What are the top animation school programs in Massachusetts for 2022?

Top 10 Animation School Programs in Massachusetts - 2022 College Rankings
1Massachusetts College of Art and DesignBoston
2Emerson CollegeBoston
3School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts UniversityBoston
4Lesley UniversityCambridge
5Northeastern UniversityBoston
6Montserrat College of ArtBeverly
7University of Massachusetts-AmherstAmherst
8Wellesley CollegeWellesley
9University of Massachusetts-DartmouthDartmouth
10Harvard UniversityCambridge

Our 2022 ranking -our eleventh annual- of the top animation school programs in Massachusetts. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

1. Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, Massachusetts
Massachusetts College of Art and Design

The Animation Department at Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) offers a BFA in Animation. The program begins with the foundation year, which consists of courses such as Time, Form Study, Drawing Projects, Studio for Drawing, and Visual Language. Students are introduced to Animation Basics, Experimental Animation, and Digital 2D Animation during the second year of the program. Color & media, figure, liberal arts, and history of art courses are also explored during the second year.

In the third and fourth years of the Animation BFA, students will continue studying liberal arts and history of art. However, students will focus primarily on advanced animation coursework, the animation portfolio, and the final animation project.

MassArt Animation graduates are prepared to pursue a variety of positions in the film and animation industries, design, digital art, advertising and marketing, and more.

Massachusetts College of Art and Design serves 1,635 undergraduate students, 115 graduate students, and nearly 150 continuing education students. Founded in 1873 as Massachusetts Normal School, MassArt offers more than 40 degree, minor, and certificate programs, along with 100 classes and workshops in all areas of art and design.

Massachusetts College of Art and Design is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). The school is also an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

2. Emerson College, Boston, Massachusetts
Emerson College

The School of the Arts at Emerson College (Emerson) houses the Department of Visual & Media Arts (VMA), which offers a BA with two tracks: Media Arts Production and Media Studies. The Department also offers a BFA in Media Arts Production. All programs allow students to design and develop a focus area through a variety of course offerings.

Students may focus in areas such as Animation and Motion Media, Interactive Media and Games, Experimental Media Production, Filmmaking, Cinematography/Videography, and Post-Production, among others. Course examples include Computer animation, Drawing for Character Design, Film Production, Game Design, Interactive Media, Visual and Media Arts Production, and Writing the Short Subject.

Students in the BA program have the option to complete the BA Production Capstone Project or apply to the BFA program. The one-semester Capstone results in a professional production project, portfolio, or reel. BFA students must complete a thesis-level project that takes one year to complete.

All students have access to the Emerson College Emerging Media Lab (EML), where artists can work in multiple areas of new media such as 3D modeling and animation, artistic anatomy & 2D animation, rigging and animation, VR/AR, character design, game design, and more. 

Graduates of the Department of VMA at Emerson have been hired to work in a variety of roles at Digital Domain, Worldwide Pants, MGM Studios, Searchlight Pictures, and Bunim-Murray Productions, to name a few.

Emerson College was established in 1880. The school serves nearly 5,900 students enrolled in 25 undergraduate majors, 30+ minors, 16 graduate degrees, and six graduate certificate programs. In addition to the main campus in Boston, Emerson has campuses Los Angeles and the Netherlands. Emerson College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

3. School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts
School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University

The School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University (SMFA Tufts) offers a BFA and a Combined BFA + BA/BS. These flexible programs allow students to customize a focus in one or more mediums. Examples include Animation, Film and Video, Digital Media, Graphic Arts, and/or Virtual Reality.

Sample animation courses include Animation Basics, Animation Integration, Drawing for Animation, Animation 2, Stop-Motion Animation, and Moving Image. Coursework for the program is complemented by visiting artist lectures, screenings, projects, and demos.

In the final year of the BFA program, students may apply to the SMFA Tufts Senior Thesis Program. This yearlong capstone leads to a professional work and exhibition. Combined BFA + BA/BS students will graduate with two degrees: a BFA and a BA or BS in their chosen area.

The School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA) was founded in 1876 as part of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. SMFA began a partnership with Tufts University in 1945. The goal was to offer joint degree programs. Today, SMFA Tufts serves more than 400 students enrolled in BFA, MFA, MAT, Combined-degree (BFA + BA/BS), Certificate or Studio Diploma programs.

The School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). As part of Tufts University, SMFA is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).

4. Lesley University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Lesley University

The College of Art and Design at Lesley University offers a BFA in Animation and Motion Media that consists of 123 credit hours of study. The school also offers a 60 credit hour Professional Certificate in Animation & Motion Media, and a Minor in Animation that requires 15 credit hours to complete.

