What are the top animation bachelor's (BA) programs in the U.S. for 2022?
|1||University of Southern California||California|
|2||University of California, Los Angeles||California|
|4||The Ohio State University||Ohio|
|5||Columbia College Chicago||Illinois|
|6||California State University, Long Beach||California|
|7||University of Texas at Dallas||Texas|
|8||Loyola Marymount University||California|
|9||University of Florida||Florida|
|10||Bowling Green State University||Ohio|
|12||California State University, Northridge||California|
|13||California State University, Los Angeles||California|
|14||University of South Florida||Florida|
|15||North Carolina State University||North Carolina|
|17||University of Silicon Valley||California|
|18||University of Advancing Technology||Arizona|
|19||University of Connecticut||Connecticut|
|20||Grand Canyon University||Arizona|
|23||New Jersey Institute of Technology||New Jersey|
|24||Fairleigh Dickinson University||New Jersey|
|25||University of Maryland Baltimore County||Maryland|
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 25 Schools and Colleges with Animation BA Programs for 2022.
University of California (USC) houses the School of Cinematic Arts, home to the John C. Hench Division of Animation + Digital Arts (Hench DADA), which offers a BA in Animation + Digital Arts.
The program may offer concentration options such as Character Animation, Immersive Media, 3D Computer Animation, Experimental Animation, Motion Graphics, Interactive Animation, Visualizing Science, Documentary Animation, and Visual Effects. Students will take courses in the major, concentration area, and other areas such as dance, dramatic arts, and physical education.
During the final year of the USC Animation + Digital Arts BA Program students will complete a Senior Project, to include production and post-production of a fully rendered, animated piece—with soundtrack. Projects are presented to a committee upon completion.
Graduates of the Animation + Digital Arts Programs at the University of Southern California work for studios such as Digital Domain, Digital Idea, DreamWorks Animation, Illumination Entertainment, Industrial Light & Magic, Nickelodeon Animation Studios, Pixar, and Sony Pictures. Many USC alumni have founded their own independent studios.
The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) offers a BA in Film and Television with a Concentration in Animation. The concentration consists of 20 units of study. All students are required to complete coursework in three areas: film and television craft (writing, editing, directing, sound recording, and photography; cinema and media studies (aesthetics, theory, and history); and production (animation, digital, television, film, and experimental). An internship is also part of the program.
Students in the BA program at UCLA have access to the state-of-the-art Walter Lantz Digital Animation Studio. Both degree pathways are offered in the Department of Film, Television, and Digital Media (FTVDM), which is part of the School of Theater, Film & Television (TFT).
Graduates of the animation and film programs at the University of California Los Angeles work for Walt Disney Imagineering, Nickelodeon, Pixar, DreamWorks, and many other major studios.
The College of Computing and Digital Media (CDM) at DePaul University (DePaul) houses the School of Cinematic Arts, home to the Animation BA Program.
Courses for the program are taught by one of the largest full-time animation faculties in the nation. More than a dozen animation professors teach courses such as 3D Animation, Design, Screenwriting, Motion Graphics, Stop-Motion Animation, Narrative Development, Drawing, Animation Production, History of Animation, and more. While the BA does not offer a concentration, animation students may enhance their skills in a focused area through major and open electives. All animation students may participate in the Los Angeles Quarter Program. This 10-week immersion program allows students to intern at major Hollywood studios such Disney, DreamWorks Animation, Sony Studios, Nickelodeon, The Jim Henson Company, Titmouse Animation, Bix Pix Animation, Warner Brothers, and many others.
Other program highlights include the visiting artist series, where past guests have included artists from Disney and Pixar, access to the Animation Lodge, and participation in Project Bluelight. Students at The Lodge collaborate on group projects, network, and build their portfolios. Bluelight provides hands-on experience in motion picture production to all interested students.
Graduates of the DePaul University Animation BA Program have been hired by industry giants such as Electronic Arts, Google, Nickelodeon, Blizzard Entertainment, DreamWorks Animation, Laika Studios, Wargaming, and many others.
