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Course details

Study options

Full-time: 3 years

UK/EU fee

£9,250 per year* (2020/21)

International fee

£14,045 per year (2020/21)

UCAS points

112 (September 2020 entry)

UCAS code


Course level



BA (Hons)

Start date



Markeaton Street, Derby Campus

If you do not achieve the typical entry points required, you may want to consider studying this course with foundation year.

View with foundation year optionView with foundation year option

Course 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.

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 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.

Animation student Tom Edmondson's ‘The Paignton Pudding Riot’

Below you will find a selection of student work produced on the BA (Hons) Animation programme. To see more student work please visit the course vimeo page- Animation - University of Derby.

The University of Derby Animation students showreel.


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 and our print-making facilities). 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.

Explore our facilities through our Virtual Tour:

Markeaton Street

Art and Design creative spaces

What you will study

Year 1Year 1Year 2Year 2Year 3Year 3

Code: 4VC519

The Principles of Animation

This module will introduce you to the core principles that are central to the construction of animated movement. You will engage with a variety of methods and techniques in the production of animated motion; including drawn frame-by-frame, 2D keyframe and 3D modelling techniques.

Studio based workshops will introduce these methods and support independent testing and experimentation. A process of observation and recording will underpin your practice, encouraging the detailed analysis of movement in generating high quality motion. You will be required to undertake a research and development process that will include the production of video reference and observational drawing.

The principles examined will include squash and stretch, anticipation, overlapping action, secondary action, straight ahead action and pose to pose. The module will include reference to a wide range of historical and contemporary examples. You will be encouraged to think creatively in applying the principles introduced, particularly with regards to challenging established orthodoxies and conventions. You will be encouraged to think broadly about the communicative potential of animated movement, deploying exaggeration and distortion to render motion that deviates from the physical conditions of the real world. Tutorials and group sessions will support this process of evaluation and reflection and will inform your personal direction.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 4VC520

Critical Approaches to Animation and Visual Effects

This module aims to contextualise the study of animation and visual effects both historically and theoretically through a series of weekly sessions which introduce, for example, key figures within the fields of animation and visual effects, contemporary issues within the industry and those ‘landmark’ texts (films, television programmes and computer games) which signalled a wider shift in the industry.

It introduces students to some of the theoretical issues and debates relevant to the study of animation and visual effects. The module also aims to develop critical thinking, independent research and enhance study skills. It requires students to develop research skills and transferable skills relevant to future careers and the development of tacit knowledge for uses in future academic study.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 4VC521

Animation Production

This module provides an overview of the varied and diverse approaches to animation production. The processes explored will entail a range of technologies and materials including creative software; video and traditional craft based methods. In the early part of the module, you will make a series of animated films that will explore a full range of production techniques. Projects will focus on specific methods including collage and cut-out, model making, drawn animation, rotoscoping, video compositing, vector graphics, motion typography and 3D computer modelling.

The module will consider the role of film language in effective storytelling and communication, emphasising the use of structure, timing, composition and framing. There will be a focus on temporal structure and editing in the production of meaning and narrative. The module will also investigate the specific language of animation as an art form, and how animation is both distinguished from and is aligned with other disciplines.

Projects will introduce workflow and pipeline principles that will encourage an awareness of how to progress a project through production, editing, refinement and final delivery. In the latter period of the module you will produce a film that applies the concept and design work developed in the pre-production and visual development module. You will be encouraged to select methods for their suitability and appropriateness in realising the pre-production concept.

More information
40 Credits

Code: 4VC522

Pre-Production and Visual Development

This module provides an introduction to pre-production and design for animation and visual effects. The module will foster understanding of concept development, the design process and the stages necessary in the pre-production phase of project development. The pre-production process undertaken will include storyboards, mood boards, style sheets and character design. Emphasis will be placed on the importance of developing a fully resolved visual identity before the animation production process is initiated.

You will engage in a detailed research process in gathering the materials that will be applied to the design process. This will include photographs, patterns, found images, textures, drawing, mark making and so on. The role of digital and traditional processes and techniques in the creative process will be explored. The implications of creative choices made with regards to communication and storytelling will be rigorously examined.

You will challenge your ways of working and think critically about the cultural context of your practice. Animation and visual effects will be viewed in their broader context with regards their links and overlaps with film, television, illustration, graphic novels, graphic design, sculpture, painting, architecture etc. The significance of the major historical movements in art and design on moving image practice will be investigated. Through tutorial support and feedback, you will evaluate how your design and pre-production work integrates a range of sources and how this contributes to constructing distinctive and compelling worlds.

More information
40 Credits

Code: 5VC520

Researching Animation and Visual Effects: Principles and Practice

The module’s focus is the further understanding of approaches to independent research and encourages students to refine their research interests. This module will develop students’ capacity for critical thinking and reflection through a series of lectures and research ‘workshops’. This module places greater importance on small-group work and workshop-style study-tasks.

