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Animation with Industry Placement

BA (Hons)

School - School of Arts & Media

Subject area - Media

UCAS Code: W616

Start Dates(s): September


Three years full-time


UK - £9250 per year

International - £14,400 per year

In Brief:

  • Opportunity to experience intensive real world practice on placement and build industry networks for future exploitation, contributing to commercial productions with real budgets and time constraints
  • Strong industry links with leading animation and post production companies
  • Develop creative and digital technology skills from a selection of modules
  • Based at MediaCityUK
  • International students can apply

Course Summary

Advancements within the digital industry have led to a huge revival in animation techniques. This course is a three year degree programme, which includes an industry placement during the spring and summer of the second year (February to July). Aimed at high achievers, this programme enables students  to explore and understand the creative potential of digital animation, while developing industry-relevant skills in a specialised field.

Designed to inspire and enhance your creative abilities, this course provides a structured pathway in digital animation practice as well as a selection of elective modules focusing on areas such as drawing for animation, digital narrative technology, compositing, and pre- production elements.

From the very start, you will be introduced to industry standard 3D software, learn traditional stop frame animation techniques and delve into the concepts and processes required to create animation.

The Industry Experience module will provide an invaluable opportunity for you, not simply to put your academic, creative and technical knowledge and skills into practice in a relevant professional context, but also to acquire first-hand experience of organisational structures, practices and processes  as well professional networks within the creative industries. This experience will form the basis for building genuine industry contacts and credibility to increase your employability upon graduation.

Course Details

This course enables you to explore the creative potential of digital and traditional forms of animation and provides opportunities to engage with a live industry bro of live briefs to prepare you to work in commercial animation. You will produce a strong body of work that will enable you to develop your career in the animation industry. You will learn how to tell visual stories through performance and character developing industry leading skills in a specialised field.

Designed to boost your creative thinking and technical abilities, this course provides a structured pathway in digital animation practice. From the very start, you will be hands on and will learn traditional stop frame animation techniques as you are introduced to the principles of animation and the laws of motion. You will simultaneously learn industry leading 3D animation software.

From the very start, you will be working with animation professionals an introduced to industry standard 3D software, learn traditional stop frame animation techniques and delve into the concepts and processes required to create animation.

Encouraging creativity in the context of real world practice, animation modules promote the importance of team work within animation production and the larger industry. This intensive course allows you to identify and define your own career prospects with dedicated portfolio modules, which will help you in your preparation for employment within the animation industry.

Animation is one of the fastest growing areas within the UK creative industries providing multiple opportunities for graduates within the discipline. The course, based in MediaCityUK, Salford, is positioned right in the heart of this growing creative sector and is focused on developing highly skilled, industry ready creatives capable of successfully working in multiple specialisms adapting to the continuously changing landscape of the creative industries of the animation and moving image industry. Emphasis is placed on strong storytelling, development of visual language, the use of play and risk taking within creative production and a solid understanding of professional industry standard methods of production, planning and implementation with in animation.

Course Structure

Year 1
The first year introduces you to the basic principles of animation, the laws of motion and industry leading software. Traditional stop frame animation techniques will be explored, which will inform a number of challenging animation projects. You will learn about story and narrative and how camera and lighting techniques can be used to, create industry standard storyboards and explore the concepts and processes required to tell a story through animation.

Year 2
During your second year, you will work with other animation students on creative projects to further develop your animation production skills in a simulated industry environment. You’ll design, develop and animate a character, utilising both stop-frame and computer-generated 3D techniques. You will also have the opportunity to engage with industry on a placement module of up to 16 weeks, which is carefully overviewed to ensure the experience aligns with and informs your emerging specialism.  An appropriate placement will be arranged by you, with our assistance, with the aim of finding one that matches your own particular creative direction and ambitions.

Year 3
In your final year, you will conduct research as you plan and develop your animation. Working in small production teams you will use your specialist skills to produce a high quality animation. The modules will be future oriented and will enable you to promote yourself to the animation and media related industries and animation festivals. There will be an emphasis on the production of show reel work, portfolio, and exhibition to industry.

