2020

What are the top animation Bachelor's (BA) programs in the U.S. for 2020?

Top 20 Animation Bachelor's (BA) Programs in the U.S. – 2020 College Rankings
RankingSchoolState
1University of California, Los AngelesCalifornia
2University of Southern CaliforniaCalifornia
3DePaul UniversityIllinois
4The Ohio State UniversityOhio
5Columbia College ChicagoIllinois
6California State University-Long BeachCalifornia
7Loyola Marymount UniversityCalifornia
8University of Texas at DallasTexas
9California State University-NorthridgeCalifornia
10Bowling Green State UniversityOhio
11California State University-Los AngelesCalifornia
12University of IowaIowa
13University of FloridaFlorida
14University of South FloridaFlorida
15University of ConnecticutConnecticut
16Drury UniversityMissouri
17Emerson CollegeMassachusetts
18New Jersey Institute of TechnologyNew Jersey
19Webster UniversityMissouri
20North Carolina State University at RaleighNorth Carolina

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 20 Animation Schools and Colleges with BA Programs for 2020.

1. University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
University of California Los Angeles

Founded in 1919 as the Southern Branch of the University of California, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) serves nearly 45,500 students from all 50 states and more than 100 foreign countries. The school offers 125+ undergraduate majors across 109 academic departments, and more than 40 graduate programs including the Animation Workshop of the School of Theater, Film and Television.

Founded in 1948 by Disney animator William Shull, the UCLA Animation Workshop is a three-year MFA program that accepts just 12 new students each year. Per the school, "the first year of the program is devoted to learning the principles of making a traditional hand-done, animated film and the second year is devoted to creating computer animation; the film may be 2D, 3D, or a combination.” The third year of the program “begins with the creation of an interactive animation project or game. Electives and outstanding requirements are completed. Most significantly, the student forms a Thesis Committee and begins production on their thesis film.”

Graduates of UCLA’s animation programs have landed positions at Pixar, they have worked with directors such as Tim Burton, and on films such as The Simpsons Movie and Monster House.

2. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
University of Southern California

Established in 1880, University of Southern California (USC) serves 47,500 students enrolled in more than 200 undergraduate programs, 300-plus graduate programs, and more than 150 minors. The school houses the John C. Hench Division of Animation and Digital Arts (Hench DADA) of the School of Cinematic Arts (USC Cinematic Arts), which offers a BA in Animation and Digital Arts.

Course highlights for the program include Animation Design and Production, Basic Animation Production Technologies, Contemporary Topics in Animation and Digital Arts, Digital Narrative Design, Directed Studies in Animation, Expanded Animation, Expanded Concepts in 2D/3D Animation, Fundamentals of Animation, Storytelling for Animation, The Digital Actor, and 3D Character Performance Animation.

Graduates of the animation programs at USC Cinematic Arts have landed positions at DreamWorks Animation, Sony Pictures, Nickelodeon Animation Studios, Pixar, Rhythm and Hues, Industrial Light & Magic, Digital Idea, Illumination Entertainment, Digital Domain and many others.

3. DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois
DePaul University

Established in 1898, DePaul University serves nearly 22,500 students from across the U.S. and about 70 countries. The school offers 300 programs of study across 10 colleges and schools and two campuses in Chicago. The College of Computing and Digital Media (CDM) houses the School of Cinematic Arts, home of the animation program. With more than a dozen full-time animation professors, the school has one of the largest full-time animation faculties in the U.S.

The BA in Animation program “emphasizes the art of animation, creativity, and critical thinking—while encouraging experimentation in form, content and medium—within a broad Liberal Arts context,” says the school. To develop their animation skills, students will produce live action videos, draw web-based shorts inspired by Hollywood or anime, or design motion graphics for film titles and commercials.

