Our 2015 rankings of the top animation programs in the Midwest.
We define the Midwest as Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Idaho, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota.
For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.
1. The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
The Ohio State University (OSU) was established in 1870. It has a student population of nearly 65,000 enrolled in more than 350 programs across more than a dozen schools and colleges. Within OSU’s College of the Arts and Sciences, the Department of Art and the Department of Design both offer programs for aspiring animators.
The Department of Art offers both a BFA and MFA degree in Art with an Emphasis in Art and Technology that allow students to study 3D Modeling and Animation, Art Games, Digital Imaging, and other related areas. The Department of Design offers an MFA in Design with a track of study in Digital Animation and Interactive Media. This program operates in conjunction with the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD), which provides world-class facilities and technical expertise in the context of an interdisciplinary research center.
Many graduates of the Design program have animated and directed some of the best-known works of studios such as Pixar and DreamWorks, while others go on to explore the application of animation and interactive media to game design and emerging approaches to visualization within a full range of disciplines and industries.
2. Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Established in 1890, Columbia College is home to more than 10,000 students enrolled in 100+ programs across three schools—the School of Fine and Performing Arts, the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the School of Media Arts. The School of Media Arts, Cinema Art + Science Department offers several programs for aspiring animators. Offerings include BFA degrees in Computer Animation and Traditional Animation, and a BA in Cinema Art + Science with an Animation focus.
3. School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Founded in 1866, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) is home to 3,519 students enrolled in more than 25 art and design programs across 40 academic departments. The Film, Video, New Media, and Animation Department (FVNMA) at SAIC offers several programs for aspiring animators. Options include BFA and MFA degrees in Studio with a Concentration Animation. A Certificate in Studio is also available.
4. DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois
Established in 1898, DePaul University is home to 23,799 students enrolled in more than 300 programs across 10 colleges and schools. The College of Computing and Digital Media offers a variety of programs for aspiring animators. Offerings include BA, BFA, MA, and MFA degrees in Animation. A Minor in Animation is also on the menu as well as a Game, Cinema and Animation Summer Academy for future animation students.
According to the Academy, the week-long program features “hands-on instruction using the latest equipment and technology.” Academy participants have the opportunity to focus on 3D Computer Modeling and Animation for games and cinema, Computer Game Development, and Digital Cinema Production.
5. Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
Purdue University was established in 1869. It is home to 38,788 students enrolled in more than 200 majors across 10 academic colleges and schools. The College of Technology offers several programs for aspiring animators. Offerings include a BS in Computer Graphics Technology with a Specialization in Computer Animation, an MS in Computer Graphics Technology, and a 5-Year BS/MS in Computer Graphics Technology.
6. Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) is home to more than 700 students enrolled in BFA degree programs in 13 areas. In existence since 1885, Kansas City Art Institute offers several programs for aspiring animators. Offerings include a BFA in Animation and a BFA in Digital Media with a Motion Graphics Concentration. According to KCAI, “motion graphics is a modern visual art form that exists at the crossroads of animation, graphic design and digital filmmaking.” This makes the BFA in Digital Media with a Motion Graphics Concentration a worthy option for aspiring animators.
7. Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, Ohio
Established in 1882, Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) is home to 550 students enrolled in 15 majors in the areas of Art, Craft, Design, and Interactive Media. The school offers a BFA in Animation. The program includes courses such as Advanced 3D Animation, Mapping, Digital Lighting, 2D/3D Compositing for Animation, 3D Texture, Concept Development, and many others.
8. Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan
Eastern Michigan University (EMU) was established in 1849. It is home to more than 23,000 students enrolled in more than 200 programs across six colleges and schools. The College of Technology, School of Visual and Built Environments is home to the Simulation, Animation and Gaming program or “SAG.” The program, which emphasizes Animation, Modeling, Lighting, Rigging, and Camera Work in 3D, leads to a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree with a Focus in Simulation, Animation, and Gaming.
9. Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus, Ohio
Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD) was established in 1879. It is home to more than 1,300 students enrolled in more than 35 majors, minors and concentrations. Programs for aspiring animators include a BA in Animation and a Minor Animation (2D or 3D). Students may choose between several concentrations including Animation/Experimental and Animation/Game.
10. College for Creative Studies, Detroit, Michigan
Founded in 1906 as the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts, the College for Creative Studies (CCS) is home to around 1,434 students enrolled in more than a dozen degree programs across 14 academic departments. The Department of Entertainment Arts offers one program for aspiring animators—a BFA in Entertainment Art with a Concentration in Animation. Entertainment Art students can enhance their degree by customizing their curriculum to include coursework in other areas such as Video and Game Design.