Illustration and Animation BA | Coventry Universit...

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Illustration and Animation BA (Hons) 2018/19 entry

Course code:


Study options:

3 years full-time
4 years sandwich
Flexible part-time

How to Apply

Coventry University


January 2019



Get in touch

For questions regarding study and admissions please contact us:

+44 (0) 24 7765 2222


In a world dominated by visual media, there is a growing demand for artists who can imaginatively interpret the environment in which we live, producing innovative, eye-catching visual content.

We enjoy high levels of student satisfaction – 100% of students said the staff were enthusiastic about what they teach in the latest National Student Survey (NSS) 2016. We will encourage you to be imaginative, ambitious and resourceful, preparing you for the challenges of an unpredictable, demanding and globally-competitive world.

For over 150 years, our creative community has played a major role in shaping cultural, political and social lives all over the world. You will be supported by staff that are all active within the fields of Illustration, animation, design and experimental practice for clients including CITV, The Guardian, The Independent, Virgin, Marmite, Ted Baker, Channel 4, Mixmag, Time Out, Radio Times, Macmillan and the BBC.

Why Coventry University?

An award-winning university, we are committed to providing our students with the best possible experience. We continue to invest in both our facilities and our innovative approach to education. Our students benefit from industry-relevant teaching, and resources and support designed to help them succeed. These range from our modern library and computing facilities to dedicated careers advice and our impressive Students’ Union activities.

Global ready

An international outlook, with global opportunities


Career-ready graduates, with the skills to succeed

Teaching Excellence

Taught by lecturers who are experts in their field

Course essentials

A degree which offers you more, at no extra cost

What our students say...

The training I received from the staff on my course has not only helped me dramatically improve my craft, but also prepared me with the essential skills needed to make the transition into the professional world. To this day they are always available if I am in need of advice or guidance.

Ben Barter, BA (Hons) Illustration and Animation, graduated in 2011, now freelance illustrator

Course information

Taught by highly acclaimed artists and practitioners whose experience ranges from publishing to animation and CGI, this studio-based course provides an exciting mixture of approaches to animation and illustration, distinguished by an emphasis on storytelling, character creation and the development of a professional ethos.

Our emphasis on industry readiness is one of its core strengths; from the outset, we focus on your professional development to ensure you graduate with the know-how, skills and confidence to your place in the world of the professional creative. Recent graduate Alexandra Balan, for example, has just completed work on the new animated feature film, Ethel and Ernest, voiced by Jim Broadbent, Luke Treadaway and Pam Ferris.


of our students are satisfied with the quality of the course

NSS, 2016

Course specification
Download PDF (100Kb)



During the early stages of the course, we concentrate on developing your creative practice so that you become more self-directed in your studies, more readily able to identify and deepen personal interests and concerns.

Drawing is a key element that will underpin your studies; however, to develop your own signature style, you will learn a range of image-making techniques, both traditional and digital, including anatomical study, screen printing and CGI, building key skills in creative image communication.


  • Introduction to Illustration and Animation

  • Studio Practice 1

  • Professional Development 1

  • Professional Practice 1


The focus on preparing students for successful futures sets Coventry apart as a university.

The Add+vantage modules teach a range of work experience and extra-curricular activities that are taken each year, and broaden students knowledge and skills within a work focused environment. There is a very wide range of Add+vantage free-choice subject areas, and they are arranged in themes.


Our focus is helping you to find your unique creative voice, so that you can develop an amazing body of work to demonstrate your subject matter and individual identity to greatest effect. We place an emphasis on ideas generation; you will propose and create multiple pieces of work that are either located in or straddle various media, including print, photography, animation, drawing or painting.

More importantly, however, we also provide support in what to do with that work to facilitate a successful creative career. You will be introduced to the wealth of professional possibilities, contexts and contemporary markets for your work across the contemporary creative sector both in the UK and internationally, including publishers, agencies and TV. In fulfilling projects, you may also find yourself involved in design and publicity, creation of exhibition/sales space, installation and presentation of work, a catalogue or other publicity or sales based materials.


