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.

Key information


BA (Hons)

Mode of Study:



3 years


The University of Bolton

UCAS points:


UCAS code:


Start date:


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.

  • Our Art and Design courses are placed fourth in the UK and top in the North West of England for teaching quality by the Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021.
  • Our Art courses have also been placed in the top ten in the UK for student-to-staff ratio for the third year running by the Guardian University Guide 2021, so you'll 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.
Professional recognition

  • 96 UCAS points. Please see our guide to the UCAS Tariff for examples of how to achieve these points.
  • 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 to 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.

Want some reassurance or advice? Speak to one of our advisors. Email us at or call us on +44 (0)1204 903 394.

Where changes are made to material information contained in this course description or a decision is taken to suspend a course between the offer of admissions and enrolment, we will inform applicants at the earliest possible opportunity and will outline the various options available to the applicant.

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

Graduates can use the qualification to enter a range of other careers, and for some of these roles, both relevant experience and/or postgraduate study may be required. They include:

  • 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

Course fees
Home Fees Year of study Total
Entry year2021/222022/232023/242024/25
International Year of study Total
Entry year2021/222022/232023/242024/25

Important note regarding tuition fees for the 2021-2022 academic year: EU nationals who meet residency requirements (have settled or pre-settled status) may be eligible for ‘Home’ fee status. If you do not meet these residency requirements, overseas fees will apply. Irish citizens living in the UK or Ireland will be eligible for ‘Home’ fee status under the Common Travel Area arrangement. Please read the student finance eligibility 2021-2022 policy on for information.

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.

For 2021-2022 entry, the maximum government approved undergraduate tuition fee for UK students is £9,250 per year. The University is able to charge this fee subject to an approved Access and Participation Plan for 2021-2022 and its current rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework.


Click here for more information about the scholarships and bursaries available to University of Bolton undergraduate students.

For details of how to apply for this course, please choose your status from the options below:

If you already have a UCAS application for September

If you have an application for September with UCAS and are applying through Clearing please ensure you have received a verbal offer from the University by calling 01204 903030.

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

If you have not yet applied through UCAS

You may apply directly to the University using the University's online application form. Please select your chosen start date from the list below:

You should have to hand:

  • Details of the educational establishments you attended and dates

  • Your certificates for the qualifications you are using to gain entry to the course – you will need to enter the completion date and upload copies

  • Details of any employment history including name, address, dates and role

  • Personal statement – this can be either input into the relevant field or uploaded separately

  • Details including e-mail addresses of two referees, at least one of which should be someone who can provide an academic reference

Please make sure any documents you wish to upload in support of your application are in pdf or jpeg format. Personal statements may be word documents.

Please ensure your data is correct at each stage of the application before you proceed to the next page. If you use the back button at any time during the application, you should check the validity of the data you have already input.

If you experience difficulties during the application process, contact the Admissions Team on 01204 903394 or

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

  • Apply online: University of Bolton BA(Hons) Animation & Illustration-20 September 2021 (Intake not currently accepting international applications)

University of Bolton Group Partners

Bolton College
University Technical College
University of Bolton

The University welcomes applications from our group partners and progressing students so we try to make our application process as simple and as fast as possible. By selecting the link for your chosen course from the list shown below you will be taken directly to our online application form. Please read the user guidance before completing this and ensure you upload all supporting documents such as certificates and your personal statement when you apply.

Please ensure when you are asked to add a contact email address you add your college/university email account address as well as your personal address. If you do not add your college address as your contact address we will be unable to identify you as a partner and you will be referred to apply via UCAS, which incurs a cost.

We look forward to receiving your application and you continuing your academic journey with us!

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 modules listed below may be a mixture of compulsory and optional. You may not have the opportunity to study all the modules shown 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
Assessment methods
LevelAssesment method
Level oneCoursework 100%
Level twoCoursework 100%
Level threeCoursework 100%
Learning activities
LevelLearning activity
Level oneGuided independent study 58%, Scheduled learning and teaching activities 42%
Level twoGuided independent study 53%, Scheduled learning and teaching activities 47%
Level threeGuided independent study 60%, Scheduled learning and teaching activities 40%


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. The university considers changes to courses very carefully and the university will minimise any changes. Please be aware that our courses are subject to review on an ongoing basis and changes may be necessary due to legitimate staffing, financial, regulatory and academic reasons. 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.

The academic staff detailed above teach across a range of courses in this subject area and may not teach on this course specifically.

Programme Contacts

Carol Allison
Programme Leader

+44 (0)1204 903271

Enquiry Team
University of Bolton

+44 (0)1204 903903

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Postgraduate Options

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MA (Specialist Title) via Creative Practice

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Help Centre

We have the answers to your questions, find all the advice and support in one place.

Part of the University of Bolton Group

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Alliance learning
Anderton centre2
RiSE pos rgb logo
TEF Silver QQA