MA Programme Description


Since the advent of the personal computer, animation techniques have become accessible to many more practitioners and elements of the discipline have exploded into all areas of creative practice. The term ‘Animation’ is currently as full of possibilities as the term ‘multimedia’: as such, the name ‘MA Animation’ is no longer descriptive or specific enough to describe the position or activities of the programme. In response, we have created three pathways – Documentary Animation, Experimental Animation and Narrative Animation –  conceived of as fluid specialist routes through a common programme that is concerned with developing practitioners who have the critical tools, conceptual overview, specialist knowledge and the confidence to creatively innovate and take the authorial lead in their respective fields. These categories are not proscriptive and all students are expected to innovate, experiment and take inspiration from the other pathways.

Our three distinct pathways are Documentary AnimationExperimental Animation and Narrative Animation, one of which students select as part of their application.

Documentary Animation: This is a new pathway that addresses the fast-growing documentary practices involving animation and other forms of image fabrication. The Documentary Animation pathway is about fusing animation practices with documentary approaches, and questions how we represent and apply the real. 

Experimental Animation: Built on the well-established auteur/director basis of directing, production and narrative, Experimental Animation takes a more exploratory and innovative approach to Animation, extending beyond conventional models to post-screen, post-digital and installation/live environments.

Narrative Animation: This pathway focusses on experimentation with forms of storytelling. This is not intended as a film-school training in conventional ways to tell a story, but as a serious exploration of narratology in the moving image.

Critical & Historical Studies

The RCA provides a unique environment for postgraduate art and design students to reflect upon their own practice, and to engage with students from their own and other disciplines. The role of Critical & Historical Studies (CHS) is to support the studio programmes in enabling these critical engagements to take place. The courses offered by CHS to first year studio-based MA students propose an intellectual framework within which they can begin to establish a coherent relationship between theory and practice.

In the autumn and spring terms there are a series of College-wide seminars and lectures. The autumn term series will relate to your particular discipline (though it is possible to elect to join a series being offered to students on other programmes) whereas the spring term series will be more broad-based and cross-disciplinary in nature.

In the spring and summer terms, a CHS tutor will give you individual tutorials to support the development of a dissertation which is submitted *at the end of the Summer Term.* The dissertation should be between 6,000–10,000 words in length – this is a major piece of work and you will be not be able to submit for the Final Examination until you have passed this assessment.


240 credits
Two-year programme

Animation Studios
Animation Studios
Photographer: Richard Haughton