MA in 3D Computer Animation


Program Description

This Master’s in 3D computer animation is the perfect launch-pad for a career in a wide range of disciplines, including concept design, character and creature animation, modeling, lighting, rigging, texturing, compositing and simulation. This course will help you acquire the skills needed to work in a number of areas where computer animation is applied, including films, animated features, computer games, television production, commercials, illustration, scientific visualization, flight simulation, virtual environments, architectural visualizations and interactive media.

We enjoy very strong links with industry, due largely to the ubiquity of NCCA graduates in the film, game and television industries. We host regular visiting practitioners lecture series where you'll be able to learn about the 2D and 3D industry from practicing artists and companies, as well as attend regular Masterclasses from professionals. Over the past five years we have attracted some of the best Visual Effects, Animation and Games studios from around the world to present to our students, find out more here.

We've created a professional studio environment where you'll be provided with your own workstation which is accessible 24/7. Facilities also include a full suite of industry standard 2D and 3D software, a full Motion Capture studio, a High-Definition Television Studio and a creative atmosphere in which collaboration with students from other Master’s courses provides a realistic setting to discover what it’s like working with other creative and technical people.

Entry requirements:

A Bachelors Honours degree with 2:2 in any subject, or equivalent.

International entry requirements:

If English is not your first language: IELTS 6.5 (Academic) or above.

Course details

On this course, you will usually be taught by a range of staff with relevant expertise and knowledge appropriate to the content of the unit. This will include senior academic staff, qualified professional practitioners, demonstrators, technicians and research students. You will also benefit from regular guest lectures from industry.

Core units

  • Moving Image Theory: Containing the general image theory elements of the programme, this unit incorporates lectures on art, science, technology, digital cinematography, supporting screenings of films and animations, computer animation, digital effects and computer games.
  • Group Project: Working with students from all three postgraduate courses (MA3D, MA Digital Effects) you'll present a concept for a short animated piece.
  • Computer Animation Techniques: This unit aims to enable you to develop skills and knowledge in computer animation principles and practice. Software tools and best practice are underpinned by the theories introduced in the computer animation principles unit.
  • Computer Animation Principles: You'll investigate the underlying theories within computer graphics and animation, in parallel to the development of practical skills.
  • Computer Animation Principles & Techniques: You'll develop skills and knowledge in computer animation principles and practice, which will help to improve the quality of your productions. You'll also become conversant in the language, concepts, and techniques relating to the course.
  • Personal Inquiry: You'll pursue research in areas that interest you. This begins at the start of term two and is assessed at a research symposium in the middle of term three.
  • Master's Project: The focus of the fourth term is on completing the Master's component of your education. This project can be a standalone project or a continuation of the group project unit. In either case, you can work alone or with other students. The year ends with a computer animation show, which gives you the opportunity to showcase your work to industry professionals and potential employers. View some of our students work to see what you could be creating on the course.

Programme specification

Programme specifications provide definitive records of the University's taught degrees in line with Quality Assurance Agency requirements. Every taught course leading to a BU Award has a programme specification which describes its aims, structure, content and learning outcomes, plus the teaching, learning and assessment methods used.


Graduates from our computer animation courses are highly sought after within the industry. Our alumni have worked on many high-profile projects, including movies such as Avatar, Star Wars, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, King Kong, Shrek, Guardians of Ga'hoole, the Harry Potter series, Sucker Punch, Happy Feet, Monsters vs Aliens, James Bond and Judge Dredd, among many others*.

They have also been involved with the animation for a range of computer games, such as Grand Theft Auto, Crysis 2 and Fable II. Our graduates have worked for a number of the world's top VFX and computer games studios, including Pixar, DreamWorks, EA Games and Sony Picture Image Works*.

In 2016, we had two graduates collect awards for their work:

  • Mark Ardington won an Oscar for his work on ‘Ex Machina’
  • A BAFTA went to Paul Kavanagh and the ILM Team who created the effects for ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’.

In February 2011 and 2015, NCCA graduate Andy Lockley was awarded an Oscar for his role as Visual Effects Supervisor on the Christopher Nolan film 'Inception' and ‘Interstellar’ respectfully; whilst a number of our graduates who also worked on the film shared in the celebrations.

This course is accredited by Creative Skillset and carries the Creative Skillset Tick. In achieving the Creative Skillset Tick this course joins the ranks of the top creative training and education this country has to offer, you can be sure that it has undergone a rigorous assessment process conducted by experts working in the creative industries. The Tick is only given to those courses that have the strongest links with industry giving you the best possible chance of a successful career.

You will be ready for various roles within the 3D computer animation sector when you complete your course. Some of our 3D Computer Animation graduates are undertaking roles such as:

  • 3D artist
  • Artist
  • Software developer
  • Character animator
  • Technical Animator

Industries worked in:

  • Animation
  • Gaming
  • Film
  • TV
Last updated Mar 2018

About the School

Our university has come a long way in a short amount of time and we currently have more than 17,000 students of which 1,500 are international students from around 130 countries.

Our university has come a long way in a short amount of time and we currently have more than 17,000 students of which 1,500 are international students from around 130 countries. Read less