What are the top animation school programs in New York for 2023?

Top New York Animation School Programs - 2023 College Rankings
1School of Visual ArtsNew York
2Pratt InstituteBrooklyn
3New York University New York
4Rochester Institute of TechnologyRochester
5The New School's Parsons School of DesignNew York
6Syracuse UniversitySyracuse
7Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroy
8New York Institute of TechnologyNew York
9Alfred State CollegeAlfred
10Daemen UniversityAmherst

Our 2023 ranking -our twelfth 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

The Animation Department at School of Visual Arts (SVA) has three pathways for animators: Animation, Computer Art, and Computer Animation and Visual Effects. Leading to a BFA, all programs emphasize hands-on experience; mentors who are accomplished special effects artists, directors, and character designers; and working relationships with independent animators across New York, and alumni-owned Augenblick Studios, Plymptoons, and Titmouse. As interns and part-time employees, SVA Animation students have produced animations for non-profit organizations and public service organizations such as UNESCO, Ted-ED, and UNICEF.

Students in all BFA programs will train on the latest industry software including Maya, Adobe Animate, Storyboard Pro, After Effects, and Toon Boom Harmony. SVA Animation students will also participate in the School of Visual Arts Thesis Celebration, where their best work will be presented to industry professionals and other prominent figures in the world of art.

Graduates of the Animation, Computer Art, and Computer Animation and Visual Effects BFA programs at SVA have gone on to win awards presented by the Academy of Motion Pictures, The International Animation Festival, and the Association of International Film Animators (ASIFA). Graduates have also won awards for their short and feature films at numerous festivals around the world.

SVA Animation alumni can be found at independent animation studios worldwide and at major studios such as DreamWorks, Lucasfilm Animation, Warner Bros. Animation, Nickelodeon, Sony Pictures Animation, and Disney Animation Studios.

At the graduate level, the Computer Arts Department at School of Visual Arts has an MFA Program in Computer Arts. SVA is also known for its Continuing Education (CE) Animation courses, which are designed to help students improve their skills through hands-on exercises and workshops. CE Animation students have the opportunity to create their own shorts.

The SVA MFA Computer Arts Department was the first MFA Program in the U.S. to focus on computer art. Established in 1986, the program features 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 been hired at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), MTV, Pixar, Google, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Electronic Arts (EA), 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) opened in 1947 as the Cartoonists and Illustrators school. Classes began with 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. SVA is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), with individual program accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA).

2. Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York
Pratt Institute

The School of Art at Pratt Institute (Pratt) houses eight departments and more than 30 degree programs. The Department of Digital Arts here has a Digital Arts Program, which leads to a BFA. Also housed in the School of Art is the Graduate School of Art, which has a Digital Arts MFA Program with concentrations in 3-D Animation and Motion Arts and Interactive Arts.

The BFA program has several emphasis options: 2-D Animation, 3-D Animation and Motion Arts, 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 will 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 work in a wide variety of positions for major studios such as Digital Domain, Gameloft, Walt Disney Animation Studios, NBCUniversal, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), and Sony Pictures Imageworks. Many Pratt alumni have also gone on to establish academic careers at institutions such as New York University (NYU), Rochester Institute of technology (RIT), New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), Howard University, and American Academy in Rome.

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 more than 5,000 students across campuses in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Utica, New York. More than 70 degree programs are offered across six schools and The Center for Interdisciplinary Studies. Pratt Institute is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

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

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

The Animation Area launched in 1980 with just five classes and 80 students, and it was the first program to bring digital technology to Kanbar. Today, the Animation Area consists of nearly twenty different courses and more than 500 students from nearly every state and dozens of countries.  

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

Besides a diverse array of classes. the Animation Area at NYU Tisch highlights guest speakers such as Jeffrey Katzenberg, David Polonski, and Chris Butler, study abroad experiences, and internship opportunities. 

Graduates of the Animation Area at NYU Tisch work as freelancers, many have started their own studios, and others work at major studios such as DreamWorks, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and Pixar.

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).

Founded in 1965, Tisch School of Arts at New York University serves more than 4,000 students from 48 states and 39 countries. Programs are offered at all degree levels through Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film & Television, the Institute of Performing Arts, and the Institute of Emerging Media.

4. Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York
Rochester Institute of Technology

The College of Art and Design at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) houses the School of Film and Animation, home to the Animation Program. Several degree options are available 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, digital and visual effects, games, and films. Course examples across all programs include After Effects for Animators, Programming for 3D Animators, Production Processes, Experimental Animation, Virtual Production, Digital Effects & Compositing, World Building Workshop, and Directing.

Production Option BFA students will learn to produce documentary, fiction, experimental, and live-action films. Students will gain hands-on experience working with cameras, and editing and sound equipment. All Production Option students will have the opportunity to participate in RIT’s Study Away: LA Program. Students that choose to participate in the program will spend a semester in Los Angeles where they can intern at top studios and entertainment companies, and take two courses to complement the study-away experience.

RIT also has one of the fourth-oldest and one of the largest cooperative (co-op) education programs in the world. As such, all RIT programs provide co-op education opportunities as well as internships and other experiential learning opportunities. RIT animation students also have access to 52,000 square foot MAGIC Spell Studios, and labs and classrooms outfitted with industry standard technology and software.

At all levels, animation students will participate in the RIT’s Creative Industry Day, where they will have the opportunity to mingle with representatives of studios, design firms, and other creative companies.

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

Rochester Institute of Technology is a top research university that dates back to 1829. With global campuses in China, Croatia, Dubai, and Kosovo, the school serves more than 19,000 students, making it one of the largest private universities in the U.S. RIT offers more than 200 academic programs across 11 colleges and institutes. 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

The New School houses Parsons School of Design, which is the largest of the school’s seven colleges. Within Parsons School of Design is a Design and Technology Program that has BFA and MFA pathways. The MFA is a STEM-designated, studio-based degree that requires on-campus study. Consisting of 60 credit hours of study, the MFA includes courses and studios such as xFab Lecture and Lab, Creative Practice Seminar, Collaboration Studio, Major Studio, and Thesis Studio.

Also a STEM-designated program, the 120 credit hour BFA in Design and Technology focuses on interaction, storytelling, and emerging art and design practices. Specializations include Creative Technology and Game Design. Course examples include Code 2, Design Studies, Core Lab Objects, and Core Studio Environments.

All undergraduate students at The New School Parsons must complete the first-year experience. Consisting of 30 credits, the experience includes seminars and studios, liberal arts studies, and the exploration of 2D and 3D processes, digital design, drawing, and other tools and methods relevant to art and design. Course examples include Time, Sustainable Systems, Drawing/Imaging, Objects as History, Space/Materiality, and Integrative Seminar 1-2.

The School of Continuing & Professional Education at The New School Parsons has an additional option for animators. Leading to a Certificate, the Motion Design and Animation Program consist of three courses that explore the production process from start to finish. This includes storyboarding, editing, special effects, film production, and more. The Certificate Program can be taken alone or in combination with the Design and Technology BFA or MFA Programs.

Students in all New School programs have the opportunity to interact with and work on projects with professionals at places such as Apple, Siemens, Nickelodeon, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, gameLab, Samsung, MTV, Rockwell Interaction Lab, Atari, UNESCO, OnePlus Technology, and Eyebeam Art & Technology Center.

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

The New School Parsons was founded in 1896 as The Chase School. The school serves approximately 10,815 students enrolled more than 120 degree and diploma programs across six colleges and schools, including Parsons Paris. The New School Parsons is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

6. Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York
Syracuse University

The College of Visual & Performing Arts (VPA) at Syracuse University (SU) houses the Department of Film and Media Arts, which has several pathways to study animation. Options include a Computer Art and Animation BFA, a Computer Art MFA, and an Animation and Visual Effects Minor.

The Minor allows students to focus in Animation, Visual Effects, or both. Consisting of 21 credit hours, the minor includes course options such as Advanced 3D Animation and Visual Effects, Animation Workshop I-II, Previz and Character Development for Animation, Visual Effects Workshop I-II, Drawing II: Representation to Conceptualization, Film Scriptwriting, and Drawing for Illustration.

