MA 3D Animation for Professionals

  • Study Mode: Part Time
  • Location: Distance Learning
  • Duration: 18 Months
  • Start Date: September 2024

Are you interested in pursuing a career in 3D Animation? Whether you want to create animation for TV, film, the web, or games, this part-time, flexible course can help you develop the vital skills you need to succeed in this sector, while fitting around your current commitments. Aimed at animation professionals and those looking to advance their skills and develop their critical capacity, our MA 3D Animation degree is one of the world’s longest running online 3D Animation master’s degrees.

You’ll have the chance to engage with the latest trends and technological advances in 3D Animation, using cutting-edge software to enhance your portfolio. We partner with the online animation school Animation Apprentice and previous students and graduates have won many festival awards for their films, while others have gone on to work for leading animation and vfx houses such as MPC, DNEG, Framestore and Escape Studios. The showreel above consists of films created on the course in the last five years.

Why study this subject?

The animation industry is growing from strength to strength, with more brands, organisations and mediums using animation in everyday life. This course includes both academic and practical elements, giving you the edge, you need to impress employers.

Why study at Buckinghamshire New University?

Our 3D animation MA is a one-of-a-kind course. It is delivered exclusively online, allowing you to fit in your studies around your personal and professional commitments.

At Buckinghamshire New University we focus on preparing you for work in the industry, helping you to stand out to employers when you graduate. With the right teaching and learning opportunities, it’s possible to turn your passion for animation into a rewarding and successful career.

Led by our enthusiastic and dedicated team of industry-savvy practitioners and experienced academics, you will have the freedom to explore all areas of animation. During your time with us you may also get access to guest lectures and could benefit from live project briefs and master classes.

Our contacts include many of the relevant post-production/animation houses in Soho, London, such as FrameStore and Cinesite. We also have an education/industry partnership with leading motion capture company Centroid, based at Pinewood and Shepperton Studios, England, along with good contacts in California studios with Walt Disney and Pixar.

We're proud to partner with the online animation school Animation Apprentice, founded by award-winning animator Alex Williams, whose film credits include Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, The Lion King, The Iron Giant, and the last three Harry Potter films.

At BNU we offer small classes across the board, meaning you gain a close-knit community and plenty of one-on-one contact and support with your tutor. Despite this course being delivered online, we offer various study channels and chat channels so you will be supported and feel a part of the wider BNU community when studying with us.

What facilities can I use?

Just because the course is online it doesn't mean you won't interact with us here at BNU. We'll support you throughout your MA and supply engaging material to enhance your learning.

On our course there’s the chance to join online sessions where you can engage in discussions and interact with learning resources in specially created forums. You'll also have access to textbooks, journal papers, electronic databases and other self-study and e-learning materials.

Whilst studying with us you will also use our AppsAnywhere web service, which provides access to many of the software applications you’ll use for learning and studying, including Maya, Zbrush, Nuke, Marvellous Designer, Adobe suite, Cinema 4D and Dragon Frame, amongst others. AppsAnywhere can be used from your own device or a University owned PC or laptop, from any location.

What will I study?

We place a strong emphasis on character and creature animation in a digital environment. With a focus on cutting edge technical and creative skills, you'll learn how to develop original creative content. You will be taught some of the fundamental skills of 3D animation and animation studios, considering recent social trends in the industry, technological developments and professional contexts. Carefully designed workshops will help you develop your skills and you’ll be given valuable practical insights into problem solving, and we’ll help guide you in putting together a strong showreel.

Throughout the programme, we’ll help you to obtain a practical understanding of the skills required to produce industry-level animation scenes and to create a unique portfolio of varied work. You’ll study the importance of cultivating unique and personal entrepreneurial skills in order to stand out in the industry, as well as communicate effectively in a professional international environment, such as with other departments within the film and gaming industries.

You'll also gain an awareness of current challenges facing the animation industry, with an opportunity to conduct your own research in this exciting and rapidly developing field.

How will I be taught and assessed?

Our BNU teaching team are industry-professionals, with years of experience working in the sector and training future generations of animators. Through their support, and the course, you’ll gain the skills and knowledge you need within the industry.

You will receive a set of pre-recorded video lectures each week which will contain the learning content as well as a guidance document on how to use the material. You will be able to complete these at times convenient to yourself.

You’ll have individual online tutorials to help identify specific issues with your individual projects, written assignments, personal research and progress within the course. You’ll receive personalised practical video feedback on your practical assignments.

You will be able to submit your progress at regular intervals for feedback from the lecturer. There will also be a scheduled group online discussion each week where the lecturer will introduce the topic and invite students to discuss and ask questions.

You’ll also have access to a closed online group chatroom for critiques in which you have the opportunity to upload your work-in-progress practical projects for feedback from your peers.

You will also access online masterclasses by leading practitioners in the animation industry.

Other assessment methods on this course will include:

  • practical reports
  • online presentations of research
  • pre-production work that will demonstrate academic rigor
  • a dissertation
  • practical project work
  • animation productions
  • problem-solving exercises that will develop an array of animation techniques

MA 3D Animation for Professionals Programme Specification

What are the course entry requirements?

We look for students with a minimum of 2:2 degree classification from an animation degree programme or from a related discipline. We also accept applications on an individual basis and will consider industry professionals who have developed the right skills through work.

All students will need to submit an online portfolio of work to support their application. We also ask prospective students for an interview - either face-to-face, phone or online.

For further details of our international English entry requirements, please visit our international pages.


This provides a guide of the modules that make up your course. You can find more information about how your course is structured on our Academic Advice section.

What are the tuition fees

  • Home, Academic Year 2024 - 2025: £8,450
  • Overseas/International, Academic Year 2024 - 2025: £8,450

Additional course costs and financial support

Most courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees.
You could benefit from financial support through a bursary or scholarship during your time as a student. For more details visit our financial support, bursaries and scholarships section.

Questions about fees?

If you have any questions about the fees above, contact our Enquiries team by calling 0330 123 2023 or emailing

What are my career prospects?

Employers are looking for animators and digital artists to fill their ever-growing art teams. Your MA shows that you are not just an excellent practitioner, but also that you can engage in critical thinking at an advanced level and understand the theory behind the craft. The skills you learn on this programme are transferable to any kind of animation.

Our graduates have gone on to work in production houses, visual effects companies and some have even started their own companies. Students and graduates have won many festival awards for their films, while others have gone on to work for leading animation and vfx houses including MPC, DNEG, Framestore and Escape Studios.

During this course, you’ll be able to create a showreel, which is a vital piece of work to have when looking for jobs and internships in the industry. Here are some top tips from Course Instructor Alex on how you can use it, and where to show it off.

Course leader

Fil Ieropoulos staff profile photo
Dr Fil Ieropoulos
  • Senior Lecturer
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Headshot of a smiling Alexander Williams looking directly into the camera
Alexander Williams
  • Tutor
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