31. Digital Animation & Visual Effects School (DAVE School), Orlando, Florida
The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School (DAVE School) was established in 2000 by Jeff Scheetz (formerly of Nickelodeon Studios, Universal Studios Florida, Walt Disney Imagineering, and Disney MGM Studios) and his wife Anne (formerly Disney MGM Studios). This unique school offers a non-traditional Digital Animation and Visual Effects program that is career focused rather than degree focused. Located in a 35,000 square foot facility on the backlot of Universal Studios, the DAVE School program spans four terms or “blocks” that last three months each for a total of 1 year. During each block a single course is taught, which is equal to 300 clock hours and 12 Quarter Credit Hours of study.

According to the DAVE School, in the Animation Block, students “will learn the techniques developed by Disney animators to bring characters to life.” However, students “will also learn subjects related to animation such as character rigging, soft body dynamics, and motion capture.” During this intense program, classes meet five hours a day, five days a week. The DAVE School, which has a 75% graduate placement rate, awards a Diploma in Digital Animation and Visual effects upon completion of the program.

32. School of Visual Arts, New York, New York
Founded in 1947, School of Visual Arts (SVA) is located on Manhattan’s East Side and it has a student population of around 3,500. Originally named “Cartoonists and Illustrators School,” SVA became the School of Visual Arts in 1956 and now offers more than 30 graduate and undergraduate programs in all areas of art. A number of these programs are excellent options for aspiring animators looking for a solid animation program or other programs that may enhance their education.

A member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD), School of Visual Arts offers BFA degrees in Animation, Animation & Visual Effects, Cartooning, Computer Art, Film & Video, and Illustration. Because SVA is a considered a “primary source” of animation talent by the animation industry, many animation graduates currently work for Disney Animation Studios, DreamWorks Animation SKG, Warner Bros. Animation, Blue Sky Studios, Nickelodeon, Lucasfilm Animation, Sony Pictures Animation, and many others.

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33. Memphis College of Art, Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis College of Art (MCA) is a small, private art & design college with a student body of 400-450 students from 25 states and 5 countries. Founded in 1936, MCA is situated on a modern campus in the 342-acre Overton Park. Graduate students study at MCA’s downtown campus, which is located in an historic building in the South Main Arts District.

An accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), MCA offers several highly desired programs for aspiring animators and animation students wishing to enhance their education. Offerings include a BFA in Digital Media with Concentrations in Animation and Digital Cinema, a BFA in Design Arts with Concentrations in Digital Media and Illustration, and a BFA in Fine Arts with a Concentration in Drawing.

The school also offers as MFA in Studio Art with a Film component and many others that may be useful for aspiring animated filmmakers.

34. Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York
Founded in 1870, Syracuse University (SU) is the former home of Chris Renaud, animator/director/producer/illustrator/production designer and 2014 Oscar Nominee for Best Animated Feature Film Despicable Me 2. This private research university is also home to more than 21,000 students from all 50 states and 123 countries, enrolled in more than 200 undergraduate programs, 200+ graduate programs, and more that 100 minors. Among SU’s many programs is one of the nation’s top animation programs.

SU offers BFA degrees in Computer Art & Animation, Art Video, Film, and Illustration and a Minor in Animation. The school also offers MFA degrees in Art Video, Computer Art, and Illustration, and an MFA and MA in Film. These programs are offered through the College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) - Department of Art, VPA - Department of Transmedia, and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

Syracuse University’s main campus sits on 700+ acres in the heart of Central New York, which offers easy access to New York City, Boston, Montreal, and Toronto. The school also has extended campuses in Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington D.C.

35. Corcoran College of Art + Design, Washington, DC
Corcoran College of Art + Design is Washington DC’s only college of art and design and one of the nation’s oldest art schools. Established in 1878, Corcoran is part of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, which was established roughly nine years earlier by William Wilson Corcoran. The school, which is one of only a few of its kind, provides the opportunity for art and design students to exhibit and present their theses in the museum’s main gallery. 

