Skip to main content
Postgraduate study

Animation MA

Our MA Animation is an intensive, practice-based programme which will develop your range of skills in animated performance to allow you to meet industry demands and developments. At the same time, opportunities for enterprise and academic research make a broad range of outcomes available to you.


Course overview

MA Animation student showreel 2022

MA Animation student showreel 2022

This programme has a strong focus on preparing you for working in the industry as a 3D character animator. It has been designed by staff with a wealth of industry experience and an in-depth knowledge of character animation for film, television and games. Recent graduates have gone on to work for Industrial Light and Magic, Animal Logic, Blue Zoo, Imaginarium and Rockstar North.

There are three routes you can choose from to gain an MA Animation:

  • full-time - 2 years with advanced practice (September and January start)
  • full-time - 1 year (September start) or 16 months (January start)
  • part-time - 2 years.
Ranked 18th in the world in the Animation Career Review International Animation School Rankings 2023. (Top 50 International Animation Colleges – formal degree. 195 colleges considered.) Find out more at

Download pdf Order prospectus


Course details

Course structure

Core modules

Acting for Animation

This module is an in-depth study of acting theory as applied to character animation.

The overall aim is to enable you to create convincing performances using animated characters.

You are encouraged to develop the basic acting principles through an analysis of live action and character animations in terms of the basic psychology of human emotion and acting performance. You learn to understand the differences and similarities of acting theory applied to animation and live action.

Throughout the module, you learn how to put your understanding of acting theory into practice. Using improvised and scripted acting techniques you plan and develop short character animation sequences.
Using the sound stage you have the opportunity to record both scripted and improvised performances and use these videos as reference for your animation.

At the end of the module you will have produced an integrated set of character animation exercises. This portfolio will be used for the purposes of assessment.

Body Mechanics

You explore the art and science behind body mechanics in animation. You research and analyse the movement of both humans and other elements and apply this knowledge in the production of convincing animation in 3D.
You study the physics of movement, human anatomy, internal and external forces as well as a professional animation workflow.

You develop a deep knowledge of animation workflow through a number of body mechanics exercises, and study and critically analyse a variety of animation styles from realistic to cartoon.

Assessment is a portfolio of body mechanics shots (70%) and an illustrated, reflective, blog (30%).


Animated creatures can take many forms - from cartoon-styles with human personalities, to the recreation of realistic creatures in live action films.
You explore, use and critically analyse the techniques and tools available to today’s animators. You explore both the creative and technical skills required to produce creature (non-human) animation. This include areas such as weight, balance, anatomy and locomotion.
Assessment is a portfolio of creature animations, together with research and observations related to animal/creature behaviours and motions.

Facial Animation and Dialogue

You explore methodologies and techniques necessary to create animated facial performances to a professional quality.

You investigate advanced keyframe animation and performance capture pipelines, experimenting with each to create professional pieces of work.

You use audio and dialogue to further enhance the emotional and psychological engagement with the animated character.

You reflect on animation styles in the character performance.

Assessment is an individual portfolio, which includes an animated piece with dialogue to professional industry quality.

Visual and acoustic awareness is essential and knowledge of Autodesk Maya is desirable.

Group Project

You complete a multidisciplinary group project in your area of interest to create a short film or video game cutscene.

You work in an individual production role within small teams to create an original short film or cutscene, which provide a high-end showpiece for your portfolio.

Master's Project: Animation

You undertake a major, in-depth, individual study in an aspect of your animation programme. Your project is drawn from appropriate commercial, industrial, artistic or research-based problem areas and involves research and investigation in relevant aspects of a very specific area of study followed by the production of a major deliverable portfolio of relevant practice based materials from the area of animation. You also produce a written report that contextualises and critically evaluates your final outputs.
Assessment is an ICA 100%. The major deliverable(s) are assessed through a viva. Your research, project process and evaluation is reported by an accompanying written report, which contextualises and evaluates the creative output.

Research and Development

You gain the knowledge and skills to understand the research process in computing and digital media, and the necessary skills to undertake your masters project. You learn how to use and critically evaluate previous academic research, and to generate good evidence material to justify their professional practice. This involves you learning about different research strategies and data generation methods and how they fit into the development lifecycle and the evaluation of the user experience, the use of the academic research literature, and research ethics.

Assessment involves you preparing a research proposal which can form the basis of your master's project.


Advanced practice (2 year full-time MA only)


The internship options are:

Vocational: spend one semester working full-time in industry or on placement in the University. We have close links with a range of national and international companies who could offer you the chance to develop your knowledge and professional skills in the workplace through an internship. Although we cannot guarantee internships, we will provide you with practical support and advice on how to find and secure your own internship position. A vocational internship is a great way to gain work experience and give your CV a competitive edge.

Research: develop your research and academic skills by undertaking a research internship within the University. Experience working as part of a research team in an academic setting. Ideal for those who are interested in a career in research or academia.


Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

You learn about concepts and methods primarily through keynote lectures and tutorials using case studies and examples. Lectures include presentations from guest speakers from industry. Critical reflection is key to successful problem solving and essential to the creative process. You develop your own reflective practice at an advanced level, then test and assess your solutions against criteria that you develop in the light of your research.

How you are assessed

The programme assessment strategy has been designed to assess your subject specific knowledge, cognitive and intellectual skills and transferable skills applicable to the workplace. The strategy ensures that you are provided with formative assessment opportunities throughout the programme which support your summative assessments. There is a mix of practical work (usually in the form of a portfolio), poster and viva presentations, reflective blogs, written reports and an animated piece, with dialogue, that is developed to a professional industry standard quality. Formative feedback is typically given during lectures, tutorials and summative feedback using on-line methods. The assessments can include individual or group work. The assessment criteria, where appropriate, will include assessment of presentation skills and report writing.


Entry requirements

At least a UK 2.2 honours degree in animation or equivalent.

Other first degree subjects may be accepted when combined with a portfolio of creative work at an acceptable standard.
Get some hints and tips on how to prepare a portfolio

For general information please see our overview of entry requirements

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country



Career opportunities

We prepare you for a career in industry. In addition to your taught classes, we create opportunities for you to meet and network with our industry partners through events such as our ExpoSeries, which showcases student work to industry. ExpoTees is the pinnacle of the ExpoSeries with over 100 businesses from across the UK coming to the campus to meet our exceptional students, with a view to recruitment.


Information for international applicants


International applicants - find out what qualifications you need by selecting your country below.

Select your country:

Useful information

Visit our international pages for useful information for non-UK students and applicants.

Talk to us

Talk to an international student enrolment adviser



2024/25 entry

Fee for UK applicants
£7,365 a year

£4,770 a year with advanced practice

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants
£17,000 a year

£10,000 a year with advanced practice

More details about our fees for international applicants

  • Length: within 1 year (September start), 16 months (January start) or 2 years with advanced practice (September or January start)
  • Start date: September or January
  • Semester dates

Apply now (full-time)



2024/25 entry

Fee for UK applicants
£820 for each 20 credits

More details about our fees

  • Length: 2 years (September start) or 3 years (January start)
  • Start date: September or January
  • Semester dates

Apply now (part-time)

Apply now (part-time)


Choose Teesside


Get in touch

UK students


Telephone: 01642 738801

Online chat (general enquiries)

International students


Telephone: +44 (0) 1642 738900

More international contacts


Open days and events

Go to top menu