Upon completion of the SU Animation and Visual Effects Program, students may pursue further study in the VPA (or other SU college) or pursue an entry-level position in the entertainment industry.

The Computer Art and Animation BFA at Syracuse University provides the opportunity to observe the production processes at studios in the U.S. and around the world. Examples include 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). All BFA students also have the opportunity to participate in the VPA LA Semester. This immersive professional development program allows students to work as interns in Los Angeles, while taking courses taught by professionals working in LA’s entertainment industry.  

Graduates of the SU Computer Art and Animation Program have been hired at Cartoon Network, Pixar, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Tippett Studio, and Filmworks/FX.

The Computer Art MFA Program at Syracuse University launched in 1980. Consisting of 60 credit hours, completed over three years, the program allows students to focus in a specific area through studio electives (12) and free electives (Six). Focus areas may include Computer Animation, Gaming, Visual Effects, or Sonic Art, among others.

Graduate students in all areas have 24/7 access to all computer art facilities, video post-production, audio production, and recording studios, dedicated Apple MacPro workstations, video camcorders, field audio recorders, and a range of physical computing gear.

The Computer Art MFA Program at Syracuse University culminates with an oral examination and final project with presentation. Graduates of the program are prepared for careers in all areas of entertainment. Program alumni work at major studios and networks such as Sony Pictures Imageworks, MPC Film, Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), Blizzard Entertainment, Pixar, Cartoon Network, Filmworks/FX, and Tippett Studios.

Founded in 1870, Syracuse University is an R1 research institution that serves approximately 21,320 students from all 50 states and 126 countries. Students can choose from more than 200 majors, 100 minors, and 200 advanced degree programs across SU’s 13 colleges and schools. In addition to campuses in Syracuse, and Manhattan, 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) houses the Department of Art, home to the Electronic Arts (EART) Program. EART students have access to a number of pathways that provide opportunities to explore animation. Options include the EART BS, PhD, and Minor. The EART Minor is an immersive program that requires 16 credit hours of study.

The EART BS has Concentrations in Animation and Algorithmic Art; Sonic Arts, Video, Performance and Social Practices; Integrated Visual Art; and DIY (Do It Yourself). All programs explore 3D Animation, Interactive Arts, Digital Imaging, and Graphic Storytelling. Animation and Algorithmic Art students will take courses such as 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 EART PhD is one of the first programs of its kind. Consisting of 48 credit hours beyond the master’s degree, this interdisciplinary program requires successful completion of Research Methods, Electronic Arts Overview, the Arts Graduate Colloquium, and the Dissertation. Study plans allow students to choose the remaining courses from other RPI departments and programs. This includes Animation, Video, Computer Music, Science and Technology, and Performance, among others.

Graduates of the EART Programs at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are prepared to seek positions in fields such as animation, television and film, game design and development, advertising, and education.

Established in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the nation’s first technological research university. Serving approximately 6,910 students, RPI offers more than 50 degree programs across 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

New York Institute of Technology (NYIT or New York Tech) provides more than 90 technology-based programs to thousands of students in areas ranging from architecture to design to STEM fields. The university where the Pixar founders got their start, New York Tech houses the School of Architecture & Design, home to the Department of Digital Art & Design, which has two pathways to study animation. The Digital Arts Program leads to a BFA and the Digital Art & Design Program leads to an MFA. The graduate program has a Fine Arts & Technology Concentration.

As part of NYIT, School of Architecture & Design students have access to internship opportunities with major networks, studios, and corporations such as Viacom/MTV, Google, HBO, and Live Nation. Both MFA and BFA students will also attend a number of seminars and complete several workshops. 

Other Program highlights include access to The HIVE (partners include organizations such as CITYarts, Inc.. the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Media Lab, and the Viscardi Center); state-of-the-art technology and facilities such as the motion capture studio, immersive environments, and rapid prototyping; summer abroad experiences; and the opportunity for students to show their work at the annual New York Institute of Technology Film and Animation Festival.

