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About the course

Push the limits of your creative boundaries on this dynamic prosthetics and special effects degree. With a hands-on approach to design for a range of contexts, you’ll be supported to develop the skills and experience to enter a range of careers in the creative industries after graduation.

You will be encouraged to take an explorative and technical approach to prosthetics application, use of materials and creative development processes to produce innovative and contemporary special effects design work. This will include sculpting, moulding and casting for character and creature effects, refined application of make-up and hair effects and designing with 2D and 3D modelling.

While the emphasis is on problem solving and critical thinking, you will be encouraged to embrace the breadth of the potential within and beyond the discipline of special effects for TV, theatrical performance and film.

You will be taught by an academic team with excellent reputations as practicing professional designers or researchers, as well as an extensive range of visiting lecturers and international visits to gain vital industry insight.

You will study in our well-equipped studios and workshops, ranging from make-up, hair and special effects studios to photography studios, IT suites and a comprehensive Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) to support your learning.

Situated within the School of Art Design and Fashion, the course also provides you with the opportunity for cross-programme collaborations to help you contextualise your place within the prosthetics and special effects industry, offering you a rich and stimulating education and preparing you for future employment.

In your final year there is the opportunity to work with our professional SFX team at the Prosthetics Event, across a range of national theatre productions or at IMATS in London.

You have the opportunity to study abroad in one of our partner universities for a semester on this course.
Study abroad
If you're not quite ready for a full undergraduate degree, there's alternative entry through one of our foundation years.
Foundation year available
This course has access to Solent's specialist facilities.
Specialist facilities
After successfully completing your studies, there's an opportunity to continue your studies at Solent.
Further studies
If you have an appropriate Level 5 qualification, you can top it up to a degree in just a year.
Top-up option

Critical debate surrounding design is central to the teaching programme, which involves all students in wider debates about making and thinking about design practice for the creative industries.

What does this course lead to?

This course will transform your understanding of prosthetics and special effects practice within the TV, theatrical performance and film industries. It will provide you with a wide range of career options after graduation, such as special effects make-up designer, prosthetics artist, prosthetics sculptor, mould maker, creature concept and character designer, casualty simulator, project management, event management, digital sculpting designer, special effects technician and multi-media artist. 

Who is this course for?

Solent’s prosthetic and special effects programme is ideally suited to students who want to explore and design conceptual ideas through a wide-ranging and hands-on approach to drawing, digital conceptualisation and research.

Applicants should have previously studied a creative subject and will be required to present a portfolio of design work at interview. Previous experience in prosthetics and special effects is not required.

Facts and figures

Fees icon

Fees and costs

Tuition fees

The tuition fees for the 2021/22 academic year are:
UK, EU and Channel Island full-time fees: £9,250 per year
International full-time fees: £13,800 per year

Following the UK government's confirmation that EU students will no longer be eligible for home fee status benefits, we've made the decision to keep EU tuition fees the same as UK tuition fees for 2021 entry.

For further information, please visit our tuition fees page.

Other costs

While most course costs are covered by your tuition fees, some essential resources and optional extras may need to be paid for separately. These additional costs are listed below. For advice on budgeting and managing your money, please contact student.funding@solent.ac.uk.

The 2021/22 other costs are not yet available. For guidance, previous other costs have been:

Compulsory costs:

You will be required to purchase the following equipment during your studies:

Year 1:
Special effects and make-up introductory kit £500

Year 2:
Special effects and make-up top up specialist kit £500

Optional costs:

Year 2:
The SFX Morgue module (additional kit cost £200) and Digital Bodies module (additional kit cost £100)

Year 3:
Creature and Concept Design £210 (Option one, module of study)

Optional trip costs:

Optional trip to Paris: the cost is based on current air fares and hotel prices (£276 approx)
Optional trip to New York: the cost is based on current air fares and hotel prices (£864 approx)
Optional trip to Shanghai: the cost is based on current air fares and hotel prices (£1,130 approx)

Bursaries and scholarships

Solent University offers a range of bursaries and scholarships that provide financial assistance or waive fees for tuition or accommodation. Each bursary or scholarship has specific eligibility criteria. Check out our bursaries and scholarships pages to find out more.

