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Illustration with Animation

BA (Hons)
Illustration with Animation
3 years (full-time)
4 years (with placement year and/or overseas study)

This programme is firmly rooted in the tradition of drawing and the individuality this discipline instils.

The course will provide you with the opportunity to combine illustration with animation. Through a variety of challenges, you will develop strategies and skills to enable you to successfully cope with a range of visual communication problems and contexts. Ambitions are realised through a research-informed questioning of practice that embraces the potential outcomes of page or screen.

Graduates have gone on to postgraduate study in many national institutions including the Royal College of Art, the National Film School and Manchester Metropolitan University. Graduates have also become freelance illustrators, animators, filmmakers, designers, pre-production artists, storyboard artists, and teachers.

Special Features

  • Provides you with the rare opportunity to combine illustration with animation, developing yourself as a visual communicator at home in a wide range of professional contexts
  • An experimental course that encourages you to be ambitious, curious and reflective
  • Development of traditional and digital skills including drawing, design, making, reportage, Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, InDesign, Premiere Pro, After Effects, Animator, Illustrator, Character, Aero), screen-print, monoprint, bookbinding, digital print, etching, experimental film, short-form animation, TV Paint (2D), Dragonframe (3D Stop-motion) and Maxon Cinema 4D

Course Content

Embracing the handmade and the digital, you have access to life drawing, book binding, etching, screen-printing, typesetting, workshops in sound and edit, Photoshop, InDesign, Premiere Pro, After Effects and Dragonframe.

Design in context and professional practice are introduced through national competitions and industry led 'live' briefs.

Year 1

In Year 1 you will be introduced to the three main building blocks of the course: drawing, printmaking and animation. You will develop your skills through a series of projects, introducing you to possible strategies for solving visual problems and applications which explore context. As the course unfolds, you will start to identify a framework for your own practice.

Illustration with Animation (Sense of Place)

Students will select a location which can be visited regularly and often. Working initially in sketchbooks they will gather extensive first hand visual records of their chosen place. Guided through regular tutorials, the aim of the unit is to encourage the development of individual visual languages, through which the students convey and communicate a sense of place in an appropriate resolved body of work. The Unit will include inductions in screen printing and etching and print and moving image software. The work will be applied to outcomes in drawing, print and animation.

Contextualising Practice 1: Critical Reflection

This unit is delivered and assessed by individual programmes and relate directly to students’ personal practice and the contexts that inform making in professional art, design and/or craft practices. The unit asks students to begin to form a critical understanding of their own practice.

Contextualising Practice 1: Critical Analysis

Students are allocated to a pathway according to their programme to introduce ideas relevant to their studies. The unit introduces some of the broad over-arching themes and concepts – historical, cultural, social, political, and economic – that affect and inform the production of art, design and/or craft.

Unit X

At Level 4, this unit encourages some collaborative, interdisciplinary practice and shared experience. There are lectures and talks from key research staff, students and external experts. Teaching will be in the form of tutorial groups, weekly meetings and presentations. The set projects will vary from year to year and are designed to be responsive to current creative opportunities. 

Introduction to Illustration with Animation

Through a series of short projects students will engage with processes and materials, enabling them to work with illustration / animation fundamentals. Each project introduces research and design strategies which are applicable to a range of illustration and animation processes and practices.

An introduction to the basic principles of illustration and animation delivered through a series of workshops and practical approaches to drawing, printmaking, animation and relevant craft / making processes.

Students will work in studio, in workshops and on location, in guided activities intended to reinforce the use of drawing and animation as a primary research tool and extend their technical abilities.

Year 2

In Year 2 you will begin to experiment more fully with your own practice and will be introduced to real life situations that you would encounter in professional practice. For example, you will work with text and narrative, make books, experiment with sound and movement and develop design concepts.

Contextualising Practice 2: Critical Analysis A

For ‘Contextualising Practice 2: Critical Analysis A’, students can choose to study up to two thematic sub-units to develop their contextual studies in new directions. The CP2 Critical Analysis units encourage students to develop their critical analysis skills gained in Level 4 to further investigate the broad over-arching themes and concepts – historical, cultural, social, political, and economic – that affect and inform the production of art, design and/or craft.

Unit X

This unit explores collaborative and interdisciplinary art and design practice. You will have the opportunity to engage in a range of external-facing learning opportunities which will encourage collaborative, interdisciplinary practice and shared experience; this may take the form of spending time outside of the University and working within the creative community and the public domain. 

Experiment 2

Students will be presented with a set of projects intended to explore, in-depth, fundamentals of specific visual communication problems. They will select one. Presented with methodologies of good practice they will be encouraged to experience new approaches to extend their personal practice.

Experiment 1

You will focus on experimental approaches to visual language and cultural forms in order to extend your expressive potential as illustrators or animators.

