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|1||California Institute of the Arts||California|
|2||School of Visual Arts||New York|
|3||University of Southern California||California|
|4||Pratt Institute||New York|
|5||Savannah College of Art and Design||Georgia|
|6||University of California Los Angeles||California|
|7||Rochester Institute of Technology||New York|
|8||School of the Art Institute of Chicago||Illinois|
|9||The Ohio State University||Ohio|
|11||Texas A&M University||Texas|
|12||University of Central Florida||Florida|
|13||The New School's Parsons School of Design||New York|
|14||Columbus College of Art and Design||Ohio|
|15||Minneapolis College of Art and Design||Minnesota|
|16||Academy of Art University||California|
|17||San Jose State University||California|
|18||Bowling Green State University||Ohio|
|19||Clemson University||South Carolina|
|20||California State University-Long Beach||California|
|21||Digipen Institute of Technology||Washington|
|22||University of Texas at Dallas||Texas|
|23||Syracuse University||New York|
|24||Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute||New York|
|25||Ball State University||Indiana|
For our graduate degree rankings, we have evaluated animation schools and programs with the best Master of Arts (MA), Master of Fine Arts (MFA) and Master of Science (MS) options. To determine which degree matches your career goals, it is important to understand how each qualification differs.
The Master of Arts (MA) is an advanced degree that focuses on areas such as the humanities. MA degrees are typically available in the areas of communications, English, teaching, literature, linguistics, art, and languages. Seminars are the main method of learning for MA programs and many programs do not require a thesis.
The Master of Science (MS) degree option typically focuses on science, technology, engineering, and math. This advanced degree often includes immersive lab work, scientific research, analysis, and evaluation. Unlike MA programs, most MS programs require a thesis.
The Master of Fine Art (MFA) is academically recognized as a terminal degree and it is typically awarded in the visual, fine and performing arts. The MFA degree demands the highest level of professional competency in these areas and practicing artists must exhibit the highest level of accomplishment through the generation of a body of work.
Below are the Top 25 Animation Schools and Colleges with MFA Programs for 2018.
1. California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California
In 1961, California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) became the nation's first postsecondary institution to offer graduate and undergraduate degrees in both the visual and performing arts. Established by Walt and Roy Disney, the school is home to more than 1,400 students enrolled in more than 70 programs across six schools including the School of Critical Studies, The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance, the School of Art, the School of Film/Video, The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts, and the School of Theater. The School of Film/Video is the largest school at CalArts, accounting for nearly 30% of the student population.
The school offers a MFA degree in Experimental Animation. The program provides a comprehensive foundational background and are encouraged to seek out poetic, lyrical, structural and other modes of experimentation with the materials and forms of the moving image. Students are trained to not only become makers—but also critically minded contributors to the advancement of animation history and theory.
Sample courses for the program include The Digital Path for Animation, Drawn Techniques for the Experimental Animator, Hybrid Imaging, and post Production Sound for Experimental Animators. Known as the “Harvard Business School of Animation” by the Los Angeles Times, CalArts has produced hundreds of successful alumni who have generated billions at the box office worldwide. The school lists Tim Burton, Mark Andrews (director and screenwriter of Pixar’s Oscar winning animated feature Brave), Eric Darnell (co-director of Antz, Madagascar, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa and Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, and Mark Osborne (director of Kung Fu Panda) among its most famous alumni.
2. School of Visual Arts, New York, New York
The School of Visual Arts (SVA) was founded in 1947 as Cartoonists and Illustrators School. The school is home to more than 6,000 students enrolled in over 30 programs. Graduate options for aspiring animators include an MFA in Computer Arts with a Focus in Animation, Motion Graphics or Fine Art.
Founded in 1986 and with a network of over 1000 alumni, the SVA MFA Computer Arts Department was the first MFA program in the USA to focus on computer art. The first-year curriculum strengthens and broadens the student's knowledge and creative approach to digital art in preparation for the thesis year. The second year revolves around the thesis process—the completion of a body of creative work, combined with academic research and an artist’s statement. First- and second-year academic programs are supplemented by workshops, visiting artists, guest lectures and internship opportunities.
Animation students also have opportunities to intern or work part-time at alumni-owned studios such as Titmouse, Augenblick Studios, and Plympton, as well as with numerous independent animation studios across New York.