Sessions will be case-study driven and will pursue particular themes relevant to contemporary practice in animation and visual effects production. These sessions introduce perspectives and approaches that students can potentially explore when pursuing their own self-initiated research tasks. As the module progresses, it will once again take the form of case studies, but these will now be designed to introduce students to the principles of research and how to be an effective researcher.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 5VC521

Professional Practice

This module introduces you to the professional external world of the animation industry. Through research and investigation, you will learn about the specific roles undertaken in animation production across a range of platforms and outcomes.

The module will encourage awareness of the diversity of practice in the creative industries and ask you to reflect on the context of your own work from a professional perspective. You will learn about professional skills necessary in an animation career and you will explore the possible options open to you following graduation.

There will be a special focus on the potential for cross-disciplinary practice and where animation intersects and overlaps with other professional disciplines. In particular, we will consider the influence of creative and communication technologies in shaping how professional practice is conducted and develops. Through your Personal Development Plan you will be encouraged to be reflective and increasingly aware of your strengths, weaknesses and transferable skills to define your personal identity as an animator. This will prepare you for your future and increase your initiative, confidence and autonomy.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 5VC522

Advanced Animation Production

This module builds on the learning and development undertaken in the animation production module. This will consist of further investigation into production methods with greater emphasis on your individual direction. You will be encouraged to recognise the creative potential in the synthesis and overlap of multiple methods in multi-media approaches. You will experiment with combining techniques in potentially novel and innovative ways in the development of your personal voice in animation.

This entails the advancement of your technical skills in solving specific animation problems in the pursuit of your individual creative aims. Your software skills will be developed and enhanced towards your individual objectives. There will be a particular focus on how the processes you employ lead to outcomes of a refined, professional standard.

You will be encouraged to be critically aware of the codes and conventions adopted and tested through your practice, and the implications this has for how outcomes will communicate and be received. This will entail the further development of your critical awareness and understanding of the context of your work. We will consider the crucial role of sound in communication and narrative, and the particular function of sound and image relationships within the language of animation.

More information
40 Credits

Code: 5VC523

Animation Applications and Contexts

This module will explore animation as a pervasive and progressive art from at the cutting edge of film and media practice. This will entail a consideration of how animation can be deployed and realised in unorthodox, non-standard applications and contexts.

The module emphasises the increasing proliferation of animation across a range of platforms and the multiple ways it can reach audiences. This includes live performance and theatre, interactive installation, mobile technologies and developing social media platforms. The inclusion of live briefs will emphasise the consideration of audience and purpose in applying animation to specific external objectives.

You will be encouraged to reflect on the expanding contexts for animation outside of traditional delivery platforms. This will entail experimentation with innovative production and delivery methods including projection mapping, multiple screen display, surround sound, interactivity, virtual reality, augmented reality and audience participation. There will be a particular focus on cross-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary practice and how animation interfaces with illustration, graphic design, fine art, performance, music, dance, sculpture, architecture and other forms. The investigation into these areas will entail acknowledging animation’s potential in engaging audiences on a social and political level, and its role in a rapidly changing media and technology landscape.

More information
40 Credits

Code: 6VC500


In this module Graphic Design, Illustration and Animation final year students come together to apply the knowledge and skills from the specialist programmes to one visual communication problem. You will be challenged to respond with individuality to the specific theme to demonstrate the focus of your approach to your practice. The project will evidence the resolve you have achieved at this point in your career as an artist or designer in readiness for your next ‘destination’ as a graduate.

Emphasis will be placed on identifying, understanding and applying the experience and knowledge you have gained throughout your study and you will be encouraged to clearly define your individual direction as a Graphic Designer, Illustrator or Animator. Within the specified theme topics and tasks will include portfolio presentation, self-promotion, and design solutions for your graduating degree show exhibition.

The project will be set under the conditions of a ‘live’ brief and will aim to be as close to a professional situation as possible. It will be an opportunity for you to demonstrate your professionalism as a visual communicator demonstrating your personal approach to your practice area.

The work produced should clearly evidence a good knowledge of methods and media within your own specific area of working in visual communication.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 6VC501

Negotiated Study in Animation

This double module will enable you to select from a range of animation projects, including competitions and live briefs. The selections you make will enable you to refine the focus of your practice, to build a portfolio that represents your strengths and to begin to direct your own learning in the areas that most interest you. You will be expected to challenge your abilities, processes and methodologies in addressing the projects selected and to refine your ways of working to achieve professional standards in preparation for employment and/or further study.

You will negotiate your project selections with your assigned Personal Tutor and with your Module Tutors, who will support and advice on identified strengths and the balance of the projects chosen. Your goal will be to express your personal voice and extend your individual direction within animation.

All of the projects offered will be challenging visual communication problems across a range of issues offering a wide choice of options to respond to in your own way, within your practice focus. Collaborative or joint projects may also be negotiated.

You will be required to produce a digital portfolio or showreel of your practical work responding to the projects set. You will also be required to evidence the application of a high level of research and understanding of historical and contemporary practice in the subject area in responding to and developing your selected projects.

More information
40 Credits

Code: 6VC504

Specialist Practice in Animation

This double module will support you in developing an individual short animated film topic for sustained, in-depth investigation in an enquiring manner. You will be required to define yourself as an Animator, in presenting a body of work which expresses and forms the basis of your professional potential.

