BA (Hons) Animation
  • BA (Hons) Animation

    Institution code: N39
    Course 3 Year UCAS code: W615
    Course 4 Year UCAS code: W616
    Course length: 3 or 4 year options
    Work-based learning opportunities: Creative Professional Development Year (Level 5 diploma) available between years 2 & 3

    Our BA (Hons) Animation degree course will encourage your individual creative exploration and development helping you choose which specialism to focus on.

    Watch our BA Animation video playlist

    You will master the magic of bringing characters and stories to life through a range of animation techniques at NUA – from 2D, 3D CG to stop motion.

    Interactive lectures and practical workshops will help you explore character design and sculpting.

    You will learn the fundamentals of animated storytelling through workshops and masterclasses in dynamics, storyboarding and character creation.

    What you will learn

    • Explore the three major animation techniques: hand drawn and digital 2D, stop motion and digital 3D
    • Gain understanding of the principles of animation: dynamics; character design; storyboarding; animatic production; animation production; sound design; skills of observation and life drawing; acting for animators; editing; compositing and show reel design
    • Explore theory in character analysis and narrative structures
    • Develop an understanding of media roles and practices
    • Work collaboratively through a series of projects designed to allow you to establish a good practice, essential for the animation industry
    • Explore your chosen areas of specialisation and develop your skills, with the potential to combine techniques
    • Develop an understanding of audience, context, film language, and the elements of compelling storytelling
    • Bring together all your learning and experiences to create a personal portfolio with a great showreel
    • Engage with a collaborative project with either your peers or external collaborators, allowing your creative skills to be tested in an industry-standard practice
    • Produce a personal showcase of your specialist skills and an original, animated short film.

    Creative storytelling

    We believe that creating the illusion of life through observation and design underpins all great animation.

    Interactive lectures and practical workshops will help you explore character design and sculpting – and even explore acting for animation to help you better understand movement, performance and character psychology.

    And you will learn the language of film and skills such as sound design and production – setting you apart from other graduates in the field.

    Skills for animation careers

    You will pitch your responses to live briefs, or your personal and collaborative projects to guest speakers from companies like the BBC, Screen South and the BAFTA award-winning Blue Zoo.

    Graduates have gone on to secure internships at Oscar-winning studios like Aardman Animations or work on blockbuster animated movies like Pokémon Detective Pikachu.

    Graduates work in a broad range of careers including

    • Animator
    • Producer
    • SFX
    • Designer
    • Editor
    • Art Director
    • Director of Photography
    • Compositor
    • Character Designer
    • Background Artist
    • Layout Artist
    • Prop Designer
    • Set Designer
    • Modeller
    • Storyboard Artist
    • Illustrator
    • Colour Co-ordinator
    • Lighting Supervisor

    You’ll also get specialist creative careers advice from our team in the Ideas FactoryNUA to help support you as you plan your career.

    All courses run as a blend of on-campus and digital teaching and learning, and follow current UK government safety advice. Applicants and students will be notified directly if any changes need to be made.

    Course content

    • Year 1
    • Explore the three major animation techniques: hand drawn and digital 2D, stop motion and digital 3D
    • Gain understanding of the principles of animation; dynamics; character design; storyboarding, animatic production; animation production; sound design; skills of observation and life drawing; acting for animators; editing; compositing; show reel design
    • Explore theory in character analysis and narrative structures
    • Develop an understanding of media roles and practices.
    • Year 2
    • Build on fundamental skills with personally defined experimentation and continue to practice animation principles
    • Work collaboratively through a series of projects designed to allow you to establish a good practice, essential for the animation industry
    • Focus on production areas of your choosing
    • Continue to explore your chosen areas of specialisation and develop your skills, with the potential to combine techniques
    • Develop an understanding of audience, context, film language, and the elements of compelling storytelling.
    • Year 3
    • Specialise and bring together all your learning and experiences to create a personal portfolio
    • Engage with a collaborative project with either your peers or external collaborators, allowing your creative skills to be tested in an industry standard practice
    • Continue to enhance and refine your technical and creative skills in your chosen specialism
    • Produce a personal showcase of your specialist skills and an original, animated short film
    • Complete a Research Report that provides broad contextualisation to your practice.
    Visit the Degree Show website

    Typical UK offers

    A / AS Levels – GCE
    GCE A/AS Levels 3 A-level qualifications at grades BBB. Where candidates are not taking 3 A-levels, NUA will consider combinations of A-level/AS-level and other Level 3 qualifications.

    BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF or RQF)
    Distinction, Merit, Merit in an art, design or media related subject

    BTEC Diploma (QCF or RQF)
    Distinction*, Distinction* in an art, design or media related subject

    UAL Extended Diploma
    Merit

    UAL Level 3 Foundation Diploma in Art and Design
    Merit

    UAL Level 4 Foundation Diploma in Art and Design
    Pass

    Foundation Diploma in Art and Design
    Merit

    Access to Higher Education Diploma (Art and Design)
    Pass

    International Baccalaureate Diploma
    A minimum of 27 points

    NUA welcomes applicants of all ages from all backgrounds. Your application will be primarily assessed through your portfolio, responses to questions asked and personal statement, so even if you have no formal qualifications or do not meet our typical offers it can still be worth applying.

    If you are studying at the time of your application and your application is successful it is likely that you will receive a conditional offer.

    If the qualification that you are studying is not shown, do not worry as we are able to accept other pre-entry qualifications as well as combinations of different qualifications. Please do contact our Student Recruitment Team if you have any queries.

    International applications

    We accept qualifications from all over the world. To find our entry requirements from a specific country, please check our dedicated international pages.

    Most international students are required to hold an English language qualification. Applicants are required to have a minimum UKVI approved IELTS exam score of 6.0 overall, with a minimum of 5.5 in each section. Equivalent English language qualifications are acceptable such as, IB English language syllabus A or B/English Literature (Grade 4).

    We also accept some alternative English qualifications. Learn more about our English entry requirements.

    You can email us on international@nua.ac.uk if you’d like to discuss your application individually.

    BA (Hons) Animation degree portfolio guidance

    Your portfolio should be relevant to this course, but you can include a wide range of work that shows your creativity, technical competence and understanding of storytelling.

    You may wish to include some of the following:

    • A showreel of animation or film work
    • Drawings, paintings or illustrations that demonstrate your skills, including life drawings, still life, images from observation (people and landscapes) or concept designs of characters and backdrops
    • Use of digital software, which may include Flash, After Effects, Adobe Creative Suite, Coral Painter, ZBrush, Maya or Mudbox
    • Scripts or short stories
    • Story boards
    • Models and/or sculptural works in any medium
    • Experimentation in a range of styles and approaches in addition to your own style

    Further portfolio advice and tips

    Get more advice on presentation formats, layouts and when to submit your portfolio in the application process.

    2022/23 University fees for new entrants

    NUA will assess students’ tuition fee status using the guidance provided by the UK Council for International Student Affairs

    Students from the UK or Ireland and EU students with ‘Settled’ or ‘Pre-Settled’ status will be charged ‘Home’ fees if they meet the relevant residency requirements.  They will usually be eligible for a tuition fee loan from the UK government, meaning that they won’t have to pay NUA’s tuition fees up front.

    Students who do not meet the necessary residency requirements will usually be charged ‘Overseas’ fees and will not be eligible for the UK government tuition fee loan. Since 2021/22, this includes new entrants from the EU, EEA, and Switzerland who do not have ‘Settled’ or ‘Pre-Settled’ status, because the UK has now formally left the EU.

    Fee status Course Fee
    Home Undergraduate degree (full-time three and four year degree) £9,250
    Overseas Undergraduate degree (full-time three and four year degree) £17,500

    In subsequent years inflation may be applied to the fees of those who started in 2022/23, at no more than the Office for Students’ recommended measure based on forecast RPI-X.

    Financial support for UK students in 2022

    Tuition fee loans and loans for living costs are usually available to UK and some EU students, as well as non-repayable NUA bursaries based on family income. Find out more about applying for funding.

