Animation and Games Art BA (Hons)

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Combine theory and practice to cover all aspects of animation. Gain expertise in industry-standard digital software. Realise your dream of working on the next big animated movie or game.

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The film, games and VFX industries are always searching for new talent. BA (Hons) Animation and Games Art will allow you to explore the pre-production pipeline and be able to apply animation to a wide range of media. You will study and develop traditional animation techniques, plus key digital skills in 2D and 3D, while learning the core principles of character-led animation. 

The University of Sunderland is a member of the Design and Art Directors Association, and working on live projects is an integral part of the course. You'll be working on entries for festivals and competitions such as Encounters Film Festival and E4 Stings. It's all part of our commitment to mixing academic rigour with practical skills.

We place animation and game design within a broader context of principles and theories of design, and you will gain an overall knowledge of design that keeps your career options wide open. You will also have the creative freedom and flexibility to develop your specific areas of interest, gaining transferable skills crucial to employability.

Why us?

  • Graduates work throughout the film, special effects, games, television and computer industries, on projects including The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Grand Theft Auto, Miffy and Corpse Bride
  • 'World-leading' research in Art and Design, according to the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF)
  • 93.4% of our graduates are in employment, further study or training within six months of graduating, according to DLHE 2016/17 (based on full-time, first degree, home leavers)
  • Our Art and Design courses were ranked 2nd overall in the UK in the 2018 UK Engagement Survey
  • Our Art and Design courses were ranked 2nd in the UK for Assessment and Feedback, 2nd in the UK for Retention and Progression, and 3rd in the UK for Employability in the 2018 UK Engagement Survey
  • Our Cinematics and Photography courses (which include BA (Hons) Animation and Games Art) are ranked 9th in the UK for Learning resources and are in the top 25% for Organisation and management, Student voice and Overall satisfaction, according to the National Student Survey 2018
  • Gives a strong foundation in traditional animation principles while also teaching key digital skills in both 2D and 3D
  • Allows you the creative freedom to work in any medium and technique
  • Choose from a broad range of specialisms to take with you into industry

Course structure

Teaching is almost entirely practical and studio-based, supported by lectures, seminars and tutorials. Our academic team encourage you to express ideas and push the boundaries of creativity. Assessment is mainly through coursework. In your final year you will prepare for your Degree Show which will be visited by industry experts and potential employers. 

Part-time study

If you study this course on a part-time basis you will typically complete 40-80 credits in a year, rather than the 120 credits of full-time students. All modules are taught during the day time and you will be studying alongside full-time students.

View our student galleries.

Year 1 (national level 4):

  • Introductory Classical, Digital and Performance Practice (60 credits)
  • Animation Techniques (40 credits)
  • Design Theory 1 (20 credits)


Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.

Year 2 (national level 5):

  • Preproduction Practice (20 credits)
  • Maya for Beginners (20 credits)
  • Animation for Music, Titles and Idents (40 credits)
  • Animated Performance – Dialogue (20 credits)
  • Design Theory 2 (20 credits)

Final year (national level 6):

  • Applied Animation (20 credits)
  • Professional Practice (20 credits)
  • Final Major Project (60 credits)
  • Dissertation (20 credits)

The David Puttnam Media Centre,
Sir Tom Cowie Campus,
St Peter's Way,


  • The University provides generous studio spaces, well-equipped workshops and excellent facilities for Animation and digital design.

    • A dedicated stop motion room with 3 portable workstations, each with Dragon Stop Motion software
    • Line-testing room with 6 rostrum cameras, a multiplane camera and light boxes for 2D work on paper, cut-out and other mixed media techniques
    • Two 16mm projectors for direct animation
    • Shadow Motion Capture system
    • Personal studio space for each student
    • HTC VIVE for VR work
    • Motion capture suite
    • Green screen TV Studio
    • Digital design suite with Macs and Wacom Cintiqs with Adobe Creative Suite Design Premium. 

    Software includes: Toon Boom, Harmony Premium, Autodesk Maya, Adobe After Effects, Illustrator and Photoshop, Pixologic Z brush and Unity. Our specialist technical staff, including qualified Adobe and Maya Certified Instructors, offer back-up and help in making the most of the software.

    Animation facilities
  • The University provides generous studio spaces, well-equipped workshops and excellent facilities for digital design.

    Within our digital design suites, there are Apple Macs, PCs, HTC VIVE VR and Wacom Cintiqs with Adobe Creative Suite Design Premium. This includes software such as ZBrush, Unity 3D, Maya, Blender, Cinema 4, Dreamweaver and Adobe Creative Suites. Our specialist technical staff, including qualified Adobe and Maya Certified Instructors, offer back-up and help in making the most of the software.

