Animation | Four Year

BA (Hons) - UCA Farnham - 2020

With alumni including Oscar and BAFTA winners, and creators of beloved animations such as Peppa Pig, Fantastic Mr Fox, Compare the Market’s ‘Meerkats’ campaign and Hey Duggee, our Animation degree is one of the best-known and highly-regarded filmmaking courses of its kind in the world. 

Whether you want to make animated films using CGI software, the latest 2D drawing processes or produce stop-motion films, you’ll be encouraged to follow your passions as you discover and develop your own creative approach to animation and personal style, guided by our team of highly experienced and well-connected industry professionals.

The first year (or Year 0)
 of this four-year BA (Hons) Animation degree will develop the fundamental skills you’ll need to grow your potential as an animator. You’ll improve
 your observational and drawing skills, and you’ll also undertake theoretical studies to underpin your practical education. You’ll develop your research and design skills, as well as working on a personal project. 

Throughout this animation course, you’ll have the freedom to discover and develop your personal style while being guided by a team of highly experienced and well-connected industry professionals.

Animation is one of the most significant and rapidly expanding media fields. An enormous range of career opportunities exist in animation, from the traditional techniques of animation storytelling to drawn, model and CGI animation. 

Established in 1972 by Academy Award winner Bob Godfrey as the UK’s first course to take an academic approach to animation, we pride ourselves on giving our students a comprehensive understanding of frame-by-frame image manipulation using the growing range of creative techniques.  

As a long-established degree course, you can benefit from our extensive network of industry connections and exciting work placement opportunities, including Agile Films, Aardman Animation, Cinesite, Nexus, Passion Pictures and Blackdog Film. 

You’ll develop a deeper understanding of narrative, character development, movement, sound, and the full range of expressive and personal filmmaking techniques contemporary animation now uses. 

Length of study:

Four years (Year 0 + three-year degree) full-time


UCA Farnham

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Entry requirements:

64 UCAS tariff points

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Course details

  • Year 0

    Year 0 is a preparatory year which provides you with a focused introduction to your chosen area of study and upon successful completion. It will secure your place on the three year degree without further application or interview.

    On the animation course, Year 0 will see you improve your observational and drawing skills, undertake theoretical studies and work on a personal project.

    Drawing and Mark Making
    You will be introduced to the idea that drawing is a fundamental skill for the development of both illustration and animation and is integral to the creative process. It is the means by which you visually respond to and interpret what you see in the world around you.

    Ideas, Research and Processes 1: Generating Content
    This unit introduces you to the fundamental starting points for developing ideas for both illustration and animation, through the use of a variety of idea development strategies, active research and engagement and experimentation with practical process.

    Ideas, Research and Processes 2: Developing and Identifying Practice
    You'll continue to experiment with a combination of processes and production methods introduced to you in the previous unit, however now you will also begin to identify, select and use visual and narrative practices to develop and create the content or subject matter of your work.

    Themed Project
    Building on the ideas, experiences and research achieved this is the summation of your learning on the course so far, you'll be asked to produce a body of work in response to a given theme or brief. The work that you produce should draw upon all of the creative, technical and theoretical knowledge that you have gained. 

  • Year 1

    You’ll be introduced to – and begin to develop – key concepts and critical debates in media, visual and cultural theory central to moving image and animation in particular.

    You'll learn fundamentals of animation, encouraging you to experiment and find your voice within animation filmmaking.

    We'll also teach you the technical and conceptual skills that will give you a solid foundation from which to explore your areas of specialist activity.

    Animation: Context and Interpretation
    This unit introduces and develops key concepts and critical debates in media, visual and cultural theory central to reading and thinking about moving image in general and animation in particular.

    Digital Skills
    This unit introduces digital practices and workflows in both 2D and 3D computer Animation. You'll explore fundamental principles, from the designing and creation of digital assets suitable for animation, through to refining key framed movement.

