BA (Hons) Illustration and Animation

How to apply Come to an Open Day


Become a skilled and versatile 2D or 3D animator, with a focus on illustration and storytelling, at Cambridge School of Art and turn your creative ideas into a rewarding career within Illustration and Animation.

Watch our 2022 showreel

Showreel 2022

A montage of major project work by graduating Illustration and Animation students.

Our BA (Hons) Illustration and Animation course explores the connections between animation and illustration, helping you to create sequential narratives using a variety of methods – from the latest specialist 2D digital animation, 3D CGI used in industry and interactive techniques to traditional handmade image-making.

You will develop creative abilities, technical skills and a personal language within animation, as well as sequential imagery within graphic novels, with the focus being on illustration and design

Perhaps most importantly, you’ll get time, guidance and support from a team of industry professionals, animators and illustrators who are dedicated to your creative development. As well as regular visiting industry speakers to inspire and guide you in your creative work, in your final year you will also receive guidance from an assigned industry advisor dedicated to the year.

At Cambridge School of Art, you’ll experiment and discover, try stuff out, venture into the unknown and find solutions, develop and create. Our Design & Crafts courses ranked eighth in the UK for 'Satisfied with Course' and third for 'Satisfied with Teaching' in The Guardian University Guide 2020, reflecting how our students’ value their experience with us.

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Key facts

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Entry requirements


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Fees and paying for university

Facilities and showcase

Industry-standard facilities

As well as our dedicated animation base rooms with workstations for stop motion and digital animation, you’ll have use of facilities including:

  • Studios equipped with HD rostrum cameras and traditional lightboxes; the Cintiq pro 24 and latest digital 2D animation software; and the latest Adobe creative cloud software
  • Dedicated stop-motion room with lighting set-up
  • 3D modelling and compositing software, including Autodesk Maya
  • Motion capture equipment, 4k cameras, lighting kits, and Wacom tablets
  • A life drawing studio
  • A sound recording studio; green screen and film editing suites; a digital photography lab and photography and film studios and darkrooms
  • Ruskin Gallery, a professional digital art gallery.

Futures Lab and workshop equipment

Our new digital workshop includes a variety of computer aided manufacturing machines, helping you learn up to date manufacturing and design processes as well as supporting many traditional techniques. These technologies include:

  • 3D printers and scanners - FDM printers; material-specific extruders; SLA Formlabs printers; SLS Formlabs Fuse1; structured light 3D scanners
  • 2D printing and cutting machines - laser cutters; Roland BN20 vinyl printer & cutter; Gerber substrate cutter; Mimaki TX300P sublimation printer.

Take a closer look

Our Creative Showcase shines a spotlight on what makes ARU creative and cultural – our spaces, places and people. Find out more about our community, the difference we make, the stories we tell, and the things that inspire us.

Meanwhile, Present is an exhibition that you curate for yourself. Explore the work of our graduating students in this eye-catching virtual degree show.


With an understanding of traditional animation and illustration, combined with expertise in cutting-edge digital design technology, our graduates have found success with leading animation studios and broadcasters, including Channel 4 and the BBC.

As an Illustration and Animation student at ARU, you can be sure you’ll graduate with the knowledge, skills and abilities that industry needs. We work with artists, creative agencies and production studios – and they offer hands-on, practical opportunities to learn through work-based projects, internships or placements.

On our Sequential Practice module, you’ll focus on preparing for life beyond university, creating a showreel, a website and promotional material, as well as hearing guest speakers from some of the top animation studios in London, such as Passion Pictures, The Mill, FrameStore and Studio Aka.

Cambridge is the perfect place to gain experience – a creative hotspot that’s home to thousands of established businesses and start-ups. And, at the end of your final year, you’ll take part in our degree show in London – the perfect launchpad for your career.

Graduation doesn’t need to be the end of your time with us, of course. You might decide to stay at ARU and study for a Masters, such as our renowned MA Children’s Book Illustration. Take advantage of our Alumni Scholarship and get 20% off your fees.


“We asked students to create an animation ident. What amazed us most was the quality of the thinking, and the variety of ideas and execution. We’re very much looking forward to working with them next year."


As Marketing Manager at Curveball Media, Lee helps to set live briefs for our Illustration and Animation students

Find out more about our students' work with Curveball Media

Apply now for BA (Hons) Illustration and Animation

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