• For Entry: September
  • Duration: 3 years
  • School: Art & Design
  • Study Abroad: Yes
  • Study Mode: Full Time

Built upon current industry studio practices, our course will train you as an animation professional. Develop specialist skills and express your creative vision.

Animation at Dundee

We offer a wide range of opportunities for contemporary animators. These include narrative storytelling, visual effects and visualisation.

Image by Birte Niedermeyer

Did You Know?

  • Animation Career Review's list of 2014 Top 100 International Animation Schools ranks Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design #1 in Scotland.

The BDes (Hons) Animation course is for students who are passionate about becoming animation professionals. Our ethos is to echo current industry studio practices as much as possible. The atmosphere here in the animation studio is vibrant and friendly, buzzing with creative energy and hard work.

Drawing is of utmost importance. All of our students attend weekly life drawing classes and keep observational sketchbooks. What makes our course distinct is how our students develop individually as specialists within the animation industry, while working collaboratively to produce short student-led animated films.

Our final year students have confidence in their own abilities in specialized areas of Preproduction (concept art, character design, etc.), Production (2D and 3D digital character animation, 3D modelling, etc.) and Post production (compositing, VFX, etc.) as well as generalist and transferable animation production skills. They work towards industry-ready showreels that best evidence their two nominated specialist skills.

Cutting-edge facilities

You will have access to our state-of-the-art facilities. These include Maya labs, an animation studio, rostrum camera, and a green screen visual effects studio.

At the end of the course you will be able to:

  • use 2D and 3D animation skills
  • use the latest technology to create narrative stories & visual effects 
  • coherently research, defend and structure your chosen subject

Who should study Animation?

 You are:

  • creative
  • technologically motivated
  • artistic
  • a good communicator
  • an observer
  • a team player

You want to:

  • improve observational and life drawing skills
  • develop 2D & 3D skills
  • learn how to express your creative vision through animation
  • learn the skills required to enter a field with exciting career prospects

Communication Design

Animation is one of three courses that comprise the communication design programme. The full list is animation, graphic design and illustration. As well as studying animation, you will engage with generic communication design issues.

We develop agile and flexible graduate designers.  These professionals have a broad understanding of communication design coupled with expertise in their chosen subject.

More about Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design

For further examples of student work, staff profiles and news visit the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design website.

Animation Showreel from the students at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, University of Dundee.

The following are the minimum, up-to-date entry requirements.

Courses starting 2017
Qualification Level 1 Entry Advanced Entry to Level 2
SQA Higher/Advanced Higher Via our Art & Design (General Foundation) BA/Bdes course BB at Advanced Higher, including art and design or a related subject and an appropriate literate subject, plus BB at Higher in different subjects including one other subject outside art and design
GCE A-Level Via our Art & Design (General Foundation) BA/Bdes course ABB including art and design or a related subject, an appropriate literate subject and one other subject outside art and design
Irish Leaving Certificate (ILC)
International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Via our Art & Design (General Foundation) BA/Bdes course 34 points including 6, 6, 5 at Higher Level to include art and design or a related subject, an appropriate literate subject and one other subject outside art and design
Graduate Entry
BTEC Via our Art & Design (General Foundation) BA/Bdes course A recognised Foundation Course or a relevant BTEC Extended Diploma with DDM
SQA Higher National (HNC/HND) Via our Art & Design (General Foundation) BA/Bdes course A recognised Foundation Course or a relevant HND with BB in the Graded Units
Scottish Baccalaureate Via our Art & Design (General Foundation) BA/Bdes course Pass with BB at Advanced Higher
SWAP Access
Advanced Diploma Via our Art & Design (General Foundation) BA/Bdes course Grade B with ASL A-levels in appropriate subjects at AB
Welsh Baccalaureate Via our Art & Design (General Foundation) BA/Bdes course Pass with A-levels in appropriate subjects at AB
European Baccalaureate Via our Art & Design (General Foundation) BA/Bdes course 75% overall with 7.5 in an Art & Design subject and 7.5 in a literate subject
Other Qualifications Foundation course in Art & Design
Notes All applicants must also submit a comprehensive portfolio of art/design/creative work and will be invited to attend a portfolio submission event. In some cases an interview may also be required. All qualifications should include a relevant art & design subject & a literate subject, and will be considered on an individual basis.

 EU and International qualifications

English Language Requirement

For non EU students

IELTS Overall 6.0
Listening 5.5
Reading 5.5
Writing 6.0
Speaking 5.5

 Equivalent grades from other test providers


English Language Programmes

We offer Pre-Sessional and Foundation Programme(s) throughout the year. These are designed to prepare you for university study in the UK when you have not yet met the language requirements for direct entry onto a degree programme.

 Discover our English Language Programmes

Classical animation exercises in Level 2 supported by acting classes, lectures, workshops and software training for 2D/3D digital animation helps instil the principles of character animation.

