What are the top animation schools on the East Coast for 2022?
|School of Visual Arts
|Rhode Island School of Design
|New York University
|Rochester Institute of Technology
|Carnegie Mellon University
|Massachusetts College of Art and Design
|Maryland Institute College of Art
|The New School/Parsons
|University of the Arts
|University of Pennsylvania
|School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University
|Virginia Commonwealth University
|Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
|Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
|New York Institute of Technology
|University of Connecticut
|Maine College of Art & Design
|New Jersey Institute of Technology
Our 2022 list -our eleventh annual- of the Top 25 Animation School Programs in the East. For an explanation of our ranking criteria, click here.
1. School of Visual Arts, New York, New York
The School of Visual Arts (SVA) offers BFA degrees in Animation, Computer Art, and Computer Animation and Visual Effects. At the graduate level, the school offers an MFA in Computer Arts. The School of Visual Arts is also known for its Continuing Education (CE) Animation courses, which are designed to help students improve their skills through hands-in exercise and workshops. Should they choose to, CE Animation students may create their own shorts.
In the BFA programs at SVA, students learn by doing. Whether their focus is stop motion, traditional, or computer animation, students will have the opportunity to develop their skills by working with alumni-owned studios such as Augenblick, Plymptoons, and Titmouse studios. In addition, students will train on the latest industry software including Maya, Adobe Animate, Storyboard Pro, After Effects, and Toon Boom Harmony. Four years of study in the BFA programs culminates in a showcase of the students work to industry professionals and prominent figures at the School of Visual Arts Thesis Celebration.
Graduates of the Animation, Computer Art, and Computer Animation and Visual Effects BFA programs at SVA have gone on to win awards at major festivals and from the Academy of Motion Pictures. Program alumni can be found at independent animation studios worldwide and at Lucasfilm Animation, Sony Pictures Animation, Disney Animation Studios, Warner Bros. Animation, Nickelodeon, and DreamWorks Animation.
The School of Visual Arts MFA Computer Arts Department was the first MFA program in the U.S. to focus on computer art. Established in 1986, the program highlights workshops, guest lectures, visiting artists, and internship experiences. During the final year of the program, MFA students will complete academic research and a creative work accompanied by an artist’s statement.
Graduates of the SVA MFA in Computer Arts Program have landed positions at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), MTV, Pixar, Google, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Electronic Arts, and Disney, DreamWorks. Some alumni have gone on to open their own studios or win Academy, Emmy Award, and Grammy awards.
The School of Visual Arts (SVA) dates back to 1947 when it was known as the Cartoonists and Illustrators School. When it opened, the school had just three teachers and 35 students. Today, the School of Visual Arts serves more than 4,000 students enrolled in dozens of BFA, MA, MFA, and MPS programs. The degree offerings at SVA are accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), and/or the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA).
2. Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island
Rhode Island School of Design, better known as RISD (pronounced RIZ-dee), offers a BFA in Flim/Animation/Video (BFA FAV). Students in the program may focus in Animation, Live Action or Open Media. Techniques covered in the program include everything from hand-drawn to CGI to stop motion and many others.
RISD BFA FAV students can expect to take courses such as Computer Generated Imagery 3-D, Digital Effects and Compositing for the Screen, Editing, Directing, and Experimental Film techniques. Collaborate study, workshops, a professional internship and several senior studios are also part of the program.
All RISD FAV students have access to animation and live action studios, studios for green screen and blackout shooting, and Apple workstations equipped with Avid, Final Cut, Pro Tools, Autodesk Maya, the Adobe Production Suite, and a variety of animation software.
Rhode Island School of Design graduates have gone on to create, direct and/or produce a number of animated films and series such as the Oscar-nominated animated short Feral (Daniel Sousa, Animator and Director), The Simpsons (Lance Wilder, Animator) and Family Guy (Seth Macfarlane, Creator). Other RISD graduates have launched their own studios or production companies, or landed positions at DreamWorks, HBO, Pixar, Fox, and PBS, to name a few.
Founded in 1877, Rhode Island School of Design is one of the first art and design schools in the U.S. This private, nonprofit college serves more than 2,000 undergraduates and nearly 550 graduate students enrolled in dozens of majors and programs. RISD is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) and the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA).
The Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and MA in Teaching programs have special accreditation by the National Architecture Accrediting Board, Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board, and the RI Department of Education, respectively.
3. Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York
The School of Art at Pratt Institute (Pratt) houses the Department of Digital Arts, which offers a BFA in Digital Arts. Also housed in the School of Art is the Graduate School of Art, which offers an MFA in Digital Arts with concentrations in Digital Animation and Motion Arts, Interactive Arts, And Digital Imaging. The BFA program has emphasis options including 3-D Animation and Motion Arts, 2-D Animation, and Interactive Arts.
Department highlights include small class sizes, a collaborative environment, state-of-the art studios and classrooms, and courses taught by experienced artists in the field. BFA students can expect to take courses such as 3D Modeling, Coding for Animation, Compositing and Special FX, and Lighting and Rendering. Senior Project Development and Senior Projects courses are also part of the program.
Pratt MFA students can expect to take courses such as Digital Animation Studio, Traditional Animation, and Advanced Digital Animation. Graduate Seminar I-II and Thesis I-II are also part of the program.
Pratt Institute graduates have landed positions at Digital Domain, Gameloft, Walt Disney Animation Studios, NBCUniversal, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Sony Pictures Imageworks, and other top studios. Many Pratt alumni have gone on establish academic careers at institutions such as New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), New York University (NYU), Rochester Institute of technology (RIT), Howard University, and American Academy in Rome, to name a few.
Founded in 1887, Pratt Institute was one of the nation’s first colleges to welcome students without regard to color, gender or class. The school serves 4,875 students across campuses in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Utica, New York. More than 50 undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs are offered in six schools. Pratt Institute is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
4. New York University (NYU) Tisch School of the Arts, New York, New York
Founded in 1965, Tisch School of Arts at New York University (NYU) houses the Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television, which produces more than 5,000 films per year. The Institute also houses the Department of Animation and Digital Arts, which offers a BFA in Film and Television with an Animation Area.
Launched in 1979 with just three classes and 80 students, the program currently serves more than 500 students from nearly every state and dozens of countries.
The Animation Area at NYU Tisch provides instruction in 2D Animation, 3D Animation, and Traditional Animation. The program begins with animation fundamentals and progresses to intermediate animation, then advanced. Course examples include Life Drawing: Anatomy, Storyboarding, Action Analysis, Experimental Animation, Drawing and Design for Animation, Motion Design & Titles, Visual Effects and Compositing, and Writing for Animation.
The Animation Area also highlights guest speakers such as Jeffrey Katzenberg, David Polonski, and Chris Butler. Students in the program may study abroad and/or complete an internship.
NYU Tisch Animation Area graduates work as freelancers, they have started their own studios, and they work at places such as Pixar, DreamWorks, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and many others.
New York University was founded in 1831. Serving nearly 55,000 students, NYU is one of the nation’s largest private universities. In addition to the New York campus, NYU has campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai, along with 11 global academic centers in Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, and South America. With an estimated 400+ programs, New York University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
5. Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York
The College of Art and Design at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) houses the School of Film and Animation. Several animation degree options are available here including BFA and MFA degrees in Film and Animation, BFA degrees in Film and Animation with either an Animation Option or a Production Option, and a BS in Motion Picture Science.
The MFA has four options: 2D Animation, 3D Animation, Production, and Screenwriting. The BS program requires coursework in film, television, and animation production. In the Film BFA Animation Option, the focus is 2D and 3D Animation, production, screenwriting, and stop-motion animation. Three tracks are available including 2D, 3D and Stop Motion Animation. Students learn to animate for AR/VR, films, games, and digital and visual effects.
Production Option BFA students will learn to produce documentary, fiction, experimental, and live-action films. Students can expect to gain hands-on experience working with cameras and editing and sound equipment.
All programs offer internship opportunities, cooperative education, and experiential learning opportunities. RIT animation students also have access to the 52,000 square foot MAGIC Spell Studios, along with labs and classrooms outfitted with industry standard technology and software. At all levels, RIT animation students will have the opportunity to participate in the RIT’s Creative Industry Day, where they get to mingle with representatives of studios, design firms, and other creative companies.
Graduates of Rochester Institute of Technology can be found in a variety of positions at Lucasfilm, Electronic Arts, Dolby, Nickelodeon, Sony, DreamWorks, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Disney, and many others.
Rochester Institute of Technology dates back to 1829. With campuses in China, Croatia, Dubai, and Kosovo, RIT serves more than 19,000 students, making it one of the largest private universities in the U.S. Across 11 colleges and institutes, the school offers more than 200 academic programs. Rochester Institute of Technology is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
6. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Carnegie Mellon University’s (CMU) College of Fine Art (CFA) houses the School of Art. Serving around 200 students, the School offers a BFA in Electronic & Time-Based Media. This interdisciplinary program explores animation, bioArt, game arts, computer and interactive arts, video, and more. One program highlight is the Animation, Art & Technology course, Animation, Art & Technology taught by professors in the School of Art and the School of Computer Science.
