Explore your visual creativity and learn industry-standard skills on our exciting BA (Hons) Film and Animation degree.
Our rigorous and comprehensive programme gives you the freedom to experiment and negotiate your own direction, which could be traditional filmmaking, 3D animation, stop motion, artists moving image or projection-mapped installations.
You will be equipped with the practical, creative and intellectual skills to succeed in employment, practice or further study. Film and animation graduates regularly win prestigious awards, including over a dozen Royal Television Society awards, and have been screened at film festivals across the world.
On the Film and Animation course, you will learn a unique blend of practical skills and creative thinking, backed up by the theoretical knowledge that enables you to define yourself as a creative practitioner equipped to work at the vanguard of your field.
We embrace traditional crafts such as drawing, print making, cinema-photography and screenwriting, while also exploring new media technologies supported throughout by a highly committed team of expert teaching staff from a variety of specialist areas. You will study in a bespoke environment with traditional and digital facilities, which include MILO motion capture technology.
This programme has a rigorous and comprehensive spine which nevertheless allows you the freedom to experiment and negotiate your own direction, whether this be traditional filmmaking, 3D animation, stop motion, artists moving image or projection mapped instillation.
Take the opportunity to engage with industry partners and the creative community, including a major collaboration with the Flatpack Film Festival. Past industry/student partnerships include Bechtel and Second Home Studios.
“Birmingham City University helped me grow tremendously as a creative, developing the skills that I lacked and honing those that I already had. I've since been able to work with high-profile clients and develop my own unique personal projects.” Will Marler
* Please note this course has changed name for 2017/18. The KIS data below relates to the previous course title.
Visit our School site for more student work and extra information about how we're transforming the futures of creative practitioners.
Our students have gone on to work at companies such as:
And to work in jobs such as:
We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
In addition to qualifications, applicants will also need a good portfolio.
112 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels
|UK Qualification||Requirements 2017/18|
|GCE A Level/ AS Level||BBC at A Level or 112 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels|
|Access to Higher Education Diploma||Pass overall with 60 credits, 45 at Level 3 and 15 at Level 2. Must be in a relevant subject pathway|
|BTEC National Diploma (12-units not including early years)||D*D* or combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 112 UCAS points|
|BTEC Extended Diploma (18-units not including early years)||DMM - 112 UCAS points|
|BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ National Award (6-units not including early years)||D* or combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 112 UCAS points|
|BTEC Diploma in Foundation Studies in Art and Design||Distinction|
|International Baccalaureate Diploma||14 points overall|
|Irish Leaving Certificate||112 UCAS points - Higher Levels|
|Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher||112 UCAS points|
|Welsh Baccalaureate (core plus options)||Grade Pass plus grades CC at A-Level (or equivalent qualifications) to achieve a minimum total of 112 UCAS points|
|If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.
Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.
|EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications||Requirements 2017/18|
|IELTS||6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands|
|International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).||14 points overall
Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.
International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).
If you're considering applying for this course to start in September 2017 onwards, it's important to know that the UCAS tariff system is changing.
UCAS tariff points – the points system most universities use to compare different qualifications – will be introducing a new system on how points are calculated.
From A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels
|BA (Hons)||Sep 2017||FT||3 years||£9,250 per year||Apply via UCAS|
|BA (Hons)||Sep 2017||FT||3 years||£12,000 per year|
If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.
The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.
UK and EU students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.
There are three ways to apply:
You will need to complete our International Application Form and submit it together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.
Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.
If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).
You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office. You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.
Your portfolio might be viewed when you are not present, therefore make sure it is easy to use - think of it like a book. Your name and a title on the outside will be useful - this also helps distinguish the front from the back!
Include relevant work related to the subject area of interest. Know about the course you are applying for. Show ideas generation, experimentation and risk taking. Within your portfolio, are you able to demonstrate knowledge of the subject discipline, practitioners and individuals that have inspired you?
