approach to the course and modules you will complete. Many of our staff have worked on major productions and have great track records at training talented new digital artists.

We understand that in this line of work you need to build on your creative skills with hands-on learning. That's why instead of formal exams, the focus of your work will be building up a strong portfolio, developing your team working skills and understanding what the industry expects of you.

You'll be assessed through individual and group projects which put what you’ve learnt into practice. We work with the Visual Effects industry to ensure what you learn during your time on this course is all relevant and up-to-date with what employers are looking for. 

Placements Plus

BNU is a Placements Plus university. So, whatever degree you do, you can be sure there’ll be plenty of industry-relevant opportunities on offer, to help you get into your chosen field.

We’ll also prepare you for work beforehand, with special skills for work training, further boosting your CV, and building skills employers will value. In recognition of the value we place on these skills we have incorporated this experience into your study time.

Placements Plus is all about helping you get some valuable experience under your belt while you’re a student, to increase your choices later, and help you get the graduate-level job you want.

Useful documents

Visual Effects Programme Specification

What are the course entry requirements?

A typical offer will require a UCAS tariff score of: 80 - 104

A minimum of two full A-levels (or equivalent) is required. Every application is considered on an individual basis.

For further details of our international English entry requirements, please visit our international pages.

Applicants who do not meet the minimum requirements for the three-year undergraduate programme, or those who do not feel fully prepared for a degree course, can apply for a four-year programme including a Foundation Year; find out more.

This module map provides a list of the modules that make up your course. You can find more information about how your course is structured on our Academic Advice section.

Year 1 Modules

3D Modelling and Pipeline

Texturing and Look Development

Lighting and Rendering

Animation Principles and The Moving Figure

Visual Narrative


Year 2 Modules

Compositing 1

Compositing 2

Modelling and Look Development

Digital Sculpting and Organic Modelling


Destruction Simulation

Character Clothing and Simulation

Year 3 Modules

Industry Production Project

Portfolio Piece

Creative Production Project


How much does it cost

Home and EU

Home and EU, Academic Year 2021-2022

£9,250 per year


International, Academic Year 2021-2022

£13,750 per year

Most courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees.

You could benefit from financial support through a bursary or scholarship during your time as a student. For more details visit our financial support, bursaries and scholarships section.

Questions about fees?

Contact our Enquiries Team:

0330 123 2023

What are my career prospects?

Throughout your time with us we’ll support you on the route to your chosen career. We’ll help you to develop crucial skills, encouraging you to become enterprising, employable and good leaders. We also help you find employment after graduation. Have a look at our Careers and Employability pages to find out more.

The course is geared towards the film industry, but VFX is also a major part of TV and commercials too. You’ll also be learning skills that could get you work in other industries too, for example games and architectural visualisation; it depends on how you choose to specialise your skills in year 3.

Recent animation, visual effects and game art graduates from Buckinghamshire New University have gone on to some great roles at companies like:

  • DNeg
  • Framestore
  • TT Games. (Warner Bros)
  • Mediatonic Games
  • FST
  • Ubisoft
  • Cinesite
  • Airship Studios.

Graduates can also choose to study for a postgraduate course.