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Animation BA (Hons)

  • Level(s) of Study: Undergraduate
  • UCAS Code(s): W213
  • Start Date(s): September 2023
  • Duration: 3 year(s)
  • Study Mode(s): Full-time
  • Campus: City Campus
  • Entry Requirements:
    More information

Introduction:

The UK's animation industry is a global success, so there's never been a better time to start your career in this field.

As an ambitious storyteller and creative thinker, you’ll explore all aspects of 2D and 3D animation on this innovative degree course. We'll equip you with the critical and technical skills required to become an animator, engaging in every aspect of animation production while gaining knowledge of animation history and context.

You’ll explore the different areas of animation through studio practice, academic research, and independent study. By the end of the course you’ll have developed  project work and films that build into a professional show reel tailored to your own career aspirations, ready to launch your career .

  • You’ll have the opportunity to complete a work experience placement of up to a year in length. Dependent on the duration of your placement, you could gain an additional Diploma or Certificate in Professional Practice.
  • Study the broadest range of disciplines from course staff with expertise in drawing for animation, storyboarding, 2D and 3D character animation, experimental animation, visual development, previs, lookdev, story development, production and direction.
  • Develop your professional skills through self-initiated work experience placements, industry competitions, collaborations with organisations and guest lectures.
  • During your time here, you will be given the opportunity to showcase your work to members of the creative industries. You may also be selected to showcase your work at international film festivals, such as the Annecy International Animated Film Festival.

Course accreditation

This course is industry recognised by ScreenSkills, the industry-led skills body for the UK's screen-based industries, and carries the ScreenSkills Select quality-mark which indicates courses best suited to prepare students for a career in the screen industries.

  • Creative Skillset logo

What you’ll study

This course will give you the technical, intellectual, creative and professional skills you’ll need to work successfully within the industry both nationally and internationally. Beginning with the principles of animation, you will learn how to animate in digital 2D and 3D. You will study drawing for storyboarding and visual development in a progressive, systematic way. This includes character and environment design, 3D production workflow, acting for animators and all stages of animation production.

Animation Principles

(100 credit points)

Animation Principles  will introduce you to the core concepts, principles, and foundational skills of animation practice. Studio-based seminars, tutorials and self-directed research aims to stimulate your intellectual curiosity and begin to realise your individual creative identity through short-duration, hands-on investigative exercises, to prepare you for animation production. At the end of each term you will have a body of work that evidences your engagement, understanding and achievement in the animation concepts and processes undertaken.

Animation Studies I

(20 credit points)

Animation  Studies I explores animation and film’s relationships with their audiences and how visual storytelling is performed through the formal elements of the medium: mise-en-scène, composition, camera, editing, and sound. In this module you will be introduced to the power of animation and its influence on audiences. A series of screenings will provide you with a broad overview of current and historical approaches to visual storytelling. You will explore animation’s relationship with its audience through formal communication and storytelling techniques. The purpose of the module is to develop your awareness of methods of original invention, broaden your artistic outlook, and hone your academic skills.

Animation Studio

(60 credit points)

Animation Studio aims to progress your character animation and visual development skills in your chosen technique, work collaboratively on a client-led live brief and produce an animated short. Additionally, you will be able to choose between discovering new ways to produce 2D animation for children’s content or going deeper into 3D workflow.

Animation Studies II

(20 credit points)

Animation  Studies II aims to develop a deeper understanding of the theories, ideas and cultural contexts that relate to and surround animation, its location in the world and its relationship to its audiences. This is explored through lectures, screenings, group discussions, workshops, and offsite visits.

CoLab: Research, Exploration and Risk-taking

(20 credit points)

Through active participation with team-based problem-solving, you will work together in mixed teams on a project where you will use your creative ideas to generate solutions to the challenge or brief. Your project will allow you to explore how creativity can make an impact in society, as you choose a theme of sustainability, social justice, enterprise and innovation or community. This collaborative learning experience will expose you to a range of new processes and approaches that will develop your creative thinking.

