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Animation MA

  • Level(s) of Study: Postgraduate taught
  • Start Date(s): September 2023
  • Duration: 1 year (45 weeks)
  • Study Mode(s): Full-time
  • Campus: City Campus
  • Entry Requirements:
    More information


MA Animation is a taught MA, with equal value placed on developing your authorial voice, unique vision and creative originality, alongside your advanced technical skills and professional practice development

Our course will provide you with the opportunity to develop specialist skills and knowledge, through research and focused study, to enhance your understanding of the subject area and support your future employment goals.

The course will allow you to develop a distinct visual language to enhance animated storytelling for a specific target audience. You will also get the opportunity to evidence, articulate and evaluate your own creative process when responding to creative challenges and briefs.

Optional workshops to support your skills development and understanding of software, production processes and practice, are offered throughout Terms 1 and 2. Workshops cover a breadth of subjects, including; Animating in 3D, 2D and Stop-motion, 3D Modelling, sculpting, texturing and lighting, 2D character design, concept art and storyboarding, there are also life drawing sessions available.

Throughout the course, you will have the opportunity to both work individually, and also as part of a wider creative group. There is both a strong emphasis on self-directed study and independent learning, delivering the opportunity for you to express your own interests within the course – and also the course provides the basis to demonstrate qualities, attitudes and behaviours of working creatively as part of a creative collective.

  • Opt for an additional research module if you’re thinking of progressing to PhD or Professional Doctorate study
  • Attend lectures held by industry professionals from leading animation studios and take advantage of our extensive industry links
  • Develop a project tailored to your own personal interests and career aspirations and visit animation festivals in the UK and Europe
  • 83% of NTU's research submitted to the 'Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory' Unit of Assessment was assessed to be world-leading or internationally excellent in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021.

What you’ll study

The main focus of the course will be on the exploration and refinement of your skills. Develop content specific to your research area, as well as attending contextual lectures in which you’ll investigate global animation history, theory and practice. This course will prepare you for a career in a commercial production studio, in games production or feature animation. Additionally, you may choose to work in visual effects production or as an independent filmmaker.

Term 1

Culture and Collaboration: Required

(20 Credits)

On this module, you will develop an advanced level of understanding of the wider cultural context for current and future work. You will gain skills in research, analysis, idea generation, critical thinking, communication, and presentation. During the module, you will collaborate across the school on a negotiated theme relevant to current debates which relate to art & design theory and practice to produce a selected outcome contributing to a collective festival of ideas.

Summative Assessment end of Term 1: Negotiated output - a contribution to a Festival of Ideas

Animation Aesthetics and Practice: Required

(40 Credits)

This module will develop an understanding of your own practice and how it is situated within the wider context of animation. You will explore visual and motion aesthetics and the synthesis of different artistic forms to inform your animation practice. This will position you in preparation for their major project.

Summative Assessment end of Term 1: A negotiated output – visual outcomes, a reflective statement

Term 2

Professional Futures: Optional

(20 credit points)

This optional module is offered to all students on our Visual Communications courses. This module aims to provide you with the space to explore and share ideas, future gazing professional opportunities in visual communications. You will collaborate with students from all subject areas in visual communications and will form cross-disciplinary debate and discussion in relation to employment, enterprise, and innovation.

Summative Assessment end of Term 2: Project/ Poster summarising findings

Advancing Research Design: Optional

(20 Credits)

This multi-disciplinary module provides an explorative platform for you to use as the basis for further research-based study or if you want to extend your knowledge of research methods and methodologies to enhance your future professional practice, or you are considering progression to PhD level study.

Summative Assessment end of Term 2: Negotiated written and visual output

Terms 2 and 3

Masters Personal Project: Required

(100 credit points)

This module will allow you to undertake a project to reflect your own voice demonstrating your creativity, ideas and develop technical skills in support of your professional practice, within a global context.

Summative Assessment end of Term 3: Negotiated output

Don’t just take our word for it, hear from our students themselves

Student Profiles

MA Animation Kate Muldowney


How you’re taught

Teaching and learning experiences will include:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • seminars
  • inductions
  • workshops
  • study visits
  • e-learning
  • self-directed research
  • independent studio practice

Find out when our postgraduate term dates for the Nottingham School of Art & Design are. Please note that these are slightly different to other Schools within the University.


Assessment is 100% by coursework. there is a Formative Assessment throughout the course with a Summative submission for each module.

Examples of assessed work are as follows:

  • Visual or written outcomes from the module
  • A verbal presentation that articulates and summarizes your work
  • A written reflective
  • Outcomes from experimentation and self-directed study
  • Research and practice-informed reflective journal
  • A professionally produced portfolio
  • Proessional development materials (e.g. an edited reel, CV, cover letter)
  • The outcome from your personal project

Further information

· Work with fellow students, practitioners and academic staff from different cultures and backgrounds

· We are proud to be ranked 13th in the UK for Art and Design (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021).

The Research Excellence Framework (REF)

By daring to think differently our research is tackling real-world issues. The subjects you will study with us are informed by our research so you can be sure your knowledge will be cutting-edge in your field. In the last Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021) - the UK's system for assessing the quality and impact of research in universities - 83% of our research in Art and Design was assessed to be world-leading or internationally excellent.

Careers and employability

Career Prospects

The course promotes industry research and networking to establish relationships with relevant animation companies. Students will leave with a body of work that reflects their skills and currency to potential employers.

This course leads to a wide range of potential careers that include storyboard artist; character designer; environment and prop designer; pre-visualisation artist; CG modeller; 2D and 3D animator; stop-motion animator; and experimental animator.

You also have the opportunity to enter into a diverse industry including feature and televisual production, advertising, games production and independent production, through to more peripheral digital media industries such as architectural pre-visualisation.

