Associate Degree of Animation

Two students working on animation
Available at
Adelaide, Brisbane, Byron Bay, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney
FEE Help available
Associate Degree of Animation
Domestic Fees

Units x Costs ($AUD)
4 x $3,807
4 x $2,728
1 x $5,456
2 x $8,184

Indicative Total Course Fee*
$47,964 AUD
Plus Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF)

* The Indicative Total Course Fee & Indicative Annual Course Fees reflects that students are charged fees on a per unit basis and the fee for a unit may increase.

For more information view the SAE Fee Schedule or visit the Fee & Payment page.

FEE-HELP Available
Associate Degree of Animation
International Fees

Units x Costs ($AUD)
4 x $4,439
4 x $3,178
1 x $6,356
2 x $9,534

Indicative Total Course Fee*
$55,892 AUD
Plus Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF)

* The Indicative Total Course Fee & Indicative Annual Course Fees reflects that students are charged fees on a per unit basis and the fee for a unit may increase.

For more information view the SAE Fee Schedule or visit the Fee & Payment page.

4 Trimesters Full Time (Fast Track)

Complete your course faster by studying units over 15 months. (4 trimesters)

Associate Degree of Animation
Course Durations
4 Trimesters Full Time (Fast Track)

Complete your course faster by studying units over 15 months. (4 trimesters)

6 Trimesters Full Time

Whilst still classified as a full-time study load, you will complete the units over two years. (6 trimesters)

Part-time option available

If you want to take a little longer, that’s ok too. We’ll help you work out the best study load to suit your needs.

Note: Part-time is not available for international students.

We understand that things can change, so you'll have the flexibility to change your study load throughout your course if you need to.
Start Date(s)
September 2024
Associate Degree of Animation
Start Dates
  • September 2024

  • February 2025

  • May 2025

  • September 2024

  • February 2025

  • May 2025

Byron Bay
  • September 2024

  • February 2025

  • May 2025

  • September 2024

  • February 2025

  • May 2025

  • September 2024

  • February 2025

  • May 2025

  • September 2024

  • February 2025

  • May 2025

Entry Requirements
Associate Degree of Animation
Domestic Entry Requirements
Domestic students must meet one of the following criteria:
Completion of a Australian Senior Secondary Certificate of Education (QCE, WACE, HSC, SACE, etc) (like your Year 12 certificate or equivalent); OR
Completion of a Diploma level qualification issued under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF); OR
Completion of a Certificate IV level qualification issued under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF); OR
Experience-Based Entry – for applicants who do not meet the requirements of entry criteria above.
More info
Associate Degree of Animation
International Entry Requirements
International Entry Requirements
Minimum age requirements
International students seeking admission to SAE must be 18 years of age OR must be turning 18 during their first trimester of studies at SAE.
Academic requirements
Successful completion of secondary school studies (assessed as an equivalent of Australian Year 12 secondary studies). Minimum overall pass is required.
English language requirements
International English Language Testing Sydney (IELTS): An overall score of 6.0 or higher with no individual band lower than 5.5 (only the Academic Test is accepted), OR
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): 73 overall (internet-based test), OR
Pearson Test of English (PTE): Academic score of 46 or higher, OR
Completion of Year 12 English in an Australian secondary school or college or equivalent with a minimum result of “Satisfactory” or equivalent.
More info
Successful completion of an Academic English program with an SAE-approved Australian-based English partner. Please refer to our SAE International Study Pathways for more information.
More info


Animation is pure imagination. Few industries allow you to mix art and technology to create what has never been seen before. Animation is also a profession where technical expertise and application are as important as raw talent, and this is where SAE comes in.

Our associate degree is all about building your character and credentials by giving you hands-on experience in a broad range of topics related to the Animation and Computer Graphics industries, such as:

  • Character Animation (2D/3D)
  • Visual Storytelling
  • 3D Modelling & Computer Graphics
  • Applying Focus To An Industry Specialisation Role (e.g. Animator, Illustrator, 3D Artist, VFX Artist, Rigger, 3D Character Artist)

As a student of Animation at SAE, we offer small focussed classes and mentoring opportunities you may not find in a larger university. Develop and apply advanced techniques and strategies to use industry software like Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3ds Max, ToonBoom Harmony, Substance Painter, Unreal Engine 5, SideFX Houdini, Foundry Suite, Pixologic ZBrush and Adobe Creative Suite – to help bring your ideas to life.

Your growth and development as a creative practitioner will be assessed through the completion of industry-based projects. This will help you build a body of work and a portfolio to share with potential employers or first clients.

In preparation for an industry that commands agility and adaptability, you’ll cut your creative teeth on projects in partnership with your course peers. As your skills develop and you work on more dynamic projects, you’ll apply your capabilities to cross-discipline projects. By the end of your course, you could be collaborating with fellow students across all SAE disciplines.

With an Associate Degree of Animation, you’ll be ready for cutting-edge industry roles using modern creative production concepts and strategies. Career options include 3D Asset Modeller, Junior Assembly & Layout Artist, Junior Rigging TD, or Surfacing Artist.