    Design facilities
  • FabLab Sunderland offers a diverse range of specialist digital design and fabrication equipment. Based at the Hope Street Xchange in Sunderland city centre, it is a creative space where anyone can make (almost) anything. Our students gain free access to FabLab's machines which include:

    • Epilog laser cutter
    • ShopBot CNC router
    • The Roland Modela MDX-20 milling machine
    • Roland Vinyl cutter GS-24
    • Dimension 1200es Series 3D Printer – ABS plastic (large capacity 3D printer)
    • Ultimaker 2 (small scale 3D printer)
    • Ulitmaker 2 Extended (medium scale 3D printer)
  • The University Library has an exceptional collection of photography books and monographs and subscribes to a comprehensive range of academic journals and databases so you can access reliable and up-to-date information.

    A dedicated Academic Liaison Librarian supports students and staff in the arts, design and performing arts disciplines.

    The key resources for your course include:

    Discover: The Library’s multi-disciplinary search tool

    Art Full Text: A major resource for media and arts information

    JSTOR (short for ‘Journal Storage’): Giving access to important journals across the humanities, social sciences and sciences

    Lexis: A major resource on full-text newspaper articles and legal information

    Library Services - arts and design


The David Puttnam Media Centre provides well-equipped facilities and industry-standard design software so it's easy to make a seamless transition from your studies to the workplace.

Entry requirements

Our typical offer is

  • GPA 3.0 or above from High School Diploma along with one of the following at the required grade - SAT I and SAT II, ACT or Advanced Placement

If your qualification is not listed above, please contact the Student Administration team at for further advice.

We also require three passes at GCSE grade C or above, which must include Mathematics and English Language, or an equivalent qualification, for example; a minimum of Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number. If you have studied for a new GCSE for which you will be awarded a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above.

If English is not your first language we will require an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with an overall score of 6.0 and at least 5.5 or higher in each component: reading, writing, listening and speaking. An alternative approved Secure English Language Test (SELT) can also be considered if the applicant's element scores are equivalent to those required for IELTS.


If the above criteria is met you will be asked to attend an interview. For this interview please prepare a portfolio of work, which should be simply mounted and accompanied by preparatory work. Sketchbooks are an important feature of your preparatory work and should be included. Where possible, 3D and large 2D work should be photographed. Digital and screen-based work should be saved on a CD or memory stick.

If you are an international applicant, please supply your portfolio on a CD.

Suitable items for a portfolio include:

‡ Drawing: examples of observed drawing and exploratory drawing

‡ Projects: evidence of project work together with your sketchbooks and development work

‡ Self-initiated work: that you have done out of personal interest

‡ Research: examples of various forms of investigation undertaken for projects

‡ Writing: examples of reports, essays or journals

Fees and finance

The annual fee for this course is:

  • £9,250 if you are from the UK / EU
  • £10,750 if you are an international student

Part-time fees

Tuition fees for part-time students are £5,000 per 120 credits.

Please note that part-time courses are not available to international students who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more in our Help and Advice article.

Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.

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This information was correct at the time of publication.

Hannah Potter, BA (Hons) Animation and Games Art graduate, CBBC Scream Street Shorts winner


Our graduates have gone on to work throughout the film, special effects, games, television and computer industries, and worked on projects including The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Grand Theft Auto, Creature Comforts, Miffy and Hey Duggee.

Recent employers have included:

  • Animation studios such as Blue Zoo, Aardman and Studio AKA
  • TV companies such as Cartoon Network, CBeebies and CITV
  • Games companies such as Rockstar, Ubisoft and Sumo Digital

Placements and visits

You will have opportunities to apply for internships and we actively encourage you to build up a compelling creative portfolio. We also encourage you to participate in competitions and award schemes.

In addition, our students are actively encouraged to attend annual animation festivals such as the Manchester Animation Festival (MAF), as well as visits to arts venues across the UK and in cities such as Barcelona, Amsterdam and New York.

Guest speakers

Through our links with industry we attract professionals in animation to come into the University and give talks. These help you gain valuable insights and contacts in the world of work.

Past visiting speakers include quadruple-BAFTA Award-winning Jardone Sage (CITV) - a graduate of the course, Curtis Jobling (creator of Bob the Builder), Susannah Shaw (Aardman), Barry Purves (Lord of the Rings), alumni and BAFTA Award-winning Catherine Salkeld (Story Artist and VR director at Blue Zoo Studios), and Andy Davies (Sony Games).

Work experience

All students studying on-campus undergraduate Animation and Games Art courses can take up a CV-enhancing work placement, a University-led industry initiative, or a professional and business development boot camp.

By the term placement, we mean we are offering you a taste of the industry which might last anything from two days to four weeks on a part-time basis.

  • Sunderland stood out by a mile because of their excellent facilities.
    Alex-Collier, Animation and Games art graduate

    Alex Collier

  • We got to make contacts in LA - that was really exciting!
    Catherine Skelald

    Catherine Salkeld

  • Thanks to the University, I now run my own UK based animation and design company.
    Rosario Rivas Leal

    Rosario Rivas Leal

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