What are the top UK animation colleges?

Top 10 British Animation Schools and Colleges - 2023 College Rankings
1Bournemouth UniversityBournemouth
2Royal College of ArtLondon
3Escape StudiosLondon
4Teesside UniversityNorth Yorkshire
5University of HertfordshireHertfordshire
6Staffordshire UniversityStaffordshire
7Glasgow School of ArtGlasgow
8University of Edinburgh Edinburgh
9University of PortsmouthPortsmouth
10Ravensbourne University LondonLondon

Our 2023 rankings of the top animation colleges in the United Kingdom. For this ranking we only consider formal degree programs (bachelor's degree or equivalent). For an explanation of our ranking criteria, click here

1. Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, Poole, England, UK
Bournemouth University

The National Centre for Computer Animation has been at the forefront of computer graphics and animation education and research in the UK since 1989.

In 2011, the Centre was presented with the Queen’s Anniversary Award for “World-class computer animation teaching with wide scientific and creative applications” and its contribution to world-leading excellence and pioneering development in the teaching of computer animation. The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes form part of the national honours system and are the most prestigious awards in UK education.

The aim of the NCCA is to promote science in the service of the arts and to embed a theoretical underpinning within a contemporary professional setting, allowing graduates to leave BU with highly sought-after skills in the computer animation, visual effects and computer games industries.

One of just 10 institutions in the UK to achieve Houdini Certified School status by Side Effects Software, the NCCA offers courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. For students seeking a BA, the NCAA offers BA (Hons) Computer Animation & Visual Effects. The postgraduate Master’s courses enable students to specialise in MA 3D Computer Animation, MA Digital Effects, MSc Computer Animation & Visual Effects and MSc Artificial Intelligence for Media.

All students learn and create in a professional studio environment with industry standard facilities that include a green screen studio, animation labs, a motion capture studio, and a full suite of industry standard 2D and 3D Software such as Maya and Houdini.

Other features include a collaborative environment; guest speakers; a Group Project with students from all BU NCAA graduate programs; and the Master’s Project, with set production time to create a professional, original project that will be presented at the Degree Show for major industry recruiters.

Graduates have work on films and games for major studios such as Pixar, EA Games, DreamWorks, and Sony Picture Imageworks. Examples include Grand Theft Auto, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Crysis 2, Happy FeetMonsters vs Aliens, the Harry Potter series, King Kong, and Fable II, Solo: A Star Wars StoryThe AvengersFantastic Beasts: The Crimes of GrindelwaldBlade Runner 2049, and Dunkirk.

A major component of the Animation Programs at Bournemouth University is participation in the Annual BFX Festival, one of the largest Animation, Games, and Visual Effects (VFX) festivals in the UK. This international event features networking opportunities with artists from all areas of entertainment, competitions, talks and panels, and masterclasses led by experts in the industry.

Bournemouth University dates back to the 1970s, when Bournemouth College of Technology was created. By 1976, the school had changed its name to Dorset Institute of Higher Education, and again in 1992 to Bournemouth Polytechnic. Within just two months, the school became Bournemouth University. Today, BU provides nearly 140 undergraduate degrees and more than 100 Master's degrees to more than 19,000 students.

2. Royal College of Art, London, England, UK
Royal College of Art

Royal College of Art (RCA) is home to the School of Communication, which houses the Animation MA Program. In existence for more than 30 years, this multidisciplinary program allows students to explore Animation, Games, Film, Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR), Theater, Media, Literature, STEM Disciplines, and more. Other program features include visiting artists and professionals; multidisciplinary elective options; workshops; and experiential learning opportunities such as field trips to animation studios, museums, exhibitions, and archives.

In a hands-on, collaborative environment, RCA Animation MA students will spend the first term in the Animation Forms, Methods & Contexts course, which explores Animation Moving Image practices. In the second term students will work with peers across Royal College of Art as part of the school’s Making Worlds with Others course. In addition, students will complete the Critical Non-Fiction and Experimental-Expanded Practices course. Term two ends with the development of a Project Proposal and Production Plan for the Final Independent Research Project.

The Animation MA Program at Royal College of Art culminates with the Independent Research Project in collaboration with academic and technical staff. This final project will be presented to the Examination Board.

