Our BA (Hons) Animation is a focussed course aimed at students interested in becoming a professional animator who can work across animated film, TV and related industries. You will work alongside other committed students who are collectively interested in animation production.

On this intensive course students will learn practical and technical skills across a range of traditional and digital animation practice. This is developed through practical investigation of the animation production cycle including narrative production, worldbuilding, character development, storyboarding, background/layout and animation. A rigorous introduction will help you to understand how to work across traditional and digital media including 2D, 3D CG and stop motion animation, helping you to develop a focused skillset to prepare you for the animation industry or postgraduate study. 

We encourage collaboration both at course level and across the University, including live briefs and international competitions, helping you to focus on developing your specialist practice within animation.

Opportunities for work experience, studio visits and attending festivals are supported. The course also has visiting professionals who give insight into career development and industry practices. Previous visiting professionals have included animators, scriptwriters, producers and directors from companies such as CBBC, Aardman Animation, Mackinnon and Saunders, Cartoon Network and Golden Wolf.

Through these 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 develop an understanding of the principles of animation and explore the pipelines involved in animation from the beginning to the end of the production process. This will include, narrative development, character design, background, layout and animation practice across different media. You will be introduced to animation software and have inductions into specialist 3D modelmaking 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’ll identify and develop your own specialist practice through briefs and self-identified projects. As you progress through the year you will focus your energies on pre-production, animation or post-production techniques in 2D, 3D digital or 3D stop frame animation. Competitions, live briefs and collaboration on industrially relevant projects will help you to learn essential communication, professional and entrepreneurial skills.

Year Three — You’ll focus on your own creative ambitions and develop a strategy for becoming a professional animator. You’ll negotiate your own project work and take part in competitions, collaborate with others, attend conferences and meet visiting professionals. 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

Work experience covers a broad range of activities and students are encouraged to undertake work placements during their time at university. As well as guidance from the course team our Careers, Employability and Enterprise team offer support that enhances employability skills and supports
engagement with industry.

In the past our students have made links with companies such as Kilogramme, Mackinnon and Saunders, Brown Bag Animation, Beryl Productions, Framestore, Disney Europe, Factory Create, Turner Broadcasting and BlueZoo.


Recent student successes include:

  • After Lives documentary animation selected for Encounters, Anim!Arte and Lift Off Film festivals in 2019
  • Not Alone animation selected for Underwire Festival, Anim!Arte and Los Angeles Animation Festival 2019
  • Atrocity Exhibition animation selected to be screened at the ICA’s London Short Film Festival 2020, British FiIm Institute - Future Film Shorts 2019 and Manchester Animation Festival - Student Selection 2018
  • Winners of a D&AD award for their work on the John Lewis brief 2019
  • Commendation for a collaborative response to the YCN brief – A2 Milk 2018
  • Students selected to represent the course came first at the 3rd annual International Animation Competition held in RubikaSupinfocom School (Valenciennes) 2019
  • Winners of a D&AD award for their work on the D&AD Beano brief 2018

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, production assistant, storyboard artist, art director, animator, puppet maker, set designer, environment artist, 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 animation or video work to show, please provide it on a USB pen drive that which must be left with programme staff. Alternatively, YouTube or Vimeo links to your work would also be acceptable.

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 evidenced 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 in response to set problems and visual research.

  • Portfolio
  • Sketchbooks
  • Development sheets
  • Samples of work

Skills and inventiveness in the use of a variety of media and techniques appropriate to Illustration.

  • Portfolio
  • Sketchbooks
  • Development sheets
  • Samples of work

An awareness of the concerns, trends, and contexts of contemporary illustration 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

Further costs of study are related largely to the costs of materials and depend very much on how individual students choose to respond to University briefs. At the start of the first year you will be provided with starter kit of equipment and materials that will help you during the first few months of the course. Each course also provides basic studio materials and equipment that will help you complete set projects. As you progress through the course, any additional costs will be dependent on the type of work you choose to develop and the central resources that relate to your work.

The costs below are the result of asking our students to state how much they spend during the year and creating an average, as such they are indicative only.

Equipment & Materials

  • Level 4 (First Year) - Materials, printing etc. £150
  • Level 5 (Second Year) - Materials, printing etc. £200-£300
  • Level 6 (Third Year) - Materials, printing etc. £100-£500

At Level 6 the university will pay a contribution to the cost of materials, preparing your portfolio and/or exhibiting your work professionally.

Computers and Digital Equipment

You will have access to a range of digital equipment in course studios and central resources throughout your studies. You may decide to purchase your own equipment as your studies progress which may result in additional costs. These may include:

  • Wacom drawing tablet £70-£300
  • Mac or PC £500-£1,800
  • External hard drive £50-£120
  • Digital camera £100-£250

These items are not essential for the start or completion of the course. If you are intending to buy a computer for your studies we suggest that you wait until you get here. You will quickly find out what you need and what you don’t need. The Course Team will be able to offer you advice on what to buy and where to purchase it from based on your creative needs and budget.

Books, Online Subscriptions & Competitions

You will have access to an extensive range of books, text and online resources provided by the University. There will also be opportunities to submit to national and international competitions and live projects as part of your course. These resources are directly related to your studies and highlighted in modules as you progress through the course. Throughout your time on the course you may choose to purchase your own copies of key texts, subscribe to online networks and enter non-compulsory competitions. These may cost up to an additional £100 per year.

Educational Visits and Off-Site Activities

We arrange a range of research trips for all level 4 and 5 students. These trips are an essential part of the course and the costs are covered by course budgets.

We organise trips to important animation festivals such as the Manchester Animation Festival. All students are encouraged to attend and prices for the festivals are around £180-£200 which includes a festival pass, coach and accommodation. We also encourage you to go to the animation sections of the Leeds International Film Festival too, expect this to cost around £20.

If there is student demand we try to organise an optional trip to a European destination* (approximately £450) and/or one international trip (around £800).

These visits are planned to enhance your experience and are optional. We plan activities and aim to provide information about suggested places to visit and equivalent events for those students who are unable to participate in the visits.

*We do not guarantee that we will run international visits. The decision is made annually based on availability, cost and the number of students required to make the trip viable.

We provide support for undergraduate students dependent upon their financial circumstances. Visit Undergraduate Financial Support for further information.

Terms & Conditions and Key Information

Our Terms & Conditions are here.

If you would like to download the Key Information on this course 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 international@leeds-art.ac.uk

Apply Now

Please apply direct to the University for our BA (Hons) Animation course using the links below.

Home/EU applicants

Click here to apply via UCAS

International applicants

Click here to apply directly

If you need any assistance completing the form please contact the Admissions team at admissions@leeds-art.ac.uk or call us on 0113 280 8000.


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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"Our animation course is vocationally driven and will challenge you practically, technically and critically."
Mike Smith, Course Leader
BA (Hons) Animation