  • Illustration and Animation Exploration

  • Studio Practice 2

  • Professional Development 2

  • Professional Practice 2


The focus on preparing students for successful futures sets Coventry apart as a university.

The Add+vantage modules teach a range of work experience and extra-curricular activities that are taken each year, and broaden students knowledge and skills within a work focused environment. There is a very wide range of Add+vantage free-choice subject areas, and they are arranged in themes.


After your second year, you have an opportunity to undertake a sandwich year studying abroad or on professional placement.


By the third year, you should be working independently, exploring individual or collaborative interests to produce self-initiated artistic projects. You will focus on creating a professional body of work, aimed towards your chosen career path, by working with subject specialists to create bespoke projects best suited to your needs. Projects include animation, books, costume design, concept art and production design.


  • External Practice

  • Major Project

  • Dissertation


The focus on preparing students for successful futures sets Coventry apart as a university.

The Add+vantage modules teach a range of work experience and extra-curricular activities that are taken each year, and broaden students knowledge and skills within a work focused environment. There is a very wide range of Add+vantage free-choice subject areas, and they are arranged in themes.


Our Film Production and Photography courses are ranked No.1 by Guardian University Guide 2019

In more detail...

  • Research expertise in moving image, performance, and contemporary illustration practice.
  • High levels of student satisfaction – 90% overall in the National Student Survey (NSS) 2016.
  • Induction and refresher sessions and technical demonstrations in specialist software such as Autodesk and the Adobe Creative Cloud.
  • Access to specialist photographic and media resources, including digital audio recorders and manual/digital still/video cameras via our dedicated Media Loan Shop.
  • Optional study trips at home and abroad, in the past to London, Liverpool, Birmingham, New York, Berlin, Madrid and the Venice Biennale (additional costs may apply).
  • Strong track record of student success in a range of competitions, including the D&AD Awards, the Macmillan Prize for Children’s Picture Book Illustration, Creative Conscience and YCN
  • Strong track record of graduate employability – an average of 96% of students were in work or continuing their studies six months after graduation (DLHE 2014/15), three-quarters of those employed were in professional level roles.
  • A thriving studio culture with dedicated workspaces for all students in purpose-built studios with permanent exhibition displays, supported by wide-ranging technical facilities in both traditional and new technologies.
  • Opportunities to show your work regularly – past students have exhibited nationally and internationally at New Blood, Free Range and New Designers exhibitions in London, as well as the Hangzhou Animation Festival, China.
  • Impressive guest lecture programme, which in the past has featured talks from: Simon Pope, Jane and Louise Wilson, John Stezaker, Peta Murphy Burke, Terry Atkinson, Merlin James, Harry Pye, Zineb Sedira, Bob & Roberta Smith, Thompson & Craighead, Michael Mayhew and Graham Crowley

Opportunity to compete for nationally acclaimed awards. Previous successes include the Macmillan Prize for Children’s Book Illustration, the DAD Yellow Pencil, Creative Conscience and YCN.

Your main study themes are:

  • Illustration and animation: We will introduce you to key concepts and practical skills across both illustration and animation, considering these both separately and in combination, utilising varied media in a historical and contemporary context. Through a series of practical workshops, you will explore traditional and experimental observational drawing, creative thinking, printmaking, photography and essential computer software. You should learn to recognise how and where illustration, animation and related disciplines can be applied, their significance in society and what the future holds with continued technological advances, such as rapid prototyping, and virtual reality. As the course progresses, you will be encouraged to adopt a broader approach to a brief, exploring and implementing new-media toolsets, such as Autodesk and Maya and applying your ideas in a screen-based environment. You will be introduced to 2D and 3D digital illustration and animation theory and practice, applying time-based illustration, animatic and motion graphics through project assignments.