Ultimately, a qualification from SAE in Animation will expand your career. As part of your course, you will be provided practical experience and work with others to help build your network. We’ll also equip you with employability skills, giving you professional strategies in communication and self-promotion.

Activate your dream career in Animation and make it a reality with SAE.

Student works on 3D modelling software sitting in front of computer

Career Outcomes

What jobs will this course lead me into?

3D Generalist
Character Artist
2D and/or 3D Animator
Media Industry Specialist
Motion Graphics Designer
Concept Artist
Storyboard Artist
3D Asset Modeller
3D Character Modeller
Junior Rigging TD
Surfacing Artist
Junior Lighting TD
Production Coordinator
3D Asset Modeller
Junior Assembly & Layout Artist

SAE Associate Degree of Animation offers:

Group of students working with animation models
Learn and apply advanced-techniques and strategies to use industry software like: Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3ds Max, ToonBoom Harmony, Substance Painter, Unreal Engine 5, SideFX Houdini, Foundry Suite, Pixologic ZBrush and Adobe Creative Suite
Practical, immersive training Learn as you collaborate on real-world projects and briefs. Build a portfolio to share with an employer or first client.
Cross discipline collaboration Use your animation skills to work with other students on film, game development and audio projects at SAE.
Flexible course options Completing two of the three stages of the Bachelor of Animation, this course provides an excellent pathway into the Bachelor course.




Character Animation (2D/3D) Visual Storytelling 3D Modelling & Computer Graphics Applying Focus To An Industry Specialisation Role (Animator, Illustrator, 3D Artist, VFX Artist, Rigger, 3D Character Artist)


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Course Structure

The Associate Degree of Animation has two stages that provide foundational learning and applied skill.
Teal. Infographic explaining Trimesters 1-6 for the Diploma, Associate Degree and Bachelor Animation courses at SAE.
Stage 1: Foundations
Develop the essential technical animation skills and the knowledge required to collaborate with other creative media students and professionals.
Credit points: 10

Develop your reflective, critical and analytical skills and abilities through an enhanced awareness and understanding of the purpose of tertiary education from a personal, societal and professional perspective. In class activities are used to prepare you with the skills and confidence to engage with a range of scholarly frameworks that you will encounter throughout your studies. You will explore the animation discipline through a team presentation, where you will develop group working, thinking and learning skills.
Credit points: 10

As a practice, drawing provides a core skill set for the expression of both concept and form. This unit introduces you to the concepts and methodologies of drawing using a variety of media with an emphasis on drawing from life, including anatomical studies and perspective techniques for environment and character construction.

The unit is an introduction to the general practice of drawing and rendering and specifically helps to scaffold further learning through support for developing sketch-based visual production skills & knowledge.
Credit points: 10

Take a practical first look at modeling, lighting, shading, animation, and rendering to gain a holistic, foundational understanding of computer graphics.

This unit will involve using industry-standard software such as Autodesk 3Ds Max, Maya, and Blender. The practical and theoretical knowledge of 3D production pipelines acquired in this unit will act as a foundation for successive animation units.
Credit points: 10

As the name suggests this unit provides you with an introduction to animation. You will apply the theoretical underpinnings of animation processes via a range of practical explorations and critical analyses. This will provide you with a solid understanding of animation principles and methods that will form the foundation of successive animation units.
Credit points: 10

This unit will introduce you to the mindset and skillset of the creative entrepreneur, and transform your approach to problem-solving. You will analyse historical and contemporary models of leadership and best practice in entrepreneurship, and use tools for project design that include ideation, problem framing, and pitching. The skills in this unit will assist you in developing your creative thinking, exploration, and experimentation methods, allowing you to experiment with project design and content for creative media.
Credit points: 10

In this unit, you will apply and build upon the foundational animation and computer graphics skills and knowledge that you have learned, to advance your skills via some in-depth, practical activities of 2D/3D character modeling and applied animation techniques.

By undertaking a series of iterative tasks, your static models will become talking moving characters and you will develop the skills and knowledge required to showcase them effectively.
Credit points: 10

ANI175 "Cinematography Previs and Animatics" unit is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of visual storytelling and composition principles and the practical skills to communicate intended narratives effectively through pre-production materials. Students will learn to utilise industry-standard pre-production software tools to create previsualization sequences, enabling them to simulate camera movements, pacing, and shot composition. Through hands-on exercises and project work, students will develop the necessary expertise to produce high-quality previs and animatics, essential elements in modern filmmaking and animation pipelines.
Credit points: 10

You will be introduced to the theory and principles of storytelling across a range of contemporary creative media contexts, which will then be applied to the creation of storytelling documents appropriate to your discipline. Theoretical approaches to plot, structure, character, story world, theme and genre will be explored and applied to a range of story development tools to engage your audience. Feedback processes and reflection are essential in the development of engaging stories, and you are expected to document your process and feedback from your facilitator and peers.
Stage 2: Refine & Expand
Broaden your scope to work on complex multidisciplinary projects in accordance with industry standard practices.
Credit points: 10

