|1||ArtCenter College of Design||California|
|2||Brigham Young University||Utah|
|3||Full Sail University||Florida|
|4||Texas A&M University||Texas|
|5||Purdue University – Purdue Polytechnic Institute||Indiana|
|8||Alfred State College||New York|
|9||Middle Tennessee State University||Tennessee|
|10||Missouri State University||Missouri|
For our undergraduate degree rankings, we have evaluated animation schools and programs with the best Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), and Bachelor of Science (BS) options. To determine which degree matches your career goals, it is important to understand how each qualification differs.
The Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree is the principal liberal arts degree. Most BA programs require 30-some or 40-some credits, which leaves plenty of flexibility in the form of free electives. BA students can use the free electives to sample widely from other course offerings or to earn an additional credential (a second major, a minor, or some combination of additional credentials).
The Bachelor of Science (BS) degree is offered in areas such as Computer Science, Mathematics, Psychology, Statistics, and each of the natural sciences. The BS is best suited to the student who wants to focus more on courses in the major and on 'collateral' courses (like chemistry or mathematics for a major in Geological Sciences) and is willing to give up some of the flexibility of the BA in return for the greater focus.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree is considered the most prestigious bachelor's degree that you can receive in the visual arts. This option is for students who wish to gain as much experience and skill in the arts as possible.
Below are the Top 10 Animation Schools and Colleges with BS Programs for 2019.
1. ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena, California
Founded in 1930, ArtCenter College of Design serves approximately 2,100 students enrolled in 11 undergraduate and seven graduate degree programs in a variety of Industrial Design, Visual, and Applied Arts Disciplines. The school, which also offers a joint MS/MBA program with the Drucker-Ito School of Management, has two campuses in Pasadena and satellite studios in Los Angeles (at the Peterson Automotive Museum), and Berlin. Programs for aspiring animators include a BS in Entertainment Design with a Track in Animation or Concept.
The Animation Track develops students in the disciplines of character animation, storyboarding, modeling, art direction, and lighting for 3D and 2D animation, while the Concept Track focuses on the skills and creative ability required of entertainment industry concept designers. Entertainment Design graduates from both Tracks are prepared for career opportunities as performance and action animators with companies such as Pixar, Disney, DreamWorks, ILM, Sony, Blur, 343 and Riot.
2. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
Founded in 1875 by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), Brigham Young University (BYU) is home to around 33,500 students enrolled in 178 undergraduate majors, 109 undergraduate minors, 68 master's programs, and 26 doctorate programs across dozens of colleges and departments. The College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Department of Computer Science offers a BS in Computer Science with an Animation Emphasis.
Students in the program have the opportunity to gain entrance to the BYU Center for Animation (est. 2010), which operates under the direction of three colleges—the Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology, the College of Fine Arts and Communications, and the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. Accepting just 20-25 students each year through the schools BFA or BS programs, the BYU Center for Animation is a competitive, highly dynamic, hands-on program structured to provide students with the skill sets necessary for success in the animation, live-action, special effects, and game industries.
The program attracts faculty members from major studios such as Disney, Pixar, DreamWorks, and Warner Bros.
3. Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Established in 1979, Full Sail University serves approximately 15,000 students enrolled in a variety of Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Associate degree programs in the areas of Entertainment, Media and the Arts. Graduate Certificates are also available. Options for aspiring animators include a BS in Computer Animation that takes 20 months to complete on-campus, and 32 months to complete online.
Students can expect to take courses such as 2D and 3D Animation, Character Animation, Animation Production, Shading and Lighting, Character Rigging, and Visual Development.
A total of seven Project and Portfolio courses must be completed as well. They include Project and Portfolio I & II: 3-D Arts, and Project and Portfolio III-VII: Computer Animation.
These unique Project and Portfolio courses combine “hands-on learning experiences with summative and formative portfolio assessments.” The courses are taken in addition to an internship, which can be pursued after the student has successfully completed 50% of the required credit hours for the BS program.
Graduates of the programs at Full Sail University have been credited on films such as Ant Man and the Wasp, Avengers: Infinity War, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Solo: A Star Wars Story, Deadpool 2, Incredibles 2, and many others.
4. Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas
Texas A&M University (TAMU) is the state’s first public institution of higher learning. Established in 1876, the school serves nearly 69,400 students enrolled in nearly 400 degree programs across 16 colleges and schools. The College of Architecture, which broadly defines animation within “Visualization,” offers a 120 credit hour BS in Visualization.
The studio-based program includes elements of traditional art, programming, history, theory and digital media. Visualization course highlights include Drawing for Visualization, Graphic Design, Color Theory, Visualization Technology, Programming, Visualization Studio, Digital Painting, and Visual and Performing Arts.
The interdisciplinary Visualization programs offered in the College of Architecture prepare students to work in animation, technical animation, illustration, and many other related areas.
5. Purdue University – Purdue Polytechnic Institute, West Lafayette, Indiana
Established in 1869, Purdue University serves around 43,400 students from all 50 states and nearly 130 countries. Part of Purdue University, Purdue Polytechnic Institute was founded in 1964 as Purdue University College of Technology. Around 12% of Purdue’s students are enrolled in the Polytechnic Institute, which houses eight departments and schools that offer 68 academic options in six subject areas.
