What are the top animation schools in the midwest for 2024?

Top 25 Animation Schools and Colleges in the Midwest - 2024 College Rankings
1DePaul UniversityIllinois
2School of the Art Institute of ChicagoIllinois
3The Ohio State UniversityOhio
4Columbia College ChicagoIllinois
5Columbus College of Art & DesignOhio
6Purdue UniversityIndiana
7Minneapolis College of Art and DesignMinnesota
8College for Creative StudiesMichigan
9Cleveland Institute of ArtOhio
10Kansas City Art InstituteMissouri
11Ball State UniversityIndiana
12Bowling Green State UniversityOhio
13Ohio UniversityOhio
14Milwaukee Institute of Art and DesignWisconsin
15University of Illinois at ChicagoIllinois
16University of Wisconsin – StoutWisconsin
17Ferris State UniversityMichigan
18Indiana University IndianapolisIndiana
19American Academy of Art CollegeIllinois
20Kent State UniversityOhio
21Webster UniversityMissouri
22Missouri State UniversityMissouri
23Northern Illinois UniversityIllinois
24Kansas State UniversityKansas
25Grand Valley State UniversityMichigan

Our 2024 rankings -our thirteenth annual- of the top animation programs in the Midwest. For reference, 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. DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois
DePaul University

Jarvis College of Computing and Digital Media (CDM) at DePaul University (DePaul) houses three schools including Cinematic Arts, Computing, and Design. Across schools, students have access to more than 65 degree programs and minors.

Within the School of Cinematic Arts is an Animation program that features courses taught by award-winning filmmakers who are part of one of the largest full-time animation faculties in the nation; access to a state-of-the-art, 32,000 square foot production facility known as DePaul Cinespace Studios; and the new Jarvis Student Center for Innovation and Collaboration. This 8,000 square-foot open space focuses on industry partnerships and multidisciplinary professional learning across emerging technologies. Collaborations and projects between students and faculty emphasize innovation and community needs.

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

The Animation program at DePaul University has seven degree options including the Animation BA, BFA, MA, MFA, BA/MA, and BFA/MA, and the Computer Science (CS) + Animation (CS+ANI) BS with an Animation Technical Director (TD) concentration. An Animation TD minor is also available.

The Animation BFA has concentrations in 3D Animation, Visual Effects Animation, Motion Graphics, Storyboarding and Character Design, Cinema, and Game Art. While the Animation BA does not offer a concentration, students in this program may enhance the degree in focused areas through major and open electives. Examples of major electives include Digital Puppet Animation; Visual Effects; Screenwriting for Majors; Hybrid Animation; Stop Motion Animation; and Sound Design for Animation.

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

The Animation MA at DePaul University allows students to concentrate in 3D Animation, Traditional Animation, Storyboarding and Character Design, Motion Graphics, or Technical Artist. Course examples for the program include 3D Animation Production; Animation Figure Study; Advanced Topics in Visual Effects; Topics in 3D Animation; and Game Art Pipeline.

The Animation MFA follows the project model. Students will spend their time creating a single project with the assistance of an MFA co-chair and MFA faculty mentors. The program is designed for animators who have earned an undergraduate degree in the visual arts. Examples include Animation, Art, Illustration, Graphic Design, and Film.

The multidisciplinary CS+ANI is designed for students seeking technical artistic roles in animation and game development. In addition to the concentration in Animation TD, the program has a concentration in Game Art TD. Course examples for the program Concepts of Programming Languages; 3D Animation; Optimized C++; Motion Graphics Foundations; Advanced 3D Rigging; 3D Design and Modeling; Animation Production; and Game Art Pipeline.

CS+ANI students also benefit from interdisciplinary collaborative group project experiences with teams of students majoring in areas such as 3D animation, game art, storyboarding and character design, game programming, and game design.

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

Other program benefits include the visiting artist series, where past guests have included artists from Disney and Pixar; access to the Animation Lodge; and participation in Project Bluelight. Students at The Lodge collaborate on group projects, network, and build their portfolios. Project Bluelight provides hands-on experience in motion picture production to all interested students.

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

Serving approximately 20,920 students, DePaul University is the largest Catholic university in the United States. Founded in 1898, the school is also the nation’s 12th-largest private, not-for-profit university, and the largest private, not-for-profit college in the Midwest. DePaul provides more than 300 undergraduate majors and graduate programs across two campuses, and 10 academic colleges and schools. DePaul University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

2. School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
School of the Art Institute of Chicago

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) is home to the Film, Video, New Media, and Animation Department (FVNMA), which has two paths to study animation. The BFA in Studio explores animation (experimental 2D and 3D), new media art, cinema, and video. The MFA in Studio supports creative work across 12 different departments. Students in this graduate program can specialize in one specific area or acquire skills across multiple areas of study.

Open to both graduate and undergraduate students, concentration areas may include Hand-Drawn and Digital 2D and 3D Animation; Moving-Image Installation; Nonfiction/Documentary and Narrative Film and Video; Media Art Histories; Interactive Art; VR/AR; and Web-Based Projects. FVNMA students also have access to courses such as Puppet Animation; Motion Graphics and Visual Effects; 3D Character Animation; Intermediate Animation: Experimental Methods; Writing and Art Direction for Animation; Realtime; New Media: Crash Course; Visualization and Storyboarding; Media Practices: The Moving Image; Sonics and Optics; The Digital Dark Age; Video Everywhere; Internet Artware; Advanced Experimental 3D; Handmade Cinema I-II; Graduate Production Studio; and Large Scale Cinematic Production.   

Across programs, students benefit from interactions with visiting artists; access to state-of-the-art film, editing, and production equipment; graduate seminars, screenings, and performances; and unlimited admittance to the Art Institute of Chicago Art Museum (est. 1879) and on-campus galleries. Students also have access SIAC’s Gene Siskel Film Center, which regularly highlights films from around the world, along with student work.

In addition, FVNMA MFA students can participate in Critique Week. This week-long event takes place each semester. The entire faculty, along with invited visiting artists and designers, form panels designed to critique students work. All classes are suspended during this time.

The FVNMA Studio Art BFA culminates with the Senior Film/Video Projects Capstone. During this final course, students will complete a professional quality moving image project for public presentation. The MFA program culminates with a final project. Work will be presented in the SAIC Graduate Thesis Exhibition, the Gene Siskel Film Center, or other end-of-year events at SAIC. Each year more than 200 graduate students present time-based works, performances, and writings to 30,000 people.

Graduates of SAIC’s FVNMA Department are prepared to seek careers in animation, film, games, digital media, and more. As part of SAIC, FVNMA alumni enjoy a 92% employment or graduate school rate.

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago dates back to 1866, when a group of 35 artists founded the Chicago Academy of Design. In the years following the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the school formed as a new association—and both a museum and a school for fine arts known as Chicago Academy of Fine Arts (1879). The Academy became the Art Institute of Chicago in 1882. Today SAIC is one of the nation’s oldest accredited independent schools of art and design.

Serving approximately 3,530 students, SAIC provides more than 50 areas of study across 24 academic departments. The School of the Art Institute of Chicago is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Since 1948, the school has also been accredited as a charter member by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

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

The College of Arts and Sciences at The Ohio State University (OSU) houses more than 20 centers and institutes, 38 departments and schools, and over 2,000 faculty and staff members. The College provides more than 250 majors, minors, certificates, and graduate programs to approximately 19,310 students.

