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.

Special Effects for Film and Television

Key information

Award:

BDes (Hons)

Mode of Study:

Full-time

Duration:

3 years

Location:

The University of Bolton

UCAS points:

104

UCAS code:

W623

Start date:

21/09/2020

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.

Highlights
  • 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.

  • 104 UCAS points. Please see our guide to the UCAS Tariff for examples of how to achieve these points.
  • 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.

Want some reassurance or advice? Speak to one of our advisors. Email us at enquiries@bolton.ac.uk or call us on +44 (0)1204 903 903.

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.


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

A graduate could find additional work opportunities creating displays or multimedia presentations for a museum, or working for a company that creates and sells effects-based products, such as prosthetics, costumes or props. Graduates may also use the qualification to enter a range of other careers including:

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

Course fees
Home EU Fees Year of study Total
Entry year2020/212021/222022/232023/24
2020£9,250£9,250£9,250-£27,750
International Year of study Total
Entry year2020/212021/222022/232023/24
2020£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 2020/2021.

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

Bursaries

Click here for more information about the scholarships and bursaries available to University of Bolton undergraduate students.


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

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

University of Bolton Group Partners

Bolton College
University Technical College
Alliance Learning
University of Bolton

The University welcomes applications from our group partners and progressing students so we try to make our application process as simple and as fast as possible. By selecting the link for your chosen course from the list shown below you will be taken directly to our online application form. Please read the user guidance before completing this and ensure you upload all supporting documents such as certificates and your personal statement when you apply.

Please ensure when you are asked to add a contact email address you add your college/university email account address as well as your personal address. If you do not add your college address as your contact address we will be unable to identify you as a partner and you will be referred to apply via UCAS, which incurs a cost.

We look forward to receiving your application and you continuing your academic journey with us!


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.

Modules

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.

  • Design
  • Fabrication
  • Realisation
  • Team Project
  • Mouldmaking
  • Advanced Fabrication
  • Advanced Realisation
  • Advanced Project
  • Technical Research
  • Industry Project
  • Major Project
Assessment methods
LevelAssesment method
Level oneCoursework 23%, Practical exams 77%
Level twoCoursework 8%, Practical exams 92%
Level threeCoursework 30%, Practical exams 70%
Learning activities
LevelLearning activity
Level oneGuided independent study 65%, Scheduled learning and teaching activities 35%
Level twoGuided independent study 65%, Scheduled learning and teaching activities 35%
Level threeGuided independent study 65%, Scheduled learning and teaching activities 35%

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. 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

Richard Mcevoy-Crompton
Programme Leader

R.Mcevoy-Crompton@bolton.ac.uk

+44 (0)1204 903064

Enquiry Team
University of Bolton

enquiries@bolton.ac.uk

+44 (0)1204 903903

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