Profiles of Animation, Art, Design, Gaming, and Media Programs & Schools

Our 2014 rankings of the top animation schools in the South.

We define the South as Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas.

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Our 2014 rankings of the Top 10 Animation Schools in the Southwest. We define the Southwest as Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada.

For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

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West

Our 2014 rankings of the Top 25 Animation Schools on the West Coast. 

We define the West Coast as California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, and Idaho. 

For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

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Our 2014 list of the Top 100 Animation School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

11. California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California 
When the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music and the Chouinard Art Institute merged in 1961 with the help of none other than Walt and Roy Disney, it became one of the most coveted artist’s communities on the west coast. Dubbed California Institute of Arts (better known as CalArts), the school quickly climbed the ranks to become one of the top ten schools for aspiring animators and America’s top college for students in the arts.

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An introductory note from the editor:  

We started publishing US based regional and national lists in 2012 in response to myriad emails from aspiring animators seeking advice regarding the "best" schools in the US. The US-centric lists have been well-received, so much so that we now receive frequent requests to publish rankings of international animation schools. ACR staff writer and social media manager Tom Fronczak managed and authored this year's Top 100 International Animation Schools rankings. In preparing this year’s list, we considered hundreds of animation schools across the globe. Our end-goal is to give students access to ample information so they can make an informed decision about the school they choose to attend and the program they pursue.  

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ohn C. Hench Division of Animation and Digital Arts

The University of Southern California has earned its spot among the nation’s most esteemed institutions of higher learning. Among its many venerable departments, its School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) has nurtured and inspired generations of film makers, animators, directors and entrepreneurs for 85 years. Not surprisingly, it attracts a who’s who list of faculty, guest lecturers and generous endowments while drawing in students from around the world to California’s golden coast. 

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Animation is one of most magnetic and highly competitive career fields on the planet. It takes a tremendous amount of talent, a dogged desire to succeed, and an ample amount of education and experience to get your foot in the door. It also takes more than just a modicum of luck. On the education front, yes—it really does matter, so we thought it would be interesting to see where this year’s Oscar Nominees for Best Animated Feature and Best Animated Short Film decided to hone their craft before entering the wild world of animation.

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Max the Mutt College of Animation, Art & Design

Degrees Offered: Concept Art for Animation & Video Games, a 4 year Diploma Program Art & Design, Classical & Computer Animation & Production, a 4 year Diploma Program

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If you learn anything from animator Nick Fredin’s IMDB page, it’s that he’s a busy guy. His work has spanned from game and character animation to digital effects and pre-visualization, taking him from his native Canada to the shores of New Zealand in the process. With a slew of award-winning and blockbuster films under his belt like Rango, The Adventures of Tin Tin, and The Hobbit, Fredin is no stranger to the sometimes frenetic world of animation. In fact, he embraces it.

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