What are the top animation school programs in New York for 2022?

Top 10 New York Animation School Programs - 2022 College Rankings
1School of Visual ArtsNew York
2Pratt InstituteBrooklyn
3New York University New York
4Rochester Institute of TechnologyRochester
5The New School/ParsonsNew York
6Syracuse UniversitySyracuse
7Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroy
8New York Institute of TechnologyNew York
9Alfred State CollegeAlfred
10Queens CollegeQueens

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

1. School of Visual Arts, New York, New York
School of Visual Arts

The School of Visual Arts (SVA) offers BFA degrees in Animation, Computer Art, and Computer Animation and Visual Effects. At the graduate level, the school offers an MFA in Computer Arts.

The School of Visual Arts is also known for its Continuing Education (CE) Animation courses, which are designed to help students improve their skills through hands-in exercise and workshops. Should they choose to, CE Animation students may create their own shorts.

In the BFA programs at SVA, students learn by doing. Whether their focus is stop motion, traditional, or computer animation, students will have the opportunity to develop their skills by working with alumni-owned studios such as Augenblick, Plymptoons, and Titmouse studios. In addition, students will train on the latest industry software including Maya, Adobe Animate, Storyboard Pro, After Effects, and Toon Boom Harmony. Four years of study in the BFA programs culminates in a showcase of the students work to industry professionals and prominent figures at the School of Visual Arts Thesis Celebration.

Graduates of the Animation, Computer Art, and Computer Animation and Visual Effects BFA programs at SVA have gone on to win awards at major festivals and from the Academy of Motion Pictures. Program alumni can be found at independent animation studios worldwide and at Lucasfilm Animation, Sony Pictures Animation, Disney Animation Studios, Warner Bros. Animation, Nickelodeon, and DreamWorks Animation SKG.

The School of Visual Arts MFA Computer Arts Department was the first MFA program in the U.S. to focus on computer art. Established in 1986, the program highlights workshops, guest lectures, visiting artists, and internship experiences. During the final year of the program, MFA students will complete academic research and a creative work accompanied by an artist’s statement.

Graduates of the SVA MFA in Computer Arts Program have landed positions at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), MTV, Pixar, Google, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Electronic Arts, and Disney, DreamWorks. Some alumni have gone on to open their own studios or win Academy, Emmy Award, and Grammy awards.

The School of Visual Arts (SVA) dates back to 1947, when it was known as the Cartoonists and Illustrators school. When is opened, the school had just three teachers and 35 students. Today, the School of Visual Arts serves more than 4,000 students enrolled in dozens of BFA, MA, MFA, and MPS programs. The degree offerings at SVA are accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), and/or the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA).

2. Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York
Pratt Institute

The School of Art at Pratt Institute (Pratt) houses the Department of Digital Arts, which offers a BFA in Digital Arts. Also housed in the School of Art is the Graduate School of Art, which offers an MFA in Digital Arts with concentrations in Digital Animation and Motion Arts, Interactive Arts, And Digital Imaging. The BFA program has emphasis options including 3-D Animation and Motion Arts, 2-D Animation, and Interactive Arts.

Department highlights include small class sizes, a collaborative environment, state-of-the art studios and classrooms, and courses taught by experienced artists in the field. BFA students can expect to take courses such as 3D Modeling, Coding for Animation, Compositing and Special FX, and Lighting and Rendering. Senior Project Development and Senior Projects courses are also part of the program.

Pratt MFA students can expect to take courses such as Digital Animation Studio, Traditional Animation, and Advanced Digital Animation. Graduate Seminar I-II and Thesis I-II are also part of the program.

Pratt Institute graduates have landed positions at Digital Domain, Gameloft, Walt Disney Animation Studios, NBCUniversal, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Sony Pictures Imageworks, and other top studios. Many Pratt alumni have gone on establish academic careers at institutions such as New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), New York University (NYU), Rochester Institute of technology (RIT), Howard University, and American Academy in Rome, to name a few.