Animation students also have the opportunity to apply to participate in the Animation Summer LA Quarter. This ten-week immersion program is structured around living in student housing, taking classes on a historic studio lot, and interning at high profile animation studios. The experience teaches students how to navigate the studio system and helps them build a network of professional contacts. Past participants have interned at Warner Brothers, DreamWorks Animation, Sony Studios, Disney, Nickelodeon, The Mill, The Jim Henson Company, Titmouse Animation, Bix Pix Animation, and others. Back at home, students will also benefit from CDMs relationship with Chicago’s largest game development and animation studios.

Graduates of the Animation programs at DePaul have been hired in animation roles at several companies, including DreamWorks Animation, Laika Studios, Google, Blizzard Entertainment, Phosphor Studios, Wargaming, Nickelodeon, Electronic Arts, and Synapse Games, to name just a few.

4. The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
The Ohio State University

Established in 1870 as Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College, The Ohio State University (OSU) offers over 200 majors, minors and specializations from which more than 68,000 students can choose multiple paths to focus on animation in both the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering. Paths in animation encourage students to explore courses in 3D modeling, 2D/3D animation, video game production, augmented and virtual reality, digital imaging, digital video, interactive visualization, interactive art, game art and design, Art Games, motion capture, procedural content generation for games, real-time rendering, photogrammetry and more at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students in all programs can work on individually defined or team-based projects.

Ohio State introduced an interdisciplinary BA program in Moving Image Production (MIP) in Autumn, 2017. Offered through the College of Arts and Sciences and administered by the Film Studies Program, the new BA program in live-action and animated filmmaking focuses on developing students’ creative voices as they produce moving-image works across four areas: animation, experimental, documentary, and narrative. In addition, through the required Film Studies Minor, students engage with the entire culture of cinema, learning to think historically, theoretically, and critically about film.

Students utilize state of the art facilities, equipment, and interdisciplinary expertise in the school’s many special labs, including the world class Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD).

5. Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Columbia College Chicago

Established in 1890, Columbia College serves more than 7,300 students from nearly every state and more than 60 countries. The school has over 100 academic majors or programs across several schools and more than 20 departments. Schools include the School of Media Arts, the School of Fine and Performing Arts, and the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The School of Media Arts is home to the Interactive Arts and Media Department, which offers a BA in Animation.

The school says that the Animation BA might be the best option for students interested in exploring multiple animation techniques (hand drawn, stop motion, computer, experimental) and taking on a minor or second major. Just a few minor options include Motion Graphics, Game Art, Programming, and Video Production.

Sample courses for the program include Acting for Animators, Alternative Strategies in Animation, Animation for Comics, Animation Layout, Animation Maquettes, Animation Portfolio Development, Animation Production Studio, Cartooning, Cinematics for Games, Character Design and Modeling, Computer Animation: Visual Effects, Digital Animation Techniques, Drawing for Animation, Environmental Design & Modeling, Figure Drawing, Storyboarding for Animation, and The Business of Animated Content.

Animation BA students have the opportunity to either work collaboratively with peers to create a six-minute animated film over two semesters or take any three Animation electives of their choosing.

6. California State University-Long Beach, Long Beach, California
California State University-Long Beach

California State University-Long Beach (CSULB) was established in 1949. One of the 23 campuses of the California State University System, CSULB serves around 36,850 students enrolled in more than 300 programs across eight colleges. The College of the Arts houses the Department of Film & Electronic Arts, which offers a BA in Film and Electronic Arts. Although the program does not have a formal animation specialization, it includes heavy animation coursework such as 3D Computer Animation, History of Animation, Digital Arts Production (Visual Effects, Computer Animation, Interactive Media), and others.

Other program highlights include a diverse faculty comprised of accomplished industry professionals and media historians, an emphasis on undergraduate education, in which students work directly with highly experienced professors; a comprehensive education in the history and theory of moving images, with specialized training available in producing and directing, creative nonfiction production, broadcast production, cinematography, screenwriting production management, and postproduction; abundant internship and networking opportunities, and a chance to collaborate on creative projects with talented and highly motivated students in campus.

