6 animated clowns with face paint

BA (Hons) Animation

UCAS CODE: CMSA (Full-time) or CMSF (Foundation Year)
TARIFF: 88 - 112 (Full-time) or 32 - 56 (Foundation Year)
  • Study Mode: Full Time
  • Location: High Wycombe / BNU based at Pinewood Studios
  • Duration: Three or Four Years
  • Start Date: September 2024

You can also study this course:

Do you have a passion for animation? Do you want to develop your skills ready for a career in this industry? On this very practical course you’ll cover a range of areas using up-to-date software, with the support and guidance from our experienced lecturers.

Split between our High Wycombe campus and BNU teaching base at Pinewood Studios, you’ll have the opportunity to learn the skills and knowledge you need for your future, all whilst studying right in the heart of the famous creative hub.

An award icon with a star in the middle.
No. 1 in England for Student Satisfaction*
*Measured by % of positivity across all questions within the larger providers only: taught or registered population (NSS 2023)
A trophy icon with a star in the middle of it.
No. 1 Students' Union in the UK*
*As ranked among taught students at non-specialist HEIs (NSS 2023)
Pound symbol inside of a house icon
Top for our response to the cost-of-living-crisis*
*Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023
A star sitting on top of a laptop in an icon drawing.
5th for learning opportunities*
*NSS 2023
A handshake icon.
Top 10 for student support*
*Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023
The processes I learnt at BNU, I now use every day at work. BNU is an amazing uni, which creates an easy environment to learn in. It just lets you focus on you and your development as a person before heading into the real world.
Alexandra Young
Alexandra Young profile picture

Why study this subject?

Whether it is 2D, stop-motion, 3D hand-drawn or computer-generated animation, a skilled animator can create the illusion of real life and all roles call for high levels of creativity and passion for storytelling. Digital animation is an established but continually evolving and growing discipline that is currently employed in many different areas of the media industry, including film, television, games and commercials. This course offers you an opportunity to study key concepts and technical skills in Animation with a strong focus on professional practice.

This course is also offered as a four-year programme, including an initial Foundation Year. The Foundation Year will allow you to develop your academic study skills and build confidence in your abilities, identifying your own strengths and development needs for progression onto an undergraduate programme. 


Everything that I’ve learnt from my animation classes has been invaluable. Learning the principles and all the different ways they apply to different styles of animation has been so useful.
Sian Hearn
A head shot of a smiling Sian Hearn facing directly into the camera

Why study at Buckinghamshire New University?

BNU has been ranked 9th for Animation & Games Design in the UK (G.U.G. 2023).

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, masterclasses and plenty of networking opportunities.

Every July we hold our end of year show at the John Barry Theatre at Pinewood Studios. Professionals from the industry are invited to see students' work from their final year on the BA (Hons) Animation course, providing exciting networking opportunities. These industry experts are always very impressed with the quality of students' work.



On this dynamic course you’ll have access to all the industry-standard equipment you need to bring your ideas to life, such as a VR lab and motion capture equipment. You could also study at our BNU teaching base at Pinewood Studios. Here you’ll have the opportunity to learn the skills and knowledge you need for your future, all whilst studying right in the heart of the famous creative hub.

Our small group sizes enable staff and students to work together as a friendly and collaborative community of learners. It also means you’ll benefit from more one to one support with your lecturer.

With London only a short journey away, you can take the opportunity to visit some of the world’s best exhibitions, galleries, museums and conventions for inspiration.

BNU have been collaborating with Final Pixel Academy to train our staff and students in the technology and workflows required for virtual production. In January 2023, our final year BA Animation, BA VFX and BA 3D Game Art students worked with Final Pixel to learn about virtual production at our High Wycombe campus using Final Pixel’s portable LED wall. Here is a film showing how our students collaborated with Final Pixel.




Animated haunted castle at night
Animation header

What facilities can I use?

We’ve made sure you have access to industry-standard equipment. Our labs give you access to;

  • Maya
  • Nuke
  • Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Renderman
  • Substance
  • ZBrush.

Most of our 3D animation is currently done in Maya. For modelling you’ll use ZBrush, Marvellous Designer and a range of other pieces of software commonly used in industry. We review the list every year.

We have the latest equipment used in many films, TV shows and commercials. A motion capture studio, renderfarm, and even VR facilities for this increasingly important area in delivery and development. You’ll have access to a stop motion studio and up-to-date camera equipment.

Whilst studying with us you will also use our AppsAnywhere web service, which provides access to many of the software applications you use for learning and studying. AppsAnywhere can be used from your own device or from a University owned PC or laptop, from any location. You’ll also be able to remotely access our VDI, which is a powerful computer that will give you access to both sufficiently powered hardware and the software relevant to the course.

