Profiles of Visual Effects Programs & Schools

Programs to consider:

Our 2015 rankings of the top graphic design schools in the Midwest.

We define the Midwest as Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Idaho, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (Top 1% of schools considered)

Cranbrook Academy of Art dates back to 1932 when it was called The Academy of Art. Home to around 150 students, the school consists of 10 departments led by an Artist or Designer-in-Residence. Programs for aspiring graphic designers include an MFA in Graphic Design. The program, which places strong emphasis on studio work time and group critique, is offered through the 2D/graduate graphic design department.

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Our 2015 list of the Top 25 Public Graphic Design School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia (Top 1% of schools considered)

Established in 1838, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is home to more than 31,000 students enrolled in around 226 certificate and degree programs across 13 schools and one college. The School of the Arts is home to the Department of Graphic Design. The Department offers two programs for aspiring graphic designers. Students may choose between the BFA in Graphic Design or the MFA with a Concentration in Visual Communications (Graphic Design).

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Our inaugural list of the Top 10 Graphic Design School Programs on the West Coast. For an explanation of our ranking criteria, click here.

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

Established in 1961, 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. The school offers 70 programs at all degree levels, including several for aspiring graphic designers. Offerings include a BFA in Graphic Design, an MFA in Graphic Design, and an MFA in Graphic Design with a Specialization in Motion Graphics. The programs are offered through the through the School of Art. In addition to small class sizes (the school is home to 1,489 students), CalArts offers a variety of internship and study abroad opportunities as well as a variety of summer study programs.

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Our inaugural list of the Top 10 Graphic Design School Programs in the Southwest. For an explanation of our ranking criteria, click here.

1. University of North Texas, Denton, Texas (Top 5% of schools considered)

University of North Texas was founded in 1890 as Texas Normal College and Teachers’ Training Institute. It is home to more than 36,000 students enrolled in more than 200 degree programs across 11 colleges and schools. The College of Visual Arts & Design is home to the Design Department, which offers several programs for aspiring graphic designers. Options include a BFA in Communication Design (Graphic Design) and MA and MFA degrees in Design.

Housed in the Art Building, the Communication Design programs offer access to studio classrooms and design labs as well as resources such as 1,000-plus reference books and magazines and paper/print samples of photography, illustration, typography, graphic design and advertising.

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Our inaugural list of the Top 10 Graphic Design School Programs in the South. For an explanation of our ranking criteria, click here.

1. Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida (Top 1% of schools considered)

Established in 1931 by circus baron, real estate developer, and noted art collector John Ringling, Ringling College of Art and Design opened just 75 students enrolled in 111 courses. Today, the school sits on a 35-acre campus that houses nearly 1,300 students enrolled in BA and BFA degree programs in 11 majors. Programs for aspiring graphic designers include a BFA in Graphic Design, which has been in existence 1980.

In existence since 1980, the graphic design teaches students to “create design solutions in print, motion, and interactive media with projects of all varieties.” Students gain real-world experience through internships with major firms and through “The Collaboratory,” which pairs teams of Ringling students with local businesses. Students also have the opportunity to work at RCADs in-house design firm on projects with external clients and for Ringling College events.

RCAD design graduates have landed positions at Google, Leo Burnett, Microsoft, Trader Joe's, Wieden + Kennedy, LinkedIn, Yahoo, American Greetings, and more.

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Our inaugural list of the Top 10 Graphic Design School Programs on the East Coast. For an explanation of our ranking criteria, click here.

1. Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island (Top 1% of schools considered)

Founded in 1877, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is a private, not-for-profit, four-year art school. It is home to 2,014 undergraduate students and 435 graduate students from across the U.S. and 57 other countries. This co-educational art school offers 32 degree programs, including graphic design—one of the RISD’s top five most popular majors. Offerings include a BFA in Graphic Design and a two- or three-year MFA in Graphic Design.

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ArtFx - Program Profile January 12, 2016

Scope of Program: Created by professionals from the cinema, animation, visual effects and video game fields, ArtFx is well renowned private, higher education school for digital arts and video game training in Europe.

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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 surveyed over one hundred 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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Our 2015 list of the Top 25 Private Graphic Design School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island (Top 1% of schools considered)

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) was founded during the 19th-century Industrial Revolution, when the textiles and jewelry manufacturing industries were beginning to take off in Providence. Since 1877, this private, not-for-profit, four-year art school has taught art and design to thousands of students and it has educated the general public “about the intrinsic value of the arts to society.” Today, the school is home to 2,014 undergraduate students and 435 graduate students from across the U.S. and 57 other countries. This co-educational art school offers 32 degree programs, with graphic design leading the pack. Degree offerings include a BFA in Graphic Design and a two- or three-year MFA in Graphic Design.

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Degrees Offered:  2 Year Diplomas in 2D Animation, 3D Animation for Film and Gaming, Digital Visual Effects.

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