Year 1    

In this module, students will learn the fundamental principles of animation. Including Newton’s laws and the physics of bodies in motion and the effects of gravity. Students will use the stop motion studio and 3D software to complete basic animation exercises that become progressively more challenging. Students will learn the art of timing and spacing to convey belief and weight. These exercises are the core building blocks of the craft of animation and will form the bedrock for all further development.
This module encourages students to develop an understanding of playfulness and creative risk taking in the context of design and animation. It will introduce playful approaches to idea development, allowing experimentation to evolve within the realms of the subject area. This module will underpin the importance of risk at an early stage, which will embed a culture throughout the remainder of the programme. It will aim to show links between risk-taking and innovation and present case studies outlining the value of ‘failure’ in optimising success.
This module provides students with the opportunity to develop a reflective practice with an awareness of contemporary animation and the ability to link theory and practice. Through this extensive piece of research you will undertake sustained research in within the area of animation which bears upon your own interests and professional development. The module will help learners to contextualise their practice through investigation into contemporary practitioners. Students will document this process and present a high quality document, indicatively a magazine style article.
In this module learners will build on the learning and skills developed on in animation 101 to introduce skills in character animation and performance. The use of arcs, easing and timing previously developed will be applied to 3D character rigs and physical stop motion puppets to learn how to emote and animate pose to pose before moving on to character walks, sneak, and acrobatics. This module will be underpinned by an emphasis on looking, translating and animating based on reference material. In addition to enhancing your technical skills, you will also learn to incorporate professional workflows and production practices whilst developing your individual creativity within a series of 3D CG character based exercises.
This module encourages students to develop an understanding of storytelling and narrative exploration for animation production. It will introduce playful approaches to idea development, and experimentation. This module will emphasise the importance of story within animation production. Students will be introduced to key storytelling conventions and methodologies in order to develop skills in creative writing and story formation. Drawing techniques will develop key skills in visual communication to allow for translation of story from script to screen.
This module encourages students to recognise the importance of documenting their creative practice in design and animation. It will introduce students to methods of reflective practice allowing them to consider process as an integral part of their creative output, to observe and analyse the making phases of production.

Year 2    

In this module students will build on the skills developed in animation 102 to express moods, emotions, personality in a believable animated character performance. Learners will study character performance, body language, acting and general stagecraft and apply this new knowledge to a range of challenging character animations. The final portfolio will celebrate the personal level of creativity and expression.
The module will develop student’s awareness of the benefits of interdisciplinary collaborative practice and the relationship between design and business. Where possible, the module will allow students to work alongside a live client and/or collaborate with other programmes within the School or wider University.
This module provides you with the opportunity to select and explore a specific area of study within the field of animation production and develop an identity, skills required in your chosen specialism. You will produce a substantial body of work that demonstrates independent thought and innovation. Areas of study may include: Script writing, concept work, model making, environment and character design, story board, VFX, Performance, Animation, Sound design.
In this module the students will be encouraged to produce a high quality prototype animation for a client. Student may also respond to a live brief such as those set by the RSA. Student will produce work in a simulated employment relationship.
This module is the second in a series of three focussing on reflective practice and the art of the ‘making of’. You will implement and build on previous experience by applying reflective practice to your own individual creative outputs produced in other modules. Emphasis is placed on analysis of how you make work and the processes involved. You will incorporate basic design principles and editing techniques in the work to extend storytelling and communication skillset.

Year 3    

The module will act as the planning phase of the Negotiated Project, the final opportunity for students to produce a substantial industry facing professional standard major project. Students are expected to work in a group context to successfully complete a professional outcome. You will follow a process of exploration and interpretation to generate multiple ideas to allow identification of a chosen path and appropriate project. Core planning of story and first phase assets will be developed and signed off at this stage to allow for production in Phase Two module.
Core aims of this module include refining your ability to develop clear visual concepts for a proposed artefact as well as providing you with experience in producing production plans and schedules. By working on a practice based project to a professional standard, you will build up advanced competencies        within at least one specialist area i.e. storyboarding, narrative, 2D/3D graphics, programming or animation. As a result of your studies, you will also enhance your ability to work effectively in teams and communicate fluently and accurately in relation to digital media production
This module will form the final portion of the negotiated project. Using the research, experimentation and pre-production planning from Phase 1 you will move into a production phase where they will work in a studio environment to deliver their final major project. You will be supported throughout the project with a panel of staff members and you may invite experts from industry to act as ‘external producers’ providing  guidance for delivering the final animated film.
This module is the final in a series of three focussing on reflective practice and the art of the ‘making of’. The module continues in encouraging students to recognise the importance of documenting and analysis of creative practice/s in design and animation.  In this final stage, students continue to implement and build on previous experience by applying reflective practice to creative production developed within the Negotiated Project Phases One & Two modules running alongside it. Through the application of basic design, storytelling and film editing principles and techniques students will communicate the journey of the final project, the ‘Making of’ acting as supporting document to the Negotiated Project reflecting the importance, scale and quality of work produced at Level 6 of the programme.
In this module you will develop a digital portfolio of work that will demonstrate your expertise in one (or a combination) specialist areas. The portfolio can either be a traditional or digital or a combination of both forms to demonstrate your original work prepared for professional presentation. This module will also prepare you for entering industry by enhancing your presentation skills and your ability to communicate your talents and abilities effectively to potential employers.