The Animation and Motion Media BFA Program covers the 12 Principles of Animation. Students may pursue a second major or choose from 45 minors in liberal arts or art and design. Creative pathways include Animation & Motion Media + Creative Writing or Animation & Motion Media + Biology. In addition, required internships and apprenticeships provide the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in all areas of animation at Nickelodeon and Warner Bros., among others.

The Professional Certificate in Animation and Motion Media is a post-baccalaureate program that provides hands-on experience in the school’s animation facilities and at local studios. Courses are taught by faculty members who have worked at major studios such as Nickelodeon, DreamWorks, and Fox. Course examples include Storyboarding for Time Based Media, Digital Animation: 2D, Audio Production & Design, Community Animation Studio, and Business of Animation. Students in the certificate program will also complete Animation Senior Studio 1-2, worth 12 credits total.

The Lesley University Minor in Animation requires Principles of Animation I and II. Students may then select three elective courses in an area (or areas) that they would like to focus on. Examples include Experimental Animation, Toys, Props & Products, Compositing & Visual Effects, Game Production. Live Action for Animators, Stop-Motion Animation, and Anime.

Graduates of the Animation Programs at Lesley University work in animation, film and TV, and game design in positions such as Animators, VFX Artists, Game Artists, Art Directors, Filmmakers, and Storyboard Artists, among others.

Lesley University was founded in 1909. The school serves more than 6,000 students across four colleges and schools including Liberal Arts, Art and Design, Graduate School of Social Sciences, and the Graduate School of Education. Lesley University offers more than 100 programs, and the school is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

5. Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts
Northeastern University

The Northeastern University (Northeastern) College of Arts, Media and Design (CAMD) houses the Media Arts Program, which offers BFA degrees in Media Arts and Game Art and Animation. The Media Arts BFA offers a Concentration in Animation. A Minor in Animation is also available.

CAMD BFA students have the opportunity to learn and work in a collaborative, immersive environment. In addition to animation, students will have opportunities to explore other areas such as game design, AR/VR, and interactive video. During the course of the program, students will work their way through the production pipelines for animated films, visual effects, simulations and visualizations, games, and media.

Other program benefits include courses taught by professionals in the industry, global experiences, and plenty of co-op and experiential learning experiences. Northeastern University has established relationships with co-op employers such as Sony, Walt Disney Company, Microsoft Studios, CBS, Adobe, Zynga, MIT Design Lab, National Geographic Learning, Apple, NBC Universal Television, School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) Amazon, Meta (formerly Facebook), and Viacom.

The CAMD BFA Program at Northeastern culminates with a Capstone Project and a Professional Portfolio.

In the Khoury College of Computer Sciences at Northeastern University, the BS in Computer Science (CS) Program offers a Combined Major in Media Arts. In addition to animation, this 137 semester hour program explores traditional and emerging areas such as VR/AR, artificial intelligence (AI), human-computer interaction (HCI), video, computer graphics, photography, and database design. Specific animation and related courses include Animation 1-3, Character Design for Animation, Virtual Environment Design, Animation for Games, Experimental Video, Color and Composition, Experience and Interaction, Movement and Time, and Computer Graphics.

Graduates of the CAMD Animation BFA and BS/CS in Media Arts Programs at Northeastern University go on to establish careers in animation, TV and film, game art and design, VR/AR, HCI, and digital media, among others.

Founded in 1898, Northeastern University began as the Evening Institute of the Boston Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA). According to the most recent enrollment figures, the school serves around 37,825 students enrolled in more than 400 programs in eight colleges. Northeastern University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

6. Montserrat College of Art, Beverly, Massachusetts
Montserrat College of Art

Montserrat College of Art (Montserrat) offers a BFA with a Concentration in Animation and Interactive Media (A+IM). In addition to animation courses, the program includes courses from the Departments of Illustration, Photography, and Graphic Design.

Course examples for the program include Photo/Video/Film, Illustration, Drawing, Book Arts, Graphic Design, Animation + Interactive Media, Senior Studio Arts Seminar, Business, and Art History.

Collaborative studios and internship opportunities prepare students to work individually and in teams for animation and game design studios, web design firms, and interactive media companies, among others. Students and graduates of the program have worked for (or are currently working for) studios and companies such as Disney, Nickelodeon, FableVision, Sesame Street, and Hasbro.

Founded in 1970, Montserrat College of Art opened as Montserrat School of Visual Arts with just one diploma program. Today, Montserrat offers 10 programs leading to a BFA and five minor programs. The school serves more than 370 students. Montserrat College of Art is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE).

