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

All courses starting in September 2020 will run as a blend of on-campus and digital teaching and learning and will follow UK government safety advice. We may need to adjust course delivery if advice changes. We will notify applicants and students of any changes directly.​

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.

Our BA (Hons) Animation degree will help you to develop core creative and production skills as an animator.

We’ll encourage your individual creative exploration and development.

You’ll choose which specialism to focus on in this diverse, dynamic and growing industry and its wide-range of careers.

You will build a distinctive showreel and online portfolio to impress employers with your skills, creativity and readiness for work – whatever your choice from a wide range of specialisms, including:

  • Character-based animation
  • Motion graphics animation
  • Technical 2D compositing
  • CG rigging
  • 3D modelling and beyond!

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.

You’ll explore fundamental animated storytelling techniques through workshops and masterclasses in dynamics, storyboarding and character creation.

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

Engagement with industry will give you opportunities to try-out your new skills. You’ll 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.

And you’ll have the chance to learn from animation, motion graphics and VR experts such as Kris Lavington Woods and eminent visiting lecturers like Oscar-winning director Daniel Greaves.

Graduates work in a broad range of careers including

  • Animator
  • Producer
  • SFX
  • Animator
  • 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 Careers Team in the Ideas FactoryNUA to help support you as you plan your career.

Watch the BA Animation showreel

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 #Disrupt

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

UAL Level 3 Foundation Diploma in Art and Design

UAL Level 4 Foundation Diploma in Art and Design

Foundation Diploma in Art and Design

Access to Higher Education Diploma (Art and Design)

International Baccalaureate Diploma
A minimum of 27 points

NUA welcomes applicants of all ages from all backgrounds. Your application will be primarily assessed through interview and portfolio review 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 interview 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 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
  • Sound design

Further portfolio advice and tips

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

Your interview

After you apply to study BA Animation at NUA we’ll invite you to an interview on campus or by Skype or telephone, depending on your circumstance.

If you apply by the UCAS deadline of 15 January your interview will usually take place in February. We’ll ask you to prepare your portfolio ready to bring with you or submit online ahead of your interview.

Read our tips for interviews at NUA

Fees and Funding

The cost of your course is determined by your status as either ‘UK/EU’ or ‘International’, so it’s important to check your fee status. If you’re unsure, the UKCISA website will help you determine whether you’re eligible to pay a UK/EU fee (also called a ‘home’ fee). If you’d prefer to speak to NUA directly, please contact

UK/EU students are eligible for a tuition fee loan from the UK government, meaning you won’t have to pay your fees up front. Further details about tuition fee loans are provided below. International students are not eligible for the UK government tuition fee loan.

2020/21 Tuition Fees For New Entrants

Citizen status



UK/EU nationality

Undergraduate degree (full-time three and four year degree)


International (non-EU)

Undergraduate degree (full-time three and four year degree)


Fees will remain the same for each year of your course. 

International students

Find out more about 2020 fees for international students and the support available.

Financial support for UK/EU students

Tuition fee loans and loans for living costs are available, as well as non-repayable NUA bursaries that take into account family income. Find out how to apply for funding.

Tuition Fee Loan for Undergraduate study

Tuition fee loans are available for UK and EU students.

  • Available to cover the full cost of your tuition
  • You don’t have to pay for your course up front yourself
  • Only start paying back when you are earning over £25,725 per year

Maintenance Loan for Undergraduate study – 2020/21

Student Maintenance Loans are available for UK and eligible EU students to help with living costs such as accommodation, food, clothes, travel and course expenses. The amount students receive is dependent on household income and any maintenance grant received.

  • A loan of up to £9,203 may be available if you live away from home.
  • A loan of up to £7,747 may be available if you live with your parents.

How can you find out more?

To learn more about loans, repayment calculations and other financial support, visit Student Finance. If you have any questions about fees, please email


Find out about scholarship programmes available to NUA applicants.


For new entrants whose household income is assessed as £25,000 or less, the university will offer a contribution towards the costs of studying at NUA (such as equipment, materials and other course-related costs). This will be £200 for new entrants to Year 0 and Year 1, rising to £300 in Year 2, followed by £500 in Year 3. Find out more about bursaries at NUA

NUA alumni, staff and feeder staff discount

All NUA alumni are eligible for a £1,000 discount on NUA postgraduate degree fees. All NUA staff and staff from feeder institutions are eligible for a £500 discount on NUA postgraduate degree fees.

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.

Year 0 is a new option for this course in 2020.

*subject to validation

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 

Access to Higher Education Diploma (Art and Design)

International Baccalaureate Diploma
A minimum of 24 points

NUA welcomes applicants of all ages from all backgrounds. Your application will be primarily assessed through interview and portfolio review so even if you have no formal qualifications or do not meet our typical offers it can still be worth applying.

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 of alum Joe Kinch smiling and looking away from camera with short dark swept hair and an open dark hoody

Joe Kinch

"The course focused on a variety of software skills which we used in live briefs, set by animators working for companies such as Baby Cow and Balloon Dog."

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

portrait photo of alum Stephanie and Fiona Dulieu standing next to each other and smiling at camera with long hair and wearing open jumpers

Stephanie & Fiona Dulieu

"The diversity of projects meant we explored lots of different ideas. We used the NUA workshops and software to push our ideas further."

BA (Hons) Animation


  • Millie Woodcock

  • Mhairi Fraser

  • Robin Fuller

  • Barry Leith

  • Robert Ramsden

  • Helen Schroeder

  • Lynsey White

  • Melanie Coombs (Visiting Lecturer)

    Oscar-winning Producer, Melodrama Films
  • Clare Kitson (Visiting Lecturer)

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

    Hollywood Director, Producer of numerous feature films

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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