Our 2015 rankings of the top animation schools in the South.
We define the South as Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas.
For an explanation of our ranking criteria, click here.
1. Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida
Established in 1931, Ringling College of Art and Design (RCAD) is home to nearly 1,300 students enrolled in 14 majors leading to a BA or BFA degree. The school, which was founded by John Ringling—co-founder of the Ringling Bros. and co-owner of the Barnum and Bailey Circus, offers one program for aspiring animators—a BFA in Computer Animation. The four-year degree program highlights Storytelling, Modeling, Lighting, Motion and Sound, and other related areas.
2. Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Savannah, Georgia
Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has campuses in Savannah, Atlanta, and Hong Kong. Founded in 1978, SCAD is home to more than 11,000 students enrolled in more than 40 majors and 60+ minors. The School of Digital Media at SCAD offers several programs for aspiring animators. offerings include BFA, MA, and MFA degrees in Animation. An Animation Minor is also available.
3. University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida
The University of Central Florida (UCF) has been existence since 1963. The school is home to 61,000 students enrolled in 210 degree programs across 12 colleges. The College of Arts and Humanities’ School of Visual Arts and Design (SVAD) houses UCF’s animation program. Degree offerings include a BFA in Art with an Emerging Media Track-Character Animation Specialization and a BFA in Art with an Emerging Media Track-Experimental Animation Specialization. Programs for graduate students include MFA degrees in Emerging Media-Digital Media Track, Entrepreneurial Digital Cinema Track, or Studio Art and the Computer Track.
4. The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School (DAVE School), Orlando, Florida
The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School (DAVE School) is a 35,000 square foot facility located on the backlot of Universal Studios Florida. The school offers several programs ad courses for aspiring animators. Offerings include a Visual Effects Production Certificate and a Game Production Certificate. The 12-month Visual Effects program covers Animation Fundamentals, Digital Modeling and Sculpting, Visual Effects, and Studio Production. The 15-month Game Production program covers Animation Fundamentals as well as Digital Modeling and Sculpting.
5. Florida State University Tallahassee, Florida
Florida State University (FSU) was established in 1823. It is home to more than 40,000 students enrolled in more than 275 programs across 16 colleges, including the College of Motion Picture Arts. The College offers several programs for aspiring animators. Offerings include a BFA in Motion Picture Arts – Animation and Digital Arts, and The Torchlight Program.
The Torchlight Program gives FSU animation students, with an interest in freelancing or starting their own studios, the opportunity to learn about “current and emerging business practices of the motion picture industry,” says FSU. The program offers coursework in vital areas such as including distribution, marketing, and motion picture financing.
6. North Carolina State University Raleigh, North Carolina
North Carolina State University (NC State) has been in existence since 1887. The school is home to 33,989 students enrolled in more than 300 degree programs across 12 colleges and 65 academic departments. The College of Design houses the Department of Art and Design which offers several programs for aspiring animators. Programs include a BFA in Art and Design with a Focus in Animation and a Master of Art and Design in Animation.
7. University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida
Established in 1956, the University of South Florida (USF) is home to nearly 48,000 students enrolled in 14 colleges. The College of the Arts houses the School of Art and Art History which offers several programs for aspiring animators. Options include BA and BFA degrees in Studio Art with a Focus in Video, Animation, and Digital Arts.
8. Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Full Sail University was established in 1979 and it is home to more than 16,000 students. The school offers 25 degree programs in the areas of Media, Entertainment, and the Arts. Program offerings for aspiring animators include an online and campus-based BS in Computer Animation. Both programs are offered through The Art School at Full Sail University.
9. Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Louisiana State University (LSU) welcomed its first class on January 2, 1860. The school, which is home to more than 29,000 students, offers more than 200 programs across 11 colleges and schools. The College of Art and Design at LSU offers several programs for aspiring animators including BFA and MFA degrees in Digital Art. According to LSU, the programs highlight “modeling and animation using 3D objects and spaces in a virtual environment.” The Digital Art program at LSU is home to 500 students.
10. East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina
East Carolina University (ECU) began as East Carolina Teachers College in 1907. The school is home to more than 26,000 students enrolled in 199 degree programs across 10 colleges and schools. The College of Fine Arts and Communication, School of Art and Design offers one program for aspiring animators—a BFA in Studio Art with a Concentration in Animation/Interactive Design. The school also offers an MFA in Art with a Concentration in Illustration for students seeking a related advanced degree.