The Ohio State University (OSU) houses the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering. Both offer several programs for animators.
Established in 2017, OSU’s interdisciplinary BA program in Moving Image Production (MIP) is a collaboration between departments in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Wexner Center for the Arts. MIP majors can take production courses in the Departments of Art, Dance, and Theatre, and the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD). Coursework covers live-action and animated filmmaking.
Animation students can expect to take nine credit hours of pre-major coursework, 24 credits in-production studios, two in cinema, six in MIP electives, and six for the senior project. A 15-credit hour Film Studies Minor is also part of the program. OSU MIP students will have opportunities to take additional production and screenwriting courses, complete an internship, or participate in the school’s study abroad program.
Graduates of the OSU Animation Program have gone on to become Animators, Human-Computer Interaction Designers, Game Designers, Motion Graphics Designers, Mixed Reality Designers. User Interface (UI), User Experience (UX) Designers, Virtual Reality Designers, Multimedia Designers, Art Directors, Interaction Designers, Freelance Artists, College Professors, and many others.
The School of Media Arts at Columbia College Chicago (Columbia College or Columbia) houses the Interactive Arts and Media Department, which offers a BA in Animation. Students in the program begin animating in the very first year.
Columbia College Animation students may take courses such as Advanced Topics in Animation, Cinematics for Games, Alternative Strategies in Animation, Animation Layout, CVFX: Compositing, Stop-Motion Animation, Cartooning, Character Design and Modeling, The Business of Animated Content, and Animation Studios in LA, to name a few. Animation Studios in LA is a one credit course that provides the opportunity for students to explore career opportunities at major Hollywood animation studios. Events include tours, portfolio reviews, and employment screenings. Past participating studios include Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, DreamWorks, Warner Bros., and Disney.
During the final year of the program, Columbia BA students will have the option to work with a team or individually to create a film. BA students will also fine tune their demo reels.
Many Columbia College Animation alumni run their own studios, while others have gone on to win Oscars and Emmy Awards. Columbia alumni have worked on films and series such as The Lion King, Robot Chicken, Brave, Frozen, Pocahontas, UP, The Lego Batman Movie, Coco, Finding Dory, and many others. Graduates can be found at networks and studios such as Cartoon Network, Disney, DreamWorks Studios, Nickelodeon, Pixar, Warner Bros. Animation, Weta Digital, and many others.
California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) houses the College of the Arts—one of the universities largest and most popular colleges. Made up of six separate academic units, the College is home to the Department of Film & Electronic Arts, which offers a BA in Film and Electronic Arts. Students may customize their own focus area (unofficially) by taking courses such as 3D Computer Animation, Digital Arts Production (Visual Effects, Computer Animation, Interactive Media), History of Animation, and others. Graduates will leave the CSULB Animation BA Program with a focused body of work.
The School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication (ATEC) at University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) offers a BA in ATEC. BA students may select a concentration in Animation and Games. Coursework explores games, motion graphics, UX/UI, computer animation, and more.
Other ATEC BA Program highlights include guest speakers from Disney, Pixar, DreamWorks, and others, seminars and lectures presented by industry professionals, portfolio and project-based exercises, and applied and experimental research in collaboration with instructors in varying areas of expertise.
Graduates of the UT Dallas ATEC Program are prepared to seek careers in animation, games, film, and television, as well as emerging fields such as medical and scientific visualization.
The School of Film and Television at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) houses the Walter and Grace Lantz Undergraduate Animation Program, leading to a BA degree. This four year program requires 45 semester hours of study in upper division coursework and a significant number of electives, allowing students to focus their studies in an area of interest.
BA students will learn about and complete projects in 3D filmmaking, visual effects, motion-capture, stop motion, and more. During the final year of the program, students will complete Animation Practicum and the Senior Thesis Project.
Graduates of the LMU Animation BA Program are prepared for positions in animation, film, games, design, television, and more. Loyola Marymount University alumni have worked on The Simpsons and The Simpsons Movie, Wonder Woman, Superman: Doomsday, Green Lantern: First Flight, and many others.
