Our 2015 rankings of the top animation school programs on the East Coast. We define the East Coast as Virginia, Rhode Island, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.
For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.
1. Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Providence, Rhode Island
Established in 1877, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is home to 2,449 students enrolled in around 38 undergraduate degree programs and concentrations, and 22 graduate degree programs. Besides a large number of program offerings in the areas of Art and Design, Architecture, and Education, RISD has a large Film/Animation/Video Department (FAV). The Department offers a variety of programs for aspiring animators and filmmakers. Program options for animators include a BFA in Film/Animation/Video (BFA FAV).
2. Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York
Established in 1887, Pratt Institute is home to 4,556 students enrolled in 48 degree programs across five schools. The School of Art offers several programs for aspiring animators including a BFA in Digital Arts with Concentrations in 3-D Animation and Motion Arts, and 2-D Animation. The School also offers an MFA degree in Digital Animation and Motion Arts.
3. New York University (NYU) Tisch School of the Arts, New York, New York
Tisch School of the Arts was founded in 1965 as The School of the Arts at New York University. The school houses several institutes and centers. The Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television offers several programs for aspiring animators. Offerings include a BA in Film and Television with an Animation Core in Production. The BA in Film and Television with an Animation Core in Production includes Introduction to Animation Techniques, Intermediate Animation Production, Advanced Animation Production, and Experimental Animation courses.
4. Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York
Established in 1885 as Mechanics Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) is home to 18,063 students enrolled in more than 200 academic programs across nine colleges. The College of Imaging Arts and Sciences (CIAS) is home to the School of Film and Animation (SOFA), which offers several programs for aspiring animators. Offerings include BFA and MFA degrees in Film and Animation.
5. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Established in 1900, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is home to nearly 13,000 students enrolled in more than 100 programs across seven colleges. The College of Fine Art houses the School of Art which offers several programs for aspiring animators. Offerings include a BFA in Electronic and Time-Based Media with a Focus in Animation and a Bachelors in Integrative Design, Arts and Technology (IDeATe). The IDeATe program offers a Concentration in Animation and Special Effects.
6. School of Visual Arts, New York, New York
School of Visual Arts (SVA) was established in 1947 as “Cartoonists and Illustrators School.” The school is home to 4,300+ students enrolled in more than 30 art and design programs. SVA offers several programs for aspiring animators. Offerings include BFA degrees in Animation, Computer Animation and Visual Effects, and Computer Art. SVA also offers an MFA in Computer Art, a BFA in Cartooning, and a variety of Continuing Education (CE) Animation courses.
7. University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Founded in 1740, the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) is home to more than 24,000 students enrolled in more than 400 programs across 16 schools. Programs for aspiring animators are offered through the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Offerings include a Bachelors in Engineering and Science (BSE) with a Digital Media Design Major (DMD), a Digital Media Design (DMD) Minor, and a PhD in Human Modeling and Simulation (HMS PhD).
8. Parsons The New School for Design, New York, New York
Parsons The New School for Design was established in 1896 by American Impressionist William Merritt Chase. The school is home to nearly 5,000 students enrolled in 27 degree programs across five schools. The School of Art, Media, and Technology at Parsons offers BFA and MFA degrees in Design and Technology, a BFA in Communication Design, and a BFA in Illustration. All programs allow students to study Animation and Motion Graphics.
9. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York
Rensselaer Polytechnic was founded in 1824 and it is home to 7,028 students enrolled in more than 145 programs across five schools. The School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) houses five academic departments including Arts, Cognitive Science, Communication and Media, Economics, and Science and Technology Studies (STS). The Department of Communication and Media (C&M), in collaboration with the Department of Arts, offers a BS in Electronic Media, Arts, and Communication (EMAC). The EMAC program offers a Concentration in Digital Storytelling (Animation, Video, Game Design). The Department of Arts offers a BS in Electronic Art (BS EART) with a Concentration in Visual Arts & Animation as well.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute also offers several advanced degree programs for aspiring animators. Graduate offerings include MFA and PhD degrees in Electronic Art (EART). Also offered through the Department of Arts, both degree programs allow students to explore areas of interest ranging from Animation and Communication Technologies to Gaming.
10. Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), Baltimore, Maryland
Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) was founded in 1826, making it the oldest degree-granting college of art in the U.S. Home to 1,863 students, MICA offers more than 80 BFA, MA, MFA, and MPS degree programs. Programs for aspiring animators include a BFA in Animation and an integrated BFA degree in Animation and Humanistic Studies. Many animation students choose to continue their studies after completing either undergraduate program. Popular advanced degree programs for animators include the Filmmaking MFA, the Illustration MFA, or The Business of Art and Design MPS (Master of Professional Studies).