BDes (Hons) Special Effects for Film and Television

Help make movie magic and TV thrills! Our highly-practical Special Effects for Film and TV degree explores a wide range of specialist skills for the creation of physical and digital effects for film and TV. With fantastic facilities and industry-experienced staff, we’re dedicated to preparing you for a career bringing imagination to life.

BDes (Hons) Special Effects for Film and Television

Course details

Television shows, films, music videos, commercials and theatre productions all rely on the magic of special effects to enhance their storytelling. Our BDes (Hons) Special Effects for Film and TV course is ideal if you wish to combine design creativity, physical model-making skills, special prosthetic make-up effects, and cutting-edge 2D and 3D computer modelling and prototyping in the creation of special effects for all these platforms.

Our unique course has been created to allow you to explore and develop both design and problem solving skills and apply them to the art of creating special effects for film and television. It’s designed to offer specialisation while still nurturing an understanding of the entire landscape of special effects.

Large scale film and TV productions use both physical and digital effects, so our intensely practical approach allows you to gain hands-on experience of a broad range of special effects disciplines and techniques.

Several elements of the course are delivered by industry practitioners. Our staff are very hands on, skilled, friendly and enthusiastic, prioritising one-to-one support and industry-focused development.

  • UCAS points: 104
  • Start date: 14/09/2020
  • Location: The University of Bolton
  • Award: BDes (Hons)
  • UCAS code: W623
  • Duration: 3 years

Course highlights:

  • Our Drama, Dance and Cinematics courses, including BSc (Hons) Special Effects for Film and Television, are ranked top in the North West and top 10 in the UK for student satisfaction by the Complete University Guide 2018.
  • Also, our Film Production and Photography courses are placed in the top 10 in the UK for student-to-staff ratio by the 2018 Guardian University Guide, so you have access to individual tutor support and small group teaching.
  • You don’t have to worry about the cost of the 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.
  • We’re committed to helping develop your employability and career network. During your time with us you’ll have the opportunity to attend lectures from the likes of award-winning make-up artists Nick Dudman and Neill Gorton, many FX studios like KMFX, and model-makers like Artem.
  • We’ll encourage you to research, analyse, design and develop special effects 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 artists and studio directors. This ensures that the content is industry-relevant and includes the latest techniques, materials and innovations.
  • Course assignments and projects mimic industry pipelines and standards so your experience is a realistic preparation for a career in special effects.
  • Alongside your special effects 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.
  • 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 access to industry-standard materials.

Entry requirements

  • UCAS points: 104
  • Start date: 14/09/2020
  • Location: The University of Bolton
  • Award: BDes (Hons)
  • UCAS code: W623
  • Duration: 3 years

Your Level 3 subjects must include at least one creative subject that includes art and design; for instance, A-level Art and Design or BTEC Extended Diploma in Art and Design.

You should also have five GCSEs at grade C or above or grade 4 to 9 (or equivalent) including English Language and Mathematics.

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

You'll be expected to present your work and demonstrate your experience. This will usually take the form of a portfolio of recent effects-related (or project-based) work. The quality of your portfolio will be judged alongside traditional UCAS point bearing qualifications to determine the success of your application. Special consideration is 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 graduate will be able to demonstrate and combine creative skills with high levels of technical ability. The degree offers a wide spectrum of opportunities, ranging from the highly accurate engineering approach of the product modeller, to the imaginative and inventive solutions of a creature or character designer.

A wide range of transferable skills will also be gained including team work, planning and organisation, working to briefs and deadlines, communication both oral and written, presenting work and changes, critical analysis and logical thinking.

What can I do with this qualification?

The most prominent employers of special effects artists are film and television companies where you might work on a film or television show in production or post-production. Some special effects professionals choose a specialty area, such as prop making, costume, special make-up effects or model-making.

This degree equips graduates for business careers in the areas of film, commercials and television special effects production. Graduates may also be employed in special effects or find employment in the many creative industries and entertainment industries rapidly developing in the UK, such as animation, makeup, animatronics, prosthetics, model-making, and robotics.

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 -nullnullnullnull

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 -nullnullnullnull

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.

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.

  • Design
  • Fabrication
  • Realisation
  • Team Project
  • Mouldmaking
  • Advanced Fabrication
  • Advanced Realisation
  • Advanced Project
  • 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.

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 (23%), Practical exams (77%)
Level Two Coursework (8%), Practical exams (92%)
Level Three Coursework (30%), Practical exams (70%)

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:
    W623
  • Course type:
    Full-time
  • Start date:
    14/09/2020
  • Location:
    The University of Bolton
  • Award:
    BDes (Hons)
  • UCAS points:
    104
  • Duration:
    3 years

Contact us

Richard Mcevoy-Crompton
Programme Leader
Email: R.Mcevoy-Crompton@bolton.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1204 903064

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