Among the many programs in the College of Arts and Sciences are several paths to study animation. These include the Moving Image Production (MIP) BA; BFA and MFA degrees in Art and Technology; and an MFA with a Digital Animation and Interactive Media Track.

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

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

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

Part of the Department of Art, the interdisciplinary Art and Technology Emphasis explores everything from 3D modeling and animation to electronics/robotics/animatronics. Course examples include Computer Animation; Graphic Novel – Web Comic Production; Moving Image Art; Art & Technology Studio Practice; Digital Imaging; New Media Robotics; Video Art; and Internet Art.

Art and Technology MFA students will engage in project-based learning, while creating 3D animations, virtual reality, sound, interactive installations, and more.

Student in both options have access to dedicated labs, state-of-the-art facilities, and collaborative spaces for producing animations, moving image art, interactive and robotic art, game art, internet art, and more.

The Digital Animation and Interactive Media Track within the MFA program is part of the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Design. Students in this program will complete 60 credit hours of study in design over three years. Course and elective examples include Graduate Studio; Exploration in Graduate Design Studies; Virtual Modeling; Aspects of Art and Technology; and Computer Game Art and Design.

In the final year of the Digital Animation and Interactive Media program at OSU, students will complete two Thesis Writing courses, and two Thesis Project Development courses to graduate. These courses culminate with the Project Exhibition and Oral Defense.

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

The Ohio State University was established in 1870 as Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College. The school serves 65,795 students across six regional campuses including Columbus (main), Lima, Mansfield, Marion, Newark, and OSU’s Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster. More than 200 majors, minors, and specializations are provided across 18 colleges and schools. The Ohio State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

4. Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Columbia College Chicago

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

The Animation program at Columbia College Chicago has several undergraduate degree options. These include the Animation BA, a BFA in Traditional Animation, and a Computer Animation BFA. The BA is ideal for students who would like to explore computer, experimental, hand-drawn, and stop-motion animation techniques. The BFA is ideal for students who would like to specialize in a specific area of animation and complete two films before graduating.

An Animation minor is also available for students seeking a shorter program that can be taken alone or with another major. The minor, which explores object, stop-motion, and hand-drawn animation, provides the opportunity to master industry-standard editing and storyboarding software. This software will be used to create a story reel for the final project. All IAM Animation programs provide the opportunity to begin animating in the very first year.

Course examples across programs include Cartooning; Character Design and Modeling, Environmental Design & Modeling; Alternative Strategies in Animation; Animation for Comics; CVFX: Compositing; Stop-Motion Animation; Computer Animation: Keyframing; Screenwriting: Writing the Short Film; Animation Maquettes; Advanced 3D Digital Sculpting; Character Design and Modeling; and Acting for Animators.

Select BFA students will have the opportunity to participate in the Animation Studios in LA Program. This one credit course provides allows students to explore career opportunities at major Hollywood animation studios. Events include tours, portfolio reviews, and employment screenings. Participating studios have included Disney, DreamWorks, Warner Bros., Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network.

As a senior, BFA students will produce an animated film as a solo project, serving as producer, editor, and director. Films will be presented at Manifest—Columbia Colleges annual art festival highlighting graduating students work. Animation BA students will have the option to work with a team or individually to create a film during the final year of the program. BA students will also spend the final year fine tuning their professional demo reels.

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

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

Columbia College Chicago was established in 1890 as the Columbia School of Oratory. The school serves nearly 6,700 students enrolled in more than 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. In addition to programs in creative areas such as communication and writing, media and digital, and music and sound, Columbia provides several business management programs. Columbia College Chicago is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

5. Columbus College of Art & Design, Columbus, Ohio
Columbus College of Art & Design

The Animation program at Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD) is recognized as a Center of Excellence by Toon Boom. Established in 1987, the program has BFA, minor, and concentration options. All provide unlimited access to CCAD’s Cloyd Family Animation Center, which houses state-of-the-art labs such as stop-motion, virtual reality drawing, computer, and teaching. The Center also houses flex spaces, a student lounge, and the Animation Student Collective.

CCAD Animation BFA students may add a concentration or one of 20 minors to the program. Just a few concentrations include Animation/Experimental; Animation/Game Design; Illustration/Entertainment;  Design/Drawing; Illustration/Illustrative Design; and Design/Modeling. Concentrations require nine hours of credit hours of coursework.

Minors that complement the program include Animation 2D or 3D; Illustration; Comics & Narrative Practice; Fine Art; Film & Video; Creative Writing; Advertising & Graphic Design; and Photography. Minors require 15 credit hours.

Film and Video BFA students who would like to study animation, live action, and visual effects (VFX) can add a concentration or minor in animation. 

Consisting of 120 total credit hours of study, the CCAD Animation BFA is divided into 60 credit hours of program requirements, 40 in core liberal arts, and 18 in core studio. Course examples include 3D Animation Modeling & Surfacing; Café Sketch; Visual Literacy; Visual & Narrative Storyboard; 3D Character Animation Simulation; Writing & the Arts; Animation Lab Pipeline; Historical Art & Design; and Animation Lab Production.

Some graduates of the Animation BFA program at Columbus College of Art & Design go on to pursue graduate study. For graduates who would like to pursue an MFA at CCAD, the Amelita Mirolo MFA in Visual Arts program is an ideal choice. This 60-credit hour terminal degree program operates within a 13,700-square-foot graduate facility that houses individual private studios for MFA students, a lounge, exhibition space, and faculty offices.

In the facility, students may work on individual projects and the thesis in any area of interest. Examples include animation, interactive design, illustration, film, game art, and television. Students may focus in any of these areas through six hours of required art and design electives or even through CCAD’s many minor and concentration options.

Other CCAD MFA highlights include small class sizes (the program accepts just nine to 15 students per year); the visiting artist series, which welcomes designers and guest artists who teach workshops and seminars, present lectures, and mentor students; and internship opportunities with nonprofits and businesses located in places such as Chicago, New York, Seattle, Oregon, Ireland, and Honduras.

Graduates of the Animation and Visual Arts Programs at Columbus College of Art & Design work in a variety of fields in positions such as Character Animator, Motion Designer, Television Animator, Storyboard Artist, VFX Animator, Game Artist, and Architectural Visualization Producer.

Recent employers include Sony Pictures Animation, Electronic Arts (EA), Cartoon Network, Pixar, Nickelodeon, DreamWorks Animation, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Riot Games, LAIKA Studios, and Phosphor Games, and Stoopid Buddy Stoodios.

Columbus College of Art & Design was established in 1879 by five women. The school serves approximately 1,010 undergraduate and graduate students from 36 states and 14 countries. CCAD provides 11 undergraduate majors, 18 minors, and three graduate programs across 10+ departments.

Columbus College of Art & Design is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). CCAD is also affiliated with the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD).

6. Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
Purdue University

Purdue University (Purdue) is home to Purdue Polytechnic Institute (Purdue Polytechnic). Formally organized in 1964 as the School of Technology, Purdue Polytechnic houses the Department of Computer Graphics Technology (CGT). Within the CGT Department are several paths to study animation. Options include a CGT BS with a major in Animation and Visual Effects (ANFX); the CGT MS; and a 5-Year CGT BS/MS. The CGT MS participates in Purdue’s Computational Interdisciplinary Graduate Program.

The CGT BS in ANFX focuses on 3D Modeling, Character Rigging, Lighting, Motion, Rendering, and Texturing. Students will also explore Video, Digital Lighting, Audio, and Computer Rendering. Visual Effects at Purdue is a STEM-based discipline, so students will also take courses in Calculus, Trigonometry, and Physics. Throughout the program, students will create animated films, games, and other related productions using industry software such as Maya and Autodesk. Students can also experiment with other types of animation software.