    Creative Professional Development (1 year, Level 5 Diploma)

    The Diploma in Creative Professional Development has been developed to offer undergraduate students the chance to spend a year, between the second and third year of their course, exploring their employability options through a structured programme of input sessions and work-based learning.

    Not just an ‘industry sandwich year’ —

    The Level 5 Diploma in Creative Professional Development is:

    • Designed around your needs as a creative student, particularly if your personal network does not currently reach creative industry.
    • Based on our award-winning Profile skills framework.
    • Co-delivered with industry partners who share our approach.
    • Supporting you with carefully planned interventions and activities before and after their placements, so that you are ready to undertake placement learning and then equipped to derive the maximum insight from the experience afterwards.
    • Opening a wide range of creative roles that you may not imagine you would be able to apply for after your study at NUA.

    It has been designed for:

    • Students who want to work in creative industry but have not yet decided the sort of role they would like.
    • Students who do have a clear sense of career direction but need to develop a structured plan to achieve it.
    • Students who do not have relevant work experience, and want to graduate with a fuller CV.
    • Students who think that business start-up or freelancing may be their preferred option and want to explore it further.

    Four year degree – BA (Hons) Animation

    Four year degrees offer students a chance to build on their experience within their undergraduate course of choice.

    Year 0 will help to build confidence and develop subject specific practical, creative and conceptual skills – making full use of University studios and workshops.

    Typical UK offers and entry requirements for Year 0 entry

    GCE A/AS Levels
    2 A-level qualifications at grades CC or higher. 

    BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF or RQF)
    Merit, Merit, Pass in an art, design or media related subject

    BTEC Diploma (QCF or RQF)
    Distinction, Merit in an art, design or media related subject

    UAL Extended Diploma
    An overall Pass

    UAL Level 3 Foundation Diploma in Art and Design
    An overall Pass

    Foundation Diploma in Art and Design 
    Pass

    Access to Higher Education Diploma (Art and Design)
    Pass

    International Baccalaureate Diploma
    A minimum of 24 points

    NUA welcomes applicants of all ages from all backgrounds. Your application will be primarily assessed through your portfolio, responses to questions asked and personal statement, so even if you have no formal qualifications or do not meet our typical offers it can still be worth applying.

    If you are studying at the time of your application and your application is successful it is likely that you will receive a conditional offer.

    Students
    person holding a framed animation and vfx poster 2021

    Tanje Kelesh

    "I am so grateful that I had tutors that believed in me and my work when I did not have the strength to. I would also like to thank them for pushing me to my limits and guiding me to achieve my best."

    BA (Hons) Animation

    photo of alum Leana Felipe standing and leaning against a yellow railing and smiling at camera with long black hair and a long sleeved grey top in a room with many computer benches in the background

    Leana Felipe

    "I’m most productive in the Media Lab where I can work collaboratively with other students. Here we can discuss and debate ideas. It’s a good way to overcome self-criticism and avoid creative block"

    BA (Hons) Animation

    portrait photo alum Stefano Passoni smiling and looking away from camera with short dark hair and a black v neck jumper

    Stefano Passoni

    "We work in all types of animation including 3D, 2D and stop motion. You can experiment on each project and through our group work I’ve had the chance to be involved with all aspects from storyboarding and editing to sound design."

    BA (Hons) Animation

    Lecturers

    • Barry Leith

    • Clare Kitson (Visiting Lecturer)

      Animation Commissioner for Channel 4 (1989–99)
    • Don Boyd (Visiting Lecturer)

      Hollywood Director, Producer of numerous feature films
    • Helen Schroeder

    • Jennifer Oey

      2D Animation
    • Lynsey White

    • Melanie Coombs (Visiting Lecturer)

      Oscar-winning Producer, Melodrama Films
    • Millie Woodcock

    • Mhairi Fraser

    • Robin Fuller

    • Robert Ramsden

    Need help? Chat to our friendly recruitment team

    Book a place on an Open Day, or to find out more about how to apply for a course at NUA, please give us a call.

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