Manchester Metropolitan University

BA (Hons)


2018 entry

Features and benefits of the course

  • From the very start you will be working with professional animators and studios through live briefs and projects.
  • The course is based within the Department of Media at Manchester School of Art, and the art school ethos will push you to innovate and become a highly creative professional.
  • You will have the opportunity to take part in Unit X, an innovative unit offered to students across Manchester School of Art that encourages interdisciplinary study and collaboration on an external-facing project.
  • Professional animation production is a big team effort (just look at the credits at the end of a movie), so as well as learning the specialised individual skills required for animation, you will work closely with your classmates and students from other courses, developing important teamwork skills demanded by employers. The course is designed to allow you to specialise, if you so wish, in one specialist area of the animation process allowing you to collaborate with others refining your individual artistry.

About the course

In the first year of the course you will learn core animation principles, study the art of storyboarding and cinematography, develop your skills in character design and learn the techniques of animation production using industry standard software in 3D, 2D and stop motion animation. In the second and third year you will develop your own ideas and learn the entire production process from pitching your ideas, working with a production team to develop and produce the animation, overseeing the editing and sound design to the final presentation of the finished film.

Typical units of study may include

Year 1

The first year is a general foundation to the craft, skills and conceptual thinking required for the art of animation. You will learn the key principles and techniques of animation alongside the software and tools required for creation.

Core Units
Animation Principles

In this unit you will be introduced to the fundamental principles of animation, not just how to make things move, but how to make inanimate objects come to life. Through a series of tasks using a variety of animation techniques (2D, 3D computer animation and Stop Motion), you will explore and practice the mechanics of motion such as weight, timing, overlap and anticipation, leading up to basic exercises in expression and performance. The unit also explores some experimental approaches to animation and by the end of unit you will have the basic skills required to produce animation in a number of techniques.

Unit X

This unit  encourages collaborative, interdisciplinary practice and shared experience. There are lectures and talks from key research staff, students and external experts, tutorial group meetings, and presentations. The set projects will vary from year to year and will designed to be responsive to creative opportunities. The course encourages students to respond to contemporary media and as such, it is a live unit in which we discuss films, television, comics, games and the news relating to the media in any specific week.

Visual Narrative

This unit focusses on visual narrative, how to tell a story through the tools available to an animator; exploring principles of cinematography, film language, storyboards and animatics, interpreting scripts and adapting existing stories for the screen. You will also be introduced to the challenges of creating a believable world in which to construct narratives and develop an animated production utilising conceptual, character and environment design methods. Your learning will be supported by a number of technical and software workshops as well as sessions in life drawing.

Likely Optional Units
Contextualising Practice 1
You are allocated to one of four pathways addressing programme-based clusters of cognate practice areas. Lectures, seminars, guest speakers, visits around cultural contexts and professional issues.
Contextualising Practice with Language 1
You are allocated to one of four pathways addressing programme-based clusters of cognate practice areas. The unit includes lectures, seminars, guest speakers, visits around cultural contexts and professional issues.

Year 2

Building on from your learning from year 1, you will begin to work more collaboratively in the second year, honing your individual talents and interests. More advanced production procedures will be examined and practiced.

Core Units
Animation Process and Practice

Strong performance and acting is what makes the audience believe that an animated character is alive. In this unit you will complete a series of assignments that explore character, thinking, decision-making and emotion through pantomime and facial animation. Lectures cover the analysis of posture, body language, gestures, timing, eye movement, facial animation and lip sync.  You will also attend life drawing sessions to further study anatomy for animation, and an acting workshop. By the end of the unit, you will produce a short character animation sequence, with weekly guidance and supervision, from concept, design, layout and animation through to final render.

Post Production for Animation

By definition, animation is a complex structure of digitally manipulated images projected in quick succession to give the illusion of movement, and together with the integration of sound it provides a full immersive audience experience. In this unit you will explore, learn and create work utilising visual effects, sound design and compositing (the layering of moving images) and discover how technology has an impact on the post production processes in animation. You will also discover and learn how to use the ever diversifying range of digital platforms where audiences can watch and engage with animation.

Unit X

This unit explores collaborative and interdisciplinary art and design practice.  You will have the opportunity to engage in a range of external-facing learning opportunities which will encourage collaborative, interdisciplinary practice and shared experience; this may take the form of spending time outside of the university and working within the creative community and the public domain.

Likely Optional Units
Contextualising Practice 2

Delivery of critical, historical and professional issues to enhance your development within practice-based clusters. Delivery to clusters of cognate practice areas. Content consists of selected thematic options in critical and historical areas plus cluster-wide professional and employability issues, facilitating and enhancing the development of both studio-based work and identity as a practitioner.

Contextualising Practice with Language 2

Delivery of critical and historical issues to enhance the student's development within practice-based clusters.  Content consists of selected thematic options in critical and historical areas facilitating and enhancing the development of both studio-based work and identity as a practitioner. Modes of delivery include lectures, seminars, tutorials, guest speakers, visits and placements.

Year 3

In the third year, you will have the opportunity to be a key part of a major animation, which will showcase your individual talents as part of a significant production, which will be developed and pitched to industry professionals. The finished piece will be shown at animation festivals as well as our graduation showcase.

