Animation at Coláiste Dhúlaigh College of Further Education

QQI Award Level 5 (5M1985) and Higher National Diploma in Animation leading to a Top-up (Hons) Degree in CDCFE.

Animators specialise in TV and Film creation for 2D and 3D animated productions. Their work includes character design, animation and creative development through the use of 2D and 3D animation specialist software. They have a strong awareness of film language and design and are competent in many aspects of pre and postproduction practice. Animators may also work in games development and design.
This programme is designed to prepare learners for a professional career in animation and related fields. Learner’s study fundamental skills and develop their knowledge using both traditional techniques and the latest computer technology. Learners are trained to use professional 2D and 3D digital animation software packages such as Toon Boom Harmony, the Adobe Creative Suite and Autodesk Maya. Free home software licenses are provided to learners for all packages studied on the course.

This is an exciting and challenging programme allowing learners to develop skills in the areas of: 2D Digital Animation, Animation Principles, Experimental Animation, Stop Motion Animation, Stop Motion Modelling, Life Drawing, 3D Digital Animation, Special Effects, Compositing, Film and Critical Studies, Layout, Scriptwriting, Character Design and Storyboarding.

Course Content

Animation Foundation (QQI Level 5)

The first year contains a broad range of subjects which lay the groundwork for the practice of Animation including:

  • Drawing for Animation
  • Painting
  • Image Processing
  • Life Drawing
  • Sculpture
  • Work Experience
  • Communications
  • Layout for Animation
  • Appreciation of Art and Design

The work experience is project based and takes place in-house and involves students practicing key animation skills over two weeks to produce a creative piece of work.

Year 2 & 3 (HNC and HND in Animation)

In the second year, learners focus on applying their skills to practical design and animation projects of increasing complexity. The content also addresses complex and technical subjects, with an emphasis on traditional, 2D and 3D digital animation and drawing skills.

The bulk of work in the third year focuses on developing a major animation production project from a set of specific briefs.

Learners gain experience in planning a pre-production, production and postproduction workflow. This culminates in a completed animated short.

Learners are encouraged to send completed projects to various national film festivals. Learners also conduct research on the animation/film industry and produce a thesis.

Subjects studied at HND level include the following:

  • Individual Project
  • Visual Narratives
  • Media Practices
  • Material Practices
  • Screen Based Practices
  • Techniques and Practices
  • Contextual Studies
  • Professional Development
  • Professional Practice
  • Applied Practice
  • Collaborative Project
  • Advanced Art Practice Studies
  • Moving Image
  • Digital Animation
  • Advanced Life Drawing

*BA (Hons) Animation

This top-up degree is taught on campus at CDCFE, Coolock, and validated by University of Wolverhampton. For entry criteria and further information please see top-up degree page

Entry Requirements

Leaving Certificate (including LCA or a full QQI L4 qualification). Mature and postgraduate students are also actively encouraged to apply for this course.

Samples of Work: We would like to see a portfolio of at least 10 observational drawings. The subject matter can be anything, but it is important that you are drawing from life and avoid copying photographs or other artists’ work.


QQI Award Level 5, BTEC Higher National Diploma, BA Hons

Career opportunities

Due to significant growth in the Irish Animation sector over the last two decades, career opportunities have increased considerably.

“With millions of children every week watching animated programmes produced here, Ireland is a recognised leader with talented and technically sophisticated 2D and 3D studios creating and producing content for TV, Film, Games, Mobile and Apps. The Irish animation industry has experienced substantial growth over the past five years emerging as a central component of Ireland’s digital and creative economy. Award winning Irish studios employ 1,000+ technical and creative staff.” –

Possible careers after completing this course include Animation studio production, development, compositing and postproduction. Illustration, Graphic Design, Film, Television, Multimedia, Advertising, Computer Games Industry.

Graduates have gained employment in Irish companies such as Brown Bag Films, Boulder Media, Kavaleer, Tree House Republic, Jam Media, Magpie 6 Media, Cartoon Saloon, Lighthouse Studios and more.


3 Years (4 Years with BA (Hons) Degree option).

Course Charges

Year 1: €50
Year 2: €50*
Year 3: €50*

*BTEC registration charges may apply

Applicants in receipt of a Social Welfare payment will keep their payment whilst studying on the course under the Back to Education Allowance scheme.


“I did the BA Animation course here and loved it. Very knowledgeable and supportive tutors made it a very enjoyable and nurturing learning environment. Highly recommend studying here.” – Melissia Culhane

“I completed the Animation HND and Degree course in Coláiste Dhulaigh, graduating in 2019. I loved the course, the tutors were all great, they assisted all the students to reach their full potential, going above and beyond to support us all.” – Jenni Clifford, Brown Bag Films