This video was our first experiment with our new Xsens motion capture suits. With the help of dancers from BNU’s BA Dance and Performance course, we motion captured a routine on the concourse running though the university and replaced one of the dancers with a version of the Lonely Robot and comped this back into the footage. We also have state of the art Faceware kits for face motion capture.

Female dance student dancing with human-size robot

In your final year you will also study in our ASUS ProArt lab which is designed to help you deliver your very best work. The lab features Scan 3XS workstations and a range of high performance display monitors from the Asus ProArt range. These provide excellent colour grading to help you produce colour accurate work for your final projects and showreels.



You’ll also be invited to join additional online groups where you will be able to meet the other students taking our animation, visual effects, game art and visualisation courses, both MA and BA, online and attendance. These help to foster a sense of community and are also places where extra-curricular collaborative projects, such as game jams, take place. You will also be able to meet our alumni in these broader forums. All forums are moderated by the lecturers. 

What will I study?

The course covers everything you need to know to be career-ready upon graduation. Starting with the fundamentals, you’ll learn the basics of animation, visual effects and games art. You will begin to animate in a believable manner and get a feel for pre-visual narrative and layout.

Throughout this course, you will also learn how to create detailed models from scratch through to lighting and rendering. You’ll also explore different aspects of the animator’s role. You’ll create stop motion sequences, experiment with different styles of animation and learn about 3D character acting, character animation, motion graphics and creature animation. 

Opportunity modules are a key part of the BNU curriculum. You’ll choose modules in your first year from a broad selection in areas such as sustainability, entrepreneurship, creativity, digital skills, personal growth, civic engagement, health & wellbeing and employment. Opportunity modules are designed to enable you to develop outside the traditional boundaries of your discipline and help you to further stand out from the crowd to future employers.

By your final year, you’ll be working on projects to build your showreel for entry into employment in this exciting industry. You will also have opportunities to collaborate with students on other creative courses at the university.

Animation Studios
Animations Students Work

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’ll also have the opportunity to work with guest lecturers, take part in a range of workshops and work on a load of live briefs. With the busy nature of the studios, and London being so close, there will be a constant flow of talented animators for you to learn from.

You’ll spend time learning and practicing the skills required by each unit before undertaking summative assessments the form of projects which will enable you to apply and combine their newfound skills together in a meaningful way while tackling tasks commonly found in the industry.  

Classes will take place in appropriate computer labs which are equipped with advanced computers and will allow you to explore the subject to the standard that a junior professional will be able to achieve. You’ll attend classes each week with a lecturer present and during these sessions you will have the opportunity to ask questions and get real time responses and feedback from both lecturers and other learners. Normally these will begin with a group seminar or demonstration and then break into 1:1s where you will have the opportunity to discuss your individual progress directly with your lecturer. Sometimes these seminars will be used for presentations and review in a manner that mimics the dailies process in industry.  

In addition to this there will be video based lecture content that will be focused on the demonstration of essential skills and clarification and expansion of key concepts and techniques. This will be facilitated via our online learning platform, where you will be able to access sets of recorded lectures which will each be on average 10 minutes long.

Other learning techniques that will be employed appropriately to the situation include: 

  • Demonstrations for new techniques 
  • Group work 
  • Video feedback 
  • Peer review 
  • Use of books, magazines, video and online resources 
  • Research methods 

You will be regularly set formative tasks related to the weekly content or be working towards their own project objective as agreed with the lecturers. This will enable you to apply your learning in new contexts. You will also be able to submit your work for asynchronous formative review from the lecturer which will be delivered as a video commentary on your work. 

You will also be expected to join a closed online group where you will be able to discuss the work and ask questions throughout the week. It is expected that both lecturers and students will contribute and answer questions. This will also be a place for you to post your work for peer discussion and review. 

Assessments will be largely practical coursework along with critical analysis and evaluation which will come mainly in the form of essays and presentations. The practical elements will mimic the kind of work that junior artists will carry out in industry, as far as reasonably practicable.

Pinewood studios exterior building
BA Animation is a great course that gives you the fundamental skills and knowledge to prepare you for the industry. It is also a great place to network via workshops and gain links in the industry.
Hilary Orange
A headshot of a smiling Hilary Orange stood facing directly into the camera

BA (Hons) Animation Programme Specification

What are the course entry requirements?

A typical offer will require a UCAS tariff score of: 88 - 112 (Full-time) or 32 - 56 (Foundation Year)

UCAS points can be obtained through qualifications such as A levels, T levels, BTEC or an Access to Higher Education course in a relevant subject. Please list all your qualifications on the application form as you will be asked to provide copies when we receive your application.

A minimum of two full A-levels (or equivalent) is required and a typical offer also requires GCSE Maths and English at grade C/4. Every application is considered on an individual basis.

