This course is open for applications
We are continuing to interview applicants for this course but will do so via Skype or alternative means.
To apply for entry to this course in January 2023 please visit the 2022/23 course page
Page last updated 11 October 2022
Learn your craft from internationally renowned practitioners. We have excellent links with the region's animation industry - including Aardman Animations - and students have the opportunity to get feedback on their films from leading industry professionals.
This practice-led course brings together a diverse range of students, from established practitioners to those seeking a conversion course for a career in animation. Whether your aim is to be an independent animated filmmaker, a character animator, storyteller or designer - this course will support your goals.
You'll study both theoretical and contextual content, developing your understanding of the growing field of animation. You'll learn your craft from our staff team who all have extensive experience in the UK and international animation and media industries.
Bristol is recognised as a global centre for animation production, and you'll benefit from our local partnerships. We have industry links with many of the studios in the city and beyond, such as Aardman Animations.
Why study this course?
The course is based at Bower Ashton, part of our City Campus, where you'll have access to exceptional facilities and resources.
Experience our state-of the-art technical centres, including 2D, CG and stop-motion animation studios. And build on your skill set by studying in our production and post-production studios, sound recording suites and printmaking and fabrication workshops.
In your first term, you'll focus on ideas, design and storytelling that you'll apply to your own project work. So you'll be able to follow your interests from the start, tailoring your project to your career aspirations.
Throughout the course, you'll choose from a range of technical workshops, including stop-motion, 2D digital and CG. This ensures you continually develop your artistic and technical skills.
MA Animation is accredited by ScreenSkills, the UK's skills body for the screen industries, meaning you'll gain a recognised master's degree. This master's course is also eligible for the BAFTA scholarship scheme.
"We had a wonderful time studying at the Bristol School of Animation. We produced a great amount of work. From short films, collaborative projects to live briefs. We developed both our technical and conceptual skills, all thanks to the diversity and support of the course." Hend Esmat and Lamiaa Diab - MA Animation alumni.
Bristol is recognised as a global centre for animation production, and you'll benefit from our local connections. We have strong industry links with many of the studios in the city and beyond. Practitioners from some of Bristol's leading animation studios support both the development and delivery of this course.
Our relationship with Aardman Animations will offer you unique learning experiences on the course. Masterclasses delivered by key Aardman professionals will allow you to gain industry insight and learn from industry leading practitioners.
Where possible, you may also get the chance to present your graduation film by attending an exclusive screening at Aardman's Gas Ferry Cinema. This could enable you to present your final work to an invited audience* and gain industry exposure to help you develop a career in animation.*
*Please note: due to the Covid-19 pandemic, onsite visits and screening events may be subject to change.
Engaged and industry-led teaching
Practitioners from Bristol's leading animation studios support both the development and delivery of this course, offering professional advice and guidance through workshops and master classes. You'll also have the opportunity to be mentored one-to-one by an industry professional (second term).
A strong focus on long term employability ensures you'll graduate as a multi-skilled animator with confidence and connections.
The Bristol School of Animation website showcases student work and what's happening for our students and graduates.
"As a visiting lecturer I've seen MA Animation first hand. Working closely with students as they visualise shots, I am always encouraged by the passion and professionalism that is UWE Bristol Animation. Their world class facilities, cameras and lecturers lay ready in wait for all those who wish to join the industry and tell great stories." Jay Clarke, Storyboard artist (credits include Wallace & Gromit, Isle of Dogs, The French Dispatch), a Visiting Lecturer and MA Animation Mentor.
Watch: The learning and teaching experience
The course features a sequence of five modules delivered over three semesters:
Animated Encounters (30 credits) This module introduces animation techniques through encounters with our three key animation processes: Stop-motion, CG and 2D animation. Essential training will lead to your first collaborative filmmaking assignment. Theoretical content focuses on the characteristics and diversity of the short animated film.
Animation Agenda (30 credits) The aim of this module is to enable you to research, develop and pitch project ideas for your animated film or body of work (such as a character animation show-reel or a portfolio of design or story orientated work). You'll develop and examine and develop your practice with the support of a designated specialist supervisor.
Animation Enquiry (15 credits) All animation practitioners benefit from becoming practitioner-researchers too. In this research module, you'll investigate and develop a research project related to your interests and practice. Two research pathways are available: an academic pathway in the field of animation studies, or an enterprise and innovation pathway.
Studio A (45 credits) In addition to academic supervision, this module is where our industry mentorship scheme begins. You'll continue to develop your major animation project work in line with your defined agenda of personal learning, creative practice and future career goals.
Studio Z (60 credits) Film work, show-reels and portfolios are the essential 'calling cards' for animation practitioners. In this module, you'll complete your major project work. You'll also produce other outputs in line with your defined agenda of personal, learning, creative practice and future career goals. This final module will involve planning for your showcase screening event too.
