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Realise your artistic vision and build a portfolio of in-demand skills to lead and thrive in a rapidly evolving animation and visual effects industry and beyond.

 

Faculty
Faculty of Arts, Design and Architecture
Delivery Mode
Face-to-face (includes blended)
Award
Master of Animation and Visual Effects
Commencing Terms
Term 1, 2 & 3
Duration (Full Time)
2 years

Overview

The Master of Animation and Visual Effects is a two-year (full-time equivalent) postgraduate program designed for graduates and professionals who aim to thrive in the rapidly growing and evolving field of animation and visual effects production and beyond. 

The program combines technical, conceptual, creative and professional skills to enable you to work independently and collaboratively to realise your artistic vision. With access to world-class facilities and a diverse community of artists and designers, you’ll be guided by academics with a wealth of industry experience. Creative experimentation and skills development are at the core of the program, giving you the freedom and support to explore your interests and refine your techniques for the creative production pipelines of today and tomorrow.

Working from concept art and pre-visualisation to production and output, you’ll develop animation and visual effects projects that will build your experience and profile in the field. As your technical skills grow, you’ll also develop key attributes in digital aesthetics, communication, collaboration, and agility, preparing you to thrive within and shape the future of a quickly evolving and dynamic field of practice. 

Key features

Holistic artistic development 

Informed by the latest industry developments, you'll learn a variety of technical processes and approaches as well as creative and conceptual skills that prepare you to work in a variety of roles across and beyond the creative pipeline. From pre-visualisation to output, you'll combine hands on skills with a deep understanding of screen aesthetics and attention to broader social, cultural and technological contexts. This dynamic combination of practical and contextual learning is designed to build your ability to think laterally, adapt across disciplines, and solve creative, conceptual and technical problems as an artist. 

Agility and leadership for an evolving future   

You’ll also gain in-demand capabilities across teamwork, resilience and communication, helping you become a sought-after professional in the animation and visual effects sector and beyond. This complementary skillset will set you up to be agile, adaptable, future-oriented and ready to drive and lead change in a rapidly evolving animation and VFX industry into the future, as well as in new and emerging sectors using digital visualisation technologies. 

Inclusive and flexible learning environment 

Immersed in a supportive and inclusive community at UNSW Art & Design, you’ll develop your practice alongside fellow artists and designers of the future. As part of this dynamic and diverse community, you’ll grow creatively, share experiences, and expand your peer network. Our flexible study options and pathways mean that you can learn at your own pace and develop a portfolio that aligns with your creative vision and career ambitions. 

Why study this degree at UNSW?

  • Join a global top 20 university (QS World University Rankings, 2024).
  • Develop as an artist at UNSW Art & Design, a campus dedicated to creativity at the centre of Sydney’s creative sector.
  • Gain a prestigious Go8 education at a university dedicated to shaping a generation of socially conscious change-makers and leaders across art and design.
  • Access flexible study options. Our timetables are designed to allow you to work while studying, with the added opportunity to gain industry feedback and experience through internship options. Depending on your experience, you can also fast-track your degree and graduate in one year.
  • Our research in digital media has been rated well above world standard four times since 2010 by the Australian Research Council (ERA ranking 5).
  • Tap into a diverse array of creative expertise with lectures from world-class companies featured at venues, festivals, museums and galleries in Australia and across the world, including Weta Digital, Animal Logic, DreamWorks Animation, Rising Sun Pictures, Cutting Edge and more.
  • Be inspired by UNSW Art & Design's extensive alumni network of digital media trailblazers and innovators, including Duncan Ramson (CEO at The Endless Co.), Lynette Wallworth (Emmy award-winning filmmaker and artist), Jack Condon (Evangelist at Epic Games), Patrick Younis (3D interaction and VFX artist) and more.
Program Code
9319
CRICOS Code
113670M
Campus
Paddington
Total Units of Credit (UOC)
96

Entry requirements

Depending on the level and nature of your prior qualifications, admission to the Master of Animation and Visual Effects has three entry points with different duration and units of credit (UOC) required for completion:

2-year program (96 UOC)

If you have an unrelated Bachelor’s degree in any field with a record of achievement equivalent to a UNSW credit average (65%).

Applicants who apply without a Bachelor's degree can be admitted to the Graduate Certificate on a case-by-case basis by the Program Director. They can articulate through to the Graduate Diploma, and then the Masters by maintaining a credit average.

1.5-year program (72 UOC)

If you have completed a Bachelor’s degree in a related field (see below) with a record of achievement equivalent to a UNSW credit average (65%) you’ll be granted admission into the 1.5-year program.

1-year program (48 UOC)

If you have completed an Honours degree in a related field (see below) you’ll be granted admission into the 1-year program.

Related fields: the Creative Arts e.g., Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Graphic Design, Design, Communication and Media

Admission pathways

Graduate Certificate in Animation and Visual Effects

Students in the Graduate Certificate program can request to transfer into the Graduate Diploma program provided the student has achieved a Pass in all courses and a credit average overall. The 24 UOC completed in the Graduate Certificate should be carried forward as credit in the Graduate Diploma.