The University of Florida (UF) houses the College of the Arts, home to the Digital Worlds Institute. Founded in 2001, the Institute is a partnership between seven UF colleges that focuses on advanced media systems by combining engineering, science, communications, and art.
The Digital Worlds Institute at University of Florida offers a BA in Digital Arts & Sciences (BADAS). Students in the program benefit from the project-based learning environment which allows them to gain hands-on experience and team-building skills. Electives are offered in three areas: Animation, Game Design, and Experience Design & Production. Students may choose coursework in one or more of these areas based on their interests and goals. They may also take electives outside of the BADAS Program. The remaining courses for the program are in the BADAS cores and general education (30%).
BADAS core courses cover areas such as 2D and 3D animation, mobile games, design and production, digital visualization, game content creation, digital storytelling, writing for interactive media, and digital technologies. All students must complete the senior project and a portfolio. Independent study, an internship, and production practicum are optional.
Graduates of the Digital Worlds Institute at University of Florida have been hired at major studios and companies such as DreamWorks Animation and Microsoft. Many UF alumni have also gone on to launch their own start-ups.
The College of Arts and Sciences at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) houses the School of Art, which is one of the largest and oldest state art schools in Ohio. Divisions housed in the 75 year-old School of Art include Graphic Design, Digital Arts, Art History, Studio, and Art Education. School of Art highlights include study abroad opportunities and internship opportunities with local studios and national studios such as Pixar and Disney Animation.
The Division of Digital Arts in the BGSU School of Art offers a BA in Digital Arts that allows students to specialize in one or more focus areas. Options include Animation, Gaming & Virtual Environments, or Interdisciplinary.
The Division offers courses such as Interactive Media, 3D Modeling and Animation, Imaging, and Video Art. Courses are also offered in the areas of special effects, rigging, simulations, and more. BA students can also choose any minor. Examples include Film, Media & Communications or Computer Science.
Graduates of the Bowling Green State University Digital Arts Program are routinely hired by major animation and game studios such as DreamWorks Animation, Epic Games, and Blizzard.
The School of the Arts at Emerson College (Emerson) houses the Department of Visual & Media Arts (VMA), which offers a BA with two tracks: Media Arts Production and Media Studies. Both tracks allow students to design and develop a focus area through a variety of course offerings.
Students may focus in areas such as Animation and Motion Media, Interactive Media and Games, Experimental Media Production, Filmmaking, Cinematography/Videography, and Post-Production, among others. Course examples include Computer animation, Drawing for Character Design, Film Production, Game Design, Interactive Media, Visual and Media Arts Production, and Writing the Short Subject.
Students in the BA program have the option to complete the BA Production Capstone Project or apply to the Emerson VMA BFA program. The one-semester Capstone results in a professional production project, portfolio, or reel.
VMA BA students have access to the Emerson College Emerging Media Lab (EML), where artists can work in multiple areas of new media such as 3D modeling and animation, artistic anatomy & 2D animation, rigging and animation, VR/AR, character design, game design, and more.
Graduates of the Department of VMA at Emerson College have been hired to work in a variety of roles at Digital Domain, Worldwide Pants, MGM Studios, Searchlight Pictures, and Bunim-Murray Productions, to name a few.
The Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication at California State University Northridge (CSUN) is home to the Department of Art, which offers a BA in Visual Arts with a Concentration in Animation.
Three Tracks are offered including 2D Animation Design, 3D Animation Design, and Game Design. Students in the 2D Animation Track will take Compositing, Drawing, 2D Animation (Flash/Toonboom), Visual Development, 3D Design, 2D Design, and 3D Computer Animation. Potential careers for graduates in this Track include Animator, Storyboard Artist, and Background Designer, to name a few.
In the 3D Animation Track, students will explore Game Animation, Compositing, and Visual Development. During the final year of the program, students will work on collaborative projects and their final portfolio. Possible job titles for graduates include Character Animator, Lighting Artist, CG Modeler, and Compositor.
