Illustration & Animation

BA (Hons) - UCA Canterbury - 2019

Our BA (Hons) Illustration & Animation course provides an ambitious level of study which will help you to explore and develop a visual voice for a variety of audiences.

You’ll become a highly adaptable and independent maker with critical thinking at your core, adept at exploring relationships between research and studio work.

You’ll be part of a lively and active community, supported by state-of-the-art studios and access to specialist tools and processes, including printmaking, bookmaking, letterpress, moving image, 3D work (including ceramics, spatial practices and three-dimensional design), photography, 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. 

Alongside learning advanced skills in drawing and technology, you will also learn important business skills, including self-promotion, networking and the production process from beginning to end.

We’ll enable 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.

With close links to our Graphic Design course, you’ll have the chance to work collaboratively with other students and extend your learning to include the relationship between text and image.

Illustration & Animation has a strong focus on social and cultural contexts for practice, shaped by our proximity to the coast, and we can offer you opportunities to be involved with extra-curricular 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 you to experimental, multidisciplinary and collaborative models of practice.

There will also be multiple opportunities to engage with practitioners, competitions, live briefs and extra-curricular projects, furthering your experience and providing you with access to industry knowledge.

You’ll also have the opportunity to study abroad, designed to broaden your educational experience and to deepen your understanding of cultural diversity.

Length of study:

Three years full-time


UCA Canterbury

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Entry requirements:

112 UCAS tariff points

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Next event

20 Feb 2019

Open Day - all campuses

Course details

  • Year 1

    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. 

    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.

  • 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. 

    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.

  • Year 3

    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 research project. 

    Critical Research and Practice
    This unit involves the research, development, and construction of a self-directed research and design project. This will take into account your knowledge, understanding, skills, experience,and interests that you have gained over the duration of the course. Here, the theoretical and practical are entirely intertwined, and you will be encouraged to develop an experimental approach; employing research to inform practice, and practice to inform your research, so that you develop an original and innovative approach to both.

    Major Project
    This unit provides you with a framework within which to research, develop and realise a set or self-initiated project. You will be given a choice of set projects, competitions, live briefs or a self-initiated project where you will originate, develop and produce a body of work based on your interests and aspirations and skill.

  • Study abroad

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

  • Fees

    Find out all about the fees for studying with us, as well as the grants, loans and other financial support you may be entitled to:


This course has dedicated studios for workshops, group and independent working. In addition to the campus printmaking studio there is a dedicated print room for graphics and illustration students with letterpress facilities, large format digital printers and finishing equipment. There are also campus digital media suites with software including: Adobe Creative Suite, Final Cut Studio, Final Cut Pro, Soundtrack Pro and Autodesk Maya.

Course leader

Course connections

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

  • Industry links

    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.

  • Careers

    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.
  • Further study

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


How to apply - 2019 entry

I am a UK or EU citizen ...

I am not a UK or EU citizen ...

When to apply:

If applying via UCAS the application deadline is the 15 January. 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.

More information:

Go to our how to apply pages

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

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

One of the following:

  • 112 new 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
  • 27-30 total points in the International Baccalaureate Diploma with at least 15 IB points at Higher level, 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. We consider the strength of our applicants’ portfolios, as well as their grades - in these cases, a strong portfolio is especially important.

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

Your portfolio

For this course we will require you to attend an Applicant Day and bring your portfolio for assessment. Further information on how to compile a portfolio and the specific requirements for examples of work to be included will be provided on the Applicant Portal after you apply.

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