The course is designed to help students learn how to group behaviors, and master motion capture and processes for animating materials, hair, and fragments. Students will use these skills to work on collaborative projects.
CMU also houses the Integrative Design, Arts and Technology Network (IDeATe) which, in collaboration with the School of Computer Sciences’ Robotics Institute (est. 1979), manages eight undergraduate areas that can be taken as minors. This includes Animation & Special Effects.
IDeATe Animation & Special Effects classes are led by faculty with expertise in Art and Robotics. Course examples include Animation, Art, and Technology, Art of Robotic Special Effects, Computational Photography, Advanced ETB: Video: Experimental Science Fiction, Technical Character Animation, and IDeATe: Introduction to 3D Animation Pipeline.
CMU graduates have been hired at Activision, Blizzard Entertainment, Comedy Central, DreamWorks Animation, Electronic Arts, MTV, Paramount, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Walt Disney Studios, Warner Interactive, Zynga Games, and more.
Founded in 1900, Carnegie Mellon University has more than 14,500 students and more than 400 start-ups under its belt. With more than a dozen degree-granting locations, and more than 20 research partnerships in Silicon Valley, Australia, Africa, and Qatar, CMU offers more than 200 programs across seven colleges and schools. Carnegie Mellon University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
7. Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, Massachusetts
The Animation Department at Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) offers a BFA in Animation. The program begins with the foundation year, which consists of courses such as Time, Form Study, Drawing Projects, Studio for Drawing, and Visual Language. Students are introduced to Animation Basics, Experimental Animation, and Digital 2D Animation during the second year of the program. Color & media, figure, liberal arts, and history of art courses are also explored during the second year.
In the third and fourth years of the Animation BFA, students will continue studying liberal arts and history of art. However, students will focus primarily on advanced animation coursework, the animation portfolio, and the final animation project.
MassArt Animation graduates are prepared to pursue a variety of positions in the film and animation industries, design, digital art, advertising and marketing, and more.
Massachusetts College of Art and Design serves 1,635 undergraduate students, 115 graduate students, and nearly 150 continuing education students. Founded in 1873 as Massachusetts Normal School, MassArt offers more than 40 degree, minor, and certificate programs, along with 100 classes and workshops in all areas of art and design.
Massachusetts College of Art and Design is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). The school is also an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
8. Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Maryland
The Animation Department at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) offers a BFA and a Minor in Animation. The BFA program requires 24 credit hours of study in the major. Course highlights include Drawing: Tradition & Innovation, Art Matters, Advanced Stop-Motion, 2D Character, and 3D Character Animation, and Professional Practice for Animators. Students in the program must complete a project course and Animation Senior Thesis I and II.
The Minor in Animation at MICA requires 18 studio credits, including Introduction to 2D Animation and Electronic Media and Culture. Students in the program can focus on 3D, Stop-Motion Animation, or Traditional Narrative/2D Animation. Additional course examples include Digital Tools for Animation, Animation Pre-Production, and Storyboarding for Animators.
The programs at Maryland Institute College of Art have helped launch the careers of thousands of students. MICA alumni are Google Animators, Mobile App Developers, Comic Artists, Filmmakers, and more. They have been hired by MTV, DreamWorks, Laika, Disney, and other major networks and studios. Some MICA alumni have also entered graduate programs or established successful careers as independent artists in the animation industry.
Maryland Institute College of Art is the nation’s oldest independent, continuously degree-granting college of art and design. Founded in 1826, the school serves 2,090 students from 45 states and 53 foreign countries. Forty percent of MICA students are fine arts majors and 60% are design & media arts majors. Programs at MICA lead to a BFA, MA, MFA, or MPS degree.
Maryland Institute College of Art is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
9. The New School's Parsons School of Design, New York, New York
Parsons School of Design is one of the seven colleges and schools of The New School Parsons (The New School). Program options for animators here include BFA and MFA degrees in Design and Technology. The MFA is a STEM-designated, studio-based degree that requires on-campus study. Also a STEM-designated program, the BFA in Design and Technology focuses on interaction, storytelling, and emerging art and design practices. Specializations include Creative Technology or Game Design.
The New School also houses the School of Continuing & Professional Education, which offers a Certificate in Motion Design and Animation. This program can be taken alone or in combination with the BFA or MFA programs. Students in all programs have the opportunity to interact with and work on projects with professionals at places such as Nickelodeon, gameLab, Apple, Samsung, Atari, MTV, and many others.
