What are the top animation BS degree programs in 2022?

Top 20 Animation Bachelor's of Science (BS) Degree Programs in the U.S. – 2022 College Rankings
1Full Sail UniversityFlorida
2ArtCenter College of DesignCalifornia
3Brigham Young UniversityUtah
4Texas A&M UniversityTexas
5Purdue UniversityIndiana
6Drexel UniversityPennsylvania
7East Tennessee State UniversityTennessee
8Middle Tennessee State UniversityTennessee
9Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteNew York
10Ohio UniversityOhio
11Kent State UniversityOhio
12Northeastern UniversityMassachusetts
13Alfred State CollegeNew York
14California State University, ChicoCalifornia
15University of North Carolina-WilmingtonNorth Carolina
16Missouri State UniversityMissouri
17Grand Valley State UniversityMichigan
18Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis Indiana
19Oklahoma Christian UniversityOklahoma
20Embry-Riddle Aeronautical UniversityFlorida

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 Schools and Colleges with Animation BS Programs for 2022.

1. Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Full Sail University

Full Sail University (Full Sail) offers a BS in Computer Animation with online and on-campus options. The distance learning option takes 29 months to complete, while the campus option takes just 20 months to complete. For both programs, students will learn how to navigate the production pipeline used in today’s major studios. Course highlights include 3D Animation I-II, Technical Animation, Industry Production, Character Rigging, and Visual Development.

All Full Sail animation students are required to take two professional development seminar courses and seven project and portfolio courses covering 3D arts and computer animation. 

Professional development courses provide the opportunity for students to explore the computer animation industry, while learning to build their personal brand. Professional development courses are enhanced by industry guest speakers. Project and portfolio courses highlight hands-on, project-based learning, independent study, and portfolio development

Full Sail University graduates have worked on Oscar-nominated films, earning credits on at least 24 projects across 20 categories.

2. ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena, California
ArtCenter College of Design

ArtCenter College of Design (ArtCenter) offers a BS in Entertainment Design with an Animation Track.  Students in the program will develop skills in lighting, character animation, modeling, storyboarding, and art direction across 132 units and eight terms. 2D Fundamentals, 2D Mechanics, Concept Art, Design History of Comic Animation, and Shorts are just a few of the courses ArtCenter Animation students can expect to take. All students will complete three Capstone Production courses, 5th Term Portfolio Review, and Business & Professional Practice.

ArtCenter College of Design graduates are prepared for positions within the entertainment industry such as Animator, Modeler, Digital Artist, Production Designer, and Storyboard Artist. Animation program alumni work at Marvel, Paramount, and other major studios.

3. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
Brigham Young University

Brigham Young University (BYU) houses the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. In the Department of Computer Science (CS) here, CS students may add an Animation and Games Concentration. In addition to computer science, the program provides extensive hands-on training in animation, games, live-action, and special effects.

BS students have opportunities to work on personal projects, group projects, and major films; complete an internship; study abroad; and develop a portfolio of their best work.

BYU Animation graduates go on to establish successful careers at studios such as Blizzard, DreamWorks, Disney, Sony, Digital Domain, Pixar, Industrial Light & Magic, Nickelodeon, BlueSky, Riot Games, and many others.

4. Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas
Texas A&M University

The College of Architecture at Texas A&M University (TAMU) houses the Department of Visualization, which offers a BS in Visualization.

Established in 1989 the TAMU Visualization Program is cross-disciplinary, allowing students to explore interaction, art, design, visualization, and computer graphics. Students at all levels may focus in an area of specialization through electives. Students also have opportunities to participate in the annual career fair and the semester away program in Italy, Germany, and other countries.

Internship opportunities are also available at all levels. This supervised undergraduate course spans 15 weeks and 600 hours, and students earn six credit hours. Graduate internships are worth eight credits. TAMU Visualization students have interned at animation, game, and graphic design companies. 

Texas A&M University Visualization graduates are often hired for positions at major studios. Examples include Walt Disney Animation Studios, Reel FX, Pixar, DreamWorks Animation, and Industrial Light & Magic.

5. Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
Purdue University

Purdue University (Purdue) houses Purdue Polytechnic Institute—one of the 10 academic colleges at the university. Within the Institute is the Department of Computer Graphics Technology (CGT) which offers a BS in CGT with a Major in Animation or Animation and Visual Effects and a 5-Year BS/MS in Computer Graphics Technology. The CGT MS program participates in Purdue’s Computational Interdisciplinary Graduate Program.

The CGT BS in Animation program focuses on Character Rigging, Motion, Lighting, 3D Modeling, Rendering, and Texturing. Using the same software used in the animation industry, such as Maya and Autodesk, BS students will create animations, games, films, and more.

