Profiles of Schools/Colleges in South Carolina (SC) Offering Animation, Design, Gaming, and Media Related Programs

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 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 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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South Carolina

When you think of the word “art,” oil paintings and ornate sculptures may come to mind. Sure, painting and sculpting are staples of the world of art, but thanks to technology and advances in traditional areas of art, there are now dozens, if not hundreds of innovative forms of artistic expression. They can be seen in web design, mobile applications, advertising, films, animated productions, window displays, buildings, retail shops, public spaces, structures, and more. Because art is an ever-expanding diverse field, a typical degree program will feature multiple disciplines. Students in any given program may study a combination of painting, printmaking, sculpture, digital art, ceramics, printmaking, and others. Fortunately, the state of South Carolina is home to a variety of schools that offer comprehensive art and design programs that pair well in today’s progressive world of art.

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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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Our 2015 list of the Top 25 Private Graphic Design School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island (Top 1% of schools considered)

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) was founded during the 19th-century Industrial Revolution, when the textiles and jewelry manufacturing industries were beginning to take off in Providence. Since 1877, this private, not-for-profit, four-year art school has taught art and design to thousands of students and it has educated the general public “about the intrinsic value of the arts to society.” Today, the school is home to 2,014 undergraduate students and 435 graduate students from across the U.S. and 57 other countries. This co-educational art school offers 32 degree programs, with graphic design leading the pack. Degree offerings include a BFA in Graphic Design and a two- or three-year MFA in Graphic Design.

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

1. Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida (Top 1% of schools considered)

Established in 1931 by circus baron, real estate developer, and noted art collector John Ringling, Ringling College of Art and Design opened just 75 students enrolled in 111 courses. Today, the school sits on a 35-acre campus that houses nearly 1,300 students enrolled in BA and BFA degree programs in 11 majors. Programs for aspiring graphic designers include a BFA in Graphic Design, which has been in existence 1980.

In existence since 1980, the graphic design teaches students to “create design solutions in print, motion, and interactive media with projects of all varieties.” Students gain real-world experience through internships with major firms and through “The Collaboratory,” which pairs teams of Ringling students with local businesses. Students also have the opportunity to work at RCADs in-house design firm on projects with external clients and for Ringling College events.

RCAD design graduates have landed positions at Google, Leo Burnett, Microsoft, Trader Joe's, Wieden + Kennedy, LinkedIn, Yahoo, American Greetings, and more.

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Animation Careers in South Carolina Overview

The State of South Carolina has been hosting film productions for nearly 100 years. According to The Augusta Chronicle, one of the state’s earliest films, The Arizona Bandit, was shot on the bluffs of the Savannah River in North Augusta. The year was 1920. Scenes from movies such as Asylum (2008), The Notebook (2004) Radio (2003), Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000), The Patriot (2000) Rules of Engagement (2000), The Abyss (1989), Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995), Sleeping with the Enemy (1991), The Longest Yard (1974), and Deliverance (1972) were filmed here, and dozens more are set to be filmed in cities from Conway to Charleston. Hollywood productions and others come to South Carolina to take advantage of the states’ beautiful landscapes and the South Carolina Film Commissions’ numerous television and film incentives.

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South Carolina

South Carolina is home to 75 Title IV degree-granting colleges and universities. Many of these schools offer excellent programs for artists and designers—including graphic designers. Just a few include Erskine University, Anderson University, and Coker College. Although these and other South Carolina Title IVs are considered expensive, because they are Title IV schools they offer access to a variety of financial aid programs. 

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Our 2015 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

11. Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Savannah, Georgia

Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is home to more than 11,000 students enrolled in more than 40 majors and 60+ minors. Founded in 1978, SCAD has campuses in Savannah, Atlanta, and Hong Kong. The School of Digital Media at SCAD offers several programs for aspiring game designers. Offerings include BA, BFA, MA, and MFA degrees in Interactive Design and Game Development and a Certificate in Interactive Design. A Minor in Interactive Design and Game Development is also on the menu.  

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