Graduation costs

For graduates in 2020, there is no charge to attend graduation, but you will be required to pay for the rental of your academic gown (approximately £45 per graduate, depending on your award). You may also wish to purchase official photography packages, which range in price from £15 to £200+. Graduation is not compulsory, so if you prefer to have your award sent to you, there is no cost. Extra guest tickets will go on sale after results publication and will be sold on a first-come-first-served basis. The cost per ticket was £15 in 2019, but this fee is subject to change for future years. Please note, we do not guarantee there will be any extra tickets available to purchase.
Key entry requirements icon

Key entry requirements

96 - 112 UCAS tariff points from A-levels or equivalent

  • A minimum of two completed A-levels, a BTEC Extended Diploma at MMM or BTEC Diploma at DM or equivalent qualification, or a combination of qualifications which comply with the minimum entry requirement of 96 UCAS points.
  • Direct entry into the second or third years may be considered for this course.
  • Alternative entry to this course is available through the Design Foundation Year.
  • Applicants will be required to submit a digital mini portfolio providing evidence of artistic aptitude and potential; this will form an important part of the selection process. Further information can be obtained from our admissions team, email ask@solent.ac.uk
  • If you are applying from outside the UK, find information about entry requirements, visas and agents for your country here.
  • For further information about UK, EU and international qualifications, please refer to our course entry requirement statement.

English language requirements

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:

  • IELTS minimum 6.0 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each individual component
  • TOEFL IBT minimum 80 with a minimum of 20 in each individual component
  • Duolingo English Language Test - 100 overall with minimum of 90 in each component
  • or equivalent.

Qualifications are checked before enrolment, and international students must bring their original certificates or certified copies when coming to study at the University.

Pre-Sessional English programme

The University also offers a pre-sessional English programme for international students who wish to improve their level of English before starting a degree course.


Got a question about this course?

Contact our Solent team:

If you are a UK, EU or EEA applicant please contact admissions@solent.ac.uk 023 8201 5066 If you are an international applicant please contact admissions.international@solent.ac.uk 023 8201 5066

How to apply

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.com.

Your application should reach UCAS by 15 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 the end of June. The UCAS Code for the University is S30, code name SOLNT.

Please click the links below to apply through UCAS:

Mode of study
Duration
Apply
Full-time 3 years Apply

Design Foundation Year route:

Mode of study
Duration
Apply
Full-time 4 years Apply

Top-up route:

We welcome applications from students currently studying a Foundation Degree, DipHE, HNC, HND or modules of an undergraduate degree course at another university, who wish to enter directly into Years 2 or 3 of one of our undergraduate degree courses. Please contact our admissions team for more information: contact us

How to apply

What you'll study

Year one

Core modules
  • Design Practice
    This module will explore design as a visual strategy for not only resolving problems but also posing questions.  You will employ a design process that combines practical experimentation and critical thinking in the development and design of a unique visual response to an identified concept or problem.
  • Professional Application
    By introducing you to some of the key application skills in make-up and hair practice, you will be given a firm foundation in understanding how to use your design knowledge in your first steps towards building your Living CV. 
  • Image Construction
    This module of study will introduce you to the main difference between taking and making of an image. Learning photography skills will allow you to manipulate your viewer’s gaze by constructing an image in response to a chosen subject area.
  • Character Design
    In this module of study, you will be introduced to creating characters and conceptualising your ideas for a specific cinematic genre. You will learn most appropriate characterisation techniques to develop your interpretation of a character based on a literary classic book.
  • Visual Narrative
    This module will interrogate the creative, conceptual and ethical relationship between photography and narrative, exploring the design, and grammar of visual narratives and the signs, messages and tales they tell.  
  • Culture and Context
    This module will enhance ways of seeing, thinking and writing about visual culture.  You will learn about key cultural developments, practices and movements related to the history of design, visual and popular culture and the styled body since 1900 to the present day.

     

Year two

Core modules
  • Extending the Body
    This module of study will significantly develop your technical abilities and will challenge your approach to design and its development process. The Extending the Body module will introduce you to more advanced industry standard special effects make-up techniques.
  • Visual Cultures
    In this module you will explore the aspects of culture expressed through visual images. Topics will address contemporary issues within the multidisciplinary field of visual culture – we will discuss images from art history, film, fashion, design and more.  
  • Horror, Film and Media
    You will learn how to think like a filmmaker.  You will learn about the history of horror film and cinema, and how conventions, techniques and tropes from the past can help you to realise new and innovative ways of telling stories. 
  • Deviant Narratives
    This module of study will develop your technical abilities and approach to design in relation to anatomy. The Deviant Narratives module will introduce you to industry standard special effects make-up techniques and products used by professionals in TV and Film.
  • Professional Practice for the Creative Economy
    This module of study will provide you with an understanding of the industry expectations within the Creative Economy as well as the tools (ideas, knowledge, skills and the ability to seize new opportunities) to negotiate around it.