The CGT BS in ANFX requires 120 credit hours, including 39 major course credits, 15 entertainment selectives, 52 in other departmental requirements, and 14 elective credits. Course examples include Animation Foundations; Sketching for Visualization and Communication; Technical Writing; Visual Effects; Computer Animation; Business Writing; and Computer Graphics Professional Practices I and II.

Graduates of Purdue Polytechnic’s CGT BS in Animation and Visual Effects are routinely hired at major studios such as Walt Disney and DreamWorks. Some program alumni go on to teach at schools such as Animation Mentor, while others have launched their own studios and freelance businesses.

The CGT MS at Purdue University’s Polytechnic Institute serves around 90 students. The program has four primary focus areas: Computer Animation, Games, Information Visualization, and UX Design. This highly flexible, interdisciplinary program also provides opportunities to take coursework across other Purdue graduate programs or develop a customized plan of study that includes computational art, computer graphics programming, and other areas.

MS students who would like to focus in Computer Animation will explore the entire digital animation process. The program also explores game studies, virtual reality, and visual effects. Course examples include The Art and Technology of Computer Animation; Seminar in Computer Graphics Technology; Visual Intelligence and Perception; and The Development of Graphics in Technology. Elective requirements also allow students to explore other areas of interest.

Students may choose the Animation Research Thesis or Non-Thesis option. Those in the non-thesis option will complete the Animation Capstone (Production). Graduates of the Purdue Polytechnic Institute CGT MS program are prepared for leadership and other roles across industries. Examples include Lead Animator, Technical Director, Senior Simulation and Visualization Specialist, Animation Director, Game Developer, Art Director, and Lead Technical Artist.

Program alumni have been hired at companies and studios such as DreamWorks, Google, Deloitte, and Salesforce. CGT MS graduates are also eligible to apply to the Technology PhD program. Also housed in the Department of Computer Graphics Technology at Purdue Polytechnic, the PhD supports study and research in Computer Animation, Game Studies, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Digital Enterprise Systems, User Experience (UX) Design, and Data Visualization.

Graduates of the CGT PhD Program at Purdue University go on to pursue leadership positions in in industries such as entertainment, technology, education, science, medicine, and government.

Established in 1869, Purdue University is Indiana’s only land-grant university. Serving approximately 60,240 students, Purdue is also the second largest university in the state. Students hail from all 50 states and more than 135 countries. Purdue University provides more than 400 programs across 11 academic colleges and schools. Approximately 11% of all students at Purdue are enrolled at Purdue Polytechnic Institute. Purdue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

7. Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) provides several paths to study animation. At the undergraduate level, MCAD has a 15 credit hour Animation minor, and a collaborative Animation BFA with 2D and 3D tracks. At the graduate level, MCAD has an interdisciplinary and experimental MFA that allows students to focus in one or more areas of interest. Examples include animation, illustration, experimental film and video, comic arts, drawing and painting, and web and multimedia.

The MCAD Animation Minor explores traditional animation techniques, compositing, storytelling, and pre-production. Students in this program will also learn how to use the latest industry software to create animations. Four classes are required to complete the program. These include Drawing for Animators; Storyboarding; Experimental Animation; and Character Design.

For the Animation BFA, both the 2D and 3D tracks require 12 credit hours of study. Students in this 120 credit hour program may customize an additional focus area (or areas) through 26 credits of required studio electives. Course examples for the program include Background Layout for Animators; 2D Digital Animation; Character Animation; 3D Modeling; Virtual Environments; Experimental Animation; and Professional Practice Animation. The Animation BFA program culminates with the final Senior Project.

The Minneapolis College of Art and Design MFA program provides the opportunity for students to work one-on-one with a mentor to set goals each semester. Students in this program will work both collaboratively and independently in state-of-the art facilities, classrooms, and private studios in their chosen focus areas. With the help of mentors, students will have the opportunity to choose one or more areas of specialization.

Other program benefits include opportunities to participate in events at art centers, galleries, and nonprofits in the Twin Cities; participation in the Master’s Trip to NYC, which features visits to art and design venues, creative agencies, and artist studios; and the option to complete a three-credit Teaching Art and Design Online Certificate (which counts towards electives). This allows MFA students to graduate with a terminal degree and a focused certificate.

Students in both the MFA and Animation BFA programs also have the opportunity to complete an internship and/or study abroad in places such as Japan, Italy, Germany, and the UK. Across programs, students have completed internships at places such as Nickelodeon, MTV, Massachusetts Museum of Art, and Walker Art Center.

The MCAD MFA program culminates with the Thesis Exhibition. This program requires 60 credit hours to graduate.

Graduates of the Animation BFA and MFA programs at Minneapolis College of Art and Design are prepared for a variety of positions and leadership roles in art, entertainment, and design. Potential Possible careers include Background Animator, 3D Modeler/Animator, Editorial Illustrator, Stop-Motion Animator, Film Editor, Pixel Artist, Special-Effects Animator, Graphic Designer, Storyboard Artist, Character Developer, Inker/Opaquer/Checker, Director, Producer, Writer, Project Manager, and Arts Educator.

Minneapolis College of Art and Design was established in 1886 by the Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts. The school serves approximately 800 students from 40 states and 13 countries. Programs include 14 undergraduate majors leading to a BFA or BS, three MA degrees, one MFA degree, and seven professional development certificate options. Minneapolis College of Art and Design is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The school is also affiliated with the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD).

8. College for Creative Studies, Detroit, Michigan
College for Creative Studies

Entertainment Arts at the College for Creative Studies (CCS) consists of Animation, Game Design, Digital Film, and Concept Design pathways. All options are STEM-Designated and taught by Hollywood insiders, using the latest equipment and software. A Toon Boom Center for Excellence, Entertainment Arts at CCS houses state-of-the-art PC and MAC equipment, editing suites, gaming labs, and full VR capabilities with Vive goggles and sensors.

In addition to declaring a major, all College for Creative Studies undergraduate students will choose from seven liberal arts minors or 20 studio minors. Required credits include 42 to 43 in liberal arts and 84 in studio. Students are also encouraged to take classes outside of their major, to enhance their skill set. Like all CCS departments, Entertainment Arts emphasizes technical skill, aesthetic and conceptual ability, and practical experience.

The Entertainment Arts program with a concentration in Animation requires a total of 126-127 credit hours. Leading to a BFA, the program begins with the First Year Experience (FYE), which focuses on academic preparedness. During the first year, students will also complete courses such as Drawing I: Rapid Concept; Drawing II: Style & Skill; Animation I; Digital Techniques; Process & Making; and 2D Design Principles.

Animation II-III; Experimental Animation; Animation Nuts & Bolts; and Storyboarding for Film/Animation are just a few 2nd year courses. Upper division courses include Advanced Story Concepts; Animation Projects I-II; and Business Practices. In the final year of the program, students will complete several required general education electives; Entertainment Arts electives; and Senior Production Studio I-II. CCS Animation students also have the opportunity to complete an internship.

Graduates of the Animation program at College for Creative Studies are prepared to pursue careers across the entertainment, advertising, games, and other industries. Program alumni are Animators, Directors, Storyboard Artists, Riggers, and VFX Artists. College for Creative Studies alumni have been hired at major studios and networks such as Disney, Sony Pictures Imageworks, DreamWorks Animation, and ABC Television Group.