Optional module

You will also choose one optional 20-credit module from:

  • 3D Materials and Exploration
  • Storyboarding: Visualising the story, enhancing the narrative
  • Character Ideation
  • Experimental Animation
  • Telling Stories
  • Model Making: Object and Narrative
  • Motion Graphics

Animation Specialist Project

(100 credit points)

Work  developed in this module will become the core of your portfolio, resulting in the completion of a short film and reel or a specialist body of work and reel. Projects provide freedom to develop an authorial voice within short animated film form, further realising your design, motion and narrative ideas, or will allow you to develop an industry-ready body of work in an animation specialisation. You will be encouraged to develop work that represents genuine original storytelling, whether in a film or specialist pathway. In support of your practice you will reflect upon and evaluate your creative process, looking towards positioning yourself within the animation or associated industries.

Animation Studies III

(20 credit points)

Further develop your understanding of animation theories, ideas and cultural contexts, exploring and researching ideas that will inform your work for the Animation Specialist Project, and beyond career beyond graduation.

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

Student Profiles

Zita Mosolygo

Animation

While the focus is on animation, we learn about so many other aspects of the animation pipeline from stages in pre-production such as storyboarding and character design, to post-production work like editing and adding visual effects.

James Hodgkinson

Animation

If you’re looking to study Animation as a degree, look no further than NTU. You will not find a university with the same passion, facilities and creative freedom that we have here.

Esmeralda Van Bree

Animation

I feel part of a community where we all share the same passion for animation and design.

Gabi Germain

I was blown away by how friendly the lecturers were and how excited they were about animation, it made me feel like I was in the right place for me.

Video Gallery

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How you’re taught

Teaching and learning experiences will include:

  • lectures and briefings
  • studio workshops
  • seminars
  • tutorials
  • peer and self-evaluations
  • verbal and visual presentations
  • teamwork
  • live projects
  • study trips
  • personal development planning.

Collaboration across courses

This course offers our new innovative collaboration module. This gives you the opportunity to work collaboratively with your contemporaries from a range of different art and design subjects and beyond. You’ll be working alongside artists, designers, photographers, illustrators, animators, and filmmakers on daring and creative projects that prepare you for a rewarding career in your chosen industry. Your project will allow you to explore how creativity can make an impact in society, as you choose a theme of sustainability, social justice, enterprise and innovation or community.

Exchange opportunities

If you’re thinking about studying part of your degree abroad, the course has exchange agreements with a number of institutions around the world.

Exchanges take place in Year Two of the course. You’ll receive guidance from the University about where you can study, and help in completing your application and arranging your exchange.

Showcase

You will be given the opportunity to exhibit your work during your time at NTU to members of the creative industries. Visit our ‘We Are Creatives’ showcase to take a look at the work of this year's graduating students’.

You’ll also have the opportunity to be selected to exhibit your work at international film festivals, such as the Annecy International Animated Film Festival.

Contact hours

  • Year 1 lectures/seminars/workshops (21%), independent study (79%).
  • Year 2 lectures/seminars/workshops (23%), independent study (77%).
  • Year 3 lectures/seminars/workshops (23%), independent study (77%).

Further information

  • You'll have access to industry-standard equipment and software such as Maya, TVPaint, CelAction2D, ZBrush and Adobe CC.
  • NTU is in the UK’s Top 15 for Art & Design in the Complete University Guide 2023 (Ranked 15th).

Staff Profiles

Jeremy Moorshead

Principal Lecturer

Nottingham School of Art & Design

Principal Lecturer in Film and Animation with oversight of the BA (Hons) and MA Animation Courses and the BA (Hons) Filmmaking course, and teaching on Animation modules.

Andrew Love

Senior Lecturer

Nottingham School of Art & Design

Andy is the course leader of the BA (Hons) Animation course, Andy is primarily a 3D Animator and character artist specializing in the areas of character design and modelling for

Jemma Gilboy

Senior Lecturer

Nottingham School of Art & Design

Dr Jemma Gilboy is a Senior Lecturer on and Module leader for the Animation Studies modules on the BA (Hons) Animation course at Nottingham Trent University. Prior to joining Nottingham…

Debra Smith

Senior Lecturer

Nottingham School of Art & Design

Debra joined NTU’s animation team in September 2016, having taught at Kingston University, the Kent Institute of Art & Design, and most recently for 17 years at Savannah College of

Robert Szczerba

Senior Lecturer

Nottingham School of Art & Design

Rob Szczerba Senior Lecturer in Animation Nottingham Trent University NTU teaching on the BA (Hons) and MA Animation Courses.

