BDes (Hons) Special Make-up Effects for Film and TV

Want to turn movie stars into monsters? Our Special Make-up Effects for Film and TV degree course focuses on helping you develop specialist skills and creative know-how. We offer fantastic facilities and industry-experienced staff dedicated to preparing you for a career in this ground-breaking creative industry.

BDes (Hons) Special Make-up Effects for Film and TV

Course details

From superheroes to sci-fi, and horror to history, many TV shows and movies need special effects make-up to enhance their on-screen storytelling. Actors can be utterly transformed into aliens, zombies, pirates and vampires, while more subtle make-up effects convince us of injuries, scars, tattoos or wrinkles. All these special effects are created by dedicated and highly-skilled make-up artists and our BDes (Hons) Special Make-up Effects for Film and TV course focuses on preparing you for a career creating these illusions.

We offer an intensely practical education in special effects make-up. We’ll lead you in an exploration of prosthetics and changing physical appearances, including aspects such as life-casting, clay sculpting, creating silicone masks, applying prosthetics, adding hair and colouring techniques. We’ll encourage you to experiment with materials, tools and techniques, and discover how prosthetics and make-up can combine with 3D computer graphics to create even more spectacular on-screen transformations.

This highly creative industry demands transferable skills too – communication, project and time management, team-working and entrepreneurship are all needed for success in this largely freelance profession. We aim to support you to develop these attributes, alongside the imagination, flair and curiosity that will enable you to push the boundaries of special effects make-up.

  • UCAS points: 104
  • Start date: 21/09/2020
  • Location: The University of Bolton
  • Award: BDes (Hons)
  • UCAS code: W610
  • Duration: 3 years

Course highlights:

  • You don’t have to worry about the cost of the make-up and materials needed to complete your studies – we provide these for you. This means you can concentrate on learning how to use expensive industry-standard materials, like silicones and resins, rather than worrying about how you are going to pay for them!
  • Neill Gorton, multi-award winning artist/designer and founder of the world-renowned Millennium FX company, is our Visiting Professor of Special Effects. His astonishing range of professional experience, knowledge of cutting-edge techniques and industry contacts brings enormous benefits.
  • You’ll have your own personal bench space and locker in our dedicated special effects studio, providing a secure base for your studies. You’ll also have access to our fantastic range of SFX facilities, including our make-up studio, casting and moulding room, boutique film studio, and 3D workshop.
  • We’re committed to helping develop your employability and career network. You’ll be encouraged to attend guest lectures that enhance your learning and help you make contacts in the industry. For instance, the award-winning make-up artists Richard Martin and Nick Dudman have recently shared their expertise with students on our SVFX courses.
  • Alongside your special effects make-up skills and knowledge, we’ll support you to develop a broader understanding of production design, including concepting, cinematography and composition. This will help you appreciate the roles, skills and expectations of other professionals working in the industry.
  • We’ll encourage you to research, analyse, design and develop make-up techniques so that you can take an idea from a brief or script scene and find the most time-efficient, cost-effective and visually impressive way to turn that vision into reality.

Key features:

  • The course is designed in collaboration with professional special effects make-up artists and studio directors. This ensures that the content is industry-relevant and includes the latest techniques, materials and innovations.
  • We’ll help and support you to develop a portfolio of work/show reel that demonstrates your skills in readiness to impress potential employers.
  • Course assignments and projects mimic industry pipelines and standards so your experience is a realistic preparation for a career in special effects make-up.
  • Our dedicated staff team have a wide range of professional experience, industry knowledge, technical expertise and academic credentials, offering you a variety of perspectives and broadening your horizons.
  • We offer a warm and friendly environment for your studies, with relatively small class sizes, purpose-built teaching facilities, and excellent student support and library services.
  • We prefer to keep lecture and practical classes relatively small, so that you have plenty of opportunities to us ask questions and get individual help, as well as benefit from the ideas and support offered by your classmates.

Entry requirements

  • UCAS points: 104
  • Start date: 21/09/2020
  • Location: The University of Bolton
  • Award: BDes (Hons)
  • UCAS code: W610
  • Duration: 3 years

Any subjects are acceptable at Level 3. You should also have five GCSEs at grade C or above or grade 4 to 9 (or equivalent) including English and Mathematics.

You'll be required to attend for interview and provide a portfolio of appropriate work.

The quality of the portfolio/interview is the primary basis on which applicants are selected; therefore special consideration will be given to applicants without the above qualifications who have a strong portfolio.

If English isn’t your first language you’ll also need IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any band (or equivalent). We also accept a range of other English language qualifications – please visit our English Language Requirements web page for more details. Find out more

Career opportunities

A special effects make-up artist applies make-up on actors and performers to aid in the characters' theatrical transformations. As a graduate you will develop a range of key transferable skills which include the ability to communicate well, present ideas and concepts, work independently and as part of a team, work under pressure and to deadlines and plan and organise your work. You will also develop a range of creative skills and abilities such as good make-up application, an understanding of industry standard materials, an understanding of anatomy, development of sculpture techniques and an understanding of how to translate abstract design ideas into practical applications.

What can I do with this qualification?

This degree equips graduates for careers in film, commercials, theatre and television special make-up effects production. Graduates may work directly for a production company or theatre, or they may be self-employed. You could be engaged in a workshop-type environment or working on a large scale film or TV set as part of a creative team. Graduates may also be employed in special effects production for stage and could also find employment in the many creative industries and entertainment industries rapidly developing in the UK such as prosthetics and model making.