Level 3 students study cinematography and visual storytelling, with drawing, software skills and elective modules such as Comic Art, Graphic Novels and VFX. They develop ideas for final year films, and experience animation production through group films.

Projects in Levels 2 and 3 prepare students for the final year through recognition and development of their creative strengths.

Level 4 students refine their specialist skills in group and individual projects, with weekly life drawing classes.

How you will be taught

The programme of study involves projects and workshops designed to help you, through experiential learning, to understand the fundamental skills of animation. Different approaches of teaching and learning are used including:

  • Regular seminars
  • Practical lectures
  • Studio demonstrations
  • Individual tutorials
  • Group critiques
  • Peer review

How you will be assessed

Your progress is monitored with structured formal reviews and assessments. At Level 4 a team of internal and external examiners conduct the final degree examination.

What you will study

Level 1 

Students can enter Animation after successfully completing our Art and Design (General Foundation) course (apply for course WW12) or on successful completion of a recognised Foundation Course or equivalent (apply or course W210). This is normal for many art and design courses.

In the Art and Design (General Foundation) course you will learn the core values which will enrich and expand your personal visual language, preparing you nicely for a further 3 years in Animation.

Level 2

  • Introduction to Fundamental Animation Skills
  • Introduction to 2D and 3D Computer Animation
  • Introduction to Production Equipment
  • Creative Research Methodology
  • Contextual Studies

Level 2 of the programme is structured to provide a broad foundation of knowledge and experience. You will be introduced to relevant equipment and varied media used in the production process for your choice of specialism. Projects and assignments help you develop the relevant learning, research and technical skills, exploring creativity and individual aptitude through each process.

Level 3

  • Personal Programme of Study
  • Research and Development
  • Professional Production Practice
  • Professional Production Practice
  • Professional Production Practice
  • Professional Production Practice

Level 3 is designed to encourage experimentation, cross course projects, exploring ideas and making use of appropriate technical methods. All students prepare and present a programme of personal project work that reflects the research and development of ideas. During this year you will undertake a series of assignments designed to develop good professional practice necessary to succeed in your chosen career.

Level 4

  • Personal Programme of Research
  • Dissertation
  • Degree Show Exposition

In the final year - Level 4 - you will organise and present a personal programme of study that will form the major part of your submission for the Honours degree examination. You will be encouraged to integrate all aspects of your research with a written thesis and the production of your final outcomes. You will produce a body of work that will demonstrate a mature visual understanding of materials, methods and processes required to transform ideas into reality.

Our graduates are known for their professional team working skills, creativity and technical proficiency.

They have been employed all over the world in a variety of specialist positions such as concept artists, animators, storyboard artists, directors, VFX artists, modellers, riggers, lighting artists, etc, in the animation, games and VFX sectors, and have credits on such films as: The Lego Movie; The Amazing Spiderman; Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2; Inception; The Illusionist; Guardians of the Galaxy;  such games as:  Assassin’s Creed;  The Last of Us; Grand Theft Auto; and animated TV shows for the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon and CBeebies. 

Carolo Kasongo, Freelance Junior Character Artist for Axis Animation

"Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design introduced and pointed out the tools I needed to get into the art industry and also taught me how hard I needed to work to get there. Additionally Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design trained me in the importance of being able to work on a team and alongside others on a regular basis. The animation course was a good transition from student to professional work ethics, and I’m still benefiting from learning that early on in my career."

Meg Park, Freelance Character Designer and Visual Development Artist

"Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design's Animation course gave me a great opportunity to try out each area of animation production and helped me figure out exactly which role I wanted to pursue as a career. It also provided me with a great amount of freedom to develop my own ideas and skills. I'm currently working as a freelance Character Designer and Visual Development Artist. Some of the studios I've collaborated with include Paramount Pictures, Disney and Nickelodeon. I also illustrate children's books.See more of Meg's work."

The fees you pay will depend on your fee status. Your fee status is determined by us using the information you provide on your application.

 Find out more about fee status

Fees for students starting 2017/18

Fee categoryFees for students starting 2017/18
Scottish and EU students £1,820 per year of study (for Sept 2016 entry). Fees for September 2017 will be confirmed by the Scottish Government in early 2017.
Rest of UK students £9,250 per year. See our scholarships for rest of UK applicants.
Overseas students (non-EU) £14,950 per year of study. See our scholarships for international applicants.

Scottish and EU students can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish Government.

Rest of the UK students can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loans Company.

Tuition fees for Overseas (non-EU) students are guaranteed for the length of your course. This means that the tuition fee you pay in your first year (shown above) is the same fee you will pay for each year of your course. We guarantee that this will not increase while you are studying with us. The only exceptions to this are our MBChB Medicine, BSc Medical Sciences and BDS Dentistry degrees which charge a different tuition for the clinical years.

