Profiles of Animation, 3D Animation, Computer Animation, Cartooning, Illustration, and Web Animation Programs & Schools

 

Our 2016 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, Los Angeles, California

The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) is home to the Animation Workshop of the School of Theater, Film and Television. Founded in 1948 by William Shull, a Disney animator, the UCLA Animation Workshop is a three-year MFA program (MFA in Film, Television, and Digital Media) that accepts just 12 new students each year.

Students applying to the MFA program come from a variety of backgrounds; some have earned a BA or BFA in art or film studies, applicants also come from English, engineering, architecture, psychology, communications, and more. Animation graduates have landed positions at Pixar Animation Studios, and every major animation studio in Southern California; they have gone on to direct features such as The Simpsons Movie and Monster House and have directed with Tim Burton producing (the feature film 9). 

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Our 2016 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.

1. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah

Founded in 1875 by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), Brigham Young University is home to 29,672 undergraduate students enrolled in 100-plus programs across more than a dozen colleges and departments. The Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology, the College of Fine Arts and Communications, and the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences direct BYU’s Center for Animation. The Center showcases student films, spotlights successful alumni, publishes award announcements, and offers the Animation Emphasis for BS in Computer Science students. A BFA in Animation is also on the menu.

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Our 2016 rankings of the top private animation schools on the East Coast. We define the East Coast as Virginia, Rhode Island, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. 

For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island

Founded in 1877, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is home to 2,481 students from across the U.S. and 57 other countries. This private art school offers 32 art and design programs and it has a large Film/Animation/Video Department (FAV) where students can earn a BFA in Film/Animation/Video (BFA FAV). This program is one he schools top five most popular majors.

RISD graduates include famous animators and directors such as Seth Macfarlane, creator of Family Guy, Daniel Sousa, animator and director of the Oscar-nominated film Feral, and Lance Wilder, animator for The Simpsons.

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 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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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 is a global industry worth billions. This means that today’s major animation studios are looking for exceptional animators that think beyond borders. By choosing to enroll in a study abroad program, animation students will be taking the first step to becoming the valuable, globally minded asset employers look for in the extremely competitive and growing animation industry.

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Animation is a highly competitive field that is expected to add some 3,900 new jobs between 2014 and 2024. This represents a 6% increase in employment, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. Despite job growth, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), “there will be competition for job openings because many recent graduates are interested in entering the occupation.

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So, you want to earn a degree in animation, but you’re a little concerned about your chances of landing a decent job in this competitive field. We’re here to tell you that no matter which field you choose there will always be concerns about finding work. Fortunately, in order to become a successful animator, it might be a good idea to step outside of the box.

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