Bachelor of Arts in Digital Film Degree: Editing and Visual Effects (VFX) Emphasis

Bachelor of Arts in Digital Film with an Emphasis in Editing and Visual Effects

Offered By: College of Arts and Media

Enhance Your Film Degree: Study Technical and Creative Skills In Digital VFX

The Bachelor of Arts in Digital Film with an Emphasis in Editing and Visual Effects (VFX) at Grand Canyon University is designed to cultivate pioneers within the realms of narrative film and video postproduction. This editing and digital VFX emphasis aims to foster innovation by focusing on teaching a strong foundation in narrative storytelling, creative skills, technical expertise and hands-on experience to craft and deliver powerful messages.

This editing and visual effects in film emphasis may be ideal for individuals seeking to enhance their technical and creative aptitude in digital film, with a specific focus on editing and visual effects. Refine your artistic expression by cultivating an understanding of film as it relates to cultures and human flourishing from a Christian worldview. Whether you're an aspiring filmmaker, a visual storyteller or someone passionate about crafting compelling narratives through film, this degree will teach you essential skills that can prepare you for a potential career in the field of digital film postproduction.

As you progress through the on-campus or online digital VFX and editing emphasis, you will study the art of film editing and visual effects, including non-linear editing software techniques using industry-standard software, such as Adobe After Effects, Autodesk Maya and more. Digital compositing, 3D modeling and animation are taught to help you in creating realistic and immersive visual effects for films, video games and other media. Particle simulations, matte painting and green screen removal are also explored as you study the critical role of an editor in shaping the narrative flow.

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Our comprehensive online learning system can help you explore the art of film editing and visual effects while keeping the flexibility to learn at your own pace. Whether you're balancing work, family or other commitments, our program can adapt to your schedule.

Opting for on-campus learning can provide you with a traditional and immersive educational experience. Interacting face-to-face with professors and peers can foster connections and collaborative learning opportunities. The structured environment of the physical on-campus option may be attractive for those seeking a comprehensive education within an interactive academic community.


Median annual wage for film and video editors in May 20221


Job growth for film and video editors (2022-32)2

Mastering Movie Magic: Dive into Visual Effects in Film and Editing Course Topics

This on-campus or online BA digital film degree: editing and VFX emphasis can help refine your skills and creativity by offering course topics in a variety of domains, including the following:

  • Cinematography techniques applied to digital media
  • Lighting and drone photography
  • Node-based workflow for visual effects shots
  • Cinematic storytelling through post-production
  • Advanced editing and visual effects
  • Audio production skills that tackle industry challenges
  • Clear sound and post-production sound manipulation for film and television
  • Targeting audiences and creating genre remixes
  • Promo editing techniques
  • Genre film writing and editing

The course curriculum is designed to introduce you to the fundamental principles of storytelling, cinematography and film language, alongside hands-on experiences in basic camera operation and shot composition. You will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience by applying classroom principles in a capstone course where you will work in an organization under practitioner supervision.

Further exploration may include:

  • Motion picture production
  • Advanced VFX techniques
  • Nuances of editing for emotion and narrative impact
  • Green screen technology
  • Visual effects supervision
  • Post-production workflows
  • Digital compositing, 3D modeling/creation, animation and rendering

Envision Your Film Future: Career Pathways for Editing and VFX Emphasis Graduates

An editing and visual effects in film emphasis can open up a realm of diverse career prospects. Potential careers you may have the opportunity to pursue include the following:

  • Film and video editors
  • Audio engineer
  • Color grader
  • Digital image technician
  • Editor
  • Editorial assistant
  • Postproduction coordinator
  • Postproduction supervisor
  • Sound editor
  • Sound design
  • Sound mixing
  • VFX artist

HLC University Accreditation

GCU holds a highly regarded accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). This accreditation ensures the university meets rigorous academic standards and provides students with a credible and quality education in the field of digital arts.

Bachelor of Arts in Digital Film Degree: Editing and VFX Emphasis FAQs

If you enjoy using technology to produce computer-generated animations for films, ads, websites and more, you may be interested in this VFX and editing emphasis. To help you understand the program on a deeper level, we’ve gathered a few of our most frequently asked questions below.

As of September 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook estimates job growth for film and video editors and camera operators to increase by about 9% from 2022 to 2032, much faster than average, accounting for an estimated increase of 4,800 jobs in the field.2 If this career path aligns with your goals, an editing and visual effects in film emphasis can be well worth the investment.

While both these degrees offer a hands-on experience, a BA (Bachelor of Arts) in digital film can provide a broader education that includes digital filmmaking, VFX and editing along with general education courses, which may offer a well-rounded foundation. In contrast, a BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) in digital film can offer a more specialized and focused program with studio work and training that often takes a deeper dive into the technical and artistic aspects of digital filmmaking.3 Learn more about GCU’s additional digital film degrees to help you make an informed decision.