Year 3

In Year 3 you will work more independently and focus on your particular strengths, deciding which contexts are most suitable for your visual language. We aim to give you the courage to be yourself and the understanding of how and where you may contribute to the wider world of visual communication and practice.

Contextualising Practice 3: Critical Reflection

Students are allocated to a pathway according to their programme. The unit asks students to draw upon key ideas and methods encountered in their Contextualising Practice studies, as well as other aspects of their programme teaching and individual research, to support the development and critical understanding of their own practice as they approach graduation. 

Unit X

On the third year Unit X, there is a student authored final project leading to a showcase of finished work. The unit includes a brief generated by the student, which leads to the presentation of a significant body of final work. Collaborative and interdisciplinary work can be incorporated into the project in relation to the professional context and ambition of the student.

Illustration with Animation Authorship

Through the use of negotiated learning agreements students produce a body of work which continues to extend their individual creative practice. They will be supported by a personal tutor and will be part of a tutorial group.

Assessment Methods

Continuous formative and summative assessment with feedback and discussion on completion of all units. The programme ends with a School of Art exhibition.

Assessment Weightings & Contact Hours

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A three year degree qualification typically comprises 360 credits (120 credits per year). The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be—

  • Year 1 30% lectures, seminars or similar; 70% independent study
  • Year 2 30% lectures, seminars or similar; 70% independent study
  • Year 3 25% lectures, seminars or similar; 75% independent study
  • Year 1 100% coursework
  • Year 2 100% coursework
  • Year 3 100% coursework


Winners of student awards announced

Nick Sharratt spoke to students about his expansive career, iconic style and influences


Graduates of Illustration with Animation will be well-prepared to embark on a variety of careers within the creative industries, including freelance/in-house design and illustration, book arts and publishing, advertising, filmmaking, storyboarding, animation, teaching and more. Graduates may also progress on to postgraduate study.

Making an Application

How to Apply

Apply through UCAS.

We will ask you to provide a Digital Portfolio to support your application.

You will be notified of our decision through UCAS.

Entry Requirements

UCAS Tariff Points/Grades Required


GCE A levels - grades BCC or equivalent

Pearson BTEC National Extended Diploma - grade DMM

Access to HE Diploma - Pass overall with a minimum 106 UCAS Tariff points

UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma - grade of Merit overall

OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma - grade DMM

T level - We welcome applications from students undertaking T level qualifications. Eligible applicants will be asked to achieve a minimum overall grade of Merit as a condition of offer

IB Diploma - Pass overall with a minimum overall score of 26 or minimum 104 UCAS Tariff points from three Higher Level subjects

Other Level 3 qualifications equivalent to GCE A level are also considered. 

A maximum of three A level-equivalent qualifications will be accepted towards meeting the UCAS tariff requirement. 

AS levels, or qualifications equivalent to AS level, are not accepted. The Extended Project qualification (EPQ) may be accepted towards entry, in conjunction with two A-level equivalent qualifications.

Please contact the University directly if you are unsure whether you meet the minimum entry requirements for the course.

Learn more about MMU's Foundation Diploma in Art and Design.

Specific GCSE Requirements

GCSE grade C/4 in English Language or equivalent, e.g. Pass in Level 2 Functional Skills English

Non Tariffed Qualifications

International BaccalaureateIB Diploma with minimum 26 points overall or 104 UCAS Tariff points from three Higher Level subjects. If you plan to meet the Level 2 course requirements through your IB Diploma you will need to achieve Higher Level 4 or Standard Level 5 in English Points

International Students

A minimum IELTS score of 6.0 overall with no individual element below 5.5 is required.

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

Tuition Fees 2024 Entry

UK and Channel Island Students

Full-time fee: £9,250 per year. This tuition fee is agreed subject to UK government policy and parliamentary regulation and may increase each academic year in line with inflation or UK government policy for both new and continuing students.

EU and Non-EU International Students

Full-time fee: £20,000 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional Information

A degree typically comprises 360 credits, a DipHE 240 credits, a CertHE 120 credits, and an integrated masters 480 credits. The tuition fee for the placement year for those courses that offer this option is £1,850, subject to inflationary increases based on government policy and providing you progress through the course in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study). The tuition fee for the study year abroad for those courses that offer this option is £1,385, subject to inflationary increases based on government policy and providing you progress through the course in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

See Funding your studies for further information and advice.

Additional Costs

Specialist Costs

Optional ££1200 - 1800*

All of the books required for the course are available from the library. The University also has PC labs and a PC laptop loan service. However, many students choose to buy a laptop (Apple laptops tend to be standard). In addition the Adobe Creative Cloud software suite is available at a student rate. Students will need a range of art materials and funds to print their assignments and related documents. Estimated costs are £1000 - £1500 for a laptop, £200 per year for software (optional) up to £100 each year for materials and printing. A portable hard drive is essential – approx. £60.00.

* All amounts shown are estimates.