Established in 1837 as the Government School of Design, Royal College of Art is the only entirely postgraduate institution of university status offering degrees in Art, Design, Communications, and Humanities. Programs at RCA are housed in the Schools of Design, Arts & Humanities, Communication, and Architecture. Serving 2,300 students, Royal College of Art is an exempt charity regulated by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

3. Escape Studios, London, England
Escape Studios

Escape Studios is the first Unreal Authorized Training Center in the UK and an Unreal Engine Academic Partner. Also a Houdini Certified School, Escape Studios provides Animation, Games, and Visual Effects (VFX), and Motion Graphics Programs that have been developed in partnership with (and kept current by) major companies and studios such as PlayStation London, Jellyfish Pictures, Framestore, DNEG, MPC Film, Mikros Animation, and Cinesite. Students in all programs have opportunities to network with these major industry partners.

Other Escape Studios features include intensive training sessions on industry-professional software such as Maya and Toon Boom Harmony; access to state-of-the-art studios and equipment; instructors who have worked with DreamWorks, Warner Bros., Fox, and Disney; and internships and study abroad opportunities. Students also have the opportunity to participate in the Annual VFX Festival hosted by Escape Studios.

Escape Studios has 13 paths to study Animation. For students seeking a shorter program, the school has eight-, 10-, 12-, 18- and 20-week options in everything from Character and Creature Creation to 3D Animation. Degree-seekers have five options including the BA (Hons)/MArt The Art of Computer Animation (3D); BA (Hons)/MArt The Art of Computer Animation (2D); BSc (Hons)/MCsi Character Creation for Animation, Games & VFX; MA 3D Animation; and MA Character & Creature Creation.

Students at Escape Studios will learn in classrooms that look and feel like real animation studios. They will also have the opportunity to master all areas of the Animation production pipeline. Graduates are prepared to work in all areas of Film and Animation as well as Game Art, game Design, and more.

Escape Studios graduates have worked on productions such as Harry Potter, Star Wars, Avengers, Captain America: Civil War, Ex Machina, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Gravity, Interstellar, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and The Jungle Book. PCL alumni have also worked on award-wining advertising campaigns as well as games such as Assassin’s Creed, Forza Horizon, and Unchartered 2. Many program alumni go on to launch their own studios or freelance businesses.

Escape Studios was established in 2002. To date, the school has produced 4,000 alumni known as “Escapees.” Escape Studios graduates have won 377 awards (and been nominated for 23), they have , 65 honorable mentions to their credit, and 155 students have been finalists. Escape Studios provides seven BA and BSc programs, five MA options, and 24 short programs.

4. Teesside University, Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, England
Teesside University

Teesside University is the first Adobe Creative Campus in Europe. The school also provides a number ScreenSkills-recognized Animation Programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Housed in the School of Computing, Engineering & Digital Technologies, program options include BA and MA Degrees in Animation and 2D Animation and Stop Motion. All programs provide an optional Foundation or work placement year.

The Animation BA Program has two specialization areas including Real-Time Games Animation and Motion Capture, and Character Animation for Film and Television. 2D Animation and Stop Motion students will explore the Animation pre-production and production pipelines, as cinematography, character design, and set building. The Animation MA places a strong focus on 3D character animation, while the 2D Animation and Stop Motion MA prepares students to create a short animated film and pitch it to industry professionals and investors.

Students in all Animation Programs at Teesside University have access to state-of-the-art engineering and production facilities; instructors who are leaders in the film, television, and animation industries; and networking opportunities with industry professionals through Animex—Teesside’s International Festival of Animation and Computer Games. Animex attracts professionals from Disney, Sony, Pixar, and Rockstar Game.

Other program features include participation in ExpoTees—Teesside’s Annual Exposition of final year student works; and strategic partnerships major studios and companies such as Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Double Eleven, Ubisoft, Animmersion, and Creative Assembly.

The Animation Programs at Teesside University culminate with a film sequence or short film. Across programs, graduates have gone on to work for ILM, Animal Logic, Rockstar North, Imaginarium, and Blue Zoo. Program alumni have also worked on films and AAA games such as Red Dead Redemption 2, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and Spider-Man: Far From Home.

Teesside University was founded as Constantine Technical College in 1930. The school serves more than 21,000 students enrolled in dozens of programs across five schools including Arts & Creative Industries; Computing, Engineering & Digital Technologies; Health & Life Sciences; Social Sciences, Humanities & Law; and Teesside University International Business School.

