BA (Hons) Illustration and Animation

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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 2021 showreel


A montage of recent work by Illustration and Animation students at ARU.

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 traditional handmade image-making, to the latest specialist 2D digital animation, 3D CGI used in industry and cutting-edge interactive techniques.

As well as gaining strong software skills and a good understanding of animation, timings and motion, you will become an innovative and creative thinker. You will develop creative abilities, technical skills and a personal language within animation, with the focus being on illustration and design.

Within our supportive and vibrant studio culture, you will work on a range of projects from narrative animation, animated idents, motion graphics, character design, storyboarding, CGI and concept art to develop a body of work for your professional portfolio and showreel, preparing you for industry.

Perhaps most importantly, you’ll get time, guidance and support from a team of industry professionals, animators and illustrators and visiting industry experts who are dedicated to your creative development. 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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Fees and paying for university

Facilities and showcase

Studios and workshops

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

  • Mac and PC suites
  • a dedicated stop motion studio
  • a printmaking workshop including etching, screen printing, lithography and relief presses, and letterpress studios
  • 3D workshops with equipment for woodwork, plastics/vacuum forming, metalwork, plaster, clay, mould making, laser-cutting and 3D printing
  • sound recording studio, green screen and film editing suites
  • a digital photography lab
  • photography and film studios and darkrooms.

Industry-standard equipment

All our Illustration and Animation students have access to:

  • the full Adobe Creative suite
  • up-to-date specialist professional software TVPaint, Autodesk Maya and Dragonframe Stop Motion
  • Apple iMacs with Cintiq drawing tablets
  • wide-format printers and scanners
  • camera, lighting and sound recording kit.

Our team of technical officers will be on hand to offer training and support.

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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