Animation BA (Hons)
BA Hons Animation
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 professionally accredited 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.
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 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, Wacom Cintiq suite, TV studios, computer games labs, music studios and virtual reality (VR) research lab
- 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), production methods and CG (computer graphic) equipment
You can also:
- Get involved in the University’s feature-length animated film, Stina and the Wolf
- Meet prospective employers and other industry contacts when you showcase your work at our student screening in London
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.
After your second year, you can do an optional work placement year to get valuable longer-term work experience in the animation industry.
We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your aspirations. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.
Career 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:
- 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.
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.
Tuition fees (2018 start)
- UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year per year (may be subject to annual increase)
- International students – £14,000 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.
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.
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.
Core units in this year include:
- Animation Principles
- Animation Production
- Animation Production Process
- Introduction to Visual Research for Animation
- Meaning and Representation
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
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.
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
- working in groups
- revision, memory and exam techniques
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 methods on this course includes:
- 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.
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. There's no teaching on Wednesday afternoons. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends.
The time you spend in teaching activities such as lectures and seminars varies year on year and will depend on which optional units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year typically spent their time as follows:
- Year 1 students: 24% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities and 76% studying independently
- Year 2 students: 23% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities and 77% studying independently
- Year 3 students: 16% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities and 84% studying independently
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’s worked on motion pictures such as The Tigger Movie and Space Jam.
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
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.
Want to start this course in 2019?
To start in 2019 you need to apply through UCAS. You can start your application now and submit it from 5 September. You’ll need:
- the UCAS course code – T700
- our institution code – P80
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.
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.