Is it possible to study an MA in Animation without an arts degree?

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definedancing
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This post is a little bit hypothetical, but its been a niggling question so I'm going to ask it.

All my life, I've wanted to be an animator, and all my life, I've been into drawing, designing, making up stories and that fun stuff. Unfortunately, I was told repeatedly by family that doing an arts subject wasn't a good thing to do-my dad did an arts degree and it got him nowhere. I was also made to feel somehow defective as a teenager for wanting to see Disney films and buying obscure animated films instead of the bombastic love affairs that were popular at the time.

So now I am 25, with the passion kicked out of me I guess, and I am studying Social Work. I love it, although I am only in my first year, and I think I will be a very good Social Worker-but it isn't my passion. I haven't let anyone know about this, but I've started obsessively drawing again and I am building a portfolio. My plan is to qualify, do my AYSE year, work as a Social Worker and then apply for an Animation MA, possibly part-time whilst I can continue to work. I'm a grown-up and I don't need permission.

However, there is the issue of most universities requiring Animation MA students having a degree in Arts. I have no art qualification at all, not even a GCSE as I wasn't allowed to take it. If I have to go back and do qualifications again, then I will do so begrudgingly, but does anyone know of anyone undertaking an Arts MA without having an undergraduate qualification in a similar subject?

Thanks
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artful_lounger
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PQ might be able to give some advice.

In your case, I don't think it's really possible, regardless of the type of animation you wanted to go into. You won't develop any relevant technical or creative skills on a social work course, and I think without a considerable background of relevant work in industry (which is pretty hard to get even for animation grads a lot of the time) you would have a hard time demonstrating your preparation for such a course. Most masters courses in arts (also in general, actually) aren't "conversion" courses for graduates of other degrees, and even those that might be more amenable to that would probably expect you have background in some area of art or design or something else very relevant (e.g. having a degree in fine art by wanting to go into animation might fly for a few, or perhaps CS to 3D animation)...).

I think if you know social work isn't for you, and you are interested in animation, your best bet would be to withdraw from your course and pursue that alternative option. Since you're only in first year, you would still have full funding for a degree from SFE available (you would just lack the "gift" year), and if you do it before the new term starts (i.e. when you get your next maintenance loan disbursement) you shouldn't have to repay much, if any, of your maintenance loan. You may need to do a FAD course to prepare an appropriate porfolio for an animation course however, particularly if you haven't done GCSE or A-level/equivalent art. This is something you might want to look into in the meantime if you did withdraw from your current course.
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reb3kah
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there's lots you can do with an arts kind of degree. honestly I would stick with what you really ultimately want to do, cause it makes you happy. you could try taking an arts based course at your local sixth form? (there's also no age limit for the btec's either but you would have to pay for it) the courses are only around 9 months so not even a full year do your level 2, level 3 (2 years) then go onto uni from there, cause I think you do need some kind of art related qualification for what you want to do. sixth form would be good as you'd get your work experience+extra curricular as well which I think would make you look good when you go to apply for uni, you might find some other things that interest you during the course. I hope this helps and it isn't just me rambling hehe.

Edit: and you'd get a proper portfolio/sketchbook out of it.
Last edited by reb3kah; 2 years ago
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definedancing
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
PQ might be able to give some advice.

In your case, I don't think it's really possible, regardless of the type of animation you wanted to go into. You won't develop any relevant technical or creative skills on a social work course, and I think without a considerable background of relevant work in industry (which is pretty hard to get even for animation grads a lot of the time) you would have a hard time demonstrating your preparation for such a course. Most masters courses in arts (also in general, actually) aren't "conversion" courses for graduates of other degrees, and even those that might be more amenable to that would probably expect you have background in some area of art or design or something else very relevant (e.g. having a degree in fine art by wanting to go into animation might fly for a few, or perhaps CS to 3D animation)...).

I think if you know social work isn't for you, and you are interested in animation, your best bet would be to withdraw from your course and pursue that alternative option. Since you're only in first year, you would still have full funding for a degree from SFE available (you would just lack the "gift" year), and if you do it before the new term starts (i.e. when you get your next maintenance loan disbursement) you shouldn't have to repay much, if any, of your maintenance loan. You may need to do a FAD course to prepare an appropriate porfolio for an animation course however, particularly if you haven't done GCSE or A-level/equivalent art. This is something you might want to look into in the meantime if you did withdraw from your current course.
Thank you, I think that was honest advice.