Graduates of the BFA, MFA, and Certificate programs at The New School Parsons are prepared for success in a wide range of positions in 2D and 3D animation, film and television/digital filmmaking, media art, advertising, game design, VR/AR, UI/UX, graphic arts, interaction design, software design, mobile and application design, web design, and more.
The New School Parsons was founded in 1896 as The Chase School. The school serves more than 10,000 students enrolled 100+ degree and diploma programs. The New School is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
10. University of the Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The School of Film at University of the Arts (UArts) encourages collaboration between schools, so animation students may also study acting, design, photography, and other disciplines. Program options for animators include BFA degrees in Animation and Film & Animation, and a Minor in Animation. The BFA program has three emphasis areas: Traditional 2-D Drawn/Digital Animation, 3-D Computer Animation, and Stop-Motion or Experimental Animation.
Students in all emphasis areas have opportunities to work with professionals and faculty associated with major studios and networks such as Disney Animation Studios, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, HBO, Cartoon Network, and Netflix. The curriculum for the programs combines a collaborative, hands-on teaching environment with internships at studios such as Augenblick, and study away experiences in places such as France and South Korea. Students will also participate in lectures, screenings, and formal critiquing sessions designed to evaluate their progress and work.
A major component of the Animation programs at University of the Arts is the Professional Practices class. This multifaceted course, which takes place in the final year of the program, includes guest speakers, personal branding development, mock interviews, social media strategies, design, and resume building. At the end of the course, students will have the opportunity to display their final portfolio reels online.
The Animation Program at UArts also provides access to a 5,600-square-foot space known as the Center for Immersive Media (CIM), which allows students to explore other areas such as human-computer interaction (HCI), VR/AR, and performance motion-capture. In addition to CIM, animation students have unlimited access to computer labs and state-of-the-art animation, film, and stop-motion studios.
University of the Arts Animation graduates work in a wide range of positions. Examples include Character Animator, Effects Animator, Computer Animator, Scientific Animator, Forensics Animator, Clay/Puppet Animator, Director, Background Artist, Storyboard Artist, and Art Director.
Local companies that have hired UArts graduates include unPOP, Alkemy X, and Center City Film & Video. UArts alumni Also work at major studios and networks such as Walt Disney Animation Studios, DreamWorks, Netflix, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Google, and HBO.
Founded in 1876 as part of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, University of the Arts serves nearly 1,500 students enrolled in more than 40 degree programs in fine arts, design, media arts, dance, music, theater, and crafts. More than 20 minors are available and open to all students. UArts programs are offered in the Schools of Art, Dance, Design, Film, Music, Theater Arts, and Graduate and Professional Studies. University of the Arts is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
11. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) has several animation programs offered in the Stuart Weitzman School of Design, Department of Fine Arts (DFA) and the School of Engineering and Applied Science. The School of Design-DFA offers a BA in Fine Arts. Studio course for the program emphasize animation, 3D modeling, video, and drawing among other disciplines. Course examples include Mixed Media Animation, Video, and Art, Design & Culture.
The School of Engineering and Applied Science houses the Digital Media Design Program. The School’s Bachelor’s in Engineering and Science (BSE) with a Digital Media Design Major (DMD) is one of the most popular options for animators. Launched in 1998, this interdisciplinary program allows for study in animation, games, interactive technologies, computer graphics, and the design of virtual reality design. Course examples include Computer Animation, Drawing Investigations, Interactive Computer Graphics, Advanced Rendering, and 3D Computer Modeling.
The School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania also houses the Center for Human Modeling and Simulation (HMS), which offers an MS in Computer Graphics and Game Technology Program (CGGT). Established in 2004, the CGGT MS program offers the opportunity to specialize in Animation or Animation and Simulation Technology. The MS program prepares students for careers and entrepreneurship in Animation, Design, Directing, and Game Programming, among others.
UPenn CGGT and DMD graduates are routinely hired at Activision, Microsoft, Pixar, Zynga Games, Electronic Arts, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Walt Disney Animation, Sony, and DreamWorks Animation.
University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) is one of the nation’s oldest universities. Established in 1740, UPenn houses 189 research centers and institutes, 16 colleges and schools, and more than 400 programs. The school serves more than 28,000 students from across the U.S. and just about every continent. The University of Pennsylvania is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
12. Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Drexel University is home to Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, which houses the Digital Media Department (DMD). Programs for animators include the DMD BS, accelerated BS/MS, and 24 credit hour Minor in Animation & Visual Effects (VFX). MS and PhD degrees in Digital Media are also offered.