Think about the basics
Show examples of paintings, drawings, photographs, three-dimensional work, time-based work and anything else relevant to the area of practice.
Tell a story
Try to show one full project from start to finish with the preparatory drawings included. Annotations are helpful as they show how you research and reflect on the development of your work.
The finished article
Include three to four final pieces that you are able to talk about. This might include 3D models rather than photographs.
Include sketchbooks. This will give us an understanding of how you think (through your annotations) and allow us to see the development of your drawing (if the portfolio is digital, photograph or scan some of the best pages).
Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.
Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:
Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?
If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.
Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.
Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.
eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.
You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.
Get more information on writing personal statements.
Your spending will vary, depending on the scale and ambition of your productions and your resourcefulness. As an example, one student recently spent £500 producing their final year project. However, the University, through provision of equipment, facilities and technical expertise, made a contribution in kind to a value of over £100,000.
Everything you need to complete the course is provided by the University and the Hires & Loans Department within the School of Art, Design and Media.
All books needed while studying the course are available in the University library or our digital library, but a number of our students prefer to buy their own books and these cost may vary.
Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.
We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.
You will be introduced to a range of technical processes that include training in industry-standard software and the use of a variety of cameras, lighting rigs, grip equipment and other tools of the trade. You will work both in groups and individually to achieve a solid foundation in the basics of bringing your creative ideas to life. You will be encouraged to experiment, to challenge and to explore film and animation’s applications in both the commercial and artistic sphere.
You will be encouraged to develop and communicate ideas through exploration, production and analysis, to produce work to a professional level. Your modules will cover the processes of production within film and animation, exploring meaning making and defining practice.
Introduction to Visual Communication
This module introduces the universal principles and theories of visual communication. The aim of the module is not only to introduce you to the principles within your own chosen subject area, but also to provide opportunities to take workshops in all subject areas, seek advice from experts in other disciplines and work collaboratively with students from all Visual Communication subject areas.
Principles of Film and Animation
Contemporary film and animation practice is the one of the most exciting hybrid areas of creative potential, rapidly developing and evolving through numerous breakthroughs in technology. This module will help you to understand the importance of working with different, but related, disciplines and mediums, equipment and software, alongside innovative and creative thinking.
Practice of Film and Animation
Many great filmmakers utilise their skills and innovative ideas in diverse fields such as commercials, pop music promos and feature films. Collaboration, negotiation and individual contributions within a group are key skills in industry. This module challenges you to create a piece of work that is worthy of exhibition by combining your talents, skills and hard work as part of a dynamic and focused team.
Building on the key principles articulated in the three modules in your first semester, this complementary, contextual studies module will explore seminal design movements and practitioners of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It will provide you with a broad contextual framework that will underpin your design practice, both at university and in the future.
You will have the opportunity to select one of five option modules offered across the school: People and Identity, Sound and Movement, Space and Place, Text and Image, Time and Sequence. Thematic in their approach they are intended to offer you multiple approaches to the diverse practice of Visual Communication.
Enterprise of Film and Animation
This module will challenge your perception of what film & and animation can be. You are encouraged to explore, experiment and redefine what your practice has the potential to become and how your audience will experience your work. This project encourages students you to bypass the traditional gatekeepers of industry and identify specific spaces, events or moments in time suitable for intervention, enhancement or collaboration.
In your second year, we introduce you to industrial methods of production. You work on collaborative projects with students from other courses to produce a film that challenges your skills and creativity, and makes full use of the industry-standard facilities we offer. This project acts as a catalyst for your ambitions, continuing your transformation as a practitioner.
Context of Film and Animation
This module will encourage and provide the framework for highly creative experimentation and understanding of your audience. This is the beginning of your trajectory into the outside world, a chance for you to engage with the discourse germane to your practice and consider how you will contribute to the canon and also increase your attractiveness to employers, commissioners and partners.
