4141. DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois
Founded in 1898 as St. Vincent's College and with just 70 students, DePaul University is the country’s largest Catholic University. Home to more than 24,400 of the nation’s happiest students (according to the Princeton Review’s “Best Colleges” publications), DePaul University offers nearly 300 undergraduate programs of study, across 10 colleges and schools and 5 campuses.

The school’s Lincoln Park (36 acres) and Downtown Chicago campuses are the most active and offer access to all of the city’s art venues, production studios, film locations, recreation, entertainment, and more. Housed across nearly 10 buildings and centers is DePaul’s Downtown campus—home of the College of Computing and Digital Media. The College offers several top-tier programs for aspiring animators.

A number of programs are available for aspiring animators and animators looking to enhance their education and skill set. Options include a BA or BFA in Animation and a BA or BS in Digital Cinema. Students may select a double major in more than a dozen other areas of art as well as a Minor in Animation, Digital Cinema, Visual Effects, Sound Design, or Writing for Film and Television. 

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DePaul University also offers a number of graduate programs for animators wishing to acquire advanced art and technical skills in a number of areas as well as Combined Degree programs for “academically gifted students” which “allows students to combine many CDM bachelor's degree with CDM master's degree.” Graduate Offerings include an MA or MFA in Animation, an MS in Cinema Production, an MFA in Cinema, an MFA in Screenwriting,

42. New York Film Academy, New York AND Los Angeles Campuses
Founded in 1992 by Jerry Sherlock—a former film, television and theatre producer, New York Film Academy (NYFA) features intensive hands-on training in the areas of Animation, Film, Producing, Photography, and Acting. Aspiring animation students have several program paths to choose from. Through its 3D Animation School, NYFA offers 3-Week and 4-Week Animation Workshops, a One-Year Animation Conservatory, and Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Program in Animation.

Animators wishing to enhance their education may be interested in NYFA’s AFA & BFA in Filmmaking, MA in Film & Media Production, MFA in Cinematography or the MFA in Filmmaking. It is important to note that all MFA, BFA, BA, MA, and AFA degree programs are offered only at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles campus.

The school also has locations at Disney Studios, Florida and Harvard University, as well as Paris, India, Japan, Abu Dhabi, Russia, Korea, Italy, Australia, China, Indonesia, Qatar,

43. School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago was established in 1866 as Chicago Academy of Design and it incorporated as the Chicago Academy of Fine Art in 1879. In 1882, the school changed its name to the Art Institute of Chicago. Today, the school is better known as the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and it is one of the oldest accredited independent schools of art and design in the U.S.

With a student body of 3,337 and hailed as “the most influential art school in the United States,” by Columbia University’s Art Critics National Arts Journalism Survey, SAIC offers award-winning undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, and graduate degree programs in all areas of art and design. Programs for aspiring animators are offered through the schools unique Department of Film, Video, New Media, and Animation. Offerings include a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Concentrations in Animation, Film, Video, and New Media. SAIC also offers a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Studio.

According to SAIC, what sets the program apart from other graduate programs is “its interdisciplinary focus that allows students to design a unique curricular pathway to their degree that includes study in any of the school’s studio departments.” Besides the Department of Film, Video, New Media, and Animation, participating departments that may be of interest to animators include Design and Emerging Technologies, Art and Technology Studies, and Painting and Drawing.

44. Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, New Mexico
Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU) dates back to as early as 1934, when it was named Eastern New Mexico Junior College. It is one of the few schools in New Mexico to offer a degree in animation. It is also New Mexico’s largest regional comprehensive university and it has 2 additional campuses in Roswell and Ruidoso, NM.

The school, which has more than 60 other degree programs on the menu, offers a BFA and a Minor in Animation, Media Arts, and Design as well as a BFA and a Minor in Visual Arts. Housed on a sprawling 400-acre main campus and home to around 5,855 students, Eastern New Mexico University also offers a very unique 2-year Art Foundation Program which features coursework in creative disciplines such as digital media, drawing, and design.

45. University of Colorado-Denver, Colorado
Established in 1912 as an extension of the University of Colorado Boulder, the University of Colorado-Denver (CU Denver) sits on a 120+ acre campus in the heart of Downtown Denver. The school, which is home to more than 14,000 students (2013), also has a campus in Aurora—the Anschutz Medical Campus, which houses around 3,700 students. UC Denver part of Colorado’s largest public university system, it is the only architecture school in Colorado, and one of the largest in the U.S.

CU Denver awards Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, and First Professional Degrees in 130 areas of study throughout 13 colleges and schools. Programs for animators are housed within the College of Arts & Media, Department of Visual Arts (VA). Offerings include a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Fine Arts with an Emphasis in 3D Graphics and Digital Animation, Digital Design, Illustration, Transmedia, Scientific Media, and Painting & Drawing. A BA with a Studio Arts Emphasis and a Digital Design Minor are also on the menu.

The Department of Theater, Film, and Video Production is also housed within the Department of Visual Arts and it offers a BFA in Film & Television for animators wishing to enhance their education and skill set.

