Animation | Four Year BA (Hons)

UCA Farnham - Sept 2021

Length of study:

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


UCA Farnham

Entry requirements:

64 UCAS tariff points

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Course entry options:

September 2021

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UCAS institution code:


UCAS code:


Course overview

If you’re into animation and want to forge a career in the field but don't yet have the full portfolio to apply for our three-year course, then this four-year option is the one for you.

Established in 1972 by Academy Award winner Bob Godfrey, ours is one of the best-known and highly-regarded animation courses in the world, with graduates going on to create such icons as Hey Duggee, Peppa Pig and the Compare the Market’s Meerkats.

With the four-year option, year zero will give you the chance to develop your drawing skills, learn the essentials of generating content and ideas, and work on a themed project.

Whatever your preferred medium – whether you want to make animated films using CGI, traditional drawing, oil on glass, sand animation or pixellation – you will be encouraged to follow your passions and aim high for your future career.

Along the way, we’ll support you with our extensive knowledge, facilities, experience and industry contacts, providing everything you’ll need to become an innovative storyteller and artist.

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Course details

  • Year zero

    Year zero 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.

    Drawing and Mark Making
    You will be introduced to and learn the fundamental drawing and mark making skills required to develop your own illustration and animation style. You’ll learn to understand the importance of drawing in your work, and how you can interpret the world around you with your sketches.

    Ideas, Research and Processes 1: Generating Content
    Through a variety of idea development strategies, active research and engagement and experimentation with practical processes, you’ll learn the essential starting points for developing ideas for both illustration and animation.

    Ideas, Research and Processes 2: Developing and Identifying Practice
    Continuing from the previous unit, you’ll begin to identify, select and use visual and narrative practices to develop and create the content or subject matter of your work.

    Themed Project
    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 you produce should draw upon all of the creative, technical and theoretical knowledge you have gained. 

  • Year one

    Drawing for Animation
    Develop the essential drawing skills necessary for communicating ideas visually, and in turn develop your observational skills. You’ll attend formal life-drawing sessions and keep sketchbooks, drawing journals and keep a daily drawing blog. This unit is designed to complement the Animation Principles unit.

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

    Digital Skills
    Fundamental principles of digital practices and workflows – in both 2D and 3D computer animation - are explored in this unit, from the designing and creation of digital assets suitable for animation, through to refining key framed movement.

    Animation: Context and Interpretation
    You will be introduced to 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.

  • Year two

    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
    Following the Short Film unit, you’ll get feedback on your work. This feedback, together with tutorials, will identify your strengths, areas of improvement and interests to take forward into an individual course of study. Your research may include expanding your existing technical skills or experimenting with new techniques and to this end, you will examine a wide range of approaches to animation production. 

    Advanced Digital Techniques
    Through a series of seminars and workshops, you’ll look beyond the tools of computer software and explore their creative use within the context of your own animated sequences. You’ll go on to 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.

    Animated Cultures
    Exploring 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. You will also consider animation’s wider contexts in moving image, media culture and the visual arts.

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


  • Year three

    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. 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.

    Your dissertation 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.

    This unit aims to equip 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 aims to focus your ambition towards your chosen career path.


  • 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 2021 entry are:

    • UK students - £9,250 
    • EU students - £9,250 (see fee discount information)
    • International students - £16,950 (standard fee)
    • International students - £16,270 (full early payment fee)

    Additional course costs
    In addition to the tuition fees please see the additional course costs for 2020 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, Canon DSLRs and professional camera stands, and stages pre-rigged with grips, stands and lights. Studios feature individual workstations, light boxes, Wacom tablets, line testers and batch scanners. Macs have the full Adobe Creative Suite as well as Toon Boom and Maya CG software, while there’s also sound and editing suites on campus.

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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
    • 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
    • Fudge Animation
    • Animade.
  • 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.


Apply now

UK applications

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2020:

Apply for part-time study - starting September 2020:

Apply for full-time study - starting February 2021:

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2021:

Apply for part-time study - starting September 2021:

International & EU 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 2021:

Apply for full-time study - Year 2 - starting September 2021:

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2020:

Apply for full-time study - starting February 2021:

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2021:

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2021:

Apply for this course and other courses in the UK - full-time study - starting September 2021:

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:

We are still accepting applications for 2021 entry - get your application in now.
If 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 / BTEC National 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 and EU 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 following entry courses:

Pre-sessional English courses in the UK or China

UCA International Foundation courses

The UCA International College

Your portfolio

This course doesn’t require a portfolio. If you receive an offer, you’ll be invited to attend an Offer Holder Webinar where you can meet the course team and learn more about the course

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