BA (Hons) Visual Effects and Motion Graphics


The USW Visual Effects & Motion Graphics course enables students to build towards a successful career in the Creative Industries. Graduates from recent years have embarked on their professional development at studios such as DNEG, Framestore, ILM, Bait Studio, Nineteentwenty amongst others.

From heavy visual effects to TV title sequences and motion, the opportunities available for students to explore are vast and giving them access to high quality facilities and resources will open up opportunities for all budding motion designers, filmmakers and visual effects compositors to realise their potential.

UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
W280 Full-time 3 Years September Cardiff (ATRiuM) B
UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
W280 Full-time 3 Years September Cardiff (ATRiuM) B

The focus of the course is a synthesis of innovative digital imagery and techniques, together with aesthetic and technical expertise in digital compositing.

In the first year, students will be introduced to the tools and techniques that are essential when working with the moving image. This module gives students the opportunity to develop creatively as well as technically through immersion in the production process. The Concept Development and Time-based design module will include an introduction to software for the first time on the course which provides a technical foundation on which the following practical modules will build upon as well as introducing students to basic design principals that are essential in providing a starting point for all subsequent models. The projects that follow build in complexity over time, from introduction exercises through story-boards and animatics, layering of video to digital compositing. All these practical modules are supported by the Contextual Studies module that runs in parallel throughout the year.

The second year is where practical work is traditionally devoted to more personal projects and thus modules after the Autumn term support this. Students further develop their knowledge in Motion Graphics and Visual Effects from skills learnt on Year 1. Students are encouraged to develop their own creativity and design skills on very open briefs with key lectures enforcing technical and theoretical studies in Motion Design throughout.

The third year is traditionally where students have fully specialised in a discipline and have negotiated briefs with their tutors for minor and major projects. the dissertation title would also need to be discussed with the related lecturer and ideally be connected to the practical research the student decides to follow. Design Management is an essential module for employment opportunities after university as well as the design competitions module which probably gives students more exposure outside university than any other module on the course. It is essential on the 3rd year of the course that students are encourages to enter student festivals and exhibitions in order for them to be showcased within the industry they are aspiring to be part of.

Year one: Visual Effects and Motion Graphics

  • Contextual Studies
  • Image Acquisition Fundamentals
  • Concept Development & Time Based Design
  • Motion Graphic Design
  • Audio Visual Techniques
  • Visual Effects

Year two: Visual Effects and Motion Graphics

  • Critical Studies
  • Professional Design & Practice
  • 3D Tracking
  • Motion Graphics Design 2
  • Motion Graphics & Visual Effects Project

Year three: Visual Effects and Motion Graphics

  • Critical Research
  • Professional Development
  • Minor Project: Visual Effects & Motion Graphics
  • Design Competitions
  • Major Project: Visual Effects & Motion Graphics


Students on the Visual Effects and Motion graphics course will gain knowledge of the field through specialist lectures, which are followed by hands-on sessions. As you progress, you will specialise in areas of interest to you.

By the final year, you will possess the skills to generate a product from concept through to finished piece. You will also have the opportunity to participate in national and international festivals and competitions. These will help you develop a showreel of professional, broadcast quality work, which you can show to employers.


The majority of your assessment (80%) is through presentation of practical assignments, with remaining elements in written or multi-media form. You will be expected to ‘pitch’ your project ideas and concepts to staff, leading VFX professionals and other students, in a constructive and supportive environment.


This Visual Effects and Motion Graphics course is recognised by Creative Skillset, a quality mark indicating the courses best suited to prepare you for a career in the creative industries.


The tutors on our visual effects degree are exceptionally experienced in VFX and motion graphics, and continue to work in the industry.

Pete Hodges, Academic Subject Manager
Jack Phillips, Course Leader
Thomas Tatchell, Lecturer
Geraint Thomas, Lecturer

The entry criteria below shows the qualification range within which the University will make offers. Most offers we make are at the top of the range, but we take all aspects of an application into consideration and applicants receive a personalised offer. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed here may also be acceptable.


An interview and portfolio are required for this visual effects degree course. Your portfolio should demonstrate strong artistic and design abilities. Your portfolio should be a carefully constructed selection of your work, preferably produced during your most recent course of study, and can include any personal work or projects that you feel are relevant to the course. All work should be well organised and presented. You should be prepared to discuss your work at interview as well as the designers and/or VFX artists who have influenced you.

Typical A-Level Offer

BCC - CDD to include a relevant art and design subject (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical Welsh BACC Offer

Pass the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma with Grade C/D in the Skills Challenge Certificate and BC - CD at A Level with a relevant art and design subject (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical BTEC Offer

BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Merit Merit - Merit Merit Pass in a relevant subject (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical IB Offer

Pass the International Baccalaureate Diploma with a minimum score of 29 overall including 5 or above in English at standard level

Typical Access to HE Offer

Pass the Access to HE Diploma with a minimum of 80 UCAS tariff points

Additional Requirements

GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 5 GCSEs including Mathematics/Numeracy and English at Grade C or Grade 4 or above, or their equivalent, but consideration is given to individual circumstances.

International Entry Requirements

We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.

English Requirements

In general, international applicants will need to have achieved an overall IELTS grade of 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component.

However, if you have previously studied through the medium of English IELTS might not be required, but please visit the country specific page on our international website for exact details. If your country is not featured please contact us.

Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.

Find out how to pay your tuition fees in full or by payment plan.

This course is eligible under the Enhanced Learning Credits scheme for Ex-Armed Forces personnel.

International Scholarships are available for self-funding international students.

August 2020 - July 2021 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU:  £9000

  • Full-time International:  £13200 

August 2021 - July 2022 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU: TBC

  • Full-time International: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

* Obligatory

Item Cost
Kit (Uniform and Equipment) £900
Apple Mac book or iMac (Any academic year)
Kit (Uniform and Equipment) £500
Digital SLR with Lenses (Any academic year)
Kit (Uniform and Equipment) £50
WD or equivalent Hard Drive (All academic years)
Kit (Uniform and Equipment) £50
Wacom Tablet (Any academic year)
Kit (Uniform and Equipment) £15
Cost is per month. Adobe Subscriptions (All academic years)
Field Trips £500
FMX/ Vancouver Trip (Any academic year)

UK and EU students

Apply via UCAS if you are a UK/EU residing applicant, applying for year one of a full-time undergraduate degree, Foundation Year, Foundation Degree or HND and you have not applied through UCAS before. If you are applying to study part-time, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution, please apply directly

International students

Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK/EU. 

Admissions statement

The practical elements of this VFX course, combined with your creativity, will ensure you develop the skills to go far in this industry. Graduates work for high-profile TV and post-production companies throughout the country, including The Moving Picture Company, Framestore, and Double Negative.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.

This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.