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Why study this course?

This is a top-up version of our Illustration and Animation BA (Hons) degree. A top-up degree is the final year (Level 6) of an undergraduate degree course and is for those who have a foundation degree, Higher National Diploma or equivalent qualification, or those wishing to study the final year of their degree in London.

On this degree, you'll learn image-making and visual storytelling skills, specifically looking at children’s books, graphic novels and app design.

This course is industry-focused. It will help you develop your creativity and hone the skills you'll need to be a professional illustrator and animator.

You'll study digital platforms as well as more traditional forms of illustration. The course embraces ongoing developments in illustration and animation. We'll explore how modern illustration is practiced and how techniques are no longer confined to the page but inhabit a dynamic, three-dimensional digital world.

You’ll study in our School of Art, Architecture and Design's unique studio system in East London and make use of an unrivalled range of creative facilities to make your work — including photographic studios, printmaking, ceramics and woodworking studios, and technology including 3D printing, risograph printing and laser-cutting.

Whether you're creating a zine, a narrative for a start-up or a short film for digital publishing, this course is for you if you want to tell stories and connect with a variety of audiences.

A defining feature of the course is its focus on cross-disciplinary projects, allowing you to use a huge range of different mediums.

Study illustration and animation in a modern context

This course embraces ongoing developments in the way illustration is practised, no longer confined to the page, but inhabiting a dynamic, three-dimensional digital world

Become a versatile maker in both artistic and commercial work

A typical destination for graduates may be in the field of illustration, animation, advertising, film and television, publishing, immersive theatre, visual effects or art installation

Use a huge range of different mediums

A defining feature of the course is its focus on cross-disciplinary projects

Course modules

The modules listed below are for the academic year 2024/25 and represent the course modules at this time. Modules and module details (including, but not limited to, location and time) are subject to change over time.

Year 3 modules

Critical and Contextual Studies 3: Dissertation (Visual Communication)

This module currently runs:
autumn semester - Wednesday morning
autumn semester - Wednesday afternoon

(core, 30 credits)

Critical and Contextual Studies (CCS) in Level 6 offers you an opportunity to understand and explore the historical, social, cultural and economic factors which influence, and provide a context for, the development of architecture, art and design practice. Building on critical and academic skills gained during two years of previous study, the module encourages you to develop an awareness of issues around which there is some debate, uncertainty or contest. Based on this awareness, you will develop a set of research questions which constitute the topic of your study. This topic can be theoretical, historical, or technical and you may, with guidance, decide to engage with an area of scholarly interest outside the territory of your degree course.

You will develop your topic and respond to your research questions in the form of an extended critical study or Dissertation (6,000–7,000 words). Through this study you demonstrate that you can thoroughly research a topic, use appropriate methods of investigation, and work in a methodical and organised way to develop a coherent argument or line of thought. Teaching and Learning on the module is designed to support you in this process through a combination of tutorials and one to one supervision; as well as a series of formative and summative assessments which prepare you for the final submission.

The final form and presentation of your Dissertation can reflect a broad range of approaches to research and writing. It may include visual materials or other non-written forms of presentation as long they support your enquiry and comprise an integral part of the whole.

The final form and presentation of your Dissertation can reflect a broad range of approaches to research and writing. It may include visual materials or other non-written forms of presentation as long they support your enquiry and comprise an integral part of the whole. By prior approval at the start of the module, your research can be part practice-based, and include primary research and fieldwork.

By virtue of the sustained, independent nature of the learning and substantial final output, the dissertation is also intended to prepare you for possible postgraduate study.

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Major Project: Illustration and Animation

This module currently runs:
all year (September start) - Thursday morning

(core, 30 credits)

Over the course of your level 6 studies you will reach a point as a practitioner when your practice - and eventually your portfolio - is defined by your own interests, discipline focus and professional ambitions. In the Major Project module you will assimilate your years of prior learning and apply it to a significant body of work. You will define your individual creative identity and situate your practice in the wider context of the professional illustration and/ or animation sector.

In this module you will define, develop, test, iterate and execute an ambitious and significant project of highly-resolved discipline-specific work. Encompassing project development from problem finding, through idea and concept generation to the application of your practical skills for realisation and presentation in professionally recognised formats, you will use and record your independent project planning and management skills in preparation for your career launch.

