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MA Animation (online)

Animation of a character sitting on a ledge
Work by Jennifer Escudero (still image from animation)
MA Animation, London College of Communication, UAL
London College of Communication
Course length
1 year 3 months full-time (45 weeks across a four-term model)

MA Animation (online) explores both the theory and practice of animation across a broad range of experimental visual media.

Course suspended for 22/23 entry

Please note that this course is suspended for recruitment to 2022/23 entry. Contact us if you have any questions about the course.

Why choose this course at London College of Communication

  • Design is taught as a key skill that informs all aspects of your subject knowledge and technical expertise, enabling you to express your creative ideas and develop a unique personal animation style.
  • Building on your create skillset, you'll be supported to develop an advanced animation practice that engages critically with your audience.
  • Industry-standard digital approaches are taught as tools that underpin traditional and experimental animation.
  • Collaboration is facilitated across course, programme and School communities, reflecting the collective nature of the animation workflow.
  • Studying online will enable you develop as a resourceful animation practitioner who can take advantage of the materials and opportunities around you.
  • This version of MA Animation is offered entirely in online mode. Alternatively, you may be interested in applying to an in-person version of the course.

Course overview

MA Animation (Online) will give you the tools to express your creative ideas using a range of visual media. 

In an era with unparalleled opportunities for skilled visual communicators, and with advancing technologies changing how the moving image is experienced by audiences, we teach animation as an experimental visual practice. 

You’ll be encouraged to test boundaries and experiment to find your own creative voice. You’ll also explore meaningful themes while learning how to engage with audiences through multi-disciplinary approaches, and outline critical ideas in visual culture with reference to contemporary, personal, social, ethical, cultural, political, religious and environmental issues. 

What to expect

Throughout the course, you will:

  • Develop accomplished skills in animation practice, evidenced in a portfolio of work

  • Test creative ideas within a critical framework

  • Learn vital teamwork skills which reflect the workflows of professional practice

  • Develop a deeper knowledge of the theory underpinning your own practice

  • Also be expected to have access to a computer, drawing tablet, camera, microphone and good internet connection. Software such as Toon Boom and Maya will be provided for free, although you may be required to purchase other programmes at an educational price.

Work experience and opportunities

Enterprise and employability are central to the design of the course, enabling you to develop your creative, technical and academic skills, and to apply these to your own creative practice. 

You’ll have opportunities to take part in projects such as live briefs and industry partnerships, working with teammates and client briefs before presenting your work in progress and final outcomes. 

You’ll also be supported to develop professional tools of self-presentation such as CVs and showreels, make your own industry connections, and explore industry opportunities on both local and international levels. 

Mode of study

MA Animation is in Full Time mode which runs for 45 weeks over 15 months. You will be expected to commit 40 hours per week to study. 

Contact us

Register your interest to receive information and updates about studying at UAL.

Contact us to make an enquiry.

Course units

Each course is divided into units, which are credit-rated. The minimum unit size is 20 credits. The MA course structure involves 5 units, totalling 180 credits.

Autumn, term 1

Experimental Critical Practice and Research (20 Credits)

This unit aims to support the development of your individual voice as an animation practitioner. You’ll explore a range of technical and conceptual approaches to animation by producing short-form animation tests, and engage in experimental animation process and practice as you develop your distinct visual voice.  

This will be underpinned by critical study that significantly expands your understanding of themes that animation can address in a critical context, alongside a technical programme that will ensure you’re able to experiment widely with various animation techniques. 

Design for Animation, Narrative Structures and Film Language (20 Credits)

In this unit, you’ll engage in a programme of theoretical seminars that explore the cinematic underpinning of animation culture and practice. This knowledge will form the technical and conceptual basis for subsequent units of the course.  

Spring, term 2

Animation Practice and Process (60 Credits)

In this unit, you’ll develop and produce a short animation project of up to 3 minutes, or a body of experiments that form a coherent project. Throughout, you’ll explore a range of technical and conceptual approaches to the workflow of professional animation production.  

Working from concept, research and development to pre-production, production and post-production, you’ll outline a critical idea or theme that draws reference to contemporary, personal, social, ethical, cultural, political, religious and/or environmental issues.

