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MA Film FX Creative Practice

This innovative and dynamic MA Film FX Creative Practice offers you the opportunity to develop your creative practice in a range of Film FX disciplines via a range of negotiated projects. As a leader in Film FX education, the University of Bolton offers you the chance to define your own master’s-level studies. You can specialise in a single discipline or combine multiple areas of interest, as well as develop the commercial and enterprise skills needed to take control of your career.

Film FX Creative Practice

Key information



Mode of Study:



12 months


University of Bolton

Start date:


Course Details

If you’re seeking a career in Film FX, then the University of Bolton's MA Film FX Creative Practice is ideal. Focused on developing skills for future employment, we offer you the opportunity to tailor your postgraduate studies to your Film FX interests, building your academic, creative and professional expertise. Our experienced team will work with you to devise a series of individual, industry-based projects that enable you to develop your creative practice. You may choose to focus on a single discipline, such as VFX, SFX, Modelmaking, or Special Effects Make-up, or combine several areas of practice to follow an interdisciplinary route. When you successfully complete the master's, your degree title will be chosen to reflect the focus of your studies.

We'll support you to develop a unique body of creative work through a series of negotiated projects that will be underpinned and informed by contemporary and emerging industry practice. You’ll work with a specialist supervisor who will provide support and guidance throughout the developmental process. We’ll support you to produce work spanning multiple areas of Film FX practice, if this is of interest to you. The Film FX industry is starting to more fully explore fusions between traditionally separate disciplines so opportunities are increasingly available to those whose expertise bridges two areas and who can act as a link between teams.

In addition, we’ll guide you as you investigate current contexts for creative practice in Film FX and build the skills needed to undertake research at an advanced level. You’ll explore the cultural and creative economy and consider the impact of production scale on the nature of industry roles. We’ll also invite you to place your practice within the Film FX professional landscape. Your studies will support you to develop essential skills in networking and collaboration, project management and evaluating progress to help you gain the skills to develop your industry profile and ensure your work reaches your desired audience.

With a strong theoretical underpinning, this MA is designed to develop your skills in research, critique and synthesis. We’ll guide you as you learn to work with self‐direction and originality and develop your analytical and critical competencies. We’ll encourage you to ground your research and practice within wider industry contexts and form links with practitioners and organisations whose interests align with your own. This combination of essential skills development and industry knowledge helps to prepare you for a career in Film FX, and provides a sound basis for doctoral-level study.

  • You can develop your unique body of creative Film FX practice under the supervision of our experienced teaching team.
  • We'll support you to prepare your creative practice so it’s ready to impress leading Film FX industry practitioners. We’ll guide you as you learn to create and demonstrate a professional showreel, physical portfolio or alternative creative output.
  • You’ll have the opportunity to undertake projects set by leading Film FX industry practitioners, studios or workshops.
  • You'll be able to make use of specialist facilities across the University of Bolton's School of Creative Technologies to develop high-quality creative outputs.
Key Features
  • Teaching and supervision are delivered by our dedicated team of experienced Film FX practitioners and researchers who are as passionate about Film FX as you are.
  • The programme provides opportunities to engage with and learn from industry professionals, including visiting speakers and practitioners. Networking is strongly encouraged.
  • We'll offer you opportunities for interdisciplinary work and collaboration.
  • You'll benefit from our strong Film FX industry links with multiple Oscar-winning studios, artists and industry experts from London, Manchester and the North West region, as well as globally.
  • Your final master’s degree title will reflect your specialist areas of practice (please note that the final award title will be selected in agreement with the University within the parameters specified in programme documentation). For example, your title might be something like MA Film FX Modelmaking Creative Practice, MA Film FX Visual Effects and Animation Creative Practice or MA Film FX Costume Creative Practice.
  • By choosing to study with us, you'll have the chance to enjoy Bolton's many shops, bars, restaurants and leisure facilities. Manchester, one of the UK's most multicultural and lively cities, is less than 20 minutes away by train. Not forgetting, the North West of England is renowned for its beautiful countryside, coastline and heritage. This makes Bolton an ideal base from which to explore some of the best cultural and outdoor activities the UK offers.

  • Normally, you should have at least an upper second class (2.1) honours degree in a relevant subject. Relevant subjects include (but aren’t limited to) visual effects, special effects, special make-up effects, modelmaking, animation, art, design illustration and photography.
  • If you don’t have this qualification but do have alternative qualifications or significant experience in a relevant field, then we’ll be happy to consider your application.
  • We'll consider applications where appropriate work experience can be demonstrated in lieu of, or in addition to, the published academic qualifications in line with the University’s Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL) procedures.
  • You'll be required to attend an interview and provide a portfolio of appropriate work.
  • 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.

Where changes are made to material information contained in this course description or a decision is taken to suspend a course between the offer of admissions and enrolment, we will inform applicants at the earliest possible opportunity and will outline the various options available to the applicant.

The MA Film FX Creative Practice offers named postgraduate routes for practice‐based areas including Visual Effects, Modelmaking, Special Effects and Make-up for Film FX as well as other associated disciplines. It's also an excellent option if you've graduated with a degree in a subject such as Graphic Design, Film and Media Production, Animation and Illustration, or Web Design. It will support you to develop a considerable body of work along with a plan for its future development beyond the course. This may take the form of a showreel, a physical portfolio or an alternative creative output. In many ways, you can consider this MA as providing a professional practice year, bridging the gap between undergraduate study and life as a professional Film FX practitioner.