A negotiated and approved proposal will confirm your individual project. Using creative exploration and experimentation you will generate, develop, research, conceptualise, visualise, test and model your proposals using material investigation in digital and analogue processes.

Feedback from tutors, visiting professionals and practitioners as well as peers will help you to ensure that your proposal meets a valid need, reaches a professionally-recognised quality standard and achieves the purpose intended. With an emphasis on individual authorship, the module requires that you critique and reflect upon your work in progress and understand its position in the creative sector. The module emphasises self-direction and personal focus whilst acknowledging external and professional trends, expectations and constraints.

During this module you will:

• devise and research a subject-specific project proposal;

• defend the project proposal using your research as evidence;

• exercise project planning, management, research and development skills in an academic and professional context;

• exercise decision making and problem solving showing that you have understood and managed complex and ambitious tasks;

• work independently, self-reflectively and with concern for the ethical issues and principles attached to your project;

• show understanding of your particular strengths, interests and position in the field, and your potential for further development;

• achieve outcomes of a professional standard of realisation and presentation.

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Skills and Innovation

This module currently runs:
all year (September start) - Thursday afternoon

(core, 30 credits)

In this module you will work with a high degree of independence in the selection and application of appropriate tools, materials and processes for visual communication.

There is an emphasis on innovation and experimentation, specifically your individual ambitions to test boundaries and take creative risks to make advances in exploring and applying discipline-specific tools. ‘Tools’ might be interpreted as physical implements for drawing, printmaking, publication-making, stop-motion animation or other, but also digital tools in the context of software workspaces and use of digital apps.

How can you adapt and work in an innovative way and on a granular level with the ‘tools of your trade’ as an illustrator, animator or graphic designer? How can your deep understanding of the qualities and limitations of materials, and possibilities offered by processes, aid your problem-solving and decision-making as a graphic designer, illustrator and animator? These are questions you will be supported to formulate, explore and answer in relation to your own practice as you continue to investigate the possibilities of our making workshops and digital facilities.

You will gain insights from module tutors and visiting practitioners about how experimentation forms part of the creative research and development process; then reflect on this and establish strategies for building research and development into your practice. This practice will directly feed into developing and finalising work for the Major Project module.

Thinking through making and visual experimentation as a research method is encouraged and supported. You will evidence your work in analogue and digital sketchbooks and through a portfolio of experimental and developmental work, along with evidence of reflection and self-critique.

During this module you will:

• explore the purpose and methods of research and development in the context of the creative industries and your own practice.

• work with an increasing level of innovation and experimentation with tools, materials and process;

• reflect on and critique your work in order to invent, test, iterate and refine visual approaches;

• develop further confidence in using experimentation and creative risk-taking with materials and processes as part of thinking through making and as a research method for visual communication;

• take the initiative in selecting the materials and processes that are relevant to your discipline, practice, project aims and professional ambitions; and devise an individual approach to using those materials and processes.

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Work Ready Level 6

This module currently runs:
all year (September start) - Friday morning

(core, 30 credits)

This module prepares you for entry to the workplace, self-employment or progression to higher study through experience of professional portfolio development and presentation, experience of working in industry contexts, and of related promotional and self-promotional activities. It helps you to assess not only your position within the creative design sector but also to define your individual creative strengths and potential, and to confidently identify your route to future success. You will build on existing professional practice skills, working at a level equivalent to industry standards in teamworking, presenting, pitching and creative responses to briefs and competitions.

Through practice, you will establish a sound process for research, design development and production using recognised sector-specific strategy and practice. A program of lectures, workshops, seminars and assignments, will prompt the investigation and analysis of the forms, properties and qualities of a wide range of professional practice fundamentals, for example, digital portfolios, self-branding and promotion, event design and management, costing, copyright laws and offline and online content creation.

You will be supported to develop networking skills, through specially arranged workshops and talks with industry professionals and successful graduates from the course, as well as outside the University at industry events. You will be shown how to reach out to potential employers for work placements, internships and job opportunities.