Enrollment in this unique program is limited, so applicants must submit a portfolio to be approved by the department faculty review committee. 

7. Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California
Loyola Marymount University

Established in 1911, Loyola Marymount University (LMU) serves around 9,680 students enrolled in nearly 180 major, minor, master’s degree, and doctoral programs through seven colleges and schools. The School of Film and Television is home to LMUs Animation Program, which leads to a BA. This cross-disciplinary program, “supports the creative vision of each student, providing a safe space for you to grow as an artist,” says the school “Fostering the collaborative filmmaking process is essential, too–you can see teamwork in action in the animation labs, with students actively creating their collective projects. And state-of-the-art networked computer workstations allow them to collaborate with ease.”

Students in this 120 credit hour program benefit from hands-on experience and small class sizes that “encourage a high degree of student-faculty interaction in coursework including Visual Effects, Stop Motion, Experimental Animation, 2D and 3D, and Game Design.” During the final years of the program, students will complete an Animation Internship that provides the opportunity to gain valuable experience in the field. Also during the senior year of the BA program, students will write, animate, and direct a thesis film/project for their portfolio.

Graduates of the program “have a unique personal artistic vision and work effectively in a collaborative filmmaking process.” They will also become “active leaders in the new emerging industries, whether it will be in the studio system or as independent artists.”

8. University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, Texas
University of Texas at Dallas

The University of Texas-Dallas (UT Dallas) was established as a member of the University of Texas System in 1969. The school serves 28,755 students enrolled in 130 academic programs across seven schools. The School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication (ATEC) offers a BA in Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication with an Animation Pathway, (BA ATEC).

The ATEC curriculum “provides exposure to arts, science, technology, history, design, criticism, new knowledge creation, and complex understandings,” says the school. Undergraduate students “acquire foundational skills in media studies, cultural theory, computer programming, and creative production.” Master’s degree students “deepen their expertise in an area and develop understanding in adjacent topics.” Students in the doctoral program “demonstrate mastery in methods of research, analysis, and creative practice, informed by history, theory, and aesthetics.”

The Animation Pathway “blends creative storytelling with technology to encourage experimentation in form, content, and medium and emphasizes 3D animation, which includes various artistic and technical disciplines such as modeling and texturing, character rigging, lighting and composition, computer programming and scripting, as well as character movement and acting.”

ATEC students have the opportunity to take a total of 15 credit hours/five courses in Animation, Design, Storytelling, and Games, to name a few. Courses such as Topics in Animation, Topics in ATEC, and Topics in Game Development are also available. Other program highlights include seminars and lectures, project and portfolio-based exercises, and applied and experimental research.

In addition to careers in animation and other areas of entertainment, students will learn skills that will prepare them for new and emerging fields such as medical and scientific visualization.

9. California State University-Northridge, Northridge, California
California State University-Northridge

Founded in 1958, California State University-Northridge (CSUN) serves more than 40,000 students enrolled in more than 140 programs. The school consists of nine colleges, including the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication, which houses the Department of Art. Here, aspiring animators can earn a BA in Visual Arts with one of three Animation Tracks including 2D Animation Design, 3D Animation, and Game Animation.

The school says 2D Animation Design “provides students with a foundation in drawing, design and the essential software skills necessary to thrive in post-graduation careers. Upon completing four lower division foundation courses, students take courses in 2D animation (flash/toonboom), pre-production and visual development, with optional classes in compositing and 3D computer animation classes. Students concentrating in the 2D design track spend their senior year focusing on their portfolios and/or collaborative group projects.”

The program prepares students for an artistic career in 2D animation as storyboard revisionists, in visual development, background design or painting, or as animators with a proficiency in flash and/or toonboom.

The 3D Animation Track offers four core CG animation courses with options in compositing, game animation, and Visual Development. Students concentrating in this track spend their senior year focusing on their portfolios and/or collaborative group projects. Career paths for 3D Animation graduates include Pre-Vis artist, character animator, CG modeler, texture painting and lighting artist, and compositor.