Graduates of the department are employed by companies and digital studios including: Adobe, Google, Industrial Light & Magic, Pixar, DreamWorks, Disney, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Blue Sky Studios, The Mill, Charlex, MTV, Electronic Arts. Some alumni have gone on to open their own studios.
3. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
Established in 1880, University of Southern California (USC) is home to 45,500 students enrolled in more than 200 undergraduate programs, 300-plus graduate programs, and more than 150 minors. Graduate offerings include MFA degrees in Animation and Digital Arts and Interactive Media with heavy Animation electives. The programs are offered through The John C. Hench Division of Animation and Digital Arts (Hench DADA) of the School of Cinematic Arts (USC Cinematic Arts).
The MFA is a three-year (six semester) graduate program that focuses on animation production, including a wide range of techniques and aesthetic approaches, from hand-drawn character animation to state-of-the-art interactive digital animation. While embracing traditional forms, the program strongly encourages innovation and experimentation, and emphasizes imagination, creativity and critical thinking. Students will graduate with a comprehensive knowledge of animation from conception through realization; an understanding of the history of the medium and its aesthetics; in-depth knowledge of computer animation software and the most important elements of digital and interactive media.
The MFA degree program requires a minimum of 50 units, including a Master’s Thesis. Ongoing workshops in new technologies, traditional and digital media provide additional educational opportunities for students.
Graduates of USC animation programs have landed positions at DreamWorks Animation, Sony Pictures, Nickelodeon Animation Studios, Pixar, Rhythm and Hues, Industrial Light & Magic, Digital Idea, Illumination Entertainment, Digital Domain and many others.
4. Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York
Founded in 1887, Pratt institute is home to 4,600 students enrolled in 22 undergraduate degree programs, 26 graduate degree programs, and a variety of Certificate and Minor programs across five schools and The Center for Continuing and Professional Studies. The Pratt Institute School of Art offers an MFA in Digital Animation and Motion Arts. Students in the program have the opportunity to create narrative and non-narrative films using 2-D and 3-D digital animation techniques, live action and motion graphics. Electives include Storyboarding and Storytelling, Lighting and Rendering, Motion Dynamics, Compositing and Special Effects, Character Design, Character Animation, Matte Painting, and more.
School of Art alumni have landed positions at major studios such as Blue Sky, Digital Domain, Cartoon Network Studios, DreamWorks Studios, Industrial Light & Magic, Rhythm and Hues, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Curious Pictures, Gameloft, Sony Imageworks, and many others.
5. Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia
Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) was founded in 1978. With campuses in Savannah, Atlanta, Hong Kong, and Lacoste, France, SCAD is home to nearly 13,000 students from nearly 50 states and 115 countries. The school offers more than 40 majors and 60-plus minors, including animation, one of the school’s top majors. An MFA in Animation is offered at the Atlanta, Savannah, and eLearning campuses.
Sample courses for the program include Animation Context and History, Digital 3D Effects, Character Animation, Drawing in Motion, Storyboarding and Previsualization, Computer-generated Modeling and Design, Animation Aesthetics and Practice, Animation Character Set-up, and Media Theory and Application. A thesis is required to complete the program as well as a graduate internship.
Graduates of SCAD’s animation programs have landed positions at major studios such as Walt Disney Animation Studios, Digital Domain, and Bento Box Entertainment.
6. University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
Founded in 1919 as the Southern Branch of the University of California, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) is home to nearly 45,500 students from all 50 states and more than 100 foreign countries. The school offers 125+ undergraduate majors across 109 academic departments, and more than 40 graduate programs including the Animation Workshop of the School of Theater, Film and Television.
Founded in 1948 by Disney animator William Shull, the UCLA Animation Workshop is a three-year MFA program that accepts just 12 new students each year. Before applying to the program, students typically earn a BA in Film and Television or a BFA with a Concentration in Animation at UCLA. The BA program gives future MFA students the opportunity to study all facets of digital media, film, and television, as well as a full year of animation studies, followed by an internship.
Once in the program, students have access to the exclusive Summer Institute Symposium, which provides the opportunity to meet and listen to some of Hollywood’s most accomplished professionals. Past guests have included Simon Kinberg (writer-producer, X-Men: First Class, Mr. & Mrs. Smith), Meg LeFauve (writer, Inside Out), Zak Penn (writer, The Incredible Hulk), Chris Gorak (director, The Darkest Hour), John Hegeman (chief marketing officer, New Regency Productions), and many others.
