course page main image

Digital Animation - BA (Hons)

Currently viewing course to start in 2025/26 Entry. Switch to 2024/25 Entry

This cutting-edge BA programme will develop your skills across the Digital Animation practice conventions. You will be taught by established practitioners, who will provide their knowledge on 2D and 3D animation disciplines....

  • Level Undergraduate
  • Study mode Full Time
  • Location City Centre
  • School School of Games, Film and Animation
  • Faculty Faculty of Arts, Design and Media

This course is:

Available with Professional Placement year

Open to International Students

Overview

This cutting-edge BA programme will develop your skills across the Digital Animation practice conventions. You will be taught by established practitioners, who will provide their knowledge on 2D and 3D animation disciplines.

The course is part of Birmingham City University’s Film suite, designed to develop graduates with knowledge of the theory, practice and industry trends that will enable them to succeed in a rapidly changing industry environment.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

The course will help you establish the core art fundamentals, such as anatomy, gesture, pose, weight distribution, perspective, composition and an understanding of how they underpin digital animation practice. You will also learn about the 12 principles of animation required to create engaging animation performance, whether you choose a Film/Television or Games/Interactive pathway. The course will introduce you to industry standard project management and pipelines methodologies that mirror industry production procedures.

Depending upon the route you choose to take on the course (Film/TV or Game/Interactive) you will produce a range of assessed material including but not exclusive to:

  • Storyboards & story-reels
  • Animation foundation exercises
  • Performance animations
  • Specialist portfolios and showreels
  • Short films, made collaboratively, demonstrating animation principles and pipelines
  • Game animation sets, demonstrated within the Unity and Unreal game engines

A key focus of this course is developing performance within character animation. You will develop acting techniques that will promote the development on your inner actor to project performance through your characters. You will also develop an understating of and demonstrate visual storytelling, with ‘show don’t tell’ philosophies.

While theoretical and practice-based considerations of animation techniques and principles remain a central focus to the award, the course also provides shared modules within the School’s film and games courses, offering wider collaborative opportunities which help provide core skills relevant to industry.

Professional Placement Year

This course offers an optional professional placement year. This allows you to spend a whole year with an employer, following successful completion of your second year, and is a great way to find out more about your chosen career. Some students even return to the same employers after completing their studies.

If you choose to pursue a placement year, you will need to find a suitable placement to complement your chosen area of study. You will be able to draw on the University’s extensive network of local, regional, and national employers, and the support of our Careers teams. If you are able to secure a placement, you can request to be transferred to the placement version of the course.

Please note that fees are payable during your placement year, equivalent to 20% of the total full-time course fee for that year.

This course is designed in response to the growing demand within the UK and International animation industries that require job ready graduates who can demonstrate within their showreels, animation foundation principles and skilled use of industry standard tools

Shaun Magher - Course Director, BA Film Making

Why Choose Us?

  • The School of Games, Film and Animation (formerly known as the New Technology Institute) opened in 2005 and is housed within the University’s Faculty of Arts, Design and Media. In this vibrant context, you’ll enjoy the benefits of outstanding resources, at the heart of a thriving creative community in our City Centre campus.
  • You will be taught by tutors with over 30 years of experience within the UK and International Animation industries.
  • The BA Digital Animation course is an employment-led programme, so your knowledge and skills will be up to date and relevant, making you industry ready upon graduation.
  • Our teaching philosophy is practice-led and theory applied in the pursuit of excellence.
  • We have a partnership with the BFI, which offers students free access to the BFI player.
  • Top 5 in the UK for Animation and Games Design (Guardian League Table 2024).

Open Days

Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to learn about this course in detail, chat to students, explore our campus and tour accommodation. In the week before the event, we’ll post you an event programme to plan your day and find your way.

Next Open Day: 29 June 2024

Book Now

Entry Requirements

These entry requirements apply for entry in 2025/26.

All required qualifications/grades must have been achieved and evidenced at the earliest opportunity after accepting an offer to help confirm admission and allow for on-time enrolment. This can also include other requirements, like a fee status form and relevant documents. Applicants can track their application and outstanding information requests through their BCU mySRS account.

Essential requirements

112 UCAS tariff points

Please note: If you qualify for our BCU Accelerate scheme, you could receive an offer that is two grades below our normal entry requirements. Find out more about BCU Accelerate.

Applicants will also need to submit a good portfolio.

If you have a qualification that is not listed, please contact us.

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2025

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

International students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2025

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Guidance for UK students

UK students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

Applying through UCAS

  1. Register with UCAS
  2. Login to UCAS and complete your details
  3. Select your course and write a personal statement
  4. Get a reference
  5. Pay your application fee and submit your application

Guidance for International students

There are three ways to apply:

1) Direct to the University

You will need to complete our International Application Form and Equal Opportunities Form, and submit them together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.

2) Through a country representative

Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.

3) Through UCAS

If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office. You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.

Portfolio guidance

If you receive an offer to study this course, you will be required to submit a portfolio. We ask that this is submitted within four weeks of receiving your offer.

Please see our portfolio guidance page for tips on putting your portfolio together.

Portfolio guidance

If you receive an offer to study this course, you will be required to submit a portfolio. We ask that this is submitted within four weeks of receiving your offer.

