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Animation and Illustration – BA (Hons)

  • CAO Points: 937 (Including Portfolio)

  • Campus: Athlone

  • years: 4

Course Overview

This programme is unique to the midlands campus as no other educational provider offers a programme combining both animation and illustration at undergraduate level in Ireland. Graduates of the BA (Hons) in Animation and Illustration will have the capacity to apply their knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of illustration and principles of animation to a broad range of areas within the animation and illustration sector in Ireland and internationally. Our students develop the capacity for independent learning as well as producing work collaboratively. Solid analytical and IT-related skills, as well as high levels of critical reasoning through the twin emphasis of both animation and illustration, are vital to creating strong, visually appealing and imaginative artwork.

There has been significant growth in the animation and illustration industries globally. The sectors have become a central component of Ireland’s digital and creative economy with increasing career opportunities every year. With a host of successful home-grown studios the opportunities within animated series, feature films and co-productions has risen steadily over the past number of years. Ireland has talented and technically sophisticated studios creating and producing content for print, television, cinema, video games, mobile platforms, immersive exhibitions, and virtual and augmented reality.

Additional Information

Your portfolio should reflect your enthusiasm for studying within the artistic areas of animation and illustration. You should demonstrate a high level of draughtsmanship, creativity, and experimentation through a wide range of media including, but not limited to, pencil, paint, mixed-media, photography, animated experiments. You are advised to choose only their best artwork. Curate your portfolio leaving our portfolio assessors with the impression that you have a passion for drawing and an interest in making things move. Do not include fan art. All work must be your own original artwork.

A minimum of one full sketchbook

Applicants must submit one completed sketchbook. Applicants who have additional sketchbooks may submit up to 5 sketchbooks in total if they wish. Your sketchbook should include a large amount of observational studies of both humans and animals. These can be quick sketches capturing movement and gestures. These are best submitted within
a sketchbook. You can include photographic work, as well as photographs of clay, collage, mixed media, stop motion models/sets and photographs of large pieces of artwork that you cannot fit into the portfolio itself. Storyboards, comic panels and poster design can be included. Please fix the pages together in sequence and clearly label and number them. Your storyboards can show an idea for a short film or advertisement using any style or medium you like to work in. Your sketchbooks can include visual development, concepts and ideas that you have been working on. Show us what interests you and what inspires you to make the work you make from the world around you. Visual exploration and doodling is what your sketchbooks are for!

8-10 pieces of Completed Artwork

These pieces are your main portfolio of completed work outside of your sketchbook. Try to have a variety of work in this section of your portfolio. Include longer studies of humans, animals, objects or landscapes rather than quick sketches. Take your time to observe and work into these pieces. They can be further developed with colour, tone and texture. Animation can be part of this section.

The course title is BA (Hons) in Animation and Illustration. The CAO course code is US802. You will receive notification regarding when to submit your portfolio a number of weeks before the assessments once you have applied through the CAO website.

The normal closing date for CAO applications is February 1st, 2024. The Portfolio Assessments for our BA (Hons) in Animation and Illustration will be held on Friday, March 15th 2024.

Digital portfolios can be submitted via email. Details of this will be sent to applicants closer to the assessment date. However, we advise that you present your portfolio in person if you can so we can see your work in its best format. For further information on portfolio requirements please see the FAQ document or contact Dr Yvonne Hennessy at email:

Digital portfolios can be submitted via email to

Contact Details

Dr. Yvonne Hennessy


What are the entry requirements?

Leaving Certificate

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 is required.


QQI applicants to this programme must hold one of the following awards: Art (6M4029), Cartoon Animation (6M5545), Interior Design (5M5054), Design (5M2208), Creative Craft (5M1981), Art, Craft, and Design (5M1984), Art (5M1985), Creative Media (5M5048), Multimedia Production (5M2146) or Graphic Design (5M1995). Distinctions are required in 3 modules. *For all applicants, portfolio presentation is required.

Mature Applicants

Candidates applying as mature applicants may be required to attend an interview and may be requested to take an aptitude test to prove their suitability for a place on this programme.

International Applicants

International applicants should apply directly to the International Office at TUS, allowing plenty of time for completing the visa process. Applications for September start should be made by 1st June at the latest to ensure visas are processed in time. You should familiarise yourself with visa processing times for your country of origin to ensure you make a timely application. Find out more here.

Course Modules

  • Life Drawing 1.1

  • Animation 1.1

  • Illustration 1.1

  • Environment Design 1.1

  • Critical and Contextual Studies 1.1

  • Life Drawing 1.2

  • Animation 1.2

  • Illustration 1.2

  • Environment Design 1.2

  • Sequential Illustration 1

  • Critical and Contextual Studies 1.2

  • Life Drawing 2.1

  • Animation 2.1

  • Illustration 2.1

  • Storyboarding 2

  • Scriptwriting 2

  • Critical and Contextual Studies 2.1

  • Life Drawing 2.2

  • Animation 2.2

  • Illustration 2.2

  • Placement Preparation 2

  • Critical and Contextual Studies 2.2

  • Life Drawing 3

  • Animation 3

  • Illustration 3

  • Environment Design 3

  • Studio Preparation 3

  • Critical and Contextual Studies 3.1

  • Work Placement 3

  • Studio Production 3

  • Critical and Contextual Studies 3.2

  • Life Drawing 4

  • Project Design 4

  • Project Management 4

  • Dissertation Development 4

  • Project Production 4

  • Dissertation 4

What can you do after this programme?

We have had graduates who have gone on to work with internationally acclaimed and Oscar nominated animation studios as well as producing print and digital illustration for the global market. Our graduates have established their own companies and some are working independently on original content. Our graduates carry out a number of roles in animation and illustration production associated with animated films, television production and television advertising. Other specific roles include; background artist, character designer, animator, VFX compositing, scene prep, storyboard artist, comic and graphic novel artist, agency illustrator and production management. This programme will particularly suit applicants who wish to work in creative industries that value artistic talent, visual awareness and organisational skills.

There is the opportunity to go on to further studies at Level 9 and Level 10 after graduating from this our 4-Year Level 8 programme. We have had students that have went on to post-graduate Level 9 programmes such as Professional Masters of Education (PME) and post-graduate studies with the fields of animation or illustration practice. Successful graduates of our BA (Hons) in Animation and Illustration programme are eligible for Level 9 and 10 postgraduate programmes within TUS or elsewhere.

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