Graduates of UCLA’s animation programs have landed positions at Pixar, they have worked with directors such as Tim Burton, and on films such as The Simpsons Movie and Monster House.
7. Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York
Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) was founded in 1885 as Mechanics Institute. When it opened, the school offered mechanical drawing, which eventually attracted more than 400 students. Today, RIT is home to nearly 19,000 students majoring in everything from Art and Design to Urban Community Studies.
RIT’s College of Imaging Arts and Sciences (CIAS) is home to the nation’s first PhD in Imaging Science and the School of Film and Animation (SOFA). SOFA offers a MFA degree in Film and Animation with four options including 2D Animation, 3D Animation, Production, and Screenwriting. All four options require two years of course work and a thesis project. A complete film is required of all first-year students, a complete film or script is required in the second year, and a more ambitious thesis film or feature length script is required in the third year.
In this third and final year, students are enrolled part-time and their work is focused only on their thesis project. A minimum of 63 semester credit hours of graduate work is required to complete the program. Courses include Animation Film Language, Stop Motion Master Class, Advanced 3D Animation, Stop Motion Puppet Fundamentals, Animated Acting Principles, Animation Writing and Visual Storytelling, 2D Animation: Mechanics, 3D Lighting and texturing, After Effects for Animators, and 30-Second Film and Business Careers in Animation.
Graduates of RIT’s animation programs have found employment at top studios such as Disney Animation Studios, Electronic Arts, DreamWorks, Blue Sky Studios, Nickelodeon, Industrial Light and Magic, and Rhythm and Hues Studios.
8. School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Founded in 1866, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) is one of the oldest accredited independent schools of art and design in the country. Home to 3,650 students enrolled in more than 25 programs, SAIC offers an MFA in Studio with a Concentration Animation through the Department of Film, Video, New Media and Animation (FVNMA).
Sample courses for the program include Media Practices: The Moving Image, Form and Meaning, Sonics and Optics, Experimental 3D, Animation I: Drawing for Animation, Sound and Image, Virtual Installation, Screenwriting, Fusions of Performance, Film and Video, Motion Graphics and Visual Effects, Advanced 2-D Computer Animation and 3-D Compositing, Atmospheric Animation Puppet Animation, Advanced Experimental 3D, Visualization and Storyboarding, and Advanced Drawing for Animation.
Students in the FVNMA Department have access to world-class resources such as the Art Institute of Chicago Museum, on-campus galleries, and state-of-the-art facilities. Specifics include The Video Data Bank—the leading resource in the United States for videos by and about contemporary artists, The Gene Siskel Film Center—one of the country's premiere screening venues dedicated to promoting alumni, student, and faculty work, and The Donna and Howard Stone Gallery for Film, Video, and New Media in the Art Institute of Chicago's Modern Wing.
9. The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
Established in 1870 as Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College, The Ohio State University offers over 200 majors, minors and specializations from which more than 66,000 students can choose multiple paths to focus on animation in both the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering. Paths in animation encourage students to explore courses in 3D modeling, 2D/3D animation, video game production, augmented and virtual reality, digital imaging, digital video, interactive visualization, interactive art, game art and design, Art Games, motion capture, procedural content generation for games, real-time rendering, photogrammetry and more at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students in all programs can work on individually defined or team-based projects.
The Department of Art offers an MFA degree in Art with an emphasis in Art and Technology. It emphasizes the creation of animation, interactive art and experimental forms in the context of art making. The Department of Design offers an MFA degree in Design focusing on Digital Animation and Interactive Media. This program emphasizes the production of creative research-based projects in the user-centered context of design.
Students in all programs utilize state of the art facilities, equipment, and interdisciplinary expertise in the school’s many special labs, including the world class Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD).
10. DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois
DePaul University (est. 1898) offers 300 programs of study across 10 colleges and schools and two campuses in Chicago. The school serves 22,769 students from across the U.S. and about 70 countries. The DePaul Animation Program in the School of Cinematic Arts, part of the College of Computing and Digital Media, offers an MFA in Animation, with the following concentrations: Game Art, Traditional Animation (hand-drawn and stop motion), 3D Animation, Storyboarding and Character Design, Technical Artist, and Motion Graphics.
The MFA in Animation degree is for students who are interested in creating original animated films and artwork as their main vocation. Students in the program will receive intense and rigorous training in the history, critical artistic issues, and fundamental principles that are necessary for animation artists. The program uses the cohort model, so students will work alongside their peers throughout their degree. The degree is intended for those with undergraduate degrees in Animation, Film, Art, Graphic Design, Illustration and other visual art areas.
