2024

What are the top animation bachelor's of arts (BA) programs in the U.S. for 2024?

Top 25 Animation Bachelor's of Arts (BA) Degree Programs in the U.S. – 2024 College Rankings
RankingSchoolState
1University of California, Los AngelesCalifornia
2DePaul UniversityIllinois
3The Ohio State UniversityOhio
4University of Texas at DallasTexas
5Columbia College ChicagoIllinois
6California State University, Long BeachCalifornia
7University of FloridaFlorida
8Loyola Marymount UniversityCalifornia
9California State University, Los AngelesCalifornia
10Bowling Green State UniversityOhio
11California State University, NorthridgeCalifornia
12North Carolina State UniversityNorth Carolina
13Lipscomb UniversityTennessee
14Harvard UniversityMassachusetts
15University of South FloridaFlorida
16Tulane UniversityLouisiana
17University of Maryland Baltimore CountyMaryland
18University of Advancing TechnologyArizona
19Emerson CollegeMassachusetts
20Rutgers University CamdenNew Jersey
21Dartmouth CollegeNew Hampshire
22University of South CarolinaSouth Carolina
23Grand Canyon UniversityArizona
24New Jersey Institute of TechnologyNew Jersey
25Fairleigh Dickinson UniversityNew Jersey

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 2024.

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

University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) is home to the School of Theater, Film & Television (TFT), which houses the Department of Film, Television & Digital Media (FTVDM). Within the FTVDM is a Film, Television & Digital Media BA that requires 180 units to graduate. This broad film degree explores screenwriting, production, television practices, animation, and critical thinking. To refine the degree, students must select a 20-unit concentration. The ideal choice for students interested in animation is the Animation Cinema and Media Studies concentration.

For the first and second years of the BA program, students will focus on foundational courses. In the junior and senior years, students will study film, TV, and digital media production, while honing their skills in their chosen concentration. The concentration culminates with a professional internship.

Other program features access to courses such as Interactive Animation, Computer Animation, Real-Time Three-Dimensional Animation, Film Editing, Screenwriting, and Digital Media and Tools; opportunities to study abroad; access to Walter Lantz Digital Animation Studio; and participation in UCLA clubs such as the Japanese Animation Club, the Bruin Film Society, and the Film & Photography Society (FPS).

Graduates of the School of TFT at University of California Los Angeles are prepared to pursue leadership roles and others at major companies and studios across the U.S. and abroad. Alumni have been hired at major studios such as Pixar, DreamWorks, Walt Disney Imagineering, and Nickelodeon. 

2. DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois
DePaul University

Jarvis College of Computing and Digital Media (CDM) at DePaul University (DePaul) houses three schools including Cinematic Arts, Computing, and Design. Across schools, students have access to more than 65 degree programs and minors. Within the School of Cinematic Arts is an Animation program that features courses taught by award-winning filmmakers who are part of one of the largest full-time animation faculties in the nation.

The program also provides access to a state-of-the-art, 32,000 square foot production facility known as DePaul Cinespace Studios; and the new Jarvis Student Center for Innovation and Collaboration. This 8,000 square-foot open space focuses on industry partnerships and multidisciplinary professional learning across emerging technologies. Collaborations and projects between students and faculty emphasize innovation and community needs.

Cinespace and other CDM/SCA studios and facilities provide access to latest industry animation software, tools, and technologies. This includes Cintiq labs, professional animation and effects software, 3D printing, stop motion stages and fabrication studios, sound studios, 3D motion capture, and motion control.

The Animation program at DePaul University has an Animation BA that allows students to study animation through major and open electives. Examples of major electives include Digital Puppet Animation; Visual Effects; Screenwriting for Majors; Hybrid Animation; Stop Motion Animation; and Sound Design for Animation.

BA students may choose open electives from more than 20 Jarvis College minors. Minor examples include Experimental Filmmaking; Graphic Design; Comedy Filmmaking; User Experience Design; Television Production; Information Technology; Film Production; Visual Effects; and Designing for Physical Technology.

All DePaul Animation students have the unique opportunity to participate in the Los Angeles Quarter Program. This 10-week immersive experience allows students to intern at major Hollywood studios such Disney, DreamWorks Animation, Sony Studios, Nickelodeon, The Jim Henson Company, Titmouse, and Warner Bros. Animation.

Other program benefits 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. Project Bluelight provides hands-on experience in motion picture production to all interested students.

Graduates of the Animation programs at DePaul University are prepared to pursue careers in all industries that require animation and game design and development skills. Program alumni have been hired by major studios and gaming companies such as DreamWorks Animation, Electronic Arts (EA), Warner Bros. Animation, Google, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Blizzard Entertainment, Disney Animation Studios, Iron Galaxy Studios, BioWare, and LAIKA Studios.

3. The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
The Ohio State University

The College of Arts and Sciences at The Ohio State University (OSU) houses more than 20 centers and institutes, 38 departments and schools, and over 2,000 faculty and staff members. The College provides more than 250 majors, minors, certificates, and graduate programs to approximately 19,310 students. Among the many programs in College of Arts and Sciences is a Moving Image Production (MIP) BA.