7. University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts
University of Massachusetts Amherst

University of Massachusetts at Amherst (UMass Amherst) houses the College of Humanities & Fine Arts, home to the Department of Arts, which offers BA and BFA degrees in Studio Arts-Animation. In addition to specializing in Animation, the Studio Arts Program allows students to take courses from other departments such as the Department of Computer Science. Electives allow students to focus in other areas within Fine Art. Examples include Painting, Sculpture, Ceramics, Photography, and Printmaking.

Discipline requirements for the UMass Amherst Studio Arts-Animation include Animation Fundamentals, Computer Animation, Media and Motion Graphics, Advanced Drawing, and Senior Seminar: Computer Studio, to name a few. All BFA students will complete a Senior Thesis Project to graduate. BA students will complete a number of projects throughout the program.

Founded in 1863 as Massachusetts Agricultural College (MAC), University of Massachusetts Amherst serves 32,135 students, making it the oldest and largest school in the University of Massachusetts System.

UMass Amherst offers more than 90 undergraduate programs and 120+ graduate programs in ten colleges and schools. The University of Massachusetts Amherst is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

8. Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts
Wellesley College

Wellesley College offers an interdepartmental major in Media Arts and Sciences (MAS). Housed in the Computer Science and Art Departments, the program gives students the opportunity to choose courses to match their career goals. The production-oriented MAS major offers courses such as Mixed and Augmented Reality, Human-Computer Interaction, Computer Graphics, Digital Worlds for Gaming, Computer Music, Game Design, Digital Imaging, Interactive Sound Art with Electronics, Moving Image Studio, Advanced Video Production, Advanced Digital Projects, and User-Oriented Collaborative Design.

All MAS students will have the opportunity to complete an internship to gain hands-on experience and/or study abroad.

Graduates of the Wellesley College MAS Program work in the animation, TV/film, and game design industries. Program alumni also work in fields such as media and information, scientific visualization, computing, architecture, arts and culture, and design, among others.

Founded in 1870, Wellesley College opened with 314 students served by a president, educators, and administrators who were mostly women. Today, Wellesley College is a private college committed to educating women. Around 2,280 students are enrolled in dozens of programs in more than 30 departments. Wellesley College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

9. University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Dartmouth, Massachusetts
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

The College of Visual Performing Arts (CVPA) at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (UMass Dartmouth) offers a BFA in Animation & Game Arts (AGA), and a Minor in Animation.

The 120 credit hour BFA in AGA explores digital animation, games, virtual reality, 2D and 3D design, interactive multimedia, storytelling, storyboarding, and web design. Animation and Game Studio courses, Professional Design Practices, access to the UMass Dartmouth IDEAStudio, and the internship program provide the opportunity for students to gain technical experience in the field. At the end of the AGA BFA Program, students will complete a Capstone Project. 

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth AGA BFA alumni work in both traditional and emerging fields such as animation and special effects, scientific visualization, art education, forensic animation, game design, VR/AR, multimedia, environmental design, UI/UX, video editing, art direction, and software design.

The UMass Dartmouth CVPA Animation Minor consists of 18 credits of core animation classes. 3D Animation, 3D Modeling, and Story Structures are a just few examples. Students in the program will work with animation tools such as Photoshop and Maya, and produce a portfolio consisting of 2D and 3D animation projects. Upon completion of the program, students are prepared to seek positions such as Animator, 3D Modeler, Rigger, and Texture Artist, among others.

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth dates back to 1895. The school serves around 7,715 students enrolled in more than 150 programs in six colleges. Programs at UMass Dartmouth are housed in eight colleges and schools. University of Massachusetts Dartmouth is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), and the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE).

10. Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Harvard University

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University houses the Department of Art, Film, and Visual Studies (AFVS). The department offers opportunities to concentrate in just about any area of visual arts, and at all degree levels. Examples include film/video production (including animation), design, video art, drawing, photography, and more. Students in all concentrations will work with faculty in studios and seminars to reach their goals.

Course examples include Experimental Animation, Animating Science, Fundamentals of Animation, Film Directing: Approaching Fiction Now, Visual Music, Immersive Experience as Art, Film & Visual Studies Workshop. Graduate students will also take Directed Study, Teaching Workshop, Advanced Critical media Practice, and Graduate Studio Workshop.

Students in all programs may take courses outside of the AFVS Department. Examples include courses in History of Art and Architecture, Cultural Studies, Theater, Dance, and Media.

Founded in 1636, Harvard University is the oldest institution of higher education in the U.S. The school serves 23,731 students enrolled in hundreds of programs in 12 degree-granting Schools and the Harvard Radcliffe Institute. Harvard University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).