The Department of Computer Graphics Technology (CGT) offers a BS in CGT with a Major in Animation, which focuses on six areas of animation including 3-D Modeling, Texturing, Lighting, Rendering, Character Rigging (creating a digital skeleton) and Motion. Graduates of the BS program have found employment at DreamWorks, Walt Disney Company, and Rhythm & Hues and eight of the school’s alumni were part of the creative teams behind 2014 Oscar winner Big Hero 6 and 2014 Golden Globe winner How to Train Your Dragon 2.
The CGT Department also offers a BS in CGT with a Major in Visual Effects Compositing that combines Animation, Visual Effects, and Video to create “highly graphical” videos for episodic television and films. A BS in Effects Technical Direction is also available and it highlights supplemental coursework in Animation. Graduates of the program have also landed positions at DreamWorks, Walt Disney Company, and Rhythm & Hues.
6. Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Drexel University was established in 1891. The school serves nearly 29,000 campus and online students enrolled in over 200 degree programs across 15 colleges and schools. The Westphal College of Media Arts & Design is home to the Digital Media Department, which offers a BS in Animation & Visual Effects.
Per the school, the BS in Animation & Visual Effects gives students the “technological, story-telling and design skills to succeed as animators and visual effects artists in the highly competitive entertainment and design worlds. Over the course of their education in the program, students will pursue a foundation of design and technology by taking core courses in all aspects of digital media while delving into coursework covering many areas of specialization.”
The program consists of 51 credits of core courses, 45 hours of general education courses, 27 elective credits, 24 credit hours of art and art history requirements, 18 credits of animation requirements, 15 credits in media and computer science, and six credits of animation electives.
The Animation & Visual Effects program features a six-month co-op, where students will “learn the underlying principles of animation along with industry-standard software technology. The entire creative pipeline from storyboarding through modeling and animation is covered in-depth, allowing students to experience all aspects of production.”
Graduates of the Westphal Animation program at Drexel University have landed positions at leading companies such as Pixar, DreamWorks, Microsoft XBOX, Disney, NCSoft, and many others.
7. Ohio University, Athens, Ohio
Ohio University (OU) was established in 1804 as Ohio’s first university. The school serves 34,443 students (fall 2018) enrolled in more than 300 programs across 11 colleges. The E.W. Scripps College of Communications houses the School of Media Arts & Studies. Serving nearly 700 undergraduates, the School offers a BS in Communication with an Emphasis in Games & Animation.
The program encourages students to explore the production of computer animation and digital games, while also providing an understanding of the management and leadership roles in these industries. Sample courses include 3D Modeling & Animation, Digital Game Design, Narrative Animation, Visual Storytelling, Screenwriting, Compositing, Motion Graphics, Video Game Design, Video Production, Game Development, Media Content Management, Sound for Moving Images, and Media Arts Management (FILM), to name a few.
8. Alfred State College, Alfred, New York
Founded in 1908, Alfred State College is part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system. The school serves nearly 3,700 undergraduates enrolled in more than 70 majors in agriculture, allied health, applied technology, architecture & engineering technology, business, and liberal arts and sciences at the baccalaureate, associate and certificate levels. Programs are offered through a number of colleges and departments. Alfred State College of Technology’s Department of Digital Media & Animation houses the BS program.
The Digital Media & Animation BS requires around 123 credit hours of study, including a Senior Seminar, Senior Studio Project, Portfolio Courses, and Studio Tokyo. Studio Tokyo provides the opportunity for students to explore Japanese art, cinema, animation and digital media through a study-abroad program based in Tokyo. Students will create animation and digital media projects in collaboration with local artists, and expand upon their research from the Japanese Media course through screenings and site visits.
A Digital Media & Animation Internship is also part of the program. The course provides students with practical application of skills in the Digital Media and Animation major. The internship provides valuable real-life experience while extending the skills of the student towards various businesses, organizations, and professionals.
Graduates of the program are prepared to seek positions in animation, digital imaging, fine art, interactive media, media design, and many other areas. The program has a 100% employment and continuing education rate, meaning 100% of graduates are employed or enrolled in graduate programs.
9. Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) opened on September 11, 1911 as one of three state normal schools for teacher training. Today, the school serves nearly 26,500 students enrolled in more than 115 programs through nine university colleges. The College of Media and Entertainment, Department of Electronic Media Communication, offers a BS in Animation and Mass Communication with Concentrations in Electronic Media Communication, New Media Communication, and Photography.
The Electronic Media Communication Concentration offers two specialties: Electronic Media Production (video and film production) and Electronic Media Management (media management). Animation and Entertainment Technology Minors are also available as well as an MS in Media and Communication. Students in the MS program may choose six hours of approved electives in Animation.
The Animation Programs at MTSU prepare students for careers in Character Animation, Motion Graphics, and Visual Effects. Electronic Media Production students are also prepared to create Animated and Feature Films, as well as content for Documentary Films, Television, and Educational Videos.
10. Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri
Missouri State University was founded in 1905 as the Fourth District Normal School. With a student population of nearly 25,000 students, Missouri State is the state's second largest university campus by enrollment. The school offers hundreds of programs through seven academic colleges and one Graduate College. The College of Arts and Letters houses the Art and Design Department, which offers a BS in Electronic Arts (EA). Computer Animation is listed as a component of the program.
Course highlights for the program include 2D Design, 3D Design, Drawing, Computer Animation I-V, Introduction to Digital Arts, and Digital Film and Media Production. Students will complete a Senior Exhibition and an internship and study abroad opportunities are also part of the program.