Established in 2017, the MIP BA is an interdisciplinary program and a collaboration between The Departments of Art; Theatre, Film, and Media Arts; Design; and the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD). The program, which combines live-action and animated filmmaking, features studio practice in Animation, Experimental, Narrative, and Documentary.

Course examples include Motion I & II Group Studies in Digital Animation and Interactive Media; Concept Development for Time-Based Media; Motion Studies Through Hand-Drawn Animation; Animation Techniques and Practices; Computer Animation: Form, Light and Motion; Procedural Animation; Designing Immersive Virtual Environments; and Motion Capture Production and Experimentation.

OSU MIP students are also required to take a 15 credit hour Film Studies Minor as part of the program. Students will also have opportunities to take additional production and screenwriting courses through electives; complete an internship; and participate in the school’s study abroad program. Possible locations include London, Prague, Rome, Germany, Dublin, and Copenhagen.

Graduates of the MIP program, at The Ohio State University are prepared to pursue roles across industries such as entertainment, advertising, education, architecture, medical, and legal. Program alumni are Animators, CG Generalists, Motion Graphics Designers, Mixed Reality Designers, Art Directors, Design Educators, Interaction Designers, Virtual Reality Designers, Freelance Artists, Multimedia Designers, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Designers, User Interface/User Experience (UI/UX) Designers, Game Designers, and Visual Communication Designers.

4. University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, Texas
University of Texas at Dallas

University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) is home to the Harry W. Bass Jr. School of Arts, Humanities, and Technology (Bass School). Founded in 1975, the Bass School houses the first arts and technology degree in Texas. Launched in 2002, Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication (ATEC) at UT Dallas today consists of degrees at all levels.

For undergraduates seeking an animation degree, the ATEC BA has an Animation and Games (A&G) concentration. ATEC coursework for this option explores computer animation, motion graphics, game studies, user experience/user interface UX/UI design, and digital fabrication. Required A&G courses include Computer Animation; Game Design; Modeling and Texturing; Rigging; Lighting and Composition; and Level Design.

A&G students will also complete 30 semester credit hours of required electives. Examples include Motion Capture Animation; Animation Studies; Game Production Lab; Virtual Environments; Animation Lab; Procedural Animation; and Project Management for ATEC.

Other ATEC program highlights include guest speakers from major studios such as Disney, Pixar, and DreamWorks; applied and experimental research in collaboration with instructors in varying areas of expertise; seminars and lectures presented by industry professionals; portfolio and project-based exercises; and access to Bass School research labs and creative practice studios. These include the 3D Studio; ArtSciLab; Creative Automata Lab; Cultural Science Lab; Emerging Gizmology Lab; Fashioning Circuits; LabSynthE; Narrative Systems Research Lab; Public Interactives Research Lab (PIRL); SP&CE Media; and The Studio for Mediating Play.

A&G students also have access to the ATEC Animation Lab, where they can participate in a simulated animated studio experience (SASE). Over two semesters, a crew of 40 SASE students will write, design, direct, and produce a two-minute CG animated short film. Examples of past productions include Bad Timing (2022), Octo Ninja (2021), Night Shift (2020), and Stargazer (2019).

Graduates of the ATEC programs at UT Dallas are prepared to pursue careers across industries and in areas such as 3D computer animation, film and television, games, modeling and simulation, virtual environments, and medical and scientific visualization. A variety of major companies and studios have hired ATEC alumni. Examples include Disney, Blizzard Entertainment, Cisco Systems, Texas Instruments, Gearbox Software, AT&T Foundry, id Software, JP Morgan Chase, and 900lbs of Creative.

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

The School of Media Arts at Columbia College Chicago (Columbia) houses the Interactive Arts and Media (IAM) Department. Within the Department is an Animation program that provides access to the latest industry-standard technology, equipment, and tools. Examples include Cintiq Labs, Stop-Motion Labs, the Animation Equipment Center, and Traditional Animation Camera Labs. Animation Instructional Spaces for stop-motion and traditional animation projects include state-of-the-art classrooms and workshops.

Within the Animation program is a BA that explores computer, experimental, hand-drawn, and stop-motion animation techniques. Students in this program can begin animating in the very first year. Course examples include Cartooning; Character Design and Modeling, Environmental Design & Modeling; Alternative Strategies in Animation; Animation for Comics; CVFX: Compositing; Stop-Motion Animation; Computer Animation: Keyframing; Screenwriting: Writing the Short Film; Animation Maquettes; Advanced 3D Digital Sculpting; Character Design and Modeling; and Acting for Animators.

Animation BA students will have the option to work with a team or individually to create a film during the final year of the program. BA students will also spend the final year fine tuning their professional demo reels.

Graduates of the Animation Programs at Columbia College Chicago have gone on to win Oscars and Emmy Awards. Some alumni have worked on films and series such as The Lion King, Robot Chicken, Brave, Frozen, Pocahontas, UP, The Lego Batman Movie, Coco, and Finding Dory. Others have launched their own studios and freelance businesses.

Columbia College graduates have also been hired at major networks and studios such as Pixar, DreamWorks, Cartoon Network, Weta Digital, Disney, Nickelodeon, and Warner Bros. Animation.

