Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Animation and Illustration

Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Animation and Illustration

Course Overview

  • 4


  • 8


  • 649*


  • AL861

    CAO Course Code

Why take this course?

This programme is unique to Athlone IT as no other educational provider offers a programme combining animation and illustration at undergraduate or postgraduate level in Ireland.

Graduates of this Level 8 degree programme in animation & illustration will have the capacity to apply their knowledge of the core principles of illustration and animation to a broad range of topics which include drawing, story boarding, character development etc. They will develop the capacity for independent learning, solid analytical and IT-related skills, high levels of critical reasoning etc. through the twin emphasis of both animation and illustration, with an emphasis on problem solving and team-working capabilities.

What will I experience?

You will develop into an imaginative, confident, creative individual capable of thriving, exploiting and adapting to a rapidly changing visual culture and world of communication, education, entertainment, and advertising. You will be allowed to give full vent to your creativity and explore all sorts of areas where your illustration and animation skills could be used.

You will be encouraged to cultivate your creative abilities and technical skills through an understanding of the connections between illustration and animation. This programme will particularly suit applicants who wish to work in creative industries that value artistic talent, inventiveness and individuality.

What opportunities might it lead to?

There has been significant growth in the Irish animation and illustration industry, the sector has become a central component of Ireland’s digital and creative economy, increasing career opportunities.

While it is still a niche industry, the sector is growing with a host of successful home-grown animated series, feature films and co-productions. Ireland has talented and technically sophisticated 2D and 3D studios creating and producing content for TV, film, games, mobile and apps.

Additional Information

In year 3, students undertake a 5 months placement between early January and late June.

Portfolio Requirements

The portfolio should reflect the applicant’s enthusiasm for studying the two main subject areas and demonstrate a high level of skill, creativity, experimentation and inventiveness through a wide range of media. Applicants are advised to choose only their best, most original work. The following examples are designed to give applicants an idea of the type and range of material to include. No applicant is expected to include all of the items on the list.

Volume of work

Fifteen pieces of work. We are looking for quality not quantity. Include research and development.

Range of work

Work should include drawings, painting, printmaking, collage, mixed media, photography and 3D work.


A variety of observational drawings, such as life drawing, drawings of people, animals, landscapes, objects. Include a variety of poses and media, showing line, tone and texture.


Showing the idea for a short animation/film/ advertisement. The storyboard should outline the key moments of the sequence: the actions, event, and emotions.

One Sketchbook

Work should show artistic/cultural interests as well as thought process and ideas. To contain 5 to 10 minutes drawings from life. Include people and animals, still and moving, the environment, building interior and/or exterior.

One Visual Diary

To show project research and development as well as applicant’s thought process, ideas and thumbnail sketches, indicating their interest in animation and illustration.

Originality of Work

Work must be original. Drawings of established cartoon characters and work copied from books should not be included. Examples of animation shorts, film and samples of scripts or creative writing (such as children’s stories, short stories, poetry) are welcome but not compulsory.

Submission of Portfolio

Applicants must present a portfolio of their selected work. This can also be submitted in the traditional manner or in digital format. Digital work must be submitted on DVD or CD. Applicants submitting work in digital format should double-check that any links to Flickr/Vimeo can be easily accessed by our lecturing staff prior to submitting their material.

Course Details

Course Duration:
4 Year
CAO Course Code:
Cut Off CAO Points:
Median CAO Points:
Course Award:
Bachelor of Arts (Honours)
Course NFQ Level:
Level 8
Dept of Mechanical/Polymer Engineering
Minimum Entry Requirements:

Grade H5 in two subjects, plus Grade O6 in four other subjects. Two of these subjects must be Mathematics and a language (English or Irish) Note: An F2 in Foundation Level Mathematics will be accepted as meeting the minimum Mathematics requirement. *For all applicants, portfolio presentation required.

QQI: QQI applicants to this programme must hold one of the following awards: Art, Craft, and Design (5M1984), Art (5M1985), Graphic Design (5M1995), Multimedia Production (5M2146) or Creative Media (5M5048). Distinctions are required in 3 modules. *For all applicants, portfolio presentation is required.

Course Structure

Year 1

Semester 1:

  • Explorative Practice/Drawing
  • Explorative Practice/Animation
  • Explorative Practice/Image-Making
  • Explorative Practice/Ideation
  • Creativity in Context

Semester 2:

  • Explorative Practice/Drawing
  • Explorative Practice/Animation
  • Explorative Practice/Image-Making
  • Creativity in Context

Year 2

Semester 1:

  • Studio/Drawing
  • Studio/Animation
  • Studio/Image-Making
  • Narrative and Character Creation
  • Practice in Context

Semester 2:

  • Studio/Drawing
  • Studio/Animation
  • Studio/Image-Making
  • Narrative and Character Creation
  • Theory into Context

Year 3

  • Advanced Practice - Illustration
  • Advanced Practice - Animation
  • Concept Art and Visual Language
  • Pre-Placement Preparation: Plots & Pitches
  • Practice Placement / Project

Year 4

  • Animation Illustration Studio – Individual Practice
  • Professional Practice: Confirmation
  • Dissertation/Report: Research and Reflection

Careers & Opportunities

Career Prospects

The BA (Hons) in Animation & Illustration will equip graduates to carry out a number of roles in animation production associated with short films, feature animations, TV production and TV advertising, special effects and short films. Other specific roles titles include: background artists, 3D artist, animator, CGI animator, agency illustrator, illustration artist assistant and character artist.

This programme will particularly suit applicants who wish to work in creative industries that value artistic talent, inventiveness and individuality.

Work Placement

In year 3, students undertake a 5 months placement between early January and late June.

Further Study

An honours degree (Level 8) is and effective basis for postgraduate training and research leading to Master’s and PhD (Level 9/10) qualifications. Staff in the department and in the Careers Office can advise on the range of opportunities available at AIT and elsewhere for such postgraduate programmes. Full details of all postgraduate programmes at AIT are contained in the postgraduate prospectus.

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