• Study mode: Full Time
  • Location: Creative Media Skills | High Wycombe
  • Duration: One Year
  • Start Date: September 2020

Course Overview

FX Prosthetic Makeup and Sculpting is one of the most popular areas within the craft departments of the film industry, enabling creative professionals to test and explore the different techniques, products and materials available, and making them evolve in sync with emerging technologies at play, to create unique characters for the screen.

Our MA in Prosthetics and Sculpting programme will help equip you with the knowledge, skills and experience to work in this sector either in the UK or internationally. All practical modules are delivered in Creative Media Skills’ facilities, based in the heart of British film, Pinewood Studios, and you will also attend our High Wycombe Campus for some of your theory-based modules.

The programme combines a core set of skills with direct experience working alongside industry professionals, learning some of the detailed skills required to work at the highest levels of excellence, whether it is in a workshop or set-based, while connecting with fellow students from other disciplines and industry employers.

The programme will help you familiarise yourself with the context of the internationally funded film industry, in particular to the FX Prosthetics and Sculpting departments, and you will gain a practical understanding of the skills required to produce high standard, industry-approved outcomes. You will also gain practical insights into personal entrepreneurial and portfolio skills in order to improve employability and help foster a long and successful career.

This course has been specifically designed by, and led by, industry employers, whose credits include: Saving Private Ryan, Apocalypto, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Game of Thrones, Darkest Hour, Mad Max: Fury Road, to name a few. This programme has also been developed with specialist staff from Bucks New University’s School of Art, Design and Performance, which brings together students from across a range of creative disciplines, enabling interdisciplinary access to expertise and facilities.

Places are limited.

Course Details

The MA in Prosthetics and Sculpting programme is delivered by Creative Media Skills, based at Pinewood Studios.

This programme is industry led; you will meet and learn from some of the most recognised and actively working makeup designers, FX Makeup artists, sculptors and workshop supervisors in the industry.  This will enable you to focus your time on building contacts, while learning cutting-edge design, sculpting and FX makeup techniques to create one-of-a-kind characters for films and HETV. The MA will provide you with a practical understanding of the production of industry-approved techniques, as well creating pathways into the industry.

It is made up of three distinct elements:

  • During the first term, which runs from September to December, you will work on the core principles of character design, through the best ways of referencing and research, to sculpting a concept maquette to understand anatomy and body structure. From idea to realization, you will develop top end sculpting and FX makeup techniques, going through some of the key skills required to design and produce high-standard prosthetics and its usage for the creation of unique, one-of-a-kind characters for films and HETV. You will also develop knowledge on how the Prosthetic department operates in both the workshop and film set environments for large scale international productions. You will also work with both makeup designers and producers, to understand the ‘ins and outs’ of pre-production and how a proper assessment at this stage can save time, money and resources.
  • The second term, which runs from January to April, is entirely focused on going one step further on the quality and complexity of techniques required in the production of professional prosthetic makeup characters. You will gain further knowledge in the design aspects of character creation, master-moulding, fibreglassing, sculpting and texturing complex prosthetics, painting, hair punching and application and finishing techniques. You will also develop personal entrepreneurial skills and how to utilise them in a professional environment, as well as understanding about the different working options available in your field and how to present yourself to employers whether they be Heads of Department, Producers, Directors or cast. You will also work alongside a professional photographer to understand how prosthetics react to light, hence maximizing the way your work will look on screen.
  • In the third and final term, which runs from May until August, you will work both personally and collaboratively to produce a series of unique finished results from design to realisation, encompassing all elements learned during the three terms. You will be pre-producing and producing two unique prosthetic pieces (from limb pieces to mechanic makeups), having to manage your own time and set up. You will have to design your pieces, arrange your models, workshop space and everything that entails this job, and you will be assessed on the overall process, not just the finished result. You are also asked to realize a final Thesis on a subject of your choice that encompasses all the elements learned throughout the year.

We welcome exclusive groups of 18 students maximum, to ensure valuable contact time with tutors.

Did you know?  

  • The UK film industry, in 2016, contributed £7.7bn to the UK economy, 80% more than in 2011. (ref)
  • Since incorporation in 2012, Creative Media Skills have trained crew members who have worked on many of the major international blockbuster films and high-end TV productions made in the UK such as: Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Rogue One, Spectre, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Game of Thrones, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Jurassic World 2, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Marco Polo, Outlander, Jason Bourne, Pan, Wonder Woman, Ready Player One, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, Poldark, The Queen, Doctor Dolittle, Mary Poppins, and Solo: A Star Wars Story to name only a few.
  • Over the past ten years or so, Bucks New University has invested over £100 million in our facilities to make sure they help meet our staff and students’ needs. The Gateway, the University’s flagship building, is a state-of-the-art complex that hosts media production studios, a library, sports facilities and a gym all under one roof.

What are the course entry requirements?

You should have the equivalent of a British Honours degree (2:1 minimum) in a relevant subject. If you do not have any formal academic qualifications but do have experience in the industry and previous training in a relevant area, we will consider your application on an individual basis.  We are very open to those who show relevant experience useful to the degree.

We are happy to consider equivalent qualifications from anywhere in the world.

If English is not your first language an IELTS score of 6.0 or equivalent when you start the course is essential.

An interview is required and you will also need a high quality portfolio according to the course guidelines as part of your application.

We welcome applications from mature students with non-standard qualifications and recognise all other equivalent and international qualifications

Course Modules


  • Critical and Historical Contexts
  • FX & Prosthetics Essentials
  • Advanced Prosthetics & Character Design
  • Professional Skills
  • Major Project
  • Dissertation


How much does it cost

Full Time Home and EU, Academic Year 2020-2021: £12,500 per year

Most courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees.

You could benefit from financial support through a bursary or scholarship during your time as a student. For more details visit our financial support, bursaries and scholarships section.

Questions about fees?

Contact our Student Centre on: 
01494 603 020

How do I apply?

For application details please visit bucks.ac.uk/applying-to-bucks

Teaching team


What are my career prospects

Career opportunities include: Prosthetics Supervisor; Prosthetics Technician; Senior Prosthetics Artist; Prosthetic Artist; Junior Prosthetic Artist; Make-Up Designer; Make- Up Supervisor; Make-up Artist; Prosthetic Supervisor; Make-up Assistant; and Crowd Supervisor.

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