This flexible module allows you to identify direction within your own practice and future aspirations. Students undertake approaches that will help define their area of practice, which is personalised to their own interests. The structure of this module encourages the development of a more focused, in depth and advanced study through the use of self-directed projects.
This module provides an opportunity for you to apply your knowledge and skills to an external, professional brief. The brief will be set by an external client/ agency, in consultation with your supervisor, and it could be a ‘real life’ problem to be solved, or a simulation. It is an opportunity for you to engage in a professional manner with an aspect of your subject area, which contributes to the development of employability skills.
Collaboration is a vital employability skill within the creative industries and this module allows you to develop these skills, making use of University facilities and with the support of academic staff. Within this module framework you are able to create an interdisciplinary project with students from complementary disciplines across the School and wider Faculty.
In your second year you will have the opportunity to replace 20 credits of study with the following module:
The purpose of this module is to enable you to develop professional attributes and subject skills through experience in the workplace, and to critically reflect upon your learning in that context. You will normally be expected to arrange your own placement, with support from academic staff and BCU Careers.
Critical Practice provides the opportunity to adopt an increasingly autonomous commitment to your individually chosen direction. These directions are established with guidance and academic rigour through individual tutorials, guest professionals, workshops, group discussion and peer participation. It creates an environment where passion and dedication to creative activity can flourish. In this, the qualities of imagination and invention carry a high premium.
The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and theoretically informed research project. It is a culmination of your three years of study and should be a personal inquiry, of a professional standard and a celebration of you as a work ready practitioner.
All modules on your course contain a practical final outcome, whether it is a film, an installation or an animation.
Throughout your time with us you will be supported by dedicated, passionate teachers who provide a wealth of experience and expertise. In your third and final year, the focus will be on developing projects that will show your potential to the world.
We want you to graduate from the university with concrete, tangible achievements. This might be in the form of writing and directing a film that plays in festivals, the experience of managing and curating events or the demonstration of your leadership skills through designing and implementing workshops in the community.
The number of contact hours with lecturers varies depending on the type of activity, the module and the year group. The figures below show a weekly average but these will fluctuate throughout the year.
Scheduled Contact Hours:
These studio contact sessions usually consist of lectures, tutorials, workshops seminars and group activities in numerous combinations. Additional to these scheduled hours you will be expected to undertake guided independent learning. Using the facilities within the faculty and beyond to further develop your individual projects.
The school offers a suite of optional technical workshops including printmaking, studio lighting and a wide range of software packages.
Images: Amritpal Sembhi / Tom Armstrong
|27||Time in lectures, seminars and similar||MidnightBlue|
|73||Time in independent study||RoyalBlue|
The School has great associations with many industry bodies and professional associations. We are members of the Association of Courses in Theatre Design, Association of Photographers, Association of Illustrators, D&AD (the professional association of designers and advertising), The Society of British Theatre Designers, The Association of Photographers in Higher Education, and the Royal Society of Arts.
Jan Julian Rospond may hold the honour of being the only undergraduate to ever make a 3D stop-motion film. Jan made great use of the facilities offered at Birmingham City University to produce an RTS award winner that has taken him around the world, as ‘The Curse Of The Werewolf’ plays at international film festivals and continues to garner attention as an outstanding piece of work.
The film has won a variety of awards including Royal Television Society 2015 for best student animation and Transylvania Shorts, Romania. The short has also been selected for numerous festivals around the globe, such as; Official selection Taos Shortz Film Fest, USA, Official selection Flatpack Film Festival, Birmingham, UK, Special screening at Grand Opening of O!PLA, Poland, Official selection Phoenix Film Festival Melbourne, Australia and many more.
You can see a trailer of the film here:
Valentin Dumez is from France and studied Film and Animation at Birmingham City University as part of the Erasmus programme. During her time at the University, Valentin made an extraordinary film that was screened at the highly prestigious Annercy Festival in 2015
You can see a trailer for her film here:
As graduating students you will follow your own career path, which may mean going straight into industry. However, many students look at the opportunities we offer for postgraduate study at the University.