Founded in 1887, Pratt Institute was one of the nation’s first colleges to welcome students without regard to color, gender or class. The school serves 4,875 students across campuses in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Utica, New York. More than 50 undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs are offered in six schools. Pratt Institute is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

3. New York University (NYU) Tisch School of the Arts, New York, New York
New York University (NYU) Tisch School of the Arts

Founded in 1965, Tisch School of Arts at New York University (NYU) houses the Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television, which produces more than 5,000 films per year. The Institute also houses the Department of Animation and Digital Arts, which offers a BFA in Film and Television with an Animation Area.

Launched in 1979 with just three classes and 80 students, the program currently serves more than 500 students from nearly every state and dozens of countries.  

The Animation Area at NYU Tisch provides instruction in 2D Animation, 3D Animation, and Traditional Animation. The program begins with animation fundamentals and progresses to intermediate animation, then advanced. Course examples include Life Drawing: Anatomy, Storyboarding, Action Analysis, Experimental Animation, Drawing and Design for Animation, Motion Design & Titles, Visual Effects and Compositing, and Writing for Animation.

The Animation Area also highlights guest speakers such as Jeffrey Katzenberg, David Polonski, and Chris Butler. Students in the program may study abroad and/or complete an internship.

NYU Tisch Animation Area graduates work as freelancers, they have started their own studios, and they work at places such as Pixar, DreamWorks, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and many others.

New York University was founded in 1831. Serving nearly 55,000 students, NYU is one of the nation’s largest private universities. In addition to the New York campus, NYU has campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai, along with 11 global academic centers in Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, and South America. With an estimated 400+ programs, New York University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

4. Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York

The College of Art and Design at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) houses the School of Film and Animation. Several animation degree options are available here including BFA and MFA degrees in Film and Animation, BFA degrees in Film and Animation with either an Animation Option or a Production Option, and a BS in Motion Picture Science.

The MFA has four options: 2D Animation, 3D Animation, Production, and Screenwriting. The BS program requires coursework in film, television, and animation production. In the Film BFA Animation Option, the focus is 2D and 3D Animation, production, screenwriting, and stop-motion animation. Three tracks are available including 2D, 3D and Stop Motion Animation. Students learn to animate for AR/VR, films, games, and digital and visual effects.

Production Option BFA students will learn to produce documentary, fiction, experimental, and live-action films. Students can expect to gain hands-on experience working with cameras and editing and sound equipment.

All programs offer internship opportunities, cooperative education, and experiential learning opportunities. RIT animation students also have access to the 52,000 square foot MAGIC Spell Studios.

Along with labs and classrooms outfitted with industry standard technology and software. At all levels, RIT animation students will have the opportunity to participate in the RIT’s Creative Industry Day, where they get to mingle with representatives of studios, design firms, and other creative companies.

Graduates of Rochester Institute of Technology can be found in a variety of positions at Lucasfilm, Electronic Arts, Dolby, Nickelodeon, Sony, DreamWorks, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Disney, and many others.

Rochester Institute of Technology dates back to 1829. With campuses in China, Croatia, Dubai, and Kosovo, RIT serves more than 19,000 students, making it one of the largest private universities in the U.S. Across 11 colleges and institutes, the school offers more than 200 academic programs. Rochester Institute of Technology is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

5. The New School's Parsons School of Design, New York, New York
The New School Parsons

Parsons School of Design is one of the seven colleges and schools of The New School Parsons (The New School). Program options for animators here include BFA and MFA degrees in Design and Technology. The MFA is a STEM-designated, studio-based degree that requires on-campus study. Also a STEM-designated program, the BFA in Design and Technology focuses on interaction, storytelling, and emerging art and design practices. Specializations include Creative Technology or Game Design.

The New School also houses the School of Continuing & Professional Education, which offers a Certificate in Motion Design and Animation. This program can be taken alone or in combination with the BFA or MFA programs. Students in all programs have the opportunity to interact with and work on projects with professionals at places such as Nickelodeon, gameLab, Apple, Samsung, Atari, MTV, and many others.