5. University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield – Hertfordshire, UK
University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield

University of Hertfordshire (UH) houses the School of Creative Arts, which has BA Degrees in 2D Digital Animation and 3D Animation & Visual Effects (VFX). At the graduate level, UH School of Creative Arts has an Animation MA that emphasizes multidisciplinary studies, research, and project-based work. Students in this program will actively participate in lectures, seminars, workshops, work placements, and a study abroad year. Other Animation MA Program features include the opportunity to complete a simulated brief in collaboration with program alumni and organizations such as Promise and National Poetry Day.

The 2D Digital Animation and 3D Animation & VFX BA Program provides opportunities to complete several projects, including a final film project to be screened at the School of Creative Arts Animation Exposé. BA students will also complete a number of simulated real-world briefs as well as a portfolio of their best work. Internships and study abroad experiences at partner universities in throughout Europe, and in Australia, South America, Africa, Canada, and Asia are also part of the Program.

University of Hertfordshire graduates enjoy a 96.5% employment rate. School of Creative Arts alumni have won Emmy’s BAFTAs, and Oscars for their work on productions such as Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Avatar, The Chronicles of Narnia, Gravity, The Jungle Book, Inception, Star Wars, and The Lion King. Graduates of the Animation Programs at University of Hertfordshire have been recruited by major studios such as Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Blue Zoo, and Creative Assembly.

University of Hertfordshire (UH) was founded in 1952 as a Technical College with an emphasis on Mechanical Engineering, Aeronautical Engineering, and the Natural Sciences. Back then, the school was known as Hatfield Technical College and it was home to 1,500 students. Today, UH serves 32,000 students enrolled in more than 550 programs across two campuses and eight Schools of Study.

6. Staffordshire University, Staffordshire and London, England, UK
Staffordshire University

The School of Digital, Technologies and Arts at Staffordshire University (Stafford) is an Unreal Authorized Training Center. The school provides transdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate programs in the Creative Arts and Digital Technologies. Students in all Stafford DTA Programs benefit from hands-on experience in state-of-the-art labs and digital, stop motion, and animation studios at the Stoke and London campuses; visiting speakers; lecture and workshops; apprenticeships; and educational visits.

All School of Digital, Technologies and Arts students also have opportunities to showcase their work each year at both public and industry events such as the Degree Show, GradEX, and New Designers.

For students seeking a degree in Animation, the School of Digital, Technologies and Arts at Stafford University has BA and MA options. The Animation BA is a three-year program that focuses on Character Animation and Career Development. Students may specialize in an area of Animation such as 3D Digital, 2D Digital, Computer Games or Stop Motion. Course examples include 2D and 3D Digital, Drawing for Animation, Pitch. Present. Collaborate., Animation in the Context of Timeline, Anatomy of Animation, and Drawing for Animation: Imaginative Realism, and Game Animation.

Other program features include participation in public screening events, international excursions, and UK Animation Festival trips.

The Animation BA at Staffordshire University culminates with the production of a professional showreel and body of work that supports the students career goals. In the final year of the program, students will have the opportunity to present their work to a panel of industry leaders as part of Industry Portfolio Week.

Stafford Animation BA graduates have gone on to work for studios such as Brown Bag Films, DNEG, Aardman, Cinesite, , Boulder Media Animation, and Carse & Waterman. Program alumni have worked on projects such as Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, the CiTV series Go-Jetters, and Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires.

The Animation MA at Staffordshire University is a full-time, 13-month program that allows students to customize the degree to fit their career goals. The program begins with Animation Cultures and Critiques, where students explore storytelling, animation design and technologies, and experimental techniques. Students will move on to Animation Industries and Ecosystems, which consists of guest lecturers, industry professionals, networking, and practical skills development. In Animation Production Proofs and Solutions students will work with a supervisor to tailor the program.

In the final phase of the program, students will participate ion Animation Production Consolidation. Over two modules, students will have the opportunity to complete a short film or showreel to be showcased to live audiences for critique.

Graduates of the Animation MA Program have landed positions at DNEG, Boulder Media, Cinesite, and Brown Bag Films.

Staffordshire University opened as a polytechnic institute in 1914. The school was officially given university status on June 16, 1992. Serving thousands of students around the world, Stafford Houses three academic schools (Digital, Technologies and Arts; Health, Science and Wellbeing; and Justice, Security and Sustainability), the Institute of Education, and Staffordshire University London.

7. Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Glasgow School of Art

The School of Simulation and Visualization (SimVis) at Glasgow School of Art (GSA) has several paths to study Animation. At the undergraduate level, SimVis GSA has a BSc in Immersive Systems Design and a BDes in Sound for the  Moving Image.

Supported through investments and relationships with companies such as Amazon, Sony, and Microsoft, the BSc Program allows students to specialize in 3D Modeling, which explores 3D Modeling for Animation, Digital Games, and Visual Effects (VFX). Courses for the program are taught by Unity Certified instructors.

Other program features include access to the Hub at Pacific Quay, which houses state-of-the-art production and sound studios; internship and study abroad opportunities; and portfolio development services.

Graduates of the Immersive Systems Design Program at Glasgow School of Art are prepared to pursue positions such as Animator, Character Animator, 3D Modeler for Film and Games, Asset Artist, VFX Artist, Environment Artist, Look Development Artist, and Texture Artist.

Launched in 2018, the BDes in Sound for the Moving Image at Glasgow School of Art is a two-year program that explores sound for Animation, Film and Television, Games, Visual Art, and New Media. Students will have opportunities to collaborate across SimVis and GSA programs to create Animated Films, Games, Television Productions, Installations, and more.

Upon completion of the BDes Program, students will have a professional portfolio of their best work. The portfolio will be presented at the Graduate Showcase.

Graduates of the Sound for the Moving Image BDEs at Glasgow School of Art have gone on to establish careers in Animation, Film and Television, Game Design and Development, and Audio-Visual Arts.    

Founded in 1845 as one of the first Government Schools of Design, Glasgow School of Art provides education and research in the Visual Creative disciplines. The school serves more than 2,000 students enrolled in over 50 programs leading to an undergraduate, graduate or PhD degree. Glasgow School of Art is approved by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) and the Scottish Further & Higher Education Council (SFC). All degree programs are also validated by the University of Glasgow (est. 1451).

8. University of Edinburgh - Edinburgh College of Art, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
University of Edinburgh

University of Edinburgh is home to Edinburgh College of Art (ECA), which houses five schools: Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA), the School of Art, School of Design, Reid School of Music, and History of Art. Within ECA’s School of Design is an Animation Program that leads to a BA. Students in this program will have the opportunity to work alongside peers who develop games or apps, make films, and produce music videos. While teamwork is emphasized, Animation students will have plenty of opportunities to work solo.

Other program features include small class sizes; access to state-of-the-art facilities and equipment such as CGI Labs, rostrum cameras, and stop frame studios; individual workspaces; technical workshops; and the opportunity to interact with visiting Animators who are leaders in the industry.

During the final year of the Animation BA Program at Edinburgh College of Art, students will complete am individual film project or a film as part of a team. ECA Animation graduates have gone on to launch careers at Animation, Film, and Game Studios such as Aardman, Framestore, MPC Film, Rockstar North, and Rushes.

ECA Animation alumni have also worked for Directors such as Tim Burton. Many have also launched their own studios or work as independent filmmakers.

Edinburgh College of Art is one of 21 schools housed across University of Edinburgh’s three colleges including Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences; Medicine & Veterinary Medicine; and Science & Engineering. University of Edinburgh was established in 1583, while ECA dates back to 1760 when it was founded as the Trustees Drawing Academy of Edinburgh. This was the first public School of Art in Britain. The school became Edinburgh College of Art in 1906, and merged with University of Edinburgh in 2011.

9. University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, England, UK
University of Portsmouth

University of Portsmouth (UOP) has several paths to study Animation. At the undergraduate level, students can earn a BA in Animation or a BSc in Computer Animation and Visual Effects. At the graduate level UOP has a Computer Animation MSc for students seeking high-level positions in the field.

Accredited by Joint Audio Media Education Services (JANES), the Animation BA at University of Portsmouth consists of 120 credit hours of study including lectures, seminars, one-on-one tutorials, and workshops. Courses for this program are taught by professionals who have worked for Framestore, Disney, Weta, Sony, Warner Bros., and the BBC, among others.

BA students will complete a number of projects, employment preparation courses, and a paid or unpaid internship. The Animation BA Program culminates with a dissertation, showreel, and portfolio. Final year-end work for the program will be presented at UOP’s Annual Graduate Shows.