The BA in digital film degree requires 120 credits for completion. Most of the online classes are eight weeks in length. On-campus courses are each 15 weeks in length. Fill out the form on this page to speak to a university counselor who can help you better understand how long it may take to earn your degree.

Yes, this VFX and editing emphasis may be a good path if you wish to become a VFX artist. These editing- and VFX-focused programs teach you various techniques , such as digital compositing, 3D animation, motion graphics and VFX techniques. Pursuing an editing and digital VFX emphasis can help aspiring artists with the skills and knowledge to work toward a career in a variety of visual effects, film, television, gaming and other industries.4

Unlock the potential of visual storytelling with our immersive on-campus and online digital film degree. Gain practical expertise in editing and visual effects while earning a degree from an accredited university. Start shaping your artistic vision today.

1 The earnings referenced were reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Film and Video Editors as of May 2022, retrieved on Sept. 11, 2023. Due to COVID-19, data from 2020 and 2021 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may also impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the BLS. BLS calculates the median using salaries of workers from across the country with varying levels of education and experience and does not reflect the earnings of GCU graduates as film and video editors. It does not reflect earnings of workers in one city or region of the country. It also does not reflect a typical entry-level salary. Median income is the statistical midpoint for the range of salaries in a specific occupation. It represents what you would earn if you were paid more money than half the workers in an occupation, and less than half the workers in an occupation. It may give you a basis to estimate what you might earn at some point if you enter this career. You may also wish to compare median salaries if you are considering more than one career path. Grand Canyon University can make no guarantees on individual graduates’ salaries as the employer the graduate chooses to apply to, and accept employment from, determines salary not only based on education, but also individual characteristics and skills and fit to that organization (among other categories) against a pool of candidates.

2 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 and 2021 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor 8 Statistics as well. Accordingly, data shown is effective September 2023, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Film and Video Editors, retrieved on Sept. 11, 2023.

3 Beckman, Mariah (2023, June 2). What's the difference between BA and BFA degrees? All Art Schools. Retrieved on August 24, 2023.

4 Indeed Editorial Team (2023, March 17). How to Become a Visual Effects Artist (Plus Skills). Indeed. Retrieved on Sept. 25, 2023.

Total Credits: 120
Campus: 15 weeks
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Online: 7 weeks
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Up to 90 credits, only 84 can be lower division
Campus: $8,250 per semester
[Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid]

Online: $485 per credit
[Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid]

Cost of Attendance

Course List

General Education Requirements:
34-40 credits
80 credits
Open Elective Credits:
0-6 credits
Degree Requirements:
120 credits

General Education Requirements

General Education coursework prepares Grand Canyon University graduates to think critically, communicate clearly, live responsibly in a diverse world, and thoughtfully integrate their faith and ethical convictions into all dimensions of life. These competencies, essential to an effective and satisfying life, are outlined in the General Education Learner Outcomes. General Education courses embody the breadth of human understanding and creativity contained in the liberal arts and sciences tradition. Students take an array of foundational knowledge courses that promote expanded knowledge, insight, and the outcomes identified in the University’s General Education Competencies. The knowledge and skills students acquire through these courses serve as a foundation for successful careers and lifelong journeys of growing understanding and wisdom.


Upon completion of the Grand Canyon University's University Foundation experience, students will be able to demonstrate competency in the areas of academic skills and self-leadership. They will be able to articulate the range of resources available to assist them, explore career options related to their area of study, and have knowledge of Grand Canyon's community. Students will be able to demonstrate foundational academic success skills, explore GCU resources (CLA, Library, Career Center, ADA office, etc), articulate strategies of self-leadership and management and recognize opportunities to engage in the GCU community.

Course Options

  • UNV-103, University Success: 4
  • UNV-303, University Success: 4


Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to construct rhetorically effective communications appropriate to diverse audiences, purposes, and occasions (English composition, communication, critical reading, foreign language, sign language, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of English grammar or composition.

Course Options

  • ENG-105, English Composition I: 4
  • UNV-104, 21st Century Skills: Communication and Information Literacy: 4
  • ENG-106, English Composition II: 4
  • COM-263, Elements of Intercultural Communication: 4


Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to express aspects of Christian heritage and worldview. Students are required to take CWV-101/CWV-301.

Course Options

  • CWV-101, Christian Worldview: 4
  • CWV-301, Christian Worldview: 4


Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to use various analytic and problem-solving skills to examine, evaluate, and/or challenge ideas and arguments. Students are required to take 3 credits of college mathematics or higher.

Course Options

  • MAT-144, College Mathematics: 4


Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to demonstrate awareness and appreciation of and empathy for differences in arts and culture, values, experiences, historical perspectives, and other aspects of life (psychology, sociology, government, Christian studies, Bible, geography, anthropology, economics, political science, child and family studies, law, ethics, cross-cultural studies, history, art, music, dance, theater, applied arts, literature, health, etc.). If the predefined course is a part of the major, students need to take an additional course.