David Downes

Senior Lecturer

Nottingham School of Art & Design

How you’re assessed

  • Year 1 coursework (100%).
  • Year 2 coursework (100%).
  • Year 3 coursework (100%).
  • Assessment is 100% through coursework. You will receive feedback throughout each module and will be awarded a grade.

    Depending on the module, you may be assessed through:

  • Drawing development
  • 2D and 3D animation exercises
  • 2D visual research and design development
  • 3D development work
  • animation pre-production and production
  • collaborative working
  • portfolio work
  • reports and evaluations
  • essays
  • 20% of your final degree mark will be based on your work in Year 2, and 80% from your work in your final year.

Careers and employability

Employability is a key focus of this course, with modules including initiatives such as live projects and trips, and the opportunity to exhibit your work, which will help to raise your profile and enhance your future career.

This course will prepare you to work in the digital media field, in areas such as feature film animation, VFX, children’s television, heritage interpretation, advertising, and games production.

You’ll also develop transferable skills for alternative careers in media, freelance design, illustration, motion graphics, teaching and academia.

Connecting with industry and work placement opportunities

Industry professionals will visit the course to guest lecture and share their experiences. Live projects and competitions will help you to gain real experience of the industry, make contacts, and build your portfolio and CV.

You’ll be encouraged to undertake short periods of work experience alongside your studies. You will normally complete these placements during holiday periods, but you will have the option of taking up to two weeks out of term time, which you can negotiate with your tutor.

In addition, you’ll also have the opportunity to complete a longer work experience or placement, with the chance to gain an additional Diploma or Certificate in Professional Practice, dependent on duration. Course tutors and our Employability team are on hand to support you in applying for placement and professional practice opportunities.

YouFirst – working with our Employability team

Studying a creative degree in a large university has many benefits, none more so than having access to a large 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 for up to three years after completing your course.

Creative Industries Federation

We are members of the Creative Industries Federation (CIF), which means students in the Nottingham School of Art & Design have the opportunity to sign up to free student membership. Creative Industries Federation are an organisation that represents, champions and supports the UK’s creative industries and membership grants students exclusive access to their selection of resources and events to help advance your career and connect with industry.

NTU is in the UK’s Top 15 for Art & Design in the Complete University Guide 2023.

Campus and facilities

Our animation facilities are based in the Waverley building – a beautifully restored, listed building with real design heritage – the original home of the Nottingham School of Art. View our School of Art & Design Facilities Hub here.

Entry requirements

112 UCAS Tariff points

What are we looking for?

  • A-levels – BBC; or
  • BTEC Extended Diploma – DMM; or
  • 104 - 112 UCAS Tariff points from up to four qualifications (two of which must be A-level equivalent).
  • GCSE English and Maths grade C / 4.

To find out what qualifications have tariff points, please use our tariff calculator.

Other requirements

Other qualifications and experience

We may also consider credits achieved at other universities and your work/life experience through an assessment of prior learning.

This may be for year one entry, or beyond the beginning of a course where applicable, for example, into year 2. Our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy outlines the process and options available for this route.

Contextual offers

A lower offer may be made based on a range of factors, including your background (such as where you live and the school or college you attended), your experiences and individual circumstances (you may have been in care, for example). This is called a contextual offer and we get data from UCAS to make these decisions. NTU offers a student experience like no other and this approach helps us to find students who have the potential to succeed here but who may have faced barriers that make it more difficult to access university. Find out how we assess your application.

Getting in touch

If you need more help or information, get in touch through our enquiry form.

  • 112 UCAS Tariff points from up to four qualifications

International qualifications 

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

Undergraduate preparation courses (Foundation)

If you don’t yet meet our entry requirements, we offer Foundation 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:

Advanced standing (starting your undergraduate degree in year 2 or 3)

You may be able to start your undergraduate course in year 2 or 3 based on what you have studied before.  This decision would be made in accordance with our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy.

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

Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there's no need to feel anxious and confused about it. We hope that our fees and funding pages will answer all your questions.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service.

Tel: +44 (0)115 848 2494

What's included in the course fees?

The School will cover the costs of any mandatory study trips.

In your final year, the Nottingham School of Art & Design will provide infrastructure costs for the Showcase.

Additional costs

Print and copy costs

The University allocates an annual printing and copying allowance of £20 depending on the course you are studying. For more details about costs for additional print and copying required over and above the annual allowance please see the Printing, photocopying and scanning information on the Library website.