    Drawing for Animation
    This unit is designed to complement the Animation Principles unit and will develop the essential drawing skills necessary for communicating ideas visually. You'll develop your observational skills with formal life drawing sessions and the keeping of sketchbooks, drawing journals and the maintenance of a daily drawing blog.

    Animation Principles
    This unit will teach you the fundamental principles and techniques of animation and how to use them effectively in your own films. Through individual animation exercises and a group project, you will learn the importance of effective character design, staging and storyboarding when producing animation.

  • Year 2

    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.

    The techniques you learned in the first year will be further developed alongside a deeper understanding of animation’s cultural context. You’ll specialise in your chosen medium and create two of your own films.

    Animated Cultures
    This unit explores the diverse cultures of animation through key debates, and the work of key practitioners. You will explore technological, social and aesthetic innovations in relevant critical contexts. We will also consider animation’s wider contexts in moving image, media culture and the visual arts.

    Advanced Digital Techniques
    This unit explores advanced 2D and 3D computer animation concepts and methodologies. In part one of the unit, through a series of seminars and workshops, you will look beyond the tools of the software and explore their creative use within the context of your own animated sequences. In part two of the unit you will work in small production teams, where roles and responsibilities reflect that of industry practice. Each team will produce an animated piece using a combination of 2D and 3D software.

    Short Film
    You'll produce a professionally finished film with the aim of having it screened at a competitive international animation festival before the end of your second year.

    Research and Concept
    The research you undertake will be a continuation of the film making skills you acquired in the unit ‘Short Film’ and through feedback and tutorials, individual strengths, weaknesses and interests will be identified and students will be guided towards an individual course of study. Your research may include expanding your existing technical skills or experimenting with new techniques and to this end, you'll examine a wide range of approaches to animation production.

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

  • Year 3

    The third year will see you achieve a greater level of independence with self-managed research, study and practice.

    You’ll undertake your final film and dissertation. You’ll have the opportunity to screen your film at the Graduation Show and you’ll be encouraged to submit to competitions and festivals internationally.

    This unit equips you with the skills, knowledge and confidence to present yourself to potential employers in the best possible way. By evaluating your coursework so far and identifying your individual strengths, the unit will focus your ambition towards your chosen career path.

    Proposal and Pitch
    You'll take your first steps towards making your final animated film - proposing, developing and refining your ideas.

    Final Film
    This major piece of work will be the climax of your learning journey, drawing on all the creative, technical and theoretical knowledge you’ve developed.

    This involves a substantial period of sustained, individually negotiated research on a subject related to the contextual and/or theoretical concerns of your discipline or chosen area of practice, towards the provision of structured written argument.

  • Study abroad (optional)

    This course offers the opportunity to study abroad for part of Year 2. To find out more about studying abroad as part of your course please see the Study Abroad section:

  • Fees and additional costs

    Tuition fees
    The course fees per year for 2020 entry are:

    • UK and EU students - £9,250 
    • International students - £16,250 (standard fee)
    • International students - £15,600 (full early payment fee)

    Additional course costs
    In addition to the tuition fees please see the additional course costs, these are still to be finalised for 2020 entry but as a guide please see the additional course costs for 2019 entry.

    Further information
    Find out more about our course fees and any financial support you may be entitled to:

    These fees are correct for the stated academic year only. Costs may increase each year during a student’s period of continued registration on course in line with inflation (subject to any maximum regulated tuition fee limit). Any adjustment for continuing students will be at or below the RPI-X forecast rate.


Animation facilities include stop motion studio with dragonframe capture software, Cannon DSLRs and professional camera stands, the stages are pre-rigged with grips, stands and lights. Studios with individual workstations, light boxes, wacom tablets, line testers and batch scanners. Macs have the full Adobe Creative Suite as well as Toon Boom. As well as campus sound studios and editing suites.