Graduates of the BFA, MFA, and Certificate programs at The New School Parsons are prepared for success in a wide range of positions in 2D and 3D animation, film and television/digital filmmaking, media art, advertising, game design, VR/AR, UI/UX, graphic arts, interaction design, software design, mobile and application design, web design, and more.

The New School Parsons was founded in 1896 as The Chase School. The school serves more than 10,000 students enrolled 100+ degree and diploma programs. The New School is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

6. Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York
Syracuse University

Syracuse University (SU) is home to the College of Visual & Performing Arts (VPA), which houses the Department of Film and Media Arts. Program options for animators here include a BFA in Computer Art and Animation, an MFA in Computer Art, and a Minor in Animation and Visual Effects.

Students in the Minor may focus in Animation, Visual Effects or both. The program consists of 21 credit hours of study, with course titles such as Previz and Character Development for Animation, Sequential Illustration, Advanced 3D Animation and Visual Effects, and Animation Workshop I-II. Upon completion of the program, students may pursue further study or an entry-level position in the entertainment industry.

A major component of the Computer Art and Animation BFA Program is the opportunity to observe the production processes at studios such as Method Studios (Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Vancouver and Montreal, Canada, Melbourne, Australia, and Pune, India) and Filmworks/FX (Brooklyn, New York, Los Angeles, and Woodland Hills, California). Graduates of the program have been hired at Filmworks/FX, as well as Cartoon Network, Tippett Studio, Pixar, and Sony Pictures Imageworks.

The Computer Art MFA launched in 1980 and consists of 60 credit hours, completed over three years. Students may focus on a specific area through studio electives (12 required) and free electives (Six required). Focus areas may include Computer Animation, Gaming, Visual Effects, or Sonic Art, to name a few.

The Computer Art MFA Program culminates in an oral examination and final project with presentation. MFA alumni work at major studios and networks such as Sony Pictures Imageworks, Moving Picture Company (MPC), Industrial Light and Magic, Blizzard Entertainment, Pixar, Cartoon Network, Filmworks/FX, and Tippett Studios.

Founded in 1870, Syracuse University serves around 21,330 students from all 50 states and 120 countries. More than 200 majors and minors, and 200 advanced degree programs, are offered across SU’s 13 colleges and schools. In addition to campuses in Syracuse, and Manhattan, New York, Washington DC, and Los Angeles, SU operates overseas centers in London, Italy, Spain, Chile, France, and Poland. Syracuse University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

7. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) offers BS, PhD, and Minor programs in Electronic Arts. The Minor is an immersive program that requires 16 credit hours of study.

Housed in the Department of Art, all Electronic Arts programs explore 3D Animation, Interactive Arts, Digital Imaging, and Graphic Storytelling. Students in the undergraduate programs can concentrate in Animation and Algorithmic Art, Sonic Arts, Video, Performance and Social Practice, Integrated Visual Art, or DIY (Do It Yourself).

Students in all concentrations can expect to take courses such as Art for Interactive Media, Drawing, and Digital Filmmaking. Animation and Algorithmic Art students will take 3D Animation, 3D Visual Effects, 2D Experimental Animation, Art and Code and Interactivity, Experimental Game Design, and Animation Production, among others. However, most concentrations offer some animation coursework.

The RPI HASS PhD in Electronic Arts is one of the first programs of its kind. Consisting of 48 credit hours beyond the master’s degree, the PhD requires successful completion of Research Methods, Electronic Arts Overview, Arts Graduate Colloquium, and the Dissertation. Elective requirements offer ample opportunities to focus in animation.

Graduates of the Electronic Arts Programs at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are prepared to seek positions in animation, television and film, game design and development, advertising, education, and more.

Established in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the nation’s first technological research university. Serving 7,900 students, RPI offers more than 50 degree programs in five schools. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSACS). 

