MSc 3D Design for Virtual Environments

3D visualisation and animation play a role in many areas, and the popularity of these media just keeps growing. Digital animation provides the eye-catching special effects in the 21st century's favourite films and television shows; 3D design is also essential to everyday work in everything from computer games development, online virtual world development and industrial design to marketing, product design and architecture.

GCU's programme in 3D Design for Virtual Environments will help you develop the skills to thrive in a successful career as a visual designer. The programme is practical and career-focused, oriented towards current industry needs, technology and practice. No prior knowledge of 3D design is required.

The curriculum will help you build your creative vision and technical skills as a 3D designer.

  • Explore the use of video and animation in digital video, multimedia and web publishing
  • Experiment with interactive media types and techniques
  • Sharpen your skills in creative thinking and generating ideas
  • Master digital video production and digital media integration techniques
  • Gain pre-production skills like planning, storyboarding and conceptualising
  • Practise production skills like 3D modelling, animation, lighting and rendering
  • Develop post-production skills in video editing and integrating 2D and 2D visuals
  • Work with cutting-edge computer applications and digital environments

At GCU, you'll join a friendly community of smart, talented people who love the work they do. People who love to take on a creative challenge and are just as happy to collaborate as they are to compete. People who look for ways to support the common good and make the world a more beautiful, welcoming place.

Our mission is producing graduates who have the skills to make a positive impact with their work - and the perspective to understand why it matters.

Graduate prospects

As a graduate of the 3D Design for Virtual Environments programme, you'll bring a specialised skill set and needed expertise to any design-related role. A background in 3D design is especially important for a design career in advertising, communication, publishing or online marketing. You'll be a competitive candidate for these design roles and more.

3D design at postgraduate level includes 3D modelling, animation, video and motion graphics. Modules are designed to meet current industrial needs, technology and practice.

The programme offers four specialist pathways; Virtual Environments; Architecture; Computer Games and Visual Effects.

There are six taught modules, each module is taught over a twelve week period. Each week consists of formal lectures, lab work, tutorials and private study. On satisfactory completion of the modules, you proceed to a major project and submit a final dissertation for examination. This is completed over a three month period following the taught modules.

Digital Media Technology and Development

An introduction to digital media hardware and software tools, and methods of production and organisation. The student will learn 3D visualisation and animation techniques using the latest 3D software applications.

Digital Video and Motion Graphics

Develop skills and practical knowledge of digital video/film production techniques and the association of digital motion graphics media production. Application of creative technique will cover elective areas such as short film production, documentary production, 3D animation composition, title sequence generation and abstract motion graphics effects.

Digital Media Publishing and Commercialisation

Progress the work of the Digital Media Technology and Development module of Trimester A. The intention is to provide a full understanding of the subject material relevant to the development of a broadcast level digital media project.

Digital Portfolio and Industrial Production Techniques

This module will provide practical knowledge of digital media publishing techniques suitable for the production of portfolio media. Students will investigate and demonstrate knowledge of a range of digital media tools and techniques for the promotion of skills within a portfolio presentation. Critical analysis of various types of digital media delivery platforms, copyright issues, and digital marketing strategies will be covered. This module will also provide an overview of how 3D modelling and animation fits within the context of the particular industry sector which is relevant to the students area of specialisation.

Research and Project Methods

This module aims to provide students with the background knowledge and skills that, in combination with the technical skills acquired in other taught modules, will enable them to carry an MSc dissertation through to a successful conclusion. Students will study all aspects of the processes underlying both capstone projects and research projects, and will relate these to available tools, ethical considerations and professional issues.

MSc Project

The Project acts as a vehicle for extending the knowledge and understanding of the student and the technical community in some specialist technical area. It serves, through its length, complexity and rigour, as a suitable vehicle for extending, in the student, a range of personal, interpersonal and communication skills. In addition, it serves to develop and extend a range of high-level thinking skills, including analysing and synthesising skills and affords the opportunity for the student to demonstrate initiative and creativity in a major piece of technological work. The student has the option of a written dissertation or a dissertation by film.

Download the Programme Specification for a detailed breakdown of its structure, what you will learn and other useful information.

Study Options

  • 2020/21


Mode of study


Start date



Full Time
1 Year
29 Sep 2020
GCU Glasgow
Award Mode of study Duration Start date Location  
MSc Full Time 1 Year 29 Sep 2020 GCU Glasgow Enquire Apply

Entry requirements

UK honours degree 2:2 or equivalent.

English language

Academic IELTS score of 6.0 (or equivalent) with no element below 5.5.

Please note: if you are from a majority English speaking country, you may not be required to provide further proof of your English Language proficiency.

All entry requirements listed here should be used as a guide and represent the minimum required to be considered for entry. Applicants who are made a conditional offer of a place may be asked to achieve more than is stated.

Additional information

Other academic and vocational qualifications

Each application to GCU is considered on an individual basis. If you do not have the typical academic entry qualifications, but can demonstrate relevant work experience and/or credits from recognised professional bodies, you may be eligible to enter this course via the University's Recognition of Prior Learning scheme.

International pathways

Entry options for international applicants

If you are an international applicant and do not meet the academic requirements above you may be eligible for an International Graduate Diploma or Pre-sessional pre-masters programme at INTO Glasgow. Based in our Glasgow campus, successful completion of an INTO course with the required grades provides you with a guaranteed conditional offer of a place on this degree.

The tuition fees you pay are mostly determined by your fee status. What is my student fee status?

Tuition fees 2020/21

Home: £6,000
RUK: £6,000
EU: £6,000
International: £13,500

Fees are subject to change and published here for guidance only. Fees and refund policy.

As a student at the University, there are additional fees and costs which may or may not apply to you, but that you should be aware of.

View additional costs


We provide high-quality education for a fair price; as the University for the Common Good, we are committed to offering accessible higher education for talented students by keeping our tuition fees low and providing a generous scholarship package of over £2 million per year.

View our Postgraduate scholarships.

The course assumes no prior knowledge of 3D design which will enable students from other disciplines to take this opportunity to add specialist 3D expertise in three dimensional modelling and animation, digital video production and digital media integration techniques to their existing skill set. Students will gain knowledge and experience of the different production phases of a digital media project.
Pre-production skills such as planning, storyboarding and developing conceptualisation skills, production skills in 3D modelling, animation, lighting and rendering using advanced 3D applications such as 3DS Max and Maya, post production skills in video editing, integration of 2D and 3D visuals and DVD production will all be covered.

Modules are assessed by both examination and coursework (sometimes known as continual assessment) depending on the requirements of individual modules.

Start of term September 2020

With all of this uncertainty, we understand that you may be wondering how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect your University start in September. Please be assured that our priority remains your experience. We are working to make the adjustments needed to ensure the best possible start for you. As things change we will keep you informed and have created a dedicated space where we answer some of the questions you may have around COVID-19 and starting University