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BA (Hons) VFX

BA (Hons) VFX

Institution code: N39
Course UCAS code: W614
Course length: 3 years

Visual Effects (VFX) is the fastest growing area in the film industry. Our BA (Hons) VFX degree course will give you the skills to create astounding visual effects worlds, as seen in Hollywood films, stunning TV series and impactful commercials.

Designed in association with leading companies that represent 60% of the UK’s VFX industry (including Double Negative, Framestore, MPC and ILM), as well as professional bodies like Creative Skillset and UK Screen Alliance, you’ll learn how to translate your imagination into believable 3D environments and create the VFX imagery of tomorrow, whether for film, architectural visualisations or new VR applications.

Your VFX skills

On this future-looking undergraduate VFX course you’ll develop a skillset that will equip you for the increasing range of applications of VFX. From tv and film to architecture and urban design; scientific research to creative design and virtual reality.

Working with directors or filming your own shots, you’ll become an expert ‘world builder’, using visual effects as scaffolding to enhance a story.

Your VFX future

Through lectures, workshops, live briefs and one-to-one crits throughout your degree, you’ll gain valuable exposure to industry experts from major and independent studios. Small class sizes mean you’ll have frequent contact with teaching staff and visitors from the professional networks connected to the course.

You’ll have the opportunity to attend FMX, the biggest and best VFX and animation conference and festival in Europe. You’ll also have access to a subsidised commercial version of Nuke, the industry standard software used in major studios, with a licence that extends for one year after graduation.

Typical career paths include

  • Roto Artist
  • Texture Artist
  • 3D Generalist
  • 3D Environment Artist
  • Match Move Artist
  • Visualiser
  • Compositor
  • Art Director
  • Matte Painter/Artist
  • Modeller
  • Architectural Visualiser
  • Experiential Designer

You’ll also get specialist creative careers advice from our Careers Team in the Ideas FactoryNUA to help support you as you plan your career.

Visiting lectures by Compositor, Josh Parks from MPC and Jonathan Jones, Ember Films

Course content

  • Year 1
  • Learn to see: study VFX fundamentals about lenses, pixels and light to see differently
  • Follow set exercises aimed at understanding pixel fundamentals and fooling the eye
  • Progress from making two-dimensional flat imagery towards testing 3D virtual space
  • Research the use of optics, photorealism, perspective, theatrical stagecraft, monumental and civic art, sci-fi films, architecture and photography then apply these to make your VFX more novel and convincing
  • Use green screen with 4k URSA cameras
  • Have the opportunity to attend industry talks, presentations and discussions with key VFX companies and VFX professionals
  • Practice digital matte painting to improve your work.
  • Year 2
  • Progress from 2D to 3D
  • Learn industry processes like tracking, match moving, and extracting motion data from footage and transferring it to your developing scenes
  • Independently research how these techniques might be used within a professional setting
  • Gain short periods of work experience, engage in a live brief and attend industry conferences
  • Collaborate in flexible, open-ended and innovative ways to build amazing showreels
  • Attend industry talks, presentations and discussions with key VFX companies and VFX professionals
  • Learn about Look Development, lighting, texturing, rendering and all you'll need to build your worlds.
  • Year 3
  • Develop a professional portfolio of work
  • Gain powerful project management techniques to ensure you can lead VFX teams and increase job prospects
  • Research, prepare and complete a full-blown VFX production, and prepare a Research Report in a field related to your final production
  • Develop a plan to market and promote yourself, and show your 'creative edge' to sell yourself to employers
  • Take part in industry talks, presentations and discussions with key VFX companies and VFX professionals.

Student work

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Typical UK offers

A / AS Levels – GCE
GCE A/AS Levels 3 A-level qualifications at grades BBB. Where candidates are not taking 3 A-levels, NUA will consider combinations of A-level/AS-level and other Level 3 qualifications.

BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF or RQF)
Distinction, Merit, Merit in an art, design or media related subject

BTEC Diploma (QCF or RQF)
Distinction*, Distinction* in an art, design or media related subject

UAL Extended Diploma

UAL Level 3 Foundation Diploma in Art and Design

UAL Level 4 Foundation Diploma in Art and Design

Foundation Diploma in Art and Design

Access to Higher Education Diploma (Art and Design)

International Baccalaureate Diploma
A minimum of 27 points

NUA welcomes applicants of all ages from all backgrounds. Your application will be primarily assessed through interview and portfolio review so even if you have no formal qualifications or do not meet our typical offers it can still be worth applying.

If you are studying at the time of your application and your interview is successful, it is likely that you will receive a conditional offer.

If the qualification that you are studying is not shown, do not worry as we are able to accept other pre-entry qualifications as well as combinations of different qualifications. Please do contact our Student Recruitment Team if you have any queries.

International applications

We accept qualifications from all over the world. To find our entry requirements from a specific country, please check our dedicated international pages.

Most international students are required to hold an English language qualification. Applicants are required to have a minimum UKVI approved IELTS exam score of 6.0 overall, with a minimum of 5.5 in each section. Equivalent English language qualifications are acceptable such as, IB English language syllabus A or B/English Literature (Grade 4).

We also accept some alternative English qualifications. Learn more about our English entry requirements.

You can email us on international@nua.ac.uk if you’d like to discuss your application individually.

