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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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41. East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee

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Founded in 1911 as East Tennessee State Normal School, East Tennessee State University (ETSU) is home to more than 14,500 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. The school offers more than 350 programs across 11 colleges and schools. Part of the College of Business and Technology, the Department of Engineering Technology, Surveying, and Digital Media offers a BS in Digital Media (BS DIGM), a DIGM Minor, and an MA in New Media Studio.

Undergraduate DIGM students have several Concentrations from which to choose including Animation, Visual Effects, Game Design or Visualization. MA Students will further enhance their skills in the areas of 3-D Animation, Gaming, Motion Capture, Visualization, Video and Special Effects, Digital Illustration, and more.

42. Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Indianapolis, Indiana

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) was created in 1969. It is home to 30,488 students enrolled in more than 250 degree programs across 19 schools. The School of Informatics and Computing (SOIC) houses the Department of Human-Centered Computing, home of Media Arts and Science (MAS). MAS offers several programs for aspiring animators including a BS and a five-year BS+MS in Media Arts and Science with a Specialization in 3D Graphics and Animation or Digital Storytelling.

Program highlights include access to the Media Arts Research and Learning Arcade, the Advanced Visualization Lab, a virtual reality theater, and internship and study abroad opportunities. MAS graduates have landed positions at a number of big name companies such as Pixar, ChaCha, Blizzard Entertainment, BET – Black Entertainment Television, Wiley and Sons (Publishers of Dummies books), and Capital Records.

43. Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois

Southern Illinois University (SIU) was founded in 1869 as the state’s second teachers college. It is home to nearly 18,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs across 11 colleges and schools. Part of the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts, the Department of Radio, Television, and Digital Media offers several programs for aspiring animators. Offerings include a BA in Radio, Television, and Digital Media with a Specialization in Digital Media Arts and Animation, and an MFA in Media Arts. The MFA program allows students to produce work in Film, Video, Sound, New Media and Photography.

44. University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Louisiana

University of Louisiana at Lafayette dates back to 1898 when it was named Southwestern Louisiana Industrial Institute (SLII). The school is home to just over 19,000 students enrolled in more than 80 majors and 30-plus graduate programs across 15 colleges and schools. Part of the College of Arts, the Department of Art offers BFA degrees with a Computer Art and Animation or a New Media and Digital Art Concentration. A Minor in Visual Arts is also available.

45. The College of New Jersey, Ewing, New Jersey

Established in 1855, The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) is home to approximately 6,580 full-time students enrolled in more than 50 Liberal Arts and Professional programs across seven schools. The School of the Arts & Communication houses the Interactive Multimedia Department, which offers a BA in Interactive Multimedia (IMM). This 13-course interdisciplinary program combines Digital Media (digital imaging; animation, motion graphics and digital video; digital audio and electronic music, web design), Interactive Computing (experience design, interaction design, interface design, and programming for everything from web sites to video games), and Professional Writing (interactive storytelling, stories and scripts for movies, animations and video games, technical writing, proposal writing, and online journalism).

IMM students have completed internships at DreamWorks, NFL Films, Amazon, and MTV Networks, and many graduates have found positons at Nickelodeon, MakerBot, Johnson & Johnson, and more. Graduates have also entered graduate programs at top art and design schools such as Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and School of Visual Arts (SVA) at New York University.

46. Indiana University Bloomington, Bloomington, Illinois

With a population of 114,370 students, Indiana University (IU) is one of the nation’s top 10 largest schools. IU consists of eight campuses, including core campuses in Bloomington and Indianapolis, and regional campuses in Fort Wayne, Gary, Kokomo, New Albany, Richmond, and South Bend. The Bloomington campus is home to 48,514 students enrolled in 550-plus academic programs across 15 degree-granting colleges and schools.

The Media School offers several viable options for aspiring animators. Options include a BA in Media with Concentrations in Interactive and Digital Media or Cinema and Media Arts. These programs allow students to customize their Media School experiences by selecting from a variety of courses that match their career goals.

47. Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan

Established in 1960, Grand Valley State University (GVSU) consists of a main campus in Allendale, along with four other campuses in Grand Rapids, Holland, Muskegon, and Traverse City. The school is home to 25,325 students from the U.S. and 82 foreign countries enrolled in 122 degree programs. The School of Communications is home to the Film and Video Production (FVP) major, which highlights Animation, Cinema Studies, Documentary and Nonfiction, Fiction Filmmaking, New Media, and Sound Design. The program leads to a BA or BS in Film and Video Production.

According to the school, graduates of the FVP program “find a wide range of professional employment, both in Michigan and nationally, including positions in the independent, documentary, and major motion picture film industries, animation and multimedia, production and post-production houses, national and local television networks, advertising agencies, community media access stations, corporations, and school systems." Graduates have gone on to land positions at Pixar Animation Studios, and many others.

48. Kent State University, Kent, Ohio

Kent State University (KSU) was founded as a teacher-training school in 1910. The school, which consists of 10 colleges across eight campuses, is home to 28,981 students from 50 states and 122 countries. One of the largest regional systems in the country, KSU offers more than 300 undergraduate and graduate programs and 280-plus majors and minors. Programs for aspiring animators are offered at four campuses including Kent, Tuscarawas, Stark, and Trumbull.  

The Kent and Tuscarawas campuses offer an AAS degree and a Minor in Computer Design, Animation and Game Design (CDAGD), while the Stark campus offers a BS in Technology with a CDACG Concentration. The College of Technology at the Trumbull campus offers an AAS in Computer Design, Animation and Game Design Engineering Technology. The Stark program can be complete in-person, online or a combination of the two.

49. Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois

Chartered in 1895, Northern Illinois University (NIU) is home to approximately 20,130 students enrolled in 360-plus majors, minors, emphases, specializations, and graduate and professional programs. Among the school’s seven colleges and 42 departments are the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) and the School of Art and Design, which offer a BFA in Time Arts. The program consists of coursework within the areas of Animation, Video Art, Audio Art, and Interactive Art.

The School of Art and Design, has been a fully accredited since 1969. It has an enrollment of more than 450 undergraduate and 80 graduate students, and a faculty of more than 40 artists, designers, and scholars.

50. South Dakota State University, Brookings, South Dakota

Founded in 1881, South Dakota State University (SDSU) is home to approximately 12,589 students enrolled in more than 250 programs across to eight colleges and a graduate school. The College of Arts & Sciences houses the School of Design. Established in 2015, the School offers six BFA programs and a variety of minors and certificate programs to a population of 450 students.

The best options for aspiring animators include the BFA in Graphic Design, which highlights Animation, Interactive Design, Illustration, and Computer Graphics, the 12 credit-hour Animation Certificate, and the 18 credit-hour Film Studies Minor. The Department of Visual Arts offers additional opportunities for student engagement through creative activities. Just a few include SoDak Animation Festival, AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Art), Art Club, and Professional Graphic Design and Art internships. A study abroad program is also on the menu.