Students in all tracks have the opportunity to participate in industry and studio events, organized studio tours, and ongoing collaborative educational partnering with DreamWorks studios and Seoul Institute of the Arts. Students also participate in industry events and internships with Nickelodeon, Disney, Film Roman, Warner Bros., and others. Students in all programs have access to two award-winning student run animation clubs—the Animation Students League of Northridge and the Game Development Club.

Game Animation “builds on 3D computer animation courses to a two sequence game production classes.” Students who complete the track will take optional animation production, compositing, and character animation courses. Graduates of the program are prepared to seek positions in quality assurance, level design, modeling, texture painting & lighting, and character animation.

10. Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio
Bowling Green State University

Founded in 1910, Bowling Green State University (BGSU) serves 19,000 students, including 2,500 at BGSU Firelands in Huron, Ohio. The school offers more than 200 undergraduate majors and programs on the main campus and 22 at BGSU Firelands. The school houses nine colleges, including the College of Arts and Sciences, home of the School of Art. The School houses the BGSU Digital Arts program, which offers a BA in Art with a Digital Arts Specialization.

The program offers three Focus Areas including Computer Animation & Video, Imaging, and Interactive Multimedia. The school says that the Digital Arts program at BGSU is “one of the leading programs in the nation for studying digital arts and animation, focusing on creative expression using digital technology. Students are encouraged to investigate aesthetic and perceptual possibilities as they engage in alternative art discourses. Digital Arts courses investigate the theoretical, aesthetic, and technical aspects of the digital arts while providing hands-on experiences with state-of-the-art equipment.”

Students in the program focus on 3D animation, digital imaging, interactive art, video art, virtual environments and gaming, mobile web app development, digital painting, and hybrid forms of digital art. Other program highlights include diverse study abroad opportunities in more than 40 countries worldwide as well as facilities and faculty that “position students for successful internships and careers with organizations such as Disney Animation, Pixar and the Museum of Modern Art.”

In recent years, BGSU Digital Arts graduates have been hired by companies such as DreamWorks Animation, Blue Sky Studios, Volition, DNA Productions, Rhythm & Hues Studios, Blizzard, Friendly Software (Microsoft games), American Greetings, Epic Games, Apple, Designing Digitally, Root Learning (interactive training), LogicJunction (interactive web) and many more digital art companies.

11. California State University-Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
California State University-Los Angeles

Founded in 1947, California State University-Los Angeles (Cal State LA or CSLA) serves approximately 27,685 students enrolled in more than 150 programs in eight colleges. The College of Arts & Letters consists of nine departments including ART, Communication Studies, English, Liberal Studies, Modern Languages and Literatures, Music, Philosophy, Television, Film and Media Studies, and Theatre and Dance.

The ART Department offers a BA program that the school says is “structured so that students have the opportunity to acquire an understanding of the variety of subjects encompassed within the visual arts as well as to develop excellence in a specific area. They are Animation; Art Education; Art History; Graphic Design/Visual Communication; Fashion and Textiles; and Studio Arts, which include ceramics, drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture and new genre.”

The BA in Art with an Animation Major is a 120-unit program that “provides a thorough education in the creative, practical and historical uses of animation. The option encourages an experimental approach to animation that combines traditional and contemporary techniques.” Animation majors can choose courses involving: stop-motion animation, digital 2D and 3D animation, computer graphics, hand-painted abstract animation, story and visualization, as well as other art and film courses that galvanize their understanding of art-making, animation production, mixed-media, narrative, and cinema.

BA students benefit from The Getty Trust, which offers multicultural undergraduate internships at the Getty Center. In addition, the Getty supports multicultural internships at Los Angeles area museums and visual arts organizations. Students will also benefit from access to Cal State LA Fine Arts Gallery and frequent visits by guest artists and scholars.

