Animation is a focussed and intense programme of study aimed at those students who are serious about developing a career in the animation industry. You will work individually and collaboratively alongside other committed students who are collectively interested in creative problem solving through animation.

The BA (Hons) Animation course takes a contemporary view of animation as a specialist applied discipline that runs alongside our BA (Hons) Graphic Design, BA (Hons) Illustration, BA (Hons) Comic & Concept Art and BA (Hons) Creative Advertising courses. It is a popular choice for those who are interested in becoming a professional animator who can work across the creative industries.

In addition to developing your technical skills across a range of traditional and/or digital media, you will identify and focus on specific aspects of
the animation process that reflect your individual career aspirations. An investigation of character development, storyboarding and concept art combined with exploration of traditional 2D and 3D processes along with digital animation processes during the first two years of the course will help you develop an increasingly focused skill set that is aligned with the commercial needs of the animation industries.

Problem solving, idea generation and collaboration are core skills of a contemporary practitioner working in the field of animation. Throughout your degree you will develop the ability to generate, propose and pitch ideas using techniques informed by the significant range of industrial links and professional practitioners that have been involved in developing this course. Working alongside, and in collaboration with, illustrators, graphic designers, copywriters and art directors, as well as the broader creative community, you will develop an understanding of the career opportunities available to you on completion of the course.

Live projects and competition briefs will help you develop the skills to respond creatively and professionally to a range of real world problems. They will help you identify which specific area of animation you want to focus on and how this relates to the jobs and careers available regionally, nationally and internationally.

There is a focus on helping you to build your own practice. You’ll learn to generate your own networking, collaboration and career opportunities, and how to find work and clients when you graduate.

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course details

What You'll Study

Year One — You’ll explore pre-visualisation, character, narrative and sequential thinking skills, plus industry-standard animation processes, software and associated technologies, including having access to a range of specialist workshops. You’ll consider the practical, conceptual and theoretical concerns of animation and develop an awareness of the opportunities and pathways open to you as an animator.

Year Two — You will identify and develop your own specialist practice through briefs and self-identified projects. As you do, you will be able to focus on a range of pre-production, animation or post-production techniques in 2D, 3D digital or 3D stop frame animation. You will also enter competitions, take on live briefs and collaborate with others on industrially relevant projects.

You’ll also learn essential communication, business and professional skills in preparation for your final year of study.

Year Three — You’ll focus on your own creative ambitions and your strategy for becoming a professional animator. You’ll negotiate your own project work and also undertake competitions, collaborate with others, attend conferences and meet visiting professionals within University. The focus of year three is on building a portfolio which reflects your individual specialist practice and demonstrates the skills that you have to offer.

Work Experience

Getting involved with the industry through work experience, studio visits and attending talks delivered by visiting professionals plays a key role in enhancing your experience, building your CV and developing a network of industrial links.

Over the past couple of years we have had visits from:

Barry Purves - Animator
Dave-Alex Riddett - Director of Photography, Aardman Animation
Jan Meinaman - Sound Designer
Fraser MacLean - Layout Artist, Author
Andrew Burrell - CBBC Drama Scriptwriter
Sarah Muller - Head of CBBC Acquisitions and Development
Jon Turner - Kilogramme Animation
Lee Hardcastle - Adult Swim, Cartoon Network Animator and Filmmaker
Chris Sasaki - Concept Artist and Character Designer
Rebekah Caputo - Puppeteer and Puppet Maker
Zane Wittingham - BAFTA Nominated Fettle Animation Director

In turn our students are making their own links with companies such as Mackinnon and Saunders (puppet makers and animation production for TV, commercials and feature films), Axis Animation, Fettle Animation, Disney Europe and one of our students spent her summer touring Australian animation festivals and writing up reviews for Skwigly Animation Magazine.



Recent student successes include:

  • Student selected to attend a week long residency for Videomapping Content in Lille, France (September 2015), supported by Les Rencontres Audiovisuelles
  • Two students were involved in the Leeds Arts University’s Live drawing projections as part of Light Night Leeds 2015
  • Winner of the Show Me The Animation’s Do It In Ten competition and featured in the Best of 2015 selection

Course Specification

Contact Hours & Teaching/Learning Methods

Undergraduate degree programmes at Leeds Arts University are delivered and supported through a range of teaching and learning strategies. Programmes are made up of modules, these are elements of study that are taught and assessed separately. Each module carries a clearly identified credit value, the accumulation of which will allow you to progress to the next level of the programme. 100 hours of learning are expected for every ten credits of the programme. Each level (year) of the programme is made up of 120 credits and therefore requires 1200 hours of learning. This equates to 40 hours of study per week throughout the academic year.

For every 100 hours of learning, approximately 25 hours are delivered as taught or supported sessions and remaining hours are allocated for studio/workshop access and independent learning. Individual programmes have their own learning cultures based on their specific use of the teaching and learning methods listed here. These methods feature differently depending on the programme, level, aims of module, content of the sessions and progress through an academic year.

For further information see our Undergraduate teaching & learning at Leeds Arts University document.

Destination Careers

Our graduates work as industry professionals within animation companies and across the broader related industries.

Graduate jobs include concept artist, character designer, storyboard artist, art director, animator, puppet maker, 3D, CG, and visual effects designer.

Entry Requirements

We’re looking for students with the best potential to succeed - irrespective of their background. That’s why we welcome a wide range of qualifications and experience.