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

Applicants who do not meet the minimum requirements for the three-year undergraduate programme, or those who do not feel fully prepared for a degree course, can apply for a four-year programme including a Foundation Year; find out more.

Applicants will need to demonstrate portfolio work, further guidance is given below


Portfolio requirements


What are we looking for?

We want to see your best work, as chosen by yourself. You should select your favourite pieces and present these a format we can easily access, such as a pdf or mp4 sequence. Alternatively, you can link us to your own webpage which must be clearly identifiable as your own. When selecting your work try to convey a sense of who you are and what your interests are.


What sort of things could you include?

  • We want to see the best of whatever you have done. While pieces of animation, visual effects and game art can be an advantage we are fundamentally looking for artistic sense / instinct which can be demonstrated in many other forms, including but not limited to:
  • 3D Animation sequences
  • 2D Animation sequences
  • VFX sequences (done e.g. in After Effects or other similar software)
  • A game level.
  • 3D modelling – Renders or animated turnarounds of characters, environments, props etc.
  • Photography – either traditional or digital.
  • Life drawing
  • Paintings
  • Drawings / sketches.
  • Sculptures.
  • Digital art – e.g. created in Photoshop or other similar software.
  • Short live action films or documentaries.
  • Other - if you are in doubt contact the relevant course leaders.


How much should you include?

This depends on what you are submitting. If you have individual images / pictures / paintings, then no more than your favourite 12. If you have project work such as an animated sequence, a game level or short film then no more than your favourite 3 in mp4 format. If you wish to mix then 1 sequence = 4 images. So you could submit 1 mp4 sequence and 8 images on a pdf for example.

Any sequences should be preceded by titles showing your name and UCAS application number. Pdf should include the same at the top. Any physical formats should be carefully photographed or scanned and then compiled into a well presented pdf document. Remember how you present your work also says something about you so give this some thought and effort.


How to submit your portfolio

Please send a link to your portfolio or email a PDF of your work to: animation@bucks.ac.uk


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.

This course has Opportunity modules.

Opportunity modules are a key part of the BNU curriculum. You’ll choose modules in your first year from a broad selection in areas such as sustainability, entrepreneurship, creativity, digital skills, personal growth, civic engagement, health & wellbeing and employment. Opportunity modules are designed to enable you to develop outside the traditional boundaries of your discipline and help you to further stand out from the crowd to future employers. Find out more.

What are the tuition fees

  • Home, Academic Year 2024 - 2025: £9,250 per year
  • Overseas/International, Academic Year 2024 - 2025: £15,150 per year

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 advice@bnu.ac.uk.

What are my career prospects? 

Throughout your time with us we’ll support you on the route to your chosen career. We’ll help you to develop crucial skills, encouraging you to become enterprising, employable and good leaders. We also help you find employment after graduation. Have a look at our Careers and Employability pages to find out more.

Our BA (Hons) Animation course will help prepare you for a range of career possibilities in any sector which requires the animator role. Our recent alumni have gone onto work for;

  • DNeg
  • Framestore
  • TT Games. (Warner Bros)
  • Mediatonic Games
  • FST.
  • Ubisoft
  • Cinesite
  • Airship Studios.

Graduates can also choose to study for a postgraduate course, such as our MA Advanced 3D Animation.

Graduates from BNU’s animation courses have gone on to work in all six of the major VFX houses in the UK, as well as a number of major games houses and smaller companies. We have had winners and runners up in the Grads In Games Competition, which have then led to jobs. Our learners have worked on major films, games and TV productions, including Avengers Endgame.

I’d 100% recommend my course. It was well run, had amazing tutors and was always a lovely environment to be in. I learnt so many new skills during my time at BNU and came out of it with a new passion for editing and 3D modelling. I even found myself a full time job 3 months after finishing my course.
Maddy Kendal-Murray
A headshot of a smiling Maddy Kendal-Murray wearing glasses and stood in front of a brick wall

Course leader

Safa Tharib staff profile photo
Dr Safa Tharib
  • Senior Lecturer
Read full profile
Anne-Marie Perks - staff profile photo
Anne-Marie Perks
  • Associate Lecturer
Read full profile
Elle bromfield staff profile photo headshot
Elle Bromfield
  • Lecturer
Read full profile
miles skarin
Miles Skarin
  • Lecturer
Read full profile
Steve Cassar staff profile photo
Steve Cassar
  • Senior Lecturer
Read full profile
The silhouette of a white head and shoulders of a person against a grey background
Rob Penhaligon
  • Senior Lecturer
Read full profile
A headshot of Martin Matus Davis, a lecturer at BNU, wearing glasses.
Martin Matus Davis
  • Associate Lecturer
Read full profile
A headshot of Shaojun Bian, a Senior Lecturer in 3D Design
Dr Shaojun Bian
  • Senior Lecturer
Read full profile
with Foundation Year