University of South Florida (USF) - Program Info, Interviews, and Rankings

Programs to consider:

Wouldn’t it be great if you could earn an animation degree for less than $10,000 a year? What if you were an out-of-state student and the cost was less than $15,000 a year? In the past, we’ve compiled lists that consist of some of America’s most affordable animation schools, the most expensive to least expensive animation schools, and more.

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Our 2017 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 (top 5% of schools considered) 

Ringling College of Art and Design (RCAD) was established in 1931 by circus baron John Ringling. The school opened with just 75 students and 111 course offerings. Today, the school is home to 1,300 students and it offers BFA degrees in eleven disciplines and BA degrees in two. Just a few majors include Computer Animation, Film, Game Art, Motion Design, and Visual Studies. 

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Our 2017 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 (top 1% of schools considered) 

University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) is home to nearly 45,000 students from all 50 states and more than 100 foreign countries. Founded in 1919 as the Southern Branch of the University of California, the school offers 125+ undergraduate majors across 109 academic departments, and more than 40 graduate programs including the Animation Workshop of the School of Theater, Film and Television. 

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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 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 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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Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Studio Art with Concentration in Graphic Design or Electronic and Digital Media

Tuition Information:  Undergraduate residents $4,099 (Tampa) or $3,677 (St. Petersburg), nonresidents $12,747 (Tampa) or $12,331 (St. Petersburg) for the 2010 – 2011 school year

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