Course Options

  • PSY-102, General Psychology: 4
  • INT-244, World Religions: 4
  • SOC-100, Everyday Sociology: 4

Core Courses

Course Description

This course covers multiple eras and movements throughout the age of film.

Course Description

This course introduces students to the technical and aesthetic aspects of small format digital production as well as the basic principles of motion picture production. Students learn the language of film/digital video and how its manipulation can express one’s individual message or purpose.

Course Description

Students in this writing intensive course learn storytelling for the screen through a managed regimen of in-class and out-of-class experiences that emphasize the essential mix of imagination and craft in writing. They hone their skills in observation, communication, and visualization, and receive instruction on structure for screenwriting and how to employ written language to articulate dramatic and visual expression.

Course Description

Understanding genre conventions and tropes is critical to a screenwriter’s success. This course combines script analysis with the practice of writing short scripts for a variety of genres. Prerequisite: DFP-221.

Course Description

This course is an intensive exploration of the craft, technologies, and aesthetic principles of cinematography, lighting, and set design techniques. Lectures and in-class demonstrations cover video formats, cameras, exposure, lenses and optics, lighting units, lighting placement, lighting control, camera support, and camera movement.

Course Description

This course focuses on the elements that make up almost all storytelling. Students are encouraged to discover and develop their unique voices as writers and storytellers, while understanding the critical importance of working as part of a creative team. This course emphasizes the use of traditional storytelling, classic mythology, and the ways in which these devices apply to contemporary media.

Course Description

This course follows the general chronology of editing from capture and logging, through editing and effects, to final output of a finished program. The first half of the course is devoted entirely to a mastery of the editing software. The second half of the course is devoted to examining how and why editing is important. Different editing theories are explored, including montage, fast cut, long take, jump cut, and others.

Course Description

This course introduces basic audio production skills and encourages students to face the challenges of audio production within the film and television industry. Students will learn how to capture clear sound as well as how to manipulate sound during the post-production stage. Prerequisite: DFP-111.

Course Description

Visual effects are an integral part of contemporary film and streaming productions. This course provides an overview of the foundational skills in visual effects. Prerequisite: DFP-225, DFP-351.

Course Description

This course utilizes techniques of directing, sound editing, lighting, and advanced editing programs. Several practical and written exercises lead to a short digital production. Students spend time working with actors in front of the camera as well as composing shots to convey a story visually. Prerequisites: DFP-111 and DFP-221.

Course Description

In this course, students will learn the skills necessary to successfully edit a narrative genre film. Students will edit in a variety of genres, from comedy to horror, respecting expectations and gaining an understanding of what post-production practices allow each genre to function at the highest level. Prerequisites: DFP-225 and DFP-230.

Course Description

This course will prepare students for success as creative professionals. Students will research their industry, develop their personal brand, and establish business and entrepreneurial practices.

Course Description

This course trains students in the art and technique of post-production sound; from building the essential elements of a soundtrack for greater story immersion, to mixing those elements into a unified whole for professional distribution. Skills covered include sound design, sound editing, ADR editing, and mixing. Prerequisites: DFP-225 and DFP-351.

Course Description

This course focuses on preparing assets for advanced visual effects shots. Students will gain experience in 3D software and become familiar with the pipeline for 3D asset creation. Prerequisite: DFP-226.

Course Description

In this course, students learn the entire process of creating commercials. Students learn the skills of writing copy, developing ideas, researching the marketplace, working with client needs, pitching, and production of commercials. Prerequisite: DFP-111, DFP-221, & DFP-331.

Course Description

In this course, students will learn the art and technique of film and television advertising through trailer and promo editing. With a focus on grabbing attention, condensing story, and inciting curiosity, students will practice remixing feature and short films into the most attractive promotional package possible; with a focus on capturing the intended audience for each film. Students will also learn how promotional editing can dramatically alter the expected tone of a film by creating genre remixes of popular films. Prerequisites: DFP-226 and DFP-330.

Course Description

This course introduces students to advanced topics in compositing. Students will use a node-based workflow to complete visual effects shots. Prerequisite: DFP-326.

Course Description

In this course, students will build on their knowledge of 3D asset creation. Students will explore the visual effects pipeline in more depth through a variety of projects. Prerequisite: DFP-326.

Course Description

Building on foundational cinematography techniques, students in this course apply the technical and creative aspects of cinematography to various forms of digital media. Areas such as advanced application of lighting techniques and drone photography are explored. Prerequisite: DFP-223.

Course Description

This writing-intensive capstone course strengthens students’ understanding of the art of cinematic storytelling through post-production. Students will focus on integrating advanced picture and audio editing techniques with visual effects to create polished short films.


GCU Campus Student

Join Grand Canyon University’s vibrant and growing campus community, with daytime classes designed for traditional students. Immerse yourself in a full undergraduate experience, complete with curriculum designed within the context of our Christian worldview.

GCU Online Student

Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.