Founded in 1906 as the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts, College for Creative Studies is a private, nonprofit institution that serves more than 1,400 students enrolled in 23 Art and Design programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. CCS is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The school is also an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

9. Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland Institute of Art

The Animation Program at Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) prepares students for careers in animation through independent and collaborative project; internships; and work experiences with real clients and community partners. Animation students also benefit from field trips the zoo and museums for inspiration, as well as mentorships with veteran industry professionals with a combined 600+ feature film, television, and digital production credits. CIA faculty have worked with major studios and companies such as DreamWorks, Warner Bros., Walt Disney Feature Animation, Hasbro, Sony Animation, Illumination, American Greetings.

Leading to a BFA, the CIA Animation program consists of courses such as Storyboarding & Sequential Art; 2D and 3D Animation; Experimental Animation; Motion Graphics; Body Mechanics for Animation; 3D Texture, Mapping, Digital Lighting; Narrative Production; 3D Modeling for Concept Vehicles; Advanced 3D Animation; Community Projects: Animation Production (EP); and Animation Portfolio Reel + Shorts. Open electives allow students to declare a customized focus area in their junior year; study outside the program; and collaborate with other CIA departments.

In the senior year of the Animation BFA program at Cleveland Institute of Art, students will complete a thesis project. Students may do this individually or through collaboration in their chosen area of animated media. Through the Animation Portfolio Reel & Shorts course, students will develop and present an industry-ready portfolio and demo reel of their best work.

Graduates of the Animation BFA program at Cleveland Institute of Art have worked on feature films, games, and television series. Program alumni also work in the medical, sports, and communications industries. Program alumni are Animators, Storyboard Artists, 3D Character Animators, Game Designers, and Independent Filmmakers.

Cleveland Institute of Art was chartered as the Western Reserve School of Design for Women in 1882. This independent, not-for-profit college serves around 600 students enrolled in 13 entertainment arts, design, fine arts, and craft majors. Cleveland Institute of Art is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

10. Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) houses a state-of-the-art digital studio outfitted with the latest tools and equipment such as 3-D printers, CNC routers, and a digital loom. The KCAI campus also houses two art galleries—an encyclopedic museum and contemporary art museum—where students can explore contemporary art, collections of Impressionist paintings, and ancient Chinese sculptures. Students in all KCAI programs have access to these resources and more.

For students seeking an animation degree, Kansas City Art Institute has an Animation BFA that allows students to create their own path through the school’s mentor-based studio-instruction model. All students begin the program by exploring analog, classical, and experimental techniques. In the second year, students will take courses such as Sophomore Studio: Principles of Animation; History of Animation: Origins; and Sophomore Studio: Animators Toolbox.

The third year consists of Junior Studio: Explorations in Animation; History of Animation Since 1960; and Sophomore Studio: Ideas in Motion.

Throughout the 126 credit hour Animation BFA program, students will have the opportunity to select 15 credit hours from electives. Examples include Live Action for Animation; The Art of Stop Motion Puppetry; Real-Time Animation; Intro to Toon Boom Harmony; and Motion Graphics: History & Practice.

In the final year of the KCAI Animation BFA program, students will complete the Professional Practice course and Senior Studio: Graduation Animation 1 and 2. The Professional Practice course allows students to interact and network with visiting artists, scholars, and industry professionals. The two six-credit Senior Studios provide the opportunity to conceptualize and produce an animated work. Students may also complete an internship at a local or national studio. 

Graduates of the Kansas City Art Institute Animation BFA program are prepared to pursue roles in the entertainment industry, advertising, and many others. Program alumni have been hired at major networks and studios such as Nickelodeon, Digital Domain, Warner Bros., Disney, Netflix, Hallmark, and Titmouse. Some KCAI BFA graduates go on to pursue advanced degrees at top institutions such as University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts), School of Visual Art New York (SVA NY), and University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC). Others have

Kansas City Art Institute was established in 1885 as a Sketch Club. Situated just steps from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art within Kansas City’s arts corridor, this four-year art and design college serves more than 700 students enrolled in 13 majors across 15 program areas. Kansas City Art Institute is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

11. Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana
Ball State University

The College of Fine Arts at Ball State University (Ball State) houses the School of Art. Within the School is Visual Arts/Animation BFA program that provides hands-on training in industry tools such as Maya, Toon Boom, Adobe Illustrator, and Photoshop. Students in this 85 credit hour major will explore traditional 2D animation, 3D animation, and stop motion. Courses for the program are collaborative and led by professors who have worked at Disney and other major studios.

The Visual Arts/Animation BFA at Ball State University requires 42 credit sin Animation, 18 form art studio electives, and 25 credit from art foundations. Course examples include 2D, 3D and 4D Foundations Studio; Animation: Experimental Techniques; Storyboarding; 3D Animation, Rigging, and Simulation; Character Design; Animation: Compositing and Motion Graphics; Drawing Studio; 3D Modeling, Texturing, Lighting, and Rendering; and Painting: Introduction.

Other Ball State BFA program highlights include collaborative projects; professional skills development including professional terminology and marketing; and internship opportunities.

The culminating experience for the Visual Arts/Animation BFA at Ball State includes three production courses leading to the Senior Project (Capstone), which will be presented as a student exhibition. Students will also enter the job market with a professional portfolio and demo reel of their best.

Graduates of the Visual Arts/Animation BFA at Ball State University are prepared to pursue roles such as 3D Animator (film), Animation Web Designer, 3D Animator or Modeler (video game industry), Storyboard Artist (film or advertising), 3D Modeler (entertainment, advertising, engineering, and medicine), and Multimedia Artist.

Ball State University was established in 1918. The school serves approximately 19,775 students enrolled in more than 200 programs across seven academic colleges. Ball State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Programs in the School of Art are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

12. Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio
Bowling Green State University

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

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

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

For individuals seeking an Animation degree, the Division of Digital Arts within the School of Art provides BA, BFA, MFA, and minor options. The Digital Arts minor allows students to focus in any area at BGSU. However, the Digital Arts minor is an ideal complement to BGSU’s Computer Science and other STEM-designated programs, Business, and Music, among others.

Students in the Digital Arts BA and BFA programs may specialize in Animation. 2D and 3D Animation tracks are available within this specialization. An optional interdisciplinary track allows students to incorporate classes from other areas such as Graphic Design, Photography, and Drawing.

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

The Studio Art MFA at Bowling Green State University is a two-year, full-time program that allows students to specialize in Digital Arts (Computer Animation, Digital Media, and Interactive Media). The program requires a minimum of 60 credit hours, with 21 credits in the studio specialization, and 12 credits of studio electives. MFA students will complete a body of work and accompanying brochure to be entered into the BGSU MFA Exhibition. This event is held each spring in the Dorothy Uber Bryan Gallery in the Fine Arts Center.

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

Bowling Green State University was established in 1910 as a teacher-training institution. The school held its first classes in 1941. Today, BGSU provides more than 200 programs to approximately 18,965 students across six colleges and BGSU Firelands in Huron, Ohio. Bowling Green State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The BGSU School of Art has been accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) since 1984.

13. Ohio University, Athens, Ohio
Ohio University

The E.W. Scripps College of Communications at Ohio University (OU) houses the School of Media Arts and Studies (MDIA). Options for animators here include the Animation Bachelor of Science in Communication (BSC) and the Communication Media Arts MFA. The Animation BSC takes the place of the Games and Animation emphasis area, and it provides access to the new Advanced Animation Lab and more than a dozen other state-of-the-art facilities, studios, and labs.

