21. California State University, Northridge, California
California State University Northridge (CSUN) is a public university with a population of 36,208 students. The school, which sits on 353 park-like acres in the San Fernando Valley, is just 16 miles from Los Angeles and 8.2 miles from Burbank—home of Warner Bros., Disney Interactive Studios, and more. Also called “Cal State Northridge,” CSUN offers 64 baccalaureate degrees, 58 master's degrees, 2 professional doctorate degrees, and 55 teaching credential programs across 8 academic colleges.
The Mike Curb College of Arts, Media and Communication at CSUN is home to the Department of Art which offers 10 BA in Visual Arts Concentrations. Concentrations for aspiring animators include Animation, Drawing, Illustration, and Video/Digital Art. The College also offers an MA/MFA in Visual Arts with a Concentration in Drawing, Illustration, and Video/Digital Art. All CSUN Art programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
Besides easy access to the entertainment capital of the world and all it has to offer, students have the opportunity to intern at Disney, DreamWorks, Warner Bros., Nickelodeon, and Film Roman (owned by Starz Inc. and The Weinstein Company).
22. California State University, Long Beach, California
California State University Long Beach (CSULB) dates back to 1949, when the school was named Los Angeles-Orange County College. The name was (and still is) fitting, as CSULB sits on a 322-acre campus just 22 miles south of downtown Los Angeles and 15.9 miles from Huntington Beach (Orange County). The school, which is home to 35,592 students from 43 states, 56 California counties, and 90 foreign countries, offers 85 baccalaureate degree programs, 64 master’s programs, and 4 doctoral degree programs.
One of the school’s top programs is the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Art with an Option and Illustration-Animation Track. Students may choose the 4- or 5-year plan, both of which offer a variety of animation, design, illustration, and drawing courses. Students will leave both programs with a shoppable animated work.
The CSULB College of the Arts has several other programs that may be interesting to students that want to enhance their education. They include a BFA with an Option in Drawing and Painting, a BA in Film and Electronic Arts, and a BA in Design.
23. California State University, Fullerton, California
Originally named Orange County State College, California State University-Fullerton was established in 1957, when it became the 12th State College in California to be authorized by the Legislature. The school, which sits on a 236-acre main campus just 30 minutes from downtown Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean, has a large student population of 38,325. The student body is made up of people from 81 nations, all 50 states, and just about every county in the State of California.
California State University-Fullerton, better known as Cal State Fullerton or “CSUF,” ranks among the Top Public Regional Universities by U.S. News & World Report and it is home to 9 colleges offering more than 240 degrees. Among them are several top-tier programs for animators offered through the College of the Arts, Department of Visual Arts. Offerings include a BFA in Entertainment Art/Animation, a BFA in Illustration, and a BFA in Drawing.
The Department also offers MA and MFA in degrees in Illustration and Drawing. Students interested in enhancing their education may also choose a Minor in Art.
24. Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida
Founded in 1851, Florida State University (FSU) is the largest and oldest school in the State University System of Florida. The school, which sits on 463.4-acre campus in downtown Tallahassee, is home to 40,000 students enrolled in 275 degree programs across 16 colleges. One renowned college—the College of Motion Picture Arts, offer several competitive programs for aspiring animators. The College offers a BFA in Animation and Digital Arts, a BFA in Production, an MFA in Production, and Minor in Film Studies.
Students and graduates of FSU’s College of Motion Picture Arts have won over 2,000 honors, awards, and prizes. Their works have been featured at both national and international competitions and festivals. The College is also ranks high among the top film schools in the U.S.
25. Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, Massachusetts
Founded in 1873 as a training institution for aspiring drawing teachers, architects, artists, and designers, MassArt is home to 2,426 students enrolled in more than 20 undergraduate art programs, nearly a dozen graduate programs, 7 certificate programs, and a variety of continuing education programs. The school, which sits on a 5-acre campus in Boston’s Fenway area, is around 3 miles from Boston’s bustling downtown area.
Aspiring animators have a variety of Bachelor’s and Master’s level degree programs to choose from beginning with the BFA in Animation. Animation students will study both experimental and conventional techniques in the areas of character animation, digitally generated animation, documentary animation, stop motion, experimental video, and other emerging technologies.
Other options include BFA degrees in Illustration and Film/Video as well as MFA degrees in Design (Dynamic Media Institute (DMI)) and Media Arts: Film/Video. The school also offers a post-baccalaureate program in Design (DMI), which is a one-year immersive program. All MassArt art and design programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
26. Academy of Art University, San Francisco, California
Founded in 1929 with just a few students, Academy of Art University was established “by artists for artists.” Now home to more than 18,000 students, the Academy of Art University is the largest private school of art in the country. Located on a 3-acre campus in the San Francisco Bay Area—home to Industrial Light & Magic and Zynga to name a few, the Academy has a large collection of programs for aspiring animators, filmmakers, and more. The Academy offers BFA and MFA degrees in Animation and Visual Effects, as well as AA, BFA, and MFA degrees in Animation & Visual Effects (online). The Academy also offers an Animation Online Award of Completion (OAC).