Game Track students will take a number of animation production, character animation, and compositing classes, which will prepare them for careers in game animation, level design, and character animation.
Students in all tracks may join the Animation Students League of Northridge and/or the CSUN Game Development Club. Both student-run organizations provide networking opportunities and the chance to interact with industry guests through lectures and workshops. Other program highlights include internship opportunities, participation in studio tours, and CSUN’s partnerships with Seoul Institute of the Arts and DreamWorks studios.
California State university, Los Angeles (Cal State LA) is home to the College of Arts & Letters, which houses the Department of Art. Students in the Department have interests in areas such as animation, studio arts, printmaking, visual communication, and photography.
The Department’s BA in Art has an Animation Option. Examples of required courses include Experimental Animation, Story and Visualization, Art and Motion, Advanced Animation, Color Theory and Perception, and World Animation History.
Each semester, Cal State LA Department of Art BA students will join professional artists and faculty for several events that provide the opportunity to present their work. Hosted in the Fine Arts Gallery of the Department of Art, graduate students will present at the Graduate Thesis Exhibition and undergraduates will present at the BA Capstone Show. In the student-run COMA, Art Department students will have additional opportunities to present their work to the public.
The College of the Arts at the University of South Florida (USF) houses the School of Art & Art History, which offers a BA in Studio Art that allows students to focus their studies in Animation & Digital Modeling.
USF Studio Art students will explore 2D and 3D animation, digital imaging, video, games, film, fine art, and virtual 3D production. Course highlights across pathways include Video, Animation, & Digital Arts (VADA) and Advanced VADA, Digital Modeling, Computer Animation, 3D Animation, Graduate Seminar, and Professional Practices.
Students in all USF Studio Art Programs may explore courses in other disciplines within the School of Art & Art History. Graduates of the University of South Florida School of Art & Art History go on to establish careers in animation, television and film, advertising, art, education, science, medicine, games and more.
North Carolina State University (NC State) houses the College of Design, home to the Department of Art + Design, which offers a Bachelor of Art + Design (BAD).
Programs in the Department of Art + Design are highly multidisciplinary, allowing students to study both traditional disciplines and emerging techniques. Examples include animation, VR/AR, visual composition, interactive and computational media, and visual effects. Electives allow additional opportunities to focus the bachelor’s degree.
Examples of required courses and elective options for the NC State BAD Program include Advanced Digital Techniques, Animation I. Art + Design Laboratory I-II, Creative Technology Studio I-III, Drawing I-II, Visualization I-II, Digital Motion, Sequential Imaging, Color and Light, Digital Modeling, Digital Representation, and Writing About Film.
BAD students will move from foundation courses in the first and second years to intermediate and advanced classes in the final two years of the program. Students will leave the Bachelor of Art + Design Program with a final project and a polished portfolio of their work.
North Carolina State University Art + Design graduates are currently working in fields such as animation, digital special effects, multimedia, illustration, filmmaking, and software design. Many graduates go on to become art and design educators or entrepreneurs.
The School of Liberal Arts at Tulane University houses the Newcomb Art Department, which offers a BA in Studio Art. The program allows students to study Digital Arts, which provides ample opportunities to explore time-based media (animation and video). Students will explore other areas such as digital imaging, 3D graphics, and interactivity. The undergraduate program begins with the Foundations of Art Series.
In addition to a number of projects completed throughout the program, BA students will complete a Senior Capstone. This culminating project will be presented at the Newcomb Art Department’s Carrol Gallery located in the Woldenberg Art Center.
University of Silicon Valley (USV), formerly Cogswell University of Silicon Valley (USV), offers a BA in Digital Art & Animation. Housed in the Department of Digital Art & Animation (DAA), the program offers 3D Animation, Entertainment Design, and 3D Modeling Concentrations.
Course examples across concentrations include Character Rigging, Storyboarding, Perspective and Rendering, and Animated Film Production. The DAA Program at USV prepares students for careers in animation, game design, film, and environmental design, among others.