The new curriculum for the Animation BSC includes digital techniques for 2D and 3D animation; animation for film/TV, video games, and VR/AR; hybrid animation techniques; narrative storytelling in animation; motion graphics for video; preproduction and postproduction for animation; animation for visual effects; and sound design for animation. Coursework for the program is complemented by participation in student organizations; industry internships and other experiences; study abroad opportunities; and capstone projects.

Examples of industry internships and experiences include OHIO-in-LA, where students will live and work in Hollywood; Animation and Culture in Tokyo, where students will explore Tokyo’s animation scene and culture; the 48-Hour Shoot-Out where students have just two days to write, direct, and shoot polished 5-minute film; Storytelling in Theme Parks, which includes all access tickets, workshops, speakers, and behind-the-scene tours at Walt Disney World; and attendance at South by Southwest.

Graduates of Ohio University’s School of Media Arts and Studies are Animators, Motion Graphics Designers, 3D Artists, Visual Effects (VFX) Artists, Animation Production Assistants, Cinematic Artists, Video Editors, Multimedia Artists, Technical Artists, Art Directors, and Environmental Artists.

The Communication Media Arts MFA at Ohio University is a multidisciplinary, three-year program provided in partnership with the School of MDIA; the J. Warren McClure School of Emerging Communication Technologies; and the School of Visual Communication. This 90 credit hour program provides the opportunity to study in two or more areas. Examples include Animation, Virtual and Augmented Reality, Video Game Design, Interactive Web Design, Music Production, and Data Visualization and Infographics.

Ohio University MFA students will receive hands-on training through collaborative and experiential projects. A required component of OU MFA program, projects may include practicum projects through Scripps College or the College of Fine Arts; projects in the Game Research and Immersive Design (GRID) Lab; grant-funded faculty initiatives; or projects through WOUB Public Media—a broadcasting service licensed to Ohio University.

Other program highlights include opportunities to teach; professional internships and externships; and study abroad experiences. Students in the Communication Media Arts MFA at Ohio University will spend the final year of the program in two immersive Thesis Production courses.

Established in 1804, Ohio University is the oldest college in the state. The school opened with one building, three students, and one professor. Today Ohio University employs more than 1,700 faculty members that serve approximately 28,325 students across 10+ campuses and centers in Ohio, and OHIO Online. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), Ohio University provides more than 250 academic programs across 11 colleges, 16 schools, and dozens of departments.

14. Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design

Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD) is the only four-year nonprofit private college of visual art and design in the state of Wisconsin. The school provides a range of programs that allow students to gain real-world experience through internships and the MIAD Lubar Innovation Center. Examples of past clients include the Milwaukee Business Journal, Ninewise Publishing, Carmex, the Milwaukee Ballet, Kohler, Imagine MKE, Gallery at The Ave, The Marcus Corporation, and 3rd St. Market Hall.

For students seeking an animation degree, the Illustration BFA program at Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design recently launched an Animation track. All Illustration students will take courses that explore 2D, 3D, and interactive animation, video games, and virtual reality. Animation track students can focus their studies further through required studio electives.

Course examples for the program include 3D Modeling & Animation; Visual Development & Storytelling; 2D Motion Fundamentals; Interactive & New Media; Illustration Seminar I and II; Digital 2D; Systems of Drawing; Visual Language; Digital 4D; and Animation Professional Practices.

For the culminating experience, MIAD Animation students will produce industry-ready animation projects individually or in teams across two thesis courses including Animation Thesis: Preproduction and Animation Thesis: Production. Final projects will be presented at Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design Thesis Exhibition.

Graduates of the Illustration BFA/Animation program are prepared to pursue careers in animation for entertainment, games, and advertising; medical, education, architecture, and legal; news media; graphic design; computer systems design and software publishing; and data visualization. Illustration program alumni have worked with HBO, The New Yorker, Amazon Studios, Nike, and Variety.

Program alumni are Animators, 3D Modelers, Game Artists, Keyframe Animators, Advertising Animators, Art Directors, Special Effects Artists, Online News Media Animators, Concept Artists, Illustrators, Multimedia Specialists Television/Film/Video Editors, and E-Learning Designers.

Founded in 1974, Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design serves 900 degree-seeking students, 600 pre-college students, and 250 outreach/special programs students. For degree-seeking students, MIAD provides seven degree programs, five studio minors, and nine liberal studies minors. The school’s affiliation with Marquette University provides access to additional courses in Humanities and Sciences, and other resources.

Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design is a member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD)—a consortium of 39 leading art schools in the United States and Canada. The school is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD) and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

15. University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
University of Illinois at Chicago

University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) provides several paths to study animation across several colleges and schools. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts houses the minor in Moving Image Arts for undergraduate students. The College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts houses the School of Art & Art History, which an Art BFA program with options in New Media Arts and Moving Image. At the graduate level, the School of Art & Art History has a flexible Art MFA program.

The UIC New Media Arts BFA is interdisciplinary, allowing students to focus in areas such as animation. However, the curriculum for the program covers areas such as 3D Animation, Physical Computing, and Mobile Application Design. Course examples include 3D Space Animation; Topics in New Media Arts: Intermediate Game Play; Animation Cinematography; Creative Coding; and Information Aesthetics.

The Moving Image BFA program at University of Illinois at Chicago explores experimental and documentary filmmaking. Emphasis is placed on production coursework, independent study, and seminars in Digital Animation and Film & Video. Students will complete at least 129 credit hours of study, with 61 credits in the major, and up to a dozen credit hours of electives.

Course examples include 3D Space: Animation; Introduction to Filmmaking; Topics in Drawing; Introduction to Creative Coding in New Media Arts; Trends in International Contemporary Art Since 1960; Interactive 3D: Expanded Cinema and Virtual Performance; and Advanced Critique. The Moving Image BFA culminates with the BFA Thesis Project and Exhibition/Final Thesis Show.

The 18-20 credit hour Moving Image Arts minor at UIC is designed for students who wish to complement their current major with studies in film, television, video, and new media. Course examples for the program include Moving Image Arts; Film and Culture; and Communication Technologies.

The Art MFA at University of Illinois at Chicago is a highly interdisciplinary program that requires 64 credit hours. The curriculum combines collaborative projects, seminars, individual projects, research, advanced critique courses, and coursework from other Departments at UIC. Courses range from Drawing and Painting to New Media Arts and Moving Image.

All Art MFA students will work and learn in expansive private studio spaces. The program culminates with a thesis or final project leading to a formal presentation at a public exhibition.

Graduates of the BA, BFA, and MFA programs at University of Illinois at Chicago are prepared to pursue leadership roles and others across industries such as entertainment, game design and development, advertising, architecture, science and medicine, law, government, and education.

Serving approximately 35,520 students, University of Illinois at Chicago is the largest university in the Chicago area. The school formed in 1982 when two U of I campuses—the Medical Center campus, which dates back to the 19th century—and the Chicago Circle campus, which replaced the two-year undergraduate Navy Pier campus in 1965, merged. The Navy Pier campus dated back to 1946, when it opened as a school to educate returning veterans. Today, UIC provides more than 250 degree programs and 85 minors across 16 colleges and schools. The University of Illinois at Chicago is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

16. University of Wisconsin – Stout, Menomonie, Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin – Stout

The College of Arts & Humanities (CAHS) at University of Wisconsin – Stout (UW-Stout) is home to the School of Art & Design. Consisting of more than 1,000 students and 65 faculty, the School of Art & Design is the largest art and design school in the upper Midwest. Programs within the school emphasize hands-on, polytechnic-infused curriculums supplemented by local, national, and international internships; study abroad experiences; and Cooperative Education and Field Experiences.

