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This dynamic and industry-focused course will prepare you for work within the special effects sector of the film, television and leisure industries.
Uniquely in the UK, the course offers a choice between animatronics and visual effects pathways within the same degree structure – so if you’d prefer not to specialise too early, you can take a ‘mix and match’ approach to your option units in the second year.
The multidisciplinary nature of the course will give you a broadly applicable range of skills and knowledge, ensuring you’re up-to-date with the special effects industry’s generic tools, principles and production processes.
You’ll also be able to focus your assignments across a wide range of applications in film, television, museums and art galleries, theatre and live performance.
BA (Hons) Special Effects
260 UCAS Tariff points
(Our courses are regularly reviewed so the final module list may be slightly different from the one shown here.)
The theoretical units are delivered via formal lecture and the practical units are normally taught in the special effects studio/ workshop, a simulated industrial workspace. Students will work alongside one another, sharing analysis of each other’s work when designing physical or CGI models or producing visual effects shots. Sessions are introduced with flipchart drawings/demonstrations and a lecture to deconstruct the learning requirements. Screenings are used in the studio to reinforce understanding.
In some instances it will be essential to provide demonstrations modules as exemplars especially to demonstrate some of the more complex and SFX abstract techniques.
A variety of tools and capture techniques are introduced to provide the students with a solution to many problematic situations.
Solent places a strong emphasis on real-world experience, so you’ll be encouraged to undertake a work placement via the Curriculum Plus unit or Special Effects Major Project, drawing on the course team’s support and strong ties to the industry in order to find a suitable placement.
The course is assessed through a mix of coursework, portfolios and presentations. There are no formal exams.
The specification for the current academic year can be found here.
You’ll have access to a variety of industry-standard software and hardware, depending on which skills pathway you choose:
The animatronics pathway includes CAD and 3D modelling software such as 3D SMAX, as well as hardware such as CNC and laser cutters.
On the visual effects pathway you’ll have access to a variety of 3D software applications, together with digital compositing and photo editing suites.
Solent’s virtual learning environment provides quick online access to assignments, lecture notes, suggested reading and other course information.
The range of industries using special effects has grown rapidly over the last decade, ensuring that your broad knowledge and skills base will open up wide-ranging opportunities for employment. You’ll be able to find work in film, television or advertising, bringing your own unique artistic vision to the screen or providing the perfect final touch to model work, prosthetics or special effects.
Students graduating from this course will be able to apply for jobs in the following industry sectors:
Close links with industry provide you with extensive opportunities for networking and work experience in UK special effects companies, including Neal Scanlon Studios, Cinesite, Double Negative, Competent Crew FX, Dr Frames FX, Artem, Pew36, BBC Special Effects, Creature Shop, Shepperton Studios, Pinewood Studios, LCI and the Movieum of London.
Throughout the course you’ll develop a broad array of skills, including creative research, computer modelling, animation, project management, visual communication, evaluation, problem-solving and presentation.
Location of study: East Park Terrace
Study mode: Full-time
Applicants who do not have English as their first language will be required to demonstrate an approved level of proficiency in the use of the English language. The agreed minimum requirements for this course are:
Qualifications are checked before enrolment and international students must bring their original certificates or certified copies, when coming to study at the university.
The university also offers a pre-sessional English programme| and an international foundation programme| for international students who wish to improve their level of English before starting a degree course.
All international applicants need to be aware that the English language requirements to attend Southampton Solent University, and the English language requirements to obtain a visa from the UK Border Agency, may be different. This means that if you meet the Southampton Solent University language requirement to gain a place on the course, you may still have to meet additional requirements to be granted with a visa by the UK Border Agency.
We strongly advise all applicants to visit the UKBA| website which outlines all the requirements for a successful visa application and to take a look at this PDF document which outlines both Solent University and UKBA requirements| for a number of language tests.
If you do not have these qualifications or are unsure of your eligibility please contact the University using the contact details found at the top of this page.
The tuition fees for the 2014 academic year are:
UK and EU full-time fees: £9,000 per year
International full-time fees: £10,610 per year
Southampton Solent University offers a range of scholarships that provide financial assistance or waive fees for tuition or accommodation. Each scholarship has specific eligibility criteria. Check out our scholarships page| to find out more.
Any student applying for the first year of a full-time/sandwich undergraduate course must apply through UCAS (University and Colleges Admissions Service). This includes mature, overseas and EU students.
Nearly all schools and colleges offer their students the facility of applying electronically through the UCAS website using 'Apply'; it may also be used by those applying independently in the UK and overseas. This facility and all course information can be found on the UCAS website: www.ucas.ac.uk|
Your application should reach UCAS by January if you hope to enter a course the following autumn. Early application is advised for the most popular subject areas. Late applications may be made until June. The UCAS Code for the University is S30, code name SOLNT.
Southampton Solent University is committed to giving you the best possible educational experience during your time with us. As such we have a number of support services and policies set up covering funding, careers and employability, chaplaincy, counselling, international advice, student affairs, key academic skills, disability support and general student advice. Find out more about our approach to student welfare|.
You will have access to a modern, comfortable and efficient environment in which to study, following our extensive refurbishment and modernisation over recent years. Some key facilities include Mountbatten library, a wide variety of sports and watersports facilities, plus superb IT and media facilities. Find out more about our first-class facilities here|.
Southampton is a vibrant student city and studying at Solent means that you will be at the very heart of the action. Find out more about being a student in Southampton|.
Run by students for students, Solent Students’ Union is a key part of any student’s time at Solent. Visit the Students’ Union website| for more information.
View more information about KIS.
What people are saying
"The courses available at Solent allow students to work on a variety of media platforms. This is invaluable for working in the industry."
Scott MillsRadio 1 DJ and TV presenter,Honorary Doctor of Arts
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