Nina Heywood, BA (Hons) illustration & Animation, UCA Canterbury

Illustration & Animation BA (Hons)

Illustration & Animation BA (Hons)

Course overview

Images – both moving and still – provide visual storytelling everywhere we look, from feature films and adverts to smartphone apps. On our BA (Hons) Illustration & Animation course, you'll gain the skills to tell those stories.

Taught at UCA Canterbury, our course has a strong focus on the social and cultural contexts for illustration. We will give you the skills and confidence to become an adaptable and independent maker, with critical thinking at the core of what you do.

You’ll have access to specialist tools and industry-standard software as you learn processes including printmaking, bookmaking, letterpress, animation and moving image, 3D work (including ceramics, spatial practices and three-dimensional design), photography and darkroom processes.

You will also have opportunities to take part in live industry briefs, competitions and extra-curricular projects, and to make the most of our many industry links to gain experience and build your network.

Graduates have gone on to enjoy careers in fields such as digital media, filmmaking, set and spatial design, and website design.

Apply now through Clearing
Length of study 3 years full-time
Campus Canterbury
Entry requirements 112 UCAS tariff points
Course entry options Sept 2021, Sept 2022
UCAS institution code C93
UCAS code WW26
Course details

Course details

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.

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 two acts as a stepping-stone to the personal, self-negotiated work you will be undertaking in Year three. 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 one, and further develops your critical perspective through a written task or similar outcome.

Spatial Practices
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.

Critical Research and Practice
You’ll plan, develop and construct of a self-directed research and design project. This will take into account your knowledge, understanding, skills, experience and interests 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, which you’ll be able to exhibit in the graduation show.

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:

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)

The course fees for 2022 entry will be available here shortly.

Additional course costs
In addition to the tuition fees please see the additional course costs for 2021 entry. The details for 2022 entry will be available here in due course.

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.

Course specifications

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change in line with our Student Terms and Conditions for example, as required by external professional bodies or to improve the quality of the course.


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.


Illustration & Animation studios, UCA Canterbury


Grpahics and Illustration print studio, UCA Canterbury


Digital Media suite, UCA Canterbury


Campus print studios, UCA Canterbury

Course connections

Course connections

We have a full programme of visiting designers and lecturers that give valuable insight into industry and professional practice such as recent guests Bob and Roberta Smith, Le Gun and Why not Associates.

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.

Explore our Gradshow

Visit our 2021 grad show site to see the incredible work created by our graduating students

Visit the 2021 Gradshow
Sam Burgess
Sam Burgess

"This course really stretches us and allows us to experiment with lots of different media. The staff are amazing - you create relationships with tutors and technicians, have a laugh with them while getting support and study help."

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

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 / BTEC National 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.

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

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

For this course, you’ll be required to submit an online portfolio via your UCA Applicant Portal. Further information on how to compile and upload your portfolio will be provided once you have applied. 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.

More portfolio advice

Apply now

UK applications

International & EU applications

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 International Admissions Team on +44 (0) 1252 892838 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

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