Graduate Diploma in Animation and Visual Effects

Students in the Graduate Diploma program can request to transfer into the Master’s program provided the student has achieved a Pass in all courses and a credit average overall. The 48 UOC completed in the Graduate Diploma should be carried forward as credit in the Masters.

English language requirements

 

You may be asked to provide evidence of your English proficiency to study at UNSW depending on your educational background and citizenship. English language skills are vitally important for coping with lectures, tutorials, assignments and examinations - this is why UNSW requires a minimum English language competency for enrolment.

If you’re completing an Australian Year 12 qualification (e.g. NSW HSC or equivalent), you do not need to provide anything extra to prove your proficiency. Your qualification will be used as evidence of your English proficiency.

If you do need to provide evidence of your English proficiency, this will be indicated in your application. You can prove this by providing evidence that you meet one or more of the following criteria:

If you need to improve your English skills before you start your degree, UNSW College’s Academic English Programs are for you. The programs are suitable for various English levels and help you prepare for university studies and life in Australia.

Depending on the level and nature of your prior qualifications, admission to the Master of Animation and Visual Effects has three entry points with different duration and units of credit (UOC) required for completion:

2-year program (96 UOC)

If you have an unrelated Bachelor’s degree in any field with a record of achievement equivalent to a UNSW credit average (65%).

Applicants who apply without a Bachelor's degree can be admitted to the Graduate Certificate on a case-by-case basis by the Program Director. They can articulate through to the Graduate Diploma, and then the Masters by maintaining a credit average.

1.5-year program (72 UOC)

If you have completed a Bachelor’s degree in a related field with a record of achievement equivalent to a UNSW credit average (65%) you’ll be granted admission into the 1.5-year program.

1-year program (48 UOC)

If you have completed an Honours degree in a related field (see above) you’ll be granted admission into the 1-year program.

Admission pathways

Graduate Certificate in Animation and Visual Effects

Students in the Graduate Certificate program can request to transfer into the Graduate Diploma program provided the student has achieved a Pass in all courses and a credit average overall. The 24 UOC completed in the Graduate Certificate should be carried forward as credit in the Graduate Diploma.

Graduate Diploma in Animation and Visual Effects

Students in the Graduate Diploma program can request to transfer into the Master’s program provided the student has achieved a Pass in all courses and a credit average overall. The 48 UOC completed in the Graduate Diploma should be carried forward as credit in the Masters.

English language requirements


You may be asked to provide evidence of your English proficiency to study at UNSW depending on whether you are from an English-speaking background or non-English speaking background. English language skills are vitally important for coping with lectures, tutorials, assignments and examinations - this is why UNSW requires a minimum English language competency for enrolment.

If English is not your first language, you’ll need to provide proof of your English proficiency before you can be given an offer to study at UNSW. You can do this by providing evidence that you meet one or more of the following criteria:

If you need to improve your English skills before you start your degree, UNSW College’s Academic English Programs are for you. The programs are suitable for various English levels and help you prepare for university studies and life in Australia.

Check the specific English language requirements for this program

Program structure

The Master of Animation and Visual Effects offers a customisable structure with flexible entry and exit points and full-time and part-time study options. Depending on the length of your program, you’ll complete the following courses:

2-year program (96 UOC)

  • 10 Core courses
  • 5 Prescribed elective courses

1.5-year program (72 UOC)

  • 7 Core courses
  • 4 Prescribed elective courses

1-year program (48 UOC)

  • 4 Core courses
  • 3 Prescribed elective courses

Full program structure

Each university year at UNSW has three terms and an optional summer study period.

Some courses need to be studied in your first year, so you’re prepared for courses that can only be studied in later years. You can study full-time or part-time. Depending on how you plan your study load, you can fit two or three courses into a term and one course in a summer term.

The Master of Animation and Visual Effects has three main components: a series of core studios, contextual courses that complement your creative skillset and prescribed electives that give you options to build your portfolio of skills and knowledge in specialised areas of practice.

Core studio courses 

In the core studios, you’ll learn to integrate fundamental aspects of animation, 3D modelling and VFX compositing into increasingly complex projects. Courses later in the program provide opportunities to respond to industry-oriented project briefs as well as develop and explore your own creative ideas. 

Examples of topics explored through the core studio courses include:

  • Animating movement, storyboarding, and pre-visualisation
  • 3D visualisation and modelling
  • VFX compositing, matte painting, and camera tracking
  • Responding to industry briefs and working in teams
  • Production planning, documentation, and realisation
  • Full production workflow from conceptualisation to outcome

Contextual courses

Through a series of contextual courses, you’ll build a complementary set of capabilities in teamwork, communication, research and leadership, as well as deepen your understandings of screen aesthetics and the key ideas and debates that are shaping this field. 