Collaborative Unit (20 Credits)

You’ll have the opportunity to engage in a specific collaboration with a related course or an external partner.  

Summer and Autumn, terms 3 and 4 

Professional Skills and Situating Practice (60 credits)

You’ll bring together the knowledge, skills and experience gained on the course to produce a self-directed, collaborative project and associated critical investigation. 

If, during the course of your studies, you are unable to continue and you decide to exit the course, you may get one of these two possible exit awards: 

  • A Postgraduate Certificate will be awarded on successful completion of the first 60 credits. 

  • A Postgraduate Diploma will be awarded on successful completion of the first 120 credits. 


Learning and teaching methods

  • Lectures/large group learning
  • Workshop and seminar learning
  • Academic tutorials
  • Individual and group critiques 
  • Individual project work
  • Self-Directed learning
  • Assessed assignments
  • Technical workshops
  • Demonstrations

Assessment methods

  • Portfolio of work
  • Prepared writing
  • Crits and presentations

How to apply

Information for disabled applicants

UAL is committed to achieving inclusion and equality for disabled students. This includes students who have:
  • Dyslexia or another Specific Learning Difference
  • A sensory impairment
  • A physical impairment
  • A long-term health or mental health condition
  • Autism
  • Another long-term condition which has an impact on your day-to-day life
Our Disability Service arranges adjustments and support for disabled applicants and students. Read our Disability and dyslexia: applying for a course and joining UAL information.

Entry requirements

An applicant will normally be considered for admission if they have achieved an educational level equivalent to an honours degree in either animation, illustration, visual communication, graphic design or closely related subject, and present a portfolio of moving-image work. However, we do not exclude candidates who have graduated from other less strongly aligned disciplines.

This educational level may be demonstrated by:

  • Honours degree (named above);
  • Possession of equivalent qualifications;
  • Prior experiential learning, the outcome of which can be demonstrated to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required;
  • Or a combination of formal qualifications and experiential learning which, taken together, can be demonstrated to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required.

APEL (Accreditation of Prior Learning)

Applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered in exceptional cases. The course team will consider each application that demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by:

  • Related academic or work experience
  • The quality of the personal statement
  • A strong academic or other professional reference
  • OR a combination of these factors

Each application will be considered on its own merit but we cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

Language requirements

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language, we strongly recommend you let us know your English language test score in your application. If you have booked a test or are awaiting your results, please indicate this in your application. When asked to upload a CV as part of your application, please include any information about your English test score.

  • IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent) is required, with a minimum of 5.5 in each of the four skills.
  • If your first language is not English, you can check you have achieved the correct IELTS level in English on the Language Requirements page.

Selection criteria

Offers will be made based on the following selection criteria, which applicants are expected to demonstrate:

  • Sufficient prior knowledge and experience of and/or potential in animation practice to be able to successfully complete the programme of study, and have an academic or professional background in a relevant subject
  • Knowledge of visual culture and an ability to engage in critical discussion

Fees and funding

Home fee


This fee is correct for 2022/23 entry and is subject to change for 2023/24 entry. Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students on courses lasting more than one year. For this course, you can pay tuition fees in instalments.

Home fees are currently charged to UK nationals and UK residents who meet the rules. However, the rules are complex. Find out more about our tuition fees and determining your fee status.

International fee


This fee is correct for 2022/23 entry and is subject to change for 2023/24 entry. Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students on courses lasting more than one year. For this course, you can pay tuition fees in instalments.

Students from countries outside of the UK will generally be charged international fees. The rules are complex so read more about tuition fees and determining your fee status.

Scholarship search

Careers and alumni

Graduates of MA Animation (online) are equipped to work in an increasingly technologically informed and interdisciplinary design world, with in-depth skills across areas such as:

  • animation and animation production
  • 3D and 2D visual communication
  • narrative and sequential image making
  • typography
  • time-based design.

Throughout your time on the course, you’ll build a portfolio of personal work that will enable you to pursue a successful career as a commercial animator, animation director or other related roles within the field.