University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) - Program Info, Interviews, and Rankings

Programs to consider:

 

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 Game Design School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California (top 1% of schools considered)

University of Southern California (USC) was established in 1880 and it is home to 43,000 students enrolled in more than 500 graduate and undergraduate programs, and over 150 minors across 18 colleges and schools. Program offerings for aspiring game designers are offered through several colleges and schools including the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences - Interactive Media & Games Division (in conjunction with the School of Cinematic Arts) and the Viterbi School of Engineering, Department of Computer Science. 

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Our 2016 rankings of the Top 10 schools on the West Coast for game design and development.

We define the West Coast as California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

University of Southern California (USC) is home to the Dornsife College of Letters, the School of Cinematic Arts, and the Viterbi School of Engineering, which offer programs for aspiring game designers. Dornsife’s Interactive Media & Games Division, in conjunction with the School of Cinematic Arts, offers a BA in Interactive Entertainment, an intensive three-year MFA in Interactive Media, and Minors in Game Design and Game Entrepreneurism. According to USC, the MFA program “draws on the strengths of the School of Cinematic Arts, including Game Design, Animation, Sound Production, Screenwriting, Producing and Critical Studies, bringing these resources together in a vibrant community of innovative digital media practice.”

The Viterbi School of Engineering-Department of Computer Science offers a BS in Computer Science – CSCI (Games), an MS in Computer Science (Game Development), and a PhD in Computer Science (Game Design and Development or Virtual Reality). A Minor in Computer Science and a Progressive Degree Program (PDP) are also available. 

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Our 2016 list of the Top 25 public Game Design School Programs in the US. 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. Founded in 1850, the school offers nearly 100 undergraduate programs and more than 90 graduate programs across 17 colleges and schools. The College of Engineering and the College of Fine Arts are home to the Entertainment Arts and Engineering Master Games Studio (EAE:MGS).  Students may choose from four tracks including 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 rankings of the top 20 animation school programs on the West Coast. 

We define the West Coast as California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii. 

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, the school has a population of 1,489 students enrolled in more than 70 programs at all degree levels. 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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Let’s be honest. People like to grumble about how expensive college is today but the truth is, going to college has never been cheap.

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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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Anyone interested in understanding our brave new world that blends art and technology need not look any further than the work of UCLA’s Rebecca Allen. As returning Chair of the university’s Design Media Arts department (a department which she founded in the 1990s), she presides over one of the nation’s premier interactive design programs that offers both B.A. and M.F.A. degrees.

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UCLA’s Animation Workshop

Not every animation student gets to pull up their chair to the very same desk that the first full length cel animated film was drawn on. But MFA students in the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television's renowned Animation Workshop do just that, working on the wooden tables that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was born from. History isn’t the only reason why some of the best and brightest choose the Animation Workshop, of course.

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UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television

The professional programs in UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television act as a sister program to the university’s renowned MFA, offering post-graduates the ability to learn from the best through a non-degree granting certification. Affordable courses in Screenwriting, Producing and Writing for Television have been luring students for nearly two decades- many of which now offer an online alternative for those far from the Los Angeles campus.

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