The School runs a one-year MA Visual Communication course as a natural progression from its undergraduate courses. You will be encouraged to continue your journey with us and develop your practice further.
'Old Lady Digbeth'*, a film by students Luisa Geffert and Tamara Hardwidge, won the 'Highly Commended' prize at the 2013 Picturing Time competition, earning themselves a £250 prize and an exhibition of their film at the prestigious Sotheby's Gallery in London.
*This video contains language that some visitors may find offensive.
William Marler created 'Hands on Your Identity' (using Adobe Creative Cloud software) to tell the story of identity theft.
The piece helps people understand what this type of crime is, what can happen if you are a victim of identity theft and how to guard against it.
William said: "Animation to me is only a way of telling a story. It's not the animation that counts, it's the story behind it and that's the most important thing."
Business Development Manager for Primeworks Studios
Currently I am the Business Development Manager for Primeworks Studios in Malaysia. My department is called Content and Industry Development. Here we develop TV shows, primarily for terrestrial channels, for the company I work for, Media Prima.
Visual Communications helped me see things in a different perspective. I had the ability to assess why certain TV shows worked for certain demographics by analysing its production quality and content. I’m happy to say that I’ve always been able to apply what I’ve learned in Visual Communications to a lot of my work – from producing TV shows to developing concepts and events. I would say Visual Communications was the most relevant course I could have taken, as it helped me move with the times better.
When you come onto the course you will be offered opportunities to go on group excursions both in the UK and abroad. There are usually three overseas trips a year, which we offer both at subject level, as well as School level, to Venice, New York and Berlin.
Locations do alter each year to allow for students to experience a range of cities. We always put on UK study trips to places such as London, Manchester, Oxford and Liverpool. Where possible, UK trips are free or heavily subsidised.
As a Visual Communication student, you’ll be encouraged to take advantage of these trips as we see them as adding extra value to your course and they do offer additional research opportunities.
Throughout the course you will discover and refine a portfolio of practice which best suits your motivations and aspirations. Through this you will develop as a creative individual, equipped not only for a career in film and animation, but with the transferable skills to benefit a whole range of professional contexts.
This degree is designed to enhance your skills and aptitude, preparing you for a career in a landscape that is continuously changing. You will be able to develop specialist knowledge and understanding within your chosen area of practice, allowing you to better locate yourself within your choice of career.
As a creative practitioner and graduate of this course you will be able to generate a range of potential ideas and visual developments. You will have the ability to produce creative work that demonstrates sound judgements in accordance to the theories and concepts of visual communication subjects, responding to the demands of industry.
You will develop an in-depth understanding of the relationship between theory and practice through research, allowing you to create meaningful, well-informed work and preparing you to take on further study. You will gain an understanding of the underlying concepts and established principles that govern creative practice.
Alongside this you will develop a range of working strategies, methods and materials, learning how to apply these to production. You will also discover, and respond to, the influence of audiences, clients, markets and other participants in relation to visual communication practice.
Students on the Film and Animation course have enhanced their learning through internships and work on live projects, such as working on RTS award-nominated films for local companies like Second Home Studios and Yanimation Studios, working on films for the Brit Awards, interning at Raindance Film Festival in London and many others. We encourage you throughout your study to see yourselves as part of the creative industries taking on increasingly responsible roles and building up your CV so you have a head start in the job market.
Swipeside festival is incorporated into your studies. Swipeside festival is curated and organised by students in partnership with Flatpack Festival, an internationally recognised and established event that takes place across the city. The Swipeside programme of screenings, workshops and events takes place at our Parkside Building, located on our City Centre Campus. It is curated and organised by students, and features both emerging and established filmmakers from both the region and beyond. During the festival students mentor and engage with each other across levels, subject routes and faculties.
OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.
It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.
The School of Visual Communication offers a broad education, as well as the subject-specific skills you will need to succeed in the creative industries.