The Academy, which is also located just under an hour from Silicon Valley—home to DreamWorks Animation, Pixar, and many other studio campuses, offers AA, BFA and MFA degrees in Illustration and Film for students interested in enhancing their education.
27. Emerson College, Boston, Massachusetts
Emerson College offers several degree programs for aspiring animators through its Department of Visual & Media Arts. Students may opt for the BA or BFA in Animation and Motion Media. The programs, which prepare students for careers in the film, gaming, and television industries, focus on “computer animation, film animation, motion graphics, visual effects, and compositing techniques.” –Emerson.edu
The Department also offers a BA and BFA degree in film for students interested in enhancing their careers. In addition, Emerson College is a member of The Professional Arts Consortium (ProArts)—an “association of six institutions of higher education in the Boston area dedicated to the visual and performing arts.” Students are encouraged to take advantage of course offerings and networking opportunities through the program.
Emerson College also has an additional campus in Los Angeles that allows qualified juniors, seniors, and graduate students to study in LA for one semester, complete an internship, and participate in personal and professional development workshops and panel discussions. Emerson Los Angeles (ELA) offers courses in Film Development, Videogame Writing and Production, Production Design, Screenwriting, Entertainment Marketing, and more.
Established in 1880, Emerson College was one of the first schools in the nation to offer a BFA in Film and an undergraduate degree in Broadcasting. The school, which sits on an 8-acre campus in the Theatre District and in the heart of Downtown Boston, is home to around 4,500 students from all 50 states and 75 countries. Notable Emerson Alumni include Alan Schoolcraft and Brent Simons (screenwriters-DreamWorks’ animated film Megamind), Kate Boutilier (Rugrats), Doug Herzog (MTV), Jay Leno, and Henry Winkler.
28. Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Maryland
Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) may not be the largest art school in the nation, but it is the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art in the nation. Founded in 1826, MICA is home to around 2,169 students from 48 states and 54 foreign countries. The school, which sits on a 13-acre campus in downtown Baltimore, ranks high among MFA programs in the Visual Arts by U.S. News & World Report.
MICA offers a number of unique programs for aspiring animators and animators interested in enhancing their education. First, students may choose between BFA degrees in Animation, Drawing, Illustration, Interaction Design and Art, and Video and Film Arts -OR- a BFA degree in Animation + Humanistic Studies, Drawing + Humanistic Studies, Illustration + Humanistic Studies, Interactive Arts + Humanistic Studies, or Film and Video + Humanistic Studies.
Students may choose a Studio Concentration such as Animation, Film and Video, Filmmaking (new! 2012/2013), Illustration, or Interactive Arts. Further, MICA lists the following Majors for aspiring animators: Animation, Drawing, Film and Video, Illustration, and Interactive Arts. The total credits for the BFA in Animation + Humanistic Studies is 132 and 126 for BFA in Animation. MICA also offers an impressive MFA program in Illustration Practice.
29. School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts
Founded in 1876, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA Boston) sits on a 14-acre campus just under 3 miles from downtown Boston. The school is home to 613 students enrolled in 9 different programs. Areas of study include 12 areas in studio art including film, studio art, performance, and painting. Programs for aspiring animators include BFA and MFA degrees in Film and Animation, and a unique dual degree program offered in conjunction with Tufts University. According to SMFA, students that complete the BFA + BA/BS program “will graduate with two degrees from Tufts: a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in a major of your choice and a Bachelor of Fine Arts.” Popular focus areas for aspiring animators include Film + Animation, Drawing, and Video.
30. San Jose State University, San Jose, California
Established in 1857, San Jose State University (SJSU) is the oldest public university on the West Coast. It is home to more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in more than 134 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs with 110 concentrations. Listed among the Top 200 Research Universities in the U.S., SJSU sits on a 154-acre campus in downtown San Jose. The school also sits in the largest city in Silicon Valley, which offers access to the world’s most prolific technology companies and studios. Apple, Google, Intel, EBay, Electronic Arts, Facebook, DreamWorks Animation, Pixar, Industrial Light & Magic, and Zynga are just a few.
San Jose State University offers a top program that will prepare students to enter the competitive world of animation in Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, New York, and beyond. The school offers a BFA in Art with a Concentration in Animation/Illustration and a BFA in Art with a Digital Media Concentration. SJSU also offers an MFA in Art with a Concentration in Digital Media. To enhance their education, students may also consider the Minor or BA in Radio, Television and Film (BA RTVF).
Students have the opportunity to create feature and short films through SJSU’s Spartan Film Studios and participate in the educational initiative “DreamCrits.” The initiative is a partnership between DreamWorks Animation and SJSU Animation/Illustration, which gives students the opportunity to have their work critiqued by professionals at DreamWorks’ Redwood City campus. Graduates of SJSU’s animation and digital media programs have found work at DreamWorks, Apple, LucasFilm Animation, Electronic Arts, Zynga, Nickelodeon, and many others.