Illustration and Animation - BA (Hons)
Why study this course?
This industry-focused Illustration and Animation BA degree will help you develop your creativity and hone the skills you need as an illustrator. The fundamental skills of illustration are taught alongside strategic thinking and practice for a variety of mediums. You’ll also benefit from studio-based learning, industry partnerships and be encouraged to publish your work throughout your studies. In the most recent (2015-16) Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey, 100% of graduates from this course were in work or further study within six months.
The BA Illustration and Animation course encourages a personal, imaginative and reflective approach to the creation of images and motion sequences. You'll take a contemporary approach to exploring the role of modern visual communication. This course is designed for those who are interested in the convergence of the printed image, screen-based image, moving image and immersive experience.
Whether you're creating a zine, a narrative for a start-up or a short film for digital publishing, this course is about telling stories and connecting with a variety of audiences.
A defining feature of the course is its focus on cross-disciplinary projects. You'll typically work on several client-led briefs throughout your studies. You'll be encouraged to move between conventional illustration, animation and modern graphic technologies, with an emphasis on communicative and expressive drawing, screen-printing, printmaking, bookbinding, letterpress, drawn and stop motion animation, projection mapping, as well as digital and 3D illustration, using the latest industry-standard software.
The course prides itself on the fact that it produces versatile makers, who are trained to develop promotional materials that support their development, in both artistic and commercial work. A typical destination for graduates may be in the field of illustration, animation, publishing, advertising, immersive theatre, or art installation.
The course is based on critical study, with an emphasis on theory seminars and practical workshops. Theory and making ultimately combine to produce original and engaging results, documented through reflective blogs.
Through the course, you'll use a range of skills to explore illustration. Project outcomes might include printed books and publications, essay films, stop motion animation, animated documentary or projection mapping. The course culiminates in your final individual body of work; exhibited at the graduation show.
You’ll study at our renowned Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design. Leading experts at this school will teach you ways of observing, recording and creating unique stories through image making.
You’ll learn through our dedicated studios, curated by leading practitioners such as Nous Vous, Rachel Gannon, Emily Evans, Studio Cecilie and Gilles. We can provide excellent links to the industry and anticipate new developments in the field while also maintaining a respect for tradition.
A high-profile lecture series – the Hothouse Talks – offers you the chance to engage with visionaries in the field of illustration and visual communication. You’ll also benefit from live project opportunities and a vibrant studio culture.
You'll be assessed through project work, essays, individual practice and a final portfolio project including a dissertation. There are no examinations.
In addition to the University's standard entry requirements, you should have:
- a minimum of grades BBC, one of which should come from a relevant subject area in the arts, humanities or social sciences (or a minimum of 112 UCAS points from an equivalent Level 3 qualification in a relevant art and design subject)
- a portfolio ready for review (see below for more information)
- GCSE English at grade C (grade 4 from 2017) or above
We encourage applications from international/EU students with equivalent qualifications. We also accept mature students with diverse backgrounds and experiences.
Suitable applicants living in the UK will be invited to a portfolio interview. Applicants living outside the UK will be required to submit a portfolio of work via email.
This course is also available as a four-year extended degree, the first year of which is a foundation year explaining art, media and design.
All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants who require a Tier 4 student visa may need to provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.
Portfolios and inter?views
Your portfolio should be selective, but have enough work to show a range of your interests and talents. We are interested in seeing how you develop a project from beginning to end, not only finished work.
If you cannot bring certain pieces of your work to your portfolio interview, please take photographs and include them.
If you’re studying full-time, each year (level) is worth 120 credits.
The course is three years long, each level having 4 year-long 30 credit modules. These are assessed at the end of the year through a portfolio of work. In Years 2 and 3, you’ll vote to join a studio led by a practitioner member of staff. These studios mirror the professional modes of practice in the sector and you’ll work within them individually or collaboratively to briefs often set by external partners who then return to offer real-world critique on your work.
Through the course, you will move from graphic experimentation in a range of skills into tailored professional interests, culminating in your final individual body of work exhibited at the graduation show.
The course allows you to personalise your programme, moving more towards art, literary or design approaches as appropriate. You will also develop a deeper understanding of narrative and storytelling and its reflection of popular culture.
Essential workshop skills include:
- Screen printing
- Type setting
- Laser cutting
- Bench work (metal & woodwork)
- Illustrator (illustration)
- Photoshop (illustration & animation)
- In Design (editorial)
- After Effects (animation)
- Premiere (editing)
- Audition (sound)
- Dragonframe (stop motion)
- Millumin (projection mapping)
Year 1 core modules:
- Critical and Contextual Studies 1 (Graphics)
- Visual Research and Communication
- Design Principles
- Graphic Authorship
Year 2 core modules:
- Critical and Contextual Studies 2
- Creative Industry Practice
- Graphic Media
Year 3 core modules:
- Critical and Contextual Studies 3: Dissertation (Graphics)
- Major Project Realisation: Illustration
- Project Design and Development
- Design Competition
"Intellectually stimulating. I have learned new techniques and my understanding of the subject has broadened. I have made some really good connections."