Courses include:

  • Digital aesthetics 
  • Research methodologies
  • Communication skills
  • Leadership in the cultural and creative industries

Prescribed electives 

You’ll choose from the following studio-based elective courses to focus on specific areas of animation and visual effects practice:

  • Motion capture
  • Rigging
  • Creature and character design
  • Procedural FX
  • Real-time and virtual production
  • Digital cinematography
  • Internship
  • Research paper

Example plan

Below is an example of what you could study in a two-year standard full-time study plan:

First year

  • 3 core studio courses
  • 3 contextual courses
  • 2 prescribed elective courses

Second year

  • 3 core studio course
  • 1 contextual course
  • 3 prescribed elective courses

Future careers

As a UNSW Master of Animation and Visual Effects graduate, you’ll be highly sought after across the rapidly growing animation and visual effects industry in Australia and globally.  

You’ll also graduate from this master’s degree with the creative and technical skills that will make you adaptable and able to drive and lead change in a broad range of fields that draw on new visualisation technologies used in a breadth of fields including: 

  • Business 
  • Health and medical visualisation 
  • Urban environments 
  • Video game design 
  • Entertainment 
  • Events and festivals 
  • Advertising 
  • Product design 
  • Architectural visualisation 

Visualise the future

Hear from alum, Pat Younis and Scientia Associate Professor, John McGhee on the dynamic and growing animation and VFX industry.

Potential careers

  • Animator 
  • 3D artist 
  • 3D generalist 
  • CG effects artist  
  • Creature effects artist  
  • Concept artist  
  • Storyboard artist  
  • Texture artist  
  • Visual effects artist  
  • Visual effects compositor 
  • VFX supervisor  
  • Matte painter  
  • Media arts practitioner  
  • Motion designer 
  • Art director  
  • Post-production artist 
  • Virtual production artist  
  • Game developer  
  • Layout artist 

How to apply

Applications must be submitted through our Apply Online portal. We encourage you to submit your completed application as early as possible to ensure it will be processed in time for your preferred term. Some high-demand programs and Faculties with limited places may have an earlier application deadline or commencement date. Find out more.

Ready to start your application?

For most international students, applications are submitted via our Apply Online service. We encourage you to submit your completed application as early as possible to ensure it will be processed in time for your preferred term.

Some high-demand programs with limited places, may have an earlier application deadline or may have an earlier commencement date. For more information visit our international applicant information page.

Ready to start your application?

Fees & Scholarships

Commonwealth Supported Places

2024 Indicative CSP First Year Fee

$6,500*

2024 Indicative CSP Fee to Complete Degree

$13,000*

All places within this degree are Commonwealth supported. This means that if you receive an offer from UNSW Sydney as a domestic student, you will have a substantial proportion of your fees  subsidised by the Australian government. Start your application today with our guide on how to apply

2024 Indicative First Year Full Fee
$33,500*
2024 Indicative Full Fee to Complete Degree
$68,500*

*The indicative Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) fees are an estimate based on the relevant student contribution band/s for a Commonwealth Supported Place undertaking a standard full-time load of 48 units of credit per year (1 Equivalent Full Time Student Load/1 EFTSL). To find out more about Commonwealth Supported Places visit Postgraduate Commonwealth Support.

Indicative fees are a guide only and have been calculated based on the typical enrolment patterns of students undertaking the degree/program. The indicative fee listed here is an estimate for tuition only and excludes non-tuition fees and charges. The amount you pay will vary depending on the calendar year of enrolment, the courses you select and whether your study load is more or less than 1 Equivalent Full Time Student Load (48 units of credit (UOC) per year).

You should not rely on indicative fees as fee increases are assessed when required and may exceed the indicative figures listed here. Actual fees are calculated on enrolment. More information on fees can be found at the UNSW fees website.

2024 Indicative First Year Fee
$44,000*
2024 Indicative Fee to Complete Degree
$92,000*

*Fees are subject to annual review by the University and may increase annually, with the new fees effective from the start of each calendar year. The indicative fees listed here are based on an estimated average and are for tuition only other fees and charges are not included. The amount you pay will vary depending on the calendar year to enrol, the courses you select and whether your study load is more or less than 1 Equivalent Full Time Student Load (8 courses per year).

Indicative fees are a guide for comparison only based on current conditions and available data. You should not rely on indicative fees. More information on fees can be found at the UNSW fees website.

Indicative fees to complete the program have been calculated based on a percentage increase for every year of the program. Fee increases are assessed annually and may exceed the indicative figures listed here.

Indicative fees to complete the program include tuition plus an estimate of study-related costs of approximately $1,000 per year. To find out more about other costs, visit UNSW International.

Scholarships


At UNSW, we award over $83 million in scholarships each year. We pride ourselves on rewarding excellence and making university accessible to students from all walks of life. Whether you’re a domestic or international student, our range of scholarships, prizes and awards can support your journey.