Options

  • Digital Bodies
    This module of study will develop your approach to design in relation to anatomy. The Digital Bodies module will introduce you to digital design techniques for character and creature. You will be challenged by changing the familiar into the unknown.
  • The SFX Morgue
    This module of study will significantly develop your technical abilities and approach to design in relation to the imagined body. Using the SFX Morgue – a collation of images that will aid you with authentic character design and direction for science fiction and fantasy, you will formulate a body of work to assist you in executing a concept.

Please note: Not all optional modules are guaranteed to run each year.

Year three

Core modules
  • Creative Research Project – Proposal
    Through this module you will devise and propose a substantial Creative Research Project, in preparation for the development and realisation of a substantial body of work for the associated module (Creative Research Project: development and realisation) in Semester 2. 
  • Work Based Learning 
    This is your opportunity to gain real world experience and an understanding of working in the creative economy. Engaging in a professional environment will boost your confidence while providing an insight into the various job roles available to you.
  • Dissertation
    The dissertation will allow you to investigate a subject you are passionate about – and tell the whole world what your findings are! It is an opportunity for you to take a stand and express your opinion about any topic related to fashion and beauty and, more broadly, cultural and social phenomena.
  • Creative Research Project - Development and Realisation
    In this module you will learn to independently employ practice-based approaches to research in the development and realisation of a creative project. You will initiate primary and secondary research to continually develop your understanding of an identified concept or design problem.

Options

  • Speculative Design
    Speculative Design (also known as Discursive Design) is about making us think, talk and question. Rather than focusing on utility or aesthetics, in this module you will explore design as a means of posing questions and discussing important socio-cultural issues such as climate change, genetic engineering, poverty and animal rights.
  • Creature and Concept Design
    This module of study will significantly develop your digital design abilities and understanding of this format. The Creature and Concept Design module will further your skillset developing the techniques and knowledge gained in the Digital Bodies module.

Please note: Not all optional modules are guaranteed to run each year.

Support

Web-based learning

Solent's virtual learning environment provides quick online access to assignments, lecture notes, suggested reading and other course information.

The Student Hub

The Student Hub is a central space where you can access all of the information and support you need during your time at University.

Professional and experienced staff can help resolve any query, and if they cannot answer the question themselves they will find the person who can.

Career support

Students' work

Meet the course team

Sharon Lloyd academic profile Sharon Lloyd Course Leader View profile
Dr Sebastiane Hegarty academic profile Sebastiane Hegarty Lecturer View profile
Kat Vogart academic profile Kat Vogart Lecturer View profile
Dr Flavia Loscialpo academic profile Flavia Loscialpo Lecturer View profile
Paul Watts academic profile Paul Watts Associate Lecturer View profile

The university cannot guarantee any particular members of staff will teach specific aspects of the course in the future, but will endeavour to ensure the teaching team maintains their balance of experience and qualifications.

Facilities

Our specialist studios and workshops include industry-focused special effects studios, fibre glass lab, plaster room, 3D printing labs, make-up and hair design studios, photography studios including an infinity cove and a range of well-equipped IT suites.

Students learn from a team with a broad range of academic and industry experience, who are have a desire to advance the industry and academic expectations of what prosthetics and special effects design can be.

Your future

Solent’s Prosthetics and Special Effects Design degree will prepare you for a wide range of graduate level employment opportunities.

Suitable roles for graduates include:

  • Special effects make-up designer
  • Prosthetics artist
  • Prosthetics sculptor
  • Mould maker
  • Creature concept and character designer
  • Casualty simulator
  • Project management
  • Studio assistant
  • Digital sculpting designer
  • Special effects technician
  • Multi-media artist

Industry links

The academic team maintain close links with industry professionals, and recent guest speakers and workshops have included: Francesco Fabiani, Neill Gorton Studio, Dave Elsey (Academy and Saturn Award-winning SFX artist), Verity Filipow (SFX artist), Michael Burton and Michiko Nitta (Burton Nitta art and design studio) and Andrew Macallum.

Students also have the opportunity to attend The Prosthetics Event, IMATS (Make-up Artists, Exhibitors and Enthusiasts Trade Show) and Terror Island scare experiences.

Placements

Work based learning is an essential component in the final year of study. In this unit, you will be required to work in a field relevant to your course, bridging the gap between academic study and vocational experience through practical and professional work experience.

It is your responsibility to secure work experience, however, support and resources can be found through the University’s career, employability and enterprise service Solent Futures and the course team.

Further study

Enhance your career prospects by continuing your study at Solent.

Get ready to find your place

You can still experience life at Solent at a virtual open day! Hear from course tutors, take virtual campus and accommodation tours, and chat to us live.

Register for a virtual open day