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An animation student at work manipulating a plasticine grey rabbit and a carrot for a stop motion film Image courtesy of Ben Shmulevitch


Animation - BA (Hons)

BA (Hons)


4 years
Study abroad


Animation might be the perfect programme for you if: 

  • You love drawing of any sort 
  • You love working really hard 
  • You love telling stories 
  • You enjoy communicating and working with others 
  • You value the impact of your work upon an audience 
  • You enjoy problem solving 
  • You are driven by curiosity 
  • You love doing things to see what happens 
  • You can see patterns in things 
  • You are comfortable with the fact that there are no shortcuts

What you don’t need: 

  • You don’t need to be a computer genius, but you DO need to be unafraid of them and willing to make them do strange things.

At ECA we will encourage you to challenge your preconceptions of what animation is, and to deepen your understanding of how to use animation to communicate with others. In simple terms, you will be taught how to bring drawings, paintings, objects, models, puppets and text to life, whether they are generated physically, by hand, or virtually, by computer. You won’t just make things move, you will imbue them with heart and soul. Your work will not only engage audiences: it will encourage them to willingly suspend their disbelief.

If you want to create worlds, characters to populate them, and show the events and consequences of living within those worlds in film, then we want to work with you.


Our animators have gone on to work for studios including Aardman, Laika, and Nexus Productions, for directors such as Tim Burton, Wes Anderson and Henry Selick, for video games companies including Rockstar North, and Media Molecule. Some have gone on to set up their own award winning studios such as Wild Child Animation and Ko-Lik, or to work as independent filmmakers winning multiple awards at a local, national and international level.

Why you should choose this programme


ECA is an Aardman Academy Partner


At ECA you can work as an individual OR as part of a team


Small class sizes in dedicated studio spaces


Sustainably resourced render farm running Pixar’s Renderman


Multiple award winning programme covers full range of animation methods from analogue to digital


All Animation students will have the opportunity to take part in workshops and site visits with Aardman Animation through our Academy Partner status. 

In conjunction with Scotland Loves Animation we host an annual Education In Animation day where guest speakers from the Animation industry in Japan and further afield are brought to the UK to talk about their work with students from all Scottish Animation programmes. 

Animation students work closely with students from the Reid School of Music in collaborative projects. 

We are lucky enough to provide full scale stop motion production capabilities in dedicated studio spaces.

Widening Participation

ECA works with the University of Edinburgh Widening Participation (WP) team.

Widening Participation for undergraduates at the University of Edinburgh

Find out about Access to Creative Education in Scotland (ACES), a Widening Participation programme for eligible S4 to S6 students at state secondary schools in the south-east of Scotland.

ACES website

How to apply and entry requirements

If you'd like to study on an undergraduate programme at Edinburgh College of Art, you must apply through UCAS. You can find out how to do this on the University of Edinburgh website, where you'll also be able to: 

  • See the structure of the programme and what you will study each year
  • See detailed entrance requirements for each programme on the Degree Finder
  • Get information on what to expect after you apply
  • Find out about fees
  • Find out where to go for further advice and guidance.

Application process

The portfolio guidance listed below is for 2024 entry. Portfolio guidance for 2025 entry will be updated by September 2024. 

For application to the BA (Hons) Animation programme at Edinburgh College of Art a portfolio should demonstrate the following essential, and preferably at least some of the desirable elements. Please be aware that the inclusion of these elements will not guarantee the offer of a place, this is entirely dependent upon the quality of the portfolio, and the applicant’s qualifications.

 Essential portfolio assets 

“Essential”, in this context, means that without evidence of the following elements then your portfolio may not demonstrate the basic skills necessary to successfully complete studies on this programme.

  • Demonstration of life drawing ability 
  • Confident use of a variety of drawing media and techniques 
  • Confident use of colour 
  • Evidence of sequencing or pattern in folio (Drawings/prints of objects changing state, or drawings/prints of repeating pattern, for example) 
  • Evidence of narrative or storytelling (Written evidence or storyboarding or comic strips, for example)
  • Confident use of IT

Beneficial portfolio assets 

“Beneficial”, in this context, means that evidence of the following elements in your portfolio may enhance your application, but they are not essential. “Familiarity” means simply to demonstrate an awareness of the software mentioned, to know its purpose and function for example. If you have used it at all then screenshots of things you have made definitely communicate familiarity.

  • Familiarity with a 3D modelling & animation package (Such as Maya or 3D Studio Max or Blender for example). 3D Studio Max and Maya are free while you are a student at ECA, but as industrial standard software it can be expensive for individual purchase. There are free demos from Autodesk that are time limited to 30 days of usage, but this is certainly enough time to develop and show familiarity Free trial versions are available here: There are also free alternatives which may suit you if you would prefer more time, such as Blender, available here: (donation is optional and can be bypassed by following direct download link on the previous URL).
  • Familiarity with 2D painting or photo manipulation packages (Adobe Photoshop or GIMP for example.) Again, Adobe products can be expensive, but there are free alternatives, GIMP - GNU Image Manipulation Program for example available here:
  • Familiarity with compositing software (Adobe Premiere or After Effects for example.) Again there are free alternatives, Blender as detailed above can be used effectively for compositing too. 
  • Any form of animation 
  • Another beneficial addition, that is NOT essential, many times we get applicants who worry that the quality of any animation they may have made might jeopardise their chances of being selected. In actual fact we really appreciate seeing animation efforts regardless of how rough or raw they are as they provide a good indicator that the applicant knows what to expect from making animation rather than merely consuming it, the time and effort necessary will be less of a surprise…

Things to consider 

  • Candidates should be able to express an awareness of the medium in its different form 
  • Candidates should be able to confidently express their reasons for wanting to be an animator 
  • Candidates should be able to clearly express their career ambitions 
  • Candidates should be able to identify a role model from within the medium of animation. 
Portfolio advice video

Design portfolio guidance

Join Interior Design lecturer Gillian Treacy who will talk you through how to put together a competitive portfolio for our Design programmes, and what our academics look for when assessing your work.

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College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences Undergraduate Admissions Office
+44 (0)131 650 3565

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