Postgraduate study

Animation Master of Fine Art

Awards: Master of Fine Art

Study modes: Full-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Animation

Animation is a fantastically diverse medium, and its possibilities are expanding continually. Animators are dealing with new platforms for delivery, new technologies for production and new audiences as the theories and contexts of animation are being developed and understood.

Animation has become an integral element of most feature production through VFX pipelines, documentary production through the use of data visualisation and improved compositing techniques, and a vital part of any interactive production.

In order to address the wide range of potential interests within the discipline of animation, our courses are non-prescriptive in terms of methodology and output and take advantage of extensive classical and digital technical resources.

A large part of your research work on the course will relate to both your chosen way of working and how to position yourself in the wider milieu of animation. You will develop an awareness of how to affect dynamic transformation and movement, whether it’s upon a product, an environment, a data set or a film narrative. You will be required to be resourceful, critical, and above all independent.

The main focus of your programme will be the production of a short animated film or an equivalent set of smaller animations. Although there is no set limit, most students produce animation with a duration of between five and 12 minutes in length. This will be part of a substantive body of practical and written work that will also be submitted for assessment.

The two year MFA allows you time to experiment, to allow possible participation in the events of the Edinburgh Festival, and importantly, to explore the new opportunities that Edinburgh offers as a location in which to base your studies.

The programme includes a combination of practical studio work, theory, written studies, professional practice preparation, and a lecture/seminar series, which explores the wider context of your discipline.

It is important to mention that our programme is not focused on a particular piece of software, or a particular technique. To this end it is vital that you have some experience of film making before you consider studying with us. We would expect this to be evident in your application portfolio.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
Master of Fine ArtAnimation21 MonthsFull-timeProgramme structure 2019/20

Our graduates find work in four main arenas: animation for cinema, broadcast and web platforms; interactive animation; compositing and visual effects; and data visualisation. Many of our graduates have gone on to careers as award winning independent filmmakers or have followed the studio route and worked with companies such as the BBC, Channel 4, Rushes, Aardman, Laika, Passion Pictures, KoLik, and Nexus Productions, or with directors such as Tim Burton and Wes Anderson.

Normally a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in animation or film.

You must submit a portfolio as part of your application. Your portfolio should:

  • contain at least one completed animated film
  • show evidence of observational drawing (drawing from life)
  • show evidence of sequential drawing (storyboards, comic strips etc)
  • show evidence of production design (character and environment designs, shot layouts etc)
  • show evidence of production planning (shooting schedules, production schedules)
  • demonstrate a broad range of animation method and technique
  • demonstrate confidence and competence with a range of software

Your personal statement should detail a proposed film project to be completed as part of your studies.

If you do not meet the academic entry requirements, we may still consider your application on the basis of your portfolio and/or relevant professional experience.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module and 6.5 in writing)

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module and 23 in writing)

  • PTE Academic: total 67 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections but 61 in Writing)

  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 176 in each module and 139 in writing)*

  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

*Revised 1 October 2019 to correct entry requirments for the CAE and CPE, to change from 175 to 176 and include 169 in writing.

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
Master of Fine ArtAnimation21 MonthsFull-timeTuition fees

Featured funding

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Edinburgh College of Art
  • College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
  • 57 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JU

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

You must submit one reference with your application.

You must submit a portfolio as part of your application. You won't be able to submit your portfolio immediately, but you'll receive an email prompt within a few days of submitting your application that will explain how to upload your portfolio. You should upload your videos to a website of your choice (eg YouTube, Vimeo etc) and add the link to the portfolio upload section of your online application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Edinburgh College of Art
  • College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
  • 57 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JU