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Art & Design

Visual Effects (VFX)

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)
Image by Rachel Manory '20, BFA in Animation & Motion Media

Create believable realities out of fiction.

You're a creative. A storyteller. A problem-solver. Why not use your artistic talent and knack for technology to enhance concepts in film, gaming, advertising, healthcare, and more with a career in visual effects (VFX)? Get the education and hands-on training you need to join one of the fastest-growing specializations in the animation industry.

In our Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Visual Effects program, you'll integrate animation, film, design, and photography to hone your artistic skills that go beyond technical mastery of a medium. You'll pick a visual effects specialization based on your professional goals, such as 3D modeling, animation, compositing, lighting, or rendering. And in our state-of-the-art visual effects (VFX) facilities, including a 1,000 square-foot green screen room, virtual production studio, 3D fabrication studio, a render farm, a 130-seat screening room, and inertial and optical motion capture suits, you'll experiment with traditional and emerging techniques, from stop-motion to digital computer-generated graphics (CGI) as well as industry-standard software such as Houdini, ZBrush, Nuke, and Unreal Engine.

Create characters, environments, and elements that would be difficult or impossible to capture in real life, and make your visual narratives believable. A VFX artist must understand topics such as physics, biology, anatomy, and geometry to create convincing art solutions. At Lesley, our College of Art & Design is situated within a larger university that also has 25+ liberal arts majors and 45+ minors. That means you'll be able to study a range of topics that can enhance your practice. And with our reimagined general education curriculum, you’ll acquire knowledge and skills that today’s employers value, and that will get you ready to succeed in an increasingly complex, diverse, and global world. 

Connect with industry trailblazers and get an inside view of the visual effects pipeline in a production studio. Through internships and apprenticeships, you'll go beyond the classroom as you collaborate with organizations such as Zero VFX, White Snake Projects, Northern Light, Boston Children's Hospital, Massachusetts Digital Games Institute, or the Massachusetts Production Coalition. You can also work outside of the Cambridge/Boston area with national and international organizations such as Mind & Machine VFX in Los Angeles, Otoy in New Zealand and Los Angeles, or SideFX in Toronto. 

Graduate with an impressive portfolio and be ready to break into a range of fields where VFX skills are in high demand.

Undergraduate Program Inquiry Form

Program Structure

Full-time or part-time on-campus program

120 Credits
Thinking about transferring here?

Log in to Transferology, add the courses you've taken, and see how they'll transfer to Lesley University.

student trying out VFX equipment in green screen room

Increase Career Opportunities with VFX Training

Our visual effects facilities are outfitted with state-of-the-art VFX and motion capture technology. Get access to the best facilities in New England and the hands-on experience needed to break into one of the highest-paying careers in the art and design industry.

student working on art in studio

Small Art School, Big University

We're a premier art and design school of about 700 students, but we're also part of a dynamic university with a liberal arts college. This means you'll have the small studio, hands-on experience of a professional art school where you'll gain industry-specific knowledge. And, you'll benefit from a broader perspective of a liberal arts educational experience—something most art schools can't provide.

doble campus during the fall

Cambridge is our campus. Boston is our neighbor.

Cambridge is one of the most creative cities in the country. In fact, there are about 96 art and culture events happening in the Greater Boston area every day. And while you'll benefit from our dynamic surroundings, you'll also be a big part of them. You'll take art and design classes in our $48 million Lunder Arts Center. And our $7 million Visual Effects (VFX) studio—a state-of-the-art facility where our VFX curriculum comes alive—is the only one of its kind in New England.

Student Work

Training
Top Skills for VFX Artists
VFX artists combine traditional animation and fine art techniques with cutting-edge technologies, including motion capture, digital fabrication, and computer rendering.
Careers
Where VFX Artists Are in Demand
VFX career pathways span a range of industries, including:
$77,700
Average salary for visual effects artists and animators in the U.S.
With job numbers projected to increase by 4% between 2019 and 2029 and average salaries of over $70,000 per year, graduates from visual effects programs enjoy excellent employment opportunities in the Greater Boston area and beyond. From effects work on film and video games to medical and engineering visualization, our program will prepare you for jobs across a range of industries. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021)
Craft Creative Combinations
As a Visual Effects major, you can pursue a second major or one of our 45+ minors—in art & design or a liberal arts subject—to expand your career opportunities.
Careers
Jobs You Could Have

Faculty

Approximate cost, before financial aid, for 1 year of study in this undergraduate program.
Visual Effects (VFX)
Housing Options
Compare the cost of the program for students who live on campus in a residence hall with the cost for commuter students.
  • Tuition
    Fall Tuition
    $14,600
    Spring Tuition
    $14,600
  • Fees
    Facilities Fees
    $500
    Activity Fees
    $250
    Materials Fees
    $150
    Registration Fees
    $80
    Lab Fees
    $40
  • Room & Board
    Double/Triple/Quad Room
    $10,600
    Housing Deposit
    $300
    Meal Plan
    $6,900
    Health Service Fees (required for resident students)
    $800
  • Total cost before financial aid
Estimated Cost

Merit Scholarships & Financial Aid

It’s our goal at Lesley to break down financial barriers so that students who want to learn here, can learn here. That’s why we offer generous, customized aid packages for students based on their individual needs. In fact, more than 98% of our full-time undergraduate students receive some form of financial aid. Learn more about Financial Aid & Scholarships.

Tuition & Fees

Other fees may apply. Review all undergraduate tuition and fees, and what they cover.

Tuition and fees are subject to change each year, effective June 1.

Housing Options
Compare the cost of the program for students who live on campus in a residence hall with the cost for commuter students.
  • Tuition
    Fall Tuition
    $14,600
    Spring Tuition
    $14,600
  • Fees
    Facilities Fees
    $500
    Activity Fees
    $250
    Materials Fees
    $150
    Registration Fees
    $80
    Lab Fees
    $40
  • Room & Board
    Double/Triple/Quad Room
    $10,600
    Housing Deposit
    $300
    Meal Plan
    $6,900
    Health Service Fees (required for resident students)
    $800
  • Total cost before financial aid
Estimated Cost

Merit Scholarships & Financial Aid

It’s our goal at Lesley to break down financial barriers so that students who want to learn here, can learn here. That’s why we offer generous, customized aid packages for students based on their individual needs. In fact, more than 98% of our full-time undergraduate students receive some form of financial aid. Learn more about Financial Aid & Scholarships.

Tuition & Fees

Other fees may apply. Review all undergraduate tuition and fees, and what they cover.

Tuition and fees are subject to change each year, effective June 1.

Apply Now

Ready to get started? We're here to make the application process as smooth as possible. Just answer a few quick questions, and get your customized application guide.

Approximate cost, before financial aid, for 1 year of study in this undergraduate program. Tuition and fees are for the 2021-2022 academic year.
Use our step-by-step guide to apply for federal, state, and university funding. Scholarships, grants, Work-Study, and loans. It’s all right here.

Next steps to apply

Ready to get started? We're here to make the application process as smooth as possible. Just answer a few quick questions, and get your customized application guide.