As a graduate of this MA, you’ll possess extensive skills in your field of creative practice and a unique body of work that demonstrates your abilities and style. You’ll also be able to demonstrate essential transferable skills such as planning, communication, negotiation, collaborative working, problem-solving, project management and lifelong learning. We aim to build the self-awareness, confidence, and resilience you need to pursue your ambition. The course will support you to take charge of your personal and professional development and reflect on your progress as you work towards your goals.

What can I do with this qualification?

Generating a turnover of £14.8 billion in 2017, the film industry in the UK generates significant value for the UK economy* and offers a fertile environment for creative employment. This MA supports you to develop your creative practice, along with clear plans as to how you will use this to progress your career in the Film FX creative industries, or as the basis for doctoral study.

As a graduate of this MA, you'll be well prepared to seek contracted employment within the relevant fields of the Film FX industry, neighbouring creative organisations and industries, or to work as a freelancer on a self-employed basis. Our established industry links with leading Film FX artists, workshops and studios will provide you with further insight into the Film FX industry and potential employment opportunities.

How you use your skills will depend on your chosen area(s) of Film FX practice and your personal interests and ambitions. However, you can rest assured that you'll have the knowledge and skills to drive forward in your creative career.

You may also choose to continue your education. PGCE, MPhil and PhD degrees are available at the University of Bolton.

* accessed on 7 January 2021

Alternative career options

Graduates can also use the qualification as a stepping-stone into a range of other careers. For some of these roles, relevant experience and/or postgraduate study may be required. Some of these careers include:

  • Education and teaching
  • Film production
  • Advertising and design
  • Research

Course fees

Home students starting this course in the first year will be required to pay a Home fee of £7,020 for the academic year 2022/23.

Overseas students starting this course in the first year will be required to pay a Overseas fee of £12,950 for the academic year 2022/23.

Important note regarding tuition fees for the 2021-2022 academic year: EU nationals who meet residency requirements (have settled or pre-settled status) may be eligible for ‘Home’ fee status. If you do not meet these residency requirements, overseas fees will apply. Irish citizens living in the UK or Ireland will be eligible for ‘Home’ fee status under the Common Travel Area arrangement. Please read the student finance eligibility 2021-2022 policy on for information.

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.


Click here for more information on our Master's Bursaries.

For details of how to apply for this course, please choose your status from the options below:

You may apply directly to the University using the University's online application form. Please select your chosen start date from the list below:

You should have to hand:

  • Details of the educational establishments you attended and dates

  • Your certificates for the qualifications you are using to gain entry to the course – you will need to enter the completion date and upload copies

  • Details of any employment history including name, address, dates and role

  • Personal statement – this can be either input into the relevant field or uploaded separately

  • Details including e-mail addresses of two referees, at least one of which should be someone who can provide an academic reference

Please make sure any documents you wish to upload in support of your application are in pdf or jpeg format. Personal statements may be word documents.

Please ensure your data is correct at each stage of the application before you proceed to the next page. If you use the back button at any time during the application, you should check the validity of the data you have already input.

If you experience difficulties during the application process, contact the Admissions Team on 01204 903394 or

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

Should you have any queries please contact the International Team on +44 (0) 1204 903110 or email

  • Apply online: University of Bolton MA Film FX Creative Practice - 19 September 2022 (Intake not currently accepting international applications)

A variety of teaching and learning strategies will be used to help you acquire and develop appropriate concepts, knowledge and skills. You can expect practice-based enquiry, self-directed study, lectures, seminars, tutorials, and presentations.

It’s important to realise that the time spent with a tutor during formally scheduled activities is only a small part of the learning time identified for a module. You’ll also be expected to spend a significant amount of time in guided independent study, such as general background reading, preparing for seminar activities and working on assignments. We are committed to supporting you throughout your learning journey, but as time progresses our guidance will become less structured and prescriptive. It‘s expected that you’ll demonstrate significant independence in your study, taking responsibility for the management of your own learning time and increasing in autonomy as you progress through the programme.

The assessment strategy is designed to help you achieve the overall aims of the programme, as well as the learning outcomes for individual modules. As well as being a way to assess your achievement, assessment also helps you to organise and develop your learning. Assessment feedback can help you develop your skills and an understanding of your strengths and weaknesses.

The types of assessment you’ll be required to complete fall into two general categories: formative and summative. You’ll have formative assessment to help you learn and develop your knowledge and skills and summative assessment on which you are graded. Formative assessment will take place via tutorial discussion, group workshops including peer and tutor review, and guidance on work in progress. Formative feedback will be provided via face-to-face via discussion, online or in written form. Summative assessments consist of both practical and theoretical work. These will include creative outputs, practical projects, presentations, and written assessments in the form of essays, portfolios, proposal documents and a dissertation.


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

  • Film FX Cultural Landscape
  • Film FX Creative Practice 1
  • Film FX Industry Practice
  • Film FX Creative Practice 2
  • Film FX Masters Project
  • Film FX Masters Dissertation Project
Assessment methods
LevelAssesment method
Level oneCoursework 26%, Practical exams 74%
Learning activities
LevelLearning activity
Level oneGuided independent study 85%, Scheduled learning and teaching activities 15%


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. The university considers changes to courses very carefully and the university will minimise any changes. Please be aware that our courses are subject to review on an ongoing basis and changes may be necessary due to legitimate staffing, financial, regulatory and academic reasons. 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.

The academic staff detailed above teach across a range of courses in this subject area and may not teach on this course specifically.

Programme Contacts

Matt Lilley
Programme Leader

+44 (0)1204 903487

Enquiry Team
University of Bolton

+44 (0)1204 903903

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Postgraduate Options

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We have the answers to your questions, find all the advice and support in one place.

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Anderton centre2
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