The school is also considered one of the best institutions in the nation for aspiring animators. The College of the Arts, Department of Design is home to a variety of recognized programs for artists of all kinds. Offerings for aspiring animators include a BFA in Animation/Illustration and a BA/BFA in Fine Arts Studio with a Specialization in Drawing.
51. East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina
Established in 1907, East Carolina University (ECU) is one of 17 universities in the North Carolina State University System. When it opened, the school sat on just over 40 acres and it was home to just 174 students. Today, ECU is sits on more than 1,400 acres and it is home to 26,887 students enrolled in 77 master's degree programs, 2 intermediate programs, 58 graduate certificate programs through nearly 20 colleges and schools. In addition, ECU offers 15 doctoral programs (PhD, EdD) and 6 first professional programs (AuD, DMD, DNP, DPT, MD).
The College of Fine Arts and Design, School of Art and Design is home to ECU’s top-rated animation program and several other programs that may interest animators wishing to enhance their education. The School offers a BFA in Art with a Concentration in Animation/Interactive Design, Illustration, or Painting & Drawing. The School also offers a BFA-Studio in Cinematic Arts and Media Production (CAMP) and an MFA in Art with Concentrations in Illustration and Painting & Drawing. Students have the opportunity to attend workshops, present their work at conferences, visit galleries and museums around the country, and exhibit and publish their work.
52. Montclair State University, Montclair, New Jersey
Montclair State University was established in 1908 as the New Jersey State Normal School at Montclair. When it opened, the school was home to just 45 students. Today, Montclair State University is home to 19,464 students and it has been named “The Best Public University in New Jersey,” by Forbes Magazine. Besides being the best school in New Jersey, Montclair State University broadcast the country’s first education television programs, it was the first New Jersey State College to offer master’s degrees, and it was the first state institution to offer multiple doctoral programs.
Aspiring animators may be interested several other programs that will enhance their education and job opportunities. The College of the Arts, School of Communication and Media offers a BFA in Filmmaking, and a BA in Television and Digital Media.
53. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) was established in 1872. The main campus is a collection of more than 125 buildings, 2,600 acres, and an airport and it is home to 31,000 full-time students enrolled in 215 programs. The school, which ranks 41st in the nation in university research, houses eight colleges and a graduate school. Among them is the famed School of the Visual Arts at Virginia Tech (SOVA VT).
SOVA VT offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees in multiple areas of art. Programs for aspiring animators include a BFA in Studio Arts where students will study 3D Animation and Modeling, Digital Video and Special Effects, Digital Painting, and Digital Photography. The school also offers an MFA in Creative Technologies with coursework in 3D Animation, Video, Motion Graphics, Digital Imaging, Interactive Multi-Media Design, Creative Coding, Web Design, Sound and Imaging, Spatial Interactivity, and installation.
Students wishing to enhance their education might consider Virginia Tech’s Theater and Cinema Programs, particularly the BA in Theater with an Emphasis in Cinema. Offered through the School of Performing Arts, the program features study in Digital Cinema Production and Writing & Directing. Students may also choose the Minor in Cinema Studies.
54. Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) offers an award-winning animation program that offers internship opportunities that often lead to employment at studios such as Disney, DreamWorks, Nickelodeon, Titmouse Inc., and more. The school offers Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degrees in 13 areas of emphasis. Emphasis areas for aspiring animators include Animation, Digital Filmmaking, Digital Media, and Illustration. Animation, digital media, and other student artists have the opportunity to show their work at the annual Frame by Frame Festival—presented by the KCAI Animation Department.
Established in 1885, Kansas City Art Institute sits on a 15-acre campus in Kansas City’s historic arts district by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. It is home to more than 800 students as well as the popular H&R Block Artspace and the Jannes Library, which houses a large collection of digital images dating from pre-historic times to the latest contemporary work.
55. Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana
Established in 1918, Ball State University (BSU) is one of the best universities in the Midwest as ranked by The Princeton Review for the past 9 years. The school, which sits on a 731-acre main campus and 400 acres of research property, is home to 22,000 students enrolled in 180 majors, including 12 pre-professional programs, more than 100 master's and doctoral degrees, and a variety of minors and certificates. Many programs are nationally recognized, including the school’s animation program.
Ball State University offers a BFA in Animation and Drawing, an MFA in Animation, a BA in Studio Art with an Emphasis in Drawing, and an MA in Visual Arts Studio with an Emphasis in Drawing. Students wishing to enhance their education may be interested in the BA in Telecommunications (TCOM) with Options in Digital Production: Emerging Media, Film and Media Studies, Video, and Audio or the MA in TCOM (Digital Storytelling). Minor Program options include Film, TCOM, Film/Screenwriting, and Interdepartmental Digital Media.
