Illustration & Animation

BA (Hons)

2017 entry

Reflective of current practice, our BA (Hons) Illustration & Animation course offers an ambitious and exploratory programme of study that will support you in developing a visual voice to communicate with defined audiences.

Our course will encourage you to become an independent critical thinker and maker, exploring relationships between research and studio work, with a contemporary practice-led dissertation model.

On this course we offer a holistic environment for developing your work, with small cohorts and tutored guidance at each stage, fostering diversity of practice.

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Length of study:

Three years full-time


September 2017


UCA Canterbury

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Course overview:

Throughout your three years with us, you’ll be part of a lively and active community, supported by state-of-the-art studios and high levels of access to specialist processes and technician support, including printmaking, bookmaking, letterpress, moving image, 3D, photography and darkroom processes and industry standard software.

You’ll develop your visual, oral and written communication skills, whilst engaging with technology and processes relevant to contemporary illustration and animation practice. We’ll encourage you to communicate your ideas using traditional and emerging media, and you’ll learn how to construct narrative and meaning in a variety of contexts.

The course benefits from close links with UCA Canterbury’s Graphic Design: Visual Communications degree, giving you the chance to work collaboratively and extend your learning with particular emphasis on the relationship between text and image.

Illustration & Animation at Canterbury has a strong focus on social and cultural contexts for practice, shaped by our proximity to the coast, and we offer students opportunities to be involved with extracurricular projects run in Europe. This outward-facing approach is reinforced through strong links with Kent-based businesses, galleries and creative networks, alongside a diverse series of talks by guest lecturers, introducing students to experimental, multidisciplinary and collaborative models of practice.

Course content - 2017 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

  • Introduction to Illustration and Animation

    Introduces you to different ways of approaching, questioning and solving creative problems. You'll investigate, analyse and document a range of subjects in response to projects set by your tutors. Through these projects, you'll be taught skills related to the collection of information and visual analysis.

  • Illustration Fundamentals: Image, Type, Print

    You'll continue to develop your research and idea generation skills - and also your image making skills - through practical workshops, tutorials and seminars. These include practices such as observational drawing, printmaking, photography, collage, 3D and type.

  • Animation Fundamentals: Motion, Narrative, Screen

    You'll be introduced to the basics of storytelling, narrative and sequence for a range of media outputs. You'll learn how to build visual stories, develop pictorial and typographic elements from research, establish themes, characterisations, environments and use of metaphor. And you'll experiment with composition and layout for communication.

  • Message, Medium, Meaning

    You'll examine a range of topics through the exploration of examples from historical and contemporary practice and analysis of your studio work. These will include basic concepts in semiotics, the relationship between word and image, the construction of narrative, photographic language, function and expression, culture connotation and myth, subversion and propaganda.

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

  • Social and Cultural Contexts

    Encourages you to examine and explore your personal ethics, values and motivation through the production of work for others.

  • Developing your Practice

    This project that runs throughout Year 2 acts as a stepping-stone to the personal, self-negotiated work you will be undertaking in Year 3. You will be able to concentrate on a specialist interest that you hold within the field of illustration and/or animation. This interest can arise out of a focus upon a particular medium or process; or it can develop from a design problematic that you are attracted to. Equally a visual language that you enjoy (e.g. drawing, photography etc.) could become the centre of this unit.

  • Authorial Narrative

    This unit consolidates and develops further the narrative development and making skills from Year 1, and further develops your critical perspective through a written task or similar outcome.

  • Spatial Practices

    This unit allows the opportunity to combine the design of spaces and their surfaces. You will learn how to manipulate spaces to create identities, multi-sensory experiences, and innovative events/exhibitions in a sustainable and environmentally conscious context.

  • Study Abroad (optional)

    This optional unit is designed to broaden your educational experience and deepen your understanding of cultural diversity. It will enable you to study within a different cultural context and gain fresh perspectives.

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

  • Professional Practice

    Helps you to explore contemporary and future definitions of creative practice, for a professional career in the varied fields of illustration and/or animation (or related creative disciplines). The unit aims to equip you with the skills, knowledge and confidence to gain a foothold in - and launch a professional career in - the creative industries.

  • Major Project

    Provides you with a framework within which to research, develop and realise a set/self-initiated project. You'll be given a choice of set projects, competitions, live briefs or a self-initiated project where you'll originate, develop and produce a body of work based on your interests, aspirations and skill.

  • Option 1: Dissertation

    You'll undertake a substantial period of self-directed research on a subject related to the historical, theoretical or critical concerns of your discipline or professional area.

  • Option 2: Combined Dissertation / Critical Reflection

    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

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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 Illustration & Animation course benefits from a shared programme of speakers with Graphic Design, reflective of current crossovers in disciplines, including:

  • Jonathan Barnbrook
  • Hans Reichardt, editor of Baseline Magazine
  • Why Not Associates
  • Matthew Richardson
  • Mireille Fauchon
  • Cognitive Media.



The support received from such leading industry professionals will help to maximise your employment opportunities. You'll also be encouraged to undertake a period of work placement in a top design studio or publishing company.



Our graduates develop rewarding careers in:

  • Books and editorial
  • Digital media
  • Filmmaking
  • Residencies
  • Public Arts
  • Curatorial


  • Postgraduate studies
  • Research
  • Set and spatial design
  • Production and post-production
  • Art direction
  • Web and broadcast design.

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

How to apply - 2017 entry

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Entry requirements - 2017 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.

New UCAS tariff

UCAS has made changes to its tariff system.

Find out how these changes will affect you

Your portfolio

You’ll be asked to attend an Applicant Day and to bring your portfolio for assessment. We’ll advise you on what to include in your portfolio via the Applicant Portal once we’ve received your application.

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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