The School of Art & Design houses the Design Department, which has a collaborative cross-disciplinary Animation & Digital Media BFA, and a Design MFA. Across programs, students benefit from learning that takes place in studio classrooms; access to state-of-the-art labs and studios, such as the Animation and Game Design & Development Studio Lab; and active faculty with extensive professional experience in the field.

The UW-Stout Animation & Digital Media BFA consists of 120 credit hours of study. The program explores traditional two-dimensional animation, three-dimensional modeling and animation, real-time production, character and environment design, motion capture, and principles of visual storytelling. Students in this program will develop creative and critical thinking skills, while taking courses that cover specific animation and design software.

Course examples for the program (including electives) include 3D Modeling and Animation; Design Drawing and Concept Visualization; Commercial Motion Graphics; Digital Illustration; Virtual and Augmented Reality Video Applications; Visual Effects and Compositing; 3D Character Animation; Digital Sound; Video Production; Typography in Motion; Comics; Animation Production; and Professional Practices in Design.

The Animation & Digital Media BFA program at University of Wisconsin - Stout ends with a two-semester sequence Animation Capstone. This culminating experience for the BFA includes the development of a professional level project from concept to published digital media, modeling the approach used in the animation industry.

The Design MFA at University of Wisconsin – Stout takes place in a cross-disciplinary environment where graduate students may focus in areas such as Animation & Digital Media; Cinema, Video, & Photography; Game Design & Development; User Experience Design; Graphic Design & Interactive Media; and Experience Design. Design MFA students will complete several design studios and seminar courses, independent study, and at least nine credits of focused electives.

This flexible program utilizes the hybrid model of delivery, consisting of evening core classes combined with on-campus and online meetings. Students have the option to select full-time, on-campus studio courses or customize a part-time plan with hybrid classes and independent projects.

The culminating experience for the Design MFA program at University of Wisconsin – Stout is the Creative Thesis in Design, which consists of an independent design research project produced and implemented under direction of a primary research adviser and committee. MFA students will present their final projects to a thesis committee, to include a public exhibition or lecture. 

Graduates of the Animation and Design programs at University of Wisconsin – Stout are prepared to pursue leadership roles and others across industries. As part of UW-Stout, program alumni enjoy a near perfect 99.4% employment rate.

School of Art & Design are Animators (2D or 3D), Stop-Motion Animators, Concept Artists, Game Designers, Art Directors, and 3D Modelers at places such as Disney, Apple, DreamWorks Animation, Shutterfly, Raven Software, Larsen Design, PUNY Entertainment, The Nerdery, and Fantasy Flight Games. Some Design MFA alumni have gone on to become educators at UW-Stout, and other schools such as UW-River Falls and Vancouver College of Art and Design.

University of Wisconsin – Stout (UW-Stout) was established in 1891 as The Stout Manual Training School. Today, the school one of just 125 polytechnic universities in the U.S. and the only one in the State Wisconsin. Serving approximately 6,940 students, University of Wisconsin-Stout provides more than 145 programs, many of which are unique to UW-Stout or are not offered anywhere else in the Midwest. Programs are organized into two colleges, with five schools and a graduate school.

University of Wisconsin – Stout is accredited the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The Graphic Design and Interactive Media program is accredited by the National Association for Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

17. Ferris State University, Big Rapids & Grand Rapids, Michigan

Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) has several paths to study animation.  The school’s Digital Art and Design BFA has focus options in Multimedia Design and Entertainment Art. The Digital Art and Design minor provides the opportunity to customize the curriculum by selecting five major studio courses from the BFA program.

Consisting of 120 credit hours of study, the Digital Art and Design BFA combines imaging, animation, sound, and interactivity. The program allows students to develop a portfolio in 2D Animation, Interaction Design, 3D Game Art, Motion Design, or Visual Development.

Multimedia Design students will take courses that explore interaction design for the internet of things, virtual reality, web, motion design animation, video, and apps. Entertainment Art students will take courses that explore 2D animation, concept and production art for animation and games, and 3D game art.

Graduates of the Digital Art and Design BFA at Kendall College of Art and Design are prepared to pursue careers in fields such as entertainment, advertising, game art and design, information, retail, and education. Potential job titles include Character Animator, Background Designer, 2D/3D Motion Graphics Animator, Storyboard Artist, 2D/3D Character Concept Artist, and 2D/3D Prop & Environment Concept Artist.

KCAD alumni have been hired at places such as places such as Disney Television Animation, Epic Games, R/GA New York, and YouTube. KCAD alumni have also been accepted into graduate programs at School of Visual Arts in New York (SVA NY), Academy of Art University in San Francisco, and Vancouver Film School (Vancouver, Canada), among others.

Founded in 1928, Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University is one of the seven colleges within Ferris State. Established in 1884, Ferris State University serves more than 10,000 students enrolled 190+ programs. Located Big Rapids, Michigan, Ferris State university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Located in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University serves 565 students enrolled in dozens of specialized undergraduate degree programs, and several graduate and certificate programs. As part of Ferris State University, KCAD is accredited by HLC. KCAD is also an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

18. Indiana University Indianapolis, Indianapolis, Indiana
Indiana University Indianapolis

The Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering at Indiana University Indianapolis (IU Indianapolis) has several paths to study animation. For students seeking a degree program, the Luddy School has a Media Arts and Science (MAS) BS with specializations in 3D Graphics and Animation, Digital Storytelling, and Game Design and Development.

For students seeking a shorter program, the school has minors in 3D Graphics and Animation, Game Design and Development, and Studio Art and Technology. A Virtual Production certificate is also available. Minors are 15 credit hours and the certificate is 18 credit hours.

All degree, minor, and certificate programs provide access to state-of-the-art classrooms, labs, and other facilities, and courses that explore topics such as animation, special effects, augmented and virtual reality (VR/AR), 3D modeling, and production. Students also benefit from hands-on classroom projects.

Across BS specializations, students have access to many animation courses. For example, Digital Storytelling students can take 2D Animation; Stop Motion Animation; Advanced 2D Animation; Interactive Design; and Directing Visual Narratives. Examples of courses within 3D Graphics and Animation include 3D Animation; 3D Character Development; Advanced 3D Character Animation; Motion Graphics; and Compositing and Visual Effects.

Game Design and Development students may take courses such as 2D Animation; Storyboarding for Multimedia; Character Design and Animation; Digital Painting; and Virtual world Design and Development. Note that these specializations have overlapping courses and all allow students to participate in the study abroad experience in Greece.

The core for the MAS program with specializations in 3D Graphics and Animation, Digital Storytelling, and Game Design and Development, requires the Career Planning, Portfolio Development, and Multimedia Project Development courses. For the Capstone—the culminating experience for the program—students may choose one of three options: Capstone Project Internship; Mentorship; or Bridge to Industry.

Final projects result in a collective exhibition of all graduating students from the MAS program. Graduates of the MAS programs at Indiana University Indianapolis are prepared to pursue positions across industries from film/TV/animation and games to multimedia, advertising, and medicine.

Graduates of the Luddy School MAS program work in a variety of roles such as 2D and 3D Animator, Game Artist, Technical Animator, Motion Graphics Artist, Medical Animator, Game Artist, Creative Director, AR/VR Designer, and Film Production Artist.