You are encouraged to work with independence, originality, initiative and confidence, to develop further your abilities of research, critical analysis and self-organisation. You will also be expected to extend your practical abilities through continuing to create and manipulate sound and image in an experimental and questioning manner to communicate.

You will be encouraged to develop your practice with consideration of sustainability and ethical perspectives. Your methodologies, time planning, scripting and visual solutions should extend and further resolve your personal direction. You will be required to critically evaluate, analyse and reflect on the development and success of your outcomes, on the basis of the effectiveness of their communication to your intended audience.

Emphasis is placed on independent learning but throughout the module your work will be supported by seminars, lectures, small studio group work-checks and individual tutorials with an appointed member of staff with specialist knowledge of your specialism. There will also be large peer group review days. Assessment is by presentation of practical work, which includes a reflective journal of your research and planning.

More information
40 Credits

Code: 6VC507

Visual Culture: Extended Essay

In this module you will produce an extended essay on a topic determined by you with the support of your tutor. While the topic will be of your own choosing, it should relate to your own discipline and practice.

The topic selected should offer enough depth to allow you to identify issues for research, investigation and analysis. You will be encouraged to build on and apply the theories and historical knowledge explored in the modules “Visual Culture: History” and “Visual Culture; Theory.”

Your topic will be carefully selected and honed to ensure that it helps inform your understanding of your discipline and practice. For example, you may focus on a specific practitioner whose work successfully responds to a set of problems, which are pertinent to your own concerns.

There are indeed other approaches to identifying a topic focus and research question; for example, one method is to compare and contrast, while another may be to focus on a narrow historical period or a narrow genre of visual texts. Your tutor will help guide you in refining your approach and in establishing your title for the extended essay.  

You will identify, negotiate and assume responsibility for conducting your research and producing the extended essay.

You will work towards developing a coherent argument, informed by your research, which will drive the structure and logic of the extended essay. You will work towards producing coherent academic writing, which adopts the scholarly conventions of referencing according to Harvard procedures.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

  1. Initiate, generate and research an individual topic relevant to your subject, with reference to cultural, theoretical and historical influences
  2. Articulate an analytical and critical written presentation on that topic establishing a considered argument
  3. Engage in critical discussion, articulating ideas effectively and contributing to current debate within your specialist subject

Module content

In consultation with tutors, you will define and research an area of study, which will reflect and complement your particular individual practice.

Tutorials will provide advice, direction and additional sources of research and visual material where appropriate. The tutorials will also provide a framework for ensuring coherence of the topic, and direction for the methods and planning of research, draft versions and final presentation issues.

More information
20 Credits

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

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Open Days

Register your interest for a future Open Day and we'll be in touch as soon as we are able to welcome you on campus.

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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. 

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.

A male student in the animation studio

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:

Take a look at highlights from the 2019 Degree Show.

Students working in the visual communications studios

Visual Communication studios

Our Visual Communication studios at Markeaton Street are for courses such as Graphic Design, Illustration and Animation.

Take a look at the studiosTake a look at the studios

Personal academic tutoring

Your personal academic tutor will work with you to help you get the most out of your time at university. Having someone to talk to about your academic progress, your university experience and your professional aspirations is hugely valuable. We want you to feel challenged in your studies, stretched but confident to achieve your academic and professional goals.

Find out more about personal academic tutoring

Who will teach you

Stuart Poynton

Stuart Poynton
Programme leader

Stuart is Programme Leader and Senior Lecturer in Design with specialisms in Motion Graphics, Animation and Moving Image.

View full staff profileView full staff profile

Entry requirements

September 2020 typical entry requirements

RequirementWhat we're looking for
UCAS points112 (up to 16 from AS-levels)
Specific requirements at A-level

No specific subject requirements

Specific requirements at GCSEGCSE Maths and English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification
IELTS6.0 (with 5.5 in each skills area)
Interview / AuditionYes - see interview details

Yes - Digital portfolio

Alternative entry qualifications:

We usually consider an A-level in General Studies as a supplementary qualification. A good application/performance will be taken into account if you do not meet the criteria/offer conditions.

Our entry requirements for this course should be read together with the University's general entry requirements, which details subjects we accept, alternative qualifications and what we're looking for at Derby.

Two students sitting in front of a laptop smiling

Academic Achievement Scholarship

We’re offering eligible students a £1,000 scholarship to celebrate your hard work and success.

Learn more about the Academic Achievement ScholarshipLearn more about the Academic Achievement Scholarship

Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees


£9,250 per year*



£14,045 per year


* The fees stated above are for the 2019/20 academic year; fees for 2020/21 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. We will update this information as soon as it is available.

Further information about our fees and support you may be entitled to.

Additional costs and optional extras

How to apply

UK/EU students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for EU students post-Brexit

International students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for international applicants applying for an undergraduate degree


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.

Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

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Additional information about your studies

Download programme specification

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Additional costs and optional extras

We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.

Included in your fees

Mandatory costs not included in your fees

Optional costs not included in your fees

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.

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