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

The College of the Arts (COTA) at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) is one of the school’s largest and most popular colleges. Housing six separate academic units (departments), COTA employs over 100 full-time and 150 part-time faculty members that serve more than 3,000 students. Departments include the School of Art; Bob Cole Conservatory of Music; Theatre Arts; Film and Electronic Arts; Design; and Dance.

The COTA School of Art at California State University, Long Beach received designation as a school in 2012. The school houses state-of-the-art facilities and top-rated work spaces and seven separate and customizable galleries for displaying, critiquing, and viewing student work. School of Art students also have access to international travel opportunities to support their work, as well as opportunities to interact with professional working artists.

Within the CSULB COTA School of Art is a multidisciplinary Art BA with an Option in Studio Art. This flexible degree option allows students to develop a distinct focus area and select courses from a broad range of art and art history courses. In addition to required courses in both 2D and 3D media, students have access to courses such as Computer Art; Intro Studio: Animation; Color Theory; Intro Studio: Illustration- Rendering; Transdisciplinary Practice; and Life Drawing.

Upon completion of the COTA BA program at California State University, Long Beach graduates will have a professional portfolio of their best work. Program alumni are prepared for careers such as Animator, Art Director, Storyboard Artist, Animation Technical Director, Forensic Animator, Character Animator, Compositing Artist, and Illustrator.

7. University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
University of Florida

University of Florida (UF) is home to the College of the Arts (COTA). Within COTA is a community of students, faculty, and staff known as the Digital Worlds Institute. Founded in 2001, the Institute began as a partnership between COTA and the College of Engineering. Today, the Digital Worlds Institute has expanded to include six additional colleges, with a focus on advanced media systems.

The Digital Worlds Institute at University of Florida has one degree option for animators: the Digital Arts & Sciences BA (BADAS). BADAS program highlights include a project-based learning environment that allows students to gain hands-on experience and team-building skills; elective courses across Animation, Game Design, and Experience Design & Production; and learning that takes place in high-tech classrooms.

Students may also take electives outside of the UF BADAS Program. The remaining courses for the program are in BADAS cores and general education (30%). BADAS core courses explore areas such as 2D and 3D animation, digital storytelling, writing for interactive media, mobile games, design and production, digital visualization, game content creation, and digital technologies.

Course examples include 2D Digital Animation Techniques; Writing for Interactive Media; 3D Character Animation; Principles of Interaction & Usability; Advanced Digital Animation Techniques; Design Production Studio; Advanced 2D Digital Animation Techniques; 3D Modeling and Texturing, and Digital Storytelling.

Elective examples include Blockchain Innovation in Digital Arts and Sciences; Digital Tools for Arts and Humanities; and Undergraduate Research in DAS. All UF BADAS students must complete the senior project and a portfolio. Independent study, an internship, and the production practicum are optional.

Graduates of the Digital Worlds Institute at University of Florida are prepared to pursue positions in areas from animation, game design, and filmmaking to science and technology. Institute graduates have been hired at major studios and companies from DreamWorks Animation to Microsoft. Many graduates have also gone on to launch their own studios or freelance businesses.

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

The School of Film and Television (SFTV) at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) is home to the first program to build a motion-capture lab offering classes in virtual cinematography and pre-visualization. Known as the Walter and Grace Lantz Animation Program, the undergraduate program leads to a BA. Program features include small class sizes; coursework with high student-faculty interaction; and access to state-of-the-art facilities, labs, and networked computer workstations.

The Animation BA in the School of Film and Television focuses on teaching students how to use the latest technology to master drawing, visual effects (VFX), production techniques, interactive design, and storytelling. Collaborative, hands-on courses include Art of Cinema; Storytelling for the Screen; Visual Story Development; Digital Toolbox; Interactive Animation; History of Animation; 3D Computer Animation; and Intermediate Animation Workshop.

The LMU Animation BA is a four year program that requires 45 semester hours of study in upper division coursework. In addition to core and major requirements, the program requires a significant number of electives, allowing students to focus their studies in an area of interest. During the final year of the Animation BA Program, students will complete the Animation Practicum and Senior Thesis Project.

Graduates of Animation BA program at Loyola Marymount University are prepared to pursue roles at all levels in film, television, and animation production; game design and development; advertising and marketing; science and medicine; forensic animation; and art education. To date, more than 400 employers have hired LMU SFTV alumni. More than 80% of alumni are working in the field and more than 10% are in graduate school.

Animation program alumni have worked on major productions and series such as The Simpsons and The Simpsons Movie, Wonder Woman, Superman: Doomsday, and Green Lantern: First Flight. They have been hired by major companies, networks, and studios such as Walt Disney Animation, HBO, DreamWorks, NBCUniversal, Cartoon Network, Amazon Studios, Nickelodeon, Paramount, Sony Pictures Animation, Viacom, Warner Bros., Disney/ABC, BET Networks, E! Entertainment, Netflix, Sony Playstation, Randon House Studios, and 21st Century Fox.  

