Royal College of Art

Course Introduction

With over 30 years of being on the cutting edge of animation, the Animation programme has an international status as a subject leader. During this time, the discipline of animation has undergone many changes with developments not only in production methods, but also in how it is conceptualised, distributed and positioned.

In response, three pathways have been introduced as fluid specialist routes through a common programme that is concerned with developing practitioners who have the critical tools, conceptual overview, specialist knowledge and the confidence to creatively innovate and take the authorial lead in their respective fields. These are: Documentary Animation, Experimental Animation and Narrative Animation, one of which students select as part of their application.

The programme’s location within a visually sophisticated, multidisciplinary art and design school, rather than a film school, is crucial in the development of creative and critical thinking, research skills and expanded discipline expertise that’s applied to ideas, styles, genres and technological approaches. Both the MA and research degrees attract artists and makers from a broad background of disciplines: science, maths, architecture, literature, art history, computing and fine art, as well as communication.

Course Modules

1st year: First Year is designed to ground you in core theories and methods that will both build on and provoke a re'examination of your previous ways of working. During the year, your studio practice is informed by weekly lectures and seminar groups run by Critical and Historical Studies that culminate in the writing of a dissertation. In addition, a series of screenings, artists talks and drawing classes are offered by the Animation Programme and the School of Communication.

The first term consists of regular workshops specific to the Programme that are designed to develop new ways of working and to enable you use the facilities

independently. These are common to all First Year students on the Animation Programme. You will also choose one from a range of electives that are offered by the

three programmes in the School of Communication and cover a variety of issues and approaches.

Your Pathway specialism starts in the second term with a range of dedicated workshops that encourage research and concept generation. To put this into

practice, you are asked to initiate and produce a First Year Project, which can take the form of a short film, installation or interactive project. Students may work individually or in collaboration. You will present the aims and objectives behind your project at a group critique and these must be outlined in a written Statement of Intent (approx. 500 words). Storyboarding, time management and budgeting are discussed in one'to'one and group tutorials with the programme staff.

In the third term, a written Statement of Outcome about your First Year Project, Interim exam and Reflection Tutorial will allow you to critically reflect on your

progress before you undertake the planning, research and development work needed for your Second Year Graduation project. During this term, professional

practice and networking is encouraged. You will assist Second Year students on their graduation project for approximately 2 weeks and visits to professional

animation artists and production studios will be arranged.

2nd year: In the Second Year, you are expected to initiate and take responsibility for the management and production of your Graduation Project. You will submit a Statement of Intent that outlines your intended concept prior to a Project Idea Presentation. As with the First Year Project, Your work may take the form of a short film, installation or interactive project and you can choose to work collaboratively or independently on this.

During the Autumn and Spring terms, you will have the opportunity for guidance, support and feedback through workshops, specialist and personal tutorials. Contact with musicians, composers, actors and scriptwriters is encouraged. Group Progress Review critiques will take place near the end of both terms as a valuable opportunity for feedback and support from your peers, which you are expected to contribute towards. The majority of your audio and visual material should be generated before the Easter break.

The focus of the final term is on postproduction and plans for installations and exhibition for the Summer Show. Second Year students have priority over equipment

in the final term. You must have completed a rough edit for the Pre'Assessments (see below). Between Pre'Assessments and Final Examinations, you will complete your final edit and sound mix. Final Examinations follow in mid'term when you will submit your finished film and a Statement of Outcome. Immediately after the Final Examination, you must submit your showprints for the Summer Show.

Throughout your studies, visiting speakers, studio visits, live briefs and competitions enable you to become familiar with professional practice. Exit Tutorials, Professional Preparation and Feedback sessions at the end of the final term help to prepare you for life after graduation.

During this year, you are expected to observe professional standards. Unfinished or late work is not acceptable for the Summer Show.

Start Date:


Duration & Attendance Qualification Tuition fees Fee type
2 years
Full Time
MA £9,500 Home Fees
2 years
Full Time
MA £28,400 Overseas Fees

Qualifications required:

  • The programme selects a challenging range of artists each year to facilitate crosspollination between different and engaging means of expression. Applicants are
  • normally expected to have a degree in art and design or equivalent experience. In recent years, the profile of successful applicants to the programme has diversified to include those with a background in science, humanities and architecture as well as those from moving image, communications and fine art.
  • Portfolio
  • Applicants must submit a showreel of animated/moving image work, no longer than 15 minutes, demonstrating an aptitude for sequential thinking. Their particular role on any collaborative projects should be clearly indicated. Applications without a showreel of moving-image work cannot be considered. A portfolio of support work demonstrating other aspects of ideas and skills, which may include 3D objects, drawings, photographs, scripts, storyboards etc., is helpful in the selection process, and this is ideally submitted in digital form. If applicants are invited for an interview, they may bring additional material and original artwork and/or
  • models.