Graduates of the University of Silicon Valley DAA BA Program are working at Cartoon Network, Disney, Activision Blizzard, Pixar, and DreamWorks.
University of Advancing Technology (UAT) offers a BA in Game Art and Animation. Students in this 120 credit hour program will learn how to create 2D and 3D art and animation for VR/AR and online, console, and PC and mobile games. Course highlights include Digital Video and Animation, Game Art and Animation, Character and Vehicle Animation, Visual Effects Compositing, Environmental and FX Animation, UI Design and Animation, Storyboarding, VR/AR User Experience Design, Virtual Reality World Build, and Production Studio I-III.
As part of the university core UAT Game Art and Animation students must complete at least three credit hours in an internship and Student Innovation Project I-III. Though not required, courses such as Digital Asset Creation, Java Programming, and Introduction to AI and Analytics are highly recommended. Students can expect to complete the UAT Game Art and Animation BA in eight semesters.
Graduates of the University of Advancing Technology BA in Game Art and Animation are Character and Environment Animators, Texture, Storyboard and Game Artists, and Art Directors, among others.
The University of Connecticut (UConn) houses the School of Fine Arts, home to the Department of Digital Media Design (DMD), which offers a BA in Digital Media & Design.
The program has seven focus areas: 3D Animation, Motion Design & Animation, Digital Culture, Film and Video Production, Game Design, Web & Interactive Media Design, and Business Strategies. Students may choose one focus. The most popular options for animators are 3D Animation and Motion Design & Animation.
3D Animation students will explore all areas of 3D animation production, including rigging and compositing for visual effects, lighting and rendering, simulations and visualizations, modeling, and just about every animation technique, with a focus on 3D animation.
Students in the Motion Design & Animation area will develop skills in AR/VR, design, 2D and 3D animation, interactivity, motion for UI/UX, and video, among others. Both concentration areas are project-based and offer the opportunity to collaborate with other students and work in teams.
Graduates of the UConn Digital Media & Design Programs are prepared to pursue a variety of roles in animation, visual effects, film, UI/UX, educational media, TV and video, AR/VR, games, and more. Most graduates are offered positions within six months of graduation.
The College of Fine Arts and Production at Grand Canyon University (GCU) offers a BA in Digital Design, with an Emphasis Animation. Offered online and on campus, the BA Program guides students through the design process, storytelling, and animation techniques in a hands-on learning environment. The bulk of the 120 required credit hours are in the major. Course examples include 2D Motion Design, Designing with Type, Motion Technologies, Layout and Composition, Interface Design, Creative Processes, and 3D Motion Design.
The curriculum also requires the completion Design Professionalism—a four credit hour course that delves into personal branding and marketing, ethical and legal issues, project management, teamwork, networking, the industry landscape, and more. Digital Design students will also complete two portfolio courses—one mid-program, designed to help students secure an internship, the other in the fourth year of the program. The final portfolio course is designed to prepare students for employment in the industry or to pursue a graduate degree.
Graduates of the BA in Digital Design, Animation Emphasis, go on to establish careers in animation, film and TV, game or app design, education, scientific services, and more.
The School of Communications (SOC) at Webster University (Webster) offers BA degrees in Animation and Interactive Digital Media.
Housed in the SOC Electronic and Photographic Media Department, the BA in Animation explores drawing, motion, storytelling, and performance. Students in the program will study both traditional and digital animation techniques. Sample courses include Advanced Animation, Voicing Your Creation, Animation Seminar, Graphics and Effects, Animation I-II, and Writing the Short Script. Elective options provide the opportunity to study games, visual effects, experimental animation, comic book creation, and more. Animation BA students will complete an internship and a Capstone course.
The Webster SOC BA in Interactive Media allows students to group electives into a focus area. While the program explores animation, video, graphics, and audio, courses in the Virtual and Augmented Reality delve deeper into animation production. Course examples include 3D Modeling, 3D Animation and Rigging, and Photorealistic 3D Animation.