The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we will inform you.
Learning and Teaching
You'll learn through a combination of lectures, workshops, seminars, individual and group tutorials, master classes and a rolling programme of guest speakers.
There is also time set aside for self-directed studio work.
All students have an allocated supervisor.
The Animation team includes technical staff with expertise in the three key processes: Stop-motion, CG Animation and 2D Animation.
This course will enable you to:
- Acquire new creative and craft skills.
- Increase your range of technical expertise.
- Work individually and collaboratively on a range of projects.
- Understand the key phases of animated filmmaking and where you fit in 'the whole equation'.
- Improve your pitching and communication.
- Learn key aspects of production management and organisation.
- Benefit from our animation industry links through live projects, work experience opportunities and networking events.
This 15-month course is delivered as a full-time course.
The course begins in January. It is divided into three semesters, each comprising a 14-week period of study.
During each semester, your typical week will include an average of two days contact teaching. This may take the form of one-to-one tutorials and group tutorials, seminars, lectures and technical workshops. You'll have access to studios and technical resources five days a week. Library access is available seven days a week.
In order to get the most out of your course, you're expected to develop the skills to work independently on practice-led project work. We also expect you to show initiative and be resourceful, taking advantage of the many opportunities offered on our City Campus. This may include guest talks, live projects, collaborative projects and workshops in our diverse range of technical training centres.
You will be assessed through a combination of practical work, presentations and written assignments.
See our full glossary of assessment terms.
This course is accredited by Screen Skills the UK's skills body for screen-based industries, including animation. You'll also have the chance to apply for a BAFTA scholarship.
"There is a strong emphasis on preparation for entry into the industry, which is reflected in the high graduate employment rate." Marion Edwards, ScreenSkills Industry Evaluator.
There is no work placement on this course, but we actively promote work experience opportunities.
Where possible, you may undertake self-directed industry visits to research and network with practitioners (e.g. model making, CG animation) through the Professional Practice modules.
Studying at Bower Ashton connects teaching and learning with some of the best creative and cultural organisations in Bristol.
Bower Ashton houses the main library supporting the creative and cultural industries, student support services, and our extensive departmental facilities and resources.
You'll also have the opportunity to study and access facilities at other sites within City Campus. This may include attending lectures and seminars at Arnolfini and Watershed in Bristol City Centre.
The course is based in industry standard animation studios which are equipped with high-end Apple Macs and PCs with industry standard software and DVD authoring facilities as well as state-of-the-art 2D and 3D model animation equipment. You also have access to the Department's recently upgraded Media studios, EPI Centre, 3D Centre, Print fabrication facilities and newly extended library.
Find out more about the facilities and resources UWE has to offer.
Skills and support
Skills development is embedded throughout the course and you will develop the creative, technical and professional skills required by the animation and media industries and a range of other careers.
Through practical assignments, live projects and technical workshops you will develop key skills in scheduling, production management, budgeting, life drawing, visualisation, networking, marketing, and research.
Study support is also provided throughout and offers valuable advice and guidance for both home and overseas students on a range of matters including presentation skills support and coursework preparation.
Showcase your work
Take a look at some of our students' exhibits on Tumblr.
Careers / Further study
This postgraduate course will enable you to embark on a career in animation or return to the industry as a redefined practitioner.
Our students frequently go on to screen work in worldwide animation and short film festivals. Others have gone on to launch their own start-up studios, supported by UWE Bristol's Launch Space incubation hub.
Whatever your goals, this course will support your individual interests and specialisms. This might include direction, production, art direction, storyboarding, model-making, character animation, or even a career in academia.
"The MA course has yielded some outstanding talent that we have been delighted to mentor, to provide work experience for, to employ and even to get commissioned for a TV Series, we always look forward to meeting each year's cohort to see what treasures we may discover." Miles Bullough - Managing Director - Wildseed Studios.
We are looking for highly motivated creative students with some prior experience in animation or a related area. Usually applicants will have an undergraduate degree in the Visual Arts but those with other academic qualifications or relevant professional experience are also encouraged to apply.
For country specific entry requirements please find your country on the country information pages.
Applicants will be required to provide a portfolio of work reflecting your experience, interests, and potential in the field of animation. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an online interview where you will be expected to discuss your portfolio and articulate a clear vision of the potential role of animation in the development of your own creative practice.
English Language Requirement
International and EU applicants are required to have a minimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 with 5.5 in each component (or approved equivalent*).
*The university accepts a large number of UK and International Qualifications in place of IELTS. To find details of acceptable tests and the required grades please visit English Language requirements.
English language support
If you meet the academic requirements but require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend one of our pre-sessional English courses. Students who successfully complete the pre-sessional course can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking an IELTS or equivalent.
Read more about our pre-sessional English Programme.
How to apply
We accept applications throughout the year but if you are working to a funding deadline, you should build this into your application process.