Click here to view our entry requirements

Portfolio Guide

A well-considered portfolio says a lot about an applicant and their work. Our guidance is not meant to limit your creative statement. In general terms however we would expect to see examples of the following:

  • A range of approaches to drawing and image making exploring a breadth of media

  • Sketchbooks, notebooks and development sheets demonstrating the visual development of ideas and concepts

  • Examples of design/idea development/storyboards which may include animatics, character development, sequential drawing, time based media, 2D or 3D animation

  • Critical journals, notebooks, essay or blogs etc. demonstrating an interest in narrative, drawing, image making and contemporary animation

If you have digital media (eg. flash animations or video) work to show, please be prepared to provide an Apple Mac compatible copy of them on a disc which must be left with programme staff.

At this stage in your education we are much more interested in ideas development, work in progress and drawing skills rather than completed polished projects. As a rough guide we would expect to see at interview around a dozen pieces of work and two or three sketchbooks.

We also run a range of daytime and evening portfolio development courses specialising in preparation for further and higher art and design education. For more information on current courses please click here.

Interview Guide

When you arrive at reception you will be met by a member of the programme team who will take you to the studio where you will leave your portfolio.

You will be shown around the department and have the opportunity to ask questions. You will then be given a brief exercise (it is not a test) that you can do in the library or café.

Whilst you have been doing this the programme staff will have been looking at your work. You will be interviewed by one member of the programme team. Since we book in several students in one half day session, you should be prepared to be in the University for up to three hours. If you have had to travel long distances and have a train pre-booked, please let us know in advance and we will try to arrange the timing of your interview so you can get away in time.


This is identified from one or more of the following:

Good use of drawing, image making and visual skills to inform the development work.

  • Portfolio
  • Sketchbooks
  • Development sheets
  • Samples of work

The ability to generate, explore and develop a range of creative ideas involving sequential thinking, moving image and time-based media.

  • Portfolio
  • Sketchbooks
  • Development sheets
  • Samples of work

Skills and inventiveness in the use of a variety of media and techniques appropriate to animation, character development and/or sequential imagery.

  • Portfolio
  • Sketchbooks
  • Development sheets
  • Samples of work

An awareness of the concerns, trends, and contexts of contemporary animation and visual culture.

  • Portfolio
  • Sketchbooks
  • Samples of work
  • Personal statement
  • Interview

An active interest in the subject and ambition to succeed.

  • Portfolio
  • Sketchbooks
  • Samples of work
  • Personal statement
  • Interview

Tuition Fees and Other Costs

Tuition Fees

Our current fees are listed here

Other Costs:

Level 4 (First Year) equipment and materials approximately £100
Level 5 (Second Year) equipment and materials approximately £300
Level 6 (Third Year) equipment and materials approximately £250-500 dependent on the scale and scope of projects undertaken.

Desirable but not essential:

Wacom drawing tablet £70 - £300

Mac or equivalent PC. Should you decide to purchase a computer you will require one that is relatively powerful. You should look at a Macbook Pro, iMac or similarly specced PC. In order to get something that will last you through your studies expect to purchase something from around £500- 1200 or as much as you can afford. If you are purchasing a PC it would be beneficial if it had a discrete graphics card or IrisPro graphics. You can discuss specifics with tutors and support staff if or when you decide to purchase a computer.

You do not need a computer to undertake the programme as we have plenty of resources, but as you engage further with your studies you may want to consider purchasing one to work on outside of University hours. We are an Apple Mac centric institution. You may want to consider waiting until you have enrolled as educational discount is available through the Apple educational portal. You will also need to consider purchasing the licence for Adobe Creative Cloud software which you can get at a discount on once you have enrolled on to the programme. 

Students will have access to University and programme resources that will allow them to complete their studies. 

Students have access to software and services that will allow them to work on word processed documents, spreadsheets and presentation once enrolled on their own computers.  


We organise trips to important animation festivals such Manchester Animation Festival. We expect all students to go. Prices for the festivals including accommodation are around £125-£150. We also encourage you to go to the animation sections of the Leeds International Film Festival and/or Aesthetica Film Festival, expect these to cost around £20.

If there is student demand we try to organise a trip to a European destination (approximately £450) and/or one international trip (approximately £800). Depending on numbers of students wanting to go, costs for these will vary. These trips will be enhancing your student experience and as such are optional.

We encourage all level 4 students to go to UK based trips such as Manchester Animation festival as they are a relatively low cost way of seeing and watching of contemporary animation from around the globe. At level 5 & 6 trips are optional and we expect students to make informed decisions about what festivals, conferences and events to attend that will be relevant to their practice. Previous student have gone to UK festivals such as Canterbury Anifest, Bournemouth BFX, Animex and within Europe Klik in the Netherlands and FMX in Germany.

Terms & Conditions and Key Information

Our Terms & Conditions are here.

If you would like to download the Key Information on this programme click here.

International Opportunities / Visiting and exchange students

We are delighted to welcome undergraduate visiting and exchange students from Europe and around the world who would like to spend a semester or a full academic year taking credits from our exciting range of courses. You will be fully integrated into the academic and social life of the University during a period of full-time supervised study and your credits transferred back to your home institution.

You can join us through programmes such as Erasmus+, individual university partnerships or as an independent applicant. Please see here for more information and how to apply.

Leeds Arts University students interested in spending some time overseas can find information on the international opportunities available during your course here.

Questions? Contact

3 Years
Study Mode
Full Time
Institution Name
Leeds Arts University
Institution Code
Awarded by
Leeds Arts University


BA (Hons) Animation

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