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MA Animation

Why choose Herts?

  • Excellent reputation: Ranked 1st as the Best Animation School in the UK (7th worldwide - Rookies World School Rankings® 2020).
  • Employment prospects: Our animation students work as animators with organisations including Industrial Light & Magic, Creative Assembly, and Blue Zoo.
  • Industry connections: As part of the course all students complete a live external agency brief with previous students working with organisations including National Poetry Day, and Promise.

Professional Accreditations

We are a Rookies Certified School. 

Find out more about Herts being a Rookies Certified School


About the course

This MA Animation course will enable you to... 

  • develop a professional-level, individual approach towards animation direction  
  • choose to study parts of this course online or on campus (home students only)
  • develop your animation production knowledge to a more advanced level 
  • extend your theoretical and contextual understanding of animation, its audiences and media culture 
  • produce a graduation film that reflects your individual style and contemporary animation practices 
  • become more familiar with professional-level enquiry, research, creative, invention, project planning and management practices  
  • study within a multi-disciplinary environment which encourages discussion and idea exploration.

Why choose this course?

This award enables you to develop creative practical skills for directing animation. You will acquire experience of using a range of digital processes used in Animation as means for effectively communicating visual narrative. Within this course you can choose to work in a particular area of animation such as 2D animation, 3D animation or combine areas to create new forms and ideas from the fusion of techniques and styles.

This course concentrates on exploring the use of animation to tell stories, for a more technical, 3D skills based training at master's level, please see MA Character and Creature Animation (Online).

Within 2D animation you can look at traditional animation techniques and blend these skills and approaches with new digital media to form new content and formats. You will explore the rich heritage of 2D animation and the possibilities of experimentation, both in form and content, that traditional animation has actively encouraged. 

3D digital animation has become the most popular form of animated imagery over the past decade, used by more experimental practitioners who question the appearance, form and uses it has in present-day media. In this form, you will challenge your preconceptions of what 2D or 3D animation can do, which helps you become an innovator in the field. You will have the opportunity to explore the range of possibilities available to the practitioner, mixing technical knowledge of the subject with the creative freedom that an understanding of the theory and context of new media practices brings. 

This postgraduate Animation programme involves an induction, seminars and social events for students and staff, allowing you to be part of a friendly and supportive postgraduate community of film-makers, musicians and professionals working in new media. Senior research staff and internationally renowned professionals work with postgraduate students, helping to develop original and challenging work. Your study includes ways of thinking about the cultural resonance of your work, the audiences it is made for, the nature of creativity and the role of the cultural industries in a modern knowledge economy. 

Through your study you will develop a range of project management skills and an ability to identify and manage your own learning. You will consider the role of enterprise opportunities in commercial, professional and social environments, as well as specialist modules in your chosen discipline area, the programme includes shared modules with other postgraduate awards in the School of Creative Arts. This structure promotes cross-discipline discussion and maintains the enthusiasm and focus of discipline specialists. It enables you to develop key transferable skills of postgraduate study grounded in activities that have currency, relevance and application for your future career and further academic study. 

What will I study?

On this MA Animation programme teaching and learning emphasises enquiry led project work, developing the kind of independence and autonomy that is appropriate for postgraduate education. Lectures, seminars and other discussions bring students together in multi-disciplinary groups where ideas are shared, challenged, developed. Workshops and other activities develop specific discipline centred skills and understandings while tutorials develop individual study trajectories and responses to assignment tasks and briefs. Much of the time students are engaged in self-managed independent study, undertaking enquiries and research, developing skills, inventing and developing ideas, realizing project outcomes, exploring the cultural resonance of their work. 

All students on the postgraduate media programme engage in an interdisciplinary project as a part of their MA study, giving them an opportunity to work with students from other disciplines in an experimental and creative way.  

In keeping with contemporary professional practice, students will also have the opportunity to work in distributed groups where some members may be on campus and others online. 

  • Level 7
    Practice 1: Developing Skills30 CreditsCompulsory
    Digital Media: Sources and Significance30 CreditsCompulsory
    Practice 2: Creative Project Development30 CreditsCompulsory
    Exploring Professional Practice30 CreditsCompulsory
    Major Study: Animation60 CreditsCompulsory
  • Key staff

    Dr Ian Willcock
    Programme Leader PG Media
    Find out more about Dr Ian Willcock

    Mr Sean Cox
    MA Animation award leader
    Find out more about Mr Sean Cox

    Further course information

    Course fact sheets
    MA Animation Download
    MA Animation Download
    Programme specifications
    MA Animation Download
    MA Animation Download
    Additional information

    Sandwich placement or study abroad year


    Applications open to international and EU students


    Student experience

    At the University of Hertfordshire, we want to make sure your time studying with us is as stress-free and rewarding as possible. We offer a range of support services including student wellbeing, academic support, accommodation and childcare to ensure that you make the most of your time at Herts and can focus on studying and having fun.

    You can also read our student blogs to find out about life at Herts.