9. California State University, Los Angeles, California
California State University, Los Angeles

The Department of Art at California State University, Los Angeles (Cal State LA) has an Animation Option that combines the study of traditional, contemporary, and experimental animation techniques with hands-on learning in digital classrooms, labs, and other facilities. Part of the College of Arts & Letters, the Department of Art provides access to a Design Library, the Tool Crib, and a stop-motion animation lab.

Art Department students also have opportunities to exhibit in the Ronald H. Silverman Fine Arts Gallery and the student-run COMA Gallery. Each semester, students in the Cal State LA Art Department also have the chance to join professional artists and faculty for several events that provide the opportunity to present their work to peers and the public.

The Animation Option is a 98-unit path within the Art BA program. Students will complete 48 units in the Option and select electives from art and film course offerings. Examples include World Animation History; Video for Artists; Color Theory and Perception; Three-Dimensional Animation; Story and Visualization; Digital Design Tools; Advanced Animation; Art and Motion; Experimental Animation, Digital Modeling; and Advanced Illustration. The Animation Project Capstone, worth up to six credits, is required to graduate.

Graduates of the Art programs at Cal State LA are prepared to pursue careers in animation, game design, screenwriting, storyboard art, visual effects (VFX), art direction, production, advertising, film editing, and special effects. Examples of Cal State LA recruiting companies Disney, Lionsgate Entertainment, DreamWorks, Yahoo!, NASA, KTLA, and Boeing. 

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

The School of Art at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) is one of the largest state art schools in Ohio. In existence for more than 75 years and housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, the School houses five divisions: Digital Arts, Studio, Graphic Design, Art History, and Art Education. Students in all divisions benefit from a student-faculty ratio of 15:1; National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) accreditation; study abroad opportunities at BGSU’s partner school in Florence, Italy; hands-on experience through internships with major studios and organizations such as Pixar, Disney Animation, and the Museum of Modern Art; and access to a variety of minors and programs at all degree levels.

Across all School of Art programs, students also have access to Graduate Assistantships; opportunities to work BGSU’s professional large-format printing studio; and the newly built Wolfe Center for the Arts. Within the Center are three state-of-the-art digital studio classrooms; a 20-seat Mac Pro OSX lab; a 20-seat HP (Windows 7) lab; and an editing lab with 20 Mac Pro video editing workstations.

The School of Art also houses The Media Center, which features high-dynamic range wide format printers; high-end digital A/V equipment for student checkout; 3D printing capabilities; and high-resolution scanners.

For individuals seeking an Animation degree, the Division of Digital Arts within the School of Art provides a Digital Arts BA with a specialization in Animation. 2D and 3D Animation tracks are available within the specialization, and an optional interdisciplinary track allows students to incorporate classes from other areas such as Drawing, Graphic Design, and Photography.

The Animation track culminates in a semester-long senior capstone project that is screened at The Wolfe Center for the Arts during the School of Art's annual BFA exhibition and Film Festival.

Graduates of the Digital Arts program at Bowling Green State University are prepared to pursue roles such as 2D or 3D Animator, Motion Graphics Artist, Video Game Animator, Special Effects Artist, and Web Design Animator. BGSU alumni are routinely hired by major animation and game studios such as DreamWorks Animation, Epic Games, and Blizzard Entertainment.

11. California State University Northridge, Northridge, California
California State University Northridge

The Department of Art at California State University Northridge (CSUN) houses a Visual Arts Program with several pathways to study animation. Within the Department’s Visual Arts BA is an Animation concentration with three Tracks: 2D Animation Design, 3D Animation, and Game Design. As part of the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication, all tracks provide access to the Entertainment Industry Institute (EII) and the student-operated creative agency known as IntersectLA.

In addition, 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.

Students in the Visual Arts BA: 2D Animation Design Track will take courses such as Visual Development, Pre-Production, Compositing, and 3D Computer Animation. Potential careers for graduates of this Track include Animator, Storyboard Artist, and Background Designer. In the Visual Arts BA: 3D Animation Track, students will explore Game Animation, Compositing, and Visual Development. Possible job titles for graduates include Character Animator, Lighting Artist, CG Modeler, Compositor, and Pre-Vis Artist. During the final year of both Tracks, students will work on collaborative group projects and their final portfolio.

Game Track students will take Character Animation, Compositing, Animation Production, 3D Computer Animation, and Game Production courses. Graduates of this track are prepared for careers in character animation, modeling, texture painting & lighting, quality assurance, and level design, among others.

12. North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina
North Carolina State University

The College of Design at North Carolina State University (NC State) launched in 1946 as the School of Architecture and Landscape Design. It was renamed the School of Design in 1948, and the College of Design in 2000. Today, the College of Design at NC State provides programs across six areas at all degree levels. This includes the doctorate.

In addition to a variety of programs, the NC State College of Design provides an interdisciplinary first-year experience; workshops; swing studios in other majors; internship opportunities; and study abroad experiences in places such as Prague, Chile, and Greece.

The College of Design at NC State also houses the Department of Media Arts, Design and Technology, which has a Bachelor of Art + Design (BAD) program. As part of the Department of Media Arts, Design and Technology, the BAD program is highly multidisciplinary, allowing students to study both traditional disciplines and emerging techniques.