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

Entry Requirements

Qualification Entry requirements
Foundation Diploma in Art and Design: Pass = 80 (plus other additional qualifications to a total of 104pts)
GCSE both English and Maths GCSE grade C
UCAS tariff points 104 - 120 points
BTEC National Diploma MMM-DMM
Scottish Highers 104 - 120 points
Irish Leaving Certificate 104 - 120 points
International Baccalaureate 30-31 points
Access to HE Pass level 3 QAA approved Access Diploma (to include Art)

Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)

We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.

There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or through a formal test.

English Language Requirements

International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0 (no element below 5.5) is proof of this.

Applicant profile

You should demonstrate creative ability which should be evident in your portfolio. You should also be able to demonstrate an interest in animation.

All applicants are interviewed.

Fees and Funding


Tuition fees for Home/EU students beginning their course in September 2018 will be announced as soon as they are confirmed by the UK Government. Tuition fees for 2017 were £9,250 per annum for Home/EU students; we expect this figure to rise slightly for 2018.

Type of Study Fee
Full-time £9250 per year
Full-time International £14,400 per year

Additional costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Scholarships & Bursaries

We offer awards to help you study including:

  • Vice-Chancellor's Excellence Scholarship
  • Salford Student Bursary

For more information please see our funding section.


You will learn through a combination of:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Demonstrations
  • Studio-based workshops
  • Self-directed study will also play an important role in your learning experience.


Assessable work is project based and relates to industry specific briefs.


Depending on your individual areas of specialism, you will be equipped to work in the areas of digital animation, film and TV, post-production and interactive media.

Career Prospects

Recent graduates have started their careers in a variety of areas of the industry including; film and TV runners, freelance animation for industry and art organisations, storyboarding and pre-production/conceptual art, animation for games, visuals for music videos and independent film companies.

Graduates from this course have been nominated for two recent Regional Royal Television Society awards (2009 and 2010). As well as nominations for the regional North West RTS awards in 2009 and 2010, Alfonso Romano won the regional award in 2011.

Alumni Profile

Lucy Blundell, Graphic Artist, Chillingo. Animation BA (Hons) graduate 2009.

"My experience of the BA Animation course was great. I got to learn new, useful software which has aided me in my profession today. I learnt some new skills such as observing the way characters move and express emotion, understanding the production process from script to screen, and time-management. I like how every aspect of animation was covered as it gave me a better understanding of how it all comes together and which area I wanted to work in. Although I enjoyed animating, the course showed me that what I was really passionate about was the concept art, storyboarding and 3D modelling.

Now, I work as a Graphic Artist in an iPhone game publisher. Previous to this, I did a short internship as a 3D artist. Although I only do a small amount of animating now, I am using all the 2D, 3D and production/post-production skills I learnt from the degree and applying them to the games I work on today. The course gave me the opportunity to be able to work in the job I wanted."

Links with Industry

The course has close links with local and national animation production companies and you will have the opportunity to work on live assignment briefs. Work placement opportunities can arise and industry representatives are invited to the end of year graduate showcase.

Employers have outlined how important it is to focus on specialist techniques (with a fundamental understanding of traditional techniques) to communicate an understanding of timing, weight and emotion and provide graduates equipped to adapt to the rapidly changing digital industry. The course team has written the curriculum based on this consultation.

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