MA/MSc in Postproduction with Visual Effects



The MA/MSc in Postproduction with Visual Effects is designed to give a solid grounding in the latest postproduction systems and techniques, as well as a rich understanding of digital visual effects creation for feature film and broadcast television. 

This course is accredited by Creative Skillset, the UK film and TV industry sector skills council, and there is a strong professional focus, with an emphasis on 2D graphics and compositing, to ensure that the skills acquired are immediately relevant and consistent with current industry practices. 

Our facilities include a state-of-the-art lab featuring industry-standard packages: Nuke, BouJou and CineAsset among others; and common postproduction software including Final Cut Studio (FCP 7) and the Adobe Creative Studio (CS6). There are also dedicated picture finishing suites featuring Flame Premium and Nucoda Film Master that can finish projects at up to 4K resolution. 

To date, nearly two-thirds of our graduates are working in industry with companies including Double Negative, Bruce Dunlop Associates and Bloomberg Television, with feature film credits including Inception (Warner Bros), Dead Man Running (Revolver) and The Knife That Killed Me (Universal Pictures).

This programme is unique in that it allows students the choice of focusing on production-orientated work (for an MA degree); or on formal research into the technologies behind postproduction systems (for an MSc degree). As a result, graduates of the programme will be more technically informed practitioners or researchers with a better understanding of the creative process.The Department as a whole has strong industry connections; and guest sessions from practitioners are a regular part of the course. The course is run in parallel with the MA/MSc in Postproduction with Sound Design to ensure a rounded understanding of the postproduction process as a who‌





  • To provide students with an in-depth understanding of the theoretical bases, underlying technologies, and practical skills central to the professional postproduction and visual effects creation process for film and television.
  • To enhance student understanding of professional production values and aesthetics through technical analysis, critical evaluation and reflective learning.
  • To expand students' organizational skills with an emphasis on the importance of creative and technical collaboration for the effective management of the creative process in terms of use of time, working with others and fulfilling commercial objectives as well as self-discipline and independent work practices where appropriate.
  • To further develop students' problem-solving skills with a solid grounding in formal investigative methods of research.
  • To establish a collaborative study environment via a unique interdisciplinary course structure, whereby students with interests in visual effects and those with interests in sound design can jointly expand their understanding of the postproduction process through the exploration of the intricate relationships between image and sound.
  • To develop high-quality visual effects practitioners ready for industry as well as researchers prepared to advance the state-of-the-art in postproduction systems.

Teaching and assessment

Course Structure

Term 1

This term provides the fundamental basis from which to build a rich understanding of postproduction and how visual effects integrate into the production pipeline.

1. Digital Production and Postproduction Workflows
This module looks at digital production and postproduction processes for the creation of commercial film and television programmes. It examines the latest technical and aesthetic workflows for picture and sound.  There are two associated labs - one for Picture Techniques and one for Sound Techniques - in which students put theory into practice by applying concepts and techniques covered in lectures. It is taken by all MA/MSc Postproduction with Visual Effects, MA/MSc Postproduction with Sound Design and MA Digital Film and Television Production students. Assessment is through closed-book tests and portfolio-building individual project work (20 credits).

2. Languages of Film and Television
This module examines the various strategies through which moving images communicate with audiences. Drawing on the close analysis of film and television texts as well as the industrial and technological conditions underpinning their production, students will explore the connections between theories of film and television and the practice of its production, distribution and consumption. It is taken by all MA/MSc Postproduction with Visual Effects, MA/MSc Postproduction with Sound Design and MA Digital Film andTelevision Production students. Assessment is by essay (10 credits).

Term 2

This term provides students with greater opportunity to apply concepts and techniques presented in the first term as well as to expand on their understanding of the creative process.

1. Group Projects
Teams of students (from Visual Effects, Sound Design and Digital Film and TV Production) will undertake one exercise that first involves the creation of a title sequence for a film or television programme that leads into an an action sequence similar to those found in films and high end TV drama. Students will specialise in their respective areas of study but work in collaborative teams to create programmes to professional standards. This exercise enables students to gain an understanding of the creative process and hone problem-solving skills in an industry-inspired applied setting. Assessment is through practical work and reflective essay (20 credits).

2. Visual Effects Design Lab
This module introduces students to the fundamental theory and practical skills involved in the creation of visual effects for films and television programmes. It involves an examination of technical design and implementation of visual image processing as well as the creative application of visual effects systems. Practicals involve extensive hands-on experience with Nuke working with real-world footage. Assessment is through a series of directed practical exercises and an in-class test (10 credits).

3. Conform and Finish
This module provides an essential grounding in the principles and practice of picture finishing, looking at the similarities and differences between finishing for film and for television.  It gives students a rich understanding of colour theory for grading as well as extensive hands-on experience in programme finishing using our dedicated Picture Finishing suites that feature Autodesk Flame Premium, an industry standard system (10 credits).

4. The Business of Production and Postproduction
This module aims to provide students with a realistic picture of the film and television industries including the development, financing and distribution of projects, as well as an understanding of the business aspects of the postproduction. It features regular guest sessions from major industry personnel.  Past guests have come from Double Negative, Moving Picture Company, Framestore, Prime Focus, Molinare and many other top companies.  It is taken by all MA/MSc Postproduction with Visual Effects and MA/MSc Postproduction with Sound Design students.Assessment through presentation and written assignment (10 credits).

Term 3

The final term is dedicated to the design and development of individual project work.

1. Extended Research Project
Students will propose an individual project and agree this with his or her supervisor. If the nature of the work is production orientated (for example a short video, animation, effects sequence, etc.) then it will be considered in support of an MA degree. If the nature of the work is highly technical in nature, informed by current research and seeks to advance knowledge in a specific area of media technology (for example development of new software in support of visual effects, acoustic modelling and sound synthesis for audio effects, etc.) then it will be considered in support of an MSc.

Work on the project will take place during the remainder of the Summer term and throughout the summer period with regular supervisions. Final submission in mid-September (100 credits).

Industry Seminars

Throughout the year there will be regular seminars featuring practitioners from industry discussing how theory relates to practice and sharing first-hand experience. These are not assessed and are simply to provide additional opportunities to chat with working practitioners.


Up to date information on Postgraduate fees and funding are available from the central university website.


Employment prospects

Although the film and television industry is highly competitive, there is a constant demand for visual effects artists who not only have a solid knowledge of current software and postproduction techniques but also possess a firm grasp of story and how technology can be adapted and applied to enhance the viewing experience.

Likewise there is an increasing demand in both industry and academia for researchers with a firm understanding of how postproduction tools are applied to facilitate creation of the next generation of postproduction technologies.

No university can guarantee work after completion of a degree but many graduates of this course have gone on to work for major film and television companies including Double Negative, Partizan Labs, Unit Television, Bloomberg Television, Green Screen Productions, Prime Focus, Bruce Dunlop Associates, Propeller TV, ANP Media, Cityscape Digital and CCTV (Chinese television). Others have gone on to further study or work in academia at institutions including Oxford University and the City University of Hong Kong.

Related information

These skills will make you suitable for graduate jobs in many areas of work. To see where our graduates get jobs, see our Graduate Achievements page.


Who to contact


Graduate prospectus

How to apply

You can apply for this course using our online application system.

If you've not already done so, please read the application guidance first so that you understand the various steps in the application process.

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