"Tutors are the highlight of the University. You can see the passion they have for art and design, as well having the passion to teach us."
"My dissertation tutor put me at ease and helped me a lot with writing."
"The new studio idea is really successful and my studio leader is absolutely amazing."
"An incredibly diverse cross section of students. A real incentive to want to work hard and produce a stunning range of work through dialogue with tutors... The opportunity to find myself, and despite having different career motives now, be fully supported by all staff in and around the subject area. A vast library spanning three different buildings. A university-wide ethos that stands for true social equality."
"Excellent tutors and lecturers. A good range of facilities were available, all of which are well supervised by helpful technicians and tutors."
"I have definitely learnt a lot over my three years, gained confidence in my work and met some brilliant people."
National Student Survey
Upon successful completion of the degree, you’ll be equipped with the skills and attributes required to succeed in the complex and diverse world of illustration in the design and visual communication industries. Possible career destinations include publishing, editorial, graphic design, advertising, web-design, authorship and self-publication, concept design, film and theatre and freelance/commission-based illustration.
We're investing in an exciting, multimillion pound transformation of the London Metropolitan University campus, between 2016 and 2020. We’re moving all of our activity to one place, our current Holloway campus in Islington, north London. This will mean the teaching locations of some courses will change over time.
Whether you will be affected will depend on the duration of your course, when you start and your mode of study. The earliest moves affecting new students will be in September 2018. This may mean you begin your course at one location, but over the duration of the course you are relocated to one of our other campuses. Our intention is that no full-time student will change campus more than once during a course of typical duration.
All students will benefit from our move to one campus, which will allow us to develop state-of-the-art facilities, flexible teaching areas and stunning social spaces.
Please note, in addition to the tuition fee there may be additional costs for things like equipment, materials, printing, textbooks, trips or professional body fees.
Additionally, there may be other activities that are not formally part of your course and not required to complete your course, but which you may find helpful (for example, optional field trips). The costs of these are additional to your tuition fee and the fees set out above and will be notified when the activity is being arranged.
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How to apply
If you're a UK/EU applicant applying for full-time study you must apply via UCAS unless otherwise specified.
UK/EU applicants for part-time study should apply direct to the University.
Non-EU applicants for full-time study may choose to apply via UCAS or apply direct to the University. Non-EU applicants for part-time study should apply direct to the University, but please note that if you require a Tier 4 visa you are not able to study on a part-time basis.
When to apply
The University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) accepts applications for full-time courses starting in September from one year before the start of the course. Our UCAS institution code is L68.
If you will be applying direct to the University you are advised to apply as early as possible as we will only be able to consider your application if there are places available on the course.
Fees and key information
Get to know your studios
Studio 1: Future Past, image by Susanna Edwards
Two-tone self portrait of Ulises Carrión with partial shadow, showing paper underneath his glasses
Small silhouette of a man with heading 'design futures' with bat and ball computer game at front
Hands of a white person and the hands of a black one touching each other
Contemporary light installation with multiple meanings
News and success stories
Graphic design studio, Regular Practice, will be collaborating with Cass Visual Communications as research partners.
In celebration of its students, alumni, new home and London Design Festival, The Cass plays host to a series of exhibitions and workshops this September.
The Cass Hothouse is hosting a series of eight workshops exploring visual communications during The Cass Summer Show 2017.
Art courses ranked second best in London again for student satisfaction, while the School of Computing and Digital Media's Maths course scores 10/10 for ‘Value Added’.
Postcard with 'Affix stamp here'
Friday 11 November, 1.15–2pm
A talk by Russell Weekes, as part of the Hothouse talks.
Find out which awards were won by FlySpy
Cass Visual communications students and alumni work on award winning short film titled FlySpy
A step by step guide for anyone who loves magazines or dreams of starting their own.
Visitors enjoying the 2014 Cass Summer Show
10 June - 2 July 2016
Dates have been announced for this year's Cass Summer Show art exhibitions.
Cass Graphic Design and Illustration students takeover Grafik Website.
Image of group of people
Cass hosts IDEA Art and Design Advocacy Lab featuring leading cartoonists and artists
A series of year-long talks dedicated to the continual dialogue between students and industry.
The Hothouse talks showcase industry professionals from across design and illustration.
Red and yellow print by Indra Gersone
Exhibition: 26 June - 9 July 2015
Cass visual communication alumni exhibit at G511ery.
Bold new initiative bridges education and industry for graphic designers and illustrators.
10 April - 30 April 2015
Illustrator and teacher Kieron Baroutchi exhibits at G511ERY in North London
Meet the team
Sara CarneholmSara Carneholm
Susanna EdwardsSusanna Edwards
Emily EvansEmily Evans
Ricardo EversleyA visual mix of design practice projects.
Damian GristDamian Grist
Alistair HallAlistair Hal portrait
Danielle HewittDanielle Hewitt profile image
Angharad LewisPortrait of female lecturer Angharad Lewis
Michelle SalamonImage: A still from the title sequence for the feature film "Nanny Mcphee and the Big Bang" (2010)
Kim VousdenKim Vousden portrait