BA (Hons) VFX Portfolio degree guidance

Your portfolio should show us you are passionate about visual effects and that you want to learn to make seemingly realistic images that support amazing stories.

We need to see you are motivated. Our course is guided by some of the leading VFX companies in the UK and they want people who are willing to experiment and dedicate themselves to full-time study with us.

We want to see examples of your imagination, in whatever medium and see how you manipulate images to make believable pictures.

We don’t expect you to have software expertise, or for you to have done VFX before. Our job is to take creative people and give them software expertise and practical experience. If you can show you are good at creating interesting visuals that communicate a story we want to see you!

You may wish to include some of the following:

  • Drawings, paintings or illustrations that exhibit a playful imagination and aptitude for creative and technical work, such as designs of environments and images that demonstrate narrative or express a mood or atmosphere
  • Use of Photoshop or other related image making/editing tools are essential
  • Sketchbooks, blogs, journals, notes about things you’ve seen and been inspired by, film or book reviews
  • Research into something you are interested in. Maybe tell us why you think the VFX in a certain film is memorable, or show us what you found out about a particular VFX company.
  • Moving image work is good, maybe videos you have made, edited or remixed
  • Storyboards or plans
  • Writing that shows you have a creative imagination
  • Photographic work. We love to see if you have a photographic eye for composition. Can you tell a story with a sequence of photos? Or document an interesting place with a range of shots?
  • Digital animation or motion graphics
  • An ability to edit film and use effects (i.e. Hitfilm, After Effects or Adobe Premiere)

Further portfolio advice and tips

Get more advice on presentation formats, layouts and when to submit your portfolio in the application process.

Your interview

After you apply to study BA VFX at NUA we’ll invite you to an interview on campus or by Skype or telephone, depending on your circumstance.

If you apply by the UCAS deadline of 15 January your interview will usually take place in February. We’ll ask you to prepare your portfolio ready to bring with you or submit online ahead of your interview.

Read our tips for interviews at NUA

Fees and Funding

The cost of your course is determined by your status as either ‘UK/EU’ or ‘International’, so it’s important to check your fee status. If you’re unsure, the UKCISA website will help you determine whether you’re eligible to pay a UK/EU fee (also called a ‘home’ fee). If you’d prefer to speak to NUA directly, please contact student.finance@nua.ac.uk

UK/EU students are eligible for a tuition fee loan from the UK government, meaning you won’t have to pay your fees up front. Further details about tuition fee loans are provided below. International students are not eligible for the UK government tuition fee loan.

2019/20 Tuition Fees For New Entrants

Citizen status



UK/EU nationality

Undergraduate degree (full-time three and four year degree)


International (non-EU)

Undergraduate degree (full-time three and four year degree)


Fees will remain the same for each year of your course. 

International students

Find out more about 2019 fees for international students and the support available.

Financial support for UK/EU students

Tuition fee loans and loans for living costs are available, as well as non-repayable NUA bursaries that take into account family income. Find out how to apply for funding.

Tuition Fee Loan for Undergraduate study

Tuition fee loans are available for UK and EU students.

  • Available to cover the full cost of your tuition
  • You don’t have to pay for your course up front yourself
  • Only start paying back when you are earning over £25,000 per year

Maintenance Loan for Undergraduate study – 2018/19

Student Maintenance Loans are available for UK and eligible EU students to help with living costs such as accommodation, food, clothes, travel and course expenses. The amount students receive is dependent on household income and any maintenance grant received.

  • A loan of up to £8,700 may be available if you live away from home.
  • A loan of up to £7,324 may be available if you live with your parents.

How can you find out more?

To learn more about loans, repayment calculations and other financial support, visit Student Finance. If you have any questions about fees, please email student.finance@nua.ac.uk


Find out about scholarship programmes available to NUA applicants.


For new entrants whose household income is assessed as £25,000 or less, the university will offer a contribution towards the costs of studying at NUA (such as equipment, materials and other course-related costs). This will be £200 for new entrants to Year 0 and Year 1, rising to £300 in Year 2, followed by £500 in Year 3. Find out more about bursaries at NUA

NUA alumni, staff and feeder staff discount

All NUA alumni are eligible for a £1,000 discount on NUA postgraduate degree fees. All NUA staff and staff from feeder institutions are eligible for a £500 discount on NUA postgraduate degree fees.


Image of a student sat at a computer looking at the camera

Catrin Feron

"Its so useful in understanding how to animate a gibbon for our upcoming conservation project."

BA (Hons) VFX

photo of alum Fahim Fadzlishah smiling and looking away from camera with arm leant against wall and short swept black hair and an open checkered red and blue shirt with window in background

Fahim Fadzlishah

"I like the idea of fooling the eye. The idea of manipulating and creating visuals on screen really drives me. It’s inspiring to project my own ideas and interpretations."

BA (Hons) VFX

photo of alum Jose Fernandez looking up and smiling with combed black hair and wearing a black t-shirt with a wide bright window in the background

Jose Fernandez

"I manage to almost always find inspiration across the city, there are many artists and spaces to see every day and find your creativity."

BA (Hons) VFX


  • Lynsey White

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    Call: +44 (0) 1603 610561

    Email: studentrecruitment@nua.ac.uk

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