Animation | Four Year

BA (Hons)

2017 entry

The first year (or Year 0)
 of this four-year route will develop the fundamental skills you’ll need to grow your potential as an animator. You’ll improve
your observational and drawing skills, and you’ll also undertake theoretical studies to underpin your practical education. You’ll develop your research and design skills, as well as working on a personal project.

With alumni including Oscar and BAFTA winners, our Animation degree is one of the best known and highly regarded courses of its kind in the world.

From Peppa Pig, Fantastic Mr Fox, Hey Duggee and Simon’s Cat to Corpse Bride, Mars Attack and Frankenweenie, our students have gone on to become some of the most renowned animators, directors and producers in the industry, with their work seen and loved by millions.

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Length of study:

Four years (Year 0 + three-year degree) full-time


September 2017


UCA Farnham

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Course overview:

Our four-year course nurtures your abilities. Successful completion of the Year 0 secures a place on the three-year degree course without further application or interview.

Established in 1972 by Academy Award winner Bob Godfrey as the UK’s first course to take an academic approach to animation, we pride ourselves on giving our students a fully rounded understanding of frame-by-frame image manipulation.

Whether you want to make 3D films using software such as Autodesk Maya, or produce stop-motion films shot in our dedicated studios, you’ll have the freedom to discover and develop your personal style, and follow your own passions.

Guided and supported by our team of highly experienced, well-connected industry professionals, you’ll discover that animation is so much more than making moving images – you’ll develop a deep understanding of narrative, character development, sound, movement and realism too.

Course content - 2017 entry

Year 0 is a preparatory year which provides you with a focused introduction to your chosen area of study and upon successful completion, it'll secure your place on the three year degree without further application or interview.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Drawing and Mark Making

    You are introduced to the idea that drawing is a fundamental skill for the development of both illustration and animation and is integral to the creative process. It is the means by which you visually respond to and interpret what you see in the world around you.

  • Ideas, Research and Processes 1: Generating Content

    Introduces you to the fundamental starting points for developing ideas for both illustration and animation, through the use of a variety of idea development strategies, active research and engagement and experimentation with practical process.

  • Ideas, Research and Processes 2: Developing and Identifying Practice

    You'll continue to experiment with a combination of processes and production methods introduced to you in the previous unit however now you will also begin to identify, select and use visual and narrative practices to develop and create the content or subject matter of your work.

  • Themed Project

    Building on the ideas, experiences and research achieved this is the summation of your learning on the course so far, you'll be asked to produce a body of work in response to a given theme or brief. The work that you produce should draw upon all of the creative, technical and theoretical knowledge that you have gained.

In the first year, you'll be introduced to the University and the technical workshops and facilities available to you. On the course you’ll learn the technical and conceptual skills that will give you a solid foundation from which to explore your areas of specialist activity.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Animation Principles

    This unit will teach you the fundamental principles and techniques of animation and the exploration of drawing for the expression of ideas.

  • Digital Skills

    You’ll gain a practical understanding of computer animation, examining the various methodologies in creating digital content for animation.

  • Drawing, Drama and Design

    You’ll study movement and acting as a means of communicating character, mood and emotion, continue your exploration of drawing through formal life-drawing sessions, and explore the principles of sound for animation by recording in studios and on location.

  • Form, Context and Interpretation

    You’ll be introduced to key concepts and critical debates in media, visual and cultural theory.

The second year focus is on finding your own specialist way of working and you’ll be encouraged and supported to start working more independently. During this year you may also have the opportunity to complete an industry work placement or even study abroad.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Short Film

    You'll produce a professionally finished film with the aim of having it screened at a competitive international animation festival before the end of your second year.

  • Research and Concept

    Feedback and tutorials will help you identify your individual strengths, weaknesses and interests, and guide you towards an individual course of study.

  • Advanced Digital Techniques

    You'll study the concepts and advanced digital techniques in relation to computer animation. Through a series of workshops and exercises, you'll produce 2D and 3D animation, familiarising yourself with key software, workflows and interfaces.

  • Study Abroad (optional)

    This optional unit will allow you to spend a period of time in an overseas educational institution.

  • Historical and Theoretical Perspectives

    You'll explore the historical development of animation through its systems, institutions and practices, and the work of key practitioners. You will also propose your main research ideas for your dissertation.