12. University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
University of Iowa

Founded in 1847, the University of Iowa serves approximately 33,564 students from 114 countries and all 50 states, enrolled in majors, minors, and certificates in more than 200 areas of study. Programs are provided through 13 colleges and academic units, including the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, which offers 68 majors to 17,900 students. The College houses the School of Art and Art History (est. 1936), which offers a BA with a Major in Media, Social Practice & Design (MSPD). The program has an Animation Area.

The school says that in the Animation Area, “wide varieties of skills are explored to animate images into motion graphics, produce digital video to create imaginative stories and adding voice and sound through the post-production process. Combining art and technology, students will use powerful computer hardware and industry level animation software to perform tasks in the entire animation pipeline from preproduction to post production. Concept art, storyboarding, character design, computer modeling, texturing, rigging, lighting, animation, rendering, compositing and sound design are all areas students will have the opportunity to conceptualize.”

Other program highlights include studio laboratories that are updated annually with “cutting edge digital imaging equipment,” high-definition video production facilities to provide students in MSPD up-to-date learning environments, and a “rich visiting artist series” that introduces students to national and international leaders in the field. In the media theater, students will also have the opportunity to showcase their animated projects on a 40-foot screen.

University of Iowa's art and art history graduates enjoy success as commercial designers, practicing professional artists, art administrators, professors of art history, teachers, museum directors and curators, theater designers, and more.

13. University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
University of Florida

Founded in 1858 as Gainesville Academy, University of Florida (UF) serves more than 56,000 students enrolled in 30 certificate programs, 100 undergraduate majors and 200 graduate programs across more than a dozen colleges and schools. The College of the Arts houses the Digital Worlds Institute, which offers a BA in Digital Arts & Sciences (BADAS). Students have the opportunity to choose elective courses from the Institute’s current offerings in Animation, Game Design, and Digital Production.

Animation students will learn industry-standard techniques for film, video game, and interactive media content creation, apply the 12 Principles of Animation to bring characters to life, and develop concepts and skills to create compelling stories through animation. Course highlights include 2D and 3D Digital Animation Techniques, 3D Character Animation, Creating Mobile Games, Digital Storytelling, Writing for Interactive Media, and Production of Immersive Environments.

Students in all areas have the opportunity work at LUMA at Digital Worlds Institute. The student-run digital media production group was founded with a goal of providing talented students the opportunity to work on real-world projects. LUMA offers creative services to members of the UF and Gainesville communities.

Graduates of the BADAS program at UF go on to land positions such as Visual Effects Artist, Character Modeler, Technical Animator, Rigger, Storyboard Artist, Character Artist, and Digital Storyteller.

14. University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida
University of South Florida

Founded in 1956, University of South Florida (USF) serves more than 50,000 students across 14 colleges offering over 180 undergraduate majors and 150+ degree programs at the graduate, specialist and doctoral levels. The College of Arts houses the School of Art & Art History, which offers a BA in Art with Animation or Digital Modeling.

Both options blend art and design courses that explore a range of topics in motion, composition, acting, visual storytelling, 3D modeling, lighting, concept design, and 3D printing. Also, students can selectively combine the study of Animation and Digital Modeling with other disciplines within the department in order to fully explore their creative interests. Graduate students also enjoy in-depth projects and engagement with theoretical and cultural issues, private studio space, and individual attention from professionally active research and teaching faculty.

Graduates are able to use their experiences from the programs in a broad range of disciplines. Animation, Visual Effects, Game Design, and Filmmaking are just a few.

15. University of Connecticut, Storrs, Stamford, Connecticut
University of Connecticut

Established in 1881 as Storrs Agricultural School, the University of Connecticut (UConn) opened with just three faculty members and 13 male students. Today, the school employs nearly 9,500 faculty and staff members serving 32,257 students. The school offers seven undergraduate degrees in 113 majors, 17 graduate degrees in 90 research and professional practice fields of study, and six professional degree programs (JD, LLM, MD, DMD, PharmD, SJD). Programs are offered across one main campus, five regional campuses, and 14 colleges and schools.