Material costs

Depending on the materials you choose to work with, you should budget around £100 per year (minimum) for production costs associated to your course, including things like your final year project.

Stationery and reading materials

Most study modules will recommend one or more core textbooks, which most students choose to purchase. Book costs vary between courses and further information is available in the University’s bookshop, Blackwell’s.

A good supply of these essential text books are available in the University libraries, which students can easily borrow or access on-line/directly whilst studying in the library. You should budget £100 per year (minimum) for stationery and reading materials.

Although this is not a requirement for entry on the course or for successful study, once you have joined the course, some students choose to buy a laptop. Costs for this can vary depending on the technique you want to work in and the subsequent computer specification. If you do wish to purchase a computer, we advise you to wait until the course starts so that you can take advice on the specs needed for the work you are doing.  You should expect to pay between £800-£1,500.

As part of your studies, you’ll need to store large quantities of data and we recommend you budget £70 for a rugged 1TB portable hard drive.

Field trips

All essential field trip costs will be included in your course fees. There may be the opportunity to take part in optional field trips, which do incur additional costs.

If you choose to join an optional UK study trip, you’ll need to budget around £50 per year (minimum). If you choose to join an optional international study trip, you’ll need to budget £500 per year (minimum).

Placements

If you're undertaking a placement year, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst on placement. Many of our placement students do earn a salary whilst on placement which can help to cover these living costs.

If you undertake work experience or a longer placement, you will have the chance to gain an additional Certificate or Diploma in Professional Practice, dependent on duration.  The Diploma in Professional Practice incurs a fee for the additional placement year.

Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there's no need to feel anxious and confused about it. We hope that our fees and funding pages will answer all your questions.

You might be able to get a scholarship to help fund your studies. We award scholarships to those international students who can demonstrate excellent achievement, passion, and dedication to their studies.

Please take a look at our International students page for information about fees, scholarships for international students, visas and much more.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service.

Tel: +44 (0)115 848 2494

What's included in the course fees?

The School will cover the costs of any mandatory study trips.

In your final year, the Nottingham School of Art & Design will provide infrastructure costs for the Showcase.

Additional costs

Print and copy costs

The University allocates an annual printing and copying allowance of £20 depending on the course you are studying. For more details about costs for additional print and copying required over and above the annual allowance please see the Printing, photocopying and scanning information on the Library website.

Material costs

Depending on the materials you choose to work with, you should budget around £100 per year (minimum) for production costs associated to your course, including things like your final year project.

Stationery and reading materials

Most study modules will recommend one or more core textbooks, which most students choose to purchase. Book costs vary between courses and further information is available in the University’s bookshop, Blackwell’s.

A good supply of these essential text books are available in the University libraries, which students can easily borrow or access on-line/directly whilst studying in the library. You should budget £100 per year (minimum) for stationery and reading materials.

Although this is not a requirement for entry on the course or for successful study, once you have joined the course, some students choose to buy a laptop. Costs for this can vary depending on the technique you want to work in and the subsequent computer specification. If you do wish to purchase a computer, we advise you to wait until the course starts so that you can take advice on the specs needed for the work you are doing.  You should expect to pay between £800-£1,500.

As part of your studies, you’ll need to store large quantities of data and we recommend you budget £70 for a rugged 1TB portable hard drive.

Field trips

All essential field trip costs will be included in your course fees. There may be the opportunity to take part in optional field trips, which do incur additional costs.

If you choose to join an optional UK study trip, you’ll need to budget around £50 per year (minimum). If you choose to join an optional international study trip, you’ll need to budget £500 per year (minimum).

Placements

If you're undertaking a placement year, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst on placement. Many of our placement students do earn a salary whilst on placement which can help to cover these living costs.

If you undertake work experience or a longer placement, you will have the chance to gain an additional Certificate or Diploma in Professional Practice, dependent on duration.  The Diploma in Professional Practice incurs a fee for the additional placement year.

How to apply

Apply through UCAS.

We will ask you to provide a digital portfolio. Visit our webpage which has some advice on what to include to help make your portfolio stand out. After you have submitted your portfolio, we may also invite you to an online interview to help us make our final decision.

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please email our Admissions team or call +44 (0)115 848 4200.

You can apply for this course through UCAS. If you are not applying to any other UK universities, you can apply directly to us on 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.

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.