The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School (DAVE School) - Program Info, Interviews, and Rankings

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

1. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Established in 1880, University of Southern California (USC) is home to 43,000 students enrolled in more than 500 undergraduate and graduate 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.

The Interactive Media & Games Division 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.” 

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Our 2016 rankings of the top 10 game design and development schools in the South. 

We define the South as Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas. 

For an explanation of our ranking criteria, click here

1. Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia

Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is home to the School of Digital Media, which offers four programs for aspiring game designers. Options include a BA, BFA, MA, and MFA in Interactive Design and Game Development. The BA program is offered at the Savannah, Atlanta, eLearning campuses, while the BFA is offered at the Savannah, Atlanta, and Hong Kong campuses. The MA and MFA ate offered at the Savannah, Hong Kong, and eLearning campuses.

A Minor in Interactive Design and Game Development is also available as well as a Certificate in Interactive Design.

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Our 2016 rankings of the top animation schools in the South. 

We define the South as Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas.

For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.


1. Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida

Established in 1931, Ringling College of Art and Design (RCAD) opened with 111 courses and just 75 students. Today, the school is home to 1,300 students with 94% enrolled full-time, and 6% enrolled part-time. The school offers BA and BFA degree programs in 13 majors. Established in 1990, the Computer Animation program is one of RCAD’s most popular majors. Around 20% of the student population is enrolled in the program, which leads to a BFA. RCAD graduates have landed positions at Pixar Animation Studios, LucasFilm, Warner Bros., MTV, and many others.

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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 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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Degrees Offered: One-year intensive program resulting in an Accredited Diploma in Digital Animation and Visual Effects. Accredited Diploma in Game Production. This intensive, 15-month program covers Modeling & Sculpting, Game Production, Game Engine Fundamentals, Game Asset Production, and Animation Fundamentals. 

Tuition Information:  $33,500 for the one-year program

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Situated on the Universal Studio’s back-lot in Orlando, FL, the prestigious DAVE School is a renowned leader in animation, visual effects and 3D stereoscopy education. With access to state-of-the-art equipment and veteran industry instructors, it’s little wonder that the program boasts a venerable list of alumni whose work prominently features in many award-winning games, films and more.

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