The Animation BA Program at University of Portsmouth can be completed in just three years, full-time. Approximately 90% of Animation BA graduates are working or pursuing an advanced degree within 15 months of graduating. Program alumni work at places such as Framestore, Sony Pictures Animation, Cartoon Network, Climax, Kuju Games, and Centroid 3D in Pinewood Studios.

Program alumni have worked on productions such as Avatar, The Amazing World of Gumball, Life of Pi, and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. 

Also JAMES- and Houdini Certified School-accredited, the Computer Animation and Visual Effects BSc explores 3D Animation, Compositing, Physics-Based Simulation, and Concept Drawing, as well as industry-standard software such as Autodesk 3ds Max, Houdini, Maya, NukeX, and ZBrush. Course examples include Modeling for Animation and VFX, Designing for Animation, Motion Capture Applications, Create Worlds, and Advanced Creature FX and Rigging.

Program features include courses taught by active professionals in the Animation and VFX industries; guest speakers, lectures, and seminars; access to motion capture facilities and the VR Lab; participation in Game Jam Portsmouth; workshops and supervised studio sessions; and sponsored prizes for the Final Graduation Project. Students may also participate in the UOP Internship Program. Past placements include Framestore, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Moving Picture Company (MPC), and Procter & Gamble.

Graduates of the Computer Animation and Visual Effects at University of Portsmouth work in areas such as 3D Animation, VFX for Television and Film, and Game Art and Design. Program alumni have worked with ILM, Framestore, MPC, Milk VFX, and DNEG.

The Computer Animation MSc at University of Portsmouth is a 180 credit hour program that provides the opportunity to specialize in specific areas of Animation. Modules for the program are 30-60 credits and include titles such as Project Context and Definition (30 credits), Project Design and Development (60 credits), and Project Evaluation and Resolution (60 credits). MSc teaching staff are professionals in the industry who have worked on productions such as Lord of the Rings, Hellboy, Guardians of the Galaxy, Harry Potter, and Exodus: Gods and Kings.

Other program features include intensive and advanced training in industry-standard software such as Maya, Houdini, Nuke, Substance Painter, and Substance Designer; benefits associated with UOP’s relationship with local VFX company Dark Cosmos Creative; participation in industry talks; access to clubs and workshops such as ZBrush Sculpt Club, Film/Animation Nights, and Character Animation Workshop. MSc student will also have the opportunity to attend career and networking events that attract a large number of potential employers.

Graduates of the MSc Program at University of Portsmouth have gone on to establish careers at places such as ILM. Program alumni are Art Directors, Concept Artists, Creative Directors, FX Artists, Animators, and Freelance Artists.

Established in 1908 as a school for chemistry and engineering, University of Portsmouth was one of the largest polytechnic schools in the UK before gaining university status in 1992. Today, the school serves 31,000 students enrolled in programs across just about every discipline. Of the 31,000 students attending University of Portsmouth, 5,700 represent 150 countries around the world.

10. Ravensbourne University London, London England
Ravensbourne University

Ravensbourne University London (Ravensbourne) has an Animation BA Program that takes three years to complete, full-time. During each year, students will explore a variety of topics across more than a dozen modules. Sampe topics include Animation Fundamentals, Visual Narrative, Human and Creature Mechanics, Character Modeling and Rigging, Contemporary Culture, Big Ideas and Philosophies, and the Animation Industry.

Modules may include Animation Fundamentals, Animation Character Mechanics, Animation Narrative 1-2, Animation Character Performance, Animation Industry Exercises, Animation Industry Prep, and Animation Production. Across Modules, students will work on a variety of individual and group projects using industry-standard software such as Maya and the Adobe Suite.

Other program features include access to state-of-the-art production studios equipped with industry-standard software; masterclasses and workshops; work-based learning opportunities within the industry; study abroad experiences; and the opportunity to complete an industry-ready portfolio before graduating.

Since 2017, graduates of the Animation BA Program at Ravensbourne University London have enjoyed a 90%-96.4% employment rate within six months of graduation. Program alumni work in Animation, TV and Film, Games, Modeling, Corporate Films, Advertising, Publishing, App Development, and VFX Production.

Ravensbourne University London (formerly Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication) was established in in 1962 after the merger between Bromley School of Art (est. 1878), Sidcup School of Art (est. 1898), and Beckenham School of Art (est. 1908). Today. Ravensbourne serves 2,600 students enrolled in Digital Media and Design Programs at the pre-degree, undergraduate, graduate, and professional levels.