DePaul Animation students can apply to participate in the Animation Summer LA Quarter, a ten-week immersion program structured around living in student housing, taking classes on a historic studio lot, and interning at high profile animation studios. The experience teaches students how to navigate the studio system and helps them build a network of professional contacts.
Past participants have interned at Warner Brothers, DreamWorks Animation, Sony Studios, Disney, Nickelodeon, The Mill, The Jim Henson Company, Titmouse Animation, Bix Pix Animation, and others. DePaul University also offers a Game, Cinema and Animation Summer Academy for high school students interested in animation, with tracks in hand-drawn, stop motion, and 3D animation for games.
11. Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas
Texas A&M University is the state’s first public institution of higher learning. Established in 1876, the school is home to 68,625 students enrolled in nearly 400 degree programs across 16 colleges and schools. The College of Architecture, which broadly defines animation within “Visualization,” offers an MFA in Visualization. The program is designed for students seeking a computing technology-infused terminal degree in the visual arts applicable to employment in digital media fields, working as a contemporary artist, and teaching in post-secondary digital arts programs.
Sample courses include Drawing for Visualization, Graphic Design, Color Theory, Visualization Technology, Programming, Visualization Studio, Digital Painting, and Visual and Performing Arts.
The MFA in Visualization is a non-thesis degree requiring the completion of 60 hours of coursework and a satisfactory presentation of a body of work by the candidate. A written document addressing issues pertinent to the final study is also required.
12. University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida
Established in 1963 and home to more than 66,000 students across four campuses, the University of Central Florida (UCF) is the nation’s second-largest university. One of the nation’s youngest universities, UCF offers around 230 degree programs across 13 colleges. The College of Arts and Humanities is home to the School of Visual Arts & Design (SVAD), which offers an MFA in Emerging Media with Tracks in Animation and Visual Effects, Entrepreneurial Digital Cinema, and Studio Art and Computer.
The Animation and Visual Effects track requires 60 credit hours, and the other three tracks require 66 credit hours. Students in all tracks follow a three-year cohort style program (six full-time semesters excluding summers). Degree credit is obtained in theory courses, electives, supervised research, and a thesis project.
The MFA is a terminal scholarly and creative degree suitable for students wishing to pursue careers as professors in higher education or as creative leaders in industry.
13. The New School's Parsons School of Design, New York, New York
The New School was founded in 1896 by American Impressionist William Merritt Chase. Back then, the school was known as The Chase School, and later as New York School of Fine and Applied Art. Today this art and design college is home to nearly 5,500 students enrolled in 130 degree and diploma programs across five schools including the School of Art and Design History and Theory, School of Art Media and Technology, School of Constructed Environments, School of Design Strategies, and the School of Fashion.
The School of Art, Media, and Technology (AMT) offers an MFA in Design & Technology. The program provides the opportunity to work with peers in related programs including Communication Design, Photography, Fine Arts, and Illustration. Sample courses include Design for This Century, Creativity and Computation Lab, Collaboration Studio, and Thesis Studio.
Graduates leave prepared for careers in advertising, animation, film, game design, graphic arts, hardware engineering, motion graphics, software design, and virtual reality and immersion experience design.
14. Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus, Ohio
Established in 1879, Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD) is one of the oldest private art and design colleges in the United States. The school is home to more than 1,300 students enrolled in 12 bachelor’s degree and two master’s degree programs covering a broad range of subjects. Among the master’s degree programs is an MFA. Students in this program have executed individual projects from animation and video to interactive design and illustration.
All students may participate in CCAD’s International Exchange Program, which highlights study at China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, China; Universidad Mayor, Santiago, Chile; Xi’an Fine Arts Academy, Xi’an, China, and Northumbria, Newcastle, England. Students may also study at CCAD-approved programs at Studio Art Centers, Florence, Italy, and University of Arts London, London.
Graduates of the CCAD Animation Program have landed positions at Animal Logic, Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios, DreamWorks, Cartoon Network, Electronic Arts, Nickelodeon Animation Studios, Sony Pictures Animation, BET, Time Warner, Twentieth Century Fox, and many others.
15. Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) was established in 1886. It is home to more than 750 students from 29 states and 12 countries. The school offers more than 20 programs across several departments. The Animation Department offers an MFA in Visual Studies. Students in the program may pursue creative work in animation, comic arts, filmmaking, illustration, installation art, interactive media, drawing and more.