Thanks to Drexel’s elaborate cooperative (co-op) education program, students have opportunities to gain valuable hands-on experience prior to graduation. During the junior year of undergraduate programs, students will spend six months working full-time in the industry. Positions may be paid or unpaid. Accelerated BS/MS students will participate in three co-op experiences in the second, third, and fourth years of study.
The Animation & Visual Effects (VFX) Program provides instruction and hands-on training in 3D modeling, character design, scripting and storytelling, motion capture, compositing, and rigging. Students apply the skills they have learned to co-op positions in animation, VFX, technical direction, and 3D at Cartoon Network, Pixar, Sony Studios, FuseFX, and MediaKraft TV, among others.
The MS in Digital Media at Drexel University is a two-year program that focuses on research and medias applications. Ares explored include animation, gaming and digital media history, 3D modeling, and interactivity. Students in the program will complete several projects that may be independent, industry-sponsored, student-created or faculty-approved. Past projects have focused on advanced animation production techniques, narrative comics, animation design, video games, and more.
The PhD is a research-driven degree program that operates in an experiential learning environment. Besides entertainment, PhD students may conduct research in business, engineering, health, education, or other areas. Drexel University programs are offered online, on campus or in hybrid format.
Graduates of the Westphal Animation/VFX and Digital Media programs at Drexel University have landed positions at leading companies such as Disney, DreamWorks, Microsoft, XBOX, NCSoft Corp., Pixar, and many others.
Drexel University was established in 1891 as Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry. The school serves close to 23,600 students, enrolled in more than 200 degree programs in 15 colleges and schools. Drexel University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). The Animation & Visual Effects (VFX) and Digital Media Programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Arts & Design (NASAD).
13. Emerson College, Boston, Massachusetts
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. The Department also offers a BFA in Media Arts Production. All programs 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 BFA program. The one-semester Capstone results in a professional production project, portfolio, or reel. BFA students must complete a thesis-level project that takes one year to complete.
All 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 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.
Emerson College was established in 1880. The school serves nearly 5,900 students enrolled in 25 undergraduate majors, 30+ minors, 16 graduate degrees, and six graduate certificate programs. In addition to the main campus in Boston, Emerson has campuses Los Angeles and the Netherlands.
Emerson College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
14. Edinboro University, Edinboro, Pennsylvania
Edinboro University’s (EU) Department of Art is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Housed in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, the Department offers a BFA in Animation. Program highlights include the CTNX Animation Expo, which allows students to explore studios such as Disney, DreamWorks, Nickelodeon, Sony, Warner Bros., and Universal, internship opportunities with regional and national studios, industry guest speakers, and participation in the EU Art Department’s Animation Club.
Another component of the Animation BFA Program at Edinboro University is the study abroad program. Department of Art student have the opportunity to spend one or two weeks exploring art and design in places such as Amsterdam, Paris, Athens, and London.
Graduates of the Edinboro University Animation BFA Program have been hired at South Park Studios, Nickelodeon, Blizzard Entertainment, WetaFX, Disney, and Pixar Animation Studios, among others.
EU Alumni film credits include Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Night at the Museum, Zootopia, and Frozen, to name a few.
Edinboro University was founded in 1857 a private training school for teachers known as Edinboro Academy. Today, EU serves around 4,300 students enrolled in more than 100 different areas of study in five colleges and schools. Edinboro University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
15. Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York
Syracuse University (SU) is home to the College of Visual & Performing Arts (VPA), which houses the Department of Film and Media Arts. Program options for animators here include a BFA in Computer Art and Animation, an MFA in Computer Art, and a Minor in Animation and Visual Effects.
Students in the Minor may focus in Animation, Visual Effects or both. The program consists of 21 credit hours of study, with course titles such as Previz and Character Development for Animation, Sequential Illustration, Advanced 3D Animation and Visual Effects, and Animation Workshop I-II. Upon completion of the program, students may pursue further study or an entry-level position in the entertainment industry.
A major component of the Computer Art and Animation BFA Program is the opportunity to observe the production processes at studios such as Method Studios (Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Vancouver and Montreal, Canada, Melbourne, Australia, and Pune, India) and Filmworks/FX (Brooklyn, New York, Los Angeles, and Woodland Hills, California). Graduates of the program have been hired at Filmworks/FX, as well as Cartoon Network, Tippett Studio, Pixar, and Sony Pictures Imageworks.
The Computer Art MFA launched in 1980 and consists of 60 credit hours, completed over three years. Students may focus on a specific area through studio electives (12 required) and free electives (Six required). Focus areas may include Computer Animation, Gaming, Visual Effects, or Sonic Art, to name a few.
