Animation BA (Hons)

Student illustrating on a Wacom tablet screen
UCAS Code
W615
Mode of Study
Full-time, Full-time sandwich with work placement
Duration
3 years full-time, 4 years sandwich with work placement
Start Date
September 2019
Accredited
Yes

Overview

In a world where visual communication is the norm, animators are in high demand in TV, movies, gaming, corporate films, education and mainstream news media.

This BA (Hons) Animation degree course gives you the technical skills, insight and platform to apply your creative talent to a successful career in 2D or 3D animation in the film, computer games, visualisation, motion capture and advertising industries.

Accredited by:

This course is accredited by JAMES, a group of industry professionals and employers.

The JAMES accreditation lets potential employers know that this course gives you the relevant skills and abilities you need to work in the animation industry when you graduate. This gives you an edge over students who didn’t do an accredited course when you’re applying for jobs.

JAMES reviews our accreditation every 3 years to make sure the course content remains up-to-date with industry trends and developments. So you’ll always be learning skills relevant skills to your career.

95% Graduates in work or further study (DLHE, 2017)

96% Overall student satisfaction (NSS, 2018)

What you'll experience

On this degree course you’ll:

  • Develop creative and technical abilities in character animation, visual storytelling, compositing and editing
  • Learn from staff who co-directed animations for Disney, Warner Brothers and Cartoon Network, works for the BBC, and produced animation and special effects for high-profile feature films including the Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Chronicles of Narnia franchises
  • Develop your practical skills in our animation drawing room, visual effects (VFX) facility, motion capture studio and Wacom Cintiq suite
  • Practice techniques such as the performance capture process that animators used in the film, Avatar
  • Use the latest software (Maya, 3D Studio Max, Photoshop, Toonboom, Flash, TV paint), production methods and CG (computer graphic) equipment

You can also:

  • Meet prospective employers and other industry contacts when you showcase your work at our student screening in London

Careers and opportunities

When you finish the course, our careers and employability service can help you find a job that puts your skills to work in the industry.

Previous students have gone on to work as animators, concept artists, directors, compositors, creative directors, art directors, modellers, user interface (UI) designers and post-production technical directors at well-known companies such as:

They’ve worked on high-profile feature films and cartoons including:

  • Avatar
  • Life of Pi
  • Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland
  • The Amazing World of Gumball

Other graduates have continued their studies at postgraduate level or set up successful businesses with help and support from the University.

After you graduate, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability service as you advance in your career.

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 was the right choice for me.

Mihaela Pavel, BA (Hons) Animation

​What you'll study

Each unit on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study units worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 units worth 20 credits and 1 unit worth 40 credits.

Units currently being studied

Core units in this year include:

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

There are no optional units in this year.

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

On this course, you can do an optional work placement year between your 2nd and 3rd years to get valuable experience working in industry.

We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your situation and ambitions. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.

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.

Placement year

After your second year, you can do an optional work placement year to get valuable longer-term work experience in the animation industry.

Students have completed work placements at Oscar and BAFTA winning companies such as Mosaic Films and Framestore. In your placement year, you can also set up a business on your own or in a group.

We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your aspirations. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.

Work experience and career planning

To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, our Careers and Employability service can help you find relevant work experience during your course. You'll also get career planning help and support from your personal tutor.

We can help you identify placements, internships, voluntary roles and freelancing opportunities that will complement your studies and build your portfolio.

Learning support

As well as support by faculty teaching staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

If you have a mental or physical disability, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) can give you help, support and advice so you can reach your potential.

IT and computing support

Staff with backgrounds in creative practice are always available to give technical support in the Faculty's computer suites during normal working hours. There's also some support available from 5pm to midnight.

Teaching

Teaching methods on this course includes:

  • lectures
  • workshops
  • seminars
  • one-on-one tutorials

There’s an emphasis on production processes such as computer animation, modelling, rigging and rendering.

Teaching staff include experienced experts who have worked for companies such as the BBC, Channel 4, Framestore, Sony Computer Entertainment, Disney, Warner Brothers, Weta and Double Negative.

Teaching staff profiles

These are some of the expert staff who’ll teach you on this course. 

Eva Palacios, Course Leader

Eva is a compositing specialist. She’s worked for the BBC and on international award-winning animations for Channel 4.

As the creative director of Toifund Ltd she’s worked with big-name clients including Aardman, Penguin/Warner and Arcadia.

Paul Charisse, Senior Lecturer

Paul has 14 years' experience in the the feature film and game industries and is a facial animation specialist.

He’s worked as a 3D animator on titles including Prince Caspian and Hellboy. He also animated the character Gollum as part of the Oscar-winning team for Lord of the Rings.

Colin West, Lecturer

Colin specialises in 3D and visuals effects. He’s worked in advertising and film for multiple award-winning visual effects studios.

Colin has worked on motion pictures including The Guardians of The Galaxy, Exodus: Gods and Kings, and Jupiter Ascending. In advertising, he’s worked on projects for brands such as Pepsi, Audi, Galaxy, British Airways and Sony.

Mat Garey, Senior Lecturer

Mat has 12 years’ experience as an animator and artist, including 7 years at Sony Computer Entertainment.

He’s worked on titles including Looney Tunes, The Getaway 2: Black Monday and Resident Evil and was part of the BAFTA award-winning team for Wipeout 3.

Dr Jackie West, Senior Lecturer

Jackie is a Fine Art practitioner who has exhibited nationally and internationally.

She’s artist in residence at Portsmouth Football Club. She's also Art Director for the University’s feature-length film, Stina and the Wolf, which you can get involved with when you study with us.

Vincent Woodcock, Lecturer

Vincent is an animator, cartoonist and illustrator. He worked at Richard William’s Studio in London.

Among other titles, he co-directed the Disney film Duck Tales: The Movie, and was the character animator and designer at Warner Brothers on Space Jam. He also directed, animated and designed for more than six years at Cartoon Network.

How you'll spend your time

Each academic year is divided into 2 teaching blocks and an assessment period:

  • Autumn teaching block – September to December
  • Spring teaching block – January to Easter
  • Assessment period – Easter to June

Most teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends.

There’s no teaching on Wednesday afternoons.

How you're assessed

You’ll be assessed through:

  • animation design projects
  • a showreel and portfolio
  • written coursework (one unit per year)
  • a dissertation

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

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 1 students: 100% by coursework
  • Year 2 students: 17% by practical exams and 83% by coursework
  • Year 3 students: 17% by practical exams and 83% by coursework

Entry requirements​

Entry requirements

Selection Process

Applicants without art and design qualifications or experience may be asked to submit a digital portfolio in advance of an invitation to interview.

​Course costs

Tuition fees (2019 start)

  • UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £14,700 per year (subject to annual increase)

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.

Additional costs

Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 units a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each unit.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

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

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.

You may need to spend £50–£100 a year on drawing and modelling materials, CDs and DVDs.

If you take the Student Enterprise Unit, you’ll need to pay an additional cost of approximately £20.

You may need to contribute up to £20 towards occasional coach trips.

Apply

How to apply

To start in 2019 you need to apply through UCAS. You’ll need:

  • the UCAS course code – T700
  • our institution code – P80

You can start your application now and submit it later if you want.

Not quite ready to apply?

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

If you’re new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.

How to apply from outside the UK

If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply for this course through UCAS (see the 'How to apply' section above for details). You can also apply directly to us or you can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.

To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section. 

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.