Visual Effects Degree Programs and Courses

Learn about degree programs in visual effects at the undergraduate and graduate levels. See what kind of courses you'll take and what careers you'll be prepared for with an education in visual effects. Schools offering Animation degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

When choosing a visual effects degree program, it is important to first consider your career goals. For example, while some students may want to work in animation, others may be more interested in creating special effects for movies and video games. Programs vary in focus and specialization and prepare students for work in different areas of the visual effects field.

Programs Associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees
Courses Computer animation and drawing, filmmaking, texturing and modeling
Careers Animation, video game production and design, technical directing

What Undergraduate Degree Programs Are Available?

You can choose from a variety of undergraduate degree programs with relevant coursework in visual effects. An Associate of Arts or a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation and Visual Effects are two common degree options. The bachelor's-level program may require the development of a portfolio or a demo reel. Important areas of study at the undergraduate level include the following:

  • 2D layout
  • 3D modeling
  • Character development
  • Storyboarding
  • Visual development
  • Background painting

What Graduate Degree Programs Can I Find?

If you choose to continue your education, you can find master's degree programs related to visual effects, such as a Master of Arts or a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Animation and Visual Effects. In an MFA program, students may complete a short animated film and have the opportunity to design 3D characters, in addition to creating visual effects. These programs often culminate in a final project, which may be graded or evaluated by professionals in the film industry.

What Careers Can I Pursue?

To work in the visual effects industry, you will need to have a strong understanding of computer software programs related to the field. A bachelor's degree in visual effects can help prepare you for a wide variety of careers in the entertainment industry and is typically the minimum requirement for work as a multimedia artist or animator. Although you will be qualified for positions in fields such as animation, video game production and scientific visualization, you may need to start out in entry-level positions to get your foot in the door. Some sample job titles you might look for include:

  • Production assistant
  • Graphic designer
  • Visual effects specialist
  • Lighting specialist
  • Technical director
  • Modeler

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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