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Q: What are modules?

Asked by Heather

Hi, Rebecca. I've been offered a place on the Illustration and Animation course and being from the US, am a bit confused about how the courses are set up in the UK. I have heaps of questions; hope you don't mind.

Are modules equivalent to classes?
Are all the modules on the course page required or do students pick and choose each term?
How much time each week do you dedicate to classes, studio, and outside course work?
How much time might I have to dedicate to a part-time job to help me pay expenses?
How does Kingston's reputation compare to other art and design courses?

Phew. Got it all out there. Will hugely appreciate your advice!


A: Answer from Student Ambassador Rebecca

Answered on 10 Apr 2012 by Rebecca

Student Ambassador Rebecca

Hi Heather,

That's no problem, I like answering questions! On most degrees there are groups of modules for each term and you can choose, to an extent, which ones you study, in that you are give the option at the start of each term to rank them in terms of personal preference (does that make them equivalent to classes?). However, as with most Art and Design degrees, Illustration and Animation is a bit different. The first year is quite straightforward: you will probably study all of the modules listed in the first year section, with some choices within each module, since each studio module is made up of various projects. For example, there will be a couple of projects where you can choose between Illustration and Animation options, to help you decide which area to specialise in at the end of first year. You will also get to create a self-directed final major project in your final term, where you make your own brief with support from tutors. You will also get to decide which essay questions you wish to answer in your 'Themes in the History of Design for Communication and Media' (art and design history) modules. In addition, in every year there are optional extra modules, like studying a language as part of the Kingston Language Scheme.

Your second and third years will also finish with a self-directed final major project, and by the end of first year, you will have made a choice about whether you wish to study illustration or animation primarily, although you will still have a chance to dabble in either subject. In terms of the written art and design modules, at the end of our first year, we got to rank several modules in order of preference, which we went on to study in the first term of second year. I assume something similar will happen if you choose to study here. In the second term of second year, we had a series of lectures about writing dissertations, and submitted a dissertation proposal, and from the end of second year until January of third year, we were researching and writing our 6-8000 word dissertations.

I think how much time per week you dedicate to coursework etc. depends on your working methods but the studio's open Monday-Saturday and Kingston has a very strong studio culture, so you'll probably do most of your work there. The course at Kingston is special because of both this studio culture and the amount of tutor time you receive and, for example, in my first term of my first year I had a 2 hour art history lecture on Mondays, tutorials on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and either drawing on location, life drawing or self-directed drawing on Fridays. The university recommends that you don't spend more than 16 hours a week doing paid work but of course, some people can cope with working more than that and some can't cope with that much work. To help you out with finding work, the university has its own Job Shop, where it displays current vacancies in the area, as well as a lot of jobs within the university itself, from fundraiser to student ambassador.

Obviously I'm a bit biased because I chose to study here, but Illustration and Animation, in fact, The Design School as a whole, has a very good reputation. This year, we on Illustration and Animation have been lucky enough to work in partnership with Berlitz, Random House and Hat Trick, among others, and students past and present are always getting shortlisted for and winning awards and competitions from the likes of D&AD, The Folio Society and BAFTA.

Hope this helps!


About Rebecca

Course: Illustration and Animation
Level: Alumni 2012
Hometown: Faversham

Other information: I came to Kingston straight from school. I undertook a work placement at MRM London for a few weeks in April 2011. I am a Kingston University student ambassador. I chose Kingston because... It has a very good reputation for Illustration and Animation, with good industry links. It is also close to London, which is full of amazing galleries and nightlife. I got to where I am now... I went through several career choices before I settled on illustration. From the age of about fi...

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