Animation BDes (and degree combinations)

  • For Entry: September
  • Duration: 3 years
  • School: Art & Design

Animation students combine art and technology to express a story or visual effect. The course is perfect for those who want to work in the games industry, TV, film or in web design. You will study at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD), part of the University of Dundee.  

Animation at Dundee

We offer a wide range of opportunities for contemporary animators. These include narrative storytelling, visual effects and visualisation.

Image by Birte Niedermeyer

Why study this course at Dundee?

Did You Know?

  • Animation Career Review's list of 2014 Top 100 International Animation Schools ranks DJCAD #1 in Scotland.

The BDes (Hons) Animation course is for students who are passionate about becoming animation professionals. Our ethos is to echo current industry studio practices as much as possible. The atmosphere here in the animation studio is vibrant and friendly, buzzing with creative energy and hard work.

Drawing is of utmost importance. All of our students attend weekly life drawing classes and keep observational sketchbooks. What makes our course distinct is how our students develop individually as specialists within the animation industry, while working collaboratively to produce short student-led animated films.

Our final year students have confidence in their own abilities in specialized areas of Preproduction (concept art, character design, etc.), Production (2D and 3D digital character animation, 3D modelling, etc.) and Post production (compositing, VFX, etc.) as well as generalist and transferable animation production skills. They work towards industry-ready showreels that best evidence their two nominated specialist skills.

Cutting-edge facilities

You will have access to our state-of-the-art facilities. These include Maya labs, an animation studio, rostrum camera, and a green screen visual effects studio.

At the end of the course you will be able to:

  • use 2D and 3D animation skills
  • use the latest technology to create narrative stories & visual effects 
  • coherently research, defend and structure your chosen subject

Animation Showreel from the students at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, University of Dundee.

Who should study Animation?

 You are:

  • creative
  • technologically motivated
  • artistic
  • a good communicator
  • an observer
  • a team player

You want to:

  • improve observational and life drawing skills
  • develop 2D & 3D skills
  • learn how to express your creative vision through animation
  • learn the skills required to enter a field with exciting career prospects

Communication Design

Animation is one of three courses that comprise the communication design programme. The full list is animation, graphic design and illustration. As well as studying animation, you will engage with generic communication design issues.  
We develop agile and flexible graduate designers.  These professionals have a broad understanding of communication design coupled with expertise in their chosen subject.

More about DJCAD

For further examples of student work, staff profiles and news visit the DJCAD website.

Related Courses

Classical animation exercises in Level 2 supported by acting classes, lectures, workshops and software training for 2D/3D digital animation helps instil the principles of character animation.

Level 3 students study cinematography and visual storytelling, with drawing, software skills and elective modules such as Comic Art, Graphic Novels and VFX. They develop ideas for final year films, and experience animation production through group films.

Projects in Levels 2 and 3 prepare students for the final year through recognition and development of their creative strengths.

Level 4 students refine their specialist skills in group and individual projects, with weekly life drawing classes.

The programme of study involves projects and workshops designed to help you, through experiential learning, to understand the fundamental skills of animation. Different approaches of teaching and learning are used including:

  • Regular seminars
  • Practical lectures
  • Studio demonstrations
  • Individual tutorials
  • Group critiques
  • Peer review

Level 1 

Students can enter Animation after successfully completing our Art and Design (General Foundation) course (apply for course WW12) or on successful completion of a recognised Foundation Course or equivalent (apply or course W210). This is normal for many art and design courses.

In the Art and Design (General Foundation) course you will learn the core values which will enrich and expand your personal visual language, preparing you nicely for a further 3 years in Animation.

Level 2

  • Introduction to Fundamental Animation Skills
  • Introduction to 2D and 3D Computer Animation
  • Introduction to Production Equipment
  • Creative Research Methodology
  • Contextual Studies

Level 2 of the programme is structured to provide a broad foundation of knowledge and experience. You will be introduced to relevant equipment and varied media used in the production process for your choice of specialism. Projects and assignments help you develop the relevant learning, research and technical skills, exploring creativity and individual aptitude through each process.

Level 3

  • Personal Programme of Study
  • Research and Development
  • Professional Production Practice
  • Professional Production Practice
  • Professional Production Practice
  • Professional Production Practice

Level 3 is designed to encourage experimentation, cross course projects, exploring ideas and making use of appropriate technical methods. All students prepare and present a programme of personal project work that reflects the research and development of ideas. During this year you will undertake a series of assignments designed to develop good professional practice necessary to succeed in your chosen career.

Level 4

  • Personal Programme of Research
  • Dissertation
  • Degree Show Exposition

In the final year - Level 4 - you will organise and present a personal programme of study that will form the major part of your submission for the Honours degree examination. You will be encouraged to integrate all aspects of your research with a written thesis and the production of your final outcomes. You will produce a body of work that will demonstrate a mature visual understanding of materials, methods and processes required to transform ideas into reality.