Examples include animation, VR/AR, visual effects, interactive and computational media, and visual composition. Electives provide additional opportunities to focus the BAD. Examples of required courses and elective options include Creative Technology Studio I-III; Digital Modeling; Animation I; Art + Design Laboratory I-II; Digital Representation; Visualization I-II; Advanced Digital Techniques; Drawing I-II; Writing About Film; Digital Motion; Sequential Imaging; Digital Modeling, Color and Light; and Digital Representation.

Students in the NC State BAD program will progress from foundation courses in their first and second years to intermediate and advanced courses in the final two years of the program. Students will graduate from the BAD program with a final project and a professional portfolio of their work.

Graduates of the Art + Design programs at North Carolina State University are prepared for leadership positions and others in fields such as animation, digital special effects, multimedia, illustration, filmmaking, and software design. Some graduates go on to launch their own studios and freelance businesses, while others become art and design educators at major colleges and universities.

13. Lipscomb University, Nashville, Tennessee
Lipscomb University

Lipscomb University was the first university in the nation to purchase the Positron Voyager—the first chair designed specifically for fully immersive cinematic virtual reality. Lipscomb also houses one of the few Animation programs to provide BA, BFA, and MFA degrees. Housed in the George Shinn College of Entertainment and the Arts, all options are led by Disney Animators, experts in Maya, and other accomplished professionals in the field.

Across programs, students have opportunities to travel to places such as Los Angeles and Italy to attend animation events. Students also have opportunities to complete an internship at a major studio, and 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 at some of the world’s top animation studios.

The Animation BA requires 54 credit hours in the major. Course examples include Dynamic Gestures; Animation Tools; CG Modeling and Lighting; Computer Animation I; Perspective, Color & Composition; Storyboarding for Animation; Writing for Animation; History of Animation; and Animation Production.

Students may enhance the degree through the required 15 credit hours of electives. Unreal Technology; Character Modeling in Zbrush; Digital Imaging (After Effects, Color, etc.); Computer Animation II-IV; and Film Production Workshop are just a few elective examples.

The Animation BA program at Lipscomb University culminates with the Portfolio Development course. Graduates are prepared to pursue a variety roles in the entertainment industry. Potential career paths include (but are not limited to) 2D Animator, 3D Animator, Storyboard Artist, Director, Computer Animator, Lead Animator, Producer, and Game Animator.

14. Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Harvard University

The Department of Art, Film, and Visual Studies (AFVS) at Harvard University is located in the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts—the nation’s only Le Corbusier building. In addition to the Carpenter Center, AFVS courses are held in Sever Hall—a National Historic Landmark, and Linden Street Studios, which is utilized by faculty members, upper division students, and practicing artists.

The AFVS Department provides opportunities to concentrate in just about any area of visual arts and at all degree levels, including the AB (or BA). Examples include animation, drawing, filmmaking, visual studies, painting, and video art. Students in all concentrations have opportunities to work with faculty in studios and small seminars to reach their goals.

For students who would like to pursue animation, many courses are available to customize the program.  Examples include Experimental Animation; Fundamentals of Animation; Intermediate Animation; Film & Visual Studies Workshop; The Art of Film; Immersive Experience as Art; A Video Toolbox; Filmmaking Workshop; Drawing as a Visual Language; Graduate Studio Workshop; and Working with Actors.

AFVS Studio Art and Animation/Film/Video/New Genres courses are practice-based, and the Film and Visual Studies courses are seminar and lecture based. Students in all Harvard AFVS programs have the opportunity to take courses outside of the department. Courses may explore Theater, Media, History of Art and Architecture, Dance, and Cultural Studies.

Graduates of the AFVS programs at Harvard University are prepared to pursue roles in all areas of animation and film production.

15. University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida
University of South Florida

The College of the Arts University of South Florida (USF) is home to the School of Art & Art History. Within the School is a Studio Art BA with a specialization in Animation and Digital Modeling. Students will explore 3D modeling, visual storytelling, concept design, motion, composition, acting, 3D printing, and lighting. Course examples include The Real World; Digital Modeling; Visual Storytelling; Motion Design; Character Animation; Advanced Animation; Computer Animation; Selected Topics in Film and Video; Digital Drawing; and Professional Practices.

Because the Studio Art BA is a broad degree, students have many opportunities for experiential learning. Examples include Extended Studies; Artists Internships and Apprenticeships; The Paris or London Middlesex Program; Public Art; Museum Internships; and Community Art. Courses for this program are supplemented with studies in foreign languages, art history, and electives in the School of Art & Art History, and across the university.

Graduates of the Studio Art programs at University of South Florida are prepared to pursue roles in a wide range of industries and in just about any position that requires creativity, critical thinking, and the production of visual materials. Program alumni are Animators, Storyboard Artists, Game Artists, Art Directors, Artists, Designers, Filmmakers, Media Specialists, Photographers, Videographers, Imagists, Educators, and Consultants.

16. Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana
Tulane University

The School of Liberal Arts at Tulane University houses the Newcomb Art Department. Within the department is a Studio Art BA with an optional Digital Arts area. The curriculum encompasses animation and video, digital imaging, 3D graphics, interactivity, and virtual reality. All students will have opportunities to work and create in the Digital Arts Studio, which is equipped with Mac workstations and the latest software from Apple, Adobe, and other industry-standard software; scanners and printers; and digital video equipment.