The Digital Arts BFA requires 120 credit hours of study and it can be completed at either the New York or Long Island campus. The program explores computer animation, digital arts production, and related areas through courses such as Form and Space, 2D Animation, 3D Modeling & Animation, Computer Graphics, Digital Compositing, Motion Graphics, Game Design, Illustration, Traditional to Digital Media, Motion Capture, and Storytelling. Digital Arts BFA students will complete two Thesis courses and a Portfolio course.

Graduates of the NYIT Digital Arts BFA are prepared to pursue positions such as Animator, 3D Modeler, Digital Artist, Video Game Designer, Motion Capture Artist, Motion Graphics Designer, Storyboard Artist, and Multimedia Producer.

The 60 credit hour Digital Art & Design MFA is available NYIT’s New York, NY campus only. The program emphasizes classroom projects using 3D modeling software; motion capture; and experiential art via virtual and augment reality (VR/AR). Course examples include Aesthetics and Theory, Drawing, History of Art and technology, and Contemporary Art. Students can develop a focus area through the required 21 credit hours of electives. Elective examples include Stop-Motion Studio, UX/UI Design, Visual Effects, Computer Programming, and Experimental Media.

The Digital Art & Design MFA culminates with Thesis Production I and II, worth eight credit hours, and the Thesis Paper and Exhibition course, worth two credits. Graduates are prepared to pursue positions such as Animator, Digital Artist, Motion Capture Artist, Multimedia Designer, Production Artist, Digital Sculptor, and Arts Educator.

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 across 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, home to the Department of Digital Media and Animation (DMA). Degree options include a 63 credit hour DMA AAS and a 123 credit hour DMA BS. A 15 credit hour Animation Minor is also available, and includes courses such as Advanced Animation, Survey of Animation, 3D Animation, Advanced Modeling, and Advanced Motion Graphics.

All DMA students 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 DMA AAS Program provides direct entry into the BS program. Course examples across both programs include Digital Foundations, Visual Communication, Figure and Motion, 3D Animation, Survey of Animation & Visual Effects (VFX), Motion Graphics, 2D Animation, Advanced Modeling, Production I-II, Film, and Interactive Media.

During the final year of the Alfred State 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 DMA Programs are prepared to pursue graduate study or employment in the animation, film, interactive media, or digital imaging industries. Some DMA graduates go on to launch their own studios or freelance businesses.

Alfred State College was established in 1908 as New York State School of Agriculture. Today, Alfred State is a College of Technology and a member of the State University of New York (SUNY) System of 64 institutions. Alfred State provides 80 undergraduate majors and more than 25 minors to approximately 3,670 students. Alfred State College is accredited by the Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

10. Daemen University, Amherst, New York
Daemen University

The College of Arts, Sciences and Education at Daemen University (formerly Daemen College) has an Animation BFA Program that focuses on traditional animation, CG animation, and narrative storytelling. Courses for the program are led by industry professionals who have worked at Nickelodeon, DreamWorks, Cartoon Network, and Disney. Topics covers include storyboarding, CG modeling and rigging, character animation, 2D Harmony rigging, and character design.

Other program highlights include internships with studios across the U.S., study abroad experiences, access to the latest industry software and equipment, the option to add a Visual Effects (VFX) Certificate, and participation in the Animation and Story Production Club, which has 24-hour animation jams and events, story development classes, and character creation sessions.

Students in the Daemen University Animation BFA Program have created animated shorts that have been recognized at film festivals and events such as the Telly Awards. For the past two years, Daemen University students have taken won Tellys.

Graduates of the Animation BFA Program are prepared to pursue careers in all areas of animation animated feature films, VFX, television, video games, streaming, and more. Some of the most popular career options for program alumni include Animator, Storyboard Artist, Concept Artist, Animation Director, Character Designer, CG Modeler, Rigger, and Background Designer.  

Daemen University was established in 1947 as Rosary Hill College by the Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity. Originally a liberal arts college for women, Rosary Hill became co-educational in 1971. The school changed its name to Daemen College in 1976, and Daemen University in March 2022. Today, Daemen University serves approximately 2,640 students enrolled in 65 undergraduate majors and dozens of graduate degree and other programs.

Programs at Daemen are housed in the College of Arts, Sciences and Education; College of Health, Human Science and Business; and College of Health Professions. Daemen University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).