Animation & VFX MSc (and degree combinations)

  • For Entry: September
  • Duration: 12 months
  • School: Art & Design
  • Study Mode: Full Time

Are you interested in exploring new ways of communicating through visual storytelling? Do you want to extend your creative skills in the digital domain?

The MSc Animation & VFX at DJCAD is an exciting Masters course which allows a much broader interpretation of traditional animation. Digital animation techniques have allowed us to visualise the world around us from the farthest reaches of space to the darkest depths of the oceans.

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Why study this course at Dundee?

With the increasing appetite for fantastic stories and images there has never been a better opportunity for animators, artists and designers to develop new ways of communicating different stories. Using 2D and 3D computer animation, practitioners are shaping our knowledge and understanding in areas as diverse as digital visual effects, medical imaging, architecture, environmental design, product design and film making.

MSc Animation & VFX Showreel

What is so good about this course?

This course represents an opportunity for animators, artists, designers and those with associated experience to extend their skills and discourse within both animation and VFX. We offer dedicated 2D, 3D and visual effects facilities providing you with a unique opportunity to develop your own visual practice. Our new Visual FX studio is one of only two within a UK university.

A video introduction to our MSc in Animation and VFX

MSc Animation & VFX Showreel

MSc Animation and VFX Showreel, class of 2014

This course relies strongly on the idea of self-managed study, with students working autonomously. However, help and support is provided by our expert staff throughout your studies.

Throughout the programme and on completion students enter their work in national and international competitions and animation festivals in the UK and overseas. Developing the research potential and impact of our postgraduate students is integral to our vision for research. Research focused students are encouraged to participate in research conferences, presentations, colloquia and networks. Guidance is given for those who wish to continue to PhD.

The Masters is a one-year programme, taught over three semesters. Core modules and optional modules provide a balanced curriculum.  Masters students are required to attain 180 credits which comprise seven modules, as follows.

Semester 1 (1 x 40 credit module  1 x 20 credit module)

  • Exploring Practice - enhances understanding of the process and skills associated with 2D and 3D animation production, problem solving and creative practice. (40 Credits)
  • Research Skills & Methods - refine your personal programme of research and development, to inform the planning and execution of your personal project. (20 Credits)

One week at the beginning of the first semester is dedicated to induction and diagnostic testing to establish where support is required, especially for international students.

DJCAD operates a Reading Week during week 6 of the first semester. Reading Week is designated as five days where there are no timetabled taught classes. However, all students are expected to carry out either assigned work or self-directed work during this period. All University facilities are open during Reading Week with students expected to attend the University as usual.

Semester 2 (20 credit modules)

  • Advanced Production - extend your existing skills in 2D and 3D digital computer animation. This module will help you to apply these skills to your personal project.
  • Reflection on Practice - guided independent learning in which you will focus on a project report.
  • Going Live - you will work on a live industry initiated project called Going Live. This experience will replicate the studio experience with a professional brief set by an external production studio. Industry partners have included The Mill and Axis Animation.

Semester 3 (60 credits)

  • A&V - Realisation, final 60 credit semester will result in you creating a substantial body of work and taking part in a public exposition. 

You can choose to leave with a postgraduate diploma with 120 credits, or a postgraduate certificate with 60 credits.

Students are assessed by course work, including team project work, exploratory and finalised practical work, and written work

Prospects for graduates exist in research and within the VFX, 3D and 2D animation and visualisation industries. Specific roles include 3D VFX Artists, Compositor, Character Designer, Technical Director, Environments Designer, Character Animator, Self-employment and entrepreneurship will also offer potential career opportunities. Academia careers including Research Assistant on funded projects and PhD study.

Graeme Turnbull, 3D artist, The Mill London

"The reason I choose to study [MSc Animation & VFX] was to explore various vfx techniques in my work and gain ties with industry professionals. I had a great experience during my time at DJCAD and found the programme to be an ideal springboard into the vfx industry. Upon graduating from the masters programme at DJCAD I successfully gained employment at The Mill London as a 3D artist."
View Graeme's website.

Matt Cameron
Paint & Roto at Industrial Light & Magic and a director at Flyboy Creative.

