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Animation. Graphic Design. Game Art.

Top 50 Public Animation Schools and Colleges in the U.S. – 2016

Written by ACR StaffMay 7, 2016
Did You Know.....Full Sail University offers online degree programs in computer animation, game art, and game design? Learn more about Full Sail University's online programs.
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21. North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina

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Established in 1887, North Carolina State University (NC State) is home to just over 34,000 students enrolled in more than 300 degree programs across 12 colleges and 65 academic departments. The Department of Art and Design, which is part of the College of Design, offers several programs for aspiring animators. Programs include a Bachelor of Art and Design: Animation and Interactive Media, a Master of Art and Design: Animation and Interactive Media, and a Minor in Art and Design.

According to the school, Animation students will “take studios that introduce them to Principles of Storytelling, Animation, and Character Design through Sequential Imaging, Introduction to Animation, and Digital Modeling.” Graduates of the program are prepared to work in Character Development for Animated Films, Games, and Digital Storybooks, on short and full-length animated films, and on interactive and experimental projects.

22. Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana

Established in 1918, Ball State University is home to around 21,000 students enrolled in more than 300 programs across 10 colleges. The School of Art, which is part of the College of Fine Art, offers a BFA and an MFA degree with an Emphasis in Animation. The programs, which explore traditional 2D and 3D Animation, Character Design, Storyboarding, and other topics, prepare students to work in Film and Television, Video Games, Medical Animation, architectural Rendering, Advertising, and Product Visualization.

23. Kendall College of Art and Design, Ferris State University, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Kendall College of Art and Design, Ferris State University (KCAD) was founded in 1928. It is home to 1,328 students enrolled in more than 20 programs. Offerings for aspiring animators a BA in Digital Media with heavy coursework in 2D and 3D Animation, Digital Imaging, Interactive Design, and Video and Motion Graphics. Digital Media students will have the opportunity to develop a portfolio in 2D Animation, 3D Game Art, Digital Imaging, Interactive Design, and Video and Motion Graphics. All areas require advanced animation skills.

24. University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) was founded in 1963 and opened in 1965. The school is one of the 17 campuses of the University of North Carolina and it awards the four-year arts certificate, bachelor's degrees, master's degrees and the professional artists certificate. Home to 1,240 students, UNCSA consists of five schools including Dance, Design and Production (includes a Visual Arts Program), Drama, Filmmaking, and Music – plus a High School Academic Program and Division of Liberal Arts.

The School of Filmmaking at UNCSA, which is an official partner of the Sundance Institute, is home to more than 300 students and offers several program options for aspiring animators. Offerings include BFA degrees in Animation, Cinematography, and Production Design & Visual Effects. Animation program graduates have completed internships at Sony Pictures Imageworks and Stargate Studios, and others have gone on to establish careers at Cartoon Network, Prologue Pictures, and many others. According to the school, “a recent Animation graduate was honored with a 2015 Emmy Award Nomination for his work in the title sequence for American Horror Story.

25.  Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) opened its doors in 1872 as Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College. The school is home to 32,663 students enrolled in 250 degree programs across nine colleges and a graduate school. The College of Architecture and Urban Studies houses the School of Visual Arts (SOVA), which offers several programs for aspiring animators. Offerings include a BFA in Studio Art with heavy coursework in 3D Animation and Modeling, Digital Video and Visual Effects, and Digital Painting. SOVA also offers an MFA in Creative Technologies that allows students to design a specific program of study that fits their individual interests.

26. University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, Maryland

Founded in 1966, University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) is home to 13,839 students enrolled in 55 majors and 35 minors, 24 certificate programs, 41 master’s degree programs, 24 doctoral degree programs, and 24 graduate certificate programs across seven colleges and schools. The College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences is home to the Department of Visual Arts which offers two degree programs for aspiring animators—BA and BFA degrees in Visual Arts with a Concentration in Animation/Interactive Media.

According to the school, “advanced level courses in animation incorporate technically intensive experiences in 3-D computer animation and digital compositing, as well as explorations of emerging practices including real-time applications and interactive animation.” Other program highlights include visiting artists and designers, the opportunity to work on 3D animation and interactive projects through the Imaging Research Center (IRC), and study abroad opportunities at two institutions in Europe—the University of Applied Sciences (Germany) and Polytechnic University of Valencia (Spain).

27. Montclair State University, Montclair, New Jersey

Established in 1908 as the New Jersey State Normal School at Montclair, Montclair State University is home to 20,465 students enrolled in nearly 300 majors, minors, concentrations, and certificate programs across six colleges and schools. The Department of Art and Design, which is part of the College of Arts, offers a BFA in Animation/Illustration. According the school, students in the program will study “both traditional and digital drawing techniques that provide a foundation for advanced animation coursework.”

The curriculum includes Fine Arts Studio courses and “progressive” levels of Illustration and Animation courses. Just a few include Digital Illustration, 2-D and 3-D Animation, Cartooning, Character Design, 3-D Modeling, Screenwriting for Animation, Texture Mapping, and Animation Production. Because it is a multidisciplinary program, the Animation/Illustration BFA prepares students to work in a range of creative areas including animation, motion design, illustration, art or project direction, advertising, game design, special effects, and many others.

28. Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan

Established in 1849, Eastern Michigan University (EMU) is home to more than 23,000 students enrolled in over 200 programs across six colleges and schools. The School of Visual and Built Environments is part of the College of Technology and home to the Simulation, Animation and Gaming program or “SAG.” The program, which emphasizes Animation, Modeling, Lighting, Rigging, and Camera Work in 3D, leads to a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree with a Focus in Simulation, Animation, and Gaming.

The interdisciplinary program gives students “a wide variety of experiences in their course of study, which provides a competitive advantage over many other programs that are local, national and international.”

29. Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri

Founded in 1905 Missouri State University is home to more than 20,000 students, making it the state’s second largest university. The school offers more than 150 undergraduate majors and 48 graduate programs across four campuses, six academic colleges, the School of Agriculture, and the Graduate College. The College of Arts and Letters, Department of Art and Design offers several programs for aspiring animators. Offerings include a BFA in Art and a BS in Electronic Arts. Both programs allow students to choose an Animation Emphasis and participate in the Japanese Animation Club.

30. University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Dartmouth, Massachusetts

Established in 1895, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (UMass Dartmouth) is home to 8,916 students from 40 states and 54 foreign countries. The school houses seven colleges and schools that offer around 59 majors and minors. The College of Visual & Performing Arts (CVPA) offers both BFA and MFA degrees in Visual Design with an Option in Digital Media. According to the school, “students specializing in Digital Media engage in concentrated studies in Digital Animation and Interactive Multimedia.”

In addition to course offerings such as Storytelling and Storyboarding, 2D Animation, 3D Modeling, Interface Design, and Virtual Reality Studies, students have access to CVPA’s Hall-Hildreth IDEAStudio. This “collaborative venture between the College of Engineering and the College of Visual and Performing Arts,” allows students to “rapidly” prototype designs, access industry animation and design software packages, mock-up team projects. collaborate with students and faculty, and work on advanced capstone projects.