Program alumni have been hired at major studios and others such as Pixar, Electronic Arts (EA), Sony Pictures ImageWorks, Blizzard Entertainment, Rockstar Games, Digital Domain, Owlchemy Labs, HTC (Taipei, Taiwan), Gearbox Software, Vision3 Interactive, 4A Games, Piperworks Studios, and Half Full Nelsen.

Established in 1820, Indiana University was one of the first public universities west of the Allegheny Mountains. Classes began in 1825 with just 10 men. In 1967, IU became one of the first state universities to admit women. Today, Indiana University is a top public research university with more than 69,000 undergraduate students and 20,000+ graduate and professional students from all backgrounds and 164 countries. More than 930 academic programs are provided across seven campuses, including Indiana University Indianapolis. Indiana University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

19. American Academy of Art College, Chicago, Illinois
American Academy of Art College

American Academy of Art College (American Academy of Art) provides art and design programs led by accomplished professionals across many creative industries. All programs at the school begin with foundation studies, which prepares students for advanced-level studies in their chosen major. For one academic year, students will explore technique, design, and perspective through exercises and projects. Life drawing is also explored during the foundation year, as well as demonstrations, lectures, and field trips.

For students seeking a degree in animation, American Academy of Art has a 3-D Modeling and Animation BFA program that requires 122 credit hours of study. Students will begin their advanced studies in traditional areas such as drawing and sculpture. Next, the program will focus on developing 3D digital skills to create animations and 3D models. Students will work their way through the animation pipeline while working in a team environment to meet project deadlines.

Course examples for the program include Introduction to 3-D Modeling and Animation; Materials and Lighting for the 3-D Artist; Storyboarding; 2-D Computer Animation and Digital Video; Digital Video; Studio Lighting and Techniques; Web Design; Advanced Character and Hard Surface Modeling; Concept Art; Film and Society; Advanced Character Animation; and Survey of American Illustration. 

In the final year of the program, students will complete the Portfolio: Visual Communications course, and Advanced Projects in 3-D Modeling and Animation. This leads to a professional demo reel focused on an industry specialization.

Graduates of the Animation program at American Academy of Art College are prepared to pursue roles at local and national studios. Potential job titles include 2D or 3D Animator, VFX Artist, Motion Graphics Designer, Background Artist, Game Artist, Film/Video Editor, Game Designer, Art Director, 3D Printing Specialist, and Product Designer.

The American Academy of Art College has been training fine and commercial artists since 1923. The school serves approximately 170 students enrolled in six programs across several departments. Degree programs lead toa BFA. The American Academy of Art College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

20. Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
Kent State University

Kent State University (Kent State) is home to the College of Applied and Technical Studies (CATS), which provides more than 35 undergraduate program, seven minors, and nearly 20 certificate programs. For students seeking an animation degree, CATS has an Animation Game Design BS with Animation and Game concentrations. For students who would like to major in a related area and declare a minor, CATS has a Modeling and Animation minor that requires 21 credit hours of study.

Courses for the minor include Character Animation; Modeling and Texturing I and II; 2D Graphics; Solid Modeling; and Digital Sculpting. This program culminates with the Final Animation Project worth three credits.

The Kent State Animation Game Design BS consists of 18 focused credits in the concentration. Both Animation and Game students will learn to create digital media works such as cartoons, virtual reality environments, and games using industry software and technologies for traditional animation, 2D graphics, 3D models, and digital sculpting.

For students in the Animation concentration, course requirements include Animation Production and Visual Effects; Character Animation; Real-Time Rendering for Animation; Solid Modeling; and Animation Project. All students have the option to complete the Internship in Animation and Game Design elective, worth 1-3 credits. Other elective examples include Animation and Game Design Practicum; Special Topics in Animation and Game Design; Real-Time Rendering for Animation; and Individual Investigation in Animation and Game Design.

The Animation Game Design BS at Kent State University culminates with the Senior Capstone Project or Technical and Applied Studies Capstone, students’ choice. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), both the BS and minor programs can be completed at the Kent, Stark, or Tuscarawas campus.

Graduates are prepared to pursue roles at all levels in areas such as animation, 2D and 3D modeling, game design, technical illustration, and production. Program alumni have been hired at studios such as Epic Games, Electronic Arts (EA), and High Moon Studios.

Kent State University was established in 1910 as a teacher-training school. Today, the school comprises an eight-campus system that serves 33,530 students from across the U.S. and more than 100 countries.

Approximately 25,285 students are enrolled at the main campus in Kent, Ohio. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), Kent State University provides more than 300 programs with 280+ majors and minors. Programs at Kent State are housed across 14 colleges, dozens of departments and schools, and Kent State Online.

21. Webster University, Webster Groves, Missouri
Webster University

Webster University (Webster) is home to the School of Communications (SOC). Housed in a 66,000-square foot state-of-the-art media production and education facility known as the Sverdrup Complex, the SOC (as part of Webster) has been designated a Toon Boom Centre of Excellence by Toon Boom Animation. The school provides access to sound stages; animation, game design, and video post-production labs; workshop and teaching spaces; audio and video production suites; the Kooyumjian Gallery and Media Center; a recording suite and photography studio; Winnifred Moore Auditorium.

The Complex is also home to the Webster Film Series and Kinemafest, which hosts more than 100 film screenings, special series and outside sponsors, filmmaking workshops, over 20 visiting performers and speakers, and 6,800+ viewers.

The School of Communications at Webster University houses three departments including Media Arts; Audio Aesthetics and Technology; and Communications and Journalism. The Media Arts Department, has a STEM-designated Animation program with two options: the BA and Animation Production minor. Students in both programs benefit from small classes; collaboration across SOC disciplines and the University; and hands-on experience through experiential learning experiences.

The Animation BA at Webster University explores animation, storytelling, production, and performance. The major consists of 57 credit hours, with required courses such as Animation I-II; Character Design; 3D Modeling; Graphics and Effects; Storyboarding; Voicing Your Creation; Writing the Short Script; and Professional Development for Media Careers. Students can develop additional skills in a specific area through required electives. Examples include Game Art; Writing Screenplays for Film; Cartooning; Visual Effects; and Comic Book Creation.

The 18 credit hour Animation Production minor explores the theory, principles, and practice of animation. Courses include Animation I-II and Writing Screenplays for Film. Students will also complete nine hours of animation electives. Examples include 3D Animated Short Film; Special Topics in Animation; Character Design; Photorealistic 3D Animation; Experimental Animation; Storyboarding; Animation Production; Cartooning; and Visual Storytelling.

Students in all Webster SOC programs may add the Entrepreneurship Certificate to enhance the degree and participate in Careers Week. This department-focused event highlights industry professional-led career panels; interactive career videos; and the annual Internship Expo where students can network, meet with a variety of professionals, and secure an internship.

SOC students have interned at companies and studios in St. Louis, Los Angeles, Orlando, and New York City. Examples include MTV Networks, Plymptoons, Titmouse, ESPN, Genius Games, Bad Dog Pictures, and Vidzu Media.

Housed in the George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology/Management Department, the Entrepreneurship Certificate is an 18 credit hour program that explores small business management, marketing, and financial management for Animation, Media Arts, Film/Television and Video Production, Music, and Graphic Design.

Graduates of the Animation programs at Webster University are prepared to pursue positions in the entertainment industry and many others. Program alumni have been hired at major studios such as DreamWorks, Disney, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), and Digital Domain. Alumni credits include Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Lord of the Rings (2001, 2002, 2003), and King Kong.

