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Undergraduate Course

Animation BA (Hons)

Study a wide variety of production techniques as you bring your ideas and characters to life.

A still image shows an illustrated view across a fantasy city landscape at night

Animation combines the use of technology with the craft of art and illustration to tell engaging stories. You will gain the knowledge and practical animation skills to identify and solve design communication problems.

95% Design students responded with a 95% positivity score for how much they had the chance to explore ideas and concepts in depth. (National Student Survey 2023)

98% Design students responded with a 98% positivity score for how well teaching staff supported their learning. (National Student Survey 2023)

York campus

  • UCAS code – WW65
  • Duration – 3 years full time, 6 years part time
  • Start date – September 2024, September 2025
  • School – School of the Arts

Minimum entry requirements

    104 UCAS Tariff points

    3 GCSEs at grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language.

Tuition fees

    UK 2024 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2024 entry £11,500 per year full time

Discover Design

Simon Harrison, Associate Head of Design, introduces us to Design at York St John University.

Course overview

On this course you will learn to animate using different production techniques. This includes stop motion, computer generated and both paper and 2D digital hand drawn techniques. A series of practical projects will cover each animation method and, as you explore each approach, you will learn about:

  • Story and narrative
  • Storyboards and previsualisation
  • Environment and production design
  • Character design and animation
  • Animation pipelines and postproduction processes

You will consider the use of these techniques in film, TV, and game industries. You will investigate the principles of cinematography and direction, important elements of telling your story as an animation director.

These practical explorations of animation will give you the technical abilities you need to succeed. We will also teach you how to understand an animation brief, pitch an idea and manage your time when working on projects. By the end of the course you will have a showreel of diverse animation work to share with the world.

We will introduce you to the history of animation. You will look at the principles that inform animation methods and production processes. Explore how animation has developed as technology has evolved. Immerse yourself in the subject and understand animation from more than a practical level.

You will also gain experiences that make you stand out. You will have opportunities to:

  • Work with students from other courses to enrich your learning
  • Complete work placements in industry and learn from visiting professionals
  • Visit international cities to find new inspiration
  • Exhibit your work at our annual degree show, the perfect way to build a professional network

Course structure

Year 1

Our academic year is split into 2 semesters. How many modules you take each semester will depend on whether you are studying full time or part time. 

In your first year, if you are a full time student, you will study: 

  • 1 compulsory module across semester 1 and 2
  • 1 compulsory module in semester 1 
  • 1 compulsory module in semester 2

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.


Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will develop your knowledge of the history, contexts and theories of design by comparing historical and current practices. There will be opportunities to able to apply what you learn on this module while developing your personal practice. You will also further your research, academic writing and presentation skills.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Animation is a type of visual communication. On this module you will gain the basic skills you need to progress in Animation. You will develop and nurture your critical understanding of the key principles as well as begin to understand the core design language of animation production. These principles include:

  • Character design for animation
  • Environment design for animation
  • Visual storytelling

You will attend a variety of sessions and work on practical briefs throughout this module to give you industry experience.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Design is a process, and this is your opportunity to discover methods and techniques that can be used when approaching any design project. As well as looking at existing practice, you will be encouraged to find your own ways of making work. Design is a creative field, not a science. A designer’s process tends to be more loopy than linear. By working in a more structured way, you will face new challenges and create original methods of making your work.

Credits: 60

Compulsory module

This module will provide you with the opportunity to gain a practical understanding of animation. You will work on briefs to plan, compose and develop practical animation projects exploring a wide range of techniques. Topics on this module include:

  • Animation theory
  • Pitching concepts
  • Concept documentation
  • 2D, 3D and stop motion fundamentals
  • Pre-visualisation and visual storytelling

Year 2

In your second year, if you are a full time student, you will study:

  • 1 compulsory module across semester 1 and 2
  • 1 compulsory module in semester 1
  • 2 compulsory modules in semester 2

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.


Credits: 20

Compulsory module

You will produce an independent research project that demonstrates your ability to interpret, analyse and construct a critical commentary on contemporary and/or future design practice. In this module you will draw on:

  • Your previous work from the research stage of the design process
  • Your knowledge of design history theory, gained through the Context of Practice module
  • New knowledge discovered through primary and secondary research

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Gain experience of professional design practice. You will be introduced to transferable skills to prepare you for entering employment and continued personal development. You will be encouraged to identify potential specialisms around your personal aims and ambitions in preparation for further modules. There will be an opportunity for you to continue learning outside of the classroom, including:

  • Placements
  • Studio visits
  • Guest speaker talks
  • Live briefs

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Professional creative practice is always collaborative. Whether negotiating and working alongside a client, peers, or associated professions, you will need to be able to communicate effectively. This module will support you in developing the skills required to be a proactive and effective collaborator. On this module you will take part in a collaborative group project. You will collaborate across design specialisms and work together to solve a complex problem with design. In doing this, you will explore different models of collaboration and consider the methodologies and challenges of working together. At the end of the project you will reflect individually on the process and its success.

Credits: 60

Compulsory module

On this module you will develop the knowledge and skills learned in Animation Practice 1 to a more advanced level. Projects will be more specialised and complex and require a deeper commitment towards research ideation, method and technique. You will be expected to participate in regular peer reviews, resulting in a the creation of your portfolio work. This work will demonstrate various creative and technical competences and represents your own developing voice in a variety of animation contexts.

Year 3

In your third year, if you are a full time student, you will study:

  • 2 compulsory modules across semester 1 and 2
  • 1 compulsory module in semester 2

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.


Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Building on your knowledge from your previous years of study, you will develop your own research project with the help of your allocated supervisor. Together with your supervisor you will decide on your design research question at the beginning of the year, agreeing to a research plan spanning across both semesters. You will then independently lead, manage and produce the work required.

Through this you will develop highly transferable skills, such as:

  • Self confidence
  • Self discipline
  • Verbal and written communication skills
  • Time management

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Through a series of lectures, seminars, tutorials, portfolio reviews, group and individual ‘critiques’, you will build experience of working in a professional environment. This will allow you to produce work that addresses the needs and requirements of external stakeholders including clients, competitions judges, user groups and audiences.

Credits: 60

Compulsory module

Animators work to bring many kinds of communication to life. The role demands a keen business sense as well as creative flair. On this module you will research, propose, argue and plan your graduate design brief. You will need to apply your design skills to identify and overcome problems, and present critical arguments to support your decision making.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and learning

We deliver your modules through:

  • Lectures
  • Demonstrations
  • Seminars
  • Individual and group tutorials
  • Practical workshops

Each module has 2 to 5 hours of contact time a week. We schedule our taught sessions between 9:00am and 8:00pm, Monday to Friday.

You will need to conduct independent study outside of this time. This might include design work, reading, writing tasks and research. You can also arrange academic tutorials with your module tutors throughout the year to receive feedback on your work and discuss the course content.

Our teaching draws on both our research and professional experience. This means your learning is informed by the most current thinking in the subject area. You can find out more about our research and backgrounds by visiting our staff pages.


There are no exams on this course. Assessment types vary from module to module. Some of your assessments might include:

  • Portfolios of animation work
  • Research reports
  • Essays
  • Exhibitions
  • Individual and group critiques
  • Dissertations and reflective reports

For each assessment you will have the chance to talk to a tutor about your work before submission. Each assessment will be marked and returned with feedback so you can improve your work.

Career outcomes

Your future with a degree in Animation

On this course you will gain the specialist creative and technical skills you need to pursue a career in animation. You will also build skills in communication, project management and problem solving that can lead to a range of other creative and digital roles.

This degree could be the first step toward your career as a:

  • Animator
  • Concept and character designer
  • Film or video editor
  • Games developer
  • Storyboard artist
  • VFX artist

Discover more career options on Prospects careers advice pages.

You could also progress onto a postgraduate degree and take your learning even further.

PGCE at York St John University

Further your education and work towards a rewarding career in teaching by studying for a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) after you graduate. For over 180 years, we have worked with enthusiastic individuals who want to shape the future of young people across both primary and secondary school settings. You'll spend a lot of time in schools, developing your practice by teaching. You will graduate with Qualified Teacher Status and become part of the well respected alumni of York St John educators.

Discover more about PGCE

Whatever your ambitions, we can help you get there.

Our careers service, LaunchPad provides career support tailored to your ambitions. Through this service you can access:

  • Employer events
  • LinkedIn, CV and cover letter sessions
  • Workshops on application writing and interview skills
  • Work experience and volunteering opportunities
  • Personalised career advice

This support doesn't end when you graduate. You can access our expert career advice for the rest of your life. We will help you gain experience and confidence to succeed.

Entry requirements


Minimum entry requirements

    104 UCAS Tariff points

    3 GCSEs at grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language.

Calculate your UCAS Tariff points

International students

If you are an international student you will need to show that your qualifications match our entry requirements.

Information about international qualifications and entry requirements can be found on our International pages.

If English is not your first language you will need to show that you have English Language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

International entry requirements

Portfolio Day

If your application is successful, you will be invited to a portfolio day. On the day, you will show your work with our tutors and share with them your passion for the subject.

Mature Learners Entry Scheme

If you have been out of education for 3 years or more and have a grade C GCSE in English Language or equivalent, you are eligible for our entry scheme for mature learners. It's a scheme that recognises non-traditional entry qualifications and experience for entry onto this course. Information on how to apply can be found on our dedicated page.

Mature entry offer scheme

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. You can read them on our Admissions page.

Fees and funding

To study for an undergraduate degree with us, you will need to pay tuition fees for your course. How much you pay depends on whether you live inside the UK, or internationally (outside the UK). Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

UK 2024 entry

The tuition fee for 2024 entry onto this course is:

  • £9,250 per year for full time study
  • £6,935 per year for the first 4 years if you study part time

These prices apply to all UK, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students

You can find out more about funding your degree by visiting our funding opportunities page:

Funding Opportunities

Placement year funding

If you choose to take a placement year, and your course offers it, you can apply for the Tuition Fee and Maintenance Loan for your placement year. How much you are awarded is based on the type of placement being undertaken and whether it is a paid or unpaid placement. The tuition fee for your placement year will be reduced.

Tuition fees

    UK 2024 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2024 entry £11,500 per year full time

International 2024 entry

The tuition fee for 2024 entry to this course is £11,500 per year for full time study.

This price applies to all students living outside the UK.

Due to immigration laws, if you are an international student on a Student Visa, you must study full time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

Find out more about funding your degree:

International fees and funding

Additional costs and financial support

There may also be some additional costs to take into account throughout your studies, including the cost of accommodation.

Course-related costs

While studying for your degree, there may be additional costs related to your course. This may include purchasing personal equipment and stationery, books and optional field trips.

Study Abroad

For more information on tuition fee reductions and additional costs for studying abroad, please visit our study abroad pages.

Accommodation and living costs

For detailed information on accommodation and living costs, visit our Accommodation pages.

Financial help and support

Our Funding Advice team are here to help you with your finances throughout your degree. They offer a personal service that can help you with funding your studies and budgeting for living expenses. 

For advice on everything from applying for scholarships to finding additional financial support email

Course highlights

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