The CGT BS in Animation and Visual Effects covers Animation, Computer Rendering, Audio, Special Effects, Video, Digital Lighting, and more. Because Visual Effects at Purdue is a STEM-based discipline, students will take courses such as Physics, Calculus, and Trigonometry. The business side of the industry is also covered. This includes coursework in marketing, management, business writing, and entrepreneurship.

Graduates of Purdue University’s CGT BS in Animation and Animation and Visual Effects programs are routinely hired at studios such as Walt Disney and DreamWorks, to name a few. Some graduates go on to teach at schools such as Animation Mentor.

6. Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Drexel University

Drexel University houses the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, home to the Digital Media Department (DMD), which offers a BS in DMD and an accelerated BS/MS.

Thanks to Drexel’s elaborate cooperative (co-op) education program, students have opportunities to gain valuable hands-on experience prior to graduation. During the junior year of undergraduate programs, students will spend six months working full-time in the industry. Positions may be paid or unpaid. Accelerated BS/MS students will participate in three co-op experiences in the second, third, and fourth years of study.

The Animation & Visual Effects (VFX) Program provides instruction and hands-on training in 3D modeling, character design, scripting and storytelling, motion capture, compositing, and rigging. Students apply the skills they have learned to co-op positions in animation, VFX, technical direction, and 3D at Cartoon Network, Pixar, Sony Studios, FuseFX, and MediaKraft TV, among others.

Graduates of the Westphal Animation/VFX and Digital Media Programs at Drexel University have secured positions at leading companies such as Disney, DreamWorks, Microsoft, XBOX, NCSoft Corp., Pixar, and many others.

7. East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee
East Tennessee State University

The College of Business and Technology at East Tennessee State University (ETSU) houses the Digital Media Department. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the Department offers a BS in Digital Media that consist of 120 credit hours of study. A Digital Animation Concentration is available.

Digital Media students will complete 35 credit hours of study in the Digital Media Core and 28 credit hours of study in the Digital Animation Concentration. The Department encourages students to select courses in additional areas such as scripting, digital film, or digital media production.

The following are just a few course titles for the program: Principles of Digital Animation, Visual Effects and Motion Graphics, and Digital Game Design, 3D Animation, Effects Animation, Character Animation, Technical Direction, High-Fidelity Modeling for Entertainment, Visual Effects Compositing, and Raster-Based Imaging. Digital Media students will also complete several projects and a professional portfolio of their work through the final course in the program—Portfolio Development for Digital Media.

Graduates of the ETSU BS Digital Media/Digital Animation Concentration are well-positioned for careers in 2D or 3D animation, technical direction, motion graphics, or character animation, among others. Graduates are also prepared to pursue an advanced degree at ETSU of other university.

8. Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Middle Tennessee State University

The College of Media and Entertainment at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) houses the Department of Media Arts, which offers a BS in Animation.

The 120 credit hour Animation BS Program requires an Art or Interactive/Illustration Minor worth 18 credits. Major requirements consist of 58 credit hours of study including the College Core (nine hours) and the Major (49). Courses such as Scripts for Media, Ethics and Law for Visual Communication, and Free Expression, Mass Media, and the American Public may count towards the required 41 General Education credits. 

In the Animation area, students can expect to take courses such as Animation and Performance, Basic Video Production, Motion Graphics, Professional Practices in Animation, Texturing, Lighting, and Rendering, and Digital Compositing. An Animation Capstone is also part of the program. This final student project will consist of an original animated short film that will be submitted to film and animation festivals locally, nationally, and around the world.

Graduates of the Animation BS Program at Middle Tennessee State University are prepared to seek careers in animated and feature films, documentary filmmaking, television, and education (productions).

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

The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) offers a BS in Electronic Arts.

Housed in the Department of Art, the program explores 3D Animation, Interactive Arts, Digital Imaging, and Graphic Storytelling. Students may concentrate in Animation and Algorithmic Art, Sonic Arts, Video, Performance and Social Practice, Integrated Visual Art, or DIY (Do It Yourself).

Course examples for the program include 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.

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

10. Ohio University, Athens, Ohio
Ohio University

The E.W. Scripps College of Communications at Ohio University (OU) houses the School of Media Arts & Studies, which offers a BS in Communication with an Emphasis in Games & Animation (G&A).

Students in the Games & Animation Emphasis may choose from the Games or Animation Core. Both are offered in partnership with the J. Warren McClure School of Emerging Communication Technologies, also housed in Scripps College.