The School of Fine Arts offers a BA in Digital Media and Design with Concentrations in 2D Animation & Motion Graphics, and 3D Animation & Visualization. The school says the 2D Animation & Motion Graphics area educates students in the “conceptual and technical aspects of time-based storytelling,” preparing “students for careers using 2D/3D animation, design, and video in the context of the arts, entertainment, marketing, communications, education, advertising, scientific visualization, and more.” Course highlights include Animating Science, Experimental & Alternative Techniques, and Motion Graphics I & II.

The 3D Animation & Visualization area gives students “experience in all aspects of 3D animation production: modeling, lighting, rendering, animation, simulations and visualizations, rigging and compositing for visual effects. Courses “focus on the core principles of 3D animation” and “experiential learning through personal and group projects employing problem-solving methods, critical thinking, and analysis, research and reflection.” 3D Simulations, Modeling, Lighting & Rendering, Compositing for Visual Effects, and Animation are just a few course highlights.

Students in all programs “have the opportunity participate in initiatives like AntU, which brings together Digital Media and Design, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History. Throughout their coursework, UConn Storrs students are able to work with faculty and peers across the School of Fine Arts, as well as in science, engineering, business, and humanities departments.”

UConn Storrs students have obtained jobs (often within six months of graduation) and paid internships at Adobe, CBS 2 News, and NBC Sports Group, as well as at smaller animation and design studios like Alessandro Weber Design, DW Advertising, milk*, Fusion 360, and XVIVO | Scientific Animation.

16. Drury University, Springfield, Missouri
Drury University

Founded in 1873, Drury University serves 3,210 students enrolled in more than 70 majors and programs, 39 minors, and five graduate programs. Among these programs is a BA in Animation with Concentrations in 2D Traditional Animation & 3D Computer Animation. Animation majors must complete 51 credit hours consisting of 30 credit hours in animation and 21 credit hours in the humanities and arts. 

Course highlights for the program include Acting I & II, Animation I & II, Computer Animation I & II, Drawing, History of Animation, History of Film, Multimedia Storytelling, and The 12 Principles of Animation. Students will have the opportunity to choose electives from a list of eight advanced courses. Options include Advanced Character & Set Design, Storyboarding, Modeling & Texturing, Compositing, Rigging & Dynamics, Alternative Animation Techniques, Virtual and Augmented Reality, and Motion Graphics. Two Capstone courses are part of the program as well as an optional, but strongly recommended, internship.

Other program highlights include Drury University’s Study Abroad Program and the opportunity to work in the new animation lab with Emmy-award winning animator Steven Carpenter, whose work has appeared in major Hollywood productions such as Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, Xena: Warrior Princess, Dungeons & Dragons, and Virus.

The Study Abroad Program offers both short and long-term international study opportunities. The school maintains an ongoing program with the Drury Center in Greece, as well as partnerships with other institutions in countries around the world. The school says the study abroad experience is “an excellent way for students to satisfy one of the engaged learning experiences required by Drury's CORE curriculum.”

17. Emerson College, Boston, Massachusetts
Emerson College

Founded in 1880, Emerson College serves nearly 4,500 students from all 50 states and 55 countries. The school offers more than 50 programs leading to a BA, BS, BFA, MS, MA, or MFA degree. The School of the Arts, Department of Visual & Media Arts (VMA) offers a BA in Animation and Motion Media, and a BA in Visual & Media Arts with a Production Track.

The BA degree requires 44 credits in the major and eight additional upper-level liberal arts credits. The programs focus on computer animation, film animation, motion graphics, visual effects, and compositing techniques. Students have the opportunity to “take a broad range of courses and will produce original work in digital 2D animation, 3D modeling and animation, and frame-by-frame film animation,” says the school. Course highlights include Computer Animation, Advance Computer Animation, Film Animation, Motion Graphics, Advances Interactive Media, Programming for Digital Media, and 3D Gaming.

