Computer Animation Arts

BA (Hons)

2018 entry

Driven by the world’s seemingly limitless demands for creative and original CG content, our Computer Animation Arts degree offers you an outstanding launch pad for an exciting career in this rapidly evolving industry.

Throughout the course you’ll discover how to use animation specific software – whilst also harnessing more traditional art materials.

Our Computer Animation Arts course focuses predominantly on art and design, with an additional emphasis on the fundamentals of production design, so you’ll graduate from UCA as a skilled artist in both 2D and 3D.

We’ll train you to become an experienced, proficient software user, helping you to develop a well-rounded skillset highly sought after by employers in the animation industry and associated creative sectors.

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Length of study:

Three years full-time


September 2018


UCA Rochester

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Course overview:

You’ll explore the broad variety of pathways offered by this discipline, including concept art, story development, character design, and animation and film, as well as developing a rich understanding of art and cultural history.

You’ll have access to a dedicated baseroom and computer suites, as well as high-tech software such as Autodesk Maya, Mudbox, and the Adobe Creative Suite – so you’ll be given all the tools you’ll need to really explore your design ingenuity and push your creative boundaries.

Graduates of our Computer Animation Arts course leave UCA equipped with an array of transferable skills, helping them to secure careers with big industry names such as Industrial Light and Magic, Game Studios, Framestore and Glassworks, Dovetail Games, and Blue Zoo.

They also enter a variety of fields within the industry such as visual effects; toy, character, and game design; as well as freelancing.

Course content - 2018 entry

In the first year, you'll be introduced to the University and the technical workshops and facilities available to you. On the course you’ll learn the technical and conceptual skills that will give you a solid foundation from which to explore your areas of specialist activity.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • The CG Artist's Toolkit

    This unit will comprise three components: drawing, animation and character, plus learning how to use Autodesk Maya and supporting software. Together, they make up the CG artist's toolkit, skill sets fundamental to the origination and execution of innovative, technically accomplished computer generated imagery and animation.

  • Space and Environment

    This unit will require you to investigate ways in which space can be represented dynamically through the development and production of original concept art and an original digital set. Working from developmental drawings and concept art, you'll pre-produce and execute work that demonstrates understanding of mise en scène and environment-derived narratives.

  • Storytelling and Commission

    This will bring together the educational experiences of your first year, requiring you to engage in creating narrative-based work and developing a complete computer generated animation.

  • Contextual Studies

    We'll encourage you to investigate culture and history, providing an introduction to studies that explore representation and how contemporary cultural phenomena communicate to audiences. The unit will address questions on how we receive information about the world in which we live, what we understand by language, and how we attribute meanings to things.

The second year focus is on finding your own specialist way of working and you’ll be encouraged and supported to start working more independently. During this year you may also have the opportunity to complete an industry work placement or even study abroad.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Narrative and Character

    This unit aims to enhance your understanding of genre and character. Genres are formed by conventions and characteristic devices that structure audience expectation. Likewise, the role of a character designer is to act as a visual casting director and develop characters that fulfil the story and performance requirements of a script. Effective character design is essential to animation for conveying personality, role, and story. This unit will require you to demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of narrative and character conventions.

  • Adaptation and Professional Practice

    We'll require you to adapt creatively an existing source or body of information and this marks a key transition from directed to self-directed study. This unit will also include a professional practice element. Whilst developing work for Adaptation, you may also engage in a self-initiated work placement.

  • Critical Perspectives

    This unit starts with an introduction to the body of theoretical ideas that emerged, in the second half of the 20th century, around the concept of post-modernity. You'll then address the need to formally place your work within complex frameworks of theory and practice.

  • Study Abroad (optional)

    This optional unit will allow you to spend a period of time in an overseas educational institution.

The third year will see you achieve a greater level of independence with self-managed research, study and practice, resulting in a final major project and a written dissertation.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Minor Project

    You'll develop and execute a creatively and technically sophisticated project. This project will demonstrate knowledge of professional practices representative of recognised CG industry pipelines.

  • Major Project

    We'll require you to demonstrate innovative and sophisticated approaches to CGI and animation, supported by an advanced creative methodology.

  • Dissertation

    You'll undertake a substantial period of sustained, individually-devised research on a subject related to the contextual and/or theoretical concerns of your discipline or professional area, towards the provision of structured written argument.

  • OR Combined Dissertation/ Critical Reflection

    This unit consists of two periods of sustained, individually negotiated research on subjects which are
    likely to be related to the contextual and/ or theoretical concerns of your chosen areas of practice,
    towards the provision of structured argument.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

Course staff

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International study

Find out more about studying in the UK, or studying part of your course abroad at one of our partner institutions (study abroad option not available on all courses).

Course connections

On this course, you'll be exposed to a world of opportunities

Our professional staff have close connections with alumni of the Gnomon School of Visual Effects, West Hollywood, as well as with new and established CG arts, animation and creative media opportunities.



There is also the opportunity for work placements in the second year with companies such as:

  • Nexus Productions
  • Butch Auntie

Possible career destinations include:

  • Art directors
  • CG artists and animators for film and game
  • Concept artists
  • Creative project managers
  • Creative writers
  • Freelance creatives
  • Post-production designers
  • Pre-production artists
  • Production artists
  • Production managers
  • Publishers.


Graduates have gone on to work at companies such as:

  • Double Negative
  • Framestore
  • The Mill
  • Glassworks
  • Squint/Opera
  • Butch Auntie.

You might also like to consider further study at postgraduate level.

How to apply - 2018 entry

Looking to study in 2017?

It’s still not too late to apply for September 2017 entry. Find out how to apply by following this link…

Entry requirements - 2018 entry:

As a leading creative arts university, we want to attract the best and most creative minds in the country – so we take a balanced approach to candidate assessment, taking both individual portfolios and exam results into account. 

That’s why your portfolio is an especially important part of your application to study with us – and we can help. Our academics can offer you expert advice on how to showcase your creative work and build a portfolio that will make your application stand out. More advice on how to create an exceptional portfolio is also available here.

Entry requirements

Along with your portfolio, the standard entry requirements* for this course are:

One of the following:

  • 112 new UCAS tariff points (equivalent to 280 old UCAS tariff points), see accepted qualifications
  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • Distinction, Merit, Merit at BTEC Extended Diploma
  • Merit at UAL Extended Diploma
  • 112 new UCAS tariff points from an accredited Access to Higher Education Diploma in appropriate subject.

And four GCSE passes at grade A*-C and/or grade 4-9 including English (or Functional Skills English/Key Skills Communication Level 2).

Other relevant and equivalent Level 3 UK and international qualifications are considered on an individual basis, and we encourage students from diverse educational backgrounds to apply.

*We occasionally make offers which are lower than the standard entry criteria, to students who have faced difficulties that have affected their performance and who were expected to achieve higher results. We consider the strength of our applicants’ portfolios, as well as their grades -  in these cases, a strong portfolio is especially important.

Your portfolio

Ultimately, we're looking for highly motivated, creative individuals who want to become successful digital artists and professionals. Previous experience of digital work isn't essential or required. We especially welcome portfolios that demonstrate creative imagination, developed ideas, interest in storytelling, artistic ability (such as life drawing) and cultural interests. So, your portfolio might include examples of life drawing, digital painting, illustration, sculpture, video, photography and animation.

More portfolio advice

Fees & finance

Uncover all the costs involved, as well as the grants, loans and other financial support you may be entitled to.

Student regulations

Find out more about the operation of our courses, student conduct, assessments and examinations.

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