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

Our 2017 list of the Top 50 Animation School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

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

California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) is the nation's first postsecondary institution to offer graduate and undergraduate degrees in both the visual and performing arts. Established in 1961 by Walt and Roy Disney, the school is home to 1,449 students enrolled in more than 70 programs across six schools including the School of Critical Studies, The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance, the School of Art, the School of Film/Video, The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts, and the School of Theater. The School of Film/Video is the largest school at CalArts, accounting for nearly 30% of the student population. Programs offered include a BFA in Character Animation and BFA and MFA degrees in Experimental Animation.

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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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So you want to be an animation director, huh? Well, congratulations! You’ve chosen one of the coolest careers in the entertainment industry, and we’re not just talking about the creative part. Animation is a growing industry with expected employment growth of six percent for the 2014-2024 decade. Add “director” to the title and growth increases to nine percent over the same decade. This is faster than average for all occupations. 

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Degrees Offered: Animation Fundamentals, Graphics & Visualization Fundamentals, 2D Digital Animation, 3D Motion Graphics & VFX, 3D Modeling, 3D Projection Mapping.

Tuition Information: $50,000 tuition. Students actively participated in the events, classes and courses. Arena Bring out their best in their corresponding course and interest.

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The global medical animation market is expected to be worth $301.3 million by 2021. Some estimates place the market at $514 million by 2024. Either way, the medical animation market is booming and the trend is expected to continue thanks to constant new discoveries, treatments, and technologies in science and medicine. Health and science organizations must keep pace with these advances so visualization specialists such as medical animators and illustrators are in high demand. 

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Wouldn’t it be great if you could earn an animation degree for less than $10,000 a year? What if you were an out-of-state student and the cost was less than $15,000 a year? In the past, we’ve compiled lists that consist of some of America’s most affordable animation schools, the most expensive to least expensive animation schools, and more.

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Cloud technologies have created a paradigm shift in how we store, use, and exchange digital information. Rather than rely on costly individual servers or devices, cloud computing utilizes public and private networks to spread data to a multitude of low-cost and even consumer-friendly hardware. Large corporations and small businesses alike can store and share information seamlessly in the cloud. Outside of work, most of us access the cloud everyday to listen to music or save documents at home.

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Just about every degree program available offers the opportunity to enhance the degree by adding a minor, concentration or electives to match students’ career goals. For example, students interested in cinema and computer animation rather than traditional animation might choose a degree in Cinema Art and Science with a Concentration in Animation.

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Our 2017 rankings of the top 5 animation school programs in Washington. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

1. University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 

University of Washington (UW) offers several programs for aspiring animators through the school’s Computer Science & Engineering Department (UW CSE). Options include BS degrees in Computer Science or Engineering, and a PhD or Professional Master’s Program (PMP) in Computer Science & Engineering (CSE). All programs offer heavy animation coursework and access to the department’s three main labs (The Graphics and Imaging Lab (GRAIL), the Center for Game Science, and the Animation Research Labs) dedicated to research in the areas of Animation, Computer Graphics, Game Science, Vision, and Visualization. 

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Our 2017 rankings of the top 5 animation school programs in Texas. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 

Texas A&M University is home to the College of Architecture, which offers programs for animators at all degree levels. Options include BS, MS, and MFA degrees in Visualization. According to the school, “Animation studies at Texas A&M are part of a broader curriculum offered at the Department of Visualization that produces graduates who prepare for success in a wide range of visualization-related fields by developing artistic and technical expertise.” These interdisciplinary programs focus on the processes of “creation, design and development of the visual experience,” and prepare students to work in animation, technical animation, illustration, and many other areas. 

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