BA (Hons) in Animation


Program Description

On our BA (Hons) Animation programme, you’ll experiment with the latest digital software, learn about the principles of animation, produce distinctive animated films and develop the professional awareness you need to launch your career. Working with experienced teaching staff in our newly refurbished, dedicated production studio, you will gain the knowledge and expertise you need through traditional and digital animation practice.

  • You will experiment with a broad range of methods, materials and processes, from traditional hand-drawn animation to 3D digital techniques.
  • The course will encourage you to select from and combine methods in pursuing your individual interests, developing a distinctive approach to animation production and helping you to realise your own unique vision.
  • You will explore the use of animation for storytelling, social commentary, personal agenda films, documentary, music videos, live performance, broadcasting and advertising.
  • Employable Graduates – we’re ranked 15th highest amongst all UK universities and 12th for English institutions with 96% of graduates in work or further study within six months of completing their degree: HESA 2016.

Our varied and exciting curriculum includes drawing, sequential image-making, 2D and 3D computer animation, character development, narrative, timing, editing, sound and the historical and contemporary context of animation. Animation plays an increasingly important role in the messages that are part of our daily lives, not only on our film and television screens but also on the internet and mobile devices. The programme provides the ideal preparation for many careers in Animation both as an independent filmmaker or part of a wider creative team.

External live projects, competitions and exhibitions will help you get your work noticed and give you the experience of professional practice. In your final year, you will produce a final graduation film to send to a range of national and international animation and film festivals. The course features visits from high-profile industry professionals, with a chance to be inspired by leading practitioners such as BAFTA-nominated animation studio Fettle, who have visited the course to talk about their practice and to advise our third-year students about how to begin a career in the creative industries.

Student Success

Graduate, Tom Edmondson, scooped an award for animation documenting historic Paignton pudding riot. Tom based his feature around the 19th Century Paignton Pudding Riot – a celebration to mark the arrival of the railway where a crowd of 18,000 scrambled for pieces of the pudding and a riot broke out. And his work, which he created for his final-year project, won the Screening Prize at the New Designers Awards – a new award for 2016 to recognise the importance of digital media.


All art and design courses are based at our Markeaton Street site where modern, purpose-built studios and labs provide a modern creative space for our arts students. Markeaton Street encompasses Chandos Pole Street (home to our Fashion and Textiles courses) and Britannia Mill (home to Fine Arts). Students on any of our theatre-related courses also get to study at Derby Theatre, and Dance students study at Deda.

Markeaton Street is a 15-minute walk from Kedleston Road and is serviced by regular free site shuttle buses.

What you will study

You will study modules such as:

Stage one

During the first year of study studio briefs and workshops will help you define your creativity and approach to animation while honing your knowledge of digital techniques, drawing and core animation principles. Your lectures and seminars will also focus on the culture, history and context of your subject.

You’ll study modules such as:

  • Animation Practice
  • Visual Culture: History
  • Visual Exploration
  • Visual Problem Solving

Stage two

You’ll focus on developing skills in a project-based environment, exploring ways of thinking to help you excel in animation. You’ll become increasingly confident with professional approaches to animation and module content will extend your theoretical and technological capabilities within the subject. Your studies will be enriched through links with animation practitioners and agencies as well as the chance to take part in global and national competitions and live projects set by outside agencies.

You’ll study modules such as:

  • Directed Projects in Animation
  • Digital Moving Image
  • Professional Practice
  • Visual Culture Theory
  • Design Strategies
  • Sequential Illustration

Stage three

The emphasis in your final year will be on building original, distinctive animations based on strong ideas and technical skill. There is a major project in which you will showcase your abilities as well as competitions and live project briefs.

  • Specialist Practice in Animation
  • Negotiated Study in Animation
  • Destinations
  • Visual Culture: Extended Essay

How you will learn

The emphasis throughout the programme is on practical project work which integrates technical, analytical, intellectual and organisational aspects of professional practice. You’ll also enjoy an exciting variety of other teaching and learning methods, including workshop practice, demonstrations, group critiques, field studies, cultural visits, lectures, seminars, individual tutorials, work checks, reports and assignments.

As a full-time student, you’ll be expected to attend on a daily basis, according to the schedule of sessions provided by each module leader, with specific periods of time allocated to self-directed study. As the course progresses, you’ll take more responsibility for independent study as you prepare for and complete your final project.

We offer an Art School experience which involves mixed media approaches and a wide range of visual experiences and workshops.

You’ll be taught in a professional studio environment supported by the latest online teaching and learning facilities. It is the ideal setting for you to experiment with state-of-the-art equipment and resources that are constantly updated to reflect industry standards. You’ll use software such as Adobe After Effects, Flash, Maya, Logic Pro and ToonBoom.

We encourage your independent thinking as you learn all aspects of the production of animation – including sound, lighting, stop-frame and editing. There are light boxes and rostrum to create 2D animation and Wacom tablets for digitally drawn animation. You’ll also have access to our sound and film studios which feature professional-level video and sound recording resources, including green screen equipment, to help you develop your personal way of making animation.

You’ll explore not only how to create animations but also how to develop a unique aesthetic and personal voice, building a designer’s approach to animation. Workshops in 3D, drawing, printing and design will challenge your visual approach and feed into your technical understanding.

How you will be assessed

Assessment is based 100% on coursework, which can include a showreel and promotional materials to launch yourself as a professional animator.

Degree Show

Every year students from the School of Arts celebrate their time at University by showcasing their work at an end of year Degree Show at Markeaton Street and across the City of Derby. The Show usually runs throughout June and is a fantastic opportunity for potential employers, friends, family, industry and members of the public to see exciting creations by the next generation of artists, designers, creators and makers from Derby. The Show takes the form of:

  • An exhibition at Markeaton Street
  • A Fashion and Textiles catwalk (usually at Derby Theatre)
  • A Film Premiere (usually at QUAD)
  • A one day Music show (usually at Derby Theatre)

Entry requirements

September 2020 typical entry requirements

UCAS points 112 (up to 16 from AS-levels)
Specific requirements at A-level

No specific subject requirements

Specific requirements at GCSE GCSE Maths and English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification
IELTS 6.0 (with 5.5 in each skills area)
Interview / Audition N/A

Yes - Digital portfolio


Our graduates have gone on to establish successful animation studios or to work for major TV production companies. There are wide-ranging career opportunities for animators in advertising, film, television, games design, web design, creative studios, education and the freelance world.

The course offers you the ideal preparation for careers in this ever-changing market where you can challenge the use and production of animation. Because we take a contemporary view of animation and its applications, you will showcase your work to potential employers through a variety of platforms, advertising and mobile devices.

For aspiring entrepreneurs, we also provide business support through our incubation unit – Banks Mill.  It offers studio workspace and business development activities within a vibrant and thriving community of artists, designers and makers.

You could also consider our MA Visual Communication if you would like to take your studies to postgraduate level.

Last updated Sep 2019

About the School

Here at the University of Derby, we believe anything is possible. With a broad range of courses at foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate level, we can help you get your career off to a great star ... Read More

Here at the University of Derby, we believe anything is possible. With a broad range of courses at foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate level, we can help you get your career off to a great start. We know how important it is to have the best teaching, and we’re proud to be rated Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework; but we also offer so much more, with some of the best university facilities in the country, opportunities for industry experience and practical, hands-on learning to make your studies relevant to life after graduation. To help broaden your horizons, we offer a wide range of opportunities to study abroad, whatever your subject – a great way to experience a different culture, meet new people and add to your CV. Read less