Please see our portfolio guidance page for tips on putting your portfolio together.

Personal statement

UK / EU students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.*

The personal statement gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

  • Course choice - Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?
  • Career plans - If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.
  • Work experience - Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.
  • School or college experience - Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.
  • Non-accredited skills or achievement - eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Worried about Personal Statements?

If you've got no idea where to start or just want to check you're on the right track, we’ve got expert advice and real examples from our students to help you nail your personal statement. You can even download our ultimate personal statement guide for free.

Get personal statement advice

*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.

Course in Depth

Year one

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

Year two

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 100 credits):

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules.

Year three

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

Download course specification

Download now

You will learn through a series of lectures, seminars and practice-based workshops, as well as gaining valuable collaborative skills within Animation production.

Year One

In the first year of study, you will develop your skills within core Art and Animation principles.

You will receive intensive training in industry standard 2D and 3D digital Art and Animation tools.

You will experience working collaboratively to make short films and establish practical and theoretical skills within Digital Animation production.

Year Two

In the second year of study, you will develop your practical skills and knowledge within Character development. From Concept, through to animation ready character creation.

You will begin to explore your chosen specialisms, in 2D or 3D Animation production, either within a Film/TV or Games pathway.

You will have the option to collaborate with wider GFA and BICA courses, to make short films or to participate in Game jams.

You will develop your skills within acting for animation, where you will learn to capture and project performance within your animation.

Year Three

Our Professional Practice modules will help you develop and consolidate your theory and practice within Animation, enabling you to create a body of work that demonstrates the quality of work required to enter the Animation industry and start your future career.

Employability

You will learn of range of skills which will be key to enhancing your future employability.

Specifically, you will learn to:

  • Develop your own practice within a professional context that would enable future employment options in the Animation industry.
  • Identify the relationship of theory to practice and effectively demonstrating it through your work.
  • Produce animation shorts, effective animation pipeline to a professional standard.
  • Work independently and collaboratively.
  • Be a self-motivated, organised and independent effective learner.
  • Be confident in showcasing your work for critique and highly reflective of your processes.

You will also learn skills in a range of workshop practices in relation to individual development, including but not limiting to the use of camera and photography, 3D printing, motion capture, sculpting and life drawing.

Professional practice guidance will teach you a range of skills such as CV writing; portfolio development, editing showreels , use of social media and other platforms for self-promotion, presenting yourself and your work in a professional framework.

Placements

You will have the option of an international exchange, and the opportunity to get involved in a range of live projects. Placements are not part of the curriculum but are encouraged and supported by staff should an opportunity arise.

In such an example, our students have worked closely with Flatpack Festival in programming some of the events, organised and ran animation workshops and volunteering throughout the festival.

Graduates and students were also involved in the production of a Rube Goldberg animation for Second Home Studios which subsequently won the RTS Best Production Craft Skills award.

Students have also participated in Animation Festival submissions such as Annecy, Encounters, New Designers, and the prestigious Royal Television Society Awards amongst others.

Students have been wining RTS Awards dating back to 1997 with more than a dozen winners and nominees.

The Jury Distinction was also awarded to one of our graduates for his outstanding Animation at Annecy Animation Festival which was of the highest accolade.

International

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Within the Birmingham Institute of Creative Arts, the School of Games Film & Animation has historical links and strong working relationship with our International partners and institutions in China, Hong Kong, Bangkok, India, Singapore and Malaysia for over 20 years. The Animation discipline in the courses remained popular and have grown over the years.

We had collaboration and exchanges between home students and international partners, resulting in a rich cross-cultural experience. Students have participated in final degree shows, projects, festivals and screenings in different countries, thus furthering their global reach to diverse audiences whilst understanding different cultural appeal. These exchanges encourage students to expand their knowledge not only as an Animator but also as a creative practitioner.

Many of our successful home and international alumni are now working in various animation studios, gaming industry and education.

Facilities & Staff

You will have access to first class studio facilities such as the Green Screen Studio, BOLT JR+ high-speed camera robot, Motion Capture Suit and VR systems. The studios are set up in a conducive working environment with support from technicians and operators.

To support your learning, PCs and Macs are available across the campuses. Wacom tablets and Cintiqs are supplied to facilitate digital drawing and sculpting. Computers are equipped with the latest Adobe Suite and Autodesk software. Specialist animation software(s) are usually installed in dedicated computers for Digital Animators.

Professional digital cameras, lighting and recording equipment are also available in the Hires and Loans store.

Our staff

Shaun Magher

Course Director BA (Hons) Digital Animation, BA (Hons) Video Game Digital Art and MA Feature Film Development

Shaun has spent 30 years working as a Director, Creative Director and Animation Director within the UK and International Film and Television industries. A graduate from St Martins school of Art (1985) and the National Film and Television school (1989).

More about Shaun

Kelvin Wong

Animation Lecturer

Kelvin has over 14 years’ experience in animation, visualisation and education, and supports both home and international franchises in Hong Kong and Thailand, respectively. Kelvin has a keen interest toward new technologies, including CGI, projection mapping and the application of 3D printing.

More about Kelvin