The BA begins with the Foundations of Art Series. Throughout the program, students will complete a number of projects. Studio Art BA students will complete a Senior Capstone to graduate. Final works will be presented at the Carrol Gallery located in the Woldenberg Art Center, Newcomb Art Department.

Graduates of the Art programs at Tulane University are prepared to pursue careers across industries.  Tulane alumni have been hired at places such as Amazon and Disney.

17. University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, Maryland
University of Maryland Baltimore County

The College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (CAHSS) at University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) houses the Department of Visual Arts. Within the Department is a BA in Visual Arts with a concentration in Animation. This program requires completion of a 24 credit hour Visual Arts core and 24-27 credit hours in the Animation concentration.

Visual Arts course examples include Introduction to Art and Media Studies; Drawing I/Beginning Drawing; Studies in Visual Culture (Prehistory through the 1750s); and Visual Concepts I-IV. The Visual Concepts courses cover Two-Dimensional Design Principles; Camera Vision; Three-Dimensional Form, Space and Interaction; and Time-Based Media.

Course examples for the Animation concentration include Real Time Animation; Motion Graphics and Compositing; Animation in the Physical World; Advanced 3D Animation; Writing for Media Arts; History of Animation; and Sound Design. Visual Arts will alco complete nine credits of electives, including courses such as Topics in Animation and Interactive Art; Advanced 3D Animation; Installation Art; and Team-Based Game Development.

In addition to a variety of course options, the Visual Arts program at UMBC provides the opportunity to complete an internal or external internship related to the students focus. Visual Arts student have interned at places such as Smithsonian, Baltimore Orioles, Stanley Black & Decker, Baltimore Office of Promotion of the Arts, Maryland Public Television, Image Factory DC, Mindgrub Technologies, Renegade Productions, Maryland Art Place, and Creative Alliance. 

Students may also gain experience by enrolling in the elective course ART 496 – Imaging Research Center Internship (IRC). Students in this option will work on animation, graphics, and multimedia production in a professional work environment for real clients or research teams. Students will work in collaborative teams under the guidance of IRC directors.

In the final year of the Visual Arts BA program, students will exhibit their best work at the Senior Exit Exhibition held at the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture. Awards for Excellence are presented at the opening reception.

Graduates of the Visual Arts BA program at University of Maryland Baltimore County are prepared to pursue roles in the entertainment industry, game design and development, advertising, web design, architecture, science and medicine, government, and education.

18. University of Advancing Technology, Tempe, Arizona
University of Advancing Technology

University of Advancing Technology (UAT) has a Game Art and Animation (GAA) BA program that provides the opportunity to work in real game production environments alongside designers and programmers. Consisting of 120 credit hours, the program features immersive courses that teach students how to create 2D and 3D art and animation for PC, VR/AR, console, mobile, and online games.

Course examples for the program include Environmental and FX Animation; Digital Video and Animation, UI Design and Animation; Character and Vehicle Animation; Game Art and Animation; Visual Effects Compositing; Virtual Reality World Build; Storyboarding; VR/AR User Experience Design; and Production Studio.

Featuring five-week modules taken one at a time, a Synchronic Learning model, and mentored education, the UAT GAA program also requires completion of a three credit hour internship and Student Innovation Project courses I-III. Though not required, courses such as Digital Asset Creation, Java Programming, and Introduction to AI and Analytics are highly recommended. Students can complete the UAT Game Art and Animation BA in eight semesters.

Graduates of the Game Art and Animation BA program at University of Advancing Technology are prepared to pursue roles in all areas of animation and game design. Examples include Senior Animator, Art Director, Character Animator, Texture Artist, Environment Animator, Game Artist, and Storyboard Artist.

19. Emerson College, Boston, Massachusetts
Emerson College

The School of the Arts at Emerson College (Emerson) is home to the Department of Visual & Media Arts (VMA). Within the department is a Media Arts Production (MAP) BA that provides access to state-of-the-art equipment and facilities such as the Emerson College Emerging Media Lab (EML), where students can work in multiple areas of new media. These include 3D modeling and animation, artistic anatomy & 2D animation, rigging and animation, VR/AR, character design, and game design. 

Other MAP program benefits include the opportunity to gain hands-on experience through on-campus employment with Emerson College’s own in-house production company (Emerson Productions) or the Equipment Distribution Center (EDC); and opportunities for producing and screening work through film festivals and student organizations such as Women in Motion, Frames Per Second, Emerson Film Festival, and It’s All True – International Documentary Film Festival.

All MAP students have the opportunity to study and intern in the entertainment industry in Hollywood while spending a semester at Emerson Los Angeles (ELA). Established in 1986 and situated on Sunset Boulevard, ELA is a state-of-the-art, 120,000 square foot LEED-certified building where students can live and learn. The program provides access to more than 200 internship opportunities. Up to 215 Emerson students arrive at ELA each fall, with the potential to secure internships at places such as Disney, Lionsgate, Sony, Netflix, and Hulu.

