Reasons to choose the programme

Our students and alumni have made this programme one of the most successful in the UK in terms of festival and competition wins.
We offer a unique synthesis of digital and analogue techniques; we will teach you how to use our facilities including CGI labs, stop frame studios and rostrum cameras.
Our teaching and technical staff are a team with diverse and extensive commercial experience across the broadcast, film and interactive animation industries.
Uniquely, our final year students have the opportunity to make films on their own or as part of a team.
Each year we invite internationally renowned animators to visit the department and deliver a lecture series for our students and staff.

Jared Taylor talks about the programme
Edinburgh College of Art

"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 talk to you."


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 talk to you.

How you will be taught

The programme is small, which allows us to teach in ways that are unique within the UK, but its scope is great and the success of our graduates is even greater. Our philosophy is non-prescriptive about technique: you will learn many different ways to animate, rather than focusing on one particular method. We are also non-prescriptive about what your final projects will be. Most of our students make films, some make games or apps, or make music videos. We value teamwork almost as much as employers do, but you will also get many opportunities to work solo. We are one of the few courses in the UK that will give you the opportunity to make a film that’s entirely your own, and allow you to develop a voice that is uniquely yours.


Our animators have gone on to work for studios including Aardman, for directors such as Tim Burton, for video games companies including Rockstar North, post-production houses such as Rushes, Framestore and MPC, to set up their own studios, or to work as independent filmmakers winning multiple awards at a local, national and international level.

How to apply and entrance requirements

If you'd like to study on an undergraduate programme at Edinburgh College of Art, you must apply through UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. You can find out how to do this on the University of Edinburgh Degree Finder, 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

Take me to University of Edinburgh Degree Finder


Portfolio Guidance

As part of your application, you are required to submit a portfolio as evidence of your artistic ability and potential. You should begin to plan your portfolio as soon as you decide to apply.

Assessors are not necessarily expecting a showcase of final work, but rather an indication of work in progress showing how you approach an idea or subject and develop the work from initial thought, through experimentation and enquiry, to resolved work.

In these short guides, you will find details of what we are looking for and how your work will be assessed. You will also find some general tips on how to plan and present your work and what makes a strong portfolio in different subject areas.

Please ensure you allow time for the technical aspects of portfolio submission. Take time to familiarise yourself with the submission portal once it opens in December (you’ll get a link to it after you apply via UCAS), and work out what you will need to do to prepare your images for upload.

Guidance on submitting your portfolio digitally, including answers to common questions, can be found here:



Portfolios are assessed by a team of academic staff who are particularly interested in how you research and develop ideas in a visual way and how you engage with your chosen discipline. This is broken down into four main areas of assessment, briefly summarised as follows:

  • Visual Research and Enquiry shows the level of your engagement in intelligent, structured visual enquiry and how well you communicate this.
  • Idea Development shows your ability to appropriately explore and develop ideas, and your level of skills in the use of materials or techniques.
  • Selection and Resolution shows how well you judge which ideas have the most appropriate potential and your ability to bring them to a level of completion appropriate to your intended outcome.
  • Contextual Awareness shows the extent of your knowledge of the subject you have applied for and how your work relates to it.

How the content of a portfolio provides evidence for the above categories will vary enormously depending on the person and the subject being applied to, and no two portfolios will be the same.


Planning and Presentation

Assessors are interested in how you have decided to put your portfolio together. This means that your portfolio should be carefully planned and well presented.

Assessors will be judging your ability to edit your work, so be selective and strategic in your choice of material.

Aim to show a clear narrative or sense of the themes in your work, as well as the connections between the pieces.

If you have lots of high quality work, include it. It can show that you have talent in breadth and are hardworking and committed. If you haven’t, select your best: these key gems can show us that you know what you are good at, and how to show it. There is no need to pad out your portfolio with work you’re not happy with.

Each image can be accompanied by a small amount of text, and applicants are strongly encouraged to make use of this opportunity. You should avoid including titles or descriptions of the work and instead explain the ideas behind the work, the challenge undertaken or any other significant factors.

It may also be useful to explain why you have included the image in its particular category (development work, resolved work or influences). Consideration should also be given to the graphical layout of the portfolio. Remember that assessors will be looking at your work on a screen so the digital image you present to them is what they assess, so be aware of the quality of photographs and scans. It is worth the time and effort to make your work look as good as possible.

With the exception of BA (Hons) Film and Television, all portfolios require:

  • up to 10 images of your development/sketchbook work (minimum of 5 images)
  • up to 10 images of your resolved work (minimum of 5 images)
  • up to 5 images which demonstrate your influences (minimum of 2 images)

You are encouraged to provide a 500 word (at the most) supporting and/or explanatory introduction to your work at the start of your portfolio, rather than using the text space provided alongside each image. It is much easier to understand your work in this format.

The images demonstrating your influences may be images of work or objects which have inspired or influenced your work e.g. people working in the same medium or for the same audience, now or in the past; people interested in the same subject or theme, now or in the past; natural or man-made phenomena, objects, places or events which have inspired or provoked a response.

A strong portfolio is likely to display the following:

  • Confident use of a variety of physical (i.e. not solely digital) drawing media and techniques.
  • Originality in content, style and execution.
  • Observational drawing – evidence of ability to draw the things that you can see, not just the things that you imagine. Life drawing can be one of the best indicators of this ability.
  • Evidence of sequencing or pattern in folio (e.g. drawings/prints of objects changing state, drawings/prints of repeating pattern etc.)
  • Evidence of narrative or storytelling such as written evidence, storyboarding, comic strips, scripts etc.
  • Self-initiated projects beyond school/college work.
  • Practical animation experiments – we want to see your attempts at animation, regardless of quality, as evidence of your experience of the level of effort required to create animation.
  • An awareness of animators, as well as animated films.

In addition, applicants to 2nd year should display:

  • Evidence of practical animation beyond character design, layout and storyboarding – a completed film is the best indicator.
  • Familiarity with at least some of the following software: 3D modelling & animation packages e.g. Maya, 3D Studio Max; 2D painting or photo manipulation packages e.g. Photoshop, Painter; compositing software e.g. Premiere, After Effects.


If you have any questions about the application process, your qualifications or deadlines, our Undergraduate Admissions Office will be happy to help you.

Email the Undergraduate Admissions Office:


What happens next?

We will contact you with our decision by mid-May. If you are made an offer, you will be invited to attend an Offer Holder Day.

Offer Holder Days typically take place in April and are opportunities for successful applicants to learn more about their subject areas and life as a student at Edinburgh College of Art and the University of Edinburgh. Whether you visit us in person or attend a virtual Offer Holder Day, you will have the opportunity to meet with academic staff and current students from your programme, tour the studios and other facilities and attend general information sessions.

Alumni profiles


Jared Taylor

Programme Director, Animation


Tel: +44 (0)7734 565 391

Facilities and resources

The animation studios and workspaces at Edinburgh College of Art allow Animation students to work on all aspects of producing their own films. You will have your own desk space to develop your ideas through drawing and using the available light-boxes, and then the studios and editing suite will help you bring your stories to life.

The Film and TV studio is a large flexible space used for technical workshops, as well as for small set builds and studio productions.

Students at the University of Edinburgh have access to a range of library resources across the campus and online.


College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences Undergraduate Admissions Office

Tel: +44 (0)131 650 3565