BA (Hons) Animation and Illustration

Are you interested in exploring Animation and Illustration for the creative industries? Our dynamic degree involves a range of challenging practical assignments, offering you the wide range of skills and knowledge you’ll need for your chosen career in television and film, the web, publishing and advertising, video games and animated special effects.

BA (Hons) Animation and Illustration

Course details

At the University of Bolton’s School of the Arts we offer creative, student-focused courses that are valued by employers, and underpinned by the knowledge and industry experience of our high quality staff. We frequently update our programmes to ensure they keep up with new and emerging trends and provide you with the tools and techniques you will need to progress into your chosen area of employment.

Our Animation and Illustration degree offers commercial understanding, and gives you the opportunity to develop high level technical skills and knowledge. You’ll be encouraged to develop professional standards in the creative use of a wide range of illustration, animation, and digital software programmes. Building on an introduction to the basics of animation and illustration, the second half of the course offers you increasing levels of choice to specialise in either area, exploring digital and experimental means of image making.

You’ll be taught by a diverse team of highly experienced, professionally and academically qualified, staff. They have extensive experience in the animation and illustration industry and have worked for several broadcasting companies including the BBC and Granada Television.

  • UCAS points: 96
  • Start date: 21/09/2020
  • Location: The University of Bolton
  • Award: BA (Hons)
  • UCAS code: WW26
  • Duration: 3 years

Course highlights:

  • Our Art courses are placed in the top ten in the UK for student-to-staff ratio by the Guardian University League Tables 2020, so you have access to individual tutor support and small group teaching.
  • If you want to specialise in pursuit of a specific career destination, such as digital animation or children’s book illustration, you can do so.
  • You’ll be encouraged to enter national and international competitions, including the Penguin Random House Design Award, Channel 4 E Stings and the Macmillan Prize for Illustration.
  • We’ll invite you to participate in study visits to animation festivals, galleries, museums, exhibitions and conferences. In the past, these have included The Bradford Animation Festival, Thought Bubble, Alice in Wonderland at the Portico Library, Manchester Art Gallery and Tate Liverpool, and the Manchester Animation Festival.
  • Students have also benefited from trips abroad and have visited, in previous years, Barcelona, Berlin, New York, Paris and Tokyo. There is also an opportunity for a limited number of exceptional graduates to exhibit at Design and Art Direction in London.

Key features:

  • You’ll have access to industry-standard equipment in our five dedicated studio spaces equipped with Apple Mac computers and scanners. Much of the coursework involves the creative use of animation, illustration and graphics software.
  • The course is broad-based and you’ll explore character design, story boarding and narrative techniques with traditional and digital animation and illustration for screen and print.
  • There is a visiting speaker programme so you can benefit from discussions with industry professionals in the sector. We’ll also support you to develop transferrable skills for the work place such as problem solving, team working and interpersonal skills.
  • You’ll be encouraged to create a portfolio of work and have the opportunity to present your work to the public as part of the Bolton School of the Arts final-year Creative Show.
  • In addition to the taught modules, which are mostly simulated live briefs, there are opportunities to work on live projects for clients from inside and outside the University.

Entry requirements

  • UCAS points: 96
  • Start date: 21/09/2020
  • Location: The University of Bolton
  • Award: BA (Hons)
  • UCAS code: WW26
  • Duration: 3 years

Your Level 3 subjects must include an art and design based subject; for instance, A-level Art or BTEC Extended Diploma in Art and Design.

You should also have five GCSEs at grade C or above or grade 4 to 9 (or equivalent) including English Language.

You'll be required to attend for interview and provide a portfolio of appropriate work.

The quality of the portfolio/interview is the primary basis on which applicants are selected; therefore special consideration will be given to applicants without the above qualifications who have a strong portfolio.

If English isn’t your first language you’ll also need IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any band (or equivalent). We also accept a range of other English language qualifications – please visit our English Language Requirements web page for more details. Find out more

Career opportunities

This course offers you a practical and critical exploration of both illustration and animation. Animation modules aim to develop your visual voice and technical skills, your communication and storytelling skills, as well as your ability to work with others and take instruction. In addition, you can increase your networking skills and flexibility, by working between several projects simultaneously.

Illustration modules aim to make the most of your imagination and enable you to develop your knowledge of computer-aided design techniques and printing processes, including computer graphics and screen printing. Furthermore, it can provide you with the opportunity to increase your research skills and develop the ability to market your skills to potential employers.

What can I do with this qualification?

Professional careers in the disciplines of animation and illustration include such roles as storyboard, layout and concept artists, character animators and technical directors, and visual development artists in character design and/or environment design for animated films, shorts and special projects. You can also consider careers in publishing, book illustration, or editorial and advertising.

Some of the other more common career paths include graphic designer, video editor and web designer. Graduates can work freelance for magazines, newspapers, publishers and TV production companies. They can also pursue careers in games, multimedia, special effects and design.