Alternative career options

  • Advertising and marketing communications
  • Animation
  • Fashion and textiles
  • Games
  • Photo imaging
  • Publishing
  • Teaching
  • Arts management

Professional recognition

Fees & funding

Home/EU fees

  Year of study Total
Entry year 2019/202020/212021/222022/23
2019/20 £9,250£9,250£9,250-£27,750
2020/21 -£9,250£9,250£9,250£27,750

International fees

  Year of study Total
Entry year 2019/202020/212021/222022/23
2019/20 £12,450£12,450£12,450-£37,350
2020/21 -£12,450£12,450£12,450£37,350

The fees for a student’s course of study will be set for the normal duration of that course subject only to inflationary increases – measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) recorded in March each year to take effect for subsequent start dates.

The University is currently awaiting Government guidelines as to EU fee charges for students commencing study in 2019/20.

UK undergraduate tuition fees are subject to UK government approval and are subject to the outcome of the Teaching Excellence Framework.

No hidden extras

  • Any additional costs associated with the Final Major Project module beyond the £200 per student allocated amount. The additional cost is dependant upon the nature and scope of the individual project (2019-20)
  • Any equipment required to process materials not normally offered as part of the course. (2019-20)
  • Any additional costs associated with the Research Project module beyond the £100 per student allocated amount. The additional cost is dependant upon the nature and scope of the individual project (2019-20)
  • Trips to any event not required as part of the curriculum, such as trade events, exhibitions, overseas trips, etc. (2019-20)

How to apply

Home/EU

September start

Please apply through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) for September entry.

The online application form and guidance notes are available on the UCAS website.

You can apply for up to 5 courses through UCAS (at the same or different institutions) for a fee of £24. Alternatively, if you only wish to apply for a single course at a single institution then a reduced applicant's fee of £13 is applicable.

You will need the following information to complete your UCAS application form:

  • Institution Code Name: BOLTN

  • Institution Code Number: B44

UCAS - Universities and Colleges Admissions Service

Tel: 0870 1122211
Web: www.ucas.com

International

The University welcomes applications from international students from all over the world. We try to make the application process as simple and as fast as possible for our international applicants.

How you apply is determined by your current location and what you are choosing to study:

  1. Apply direct to the University. Links for the next available intakes of this course are shown below. Please click the link which will direct you to the online application form. Please read the user guidance before completing this.
  2. Apply via one of our approved in-country referral partners. A list of our partners may be found on the International pages of this website.
  3. Apply via UCAS for courses starting in September only – visit www.ucas.com.

Should you have any queries please contact the International Team on +44 (0) 1204 903110 or email international@bolton.ac.uk

Teaching & assessment

Modules

Modules listed below are a mixture of compulsory and optional. You may not have the opportunity to study all the modules as part of the course.

  • Introduction to Special Make-up Effects
  • Introduction to Prosthetic Design, Development and Application
  • Digital Concepts and Sculpting
  • Introduction to Hair and Postiche
  • History and Replication
  • Advanced Digital Concepting
  • Advanced Prosthetic Development and Application
  • Professional Portfolio
  • Technical Research
  • Industry Project
  • Major Project

Teaching, learning and assessment

We use a wide variety of teaching and learning methods to help you achieve your potential, and you can expect our blended style to include lectures, seminars, tutorials and critiques, self-directed learning, e-learning and laboratory/workshop sessions, as well as online learning.

Lectures are used to introduce the core course content, while seminars allow you to explore subjects in greater detail. Practical skills and techniques are gained through technical introduction and support, workshop sessions, demonstrations and activity-based assignments. Tutorials allow you to ask any questions you have, ensuring you understand the topics covered in lectures and workshop sessions.

Guest lectures and visits give you opportunities to engage with and learn from respected professionals working in the special effects arena. Our highly practical and project-based approach promotes active learning, and our specialist facilities create realistic industry-like learning environments. Our project modules encourage you to interact and collaborate with students specialising in both your own and other areas of special and visual effects, helping to give you a taste of working on group and multidisciplinary projects.

Personal and independent study is essential and you should expect to devote a significant amount of time to activities such as project work, background reading, preparation for seminars and tutorials, research, design and creative thought.

In terms of assessment, you can expect assignments, projects, case study, quizzes, interviews and presentations. As far as possible, we set project-based coursework that simulates professional situations. These pieces contribute to your final mark and allow you to demonstrate that you’ve met the learning outcomes. The course doesn’t include formal examinations.

Disclaimer

The university will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver your course as described in its published material and the programme specification for the academic year in which you begin your course. Please be aware that our courses are subject to review on an ongoing basis. The content of course modules and mode of associated assessments may be updated on an annual basis. This is to ensure that all modules are up to date and responsive to employment and sector needs. The published course material and the programme specification contain indicative ‘optional modules’ that may be subject to change due to circumstances outside of our control. For this reason we cannot guarantee to run any specific optional module.


Assessment methods

Level Assessment method
Level One Coursework (25%), Practical exams (75%)
Level Two Coursework (23%), Practical exams (77%)
Level Three Coursework (58%), Practical exams (42%)

Learning activities

Level Learning activity
Level One Guided independent study (65%), Scheduled learning and teaching activities (35%)
Level Two Guided independent study (65%), Scheduled learning and teaching activities (35%)
Level Three Guided independent study (65%), Scheduled learning and teaching activities (35%)

Contact The University

Key facts

  • UCAS code:
    W610
  • Course type:
    Full-time
  • Start date:
    21/09/2020
  • Location:
    The University of Bolton
  • Award:
    BDes (Hons)
  • UCAS points:
    104
  • Duration:
    3 years

Contact us

Natalie Woods
Programme Leader
Email: N.Woods@bolton.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1204 903195

Enquiry Team
University of Bolton
Email: enquiries@bolton.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1204 903903