University of Ulster 

Bachelor of Design in Animation
University of Ulster – WW26

4 year full-time course

Course Overview

Design for interaction and animation has become part of the film, television, games and interface design canon – from Jurassic Park to Avatar, Angry Birds to Call of Duty, Xbox to mobile. The field of animation and interaction has experienced unprecedented growth in recent years and it’s only getting more exciting. With new distribution methods and technologies continually coming online, your work will have many paths to reach a worldwide audience.

During the course you will study drawing, the principles of animation and interaction design, storytelling and narrative, design and the history, practice and theory of screen production. You will gain an understanding of creative and technical process using industry standard software in order to create interactive designs and computer animations.

As animation and interaction is a highly collaborative environment you will learn the principles and practices through teamwork, while developing your individual professional practice. The course enables students to enter the industry with the skills and knowledge required to create animation and interactive content for a range of exciting and rapidly evolving platforms as well as facilitating numerous opportunities for employment in a rapidly growing area at an international level.

BDes Hons Design for Interaction and Animation aims to provide students with specialist knowledge and skills necessary to develop and adapt their chosen career in the diverse creative practices associated with interactive design and animation. The course aims to contribute, through the education of its students as adaptive and resilient designers, writers and thinkers, to the local, national and international practice of design in its current and future forms

The aims of the course aims are to:

*Enable students to acquire a high degree of knowledge, understanding and experience through the practice of design interaction and animation; and to acquire high level of practical, conceptual and aesthetic skills and the critical means to integrate them in design problem-solving;

*Enable students to pursue a high level of intellectual enquiry, independence and critical awareness through academic conventions and through the creative practice of design interaction and animation;

*Offer the opportunity to work collaboratively, on live projects, industry generated initiative and competitions, in order to gain essential work based learning experience and develop the transferable skills essential to succeed in the creative and cultural industries;

*Enable students to acquire experiences, skills and knowledge appropriate to the professional contexts of design interaction and animation


Course content

Students work both collaboratively and individually in an immersive studio environment on a wide range of interaction and animation based projects. Students will have the opportunity to develop their own specialist skills or study a range of areas to develop a wider understanding of the subject.

First year provides students with the opportunity to work together on a range of projects designed to introduce them to the broad range of artistic and technical opportunities within the subject area. Creative problem solving and visual thinking are central in year one where students develop new world concepts, which become fertile ground for design thinking and creative experimentation. Students develop the skills and thinking to create 3D computer animated films and interaction designs using the latest industry standard technologies.

Second year will cultivate an environment where each student can experience a wide range of facets within the interaction and animation spectrum. Greater emphasis will be placed on the individual’s role within teamwork, mirroring the collaborative nature of the digital creative industries. Students are encouraged to become increasingly aware of their strengths and how they align to roles and opportunities within industry.

The final year focuses on students building a body of work in preparation for entry to the professional arena – this usually takes form through the development of a range of skills on both individual and group projects. Opportunities exist to embrace group projects to develop innovative outcomes with potential for commercialisation beyond the course through the Masters pathways on offer, which potentially integrate with the undergraduate programme.

The final year also engages students with a range of industry led projects and international competitions designed to showcase their abilities on a world stage amongst their peers. These include D&AD Young Blood; YCN (Young Creatives Network); ISTD (International Society of Typographic Designers) and other competitions as appropriate.


Work placement/Internship

After successful completion of Year 2 a student can opt to undertake a placement year, leading to the award of a Diploma in Professional Practice or Diploma in International Academic Studies. The DPP is generally European-based and workshop orientated. The DIAS allows for further study at an institution in either Europe or in the USA, under the Erasmus scheme, the Study USA scheme or the Year abroad scheme. You will obtain the appropriate award in addition to your degree’s classification on successful completion of your Final Year. Many students avail of this exciting and valuable opportunity, and see a great benefit when they return to study in their Final year.


Career prospects; Further studies

Graduates with skills in computer animation and digital design have many well-paid career opportunities available to them. Many students continue their education with the MA in Multidisciplinary Design or MFA Computer Animation.

Entry requirements

Suitably qualified applicants will be interviewed prior to entry where they will be required to present a body of work displaying creative thinking in the form of a portfolio, showreel, or screen presentation will be required.

Your portfolio should demonstrate quality, enthusiasm and productivity in a broad range of work, which can include sketches, animations, photography, life drawing, painting, video, printmaking, code snippets and websites. Definitely bring rough work/sketchbooks to show us how your projects were developed – a very important indicator of how you work. We will look for evidence of intelligence and ideas in your portfolio projects. Do not feel compelled to produce ‘slick’ computer material – at this stage we are more concerned with your creative potential.

Irish Leaving Cert: A minimum of 240 UCAS Tariff Points to include grades BBCCC (one of which should be in Art and Design or related subject).

Contact details

Conánn FitzPatrick

Professor Greg Maguire