56. University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Louisiana
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette dates back to around 1900 when the school was Southwestern Louisiana Industrial Institute—home to a few classrooms on a “patch” of farmland and 100 students. Today, the University sits on a sprawling 1,500-acre campus and it is home to nearly 17,000 students enrolled in more than 120 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs. Among them are several respected programs for artists—including animators.
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Department of Visual Arts offers a BFA in Computer Animation and Art and the College of Liberal Arts, Humanities Department offers a degree in Moving Image Arts. The Computer Animation and Art Program is housed in the school’s Visual Resource Center, where the Animation Production Studio occupies 1,200 square feet of space. Students have access to the studio 7 days a week. The Moving Image Arts program focuses on Animation, Film & Television, Interactive Media, and Video Games.
A BFA in Media Arts is also on the table for students wishing to enhance their education, as well a Minor in Cinema Studies, Visual Arts, and Mass Communication/Broadcasting which includes coursework in filmmaking, producing, directing, editing, audio production, and digital media.
The BFA in Media Arts includes 7 day-a-week access to the Media Art Studio which occupies 1,900 square feet space.
57. The Art Institute of California, San Francisco, California
The Art Institute of California-San Francisco is part of the 8-campus Art Institute of California system that includes San Diego, Los Angeles, Hollywood, Inland Empire, Orange County, San Francisco, Sacramento, and Sunnyvale.
Like the Hollywood and Los Angeles campuses, the San Francisco campus offers access to more animation studios than you can imagine as well as an endless number of start-ups—something for which the region is famous. Pixar, Industrial Light & Magic, and Zynga are just a few established studios in the area.
Not surprisingly, the San Francisco campus also offers a variety of selective animation degree programs for aspiring animators. Offerings include an MFA in Computer Animation, a BS in Media Arts & Animation, and a BS in Visual Effects & Motion Graphics. Graduates of The Art Institutes have found employment at top studios and companies such as MTV, Time Warner, Nintendo of America, Walt Disney & Affiliates, Yahoo Broadcast Services, Microsoft, and the Fox Entertainment Group.
58. California College of the Arts, San Francisco, California
California College of the Arts (CCA) was established in 1907 by German Cabinetmaker Frederick Meyer. Located on a 4-acre main campus in the San Francisco Bay Area—tech utopia, California College of The Arts offers 21 undergraduate and 12 graduate programs to nearly 2,000 students. Areas of study include Fine Arts, Design, Writing, and Architecture.
Some of the school’s most popular programs include the BFA in Animation, the BFA in Film, BFA in Illustration, BFA in Interaction Design, and BFA in Visual Studies (Minor available). The school also offers an array of graduate programs for aspiring animators and/or animators looking to enhance their education and careers. Graduate offerings include a Fine Arts MFA, an MFA in Comics, an MFA in Film, and an MFA in Visual and Critical Studies.
It is important to note that students have the option to study at CCA’s 2nd campus in Oakland. The historic 4-acre campus is located in the Rockridge district, just two miles south of the University of California at Berkeley.
59. Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) is an independent college of art and design that dates back to 1882. The school, which sits on a 488-acre campus, is home to 550 students enrolled in 15 majors in Art, Design, Craft, and Interactive Media. Programs for aspiring animators include BFA degrees in Animation, Drawing, Illustration, and Video.
60. Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University, Grand Rapids, Michigan
In 1931 Kendall College of Art and Design (KCAD) of Ferris State University (FSU) opened its doors to just 35 art students. Today, the school is home to more than 1,400 students and a variety of undergraduate, graduate, and dual enrollment programs. The school also offers single classes in computer art, drawing, and other areas to both adults and youth.
Programs for aspiring animators include a BA in Digital Media with a high concentration of coursework in 2D and 3D Animation, Digital Imaging, Interactive Design, and Video and Motion Graphics. KCAD also offers BA degrees in Drawing and Illustration and several graduate programs that may be of interest to students wishing to enhance their education and career opportunities. Options include an MFA in Drawing and a Master of Visual Critical Studies (MVCS).
As part of Ferris State University, KCAD students have access to a vast 880-acre main campus, 19 off-campus sites, and more than 180 programs through 7 additional degree-granting colleges. FSU offers a Film Studies Minor through the College of Arts and Sciences, and a BAS in Digital Animation Game Design through the College of Professional and Technological Studies.