  • Studio Practice: You will be taught to relate your developing skills to a range of historical, cultural and practice-based themes as relevant to the illustration discipline in its broadest sense. Working on project briefs, live, competition, self-initiated or concept visualisation briefs, you will be expected to maintain an exploratory and experimental approach in an increasingly self-directed environment that addresses scientific, technical, narrative and cultural themes. Emphasis will be on ideas generation, encouraging you to formulate solutions, professionally, articulately and within strict deadlines. We will address specific core skills, such as measured perspective drawing and the image-to-text relationship. You will be expected to develop appropriate levels of negotiation, reflection, technical and visual research and ideas development together with growing awareness of professional practice. The projects aim to provide a professional experience of issues including scheduling, turnaround times, verbal and visual presentation, budgeting and meeting the expectations of clients and contractors.

  • Professional development: We will consider the professional worlds of Illustration, graphics, animation, fine art and other areas of professional creative practice. To improve your understanding of current areas of creative practice and emerging creative trends, such as street art and cos-play, we ask you to collect, organise and analyse the work of creative professionals within the broad and expansive field or creative practice, comparing and contrasting these with your own developing practice. You will be expected to focus on self-presentation, identify and explore your community of practice and consider your skills and knowledge in relation to possible opportunities. You will be shown practical methods to prepare for external opportunities, through pitch simulation and market analysis and explore ideas around employability, enterprise, social enterprise, volunteering, placements, funding for overseas opportunities, freelancing and live projects.

The course can be studied full-time over three years and part-time over six years, starting in September. You have the option of extending your studies by a year and undertaking study abroad or a professional placement. 

Essentially studio-based, with access the University’s extensive specialist digital and media resources, the course aims to draw on a range of creative sources to help you to formulate ideas, discuss and revise your work effectively and quickly.

During tutorials and studio critiques, you will be asked to discuss ideas, strategies and methodologies with staff and fellow students adapting and developing your approaches in the light of this dialogue, at the same time enhancing your interpersonal skills, work ethic and methods of self-evaluation and critical reflection. Through a menu of technical workshops, you will be given the opportunity to acquire introductory skills in printmaking, sculptural processes and digital imaging, as well as being inducted into safe working practices within the studio and various workstations.  

Throughout the course, you will be able to produce a number of artefacts and installations, resulting in a body of realised creative outcomes which make reference to contemporary fine art practice, whilst embodying a personal and authored vision. Within supporting log books, sketchbooks and through discussion, you will be expected to evaluate, analyse and contextualise their work. In the past, project themes have ranged from disabilities awareness and anti-war to children’s education and advances in technology.

As part of our commitment to your professional development, you will have opportunities to undertake professional practice by participating in external briefs involving contemporary illustration, graphics and animation. Typically related to the professional contexts you aspire to, these projects can enable you to complete creative work that relates to your future goals, as well as gaining hands-on experience of establishing clients, contacts, project and time management, working for clients, developing your own creative output in relation to market place opportunities, presentation and portfolio review and development.

During your course of study, where possible you will be invited to take part in regular study trips to galleries, exhibitions and events, such as Tate Britain, Tate Modern, White Cube, Saatchi Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum, Birmingham Ikon Gallery, Digbeth First Friday, The Custard Factory, Liverpool Biennial and British Art Show and many others (additional costs may apply). These trips not only cover elements of traditional and contemporary arts practice, but excursions such as the Warner Bros Studio Tour allow you to see many of the skills you are learning applied across a range of production processes, from concept art right through to model building and set design.

As well as a regular series of professional artist presentations though FACETS (the Fine Art at Coventry Talk Series), we are also participating in the AA2A (Artists Access to Art Colleges) project, a national initiative providing residencies to visual artists and designers, which enables students to work alongside and interact with them. We currently have four artists with us, who will be giving talks and showing work throughout the year.