Students applying for Animation must successfully complete our 1 year Art and Design (General Foundation) course. In this instance you should apply using the UCAS code WW12.

Alternatively, if you have already completed a recognised foundation course or equivalent elsewhere then apply directly to Animation.

There is a two stage consideration process for entry to the Animation course:

Stage One - Digital Portfolio Submission

You will be invited to submit approximately 15 images (in pdf format) which best describe your work.  Skill in life drawing is of particular interest to us, so please be sure to include examples of sketchbook observational drawing.  Drawings should show evidence of your understanding of human anatomy, as well as your ability to create drawings that explain movement, gesture and/or emotion. 

On-location observational drawings of humans or animals in motion are also desirable.

Please do not include ‘doodles’ or reproduced/copied drawings of existing cartoon characters. 

The selection team is interested in your own artwork and how this has been developed from observation of the world around you.  If you created original character designs and model sheets, we would be happy to look at these within your portfolio.

Images or movies which demonstrate your understanding of storytelling through drawing, for examples, concept artwork, storyboarding and animation tests would also be beneficial.  We are particularly interested in your understanding of acting, timing and rhythm through storytelling drawings.  Movies should be submitted in MP4 or QuickTime format.

Full details on the digital portfolio submission process will be provided when we send the formal request to submit.

Stage Two – Interview in person or via Skype

Based on the portfolio submission, selected candidates will be invited to attend interview in person to present a comprehensive portfolio or if this is not suitable due to distance or cost, we can arrange an interview via Skype at a mutually suitable time.  However, where possible we would encourage you to attend interview in person to give you the opportunity to view departmental facilities, meet staff/students and of course experience life on campus.

The interview and portfolio presentation is intended as a means for the academic staff team to assess whether you are likely to benefit from/contribute to the course.

Ideally your portfolio should give evidence of:

  • good basic drawing ability
  • visual expression: liveliness and/or sensitivity
  • the understanding/appreciation of colour as perceived and a capacity to handle coloured media
  • commitment in your work
  • sketchbooks
  • early school work that has been superseded by later, more mature work need not be submitted; there is no virtue in quantity alone

Portfolio Guidelines (for submission at interview)

Prior to attending interview you should ensure that your portfolio is well organised and that development work accompanies the finished pieces.  It may be appropriate to bring 3D work e.g. packaging, to the interview but if this presents a problem, perhaps due to scale, then photographs can be shown.  You should also consider what to include in your portfolio – remember the watchword is quality, not quantity!  To this end you might consider editing-out any work which you feel does not meet the criteria.

Applicants are advised to seek the help of their Art & Design Teacher/Tutor in the presentation of an admissions portfolio.

Digital Portfolio Guidelines

Please submit 15 images (and/or movies) that best describe your work. Your selection should provide us with a range of creative problems that demonstrate the way you think in response to design and or animation challenges.

Context and Research

We are interested in seeing a sample of your contextual and background research.

This is often found in your sketchbook work or development sheets. Please scan and layout examples of your research process alongside its associated resolved work.

Creative Process

We would like you to demonstrate your creativity within your portfolio. We are looking to see how you as an individual interpret a brief and produce creative ideas.

Project work could include poster design, editorial layout, packaging, direct mail, promotional and marketing concepts, graphics/time-based outputs and contemporary media e.g. web/apps design. Responses to D&AD, YCN or other student competitions and self-motivated work are all relevant for inclusion.

Note: Please provide a short summary of each brief and a description of your response alongside the visual work.

Media Skills

At this stage in your education we are looking for a broad range of media handling skills e.g. drawing, digital processes (Photoshop, vector graphics, Flash, 3D CGI etc.) digital or traditional collage, digital painting, photography, interactive media, experiments with typography, printmaking, paint, inks, pastels etc.

This would normally be covered by your selected projects or your development work; you can also include more expressive media-centric projects however. For Animation, research into the human body is of particular interest to us – so please be sure to include examples of drawing from life (e.g. life drawing) and or anatomical studies.  On location drawings of humans and or animals in motion is also desirable.

Digital Folio Submission Format

jpg, jpeg, gif, tiff, tif, doc, docx, ppt, pptx, pdf, png and bmp file types are allowed and each file size limit of 5Mb.

Movie files can be submitted providing links to YouTube/Vimeo or QuickTime movies.


Early schoolwork that has been superseded by later, more mature work need not be submitted – please select the most up-to date and best quality examples that best represent you. 

Digital Portfolio Guidelines

You will be prompted by our Admissions Team to submit your digital portfolio (and answer a few questions in respect of your interest in studying art & design at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design), via the University of Dundee Applicant Portal, thereafter, if required, we may contact you to arrange an interview in person or via Skype.

If you require further information on any aspect of the application consideration process or the undergraduate programme in general, please do not hesitate to contact us.


  Degree UCAS Code KIS Data
Apply NowAnimation BDesW280