Film, Animation and Digital Arts MA – 2023 entry

Key information

Start date: September 2023

Study mode and duration
Full-time: 1 year

Why choose this course

Our new MA in Film, Animation and Digital Arts is a broad multidisciplinary programme which responds to the latest advancements in moving image production technologies such as virtual production, performance capture and synthesis, and real-time visual effects.

Our programme seeks to develop your core creative competences in a range of relevant contemporary practices. These include:

  • Film
  • Animation
  • 3D computer graphics (CG)
  • Computational arts
  • Videogames
  • ‘Immersive’ media
  • Digital acting
  • Mediatised theatre
  • Motion graphics
  • Movement interfaces
  • Machine vision
  • Interactive cinema.

Your skills and talents as a media practitioner, alongside intellectual curiosity, collaborative spirit, technical proficiency and sense of adventure, will all come into play as you make use of Surrey’s state-of-the-art facilities, great work spaces and dedicated multi-disciplinary supervision. You will also benefit from the extensive connections we enjoy with the creative industries, which include media production companies, animation studios, VFX houses, facilities providers and film studios - locally, nationally and globally.

Film, Animation and Digital Arts at the University of Surrey | University of Surrey

What you will study

Our programme is primarily practice-oriented, backed up with a relevant and robust contextual framework. The programme is 12 months long, split across two semesters and the University’s summer period.

Semester 1 includes a set of focused workshops designed not only to consolidate existing practical skills in script development, film production, animation, CG and VFX; but also to bring you rapidly up to speed in less familiar areas such as virtual production, game engines, and digital cinematography. These are accompanied by a thorough grounding in contemporary moving image theory and practice. You will then work on a collaborative, multidisciplinary production project, which provides a great opportunity to work together in a small team on an exciting creative brief.

During Semester 2 you will develop a creative specification for your final project. Alongside this, specialist workshops and tutorials are offered to equip you with any specific techniques you might need.

During the University’s summer period, you will complete your final project, with regular supervision and mentoring provided by the Department’s academics, industry based visiting tutors and associates.


Our students have access to a wide range of professional film, audio, video, and digital production facilities, including:

  • Computing facilities based around high-end GPUs
  • Fibre connected film and television studios
  • Motion / performance capture facilities
  • 4k and 12K cine cameras and lenses
  • Lighting, sound and grip equipment
  • Photogrammetry
  • Film and sound editing software
  • State of the art production software
  • Extensive fast media storage
  • VR/AR/MR/XR head mounted displays.

Location and connections

Our Guildford location is not only a short train journey from central London, but is also a media production hub in its own right. Major film studios are nearby, and the town itself is home to a vibrant video games development community, alongside animation houses and design agencies. Notable players include:

  • Supermassive
  • MediaMolecule
  • Electronic Arts
  • Figment Productions
  • BlueGFX
  • Criterion

And many others.

We regularly enjoy visits and engagements with the London film production and VFX community, which includes:

  • Framestore
  • Moving Picture Company
  • Blue Zoo
  • Nexus
  • Milk VFX
  • KeyFrame Studios

And many more.

We also maintain close links with the British Film Institute, BAFTA, Animation UK, Visual Effects Society, SIGGRAPH London, UKIE and plenty of other important industry networks with whom you can connect.

On campus, we share a building and frequently collaborate with the prestigious Guildford School of Acting. We also work closely with colleagues from Surrey’s engineering programmes and have found touch points in many other departments across the University. In addition to this, we are actively building relationships with other institutions both close at hand and around the world; our approach is one of open collaboration wherever possible across all sections of the arts, culture and technology communities.


Intensive development of practical skills will be assessed through the development of a cumulative portfolio, presented as response to and output from a series of creative and technical skills workshops in Semester 1.

A group collaborative project rounds off this part of the programme, which involves multidisciplinary collaboration along with technical and creative experimentation.

Complementary theory lectures and seminars will be delivered by active practitioners and researchers from within the department and beyond, including those from our own postgraduate researchers.

Advanced skills development is offered to support your final project in areas which include:

  • Writing and screenplay development
  • Character creation
  • Cinematography
  • Editing
  • Animation
  • Directing performance
  • 3D animation
  • VFX
  • Game engines
  • AI assisted content creation.

The output consists of a portfolio of practice, applying the advanced techniques as prototype development for the final masters project.

Careers and graduate prospects

We offer careers information, advice and guidance to all students whilst studying with us, which is extended to our alumni for three years after leaving the University. Our graduates have lifetime access to Surrey Pathfinder, our online portal for appointment and events bookings, jobs, placements and interactive development tools.

The programme will provide you with an accelerated career path into numerous areas of the film, television and interactive media sectors, equipping you with sought-after skills and experience in these exciting fields. On successful completion of the course, your creative aptitude will be matched by technical acuity in whichever areas you have chosen to specialise.

The programme also provides a valuable springboard for extended postgraduate research on our own PhD programme or indeed should you choose to pursue your research elsewhere.


Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability, student demand and/or class size caps.

The University operates a credit framework for all taught programmes based on a 15-credit tariff. Modules can be either 15, 30, 45, 75 and 120 credits, and additionally for some masters dissertations, 90 credits.