Corcoran is home to more than 600 students from across the U.S. and 29 foreign countries. The school offers more than a dozen art and design programs across 2 campuses—one downtown, the other in the historic Georgetown neighborhood. Among Corcoran’s degree offerings are several top-tier programs for aspiring animators. Options include an AFA and BFA in Digital Media Design.

Beside the opportunity to exhibit and present their theses at the famed Corcoran Gallery of Art, all students have the opportunity to study abroad in places such as El Salvador, India, Israel,  Scotland, and many others.

36. Gnomon School of Visual Effects, Hollywood, California
Gnomon School of Visual Effects is a non-traditional program that is career focused. The school, which is home to more than 400 students, has been around since 1997. Although young, Gnomon has made a name for itself in the competitive animation and digital art industries by offering unique programs that prepare students to enter the field.  


Located in a 40,000 sq. ft. facility in the heart of Hollywood, Gnomon offers two certificate programs and an entertainment design foundation track. Options include Entertainment Design (One-Year Track), Digital Production for Entertainment (Two-Year Program), and Entertainment Design & Digital Production (Three-Year Program). Gnomon also offers a variety of online courses from Character Animation to Games Tools and Techniques.  

Many Gnomon graduates have found success in the animation, film, and gaming industries. They work at major studios and companies DreamWorks, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Sony Interactive, Digital Domain, Electronic Arts, Activision, Rock Star Games, and Blizzard, to name a few.

37. Digipen Institute of Technology, Redmond, Washington
Founded in 1988, DigiPen Institute of Technology began as a computer simulation and animation company headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia.  In 1990, the company began offering a 3D computer animation program. Today, the school has campuses in Redmond, Washington, Singapore, and Bilbao, Spain and it offers BA, BFA, BS, MS, and MFA degrees in all areas of digital art and entertainment to a student population of more than 1,000. Programs for aspiring animators include a BFA in Digital Art and Animation, and an MFA in Digital Arts.

38. University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida
Established in 1956, the University of South Florida (USF) is a top-tier research university by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Only 2.3 percent of the nation’s research universities have attained this status. This major metropolitan university sits on a 1,700+ acre main campus in Tampa, and has additional campuses in St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee. The school has a student population of more than 47,000 enrolled in 230+ degree programs across its three campuses.

The University of South Florida, which ranks among the top 350 of the best colleges and universities in the world by Times Higher Education (THE) World University Ranking (2013), is home to more than a dozen colleges, including the School of Art and Art History-Video, Animation, and Digital Arts Program. Aspiring animators have several options here including a BFA in Studio Art with a focus in Video, Animation and Digital Arts or Drawing.

USF also offers a Master of Fine Arts Degree (MFA) that allows students to study in multiple areas of art, as well as study experiences through its Paris Summer Art Program, and excursions to London, Venice Italy (The Venice Biennale), and New York, and more.

39. North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina
North Carolina State University (NC State University) was established in 1887. With a student population of more than 34,000 students (from all 50 states and 119 foreign countries) and a 21,075-acre main campus just minutes from Downtown Raleigh, NC State is the largest four-year university in North Carolina. The school, which offers more than 300 undergraduate and graduate degree programs through 12 colleges and 65 departments, is home to one of the most popular art and design programs in the U.S.

The school’s College of Design offers several programs for aspiring animators. Offerings include Art + Design with a focus in Animation and User -Experience Design or New Media: Digital Illustration. The College also offers a Master of Art + Design (Animation) and an outstanding study abroad program that takes students to awe-inspiring locales such as Prague and Ghana.

4040. Woodbury University, Burbank, California
Founded in 1884 as Woodbury's Business College, Woodbury University began in a one-room storefront in the oldest section of Los Angeles. Today, the school sits on a 22.5-acre campus in Burbank—near Disney, DreamWorks, NBC, Universal, and Warner Bros. and it also has a campus in San Diego. Woodbury is home to more than 1,500 students enrolled in 4 schools including the Schools of Architecture and Business, the Institute of Transdisciplinary Studies, and the School of Media, Culture & Design (MCD).

The School of Media, Culture & Design offers several programs for aspiring animators. MCD offers a BFA in Animation, a BFA in Film, and a BS in Media Technology.