Some graduates also use this course to support careers in teaching, lecturing and journalism, or to progress on to MPhil or PhD study.

Connections with Industry

You’ll be encouraged and supported to undertake internships and attend events held by the School’s Employability team and other organisations. You’ll also be encouraged to undertake research into animation production companies and associated industries.

You’ll benefit from talks given by visiting professionals, which will cover a wide range of creative and professional practice.

Prestigious guest lecturers may include the likes of:

  • Nexus Studios
  • Aardman Animation
  • Finger Industries
  • Jellyfish Pictures
  • Astley Baker Studio
  • Entertainment One

Additionally, you’ll have the opportunity to network with industry professionals during trips to both national and international animation festivals.

In the second and third term, there will be advice and support to help you prepare career materials, including editing your strongest visual work into a reel, compiling a CV and cover letter, interview practice, and producing an online portfolio resource (such as a website).

We’ll invite you to submit your work to be considered for exhibition at New Designers, a prestigious graduate design show in London, and other subject and student-run initiatives at the University and across Nottingham.


Explore our showcase ‘We Are Creatives’ - celebrating the work of the Nottingham School of Art & Design students. You will find a sneak peak of some of our students’ work and gain a real insight into what it’s like to be part of the NTU creative community at

YouFirst – working with our Employability Team

Our friendly, experienced careers consultants will work closely with you at every stage of your career planning, providing personal support and advice you won't find in a book or on the internet. You can benefit from this at any time during your studies and up to three years after completing your course.

Re:search Re:imagined

To us, research is about more than writing papers and proposing new ideas. By daring to think differently, we’re disrupting the research landscape and finding the answers to the questions that really matter. From electronic textiles to the history of lace, we’re inspiring the brightest minds to rise up and find solutions to some of the most significant global challenges facing society.

Find out more:

Campus and facilities

You’ll be based in the Waverley building – a beautifully restored listed building with real design heritage, and the original home of the Nottingham School of Art. Our City Campus is right in the heart of Nottingham city centre. You’ll also have access to specialist resources across the Nottingham School of Art & Design and wider University.

Explore all our facilities in the Nottingham School of Art & Design Facilities Hub.

Entry requirements

What are we looking for?

  • 2.2 honours degree in a related subject.
  • Applicants with non-standard entry qualifications and / or relevant work experience will be considered on an individual basis.

Other requirements:

NTU may admit a student with advanced standing beyond the beginning of a course, through an assessment of that student's prior learning, whether it is certificated or uncertificated. Our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy outlines the process and options available to these prospective students, such as recognising experiential learning or transferring to a similar course at another institution, otherwise known as credit transfer.

All prospective students who wish to apply via Recognition of Prior Learning should initially contact the central Admissions and Enquiries Team who will be able to support you through the process.

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please contact us at Ask NTU or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200.

You will need one of the following:

  • Bachelors degree grade 2.2 or equivalent qualification.

International qualifications 

We accept qualifications from all over the world – check yours here:

Postgraduate preparation courses (Pre-Masters)

If you don’t yet meet our entry requirements, we offer Pre-Masters courses through our partner Nottingham Trent International College (NTIC), based on our City Campus:

English language entry requirements 

You can meet our language requirements by successfully completing our pre-sessional English course for an agreed length of time, or by submitting the required grade in one of our accepted English language tests, such as IELTS:

Would you like some advice on your study plans? 

Our international teams are highly experienced in answering queries from students all over the world. We also have members of staff based in Vietnam, China, India and Nigeria and work with a worldwide network of education counsellors.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for 2023

Mode of study

Home tuition fee

Student fee


Fee amounts are per year and will increase each year in line with inflation, capped at no more than 5%.

Alumni Loyalty Scheme - 20% fee discount

We're happy to be able to offer a 20% fee discount to most current NTU students and recent NTU graduates.
See if you're eligible.

Postgraduate loans

The government introduced a new postgraduate loans scheme in the 2016/17 academic year for Masters degrees. The loan will be a contribution towards the costs of study and it will be at the student's discretion to use the loan towards fees, maintenance costs or other costs.


We are offering a number of scholarships for Masters study.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service on
+44 (0)115 848 2494.

Find out more about our terms and conditions of study for this course.

Tuition fees for 2023

Mode of study

International tuition fee

Student fee


How to apply

Ready to join us? Then apply as soon as you can. Just click the Apply button at the top of the page and follow the instructions for applying.

Application deadline

You can apply for this course throughout the year, but we'd recommend that applications should be received by the end of July for entry in September.

Examples of work

In order for us to consider your application, we need you to submit examples of your practical work. Please upload these as part of your online application.

For full details on what we require, please read our Masters Work Submission information.

Writing your application

Be honest, thorough and persuasive in your application. Remember, we can only make a decision based on what you tell us. Make sure you include as much information as possible, including uploading evidence of results already achieve, as well as a personal statement.

Keeping up to date

After you've applied, we'll be sending you important emails throughout the application process - so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

You can get more information and advice about applying to NTU in our postgraduates' guide. Here you'll find advice about how to write a good personal statement and much more.

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please contact us at Ask NTU or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200.

Apply online through our NTU applicant portal.

Application advice

Apply early so that you have enough time to prepare – processing times for Student visas can vary, for example.  After you've applied, we'll be sending you important emails throughout the application process – so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

Writing your personal statement

Be honest, thorough, and persuasive – we can only make a decision about your application based on what you tell us:

Your portfolio 

If your initial application is successful, you may be asked to upload a portfolio of your work and you may also be asked to attend an interview.

Portfolio advice

Would you like some advice on your study plans? 

Our international teams are highly experienced in answering queries from students all over the world. We also have members of staff based in Vietnam, China, India and Nigeria and work with a worldwide network of education counsellors.

The University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.