You will be assessed on the evidence of practical work throughout your course. You will accrue marks on each module in relation to clearly defined learning outcomes. You will receive verbal and written feedback in each case. Subject specialists, who will be available to feedback once you have received your grade, will assess you. Your work will be marked according to how well you achieve the various learning outcomes, which will be clearly set out on all project briefs. The practical aspects of your work will culminate in the final year Degree Show.

An estimated percentage breakdown of your final grade assessment is as follows:

  • Practical coursework: 70%
  • Essays/reports: 20%
  • Presentations: 10%

In order to achieve the award of Bachelor of Arts (Honours), a student must satisfy the University requirements of 360 credits. A student who does not wish to progress to a subsequent year of study may apply for an intermediate award of Diploma of Higher Education if they pass a minimum of 240 credits. A Certificate of Higher Education may be awarded to a student with minimum of 120 credits.

70% assessed by practical coursework

On successful completion, you should be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of: illustration and animation and their connection to other creative endeavour; the factors that prompt a body of work to coalesce; the significance of contextual study and theoretical discourse; research strategies and methods that bolster their practice and its relevance; requisite awareness of entrepreneurial and career opportunities.
  • Demonstrate productive and critical reflection.
  • Generate individual and innovative responses to briefs and constraints.
  • Demonstrate harmonious conceptual, technical and material development into a personal style.
  • Clarify and explain complex and ambiguous issues for specific audiences/purposes, observing academic protocols where necessary.
  • Process complex and possibly contradictory information and/or ideas.
  • Use a range of specialist media productively.
  • Manage digital files competently.
  • Produce a coherent and representative body of work.
  • Present and/or exhibit their work expertly and professionally.
  • Apply workshop and health and safety instruction intelligently.

In a typical teaching week, you will have up to 16 ‘contact’ hours of teaching. This generally breaks down as:

  • Personal tutorial/small group teaching: 1 hour of small group or individually guided work and 12 allocated hours of studio time.
  • Medium group teaching: 1 hour of seminars each week.
  • Large group teaching: 14 hours of studio practice each week.

In addition, you will be expected to undertake a further 20 hours per week of self-directed studying, including your coursework assignments in your own time.

Our teaching is underpinned by a worldview of contemporary art; this is reflected strongly in the course curriculum which expects students to develop an outward facing approach to their work, examining markets, the possibilities for international dissemination of their work and the opportunity for international study or employment.

You will have the opportunity to study alongside students and staff from many different countries, enhancing your global perspective and intercultural competence. We undertake research at an international level, disseminating our research at such events as the Society for Animation Studies, the Avanca International Cinema Conference and the Athens Institute for Education and Research. Each year we also offer study trips abroad, previously to New York, Barcelona, Prague and Berlin (subject to application and additional costs).

You will be given opportunities to engage with international students throughout the world, working on Online International Learning (OIL) projects.

Global ready

Did you know we help more students travel internationally than any other UK university according to data from the experts in higher education data and analysis, HESA?

In 2016/17, we were able to provide a total of 3,482 experiences abroad that lasted at least five days.

Much of this travel is made possible through our Global Leaders Programme, which enables students to prepare for the challenges of the global employment market, as well as strengthening and developing their broader personal and professional skills.

Explore our international experiences

1st for

international experiences

Sending more students overseas than any other UK uni (HESA 2016/17)


Student experiences

The number of student trips abroad for at least 5 days in 2016/17


and counting

The number of students we’ve helped travel internationally so far


global programmes

As well as trips, we offer other opportunities like language courses

What our students say...

Studying at Coventry University has had an unquestionably positive impact upon my success. The staff offered consistently professional support that enabled me to prepare for life as a freelance illustrator, and have often provided further advice and opportunities post-study to strengthen my portfolio of work

Matt Miles, BA (Hons) Illustration and Animation, graduated in 2010, now freelance illustrator

Entry Requirements

University Course Code: AHU007
A Level BTEC IB Diploma GCSE requirement
BBC to include at least one Art or Design subject. DMM in an Art or Design subject. 29 points to include Visual Arts or Design Technology at Higher level. Minimum 5 GCSEs at A*-C including English.


