This unique two-year MA aims to equip students with the skills to write, direct and animate innovative films. NFTS graduate films have won some of the most prestigious awards in animation including the BAFTA for Short Animation for the last five years in a row.

Graduates include Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park, whose debut A Grand Day Out was his NFTS graduation film, and Peppa Pig creator Mark Baker.

Students will collaborate with those in other specialisms to make several films, putting into practice the skills they learn during the course. In the second year, students have their own work spaces and equipment to make their graduation film, which are finished in professional sound stages and post-production facilities – with all production costs met by the School.

We are the only UK animation course based in a film studio, so we can cater for ambitious ideas.

All NFTS students can attend the School’s masterclasses programme, with recent guests including David Fincher (se7enFight ClubThe Social NetworkMindhunter), Steve McQueen (12 Years A Slave), Edgar Wright (Baby DriverHot FuzzShaun of the Dead), Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid's Tale), Stephen Fry, Denis Villeneuve (Bladerunner 2049), Krysty Wilson Cairns (1917), Phoebe Waller-Bridge (FleabagKilling Eve), Asif Kapadia (AmySennaDiego Maradona), and Louis Theroux.

​This course is industry recognised by ScreenSkills, the industry-led skills body for the UK's screen-based industries, and carries the ScreenSkills Select quality-mark which indicates courses best suited to prepare students for a career in the screen industries.

Recent credits and successes

A host of NFTS 2019 graduate films have selected for the most prestigious festivals around the world including Annecy and Cannes, 2020 graduate film, O Black Hole written and directed by recent Directing Animation graduate Renee Zhan has been shortlisted for Animafest Zagreb 2020.

NFTS has once again been named one of the top five animation schools in the world in this year’s Animation Career Review 2020 School Rankings list, with the School named Number 5 in the world and Number 2 in EuropeRead more.

Paloma Baeza’s graduation film Poles Apart won the 2018 BAFTA for British Short Animation, the fifth year in a row an NFTS film has won. Full story here.

NFTS graduation animation, Heatwave directed and written by recent NFTS Directing Animation MA graduate, Fokion Xenos has been selected for Annecy 2019, the world's leading animation film festival. Full story here.

Nick Park returns to NFTS to celebrate 30 years since he created Wallace & Gromit's at the School - full story here.

NFTS Directing Animation MA alumna, Paloma Baeza who graduated in 2017 and won a BAFTA in 2018 for her graduation animation, Poles Apart has been signed on to direct a female-led animated feature on iconic Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo. Full story here.

NFTS graduation animation, Solar Plexus directed by David McShane, written by Jessica Sinyard and produced by Paida Mutonono was picked from 1971 works submitted by film schools from all over the world and is one of just 17 films selected for the 2019 Cinéfondation short film programme at the Cannes Film Festival. Read more here.

Huge congratulations to recent NFTS Directing Animation graduate, Fokion Xenos whose graduation film, Heatwave has won the 2019 ‘Mclaren Award for Best New Animation’ at the Edinburgh international Film Festival. Full story.

What you will study

Our aim is to help you create films that will steer the animation industry into new and exciting directions. The first year is packed full of inspiring workshops led by talented filmmakers and industry professionals covering a range of topics, including improving your animation skills, writing better narratives and developing fresh approaches to design and techniques. In the second year, you will direct a full production team to bring your vision to life, using the school's state-of-the-art production facilities.

We encourage all forms of visual storytelling; including drawn and stop-motion animation, life-size pixelation and even puppeteering. Students are inspired to push the boundaries; to find interesting new animated techniques and fresh approaches to storytelling.

Learning to work with a team is central to the course. Collaborative workshops with other filmmaking disciplines, help animation directors understand the role of each crew member and the skills they bring to the filmmaking process.


Download programme specification

Download course outline

Current or recent tutors

Matt Abiss

Matt Abiss

Visiting tutor

Credits include Poor God and Play

Robert Bradbrook

Robert Bradbrook

Head of Animation

Directing credits include Home Road Movies, Dead Air, The Journey

Paul Bush

Paul Bush

Tutor, Animation

Credits include Babeldom, His Comedy, Furniture Poetry

Caroline Leaf

Caroline Leaf

Visiting tutor

Credits include The Street and Two Sisters

Kim Noce

Kim Noce

Senior tutor

Credits include Forget Me Not, The Key and After

Marjut Rimminen

Marjut Rimminen

Visiting tutor

Credits include The Stain and Many Happy Returns

Fees and funding options

Fees for this course are as follows:

Home/EU/EEA £14,800 per year (for January 2020 intake)

Overseas £31,000 per year (for January 2020 intake)

The tuition fees for January 2021 intake will be confirmed in June 2020, and are likely to be the same, or very similar to 2020.

We also welcome EU/EEA students on the same rate as our UK students – and those enrolling onto a two-year MA in January 2020 will continue to pay home fees for the second year of their MA. However, we are currently unable to confirm if this will remain the case for those starting their first year in 2021.

In the last year, 8 in 10 UK MA students received support, with more than £800,000 given out in total.

There is a compulsory, non-refundable £60 application fee for each MA application. A non-refundable deposit of £500 is required against the cost of your fees on confirmation of your place. As a part of our admissions selection process, successful applicants are required to attend a selection workshop for five days, which has a fee of £150. 

All production costs are included in the course fees, including the use of School facilities and equipment. The School also covers the travel costs for curriculum-related off-site visits. Students are expected to provide their own laptops. International students will need to pay for any visas that may be required for attendance at non-UK festivals as part of the course.

The NFTS is committed to ensuring it is open to students of genuine ability, no matter what their background or financial circumstances. We don’t want anybody to be put off applying for a place at the NFTS because of the cost, which is why we award more scholarships and bursaries to British students, relative to the size of our student body, than almost any other educational institution in the UK.

At the NFTS you will get far more time learning directly from tutors, in real production facilities and on real projects, than in the vast majority of film schools or universities – and we won’t charge you extra for the cost of productions or materials. The specialist nature of our courses mean that our students gain the relevant skills and experience they need to go straight into the industry.


Every year, our students direct a number of short films.


Entry requirements

We are looking for people with a desire to tell stories, who have a strong visual sense and the skills to direct a production team. While we take applicants from many varied backgrounds, the course is ideal for someone who works in the animation industry and has reached a stage where they want to develop their own work and become a director.

Successful applicants should have either a degree in a relevant subject, such as animation, graphics, illustration or fine arts; taken an intensive short animation course; or worked in the animation industry. All applicants must show a passion for animation though the work they are developing. 

As a part of our admissions selection process, successful applicants are required to attend a selection workshop for five days. The 2020 workshop dates will be from 1 September until 5 September.

For international students, more information about our entry requirements, including Visa and English language requirements, can be found here

If you have any questions, please email

How to apply

Application deadline: 09 Jul 2020


All applications must be accompanied by the following supporting materials:

  • A Portfolio of Animation/Moving Image with a maximum running time of 20 minutes. Your submission must include a complete film created by you. It can be either a personal or commissioned project, but it should be more than a simple exercises done on a previous course.
  • A Portfolio of Still Images. This can include illustrations, sketchbook work, digital artwork, photography of puppets and sets that you have made or anything you think will suitable for your application.

Because the course focuses on collaboration and team work we have a workshop as a part of the interviewing process. The workshop gives us all the chance to meet in a working environment, and for you to learn about storytelling for short animated films. We provide extensive feedback to your work and candidates find the workshop very useful even if they were unsuccessful with getting on the course.

You can apply online by clicking on BEGIN YOUR APPLICATION below.

We are happy to receive applications at any time up until the midnight of the application deadline date.

Begin your application