The Computer Art MFA Program culminates in an oral examination and final project with presentation. MFA alumni work at major studios and networks such as Sony Pictures Imageworks, Moving Picture Company (MPC), Industrial Light and Magic, Blizzard Entertainment, Pixar, Cartoon Network, Filmworks/FX, and Tippett Studios.
Founded in 1870, Syracuse University serves around 21,330 students from all 50 states and 120 countries. More than 200 majors and minors, and 200 advanced degree programs, are offered across SU’s 13 colleges and schools. In addition to campuses in Syracuse, and Manhattan, New York, Washington DC, and Los Angeles, SU operates overseas centers in London, Italy, Spain, Chile, France, and Poland. Syracuse University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
16. School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts
The School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University (SMFA Tufts) offers a BFA and a Combined BFA + BA/BS. These flexible programs allow students to customize a focus in one or more mediums. Examples include Animation, Film and Video, Digital Media, Graphic Arts, and/or Virtual Reality.
Sample animation courses include Animation Basics, Animation Integration, Drawing for Animation, Animation 2, Stop-Motion Animation, and Moving Image. Coursework for the program is complemented by visiting artist lectures, screenings, projects, and demos.
In the final year of the BFA program, students may apply to the SMFA Tufts Senior Thesis Program. This yearlong capstone leads to a professional work and exhibition. Combined BFA + BA/BS students will graduate with two degrees: a BFA and a BA or BS in their chosen area.
The School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA) was founded in 1876 as part of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. SMFA began a partnership with Tufts University in 1945. The goal was to offer joint degree programs. Today, SMFA Tufts serves more than 400 students enrolled in BFA, MFA, MAT, Combined-degree (BFA + BA/BS), Certificate or Studio Diploma programs.
The School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). As part of Tufts University, SMFA is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
17. Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia
Virginia Commonwealth University’s (VCU) School of the Arts (VCUArts) houses the Department of Kinetic Imaging (KI), which offers BFA and MFA degrees in Kinetic Imaging. Students in these multidisciplinary programs will take courses in, and explore areas, such as animation, virtual reality, emerging media, video art, programming, sound design, interactivity, web technologies, and motion graphics, among others.
At the undergraduate level, students will complete the Art Foundation Program (AFO) in the first year. This is a requirement for all students in all art and design departments. The AFO is studio-based.
After completing the foundation year, BFA in KI students will level up to courses such as Animation I-IV, Virtual Interactive Worlds, 3D Computer Animation, and Sound Communication. The BFA in KI takes four years to complete, full-time.
Graduates of the VCUArts BFA in Kinetic Imaging Program are 2D and 3D Animators, Directors, Sound Designers, Motion Graphics Artists, and UI/UX Designers, to name a few.
The MFA in Kinetic Imaging is a 60 credit hour, studio-based program that supports no more than eight students. Graduate students have 24/7 access to personal studios, and access to animation, video and sound production spaces. MFA students also have opportunities to teach in the undergraduate KI program.
The Virginia Commonwealth University MFA in KI Program takes two years to complete, full-time.
Founded in 1838, Virginia Commonwealth University serves around 29,400 students. VCU offers more than 200 programs across 15+ colleges, school, and centers. Virginia Commonwealth University accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
18. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York
The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) offers BS, PhD, and Minor programs in Electronic Arts. The Minor is an immersive program that requires 16 credit hours of study.
Housed in the Department of Art, all Electronic Arts programs explore 3D Animation, Interactive Arts, Digital Imaging, and Graphic Storytelling. Students in the undergraduate programs can concentrate in Animation and Algorithmic Art, Sonic Arts, Video, Performance and Social Practice, Integrated Visual Art, or DIY (Do It Yourself).
Students in all concentrations can expect to take courses such as Art for Interactive Media, Drawing, and Digital Filmmaking. Animation and Algorithmic Art students will take 3D Animation, 3D Visual Effects, 2D Experimental Animation, Art and Code and Interactivity, Experimental Game Design, and Animation Production, among others. However, most concentrations offer some animation coursework.
The RPI HASS PhD in Electronic Arts is one of the first programs of its kind. Consisting of 48 credit hours beyond the master’s degree, the PhD requires successful completion of Research Methods, Electronic Arts Overview, Arts Graduate Colloquium, and the Dissertation. Elective requirements offer ample opportunities to focus in animation.
Graduates of the Electronic Arts Programs at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are prepared to seek positions in animation, television and film, game design and development, advertising, education, and more.