You may be required to submit a portfolio/showreel/written work (as appropriate for the particular course) and you may be asked to attend an interview if it is practical to arrange.


A-Level applicants are required to have three
 A2 Levels. Coventry University may include AS grades within an offer for certain courses, but we are not able to accept two AS Levels in place of one A2 Level. In some courses it may be necessary for entrants to have passed specific A2 Levels in nominated subjects. Please see the course pages for more information.

Access Diplomas

A pass in the Access Diploma, plus GCSE English Language at grade A*-C, or a specified equivalent.

Coventry University welcomes applicants who have completed, or who are studying, the Access to HE Diploma developed by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA). Successful completion of the course will require you to gain 60 credits with at least 45 to be achieved at Level 3 (with the remainder at Level 2). In some cases we will require you to have gained Merit or Distinction grades in a number of units or in nominated subjects. For more information on the entry requirements for your chosen course please see the relevant course pages.

BTEC Level 3 Diplomas

The University will accept the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma for entry to most courses. In some cases we will require applicants to have studied either certain named modules or a specific named Diploma. The appropriate course page will have full information on the entry requirements. The University also accepts the BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma and BTEC Level 3 Diploma for entry to degree programmes, provided that they are studied in combination with other qualifications that provide a total volume of study that is equivalent to three A2 Levels. For example, you could be studying a BTEC Level 3 Diploma plus an A2 Level, or a BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma plus two A2 Levels. Where a specific A2 or BTEC subject is required for entry then you must be offering this as part of your combination of qualifications.

Please visit our page on European entry requirements for more information about specific country information.

English as a Foreign Language This course requires an IELTS of 6.0 overall. Pre-sessional English is available if required.

Our International Student Hub offers information on entry requirements for your country, as well as contact details for agents and representatives should you need more advice.

More detail

Select your region to find detailed information about entry requirements:

English as a Foreign Language This course requires an IELTS of 6.0 overall. Pre-sessional English is available if required.

Our International Student Hub offers information on entry requirements for your country, as well as contact details for agents and representatives should you need more advice.

More detail

Unconditional offers

We want to recruit the best students to Coventry and having assessed applicants' past, current and predicted performance and commitment to the course we feel that it is appropriate to reward consistently high-achieving students with an unconditional offer from a top university. It is a commitment from us with regard to an applicants’ potential as an excellent undergraduate and we hope that this will encourage such applicants to join the Coventry community.

Personal statements and references will also be taken into account and, for some degree courses, an interview will form part of the assessment. The criteria for unconditional offers will vary across the University as entry requirements for specific courses differ and not all degree courses will be taking part in the Scheme. The unconditional offer will be confirmed once a selected applicant has made Coventry their firm choice.

Coventry University has assessed that you are capable of achieving excellent grades and we have demonstrated this belief by making you an unconditional offer. This is our commitment to you so then we ask that you reciprocate this commitment by selecting us as your ‘firm’ choice and activating your unconditional offer.

We will consider other qualifications for a pre-result unconditional offer providing that you have an appropriate proven performance at GCSE (or equivalent) level and predicted grades in line with grades that we expect to see at A-level. Other qualifications that we may consider for a pre-result unconditional offer include: the International Baccalaureate Diploma, BTEC Level 3 qualifications, Cambridge Pre-U and combinations of qualifications (e.g. BTECS plus A-levels).

An unconditional offer is what it says it is. So if you don’t meet your predictions then your place at Coventry is still guaranteed. However we would hope and expect that you continue to work hard to make the most of your potential and be best prepared to study at university level.

We can’t but our experience over the years has shown us that students like you with a track record of high grades and excellent predictions are very likely to achieve those grades. Our assessment takes into account all elements of your application to allow us to take a holistic view of your potential. There is still the opportunity to gain one of the Coventry University Scholarships if you achieve the required grades so there is a financial incentive to aim high. Unconditional offers are only made to individuals who have demonstrated their commitment so we believe their focus and determination is unlikely to waver in the final stages of their qualifications.