We will prepare you for the eventualities you will face in such a constantly-changing industry. All modules have transferable skills built into the teaching ensuring you are able to apply your knowledge to a variety of tasks and challenges, while international components mean you will be aware of global expectations and job opportunities.
Film and Animation graduates work in a range of careers including:
Flatpack Festival has been running for over 10 years and has become an important date in the cultural calendar of the city. Our students collaborate closely with the festival as part of their course and make valuable connections with the creative community, get the opportunity to network with and learn from internationally recognised artists and gain valuable experience working on a large scale event.
Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.
Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.
Our students worked as assistants alongside lecturer Ravi Deepres and choreographer Wayne McGregor to design and direct the content for a multi screen installation with live dancers which played to nominees and attendees as the opener for the 2016 Brit Awards ceremony at London's O2 Arena.
It involved amazing costumes by fashion designer Gareth Pugh and music by Stuart Price. Student William Marler got involved and said:
"This project is the best thing I've worked on so far, being given the opportunity to assist with early experiments, taking those onto the two shoot days, editing and animating the footage and finally being invited backstage to preview the work in the venue.
"Seeing and hearing the piece in the venue was one of the most awe inspiring moments of my life, the vibrations of the sound really hit my body and made my heart race, really made me very proud.
"One of the best aspects of the project was being involved in a large creative way, not just pushing buttons but being an influence into a lot of ideas and problem solving methods. I was allowed to be on the front line as it were and have a lot of constant input."
Will Marler, a graduate in 2016, throughout his time on the course took full advantage of the opportunities offered to him. He is now working full-time as a motion graphic designer at Ember TV while also pursuing his own projects, which include a graduation film that has enjoyed success at a host of international festivals.
You can read an interview with Will and learn more about his burgeoning career here: https://embertelevision.co.uk/blog/motion-graphic-designer-will-marler/
Michael Kennedy designed the branding for the 2016 edition of Flatpack Unpacked and had his work featured in the festival. He is now working for the legendary Heavy Metal magazine as an illustrator and further developing his animation.
You can see more of his work here: www.wegrowcherries.com/profile/michael-kennedy
Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.
The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.
Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:
Students come to study in the School of Visual Communication from all over the world, but we have nurtured some long-standing relationships with Malaysia, Thailand, China and India.
If you are a student from these countries or any other you should consider studying with us as we offer a wide curriculum that has internationalization built into the modules. We actively encourage trans-disciplinary teaching, group projects and have established relationships with colleges and industry overseas.
We take a pride in developing strong creative communities and these thrive on the injection of different cultural experiences. To develop a sense of sharing all experiences and ideas is fundamental to the philosophy of visual communication.
International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.
BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.
Our students come from around the world but our visual communication course is most popular with international students from:
Our visual communication degrees are housed in the state of the art £62 million Parkside Building, part of our City Centre Campus.
We offer extensive studio and workshop space and cutting-edge equipment such as Vicon 3D (an external tracking motion capture facility) and Gypsy (an exoskeleton-based motion capture system). Both of these systems extend the possibility for production of 3D animation and films.
You will enjoy access to our Hollywood standard MILO unit. We were the first School of Visual Communication in Europe to offer MILO motion capture technology, now one of only two owned by Universities in Europe.
We offer cutting-edge provision such as digital print centres and Sonny Ross became the first student on the Visual Communication course to master the art of the RISO machine. He has since used this to produce many successful RISO publications including “Rojo & Baxter” which has been a success at various zine and book fairs across the country.
Film & Animation is taught by a passionate, dedicated team who all have industry experience at the highest level working on a wide variety of projects in a range of roles. They translate this experience to a dynamic and eclectic learning environment that encourages their students to reach the pinnacle of their potential.
Kelvin has over 14 years’ experience in animation, visualisation and education, and supports both home and international franchises in Hong Kong and Thailand, respectively. Kelvin has a keen interest toward new technologies, including CGI, projection mapping and the application of 3D printing.