Core Units
Animation Development

In this unit you will develop an idea or concept for a major animated project which will be pitched to a panel of industry professionals. If the pitch is successful, you will work on developing that idea to a full pre-production package including design, research and animation tests. This unit provides the opportunity for you to research and develop an idea or concept for a professional, substantial, industry standard animated work. You will be encouraged to work collaboratively to maximise your own individual talents, and is designed to reflect current industry practice in animation production.

Major Animation

This major double unit allows you to consolidate the skills and knowledge accumulated throughout the course to produce a major animation. You will work on a project as a key member of the production team, whether that is as an art director, director, lead animator, technical director, modeller, or any one of the many roles that makes up an animation team and by the end of the unit, you will have a major credit on at least one full production for your final portfolio. The completed productions will be screened or exhibited as part of the summer show, and as part of an online channel in order to promote you to potential employers. In this unit we will also help you maximise your employment potential by giving you the tools needed to showcase your talents through our excellent professional networks and your own website.

Likely Optional Units
Contextualising Practice 3
Programme of research and critical analysis of cultural and professional issues related to a student's individual practice interests.
Contextualising Practice with a Language 3
Programme of research and critical analysis of cultural and professional issues related to a your individual practice interests. A negotiated project focused around an individually defined area appropriate to your aims and ambitions.

Programme Review

Each programme of study that we offer undergoes an annual review to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. In addition, we undertake a major review of the programme, normally at 6-yearly intervals, but this can take place at a more frequent interval where required. Applicants should note that the programme currently provided may be subject to change as a result of the review process. We only make changes where we consider it necessary to do so or where we feel that certain changes are in the best interests of students and to enhance the quality of provision. Occasionally, we have to make changes for reasons outside our control. Where there are changes which may materially affect the current programme content and/or structure, offer holders will be informed.

Assessment Weightings and Contact Hours

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A 3 year degree qualification typically comprises 360 credits (120 credits per year). The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be:

  • Year 1 30% lectures, seminars or similar; 70% independent study
  • Year 2 30% lectures, seminars or similar; 70% independent study
  • Year 3 15% lectures, seminars or similar; 85% independent study
  • Year 1 100% coursework
  • Year 2 100% coursework
  • Year 3 90% coursework; 10% practical

Teaching Staff

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject. Details of departmental staff can be found at:

Typical entry requirements

These typical entry requirements apply to the 2017 academic year of entry and may be subject to change for the 2018 academic year. Please check back for further details.

We will interview you as part of your application.

We will ask for a portfolio of your work as part of your application.

UCAS Tariff points/Grades required


112 at A2 or equivalent (which can include Foundation Diploma in Art & Design) . A Level General Studies is not accepted.

Specific GCSE requirements

GCSE English Language at grade C or grade 4. Equivalent qualifications (eg. Functional Skills) may be considered

Non Tariffed Qualifications

Pass Access to HE Diploma in a relevant subject with a minimum 112 UCAS Tariff Points

International Baccalaureate points


IELTS score required for international students

6.0. with no element below 5.5

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

Your career prospects after the course

The recent move of the BBC and ITV children’s departments to MediaCityUK has enhanced an already strong children’s media ecosystem.

Skilled talent in animation is necessary not only for the high-profile children’s animation programming, but also for the myriad of agencies that produce high-end animated content for gaming, marketing/advertising, e-learning, publishing, visual effects, augmented reality, architectural visualisation, app development, prototyping, etc.

There is an ever-growing demand in Manchester for this type of talent, which makes MMU’s focus on future animation so timely and exciting.

Graduates will be able to use their skills to work all over the world in what is a truly global industry.

Animation graduates from the UK are often invited to work in Canada and the US, South America, Asia (specifically Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, and Hong Kong), Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Ireland, France, Scandinavia and increasingly, China.


In 2014, over 94% of our graduates went directly into work or further study within 6 months of graduation

DHLE survey 2014, for all respondents available for employment or further study and whose destinations are known

How do I apply for this course?

Applications through UCAS

Remember to use the correct institution code for Manchester Metropolitan University on your application: our institution code is M40

Unistats Information

Find out more about Unistats and the Key Information Set.

Find out more about Unistats and the Key Information Set.

Confirmation of Regulator

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is the principal regulator for the University.

Important Notice

This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate and up to date. Please note that our programmes are subject to review and development on an ongoing basis. Changes may sometimes be necessary. For example, to comply with the requirements of professional or accrediting bodies or as a result of student feedback or external examiners’ reports. We also need to ensure that our courses are dynamic and current and that the content and structure maintain academic standards and enhance the quality of the student experience.

Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us.

The provision of education by the University is subject to terms and conditions of enrollment and contract. The current Terms and Conditions Applicable to the provision of the University’s Educational Services are available online. When a student enrolls with us, their study and registration at the University will be governed by various regulations, policies and procedures. It is important that applicants/students familiarize themselves with our Terms and Conditions and the Key Contract Documents referred to within. Applicants will be provided with access to an up to date version at offer stage. This can be found within the Information for Offer Holders document.

Undergraduate Study