Profiles of Animation, 3D Animation, Computer Animation, Cartooning, Illustration, and Web Animation 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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If you are an aspiring animator and shopping around for a training program, you may have come across dozens of different degree programs that combine other areas of study with animation. Digital Art and Animation, Media Arts and Animation, Game Art and Animation, Illustration and Animation, and Film, Video, New Media, and Animation (FVNMA) are just a few.

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Over the centuries, Spain has been the home of numerous famous artists from architects and painters to playwrights and sculptors. Pablo Picasso, Santiago Calatrava, Salvador Dali, Carlos Atanes, Francisco Goya, José Álvarez Cubero, and Diego Velazquez are just a few.

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From the Cliffs of Moher and The Ring of Kerry to The Rock of Cashel and Trinity College, Ireland is home to awe-inspiring landscapes and some of the world’s oldest structures. In between, you will find a thriving art scene (check out the Irish Museum of Modern Art IMMA, National Gallery of Ireland, and National Museum of Ireland: Decorative Arts and History), world-famous shopping destinations such as Dublin's Grafton Street, Brown Thomas and Temple Bar Markets, and some of the best pubs on the planet. The Stags Head, McDermott’s Pub, and The Pavilion are just a few. 

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Italy is the center of history, culture, and art, making it one of the world’s most popular places to explore. Other major attractions such as amazing cuisine, world class sightseeing, and some of the best shopping in the world enhance the country’s appeal. When you consider global universities such as the University of Padua, Sapienza University of Roma, and University of Milan, and top art and design schools such as the Florence Academy of Art, Politecnico di Milano (Polytechnic University of Milan), and the College of Art and Design in Florence, Italy becomes one of the best places to visit and study abroad. 

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If you’re looking for a top Animation MFA program in the U.S., you won’t have any trouble finding a variety of options. UCLA, SCAD, and RIT are just a few. If you’re interested in an Animation PhD programs? Well, let’s just say your search will be a bit more challenging. True, USC’s School of Cinematic Arts offers an excellent option—the PhD in Cinematic Arts. But if you want to earn a PhD that focuses on animation, you’ll have to find a school that is willing to customize its PhD program in art, design or other similar area to suit your goals. If you can’t find a suitable option, that’s OK. America’s strongest ally has you covered. Just head to the UK! 

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Degrees Offered:  
Bachelor of Fine Arts in 3D Animation at our Los Angeles Campus

Tuition Information:  
$11,994 (USD) per Semester
For more information visit http://nyfa.edu

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Manga is a Japanese art form that encompasses drawn cartoons, comic books, and graphic novels. Manga is different from non-Japanese cartoon, comic books, and novels in a number of ways. For starters, manga reads right to left, back to front. This means that the last page of a book or comic in the West would be the first page of a manga. Next, according to Simon Richmond’s The Rough Guide to Anime, “in their original Japanese form, manga magazines are mainly printed in black ink on white or color-tinted pages on flimsy recycled paper. They will typically have four hundred or more pages and contain a score of serialized and one-off stories.” 

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If you haven't heard by now, Swiss director Claude Barras' My Life as a Courgette was nominated for Best Animated Feature Film at this year's Oscars. This stop motion animated film (also known as My Life as a Zucchini), is just one of many animated features produced in Switzerland during the last decade. In 2007, the first feature-length animated film made in Switzerland was released. At a cost of $25.2 million, Max & Co was one of the most expensive domestic productions ever and it put Switzerland on the map in the world of animation. 

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