Established in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the nation’s first technological research university. Serving 7,900 students, RPI offers more than 50 degree programs in five schools. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSACS).
19. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia
The College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) houses the School of Visual Arts (SOVA), which offers BFA and MFA degrees in Creative Technologies (CT). Students in both programs benefit from the SOVA Study Abroad Program (three weeks in Europe), visiting artist workshops, exhibitions, and internship opportunities.
Areas of exploration for these cross-disciplinary programs include animation, virtual reality, emerging media, fine arts, gaming, visual art, technology, 3D modeling, games, design, virtual environments, video art, installation, and more. MFA students will present an MFA Thesis Project to graduate and BFA students will complete a final project and portfolio.
Virginia Tech SOVA graduates go on to establish successful careers in animation, film, and visual effects industries, game art and design, virtual reality, UI/UX, motion graphics, production, and education, among others.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University opened on October 1, 1872 as Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College. The school serves more than 36,000 students enrolled in 280 programs in nine colleges and a graduate school. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
20. New York Institute of Technology, New York, New York
The School of Architecture & Design at New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) houses the Department of Digital Art & Design, which offers BFA and MFA degrees in Digital Arts. As part of NYIT, Digital Art & Design students have access to internship opportunities with major networks, studios, and corporations such as Viacom/MTV, Google, HBO, and Live Nation, among others.
The BFA consists of 120 credit hours of study and the MFA requires 60. Course highlights across both programs include 3D Modeling and Animation, Time and Motion, Concept and Visual Storytelling, Character Animation, Advanced 3D Modeling and Animation, Motion Graphics, Form and Space, Computer Graphics, Digital compositing, and Business of Creative Industry. BFA students will complete three Thesis courses (nine credit hours total) and a Portfolio course (three credits). In the MFA program, students will complete Professional Critiques (two credit hours), and three Thesis courses (16 credit hours total).
Elective requirements for both pathways allow students to take courses such as Stop-Motion Studio, UX/UI Design, Visual Effects, Computer Programming, and Experimental Media. Digital Art & Design students will also attend a number of seminars and complete several workshops.
Other NYIT Digital Art & Design Program highlights include summer abroad experiences and the opportunity for students to show their work at the annual New York Institute of Technology Film and Animation Festival.
Founded in 1955, New York Institute of Technology serves more 8,000 students across campuses in New York City and Long Island; Jonesboro, Arkansas, and Vancouver, Canada. NYIT offers more than 90 degree programs in six colleges and schools. New York Institute of Technology is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSACS).
21. Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire
Dartmouth College (Dartmouth) offers a Minor in Digital Arts and an MS in Computer Science (CS) with a Concentration in Digital Arts. Programs are housed in the Computer Science Department, in collaboration with Film Studies, Psychological and Brain Sciences, Studio Art, Music and Theater.
In the Minor, courses such as 3D Computer Modeling, UI/UX Design, 3D Computer Animation, and AR and VR Design are hands-on, and project based. Topics covered in the CS/Digital Art MS Program include computer modeling and animation, UI/UX design, interactive installations, digital music, human-computer interaction (HCI), AR/VR, machine learning for art, data visualization, computational photography, computer graphics, and computational fabrication and 3D printing.
Graduates of the Digital Arts Programs at Dartmouth College work for technology companies, game design or animation studios, design firms, and film studios, among others.
The Department of Film & Media Studies housed in Dartmouth College Arts and Sciences has two additional options for students seeking a career in film and animation: a BA and a Minor in Film & Media Studies. Although the Film & Media Studies Department does not offer a formal animation concentration, the program offers a number of animation courses, making it possible to create an unofficial emphasis.
Course examples include Animation: Principles and Practice, Advanced Animation, Game Design Studio, Writing for Screen, Filmmaking, and Topics in Digital Culture and New Technologies.
Students in this program must complete a major project and an honors project in their emphasis to graduate.
Dartmouth College was founded in 1769. One of the nation’s oldest colleges, Dartmouth serves around 6,760 students enrolled in more than 90 programs across five schools and dozens of departments. Dartmouth College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
22. University of Connecticut, Storrs, Stamford, Connecticut
The University of Connecticut (UConn) houses the School of Fine Arts—home to the Departments of Art and Art History and Digital Media Design (DMD).
The Art & Art History Department offers a BFA in Art with a Concentration in Illustration/Animation. The Digital Media Design Department offers a BA in Digital Media & Design.
The BFA in Art: Illustration/Animation Concentration consists of 120 credit hours of study. The program is flexible, so it allows students to focus in and create works in an area or areas that match their goals. Examples include comics, cartoons, and graphic novels, 2D and stop-motion animation, and character and environment design. All students will complete at least 30 credit hours in Illustration/Animation.