I’m very scared as I worked hard to get into the uni I got in for SW, and I’ll be disappointing people, but I know you’re right. My university doesn’t do Animation as a degree, but I am wondering whether talking to the careers advisor would be helpful? Also yeah, will likely need some kind of level 2/3 qualification in arts. I guess the only real problem will be money unfortunately.
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definedancing
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(Original post by reb3kah)
there's lots you can do with an arts kind of degree. honestly I would stick with what you really ultimately want to do, cause it makes you happy. you could try taking an arts based course at your local sixth form? (there's also no age limit for the btec's either but you would have to pay for it) the courses are only around 9 months so not even a full year do your level 2, level 3 (2 years) then go onto uni from there, cause I think you do need some kind of art related qualification for what you want to do. sixth form would be good as you'd get your work experience+extra curricular as well which I think would make you look good when you go to apply for uni, you might find some other things that interest you during the course. I hope this helps and it isn't just me rambling hehe.

Edit: and you'd get a proper portfolio/sketchbook out of it.
Thank you and no not rambling at all!

Yeah I’m going to have a good look at local colleges for an arts course. As for the current degree, it’ll be difficult to withdraw from due to the work I’ve put in but I’m definitely thinking long and hard about it now.
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reb3kah
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(Original post by definedancing)
Thank you and no not rambling at all!

Yeah I’m going to have a good look at local colleges for an arts course. As for the current degree, it’ll be difficult to withdraw from due to the work I’ve put in but I’m definitely thinking long and hard about it now.
no problem! good and i'm glad is it fine art or more graphics/gaming type art you'd want to do? I think fine art is offered at most colleges. Yeah don't think too much though haha but do something you won't regret doing later, cause you might say I wish I had done that now instead. I had/have a friend who was doing games design but changed to a level fine art I think he wanted to focus on his actual drawing skills. good luck though! let me know what you decide. maybe just stick it out until you finish.
Last edited by reb3kah; 2 years ago
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reb3kah
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you probably could actually just do a level 2 art and still get into uni with just level 2. no harm in trying cause I know some uni's accept level 2 btec.
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definedancing
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(Original post by reb3kah)
no problem! good and i'm glad is it fine art or more graphics/gaming type art you'd want to do? I think fine art is offered at most colleges. Yeah don't think too much though haha but do something you won't regret doing later, cause you might say I wish I had done that now instead. I had/have a friend who was doing games design but changed to a level fine art I think he wanted to focus on his actual drawing skills. good luck though! let me know what you decide. maybe just stick it out until you finish.
Specifically, I’d like to be a 2D or 3D animator doing feature films, adverts, shorts, anything really! I like games but I know that it’s a bit of a different ballgame. I’ll let you know what happens.
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PQ
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Maybe look into suspending your studies on your current course for a year and using that year to take a FAD or Access to HE course in art/animation.
That gives you a year to try out a creative subject full time with the option to either follow it up with a BA in animation or to resume your SW course if you decide it isn’t for you (and many people do dream about creative courses but then find that studying art full time isn’t right and actually ends up with them losing their creative mojo).

I wouldn’t recommend going back to level 2. With some work in your free time you should be fine to get a portfolio together for level 3 study (and a 1 year FAD or Access to HE diploma would prepare you for university...no need to look at two year btecs).
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reb3kah
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(Original post by definedancing)
Specifically, I’d like to be a 2D or 3D animator doing feature films, adverts, shorts, anything really! I like games but I know that it’s a bit of a different ballgame. I’ll let you know what happens.
ah cool, yeah they are completely different things.
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reb3kah
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I forgot there was also foundation uni degrees but I don't know if you need level 3 btec to do those or not.
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Dominicque2
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Hi, OP I know this may be two years too late, but in case it's not and for anyone else coming across this via a google search. A lot of arts institutions will consider you if have relevant experience and/or a strong portfolio. If that is not an option there are now graduate diplomas in art. They are a pre-masters degree, perfect for those in the Arts that want a change of direction in their practice, but also to equip those with the skills they need to undertake a creative arts subject at masters level that didn't take a creative subject at undergraduate level.

I don't see why you couldn't do a BA in Social Work and then pursue an MA in Animation, but it is important you practice those skills in your own time. If you want more detailed advice research and get in contact with course conveners and speak to tutors at open days (COVID-permitting).
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