Illustration & Animation

BA (Hons) - UCA Canterbury - 2019, 2020

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, able to explore relationships between research and studio work. 

The Illustration & Animation degree has a strong focus on social and cultural contexts for practice. We can also offer you opportunities to be involved with extra-curricular projects run in continental Europe.

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. 

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. 

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

Start month:


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Entry year(s):

2019, 2020

Entry requirements:

112 UCAS tariff points

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Next event

UCA Open Day Pre-degree & Undergraduate

Saturday 2 November, 2019

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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. 

    We'll give you a strong introduction into the two practices that shape this course.

    Introduction to Illustration and Animation
    This unit 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. You'll also 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.

    Underpinned by contextual and cultural studies, you’ll develop your skills further, looking to find your own style and voice. 

    During this year you may also have the opportunity to complete an industry work placement or even study abroad. 

    Social and Cultural Contexts
    This unit 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

    You’ll undertake a substantial body of work through your dissertation and final major project, demonstrating your skills in the subject and creative imagination, which you’ll be able to exhibit in the graduation show. 

    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. You'll employ 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 and additional course costs

    Tuition fees
    The course fees per year for 2019 entry are:

    • UK and EU students - £9,250 
    • International students - £15,500 (standard fee)
    • International students - £14,880 (full early payment fee)

    The fees for 2020 entry have not been confirmed but will be listed here as soon as possible.

    Additional course costs
    In addition to the tuition fees 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.


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.

Programme Director

What our students say

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.


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 2019:

Apply for full-time study - Year 2 - starting September 2019:

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2019:

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:

We are still accepting applications for 2019 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

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

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

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.

More portfolio advice

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