Study at the World's number one ranked art and design university for five consecutive years (2015-2019) in the QS World University Subject Rankings.

About the Programme

The Animation programme is a world leader in practice and research, with a commitment to broadening the understanding of our complex discipline. Established over 30 years ago, the programme has an international reputation that places it at the forefront of the discipline. Within the programme, there are three distinct pathways: Documentary Animation, Experimental Animation and Narrative Animation, one of which students select as part of their application.

The programme’s location within a visually sophisticated, multidisciplinary art and design school, rather than a film school, is crucial in the development of creative and critical thinking, research skills and expanded discipline expertise that’s applied to ideas, styles, genres and technological approaches. Both the MA and research degrees attract artists and makers from a broad background of disciplines: science, maths, architecture, literature, art history, computing and fine art, as well as communication.

We offer a unique learning and teaching environment, developing the creativity and skills required in an age of rapid cultural and technological change. Our students contribute to this expanding and maturing field of moving image, with core skills centred around directing, narrative and production. We offer an exceptionally stimulating multi-disciplinary environment, complemented by the College’s award-winning programmes in art and design.

The curriculum allows students to explore the creative slip between diverse forms of moving image: animation, documentary, fiction, process and interactivity. Through innovative, practical research and an understanding of different contexts, traditions and histories, students learn through a potent combination of workshops, lectures and tutorials, while developing their own practice, individually and collaboratively.

Leading practitioners on the programme bring a wide range of practice and research, their excellence of teaching supported by a wide variety of visiting established filmmakers/artists of international reputation. Recent visiting artists have included Stephen Quay, Suzan Pitt, David O’Reilly, John Smith, Nina Sabnani, Hiraki Sawa, Peter Blegvad, Asif Kapadia, Philip Hunt, Nick Park and Jonathan Hodgson.

The Animation programme has a world-leading research environment, attracting funding from, among others, the Arts & Humanities Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, and the Medical Research Council.

Students are encouraged to develop a critical discourse around their subject, as well as building on and challenging notions within their own personal areas of interest or specialism. The programme has an ongoing relationship with the most successful and innovative sectors of the UK animation industry – Blink, Nexus, Studio AKA, Passion Pictures and Hornet – which allows students’ work to be placed within a wider professional context.

The programme offers excellent facilities supported by knowledgeable technical staff, including shooting studios for stop-frame/green screen, sound recording/mixing, digital and film cameras/editing, Cintiqs and an individual desk space for each student in mixed studios within the School of Communication.

The MA programme and research degrees offer a holistic environment that prepares animation artists for a number of roles within the gallery- and industry-based animated filmmaking and provides innovators for the animation professions.

Current students and graduates continue to have a ‘real-world’ impact on animation, pushing the forefront of the practice and producing innovative and highly accomplished work. Much of this has been demonstrated through the accolades bestowed on the programme, as well as by individual student achievement through winning awards such as 5 BAFTAs, the Royal Television Society, the Adobe Achievement Award, and Jerwood Moving Image Drawing Prizes. Exhibitions in museums and galleries worldwide, together with film screenings at festivals and broadcast licenses with television and Internet channels, allow students to increases their professional profile.

MA Entrance Requirements

Candidates for all MA programmes are assessed on their existing qualities as demonstrated in their work and in their interview, as well as on their potential to benefit from the programme and to achieve MA standards overall. The assessment will consider creativity, imagination and innovation evident in the work; ability to articulate the intentions of the work; intellectual engagement in relevant areas; appropriate technical skills; and overall interview performance, including the oral use of English.

The programme selects a challenging range of students each year to facilitate cross-pollination between different and engaging means of expression through animation and moving image.

Applicants are normally expected to have a degree in art and design or equivalent experience.

Applicants must submit a selection of their moving image work, no longer than 15 minutes, demonstrating their aptitude for sequential thinking and directing abilities. Your particular role on any collaborative projects should be clearly indicated. The admissions board prefers to see complete films to demonstrate your directorial potential rather than edited clips. Select your work carefully to demonstrate your strengths and indicate the direction you would like to develop.

A digital portfolio of support work demonstrating other aspects of your ideas and skills, which may include 3D objects, drawings, photographs, scripts, storyboards, etc., is helpful in the selection process. A shortlist of applicants for an interview will be made from the portfolio submission.

If you are invited for an interview, then you may bring additional material and original artwork and/or models.

The profile of successful applicants to the programme is diverse and includes those with a background in science and architecture as well as those from animation, visual communication, documentary and fine art. This reflects the expanded nature of animation as a subject area, as well as the changing production methods, drawing scientists and artists closer together through shared interests and developing the technology.

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Last updated March 12, 2019
This course is Campus based
Start Date
2 years
19,000 GBP
Tuition fees in 2018/19 - Overseas: £28,400 per annum (£56,800 total fee); UK/EU: £9,500 per annum (£19,000 total fee); Channel Islands and Isle of Man £14,200 (£28,400 total fee).
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