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BA (Hons) Animation and Illustration

  • Placement year available
How to apply Come to an Open Day


Animation still of hands holding photo of four young women Watch our 2023 showreel

Studying Animation and Illustration at ARU

Become a skilled and versatile 2D or 3D animator, with a focus on illustration and storytelling, at Cambridge School of Art and turn your creative ideas into a rewarding career in animation and illustration.

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Study at an award-winning university

We're the Times Higher Education (THE) University of the Year. We've also been awarded a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework – a reflection of the outstanding education we offer our students.

Are you in Year 12? You could join us for a real taste of life as an Animation and Illustration student with our free residential experience this July. Places are limited – find out more and apply for our Amplify Your Summer Character Design Programme in Cambridge.

Our BA (Hons) Animation and Illustration course explores the connections between animation and illustration, helping you to create sequential narratives using a variety of methods – from the latest specialist 2D digital animation, 3D CGI used in industry and interactive techniques to traditional handmade image-making.

You will develop creative abilities, technical skills and a personal language within animation, as well as sequential imagery within graphic novels, with the focus being on illustration and design.

Perhaps most importantly, you’ll get time, guidance and support from a team of industry professionals, animators and illustrators who are dedicated to your creative development. As well as regular visiting industry speakers to inspire and guide you in your creative work, in your final year you will also receive guidance from an assigned industry advisor dedicated to the year.

At Cambridge School of Art, you’ll experiment and discover, try stuff out, venture into the unknown and find solutions, develop and create.

Course options

Course options

Key facts

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Entry Requirements


Entry requirements are not currently available, please try again later.

Fees and Paying for University

Facilities and showcase

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Industry-standard facilities

As well as our dedicated animation base rooms with workstations for stop motion and digital animation, you’ll have use of facilities including:

  • Studios equipped with HD rostrum cameras and traditional lightboxes; the Cintiq pro 24 and latest digital 2D animation software; and the latest Adobe creative cloud software
  • Dedicated stop-motion room with lighting set-up
  • 3D modelling and compositing software, including Autodesk Maya
  • Motion capture equipment, 4k cameras, lighting kits, and Wacom tablets
  • A life drawing studio
  • A sound recording studio; green screen and film editing suites; a digital photography lab and photography and film studios and darkrooms
  • Ruskin Gallery, a professional digital art gallery.
Students around a table discussing a model of a moose

Futures Lab and workshop equipment

Our new digital workshop includes a variety of computer aided manufacturing machines, helping you learn up to date manufacturing and design processes as well as supporting many traditional techniques. These technologies include:

  • 3D printers and scanners - FDM printers; material-specific extruders; SLA Formlabs printers; SLS Formlabs Fuse1; structured light 3D scanners
  • 2D printing and cutting machines - laser cutters; Roland BN20 vinyl printer & cutter; Gerber substrate cutter; Mimaki TX300P sublimation printer.
Artwork by Cami Rouhonen - a person' s head seen in profile with the top of the head portrayed as a mountain peak; on the mountain a person is looking through a telescope

Take a closer look

Our Creative Showcase shines a spotlight on what makes ARU creative and cultural – our spaces, places and people. Find out more about our community, the difference we make, the stories we tell, and the things that inspire us. You can also explore the work of our graduating students in our digital graduate showcase.


With an understanding of traditional animation and illustration, combined with expertise in cutting-edge digital design technology, our graduates have found success with leading animation studios and broadcasters, including Channel 4 and the BBC.

On our Sequential Practice module, you’ll focus on preparing for life beyond university, creating a showreel, a website and promotional material, as well as hearing guest speakers from some of the top animation studios in London, such as Passion Pictures, The Mill, FrameStore and Studio Aka.

Cambridge is the perfect place to gain experience – a creative hotspot that’s home to thousands of established businesses and start-ups. And, at the end of your final year, you’ll take part in our degree show in London – the perfect launchpad for your career.

Graduation doesn’t need to be the end of your time with us, of course. You might decide to stay at ARU and study for a Masters, such as our renowned MA Children’s Book Illustration. Take advantage of our Alumni Scholarship and get 20% off your fees.

Employability and personal career development

Informed by artists, creative agencies and production studios, our courses support an integrated approach to employability. You’ll have opportunities to develop the skills and abilities they are looking for and gain a deeper understanding of how your academic learning relates to the world of work through Live Briefs and Ruskin Modules.

You will need to dedicate time outside of your course to develop your employability, through placements, internships or volunteering or through our partner scheme Students at the Heart of Knowledge Exchange (SHoKE). You can evidence this experience on your CV and talk about it in interviews to give you that all important edge.

Our Employability and Careers Service offers a range of expert advice and support to build your unique professional profile, including tailored career appointments, advice on writing your CV, and help to complete job applications. You’ll have 24/7 access to the Careers Centre, our comprehensive online digital resource, which empowers you to start building a Personal Career Development Plan from the very start. Design your future at ARU.

Animated baseball bat hitting a red ball


“We asked students to create an animation ident. What amazed us most was the quality of the thinking, and the variety of ideas and execution. We’re very much looking forward to working with them next year."


As Marketing Manager at Curveball Media, Lee helps to set live briefs for our Illustration and Animation students

Find out more about our students' work with Curveball Media

Apply now for BA (Hons) Animation and Illustration

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