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*  – 3 Years

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 post production 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. Learners study fundamental skills and develop their knowledge using both traditional techniques and the latest computer technology. It is an exciting and challenging programme allowing learners to develop skills in the areas of

Animation Principles, Experimental Animation, Stop Motion Animation, Life Drawing, 2D Digital Animation, 3D Digital Animation, Special Effects, Compositing, Film and Critical Studies, Layout, Scriptwriting, Character Design and Storyboarding

The course comprises of a one year QQI programme and a two year BTEC Higher National Diploma programme.

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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
  • Design Skills
  • Image Processing
  • Computer Illustrated Graphics
  • Life Drawing
  • Drama
  • Sculpture
  • Work Experience
  • Communications
Year 2 & 3 (HND in Animation)

In 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 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 post production work flow. 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
  • 3D Modelling and Rendering
  • 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.

Portfolio: We would like to see a portfolio of at least 5 observational drawings. The subject matter can be anything but it is important that you are drawing from life and avoid copying photographs or other artist’s 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 decade, 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 post production. Illustration, Graphic Design, Film, Television, Multimedia, Advertising, Computer Games Industry.

Graduates have gained employment in Irish companies such as Brown Bag, Boulder Media, Tree House Republic, Jam Media, Magpie 6 Media.


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

Course Charges

Year 1: €50
Year 2: €50*
Year 3: €50*

This course is free for those over 21 and in receipt of a social welfare payment*. Click here for more information and to check eligibility.

*BTEC registration charges may apply