BS Animation students may pursue Animation for Games, Film/Television, and VR/AR. Students in both areas can expect to take courses such as Media & Creative Process, Technology, Communication, and Culture, Media & Development, and Global Media Systems. The Animation Core consists of Animation Foundation, and Animation I, II (3D), and III. Students in the Games Core will take Animation Foundation as well, along with Digital Game Design, and Game Development II-II.

Electives allow for further exploration of animation. Course examples include Special Topics in Games & Animation, Motion Graphics, Visual Storytelling, and History of Computer Graphics.

To graduate, all BS students must complete a Capstone. Options include Storytelling, Technology and Digital Media in Theme parks (Disney) or Digital Games.

11. Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
Kent State University

The College of Applied and Technical Studies at Kent State University (Kent State) offers a BS in Animation Game Design (AGD) with two concentration options: Animation and Game Design. Both concentrations require a minimum of 18 focused credits. Animation students will take Solid Modeling, Character Animation, Real-Time Rendering for Animation, and Animation Production and Visual Effects. Students will also take a variety of art, design, and film & video courses. An Animation Project worth three credits is also required. 

Graduates of the Kent State University BS in AGD Program are prepared to seek positions in animation, 2D and 3D modeling, game design, technical illustration, production, and more.

Also offered in the College of Applied and Technical Studies at Kent State University is the Modeling and Animation Minor. The program requires 21 credit hours of study including courses such as 2D Graphics, Character Animation, Modeling and Texturing, and Digital Sculpting. Modeling and Animation students will complete a Final Animation Project worth three credits.

Both the BS in Animation Game Design and the Modeling and Animation Minor are fully offered at three Kent State Campuses: Kent, Stark, and Tuscarawas.

12. Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts
Northeastern University

The Northeastern University (Northeastern) College of Arts, Media and Design (CAMD) houses the Media Arts Program. In the Khoury College of Computer Sciences, 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 program go on to establish careers in animation, TV and film, game art and design, VR/AR, HCI, and digital media, among others.

13. 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 a BS degree 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.

Course examples for the DMA Department 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.

14. California State University, Chico, Chico, California
California State University, Chico

California State University, Chico (Chico State) offers a BS in Computer Animation and Game Development (BS CAGD).

Established in 1999, the BS in CAGD is housed in the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Construction Management. The program offers Animation Production and Game Development Options. Students must also choose five courses from an Interdisciplinary Program Area such as Media Arts, Design, and Technology, Art Studio, and Computer Science.

The Animation Production Option combines coursework in Art Studio or Communication Design, with Graphics and Animation. Game scripting, media arts design and technology, and computer science are just a few of the topic areas student will explore.  

CAGD BS students will explore class topics such as 3D Animation and Character Animation, 3D Modeling, Motion Capture, Video Character Modeling, and Team Production Development. Students in all Options have access to the in-house motion capture studio, and they may participate in the student-run Computer Graphics Club (CGC).

Chico State alumni work in many positions at Pixar, Epic Games, Zynga, Sony Imageworks, Ubisoft, Electronic Arts (EA), and WetaFX, among others.

15. University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, North Carolina
University of North Carolina Wilmington

The College of Arts and Sciences at University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) offers a BS in Computer Science with a Digital Art Concentration. The program requires 55 credit hours in the CS Core and 24 credit hours of study in the concentration.

Computer Networks, Design and Analysis of Algorithms, Programming Languages, and Software Engineering are examples of some of the core courses students can expect to take. Sample concentration courses include Multimedia Systems, Computer Animation, Film Production, 3D Computer Graphics, Tools & Literacy, Digital Video Production, and Graphic Design.

Graduates of the UNCW BS in CS/Digital Arts Program are prepared for careers at animation and VFX studios, game design studios, graphic design firms, companies that specialize in using VR/AR for entertainment, training, and education, video production companies, places that utilize HCI such as theaters, galleries, and museums, architectural firms, and engineering firms.

16. Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri
Missouri State University

Missouri State University’s (MSU) Judith Enyeart Reynolds College of Arts and Letters houses the Department of Art and Design. In partnership with the Department of Media, Journalism, and Film, the Department of Art and Design offers a BS in Electronic Arts with a Computer Animation Studies Option.

Electronic Arts BS students will complete 69 credits in the major, including 18 in Computer Animation Studies. Course examples include Animation I, Professional Practices in Computer Animation, Principles of Cinematography, Editing for Film and Television. The Junior Portfolio Review, Public Affairs Capstone, and Senior Project in Electronic Arts are also part of the BS program.

Graduates of the Missouri State University Electronic Arts-Computer Animation Program are prepared for careers in Animation/Computer Animation, Visual Effects, Game Art, Design and Development, Television/Film, Advertising/Marketing, Education, and more.

17. Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan
Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley State University’s (GVSU) College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) houses the School of Communications, which offers a BS in Film and Video Production.

Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the Film and Video Production Program at GVSU explores animation, new media, sound design, scriptwriting, film studies, and more. For the BS, students will also take courses in Computer Information Systems, History and/or Statistics.

Program highlights include courses taught by working professionals in the field, membership in several student organizations, the opportunity to present work at local screening events, and experience through internships and production projects for clients outside of the classroom.

GVSU Film and Video Production students have interned at DreamWorks Animation, Voyage Pictures, Contact Light Films, 52 Watt Studios, Match Frame Creative, A2 Creative, D-Squared Creative, Coastline Studios, M-1 Studios, Detroit Public Television, and Allied Productions, among others. Grand Valley State University alumni are often hired by many of these studios and firms.

18. Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Indianapolis, Indiana
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

The School of Informatics and Computing (SOIC) at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) offers a BS in Media Arts & Science with a 3D Graphics and Animation Specialization.

The BS program requires 120 credit hours of study, and the Minor requires 15 credit hours. Course examples for the programs include Advanced Topics in 3D, Advanced 3D Character Animation, Organic Modeling and Texturing, 3D Prototyping for Application in Medicine, 3D Compositing and Visual Effects, Motion Graphics, Stereoscopic Production and Display, Digital Storytelling, and Advanced Techniques in 3D.

Students in the IUPUI SOIC BS Program will complete the Career Planning, Portfolio Development, and Multimedia Project Development courses. While the Capstone Project Internship is strongly recommended, 3D Graphics and Animation students may complete the Mentorship or Bridge to Industry courses instead. Should the student choose the Capstone Project Internship, they will have the opportunity to develop a work in a professional setting and present it at an exhibition.

Graduates of the IUPUI SOIC Media Arts & Science/Animation Program are 2D and 3D Animators, Creative Directors, AR/VR Designers, Motion Graphics Artists, Medical Animators, Technical Animators, Film Production Artists, and Game Production Artists.

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) alumni work at Pixar, EA Sports, Digital Domain, Sony Pictures ImageWorks, and Rockstar Games, to name a few.

19. Oklahoma Christian University, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma Christian University

Oklahoma Christian University (OC) offers BS degrees in Gaming & Animation and Computer Science (CS) with Gaming and Animation. Programs are housed in the College of Engineering-Department of Computer Science.

Students in the programs have students to access Cox Digital Art Lab, Kicker Audio Lab, Sparks Advanced Visualization Lab, and Baugh Motion Capture Lab. Courses in all programs are taught by experienced professionals who are working in the industry.

The BS in Gaming & Animation at Oklahoma Christian University requires foundation, core, major, and elective coursework. Students must also complete a minor in an area such as Art, Graphic Design, Interior Architecture, General Business, Music, or Marketing Management. Business, Programming, and Game Technology and Production are also major components of the program.

The OC BS in CS with Gaming and Animation consists of heavy coursework in programming (I, II and languages), software engineering (practices, tools, ethics, and projects), and game programming (Unity and Unreal). Math, business, and technical writing are also major components or the program. BS in CS students will also complete 15 hours of gaming and animation coursework, Team Experience I-II, and electives such as Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cryptography, Computer Simulation or Mobile Application Development.

Graduates of the Oklahoma Christian University BS programs are well-positioned for careers in gaming, animation, and computer science, and in industries that use 3D animation such as architecture, healthcare, education, and life sciences.

20. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Florida
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Embry-Riddle) offers a unique program that fuses animation, games, simulation, and  science. Housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Simulation Science, Games and Animation (SSGA), the BS in SSGA offers STEM and project-based production courses that allow students to design user experiences, virtual worlds, animations, simulations, and more.

Course examples include Games Systems (Multiplayer, Mixed Reality), Digital Illustration, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), World Building I-IV (Modeling, Materials, Mechanics, Motion) Computer/Modeling Simulation, Artificial Intelligence, Interactive Media I-II, Game Design Workshop, and Graphics Processing. Students in this 125 credit hour program will also complete a final project across two Capstone courses during their senior year.

Graduates of the Embry-Riddle BS in SSGA Program have a wide variety of career options. Examples include gaming, animation, software development, military and intelligence, education, healthcare, aviation, high-tech manufacturing, and virtual training environments.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University graduates have been hired at Blizzard Entertainment, The Boeing Company, ForgeFX Simulations, Mass Virtual, Win Reality Training Platform (baseball and softball), and Super League Gaming.