BA (Hons) Animation - University of Portsmouth
A Gold rating in teaching excellence Read more
BA (Hons)


UCAS codeW615

full time3yrs

placement option1yr

Develop a technical and creative focus suitable for the animation industry

Course Overview

Why take this course?

If you fancy yourself as a concept creator, storyteller, designer, artist or animator with an eye for visual quality, then this course may be of interest.

It combines the artistic and creative aspects of animation with the required practical and technical expertise. Our course also enables you to specialise in an area of your choice.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Be involved in the production of the University’s own feature length film
  • Go on visual research trips with the animation production team
  • Benefit from the expertise of our staff who have had previous experience on a vast array of films from Lord of the Rings to Harry Potter and Narnia franchises
  • Visit out course blog to find out more

What opportunities might it lead to?

On this course you will develop strong creative and technical abilities in character animation, visual storytelling, compositing and editing. These skills are specifically tailored to enable you to find employment within the entertainment sector, wherever your strengths lie.

Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:

  • visual art
  • modelling
  • animation
  • compositing
  • publishing
  • directing


Mihaela Pavel, First Year BA (Hons) Animation student 2017

The main reason I chose the course is the outstanding facilities available. The faculty has a motion capture studio, enabling students to get a taste of the actual industry. I definitely believe the University of Portsmouth is the right choice for me.

Mihaela Pavel, First Year BA (Hons) Animation student 2017


Art and Design

Find out what our students say about studying at Portsmouth, including:

  • The creative atmosphere that encourages students to explore their own interests and ideas
  • The excellent facilities which you will have access to
  • Exhibiting, curating and promoting your work, preparing you for future employment

Browse all courses in Art and Design

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Structure & Teaching

Year one

In your first year you will study core elements of the animation production process and develop 2D and 3D software skills alongside the more traditional hand-drawn animation.

Core units in this year include:

  • Animation Principles
  • Animation Production
  • Animation Production Process
  • Introduction to Visual Research for Animation
  • Meaning and Representation
  • Narrative

Year two

As the course progresses, you will develop a more in-depth knowledge of particular skills in designing and producing character animation, visual storytelling, compositing and editing. Creative teamwork on projects also gives you the opportunity to identify your individual strengths.

Core units in this year include:

  • Advanced Visual Research for Animation
  • Production Contexts
  • Sound and Visualisation
  • Group Project Production

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Cartoon Animation
  • Character Animation
  • Professional Experience
  • Student Enterprise

Year three*

Your third year enables you to focus on specific aspects of the production process. You can also further develop your own particular strengths within a team project and a self-elected final project/dissertation combo allowing you to study an animation-related subject in depth.

Core units in this year include:

  • Employment Preparation
  • Major Project Animation
  • Written Project

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Advanced 2D Animation
  • Advanced 3D Animation
  • Advanced Pre-Production Methods
  • Advanced Visual Effects and Environments
  • Create Worlds
  • Motion Capture Applications
  • Industry Work Placement
  • Interdisciplinary Group Project

We use the best and most current research and professional practice, alongside feedback from our students, to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.

*This course is also available as a 4-year sandwich (work placement)

Placement year

Between the second and third years of study you will have the option to undertake a work placement year. There are two exciting options for the placement year:

We offer a range of salaried professional placements as part of your degree.  You can gain invaluable work experience to help you prepare for your graduate employment.  The University can provide you with advice on how to secure a work placement that matches both the needs of your degree and your future career plans, as well as giving you useful links and contacts.

Interested in running your own business instead? We also offer students the chance to start-up and run their own company for a year as an alternative to the traditional work-based placement. Students who choose this option often start-up their companies with fellow, like-minded students, working together, as a bona fide operation, in an attempt to build a successful venture. The Faculty and University provide mentoring and support throughout the year.

To find out more visit our Employability and Enterprise page.


A variety of engaging teaching methods are offered – workshops, lectures, projects and seminars, as well as individual tutorials. There is also emphasis on production processes such as computer animation, modelling, rigging and rendering.

The time you spend in teaching activities may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year typically spent their time as follows:

  • Year one students: 24% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 76% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year two students: 23% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 77% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year three students: 16% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 84% studying independently and 0% on work placement


There are no exams on this course and learning becomes more independent as the course progresses. Here’s how we assess your work:

  • written coursework
  • creative design group projects
  • self-led projects from initial concept to finished product
  • showreel and portfolio
  • a 10,000-word dissertation

The way you’re assessed may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year one students: 0% by written exams, 0% by practical exams and 100% by coursework
  • Year two students: 0% by written exams, 17% by practical exams and 83% by coursework
  • Year three students: 0% by written exams, 17% by practical exams and 83% by coursework

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Facilities & Features

Specialist Software and Equipment

There is a strong practical element on this course and you will be constantly learning through doing and making. You will regularly work in a dedicated drawing room for animation as well as use our CG equipment and VFX facility FOAM\Digital. Learn invaluable industry skills with the latest software and production methods.

Our Film

Get the chance to work on Stina and the Wolf. The film is a full-length computer and 2D animated film, which features performance captured live actors, (similar to the process used in AVATAR) animated 2D and 3D characters and CG and matte painted environments.

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

Budgeting for your studies

There are extra costs associated with studying, which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Recommended texts:
If you wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow from the University Library, the average price is £50-£60. You may be studying up to 6 units a year, each with a standard recommended text.

General costs:
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for costs of photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

Final year project:
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose to develop.

Other costs to consider


You may need to spend £50 - £100 per annum on drawing and modelling materials, CDs, and DVDs.

For the optional Student Enterprise Unit there is a cost of approximately £20.

Occasional coach trips may require a contribution of up to £20.


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Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Career prospects
Where next?

Our graduates are pursuing exciting careers in a variety of jobs. They are working in a range of roles as artists, modellers, animators, compositors, editors and directors in these creative and rewarding industries.

Graduates from this course have been successful in finding work with these big names:

  • Climax
  • Framestore
  • The Mill
  • Data Design Interactive
  • Sony
  • Kuju Games
  • Centroid 3d in Pinewood Studios

Examples of what our graduates have gone on to do:

  • James Roberts went straight to work as a visual artist for Framestore, a Bafta and Oscar-winning studio. His credits include The Dark KnightThe Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Quantum of SolaceAustralia and Where the Wild Things Are. He was recently short-listed for the 2008 4Talent 'Multi-talented' award. He has just finished his new film called Dementia: Till Death Us Do Part.
  • Mat Harrad won the Excellence Awards for 3D Design – Computer Arts Magazine 2007 and went on to work for Sony just after his graduation.

Work experience

Work experience
Employment boosting opportunities

Here at the CCI’s Creative Careers Centre we are committed to improving your employability. Whether it’s placements, self-employed placements, internships, short-term work experiences, freelancing opportunities and volunteering, we will help you find valuable and relevant work experience to complement your degree. The experienced team is always on hand to offer advice on everything from producing high-quality applications through to preparation for a company assessment day.

Career planning

Career planning

To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.

Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.

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Apply now or visit us

Apply for 2018 entry

To apply, you'll need this course's UCAS code, which is at the top of this page, and the University of Portsmouth institution code – P80.

Apply now

After you apply, we'll invite you to an Applicant Experience Day where you’ll get to speak to lecturers and meet your future classmates.

Open Days for courses starting in 2019

Come to an Open Day and explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.

Book your Open Day

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

University of Portsmouth
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Portsmouth PO1 2UP

T: +44 (0)23 9284 8484