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

 Our 2015 list of the Top 50 Animation School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. 1. California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), Valencia, California (top 5% of schools considered)

Established in 1961, California Institute of the Arts is home to 1,489 students enrolled in more than 70 programs at all degree levels. The nation's first postsecondary institution to offer graduate and undergraduate degrees in both the visual and performing arts, CalArts attracts a large population of aspiring filmmakers and animators. Around 26.9 percent of the schools population is enrolled in the School of Film/Video. The School offers a BFA degree in Character Animation, and BFA and MFA degrees in Experimental Animation.

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Our 2015 list of the Top 50 Public Animation School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, California

Founded in 1919 as the Southern Branch of the University of California, the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) is home to 43,239 students enrolled in more than 220 programs across five schools and 109 academic departments. UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television is home to the Animation Workshop.

Founded in 1948 by Disney Animator William Shull, the Animation Workshop is a three-year MFA program that accepts just 12 new students each year. Before applying to the program, students typically earn a BA in Film and Television. The BA program gives future MFA students the opportunity to study all facets of Digital Media, Film, and Television, as well as a full year of Animation studies, followed by an internship. 

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Our 2015 list of the Top 50 Private Animation School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.


11. California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), Valencia, California

Established in 1961 by Walt and Roy Disney, CalArts is the nation's first postsecondary institution to offer graduate and undergraduate degrees in both the visual and performing arts. Home to 1,489 students, with 26.9 percent enrolled in the School of Film/Video, CalArts offers a BFA degree in Character Animation, and a BFA and MFA in Experimental Animation.

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Our 2015 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.

For an explanation of our ranking criteria, click here.

11. Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida

Established in 1931, Ringling College of Art and Design (RCAD) is home to nearly 1,300 students enrolled in 14 majors leading to a BA or BFA degree. The school, which was founded by John Ringling—co-founder of the Ringling Bros. and co-owner of the Barnum and Bailey Circus, offers one program for aspiring animators—a BFA in Computer Animation. The four-year degree program highlights Storytelling, Modeling, Lighting, Motion and Sound, and other related areas.

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Our 2015 rankings of the top 25 animation school programs on the West Coast. 

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

For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

11. California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), Valencia, California

California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) was established in 1961 by Walt and Roy Disney. It is the nation’s first postsecondary institution to offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in both the visual and performing arts. This visual and performing arts school is home to 1,489 students enrolled in more than 70 programs across six schools and one center. Around 26.9 percent of CalArt’s students are enrolled in the School of Film/Video. The School offers several programs for aspiring animators. Offerings include a BFA degrees in Character Animation and Experimental Animation. The School also offers an MFA in Experimental Animation.

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Our 2015 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.

11. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah

Founded in 1875, Brigham Young University (BYU) is home to 26,674 undergraduate students enrolled in well over 100 programs offered through more than a dozen colleges and schools. BYU’s animation programs are available through two colleges—the College of Fine Arts and Communications and the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. The Department of Visual Arts (College of Fine Arts) offers a BFA in Animation and the Computer Science Department College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences) offers a BS in Computer Science with an Animation Emphasis.

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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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Animation Schools in Texas August 27, 2015

Texas

With a population of more than 27 million, the hearty State of Texas is the second largest state in the U.S. The Lone Star State also has one of the largest collections of colleges in the country (252), the flags of six different nations fly over it, and it is home to some of the largest ranches in the world.

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It’s a pleasant surprise to find an intimate animation program within a large, public research institution. It’s an event better find when said program features two very distinctive tracks that cater to the strengths and desires of their students. In the University of Central Florida’s School of Visual Arts & Design, undergrads can do just that by earning a B.F.A. in Art with a focus on either Character Animation or Experimental Animation.

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Not every university with an animation program can tout its connections to the industry. Geography plays an integral role in terms of developing studio relationships, faculty connections and alumni networks. Location can also determine students’ access to internships, lectures, film festivals and even post-graduate employment. For those eager to find all of the above, California State University- Northridge (CSUN) has an expanding animation program that might just tug at your heartstrings.

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