The MAP BA program at Emerson College has two tracks: Production and Media Studies. The Production track is the ideal choice for animators. Students have access to courses such as Computer Animation; Drawing for Character Design; Writing the Short Subject; Film Production; Writing the Feature Film; Game Design; Producing; Film Production; Interactive Media; and Studio TV Production. With a required 16 credit hours of Visual and Media Arts electives, BA students have many opportunities to enhance the degree.

The program culminates with the BA Capstone Project. This one-semester course allows students to create a work in any area of the VMA program.

Graduates of the VMA Department at Emerson College have directed, written, or produced major productions such as Ant-Man, Fantastic Four, Fargo, Everything Everywhere All At Once, and Swiss Army Man. Program alumni have also been hired at major studios such as Digital Domain, Searchlight Pictures, Worldwide Pants, Bunim Murray Productions, and MGM Studios.

20. Rutgers University Camden, Camden, New Jersey
Rutgers University Camden

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University Camden (Rutgers-Camden) is the school’s largest academic unit. With three schools and 16 departments, Arts and Sciences provides more than 30 undergraduate majors, and over 15 graduate programs. The Department of Visual, Media, and Performing Arts here provides an Art BA with a specialization in Animation.

The Art BA consists of a 27 credit hour core. The Animation concentration for the program is 21 credit hours. Course examples include Computer Animation I-II; Animation Storyboard; Character Rigging; and Character Animation. BA students will also take Classical Animation, with access to electives such as 3D Modeling and Printing; Video Game Design (in collaboration with the Digital Studies Center); and Independent Study.

All Art BA students have access to the electronic arts studios at Rutgers-Camden, which house two newly renovated graphic design studios, two animation labs, and a post-production lab. These state-of-the art facilities are outfitted with networked computers, post-production units, 2D/3D and editing software, and more. Students also have access to separate studios for painting, drawing, sculpture, and ceramics; a photography lab; and a digital photography studio.

The Art BA program at Rutgers University Camden culminates with Animation Production, and Animation Capstone I and II. Graduates are prepared to pursue leadership roles (and others) in industries such as entertainment, game design, and advertising. Rutgers-Camden alumni have worked in the 3D animation industry as Art Directors and Technical Directors for studios such as Walt Disney, Digital Domain, Ubisoft, Warner Bros., and Psyop.

Animation graduates have also participated in film productions and games such as Frozen, Ice Age, Sesame Street 3D, Walking with Dinosaurs 3D, Happy Feet, and Assassin’s Creed Unity. Animation alumni have also been hired for salaried positions at places such as Disney, Warner Bros., Digital Domain, Psyop, Ubisoft, and BBC Earth.

21. Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire
Dartmouth College

Dartmouth College houses the Black Family Visual Arts Center, which is home to the Animation Studio. The 105,000 square foot building also houses Dartmouth’s Studio Art and Film & Media Studies Departments, as well as printmaking, architecture, painting, drawing, photography, and sculpture studios. A 200+ seat auditorium is part of the structures and well as spaces that host workshops, films, public talks, and special events.

Within the Film & Media Studies (F&MS) Department is a BA program that provides access to a variety of animation and related courses. This makes it possible to focus in animation. Course examples include Animation: Principles and Practice; History of Animation; Storytelling in the Digital Age; Advanced Animation; Special Effects in Film History; Krieger's Virtual Girlfriend: Japanese Anime and the idea of the Post-human; Video Art; Introduction to Digital Arts and Culture; Game Design Studio; Introduction to Film: From Script to Screen; Video Games & the Meaning of Life; Cinema and the Graphic Novel; Video Mashups; and Writing for the Screen I and II.

The F&MS BA at Dartmouth culminates with the Honors Project, completed across two courses. Final works can be a screenplay, film production, or thesis.

Across all Dartmouth degree programs, students may complete an internship, enroll in one of many study abroad experiences, and/or participate in other department-specific experiential learning programs. Dartmouth students have opportunities to intern at places such as Illumination Entertainment, Activision Blizzard, E! Entertainment, Slope, Brighter.com, and Happy Returns.

Graduates of the Film & Media programs at Dartmouth College are prepared to pursue careers in areas such as animation, film, television, advertising, game design, VR/AR, multimedia, UI/UX, computer graphics, HCI, and art education. Program alumni have been hired at places such as Pixar, Microsoft, and Google.

22. University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina
University of South Carolina

University of South Carolina (USC) is home to the School of Visual Art and Design (SVAD), which provides four major areas of study—studio art, media arts, art education, and art history. Leading to both undergraduate and graduate degrees, SVAD programs are housed in McMaster College—an 85,000-square-foot facility designed specifically for visual arts learning and creation. Other SVAD highlights include visiting artists; access to exhibition galleries; assistantships for graduate students; internship opportunities with local and national studios; and study abroad experiences in places such as Kenya and Japan.

For undergraduates looking to pursue a career in animation, SVAD has a Media Arts BA. Course examples for the program include Animation; Digital Compositing; Sound Art; Digital Media; The Moving Image; New Media Art; Manga and Anime; Video Game Design; and Media Culture. Led by industry professionals, Media Arts courses are hands-on and immersive, with many opportunities to work on animation projects individually or in a group.