You will experience work-related learning through live exhibition, competition or simulated consultancy or work placement. You will refine a range of transferable skills in communication, management, research and analysis and will be encouraged to reflect and report on the work-relevant skills that you have developed throughout. These skills are advantageous for all graduates and include (for example): action planning, contribution to professional meetings, entrepreneurship, acting as a consultant, goal setting, negotiating, networking, project management, self-appraisal and team working. Activities undertaken in this module will help to prepare you for the launch of your individual design practice during the final degree show and subsequent employment applications.

During this module you will:

• research, analyse, and adapt your practice for sector-specific professional conventions in relation to real-world employment, exhibition or competitive situations;

• develop professional entrepreneurial processes for the generation, development, testing and pitching of concepts in response to specified clients and audiences;

• plan and manage self-promotion activities and exhibition, client or employer project pitching from inception to delivery, within commercial timeframes, developing strategies to maximise your chances of success;

• employ professional standards in the manipulation of appropriate media for the communication and presentation of your design identity and specific concepts;

• review competitor practices in relation to employment preparation or freelance self-promotion and build enterprise strategies for consultancy practice.

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Course details

In addition to the University's standard entry requirements, you should have one of the following:

  • 240 credits from a Higher National Diploma (HND), Foundation Degree (FdA/ FdSc) or equivalent international qualification in a relevant subject
  • 240 credits from years 1 and 2 of an undergraduate degree (BA/BSc) in a relevant subject at a different institution
  • a portfolio interview

If you live in the UK you will be invited to a portfolio interview. If you live outside of the UK you will be asked to submit a portfolio via email.

Portfolios and interviews

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.

Physical portfolio

If you are coming in person to your interview we strongly suggest bringing a physical portfolio of work.

Things to bring:

  • Sketchbooks – we love to see your sketchbooks with ideas and notes, even if they are messy.
  • Examples of the development of a project from start to finish and the final outcome.
  • Some work that you are really proud of and want to talk about.
  • Some work that shows you experimenting with different processes.

Illustration and Animation (Top-up) BA (Hons) applicants are particularly encouraged to show sketchbooks that have drawing and image making in them.

Digital Portfolio

If you are submitting an online application, please follow these guidelines.

Things to include:

  • Scans or photographs demonstrating items from the list above.
  • Storyboarding for motion-based work.
  • Also include scans of sketchbook pages showing development.
  • Be sure to check the resolution and overall quality of your image to ensure submissions are not pixelated.

Accreditation of Prior Learning

Any university-level qualifications or relevant experience you gain prior to starting university could count towards your course at London Met. Find out more about applying for Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL).

English language requirements

To study a degree at London Met, you must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. If you require a Student visa (previously Tier 4) you may need to provide the results of a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. This course requires you to meet our standard requirements.

If you need (or wish) to improve your English before starting your degree, the University offers a Pre-sessional Academic English course to help you build your confidence and reach the level of English you require.

You'll be assessed through project work, essays, individual practice and a final portfolio project including a dissertation. There are no examinations.

This degree will equip you with the skills you need to succeed as an illustrator in the design and visual communication industries. 

After graduating, you can seek illustration and animation roles in publishing, graphic design, advertising, web-design, concept design and film and theatre. Many graduates also go on to self publish books and into freelance illustration.

We currently have three locations in Holloway, Aldgate and Shoreditch. As we evolve as a University, we'll be reviewing the use of these spaces to ensure all our students have access to the facilities and study areas they need to succeed. This means the campus where this course is taught may change over time.

The experience of our students will always be our top priority and we'll notify applicants and students of any changes to their teaching location at the earliest opportunity.

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.

Follow our School of Art, Architecture and Design on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date with everything that's happening in our creative community.

For an insight into life in the Visual Communication cluster, you can also follow our @vc_ldnmetarts Instagram account.

How to apply

If you're a UK applicant wanting to study full-time starting in September, you must apply via UCAS unless otherwise specified. If you're an international applicant wanting to study full-time, you can choose to apply via UCAS or directly to the University.

If you're applying for part-time study, you should apply directly to the University. If you require a Student visa, please be aware that you will not be able to study as a part-time student at undergraduate level.

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.

To find out when teaching for this degree will begin, as well as welcome week and any induction activities, view our academic term dates.

Are you from outside the UK? Find out how to apply from your home country

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