Housed in an all-MFA studio and gallery space, the MFA Program also offers opportunities to intern at places such as Nickelodeon, MTV, Walker Art Center, and Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.
16. Academy of Art University, San Francisco, California
Academy of Art University was established in 1929. The school serves more than 7,200 students enrolled in dozens of Art, Design, Fashion, and Architecture programs. Degrees are offered at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and many programs are available entirely online.
The School of Animation and Visual Effects offers an MFA in Animation and Visual Effects. The program focuses on developing skills in any one of the many areas of expertise within the animation and visual effects industry. The program educates students in all aspects of animation and visual effects, from ideation to post production. Emphasis areas include 3D Animation, 3D Modeling, 2D Animation & Stop Motion, and Visual Effects.
Graduates of the animation programs at Academy of Art University have landed positions at Blizzard Entertainment, CBS Interactive, Disney Interactive, DreamWorks Animation, Electronic Arts, Lucasfilm, NBCUniversal, Pixar, and Sony Computer Entertainment America.
17. San Jose State University, San Jose, California
San Jose State University (SJSU) was founded in 1857 and it is home to more than 32,000 students enrolled in 145 areas of study, with an additional 108 concentrations, across eight colleges. The College of Humanities and the Arts, Department of Design offers an MFA in Digital Media Art. The program is offered at the CADRE Institute, which “reflects the innovative atmosphere in Silicon Valley.”
Academic programs emphasize artistic experimentation within a context of historical, cultural, and theoretical study. The program is intended for students with interest in contemporary research. CADRE's diverse community of faculty and graduate students produce artworks involving visualization, simulation, hypertextuality, information, mapping, telepresence, networks, and interactive systems.
Technical facilities include a wide range of computing resources. Students work across the boundaries of computer visualization, animation, digital video, multimedia, electronic sculpture, sound and virtual reality. CADRE supports its own networking environment and offers excellent opportunities to produce internet-based artworks.
18. Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio
Founded in 1910, Bowling Green State University (BGSU) is home 19,000 students, including 2,500 at BGSU Firelands in Huron, Ohio. The school offers more than 200 undergraduate majors and programs on the main campus and 22 at BGSU Firelands. The school houses nine colleges, including the College of Arts and Sciences, home of the School of Art. The School houses the BGSU Digital Arts program, which offers an MFA in Art with a Major in Digital Arts (Computer Animation, Digital Imaging, and Interactive Media).
The MFA program is an intensive, 60-credit studio degree designed to prepare students to become both professional artists in industry and university-level instructors while developing their own studio practice. Students have the opportunity to explore 3D Modeling and Animation, Interactive Multimedia Development, Digital Video, Digital Imaging, and Hybrid Media forms including 3D printing, Architectural Projection Mapping, Web App Development and Interactive Installation Art.
The Digital Arts program offers internship opportunities and study abroad experiences to all students in more than 40 countries worldwide.
19. Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina
Established in 1889 as Clemson Agricultural College, Clemson University is home to nearly 24,400 students enrolled in 80+ majors, 75+ minors, and 110+ graduate degree programs across seven colleges. The College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences, School of Computing offers an MFA in Digital Production Arts (MFA DPA).
The program is a professional degree program that offers a unique blend of instruction from art, computer science, computer engineering, graphic communications, performing arts, philosophy, and psychology, together with newly designed courses targeted at production techniques specific to the animation, visual effects, and electronic games industries. Sample courses include Computer Animation, 3D Modeling, Compositing, Computer Games, FX, Lighting, Rigging, Simulation, and Visual Effects, to name a few.
DPA graduates have worked on films such as Frozen, Hobbit, Rio, How to Train Your Dragon, and The Croods. Many have been hired by major studios such as Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Blue Sky Studios, DreamWorks, EA, ReelFX, and Sony Pictures Imageworks.
20. California State University-Long Beach, Long Beach, California
California State University Long Beach (CSULB) was established in 1949. One of the 23 campuses of the California State University System, CSULB is home to 37,500 students enrolled in more than 300 programs across eight colleges. The College of the Arts, School of Art, offers an MFA in Art with a Concentration in Studio Arts.
This advanced degree is designed with a dual emphasis on tailoring programs of study to individual students while fostering both interdisciplinary and discipline-specific dialogue by engaging students in a set of core department-wide requirements, interdisciplinary opportunities, and discipline- specific courses and curricular “tracks.”