8. New York Institute of Technology, New York, New York
New York Institute of Technology

The School of Architecture & Design at New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) houses the Department of Digital Art & Design, which offers BFA and MFA degrees in Digital Arts. As part of NYIT, Digital Art & Design students have access to internship opportunities with major networks, studios, and corporations such as Viacom/MTV, Google, HBO, and Live Nation, among others.

The BFA consists of 120 credit hours of study and the MFA requires 60. Course highlights across both programs include 3D Modeling and Animation, Time and Motion, Concept and Visual Storytelling, Character Animation, Advanced 3D Modeling and Animation, Motion Graphics, Form and Space, Computer Graphics, Digital compositing, and Business of Creative Industry. BFA students will complete three Thesis courses (nine credit hours total) and a Portfolio course (three credits). In the MFA program, students will complete Professional Critiques (two credit hours), and three Thesis courses (16 credit hours total).

Elective requirements for both pathways allow students to take courses such as Stop-Motion Studio, UX/UI Design, Visual Effects, Computer Programming, and Experimental Media. Digital Art & Design students will also attend a number of seminars and complete several workshops. 

Other NYIT Digital Art & Design Program highlights include summer abroad experiences and the opportunity for students to show their work at the annual New York Institute of Technology Film and Animation Festival.

Founded in 1955, New York Institute of Technology serves more 8,000 students across campuses in New York City and Long Island; Jonesboro, Arkansas, and Vancouver, Canada. NYIT offers more than 90 degree programs in six colleges and schools. New York Institute of Technology is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSACS).

9. Alfred State College, Alfred, New York
Alfred State College

Alfred State College (Alfred State) houses the School of Architecture, Management & Engineering Technology. The Department of Digital Media and Animation (DMA) here offers AAS and BS degrees in Digital Media and Animation. Students in the Department have access to traditional studio spaces and computer labs, as well as virtual reality, 3D sculpting, and video and sound production studios.

Completion of the AAS in DMA Program offers direct entry into the BS program. Course examples across both programs include Digital Foundations, Visual Communication, Figure and Motion, Introduction to 3D Animation, Survey of Animation & Visual Effects, 2D Animation, and Production I.

In the BS in DMA Program, upper level coursework examples include Advanced Animation and Modeling, Motion Graphics, Advanced Animation, Production II, Interactive Media, and Technical Writing II. During the final year of the DMA BS Program, students will complete Senior Seminar (three credits), Senior Studio I, Senior Studio Project II, and the Portfolio Course.

Graduates of the Alfred State College Digital Media and Animation Program are prepared to pursue graduate study, employment in the animation, film industry, interactive media or digital imaging industries, or freelance work.

Alfred State College is part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system. Founded in 1908, the school serves more than 3,600 students enrolled in nearly 100 programs in three schools and 17 departments. Alfred State College is Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

10. Queens College, Queens, New York
Queens College

The Art Department in the School of Arts & Humanities at Queens College (QC or Queens) offers a BFA in Design. The program has four concentration options including Animation, Illustration, Interaction Design, and Communication Design. The QC Art Department also offers Minors in Graphic Design, Digital Moviemaking & Imagemaking, Interaction Design, and Animation & Illustration. Minor programs require 21 credit hours of study. 

Design BFA Concentrations consist of five courses chosen from electives. The program also requires eight design elective courses. Course highlights include VT: Pixel-based Imagery, Advertising Design, Shoot, Edit, Post, Game Design, Adobe Flash, Storyboarding and Storytelling, App Design, Digital Imagemaking, VT: 3D Animation, Video Graphics and Compositing, Physical Computing, and Information Design.

Students in all concentrations benefit from studio-based learning and the option to specialize in additional areas such as advertising and marketing, web design, software development, graphic design, or product design, to name a few. The department also has a broad network of internships, which allows students to gain valuable design experience before graduation.

In addition to work experience. Students will leave the Queens College Design Program with a professional portfolio of their best work.

Queens College was founded in 1937. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY) system, QC serves more than 19,000 students enrolled in 170+ areas of study leading to a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Programs at Queens College are housed in the Schools of Arts & Humanities, Education, Math & Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences. Queens College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).