Profiles of Schools/Colleges in Arizona (AZ) Offering Animation, Design, Gaming, and Media Related Programs

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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Our 2016 list of the Top 25 Public Graphic Design School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1.  North Carolina State University at Raleigh, Raleigh North, Carolina (Top 1% of schools considered)

North Carolina State University at Raleigh (NC State Raleigh) is “the school of 100+ startups and spinoffs.” Founded in 1887 and home to more than 34,000 students, the school offers 300 undergraduate and graduate degree programs through 65 departments and 12 colleges. The College of Design is home to the Graphic Design program which offers two degree paths—a Bachelor of Graphic Design and a Master of Graphic Design.  The College has recently established a PhD in Design/Information Design Concentration as well. The undergraduate and graduate degrees are NASAD (National Association of Schools of Art and Design) accredited and the PhD program is set to receive NASAD approval after graduating its first class. 

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Our 2016 list of the Top 10 Graphic Design School Programs in the Southwest. For an explanation of our ranking criteria, click here.

1. Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona (Top 2% of schools considered)

Arizona State University (ASU) was founded in 1885 and it is home to more than 82,000 students (2014) enrolled in over 290 academic undergraduate programs and hundreds of graduate programs across 17 colleges and schools. The ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts houses the Design School, which offers programs in the areas of Architecture, Environmental Design, Industrial Design, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, Urban Design and Visual Communication Design (Graphic Design). 

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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 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)

Established in 1961 by Walt and Roy Disney, 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. With a population of 1,489 students enrolled in more than 70 programs at all degree levels, CalArts attracts a large population of aspiring filmmakers and animators. Around 26.9% of the student body is enrolled in the School of Film/Video, which offers BFA degrees in Character Animation and Experimental Animation. An MFA in Experimental Animation is also available.

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Our 2016 rankings of the Top 10 schools for game design in the Southwest US. 

We define the Southwest as Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada. 

For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah 

The University of Utah (The U) is home more than 31,000 students from across the U.S. and around the world.  Founded in 1850, the school offers nearly 100 undergraduate programs and more than 90 graduate programs. The school houses 17 colleges and schools, and close to 100 departments. The College of Engineering and the College of Fine Arts offer the Entertainment Arts and Engineering Master Games Studio (EAE:MGS). Tracks include Arts, Engineering, Technical Arts, and Production. According to the Studio, “all students in each of the tracks have a series of common classes including Game Design, Rapid Prototyping, Pre-Production, and Final Project.” In addition, students will “develop and enhance a professional game portfolio” and they will have the opportunity to complete an internship in the game industry.

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Our 2016 list of the Top 50 Private Animation School Programs in the US. 

For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California 

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, and with a population of 1,489 students, the school offers more than 70 programs at all degree levels. However, CalArts attracts a large population of aspiring filmmakers and animators. In fact, around 26.9% of the student body is enrolled in the School of Film/Video, which offers BFA degrees in Character Animation and Experimental Animation. An MFA in Experimental Animation is also available. 

Called the “Harvard Business School of Animation” by the Los Angeles Times, CalArts has produced hundreds of successful alumni who have generated more than $26 billion in box office grosses since 1985.

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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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Arizona Animation Schools February 19, 2016

Arizona is no stranger to Hollywood. In fact, The Arizona Film Office of the Arizona Department of Commerce has a number of major productions to its credit, and many are classics. Sean Penn's Into the Wild (2007) was filmed in parts of Bullhead City, Kingman, Page, and Yuma, and scenes from The Savages (2007) were filmed on location in Sun City. The Oscar winning film Little Miss Sunshine (2006) made its way through Chandler, Flagstaff, and Phoenix, and scenes from Star Wars Episodes IV and VI (1977 and 1983), Natural Born Killers (1994), Psycho (1960), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), Forrest Gump (1994), Planet of the Apes (1968), Wayne’s World (1992) and Casablanca (1942) were filmed here. 

The Arizona Film Office attracts major productions such as these by offering incentives, access to picturesque shooting locations, and easy access to local talent and staff. As a result, the Arizona film industry continues to thrive, attracting production companies from all over the U.S. and abroad. This includes animation studios.

In addition to an active film and video industry, the State of Arizona is home to a variety of advertising agencies located in major cities such as Phoenix and Tucson; it is home to the Tucson Animation Screening Society (TASS), which promotes Japanese animation (anime) for the University of Arizona, and it is home to top-rated art and design schools such as the Southwest University of the Visual Arts (SUVA), which offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in animation and the University of Advancing Technology (UAT), which offers a BA in Game Art and Animation.

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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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