Your progress is monitored with structured formal reviews and assessments. At Level 4 a team of internal and external examiners conduct the final degree examination.

Our graduates are known for their professional team working skills, creativity and technical proficiency.

They have been employed all over the world in a variety of specialist positions such as concept artists, animators, storyboard artists, directors, VFX artists, modellers, riggers, lighting artists, etc, in the animation, games and VFX sectors, and have credits on such films as: The Lego Movie; The Amazing Spiderman; Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2; Inception; The Illusionist; Guardians of the Galaxy;  such games as:  Assassin’s Creed;  The Last of Us; Grand Theft Auto; and animated TV shows for the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon and CBeeBees. 

Carolo Kasongo, Freelance Junior Character Artist for Axis Animation

"DJCAD introduced and pointed out the tools I needed to get into the art industry and also taught me how hard I needed to work to get there. Additionally DJCAD trained me in the importance of being able to work on a team and alongside others on a regular basis. The animation course at DJCAD was a good transition from student to professional work ethics, and I’m still benefiting from learning that early on in my career."

Meg Park, Freelance Character Designer and Visual Development Artist

"DJCAD's Animation course gave me a great opportunity to try out each area of animation production and helped me figure out exactly which role I wanted to pursue as a career. It also provided me with a great amount of freedom to develop my own ideas and skills. I'm currently working as a freelance Character Designer and Visual Development Artist. Some of the studios I've collaborated with include Paramount Pictures, Disney and Nickelodeon. I also illustrate children's books.See more of Meg's work."

The following are the minimum, up-to-date entry requirements.

You have to obtain your qualifications at the first sitting of examination.

Courses starting 2016

Advanced Entry (to Level 2)

Qualification Grade
SQA Advanced Higher BB (Advanced Higher) + BB (Higher) in different subjects
IB Diploma 34 points (including 6, 6, 5, at Higher level)
Essential Subjects Art and Design, or related subject (at SQA Advanced Higher, GCE A-Level, IB Higher Level), an appropriate literate subject (at SQA Advanced Higher, GCE A Level, IB Higher Level) and one other subject outside art & design subjects (at SQA Higher, GCE A Level, IB Higher Level).
EU & International Visit our EU and International webpages for entry requirements tailored to your home country"
Other Qualifications
SQA A recognised Foundation Course or a relevant HND with BB in the Graded Units
Scottish Baccalaureate Pass with BB at Advanced Higher
SWAP Access
EDEXCEL A recognised Foundation Course or a relevant BTEC Extended Diploma with DDM
Advanced Diploma Grade B with ASL A-levels in appropriate subjects at AB
Welsh Baccalaureate Pass with A-levels in appropriate subjects at AB
European Baccalaureate 75% overall with 7.5 in an Art & Design subject and 7.5 in a literate subject

There have been many changes to the arrangements for funding students entering higher education in recent years, yet a degree from the University of Dundee, with its high rate of employment success, remains a cost-effective option.

The fees you pay will depend on your fee status. Your fee status is determined by us using the information you provide on your application. Find out more about fee status.

Fee categoryFees for students starting 2016
Scottish and EU students £1,820 per year of study (for Sept 2015 entry). Fees for September 2016 will be confirmed by the Scottish Government in early 2016.
Rest of UK students £9,000 per year, for a maximum of 3 years, even if you are studying a four year degree. See our scholarships for rest of UK applicants.
Overseas students (non-EU) £12,950 per year of study. See our scholarships for international applicants.

Scottish and EU students can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish Government.

Rest of the UK students can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loans Company.

Tuition fees for Overseas (non-EU) students are guaranteed for the length of your course. This means that the tuition fee you pay in your first year (shown above) is the same fee you will pay for each year of your course. We guarantee that this will not increase while you are studying with us. The only exceptions to this are our MBChB Medicine, BSc Medical Sciences and BDS Dentistry degrees which charge a different tuition for the clinical years.

Students applying for Animation must successfully complete our 1 year Art and Design (General Foundation) course. In this instance you should apply using the UCAS code WW12.

Alternatively, if you have already completed a recognised foundation course or equivalent elsewhere then apply directly to Animation.

We look for evidence of independent creative work such as drawing, design and sketchbook work. Copying the artwork of others, e.g. Anime characters is not advised

It is not essential to have any animation experience but include it in your portfolio if you have it.

That would be an advantage since the majority of animation production uses computers at some stage.

You will learn to use creative software such as Photoshop, Flash, 3D Maya and quite a few others as you work on your productions.

We recommend applicants to join life drawing classes before applying whenever possible. However, we understand that this is not always possible so we accept observational drawings and sketchbook work as evidence of good drawing skills.

You will have the opportunity to do both. You will develop your individual skills through a range of project work.

Some applicants come from HNC/HND courses that introduce 3D software but we don't expect this of all students. 3D workshops for beginners take place right from the start of the course.

  Degree UCAS Code KIS Data
Apply NowAnimation BDesW280