Postgraduate study


Awards: Master of Fine Art

Study modes: Full-time

Funding available

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. Although there is no set limit, most students produce a piece 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 2018/19

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 Sylvain Chomet.

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

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration

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

  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 175 in each module)

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

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your degree programme. IELTS, TOEFL, Pearson Test of English and Trinity ISE must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.*

(*Revised 8/11/2018 to provide more accurate information on English language qualifications expiry dates.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

  • Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Admissions
  • College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences Postgraduate Office, The University of Edinburgh
  • David Hume Tower, George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JX

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. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

You must submit a 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 Postgraduate Admissions
  • College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences Postgraduate Office, The University of Edinburgh
  • David Hume Tower, George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JX