All Webster University programs offer small classes, hands-on experience with equipment and resources during the first year, and collaboration across SOC disciplines and across the University.
Webster University SOC graduates have been hired at major studio such as Disney, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Digital Domain, Sony Pictures Imageworks, DreamWorks. Just a few alumni credits include Lord of the Rings (2001, 2002, 2003), King Kong, and Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.
George Shinn College of Entertainment & The Arts at Lipscomb University offers a BA in Animation. The program provides opportunities to travel to places such as Los Angeles and Italy to attend animation events or complete an internship. In addition, each semester, George Shinn College welcomes industry experts to speaking events designed to help students get an idea of what it’s like to work in some of the world’s top animation studios.
Courses are led by instructors who have worked at major studios such as Disney Animation, among others. Course examples include 2D Character Animation, Character Design, New Media Studio, Storyboarding for Animation, CG Modeling and Lighting, and Computer Animation. BA students will complete 52 credit hours in the major and the one-course Animation Capstone to graduate.
New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) houses the J. Robert and Barbara A. Hillier College of Architecture and Design (HCAD), home to the School of Art + Design, which offers a BA in Digital Design with two tracks: Entertainment and Interactive Media.
Students in both tracks can expect to take required courses such as 2D and 3D Character Design and Modeling, Simulated Environments, Game Level Design, Video & Animation, Digital Audio, Imaginary Worlds, Acting Fundamentals for Animators, Environment Design in Motion Pictures, and SFX/VFX in Movies.
Collaborative design studios are a major component of both tracks, and the curriculum also allows for study in areas across HCAD including VR/AR, robotics, and physical computing.
Graduates of the Digital Design Program at New Jersey Institute of Technology are prepared to pursue careers in Animation, Game Design, Advertising, Digital Media Design, Web Design, and Visualization, among other industries. Program alumni work or have interned at NTropic, Tripwire Interactive, 1st Avenue Machine, SUSPECT vfx+design, CSALAS & Co Labs, and SWDTech Games, among others.
The School of Art in the Maxwell Becton College of Arts and Sciences at Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) offers a BA in Film and Animation and BA-MA and BA-MFA combined degrees in Film and Animation-Animation.
The undergraduate degrees have three concentrations: 2D Animation, 3D Animation, or Video Game Animation. Combined degree programs offer 3D Character Animation, Video Games, and Visual Effects Concentrations. Course and elective examples across programs include Vector Animation, Advanced After Effects, Creative Imagery with Photoshop, 3D Computer Animation, Game Design, Logo and Product Animation, Character Animation using CAT, and Custom 3D Character Rigging & Animation.
Students in all Animation programs may participate in FDU’s internship program, which allows students to gain valuable experience working with DreamWorks, Viacom, Nickelodeon, NBC Universal, MTV, and ABC, among others. Fairleigh Dickinson University Animation graduates are often hired by many of these companies.
Other companies and studios that have hired FDU graduates include Sony Pictures Imageworks, Marvel Comics, Verizon, High Five Games, Pixel Light Digital Media, Skyline Entertainment, Tribe Pictures, and Whisper Productions, among others.
University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) houses the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (CAHSS), home to the Department of Visual Arts, which offers a BA in Visual Arts with a Concentration in Animation.
Students in the programs must complete the Visual Arts Foundation Area, totaling 27-30 credits. Visual Arts course examples include Visual Concepts: Time-Based Media, Art and Media Studies, and Space and Place in Public Art and Urbanism. Required animation courses total 27 credits. Students can expect to take courses such as Animation in the Physical World, Real Time Animation, Advanced 3D Animation, Motion Graphics and Compositing, and Team-Based Game Development. Students will complete a Senior Project and an internship outside the university or in the school’s Imaging Research Center (IRC).
Graduates of the Visual Arts BA Program at University of Maryland Baltimore County are graduate students, freelance artists, educators or salaried artists at animation or game studios, advertising agencies, digital media companies, web design studios, and television and film studios, among others.