46. The University of the Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The University of the Arts (UArts) dates back to 1876 when it was part of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and named Philadelphia College of Art (PCA). Today, UArts is the “nation's only comprehensive arts university (home to the College of Art, Media & Design, the College of Performing Arts and the Division of Liberal Arts).” The University, which sits on an 18-acre campus in heart of Philadelphia's arts district, also home to 2,100 students enrolled in 41 undergraduate and degree programs. The school also offers 5 certificate programs and 23 minors.

UArts offers several specific programs for aspiring animators and a number of programs that will help enhance their education. Offerings include a BFA in Animation, a BFA in Interdisciplinary Fine Arts with Concentrations in Animation, Film & Video, and Painting and Drawing; a BFA in Design, Art & Technology (BFA DAT), a BFA in Illustration, a BFA in Film & Video, and a BFA in Writing for Film & Television. An Animation Minor and a Film & Video Minor are also available.

All UArts programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

47. Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Established in 1853 as the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy, Louisiana State University (LSU) is ranked in the first tier for ‘Best National Universities” by U.S. News & World Report and it is the “flagship university” of the State of Louisians. The school, which sits on a 2,000+ acre campus just a few miles from Downtown Baton Rouge and 80 miles from New Orleans, is home to more than 29,000 students enrolled in more than 200 major fields throughout 10 undergraduate colleges and schools, and a graduate school.

The Louisiana State University College of Art + Design, School of Art is home to several programs for aspiring animators. It is also the former home of LSU alumnus Marty Sixkiller—post-technology supervisor at PDI/DreamWorks and technical director for animated blockbusters such as Shrek the Third, Shrek 2, Over the Hedge, and Flushed Away.

The School offers a BFA & MFA Studio Art with a Digital Art Concentration (MFA is new!), BFA in Studio Art with a Painting & Drawing Concentration, and a Minor in Painting & Drawing. Students interested in extending their studies beyond digital art and animation might consider LSU’s BA in Theater with a Film & TV Concentration. Offered through the College of Music 7 Dramatic Arts, Department of Theater, this concentration is “one of the only programs in the country to include hands on courses in both production technology as well as acting for the camera and content creation.”

48. Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, California
Otis College of Art and Design was founded in 1918 by General Harrison Gray Otis—the founder and publisher of the famous Los Angeles Times. The school—Southern California’s first professional independent school of art and design, has a 5-acre main campus on L.A.s Westside along with campuses in Downtown LA—in the heart of the Fashion District, Culver City, and the 18th Street Arts Center in Santa  Monica. All locations are in driving distance to Burbank (studios galore) and all of the studios and job opportunities Los Angeles and the surrounding areas have to offer. 

Home to more than 1,100 students, Otis College of Art and Design offers a variety of programs for aspiring animators in the areas of Communication Arts and Digital Media. Offerings include
a BA and a Minor in Illustration through the Communication Arts Program, and a BA in Digital Media with a Focus in Animation or Motion Design and a Minor in Digital Media through the Digital Media Program.

The Animation Program is the former home of DreamWorks’ Raymond Zibach, who received an Academy Award nomination for Kung Fu Panda, and dozens of other former students that now work at Pixar, Disney, DreamWorks, WETA, ILM, Sony Imageworks, Nickelodeon, Electronic Arts, Blind, Brand New School, Imaginary Forces, Troika, Zoic, Sony Online Entertainment, and Blizzard.

49. University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) was chartered in 1869. The school sits on a 600+ acre campus just steps from Lincoln’s Downtown area, and it is home to more than 24,000 students enrolled in 200+ programs throughout 10 colleges. The Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts, Johnny Carson School of Theater & Film a wide variety of programs for artists—including animators.

The School offers a BFA in Film and New Media Production (FNM) with multiple focus areas. They include Computer Animation, Film & Digital Video Production, New Media Design, Visual Effects, Screenwriting, Post-Production, Directing, and Producing. This program prepares students for a career in Animation, Digital Art, Screenwriting, Cinematography, Production Design, Sound Mixing, Editing, and more.

The College of Arts & Sciences offers another program that may be of interest to students wishing to enhance their education. The College offers a BA, BS or Minor in Film Studies.

5050. Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California
The Art Center College of Design sits on one of the most beautiful campuses in the world. The inspirational structure, which is considered a work of art in itself, is perched atop a 175-acre hillside campus overlooking the City of Pasadena. Although the campus feels like it’s a world away from the bustle of the city, it is located a mere 10 miles from Los Angeles—the entertainment capital of the world and 11.5 miles from the famed Burbank Media District.

Art Center offers a variety of programs of aspiring animators and other artists hoping to break into the competitive entertainment industry. Offerings include a BS in Entertainment Design with a strong Animation Focus, a BS in Entertainment Design, a BFA in Illustration, a BS in Interaction Design, and a BFA in Fine Art (explores all genres including Film/Video and Illustration).

Founded in 1930 with just 12 teachers and eight students, The Art Center College of Design is home to more than 1,700 students and is the former home of alums and past visiting artists such as Ansel Adams (taught photography), Keith Haring (painted a mural here), Academy Award-winning co-writer of Pulp Fiction Roger Avary, Animator for Pocahontas, The Simpsons Movie, and Curious George, Atlantis—John Pomeroy, and Shelly Johnson—Cinematographer for Jurassic Park III. Art Center alums have also worked on films such as 300, Armageddon, Star Wars, and for Apple and Oakley.

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