Graduates of the VMA animation programs will be prepared to seek careers in the movie, gaming, and television industries. Recent graduates have found employment at Soup2Nuts, Hallmark Channel, SCG Productions, World Wide Pants, Digital Domain, Fox Searchlight, MAD TV, MGM Studios, Bunim-Murray Productions, and more.

18. New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, New Jersey
New Jersey Institute of Technology

New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) was founded in 1881. The school opened its doors as The Newark Technical School on Monday, February 9, 1885, with just 88 students. Today, NJIT serves more than 11,400 students enrolled in 50 bachelors, 59 masters and 19 doctoral degree programs across eight colleges and schools. The College of Architecture and Design houses the School of Art + Design, which offers a BA in Digital Design with two Tracks: Entertainment and Production.

Sample courses for the program include Digital Design Studio, 2D Character Design, 3D Character Development, Acting for Animators, Simulated Environments, Imaginary Worlds, Game Architecture and Design, Digital Sound and Music, Design Techniques, Color and Composition, and Game Modification.

Graduates of NJIT’s Digital Design Program have landed positions in animation, game design, graphic design, architectural and environment visualization, web design, storyboard art, and more. Among the studios where NJIT students have interned or worked full-time are 1st Avenue Machine, CSALAS & Co Labs, KWD – Kim Wendell Design LLC, Miskowski Design LLC, NTropic, SUSPECT vfx+design, SWDTech Games, and Tripwire Interactive.

19. Webster University, Webster Groves, Missouri
Webster University

Founded in 1915, Webster University serves around 18,250 students studying at campuses in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and online. The school houses five colleges and schools including the College of Arts & Sciences, Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts, George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology, the School of Communications, and the School of Education. The School of Communications (SOC) is home to the Electronic and Photographic Media Department, which offers a BA in Animation.

The most popular program for aspiring animators, the 128 credit hour Animation BA “offers students the opportunity to learn core principles and techniques focusing on storytelling, motion, drawing, performance and expression through traditional and digital forms,” says the school. Students in the program will “undertake an intensive course of study including character animation, experimental concepts, fine art techniques and diverse applications, building a strong, global foundation before embarking upon an eventual area of concentration.” To gain hands-on experience in the field, each student will also complete an internship.

Other program highlights include small classes, hands-on experience with equipment and resources early in the program, and collaboration across disciplines within the SOC and across the University. Students also have access to internship opportunities and assistance with portfolio development.

Webster graduates work in the industry with companies such as Disney, DreamWorks, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Motion Picture Company, Dark Horse, Industrial Light and Magic, Digital Domain, Stereo D, and Legend 3D. Students have gone on to become successful professionals and have worked on productions such as King Kong, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and all three installments of The Lord of the Rings.

20. North Carolina State University at Raleigh, Raleigh, North Carolina
North Carolina State University at Raleigh

North Carolina State University (NC State) was established in 1887. The school serves 34,340 students enrolled in more than 300 degree programs across 12 colleges and 65 academic departments. The College of Design, Department of Art + Design, offers a Bachelor of Art + Design: Animation + Interactive Media that “gives students the opportunity to learn as they develop their creative portfolios through a wide-range of two-dimensional and three-dimensional traditional materials and computer-based processes,” says the school. These include “drawing and illustration, visual composition, soft materials construction, fibers, graphic and interactive narratives, motion graphics, visual effects, animation, web design, game design, interactive and computational media, virtual and augmented reality, 3D modeling, digital fabrication, and more.”

Animation students will take studios that introduce them to Principles of Storytelling, Animation, and Character Design through Sequential Imaging, along with courses such as Digital Imaging, Design Thinking, Advanced Writing, and Drawing. Students will also complete an optional internship and participate in the Art + Designer Showcase.

Graduates of the animation programs at NC State are prepared to work on short and full-length animated films, in character development for animated films, games, and digital storybooks, and on interactive and experimental projects.

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