The structure of our programmes follows clear educational aims that are tailored to each programme. These are all outlined in the programme specifications which include further details such as the learning outcomes:


Course timetables are normally available one month before the start of the semester. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week (Monday Friday). Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities. Part-time classes are normally scheduled on one or two days per week, details of which can be obtained from the Academic Hive. View our Code of practice for the scheduling of teaching and assessment (PDF).

Contact hours

Contact hours can vary across our modules. Full details of the contact hours for each module are available from the University of Surrey's module catalogue. See the modules section for more information.

Entry requirements

A minimum 2:2 UK undergraduate degree (or international equivalent) usually, but not necessarily, in a relevant subject area.

Applicants are required to submit a portfolio of relevant work. Portfolio material usually consists of a showreel or a selection of your best work in the media and formats in which you have previously worked. Depending on the extent to which you have specialised, this could include examples of film, animation, 3D modelling, VFX, motion graphics, illustration, creative photography, scriptwriting, digital artworks, painting, sculpture, set design, live theatre work, installation, or indeed any other creative work which you feel demonstrates relevant skills and creativities.

In addition, please include a brief description of the type of project you would like to undertake on the MA. This just helps us to understand your interests and likely requirements - it will not commit you to a particular project at this stage.

We may be able to take relevant work experience into consideration if you don't meet the typical entry requirements. You are welcome to contact the Programme Director to discuss your suitability for the programme prior to submitting an application.

Do I meet the requirements for this course?

We require you to submit a full application so that we can formally assess whether you meet the criteria published. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide an outcome based on an enquiry (via email, webform enquiry, phone or live chat).

International entry requirements by country

English language requirements

IELTS Academic: 6.5 overall with 6.0 in each element.

View the other English language qualifications that we accept.

If you do not currently meet the level required for your programme, we offer intensive pre-sessional English language courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.

Selection process

Shortlisted applicants may be invited to an interview. These are typically conducted on campus, but could be online as circumstances or conditions dictate.

Credit transfer

The University of Surrey recognises that many students enter their higher education course with valuable knowledge and skills developed through a range of professional, vocational and community contexts. If your experience exceeds the typical requirements for entry to the programme, a process called recognition of prior learning (RPL) may allow you to enter your course at a point appropriate to your previous learning and experience. If you can demonstrate that you have met the learning outcomes for specific modules through your previous learning, it may be possible to exempt you from those modules, and for you to be awarded credit based on your previous qualifications/experience. There are restrictions on RPL for some courses and fees may be payable for certain claims.

In some cases, prior knowledge and skills may allow applicants to join the start of a course without meeting the formal entry requirements.

Please see our code transfer and recognition of prior learning guide (PDF) and recognition of prior learning and prior credit web page for further information. Please email Admissions ( with any queries.

Fees per year

Start date: September 2023

Full-time - 1 year


Please note:

  • These fees apply to students commencing study in the academic year 2023-24 only. Fees for new starters are reviewed annually
  • If you are on a two-year full-time MFA programme, or a two-year or three-year part-time masters programme (excluding modular/self-paced/distance learning), the annual fee is payable in Year 1 and Year 2 of the programme
  • Annual fees will increase by 4% for each subsequent year of study, rounded up to the nearest £100, subject to any overriding applicable legislative requirements.

View the list of fees for all postgraduate taught courses.

Payment schedule

  • Students in receipt of a tuition fee loan: Will have their fees paid by the Student Loans Company in line with their schedule
  • International students, or UK/EU students who have not taken out a tuition fee loan: Are required to pay their fees either in full at the beginning of the programme or in two instalments as follows:
    • 50% payable 10 days after the invoice date (expected to be early October of each academic year)
    • 50% in January of the same academic year.

The exact date(s) will be detailed on invoices. Students on certain part-time programmes, where fees are paid on a modular or stage basis, are not eligible to pay their fees by instalment.

  • If you are sponsored: You will provide us with valid sponsorship information that covers the period of your study.

Admission information

Our postgraduate admissions policy* provides the basis for admissions practice across the University and gives a framework for how we encourage, consider applications and admit students. You can also read our postgraduate applicant guidance.

Terms and conditions

When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our Charter, Statutes, Ordinances, Policies, Regulations and our terms and conditions. These terms and conditions are provided in two stages: first when we make an offer and second when students who have accepted their offers register to study at the University. View our offer terms and conditions and our registration terms and conditions (PDF) for the 2022/2023 academic year as a guide as to what to expect.

Please note: the offer terms and conditions and registration terms and conditions which you will be asked to agree to may be different from those detailed in the examples. Our offer terms and conditions will generally be available in the September of the calendar year prior to the year in which you begin your studies. Our registration terms and conditions will be available at the start of each academic year and will vary to take into account specifics of your course and changes for the specific academic year.


This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the academic year to which it applies. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing but changes (for example, to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read our full disclaimer.

Course location and contact details

Campus location

Stag Hill

Stag Hill is the University's main campus and where the majority of our courses are taught. 

University of Surrey Admissions

Contact Admissions Team


University of Surrey
Surrey GU2 7XH