11. Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, California
Established in 1918 by the founder and publisher of the Los Angeles Times—General Harrison Gray Otis, Otis College of Art and Design (OTIS) is home to 1,140 students. It offers more than a dozen interdisciplinary art and design programs from Animation and Motion Design to Graphic Design and Illustration. Specific programs for aspiring animators include a BA in Digital Media with an Animation Major and a Digital Media Arts Certificate with a Specialization Track in Animation. OTIS graduates have gone on to become “design stars” at major companies and studios such as at Pixar, DreamWorks, Mattel, Disney, and Apple.
12. Woodbury University, Burbank, California
Woodbury University is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in Southern California. Founded in 1884, the school has campuses in Burbank and San Diego, and it is home to 1,552 students enrolled in more than 20 programs across three schools including the School of Architecture, the School of Business, and the School of Media, Culture & Design. The School of Media, Culture & Design “promotes cross-disciplinarity as a core attribute of the school.” This means Animation BFA students may study in other areas such as Game Art & Design, Media Technology, Filmmaking, and many others. In addition to the opportunity to study other disciplines, animation students may participate in Woodbury’s Animation Club, which hosts events, speakers, exhibitions, and more.
13. Chapman University, Orange, California
Chapman University was founded in 1861 as Hesperian College. It is home to 7,570 students enrolled in more than 100 programs across nine colleges and schools. The Dodge College of Film and Media Arts offers a wide range of programs for aspiring filmmakers and other artists. Offerings for aspiring animators include a BFA and a Minor in Digital Arts. According the College, Digital Arts students have the chance to develop, design, and produce their own projects as well as contribute animation or visual effects to fellow students. Students also have the opportunity to intern at some of the world’s top studios. Past students have interned at Blizzard Entertainment, Cartoon Network, Digital Domain, LeapFrog, Nickelodeon, Sony Pictures Entertainment/Imageworks, Third Floor Previz, Titmouse, and many more!
14. California State University-Long Beach, Long Beach, California
Established in 1949, California State University Long Beach (CSULB) is home to 37,430 students enrolled in more than 300 programs across eight colleges. The College of the Arts houses the School of Art, which offers a BFA in Studio with two tracks including Animation and Illustration. According to the School of Art, “students are able to take courses in both tracks, and work together in (the schools) digital lab, in addition to learning traditional skills.” An MFA/MA degree is also on the menu. It is "designed with a dual emphasis on tailoring programs of study to individual students while fostering shared experience among a community of students.”
Also part of the College of Arts is the Department of Film & Electronic Arts. The Department offers another option for aspiring animators—a BA in Film and Electronic Arts. The program features heavy animation coursework including 3D Computer Animation, History of Animation, Digital Arts Production (Visual Effects, Computer Animation, Interactive Media), and others.
15. San Jose State University San Jose, California
San Jose State University (SJSU) was founded in 1857. This public university is home to more than 30,000 students enrolled in 145 areas of study, with an additional 108 concentrations, across right colleges. The College of Humanities and the Arts, Department of Design offers a BFA in Animation/Illustration. Graduates of the program have worked on films from A Bug’s Life and Finding Nemo to Monsters, Inc. and Shrek. Many have also have been hired at more than 135 animation studios, game design companies, film studios, and academic institutions.
Just a few include 20th Century Fox, Animation Mentor, Blue Sky Studios, Blizzard Entertainment, Cartoon Network, Cogswell Institute, Disney Interactive, Electronic Arts, Lucasfilm Animation, NBC-Universal Studios, Nickelodeon, Pixar, Sony/Columbia, The Art Institute of Las Vegas, Walt Disney Animation, and Zynga.
16. California State University-Fullerton, Fullerton, California
California State University Fullerton (Cal State Fullerton) was established in 1957 and it is home to nearly 39,000 students enrolled in 107 degree programs across eight colleges. The College of Arts, Department of Visual Arts offers more than a dozen graduate and undergraduate programs for artists. Programs for aspiring animators include a BFA in Art with an Entertainment Art/Animation Concentration.
The Entertainment Art/Animation area has a partnership with Nickelodeon Animation Studios to develop educational opportunities to further the career goals of its students. In addition to Nickelodeon, graduates of the program are working or animating for Cartoon Network, Disney Feature Animation, Disney TV Animation, Electronic Arts, Lucas Films, Sony Pictures Imageworks, and Sony Games, to name a few. Students have worked on productions such as Spiderman 3, Superman Returns, Alvin and The Chipmunks, Ice Age 2, The Simpsons, Avatar, SpongeBob Squarepants, and many others.
17. California State University-Northridge, Northridge, California
Founded in 1958, California State University Northridge (CSUN) was is home to 40,131 students enrolled in more than 140 programs across nine colleges. The Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication houses the Department of Art, which offers several programs for aspiring animators. Program offerings include BA and MA degrees in Visual Arts. Both programs offer a Concentration in Animation and the opportunity to complete an internship at Disney, DreamWorks, Warner Bros., Nickelodeon, Film Roman, and other major studios.
18. Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, Oregon
Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) has been around since 1909. The school is home to more than 500 undergraduate and graduate students and it welcomes nearly 1,400 continuing education (CE) students each year. PNCA offers BFA degrees in four major areas (Studio Arts, Media Arts, Liberal Arts, and Design Arts) with ten concentrations, four MFA programs, one MA, four Certificate programs, and dozens of offerings for CE students.
The Media Arts Department offers a BFA in Media Arts with a Concentration in Animated Arts and the opportunity for students in other majors to study animation in their second and third years. Also open to upper-level undergraduates (and graduates) is PNCA’s biennial Boundary Crossings Institute in Animated Arts. The two-week intensive institute offers “hands-on exploration of animated installation as a medium and a site for investigation of moving image interdisciplinary practice.” The program culminates with a public exhibition of animated installations created during the two-week Institute.
19. Ex’Pression College, Emeryville and San Jose, California
Established in 1998, Ex’pression College is home to more than 1,000 students enrolled in six programs. The school offers one program for aspiring animators—a Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Animation & Visual Effects. According to the school, “training includes drawing, storyboarding, 2D animation, video editing, 3D animation, texture and lighting, modeling, character rigging, compositing, rendering, motion capture and dynamic effects.” The BAS program is available in Emeryville, and as of 2014, students enjoyed a 73% job placement rate.
20. Academy of Interactive Entertainment, Seattle, Washington
The Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE) was established in 1996. It has seven campuses in the U.S. and Australia, and one dedicated Online campus. AIE offers a variety of programs in the areas of Game Design and Animation. Offerings for aspiring animators include an intensive Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media Specializing in 3D Animation & VFX for Film, an Advanced Diploma of Professional Game Development (Game Art and Animation), and a Certificate II in Creative Industries (Media)-3D Animation Foundations.
The Diploma programs take two years to complete, full-time or 1.5 years, intensive, and they are also available part-time, online. The Certificate program offers 10, 15 and 20-week options and is available online and on campus.