The third year will see you achieve a greater level of independence with self-managed research, study and practice, resulting in a final major project and a written dissertation.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Destinations

    Equips you with the skills, knowledge and confidence to present yourself to potential employers in the best possible way. By evaluating your coursework so far and identifying your individual strengths, the unit will focus your ambition towards your chosen career path.

  • Proposal and Pitch

    You'll take your first steps towards making your final animated film - proposing, developing and refining your ideas.

  • Final Film

    This major piece of work will be the climax of your learning journey, drawing on all the creative, technical and theoretical knowledge you’ve developed.

  • Dissertation

    Involves a substantial period of sustained, individually negotiated research on a subject related to the contextual and/or theoretical concerns of your discipline or chosen area of practice, towards the provision of structured written argument.

Course staff

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International study

Find out more about studying in the UK, or studying part of your course abroad at one of our partner institutions (study abroad option not available on all courses).

Course connections

On this course, you'll be exposed to a world of opportunities

As a long-established degree course, we’ve built an extensive network of industry connections, giving us access to high-profile visiting lecturers, and to commissions, competitions and exciting work-placement opportunities. Our industry links include:

  • Aardman Animation
  • Studio AKA
  • Cinesite
  • The Mill
  • Create and Make
  • Stylorouge
  • Agile Films
  • Blackdog Films Limited
  • HSI Film
  • Blink Productions
  • The Film Club
  • National Film and TV School
  • Passion Pictures (one of the leading studios in Europe)
  • Nexus
  • Moth Collective
  • UsTwo
  • Beakus
  • Animade.

Animation is one of the most significant and rapidly expanding media fields. An enormous range of career opportunities exist in animation, from the traditional techniques of animation storytelling to drawn, model and CGI animation. Typical careers in the industry include:

  • Directors
  • Producers
  • Animators (in commercials, films, broadcast, online media and games)
  • Editors
  • Character designers
  • Production designers
  • Pre-vis artists
  • Compositors
  • Storyboard artists
  • Post-production.

As one of the pre-eminent animation courses in the world, our sought after alumni have landed many exciting, high profile roles across the industry. These include positions as:

  • Animators
  • CG animators
  • CG riggers
  • Designers
  • Directors
  • Model makers
  • Producers
  • Storyboard artists.

Many well-known studios have been set up by our alumni including:

  • Animade
  • Astley Baker Davies (makers of Peppa Pig)
  • Film Fabrik
  • Honeycomb Animation (makers of Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids)
  • Mackinnon & Saunders
  • Moth Collective
  • Slurpy Studios
  • Tandem Pictures.

This gives our course very solid links to a vibrant industry, and we enjoy connections with a range of creative talent, studios and potential employers.

You may also like to consider further study at postgraduate level.

How to apply - 2017 entry

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Entry requirements - 2017 entry:

Entry requirements

The standard entry requirements* for this course are:

One of the following:

  • 64 new UCAS tariff points (equivalent to 160 old UCAS tariff points), see accepted qualifications 
  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • Merit, Pass, Pass at BTEC Extended Diploma
  • Pass at UALAB Extended Diploma
  • 64 new UCAS tariff points from an accredited Access to Higher Education Diploma in appropriate subject.

And four GCSE passes at grade A*-C and/or grade 4-9 including English (or Functional Skills English/Key Skills Communication Level 2).

Other relevant and equivalent Level 3 UK and international qualifications are considered on an individual basis, and we encourage students from diverse educational backgrounds to apply.

*We occasionally make offers which are lower than the standard entry criteria to students who have faced difficulties that have affected their performance, and who were expected to achieve higher results.

New UCAS tariff

UCAS has made changes to its tariff system.

Find out how these changes will affect you

Your portfolio

No formal portfolio is required for this course, as the first year of the course (Year 0) provides you with the skills required to start the three-year BA (Hons) degree. However, if you do have a portfolio you'd like to bring with you, we'll be able to provide you with some helpful feedback and also advise you on whether the four-year degree option (Year 0 entry) or three-year degree option (Year 1 entry) will be best suited to your strengths and interest. We'll require you to attend an Applicant Day which will include an interview. This will also give you the opportunity to visit us, meet the course team and see the facilities.

Fees & finance

Uncover all the costs involved, as well as the grants, loans and other financial support you may be entitled to.

Student regulations

Find out more about the operation of our courses, student conduct, assessments and examinations.

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