The BA in Digital Media & Design 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 Animation and 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.
Founded in 1881, University of Connecticut began as Storrs Agricultural School, with just three faculty members and 13 male students. Today, UConn’s more than 18,000 faculty and staff members serve nearly 32,700 students across the main campus at Storrs, and four regional campuses. Programs at UConn are administered across 14 colleges and schools. Offerings include eight undergraduate degrees in 119 majors, 17 graduate degrees in 88 fields of study, and six professional degree programs. University of Connecticut is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
23. Maine College of Art & Design, Portland, Maine
Maine College of Art & Design (MECA&D) offers a BFA in Animation and Game Art (AG) that provides individual, private studios and 24/7 access to production facilities. This four-year program begins with two years of foundation and animation preparation coursework. Course examples include 3D Modeling & Animation, Cinematic Storytelling, Stop Motion and FX, 3D Rigging and Animation, Character Design, Intermediate Game & Concept Art, and Digital Filmmaking.
During the third year of the AG BFA Program, students will spend most of their time in the Major Production and Collaborative Productions courses. The final year consists of elective coursework and the Professional Studio and Capstone Production courses. Students will leave the MECA&D Animation and Game Art BFA Program with a professional portfolio of their best work.
Maine College of Art & Design AG BFA students and graduates have interned or obtained employment at companies and studios such as Peace Island Games, Mass DiGi, Fort House Studios, Lone Wolf Media, Big Room Studios, Calypso Communications, P3 Studio, Space Cow INC, White Dog Arts, Proactive Resource Design, Shoestring Theater, Digital Mill, and Chickadee Games, among others.
Founded in 1882 as part of the Portland Society of Art, Maine College of Art & Design serves nearly 600 degree-seeking students and 1,500 continuing students. Degree programs lead to a BFA, MFA, or MAT. Maine College of Art & Design is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
24. Lesley University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
The College of Art and Design at Lesley University offers a BFA in Animation and Motion Media that consists of 123 credit hours of study. The school also offers a 60 credit hour Professional Certificate in Animation & Motion Media, and a Minor in Animation that requires 15 credit hours to complete.
The Animation and Motion Media BFA Program covers the 12 Principles of Animation. Students may pursue a second major or choose from 45 minors in liberal arts or art and design. Creative pathways include Animation & Motion Media + Creative Writing or Animation & Motion Media + Biology. In addition, required internships and apprenticeships provide the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in all areas of animation at Nickelodeon and Warner Bros., among others.
The Professional Certificate in Animation and Motion Media is a post-baccalaureate program that provides hands-on experience in the school’s animation facilities and at local studios. Courses are taught by faculty members who have worked at major studios such as Nickelodeon, DreamWorks, and Fox. Course examples include Storyboarding for Time Based Media, Digital Animation: 2D, Audio Production & Design, Community Animation Studio, and Business of Animation. Students in the certificate program will also complete Animation Senior Studio 1-2, worth 12 credits total.
The Lesley University Minor in Animation requires Principles of Animation I and II. Students may then select three elective courses in an area (or areas) that they would like to focus on. Examples include Experimental Animation, Toys, Props & Products, Compositing & Visual Effects, Game Production. Live Action for Animators, Stop-Motion Animation, and Anime.
Graduates of the Animation Programs at Lesley University work in animation, film and TV, and game design in positions such as Animators, VFX Artists, Game Artists, Art Directors, Filmmakers, and Storyboard Artists, among others.
Lesley University was founded in 1909. The school serves more than 6,000 students across four colleges and schools including Liberal Arts, Art and Design, Graduate School of Social Sciences, and the Graduate School of Education. Lesley University offers more than 100 programs, and the school is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
25. New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, New Jersey
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. Programs for animators include BA, MS, and MFA degrees in Digital Design.
The Digital Design BA has 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.
The NJIT MFA in Digital Design (MFADD) and the MS in Digital Design (MSDD) offer opportunities to focus in animation through coursework and the 12 credit hour Certificate in Animation Essentials. Sample courses for the MFADD and MSDD Programs include Animation, and UI/UX, Acting for Animators, Character Modeling, Environment Design, Visual Storytelling, and Game Design and Interactivity.
Graduates of the Digital Design Programs 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.
Established in 1881 as Newark Technical School, New Jersey Institute of Technology serves more than 11,400 students. This polytechnic university offers 126 degree programs through six colleges and schools. New Jersey Institute of Technology is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).