MA Visual Communication: Illustration & Animation is a broad-based studio programme that offers the freedom to develop your own visual language and strong creative voice. With unique opportunities including internships with our industry partner Hearst Magazines UK, you will develop professional confidence alongside the creative, technical and digital skills essential for careers in the expanding fields of illustration and animation worldwide.

Based in our central Cambridge studios, over the intensive 12-month programme you will develop a strong grounding in research and inquiry as you advance your specialist knowledge. You will be encouraged to experiment with new techniques, media, and technologies, and respond to the new applications, platforms, and spaces in which contemporary illustration and animation are produced and experienced today. Regular workshops will support you to embrace current industry-standard software, giving you the practical and digital tools you need for the creative workplace today - and tomorrow.

Unique Opportunities

This programme offers outstanding specialist tuition combined with extensive academic contact and studio access. As a Master’s student you benefit from:

  • Exclusive access to media and industry expertise, workshops, and internships through partners including Hearst Magazines UK, publisher of titles such as Digital Spy, Esquire, and Elle Decoration.
  • Expert tuition from industry-active professional animators, illustrators and graphic designers with a passion for teaching.
  • Intensive learning experience tailored to your needs and ambitions, with a high level of personalized support and 1:1 tutorial time.
  • Opportunities for work placements or industry mentoring as part of the course.
  • A postgraduate qualification you need to stand out and get ahead.
  • Collaborating with a creative, interdisciplinary and global postgraduate community.
  • Your own iMac and studio workspace, open every day of the week.
  • Industry-standard software including Adobe Creative Cloud and Maxon Cinema 4D.
  • Access to regular Life Drawing in our dedicated drawing studio.
  • A small, supportive and specialist creative arts college in a beautiful, historic and cultural city—a creative hotspot and home to one of the UK’s most dynamic and international student communities.

What to Expect

If you focus on Illustration you will develop understanding and mastery of the design process and work to set briefs, at the same time as developing your own authorial voice and interests through independent projects. You will work in sequential and stand-alone form, and also be encouraged to experiment with moving image to develop the increasingly essential animation skills needed today.

If you focus on Animation, you will develop an understanding of traditional animation techniques and principles, and combine this knowledge with new digital technology in order to build a showreel that highlights your skills as an animator and presents you as a rounded professional.


The course offers opportunities for work experience or mentoring that helps you make industry contacts, build your CV and prepare you for work in a creative agency or studio, as well as freelance illustration and animation. Our collaboration with industry partners including Hearst Magazines UK sets our programme apart. You can apply for an internship with one of their design-led brands to experience editorial design and illustration in print and online, and gain an understanding of the importance of illustrated and animated digital content production in reaching audiences worldwide. Previous students have worked as design interns at Esquire and ELLE. These placements have helped previous students develop lasting professional contacts —and even their first magazine jobs.

Industry insight & live briefs

This insight is further developed through live industry-set briefs which have included a speculative futures illustration project set by award-winning creative agency The District, an editorial brief set by ELLE, and digital content/social media project from Digital Spy. Our programme of Visiting Lecturers has included innovative professionals working at the cutting-edge of this industry—such as political cartoonist and Buzzfeed illustrator Rebecca Hendin and lead motion graphics designer David Tang from NBC Universal.


The course provides students with the experience and expertise to pursue career possibilities in the expanding creative industries in the UK and worldwide across the field of illustration and animation, including freelance work in editorial and book illustration, children’s illustration, public illustration, exhibition and experience design, motion graphics and animation for TV and corporate branding, games design, VFX, editing, 3D modelling, digital content production, as well as independent animated filmmaking or further study.

Resources & Facilities

All students on our MA programmes have access to a wide range of resources to support their studies and the hybrid nature of contemporary practice across art and design including:

  • Industry-standard software including Adobe Creative Cloud, Maxon Cinema 4D.
  • Photography studios and access to a wet darkroom.
  • Digital Media Suite and technical support.
  • Wood, Metal and Ceramics 3D workshops and technical support.
  • Prototype Lab (including 3D printer and laser-cutter).
  • Drawing studio.
  • Industrial sewing machines and technical support from garment technician.
  • Gerber technology.
  • Academic Skills Advisor (available for group and 1:1 tutorials).

In addition to facilities and expertise offered at CSVPA, students have been supported to collaborate with technology experts in Cambridge including engineers at University of Cambridge, Cambridge Makespace, as well as local digital printing industries.


20 years +

Educational Level
Successfully completed an Undergraduate Degree in graphics and illustration, illustration, animation, communication design or a closely related subject.

CSVPA recognizes a wide variety of qualifications and/or relevant experience and encourages applications from all people, with a demonstrable interest and experience in their subject. Applications without the qualifications or disciplinary background identified above but who demonstrate relevant experience, necessary skills and intellectual achievement needed to succeed on the course will be considered. Equivalent experience must be evidenced through the additional submission of a professional CV.

In some cases, students may be required to complete a Graduate Diploma.

English Level
IELTS 6.5+ (no element under 5.5)

Portfolio & Personal Statement
A portfolio demonstrating appropriate skills, research and prior experience of the subject.
A Personal Statement that tells us about you, your approach to practice, and your ambitions and aspirations for the future.

September to September

Course Length
3 semesters

Falmouth University

Contact Time
Up to 15 hours per week

English Language
Up to 5 hours per week if required

Personal Statement

Please submit a short statement (300-400 words), telling us about yourself, your previous experience and your approach to creative practice. Please include:

  • Reasons for applying to our MA course.
  • Experience and skills. What were you doing before?
  • Your approach to art/design practice. What inspires, informs and influences what you do—and why?
  • Your goals. What do you hope to get out of the MA?
  • Your long-term ambitions. How do you think the postgraduate study will help you develop a career in the creative industries?

Program taught in:

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This course is Campus based
Start Date
3 semesters
22,920 GBP
Home/EU: £13,500 / International students: £22,920
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