Graduates of the Media Arts BA program at University of South Carolina are prepared to pursue careers in areas such as entertainment, game design, advertising, fine art, science and medicine, architecture, and art education. Program alumni have been hired by major studios and companies such as Blizzard Entertainment, Nickelodeon, ABC, Showtime, HBO Films, CBS Television, Netflix, Amazon Studios, IBM, Marvel, and NBC.

23. Grand Canyon University, Phoenix, Arizona
Grand Canyon University

The College of Arts and Media at Grand Canyon University (GCU) houses the Digital Design BA with an Animation emphasis. Provided online and on campus, this 120 credit hour program explores animation techniques, storytelling, and the design process in a hands-on learning environment. Most of the required courses for the program are in the major.

Course examples include Production Methods; Effective Communication; 2D Motion Design; Designing with Type; Raster and Vector Technologies; Creative Processes; 3D Motion Design; Design Thinking; Advanced Motion Design 1-3; Interface Design: User Experience; Layout and Composition; History of Design; and Motion Technologies.

GCU Digital Design students will also complete 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. In addition, Digital Design students will complete two portfolio courses designed to help them secure an internship. The final portfolio course is also designed to prepare students for employment in the industry or to pursue a graduate degree.

Other program features include professional critiques; the opportunity to partake in Design United; travel to Phoenix Design Week; and participation Grand Canyon University Senior Showcase. The Showcase is the required Capstone for all GCU Digital Design majors.

Graduates of the Digital Design BA at Grand Canyon University go on to establish careers in animation, film, television, advertising, game design, and multimedia art. Digital Design also prepares students to pursue careers in art and design education, animation for architecture, scientific animation, forensic animation, and medical animation.

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

The J. Robert and Barbara A. Hillier College of Architecture and Design (HCAD) at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is home to the School of Art + Design. Within the school is a Digital Design BA with two tracks: Entertainment and Interactive Media. BA students can also add the Animation Essentials Certificate, which is delivered entirely online.

Consisting of 12 credit hours, this stand-alone certificate program requires the following two courses: Visual Storytelling and Storyboarding and Acting for Animators. For the remaining courses, students can select two from the following three: Character and Facial Modeling for Animators; Environment Design; and Digital Audio. Upon completion of the certificate program, students are prepared to pursue positions in the Digital Animation industry.

The Digital Design BA (both tracks) begins with the foundation year, which provides 24/7 access to the Animation Lab; Cintiq-equipped Art Teaching Lab; Physical Computing Lab (used for robotic and sensor-based product design); and Digital and traditional fabrication facilities. After the foundation year, students will select a track. The curriculum for both tracks consists of a three-year studio sequence and opportunities for students to take courses such as Video and Animation; History of Games; 2D and 3D Character Design and Modeling; SFX/VFX in Movies; Internet Marketing; Game Level Design; Digital Audio; and Management.

Across all NJIT Digital Design programs, students have opportunities to display their work through curated exhibits and competitions, and the annual ACM/SIGGRAPH Conference. Students can also participate in the internship program.

Graduates of the Digital Design programs at New Jersey Institute of Technology are prepared to pursue a variety of roles in Animation, Game Art and Design, Special Effects, Digital Media Design, Visualization, Digital Special Effects, Film Production, Technical Illustration, Scientific Visualization, Advertising, Web Design, and Interactive Art Installation.

Program alumni have interned with or been hired at places such as NBCUniversal, ETS, High 5 Games, NTropic, Method Studios, SWDTech Games, Tripwire Interactive, SUSPECT vfx+design, 1st Avenue Machine, and Grafx Co.

25. Fairleigh Dickinson University, Madison, New Jersey
Fairleigh Dickinson University

Maxwell Becton College of Arts and Sciences at Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) houses the School of Art, home to the Animation Program. At the undergraduate level, the FDU School of Art has a Film and Animation BA with concentrations in 2D Animation, 3D Animation, and Video Game Animation.

All Animation students have the opportunity to participate in the Fairleigh Dickinson University internship program, where they can gain valuable experience working with major studios and networks such as DreamWorks, NBC Universal, Nickelodeon, ABC, Viacom, and MTV. Graduates of the Animation BA are often hired by many of these studios and networks.

Across concentrations, students will take courses such as 3D Computer Animation; Advanced After Effects; Vector Animation; Game Design; Creative Imagery with Photoshop; Character Animation using CAT; Custom 3D Character Rigging & Animation; Logo and Product Animation; Motion Graphics with After Effects; ZBrush Digital Sculpting; Storyboarding; Tradigital Animation; Art of the Graphic Novel; and 2D Animation with OpenToonz.

The FDU Animation BA program culminates with the Animation Thesis, completed across two courses (Thesis I and II). Graduates are prepared to pursue positions in the entertainment industry, games, advertising, and many others. Program alumni are often hired by many of the studios mentioned earlier, as well as others such as Sony Pictures Imageworks, Verizon, Marvel Comics, Skyline Entertainment, High Five Games, Tribe Pictures, Pixel Light Digital Media, and Whisper Productions.  

Locations