Postgraduate opportunities also exist within disciplines such as illustration, advertising, fine art, furniture design and museum studies. Some graduates also pursue teaching qualifications.

Alternative career options

  • Exhibition design
  • Produce design
  • Animated commercials
  • Poster production
  • Greeting card design
  • Music promotion
  • Advertising and marketing
  • Studio management
  • Arts administration
  • Fashion design
  • Education and teaching

Professional recognition

Fees & funding

Home/EU fees

  Year of study Total
Entry year 2020/212021/222022/232023/24
2020/21 £9,250£9,250£9,250-£27,750
2021/22 -nullnullnullnull

International fees

  Year of study Total
Entry year 2020/212021/222022/232023/24
2020/21 £12,450£12,450£12,450-£37,350
2021/22 -nullnullnullnull

The fees for a student’s course of study will be set for the normal duration of that course subject only to inflationary increases – measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) recorded in March each year to take effect for subsequent start dates.

The University is currently awaiting Government guidelines as to EU fee charges for students commencing study in 2019/20.

UK undergraduate tuition fees are subject to UK government approval and are subject to the outcome of the Teaching Excellence Framework.

How to apply


September start

Please apply through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) for September entry.

The online application form and guidance notes are available on the UCAS website.

You can apply for up to 5 courses through UCAS (at the same or different institutions) for a fee of £24. Alternatively, if you only wish to apply for a single course at a single institution then a reduced applicant's fee of £13 is applicable.

You will need the following information to complete your UCAS application form:

  • Institution Code Name: BOLTN

  • Institution Code Number: B44

UCAS - Universities and Colleges Admissions Service

Tel: 0870 1122211


The University welcomes applications from international students from all over the world. We try to make the application process as simple and as fast as possible for our international applicants.

How you apply is determined by your current location and what you are choosing to study:

  1. Apply direct to the University. Links for the next available intakes of this course are shown below. Please click the link which will direct you to the online application form. Please read the user guidance before completing this.
  2. Apply via one of our approved in-country referral partners. A list of our partners may be found on the International pages of this website.
  3. Apply via UCAS for courses starting in September only – visit

Should you have any queries please contact the International Team on +44 (0) 1204 903110 or email

Teaching & assessment


Modules listed below are a mixture of compulsory and optional. You may not have the opportunity to study all the modules as part of the course.

  • Digital Methodologies
  • Visual Storytelling
  • Introduction to Animation and Illustration
  • Contextual Studies in Animation and Illustration
  • Introduction to Studio Practice in Animation and Illustration
  • Employability and Enterprise
  • Past Present and Futures: Theory into Context
  • Principles of Animation
  • Principles of Illustration
  • Open Study
  • Advanced Studio Practice
  • Visual Style
  • Character Design
  • Professional Practice and Self-Promotion
  • Research in Context
  • Major Project

Teaching, learning and assessment

Learning and teaching methods use a blended style which means you’ll have face-to-face sessions as well as taking part in online learning. Active learning is promoted via seminars, lectures and tutorials, practical workshop demonstrations, a visiting speaker programme, critiques, study visits, self-directed study, IT sessions, library and guided study, and online learning.

Online learning is delivered via the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) used by the University which is called Moodle. Moodle allows students to access learning materials and study aids either on or off the campus. The use of Moodle is of great benefit as it allows self-directed study to be completed from anywhere at any time.

Module-based design briefs offer you an insight into the professional environment; this is achieved by using simulated design briefs, client-led live briefs, and competition briefs. You’ll be supported through the course by having group tutorial and critiques, one-to-one tutor feedback, and regular feedback from clients and collaborators.

Our aim is to fully engage you in the teaching and learning process and you’ll be taught using methods designed to help you gain maximum benefit from your studies and fully achieve your goals.


The university will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver your course as described in its published material and the programme specification for the academic year in which you begin your course. Please be aware that our courses are subject to review on an ongoing basis. The content of course modules and mode of associated assessments may be updated on an annual basis. This is to ensure that all modules are up to date and responsive to employment and sector needs. The published course material and the programme specification contain indicative ‘optional modules’ that may be subject to change due to circumstances outside of our control. For this reason we cannot guarantee to run any specific optional module.

Assessment methods

Level Assessment method
Level One Coursework (100%)
Level Two Coursework (100%)
Level Three Coursework (100%)

Learning activities

Level Learning activity
Level One Guided independent study (58%), Scheduled learning and teaching activities (42%)
Level Two Guided independent study (53%), Scheduled learning and teaching activities (47%)
Level Three Guided independent study (60%), Scheduled learning and teaching activities (40%)

Contact The University

Key facts

  • UCAS code:
  • Course type:
  • Start date:
  • Location:
    The University of Bolton
  • Award:
    BA (Hons)
  • UCAS points:
  • Duration:
    3 years

Contact us

Carol Allison
Programme Leader
Telephone: +44 (0)1204 903271

Enquiry Team
University of Bolton
Telephone: +44 (0)1204 903903