No, the unconditional offer is only available to those who will take up their place in 2018.

What our students say...

Coventry University taught me how to illustrate and animate professionally and now as a graduate I am so excited to use these skills to tackle my career as a stop-motion animator.

Saffron Worwood

Tuition Fees

We pride ourselves on offering competitive tuition fees which we review on an annual basis and offer a wide range of scholarships to support students with their studies. Course fees are calculated on the basis of what it costs to teach each course and we aim for total financial transparency.

For more information, please visit our Finance pages.



January 2019

£9,250 (per year)


If you're a truly outstanding undergraduate candidate we may be able to offer you a Coventry University Scholarship.

Coventry University Scholarships are awarded to recognise truly exceptional sports achievement and academic excellence.



January 2019

£9,250 (per year)


For the September 2018 intake we're investing in a range of EU Academic Excellence scholarships for high achieving and enterprising students. Fulfil your potential this academic year with Coventry University!



January 2019

£14,850 (per year)


For the September 2018 intake we're investing in a wide range of Academic Excellence scholarships for high achieving and enterprising international students. Fulfil your potential this academic year with Coventry University!

Course essentials at no extra cost

We're committed to communicating study costs clearly to make sure you're not faced with having to make any unexpected payments.

This is why our ‘Flying Start’ package provides you with a few course essentials. Your full-time fee for an undergraduate degree will cover the following:

UK field trips

Any mandatory site visits and trips within the United Kingdom.

Key material

This can include core textbooks, software and equipment.

Laser prints

1,000 A4 sides of black and white laser printing credits per year.

Optional year

Pay no tuition fees for optional work placements or study abroad trips.

As well as covering UK field trips, key materials and laser print, the fees for this course also include:

  • Some essential art materials provided through workshops

The following are additional costs not included in the fees:

  • Any optional overseas field trips or visits: £400+ per trip
  • Any additional specialist printing: £50+ per year

What our students say...

Coventry University taught me how to illustrate and animate professionally and now as a graduate I am so excited to use these skills to tackle my career as a stop-motion animator.

Saffron Worwood

Career prospects

The course is designed to reflect the expectations of creative, professional practice, encouraging you to produce work of the highest calibre.

Professional experience is embedded into our course, which is why we have high levels of graduate employability. You will have the opportunity to undertake a commission, live brief or competition brief in order to give you a sense of the demands of working for a client or external agency.

We aim to equip you with the skills to develop independent thought, innovation, imagination, critical reflection and confidence in your practice, as well as transferrable skills suitable for employment across the full breadth of the creative industries. Whether your career goals include publishing or exhibiting, working for clients or as a self-sufficient artist or all of them – on successful completion of the course, you should be able to apply your skills in a variety of contexts and do so with confidence.

 Our Creative Futures employment team is on hand to offer tailored career and enterprise support if you wish to gain employment or take advantage of professional practice opportunities within course specific industries. Our dedicated enterprise officers also offer valuable assistance on how to begin as a freelancer/entrepreneur. 


of our graduates are in work or further study six months after the course

DHLE 2014/15

Where our graduates work

Our graduates have gone on to enjoy success across a range of creative platforms – as a motion graphics specialist at Spov, London and a design internship at Calvin Klein Amsterdam, as well as the award-winning Captain Underpants’ illustrator.

Employers of our recent graduates include ITV, Lupus Films, Spov, Zizi and MacMillan.


Our graduates earn average salaries ranging from £15,000 - £20,000 six months after the course (DHLE 2014/15)

What our students say...

Coventry University taught me how to illustrate and animate professionally and now as a graduate I am so excited to use these skills to tackle my career as a stop-motion animator.

Saffron Worwood

By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the University. The Contract will detail your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and will contain the obligations that the University will owe to you. We encourage you to read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the University. A copy of the 18/19 Contract can be found here.