"I was searching for a course which would help me create original work as well as developing skills required by the industry. From teaching me industry standard compositing tools such as Nuke, to providing support in the developing, filming and post-producing of my short films, the Animation & VFX course gave me all the support I needed. The Going Live module of the course also provided me with practical visual effects production experience as well as industry contacts in London."

Jill Wallace Producer Axis Animation.

"We have enjoyed establishing a working relationship with Duncan of Jordanstone over the the last 2 years, and have found great graduate talent via the mentoring scheme and Going Live module. Axis hope to continue to build on this and more, in the future."


Year of Entry: 2016

A first or second class honours degree in an appropriate discipline, although applicants with other qualifications or relevant professional experience will also be considered.
You will need to submit a showreel of your work. This will need to be around 1-2 minutes in duration and uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo. You will also need to upload a portfolio of up to 20 images.

EU and International students

For entry requirements tailored to your home country visit the Your Country pages.

English Language Requirement

IELTS Overall 6.0
Listening 5.5
Reading 5.5
Writing 6.0
Speaking 5.5

Please check our English language requirements page for details of equivalent grades from other test providers, and information about the University of Dundee English language courses.


English Language Pre-Sessional Programmes

We offer Pre-Sessional programmes throughout the year and Foundation Programme(s) for both undergraduate and postgraduate students which start at the beginning of the academic year.  These programmes are all designed to prepare you for university study in the UK when you have not yet met the language requirements for direct entry onto a degree programme.  Successful completion of these programmes guarantees progression to various degrees at the University of Dundee as long as you hold a relevant offer.

The 30 week (one Academic Year) Foundation Programme(s) allow applicants who have not met our typical academic entry requirements, and require additional English Language support by up to 1.0 IELTS, to gain the necessary qualifications to enter the University of Dundee degree programmes in the following year.

The 24 week Pre-Sessional programme (March – August) provides additional English Language tuition for students who do not meet our minimum English Language requirements by up to 1.0 IELTS and the 10 week Pre-Sessional programme  (June – August) (October – December) provides specialist English Language tuition for students who are 0.5 IELTS below the requirement for their degree programme.

There have been many changes to the arrangements for funding students entering higher education in recent years, yet a degree from the University of Dundee, with its high rate of employment success, remains a cost-effective option.

The fees you pay will depend on your fee status. Your fee status is determined by us using the information you provide on your application. Find out more about fee status.

Fee statusFees for students starting 2016/17
Scottish, Rest of UK and EU students £4,500 per year of study
Scottish and EU applicants for this course may be eligible for a PSAS tuition fee loan
Overseas students (non-EU) £12,950 per year of study
See our scholarships for international applicants

If you are doing the course full time it will take you a year to complete. If you opt to complete the course part time it will take two years.

Graduates from the course go on to work as Technical Animators, Character Animators, Directors, Riggers, Lighting Specialists, Compositors, VFX Artists, Researchers and Teachers. They work for animation and visual effects studios such as Axis AnimationThe MillDouble Negative Visual Effects and Sony.

Prior experience in the field of animation is highly desirable, although as is common with many Masters programmes, not strictly necessary. For those who do not have experience it is important to recognise the motivation and learning curve required for completion of high quality animation and visualisation projects. If you do not hold an undergraduate degree in animation, there is an expectation that your capability and experience should be complimentary or that you can demonstrate a high level of relevant academic, industry or research experience. Disciplines that develop skills in visual thinking, computing or understanding of spatial environments and design are particularly relevant.

The Animation and VFX programme is one of the few to hold SAAS awards for part time study. Part time enrolment enables you to study over the course of 2 years, as opposed to 1. Each part-time student negotiates the exact order of modules, progression and completion of the programme in consultation with staff, and according to your programme of study. Dundee is recognised as one of the key places in the UK for expertise in the games and animation industries, part time study may benefit those that wish to work professionally alongside study.

We offer a suite of modules entitled ‘Futures’ which include:  ‘Going Live and ‘Placement’ which will support professional development and external networks. For animators in particular, ‘Going Live’ will involve team working on a ‘live’ project that will emulate an industry studio environment in-house. Placement opportunities are available in a number of contexts, from artistic to industry.

Please read the Postgraduate "How to Apply" section for information on how to upload relevant documents to UKPASS before proceeding with your application.

Apply online via UKPASS

Course Contact

Mr Phillip Vaughan
Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design
+44 (0)1382 388070/85296