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Course connections

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

  • Industry links

    As a long-established degree course, we’ve built an extensive network of industry connections, giving us access to high-profile visiting lecturers, and to commissions, competitions and exciting work-placement opportunities. Our industry links include:

    • Aardman Animation
    • Studio AKA
    • Cinesite
    • The Mill
    • Create and Make
    • Stylorouge
    • Agile Films
    • Blackdog Films Limited
    • HSI Film
    • Blink Productions
    • The Film Club
    • National Film and TV School
    • Passion Pictures (one of the leading studios in Europe)
    • Nexus
    • Moth Collective
    • UsTwo
    • Beakus.
  • Careers

    Animation is one of the most significant and rapidly expanding media fields. An enormous range of career opportunities exist in animation, from the traditional techniques of animation storytelling to drawn, model and CGI animation. Typical careers in the industry include:

    • Directors
    • Producers
    • Animators (in commercials, films, broadcast, online media and games)
    • Editors
    • Character designers
    • Production designers
    • Pre-vis artists
    • Compositors
    • Storyboard artists
    • Post-production.

    As one of the pre-eminent animation courses in the world, our sought after alumni have landed many exciting, high profile roles across the industry. These include positions as:

    • Animators
    • CG animators
    • CG riggers
    • Designers
    • Directors
    • Model makers
    • Producers
    • Storyboard artists.

    Many well-known studios have been set up by our alumni including:

    • Animade
    • Astley Baker Davies (makers of Peppa Pig)
    • Film Fabrik
    • Honeycomb Animation (makers of Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids)
    • Mackinnon & Saunders
    • Moth Collective
    • Slurpy Studios
    • Tandem Pictures.

    This gives our course very solid links to a vibrant industry, and we enjoy connections with a range of creative talent, studios and potential employers.

  • Further study

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


UK/EU applications

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2019:

Apply for part-time study - starting September 2019:

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2020:

Apply for part-time study - starting September 2020:

International applications

If you are applying for more than one course in the UK please apply via UCAS, to apply direct to UCA please use the links below:

Apply for full-time study - Year 1 - starting September 2020:

Apply for full-time study - Year 2 - starting September 2020:

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2020:

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2020:

Apply for full-time study - starting January 2020:

Apply for this course and other courses in the UK - full-time study - starting September 2019:

Due to visa requirements, this course is not available to students that require a Tier 4 (General) visa

If you have another category of visa please contact us: to find out if you are eligible to study.

If you're interested in joining Year 3 of this course, please contact our Admissions Team on +44 (0) 1252 892 960 or

When to apply:

The UCAS application deadline is 15 January. If you are applying directly to us, you can apply throughout the year but we recommend you apply as early as possible so you have time to arrange accommodation and visas.

For more information visit our how to apply pages

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

The standard entry requirements* for this course are:

One of the following:

  • 64 new UCAS tariff points, see accepted qualifications
  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • Merit, Pass, Pass at BTEC Extended Diploma
  • Pass at UAL Extended Diploma
  • 64 new UCAS tariff points from an accredited Access to Higher Education Diploma in appropriate subject
  • 24 points from the International Baccalaureate, see more information about IB entry requirements.

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.

International entry requirements

To view the equivalent entry requirements for your country please select it in the list below.

Pick Your Country

Non-UK equivalent qualifications

English language requirements

Don't meet the international entry requirements or English language requirements?

You may be able to enter the course through the UCA International College

Learn more about the UCA International College

Your portfolio

No formal portfolio is required for this course, as the first year of the course (Year 0) provides you with the skills required to start the three-year BA (Hons) degree. However, if you do have a portfolio you'd like to bring with you, we'll be able to provide you with some helpful feedback and also advise you on whether the four-year degree option (Year 0 entry) or three-year degree option (Year 1 entry) will be best suited to your strengths and interest. We'll require you to attend an Applicant Day which will include an interview. This will also give you the opportunity to visit us, meet the course team and see the facilities.

More portfolio advice

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