Options include Illustration/Animation, Drawing and Painting, Metal, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture/4D, Graphic Design, and Wood.
The MFA Degree structure is designed based upon a 6-semester (3-year) model, though it can be completed in fewer or more semesters. Advancement to Candidacy is contingent upon approval of work shown as part of the advancement exhibition, as well as meeting requirements of a conditional acceptance.
21. Digipen Institute of Technology, Redmond, Washington
DigiPen Institute of Technology was founded in 1988. It is home to approximately 984 undergraduates and 78 graduate students from all 50 states and close to 50 countries. Ten graduate and undergraduate program options are available in the areas of Art, Design, and Computer Science. The graduate option for aspiring animators is the MFA in Digital Arts.
Students entering the MFA program must have experience in animation, 3D modeling, digital painting, drawing, color theory and other areas. The program prepares graduates for careers in both academia and production. Possible roles include Animator, 3D Modeler, Character Artist, Senior Animator, Senior Character Artist, Texture Artist, and Professor of Fine Arts.
22. University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, Texas
The University of Texas-Dallas (UT Dallas) was established as a member of the University of Texas System in 1969. The school is home to more than 27,600 students enrolled in 130 academic programs across seven schools. The School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication (ATEC) offers an MFA in Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication (MFA ATEC). Students pursuing the MFA can select the pathway of Animation, Creative Practice, or Game Development.
Sample courses for the 54 semester hour program include Approaches to Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication, Aesthetics of Interactive Arts, Animation Creative Practices, Animation Studio I & II, Digital Cinematography, Animation Project Development, Technical Direction, Motion Capture, Procedural Animation, and Special Topics in Sound Design.
Graduates of the MFA in ATEC will be prepared to teach arts-and- technology-related courses at the college level and engage in professional studio or design practice.
23. Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York
Syracuse University (SU) was founded in 1870. The school serves more than 22,500 students from across the U.S. and 118 countries. The school offers more 200 majors, 100 minors, and 200 advanced degree programs across 12 colleges and schools and a graduate school. The College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA), Department of Transmedia offers an MFA in Computer Art.
The MFA program is an artistic research and development program situated in the context of technology where students are encouraged to develop a diverse set of practices within computer art. The program covers computer generated imagery, 3D computer animation, physical computing, creative computer programming, computer gaming, computer music, visual effects, multi-channel installation, and sonic art.
VPA animation graduates have found employment at major studios such as Pixar, Rhythm and Hues, Industrial Light and Magic, LucasArts, Blizzard Entertainment, Tippett Studios, Moving Picture Company, and Sony Pictures Imageworks. Graduates have also presented their work at galleries and media art festivals around the world.
24. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York
Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) is the oldest technological research university in the U.S. Home to just under 7,650 students, RPI offers more than 145 programs across five schools. The School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) is home to five academic departments including Arts, Cognitive Science, Communication and Media, Economics, and Science and Technology Studies (STS). Programs for aspiring animators are offered through the Department of Communication and Media (C&M) and the Department of the Arts.
The Department of the Arts is the first integrated electronic arts program within a research university in the United States. The Department offers an MFA in EART that is currently being redesigned. This advanced degree program allows students to engage in creative work in the areas of computer-generated or mediated image, videotapes and installations, multimedia presentations, performance art, and others.
The student's work at Rensselaer culminates in a required thesis project, submission of written thesis document, and a thesis defense. The thesis project is a major artistic effort and may include a full-length performance, installation, or exhibition. Students may enhance their education by adding a minor, dual major, study abroad, internship, or a co-terminal graduate program.
25. Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana
Established in 1918, Ball State University enrolls around 22,000 students from every state, two U.S. territories, about 55 countries, and every Indiana county. The school has more than 300 programs across 10 colleges. The College of Fine Art, School of Art offers an MFA in Animation.
The 60 credit MFA in Animation focuses on traditional and modern animation techniques, storytelling, and film production through the creation of a short film as the thesis project. Students gain comprehensive knowledge of animated films from their conception to realization, learn about the history of animation while considering critical artistic issues, acquire in-depth knowledge of animation software and the elements of digital media.
Sample courses for the program include Advanced Animation, Animation Studio, and Teaching Studio Art. Graduates are prepared to pursue careers in the animation and film industries as well as academia.