In CIM210 you will be working on interdisciplinary projects that relate to some of the most important concepts in contemporary media production. You will learn practical and analytical skills in order to help you develop your creative powers and meet briefs that take you out of your comfort zone. You will need to bring all of the skills you have learned so far: technical skills, research skills, communication skills and a growth mindset, and be prepared to encounter new concepts and new ways of working.
Credit points: 10

Media and culture are not simply entertainment, but something that affects the “real world”, our everyday lives, and our worldviews. As such, we will not ask whether media accurately reflect the real world but instead ask how media shape, reinforce, and challenge power structures that influence our understanding of the world and ourselves. This unit takes a ‘critical theory’ approach to analyze media and culture. In this unit, you will explore media texts, contexts and meaning, society and subjectivity, pop culture aesthetics, and critical cultural discourses that inform creative media practices.

Drawing on a range of creative content and analytical frameworks, you will be encouraged to develop ways of thinking about media and culture that demonstrate a broad awareness of aesthetic principles and stylistic trends; subjectivity, agency, ethics, and relations of power; contexts, disciplines and discursive formations. In support of this exploration, you will produce a range of media artifacts that explore and contextualize the relationship of media to culture through individual analysis, collaborative and interdisciplinary creative practice, and critical reflection.

Credit points: 10

In this studio unit, your facilitator will lead you through a series of project briefs. You will work in collaboration with your peers to develop several project milestones within a simulated studio environment. Your Facilitator will act as your project manager, executive producer, mentor and colleague. The emphasis in this module is on the further development of your fundamental animation production skills including conceptualising, planning and executing rapid animation productions and short films. Working to a clear timeline, you will explore a range of skills and workflows in collaborative, cross-discipline and individual work practices. This includes a focus on the creative, technical and project management aspects required to complete animation productions. Teamwork, collaborative skills and engagement with specific feedback processes are emphasised in this module, as you further refine and reflect on the related Transferable Skills for this module.
Credit Points: 10

ANI217 Cinematic Animation explores advanced character animation techniques for linear narratives. The focus is on bringing characters to life and clearly communicating a story through body language, dialogue animation, facial expression and shot composition. By combining acting theory with animation principles, students develop the skills necessary to create compelling and expressive character performances, enhancing their ability to breathe life into animated narratives with authenticity and depth. Students will apply their previously acquired knowledge alongside newly acquired skills to create a completed cinematic animation production, solidifying their proficiency in the art of cinematic storytelling through animation.
Credit Points: 10

ANI218 Game Animation focuses on the creation and integration of both 2D and 3D animation for games and other interactive applications. Covering topics such as player locomotion, responsive gameplay animation, animation cycles and technical animation, students gain practical skills essential for crafting immersive gaming experiences. Through hands-on projects and theoretical exploration, students develop proficiency in animating characters to enhance player engagement and gameplay dynamics, preparing them for success in the field of game animation.
Credit points: 10

ANI215 Technical Animation and Rigging
ANI215 Technical Animation and Rigging is a practical course designed to develop or extend skills in rigging and animation. You will encounter a range of concepts and strategies related to the production of functional and user friendly rigs, utilising different approaches to develop projects in response to various scenarios. Through short exercises and guided instruction, you will gain an introductory understanding of rigging and animation concepts, focusing on problem-solving and adapting to specific animation needs. 

Following an industry model, students will be tasked with rigging pre-existing meshes to conform to designated animation standards. The course underscores the significance of grasping rigging fundamentals. Ultimately, the objective is for students to demonstrate their comprehension of rigging and technical animation principles by adeptly addressing varied project specifications, irrespective of the software utilised. Objectives and project requirements are not confined to any particular software platform.

ANI219 Concept Art
In ANI219 Concept Art, you will learn about the practice of visual storytelling. Your goal as a concept artist, is to express an idea with clarity and detail enough to engage the audience to want to know more about the world depicted. As much as concept art is about imagination and creation, it is also a discipline focusing on iteration and efficiency. In this unit, you will gain a fundamental understanding of the production and implementation of concept art into the pipeline of many different productions. You will learn about illustration and the creative and technical production of digital images. Working by hand and digitally you will explore a range of drawing techniques and tools including processes of iteration and refinement.
CRICOS Course Codes
080199F (4 TRIMESTERS) 080178M (6 TRIMESTERS)
Australian Qualification Framework
AQF: Level 7 Self Accredited by SAE


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You will use a variety of industry standard and specialised software applications relevant to your study.


SAE may recognise your prior learning and may grant credit towards satisfying the requirements for a higher-level program. This is applied where previous learning is considered equivalent to the content and learning outcomes prescribed for units within the program.
For full details, please refer to SAE's policy on recognition of prior learning and credit transfers.
Animation software displays on a desktop computer


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