Webster University was founded in 1915 as Loretto College by the Sisters of Loretto. When it opened, the school became the first senior Catholic college for women in Missouri, and one of the first Catholic women’s colleges west of the Mississippi River. Today, Webster serves a diverse population of approximately 13,450 students enrolled in more than 160 programs across five colleges and schools. Webster University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

22. Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri
Missouri State University

The Judith Enyeart Reynolds College of Arts and Letters at Missouri State University (MSU) is home to the Department of Art and Design and the Art BFA program with a Computer Animation Studies Track. In partnership with the Department of Media, Journalism, and Film, the Department of Art and Design also has an Electronic Arts BS with an optional Computer Animation Studies Track.

The Art BFA/Computer Animation program explores 2D and 3D animation techniques. Courses examples include Computer Animation II-V and Professional Practices in Computer Animation. Students may complete three to six credit hours in any studio area. An Art Internship, Public Affairs Capstone, and BFA Art Senior Exhibition are also part of the program.

Electronic Arts students will complete 69 credits in the major, including 18 in Computer Animation Studies. Students will take many Art BFA/Computer Animation courses along with others such as Animation I; Professional Practices in Computer Animation; Principles of Cinematography; and Editing for Film and Television. Junior Portfolio Review, the Public Affairs Capstone, and Senior Project in Electronic Arts are also part of the BS Program.

Graduates of the Missouri State University Animation Programs are prepared to pursue roles in areas such as Animation, Computer Animation, Visual Effects (VFX), Game Art, Television/Film, Game Design, Advertising, Marketing, and Education.

Missouri State University was founded in 1905 as the Fourth District Normal School. This public university system comprises four campuses: Springfield, West Plains, and Mountain Grove, Missouri, and Dalian, China. MSU serves approximately 24,225 students enrolled more than 260 undergraduate majors and graduate options across eight colleges. Missouri State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

23. Northern Illinois University, Chicago, Illinois
Northern Illinois University

The College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) at Northern Illinois University (NIU) houses the School of Art and Design. An institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) since 1969, the School of A & D has an Art Studio and Design BFA program with a specialization in Time Arts. While students in this program will explore 2D/3D animation, sound, video art, interactivity, and data visualization, they have the option to focus in one area.

All first-year BFA students must complete the Foundation Program before entering the specialization. Examples of foundation coursework includes Life Drawing; 2D Foundation; and 3D Foundation. Examples of major and specialization courses include Introduction to Time Arts; Video Art; Beginning Photo; 2D Animation; Interactive Art; 3D Animation; Intermediate Arts; Advanced Topics: 3D Animation; Sound; and Time Arts: Special Topics. The program requires a total 120 credit hours to graduate.

The Art Studio and Design BFA program at Northern Illinois University culminates with the Senior Project and BFA Show. Graduates will enter the job market with a professional portfolio of their best work.  Program alumni are prepared to pursue careers in the film and television, game design and development, advertising, architecture, science and medicine, forensic animation, and education.

Chartered in 1895, Northern Illinois University opened as the Northern Illinois State Normal School in 1899. This former teachers' school has grown into a public research university that serves approximately 15,505 students enrolled in more than 180 different undergraduate and graduate programs across all disciplines. The academic programs at NIU are housed across 42 schools and departments within seven colleges. Northern Illinois University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

24. Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas
Kansas State University

Kansas State University (K-State) is home to the Salina Aerospace and Technology Campus, which has an Engineering Technology BS with a Digital Media Technology (DMT) option. This hands-on program takes place in a studio atmosphere led by industry professionals, where students will work on projects with real-world clients. The program also provides access to designated iMac Lab space and industry-standard software including Adobe Creative Cloud Suite.

The K-State Digital Media Technology program is a hybrid degree that combines the study of technology and art by blending courses in animation, motion graphics, programming, video production, graphic design, web design, and photography. Specific course examples include Emerging Technologies Studio; Digital Media Production Studio; User Experience (UX) Design in Digital Media; Programming I and II; Fundamentals of Design Thinking; Visual Communication Studio; Web Fundamentals; and Computer Systems Studio I and II.

The culminating experience for the K-State DMT BS is the Digital Media Senior Capstone Project. Students in this course will develop a professional quality digital media project, individually or in teams.  Real-word projects (in some cases) from local businesses will focus on the student’s area of interest. Projects will be presented to faculty and peers for final evaluation.

Graduates of the K-State Digital Media Technology Program are prepared to pursue careers across the entertainment, technology, advertising, games, and other industries. Program alumni enjoy a near-perfect 97% job placement rate. Graduates go on to become Animators, Creative Directors, Motion Designers, Digital Illustrators, Web Designers, Interactive Designers, Video Producers, Directors, Game Artists, Art Directors, and UX Designers.

Founded in 1863, Kansas State University serves 19,745 students enrolled in more than 365 graduate degrees, certificates, and undergraduate majors (and options). Programs at K-State are housed across nine colleges and a graduate school. Campuses include Manhattan, Salina, and Olathe, Kansas, and K-State Global/K-State Online. Kansas State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

25. Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan
Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley State University (GVSU) is home to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS). Within CLAS is the Department of Visual & Media Arts (VMA). An accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the VMA Department serves nearly 700 students enrolled in five programs leading to ten different degrees.

Students in all programs may participate in campus exhibitions; independent study programs; and experiential learning such as internships, study abroad, and field trips. Organizations that have offered internships to VMA students include Flix Premiere, Externa CGI, TruVision Studios; Mosaic Film Experience, Coastline Studios, Paris Films, Michael Lynn Animation Studio, Green Sky, and Voyage Pictures. Students have also interned or studied abroad places such as the UK, Australia, France, and Spain.

All VMA students also benefit from access to state-of-the-art equipment and facilities designed for work in traditional and new media; interactions with regular visiting artists; participation in several student organizations; and the opportunity to present off-campus screening events.

The Department of Visual & Media Arts at GVSU also has two paths to study animation: BA and BS degrees in Film and Video Production. Both options explore animation, film studies, new media, scriptwriting, fiction, sound design, documentary, and nonfiction. The BA requires proficiency in a foreign language, while the BS requires three courses in Computer Information Systems, History, or Statistics.

Across programs, courses and projects are led by working professionals in the field, with opportunities to work on productions for clients outside of the classroom. Course examples for the program include Animation I and II; Film and Video Art; Digital Post Production; History of Animation; Experimental Film and Video; Media Production I and II; 3D Computer Animation; Lighting for Film and Video Production; and Survey of Media Production Modes.

At the advanced level, students will complete the Advanced Film Practicum – Summer Film Project; Post-Production Practicum; Producing for Clients; and the Senior Thesis Project.

The Film and Video Production program at Grand Valley State University is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Graduates are prepared for careers in all areas of film, television, and video; advertising; illustration; game design; architecture; publishing; and many other areas. GVSU Film and Video Production alumni have worked with studios and production houses such as DreamWorks Animation, Detroit Public Television, Voyage Pictures, Match Frame Creative, M-1 Studios, Contact Light Films, 52 Watt Studios, A2 Creative, Coastline Studios, Allied Productions, and D-Squared Creative.

Grand Valley State University was established in 1960. With eight regional campuses and centers, GVSU serves approximately 22,270 students enrolled in more than 140 degree programs across seven schools and eight locations in Michigan. Grand Valley State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).