What are the top animation schools in the south for 2022?

Top 25 Animation Schools in the South - 2022 College Rankings
1Savannah College of Art and DesignGeorgia
2Ringling College of Art and DesignFlorida
3Full Sail UniversityFlorida
4University of Central FloridaFlorida
5Florida State UniversityFlorida
6Clemson UniversitySouth Carolina
7The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School Florida
8University of FloridaFlorida
9University of North Carolina School of the ArtsNorth Carolina
10East Tennessee State UniversityTennessee
11Middle Tennessee State UniversityTennessee
12Louisiana State UniversityLouisiana
13University of South FloridaFlorida
14North Carolina State UniversityNorth Carolina
15Tulane UniversityLouisiana
16University of TampaFlorida
17Lipscomb UniversityTennessee
18Kennesaw State UniversityGeorgia
19University of North Carolina, WilmingtonNorth Carolina
20University of Louisiana at LafayetteLouisiana
21Louisiana State University-ShreveportLouisiana
22East Carolina UniversityNorth Carolina
23University of South CarolinaSouth Carolina
24University of Arkansas, Fort SmithArkansas
25Northern Kentucky UniversityKentucky

Our 2022 list -our eleventh annual- of the Top 25 Animation School Programs in the South. For reference, we define the South as Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia
Savannah College of Art and Design

Students in the Animation Program at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) have access to more than 800 networked computers and a 60,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art digital media center consisting of a green screen lab, in-house theater, and studio environment. At all degree levels, SCAD animation students receive instruction from celebrated professors who have worked at major studios and on award-winning productions such as The Lion King, Ice Age, and Pocahontas.

SCAD animation programs are housed in the School of Animation and Motion. Three degree pathways are available including a BFA, MA and MFA. Two 25 credit hour minors are offered, including Animation and Concept Design for Animation and Games.

Incoming BFA students have the opportunity to enroll in Gradpath@SCAD. This program provides students with the chance to earn their BFA and MA or MFA at an accelerated pace. The BFA/MA may take less than four years to complete, and the BFA/MFA can be completed in five years or less.

The 180 credit hour BFA in Animation is offered at SCAD’s Atlanta and Savannah campuses. The program includes 80 hours in the major, which consists of concentrations in 2D Animation, 3D Character Animation, Storytelling and Concept Development, or Technical Animation. Students may also choose 10 hours of free electives. Course examples for the program include Collaborative Experiences in Animation, 3D Character Animation: Creatures and Quadrupeds, and Story and Concept: Seeding the Narrative.

Each student in the SCAD Animation BFA Program will complete three Film Capstone courses including Preproduction, Production, and Postproduction. An optional internship is also part of the program.

Savannah College of Art and Design’s MA and MFA in Animation programs are 45 and 90 credit hours, respectively. The MA is offered in Savannah and through the schools online learning platform SCADnow. The MFA is offered in Atlanta, Savannah, and via SCADnow. MA students will complete courses such as Animation Aesthetics and Practice, Environment Look Development, and Computer-Generated Modeling and Design. Students will also complete a collaborative project and a final project. The graduate internship is optional.

The SCAD MFA in Animation requires a graduate internship and completion of three thesis courses. Students in the program can expect to take other courses such as Drawing in Motion, Media Theory and Application, and Storyboarding and Previsualization. Completion of at least seven 500- to 700-level electives are also part of the program.  

From Stop-Motion Animator to Creature Technical Director, SCAD Animation graduates have been recruited by major studios such as 20th Century Fox, Electronic Arts, DreamWorks, Lucasfilm Animation, Pixar, Disney, Sony Pictures Imageworks, and many others.

Savannah College of Art and Design opened its doors to 71 students in September 1979. Housed in the renovated Savannah Volunteer Guards Armory, the school began with just one classroom and an administration building. Today, SCAD serves more than 15,000 students across campuses in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia, and Lacoste, France. Offering more than 100 degree programs and over 75 minors and certificate programs, Savannah College of Art and Design has more degree programs and specializations than any other art and design college in the U.S.

Savannah College of Art and Design is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Additional accreditation includes the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) and the National Architecture Accrediting Board (NAAB).

2. Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida
Ringling College of Art and Design

Ringling College of Art and Design (RCAD) offers a Computer Animation BFA consisting of 120 credit hours of study. Established in 1990, the program offers courses such as 2D Design, Traditional Animation, and Visual Development for Computer Animation taught by accomplished professionals in the field. Coursework is complemented by communications with visiting artists and industry guest speakers from major studios such as DreamWorks.

Students in RCAD’s Computer Animation Program also have the opportunity to complete a concentrated internship and work with area businesses on practical projects. All RCAD students participate in the school’s initiative known as INDEX (Industry Experience). Developed by developed by Ringling College of Art and Design in partnership with The Patterson Family Foundation, the initiative provides experiential learning opportunities through everything from internships to competitions sponsored by major brands and clients. INDEX also helps students build their portfolios and resumes.

Another degree option for aspiring animators is the BFA in Motion Design. This program covers animation, stop motion, design, and sound. Motion Design students will have the opportunity to collaborate on projects in teams and attend the week-long FutureProof conference. The event consists of presentations, workshops, and keynote speakers.

Ringling College of Art and Design graduates have gone on to win Academy Awards, found companies such as Moonbot Studios, and launch successful careers at studios such as Pixar, DreamWorks, and Disney Animation Studios.

Ringling College of Art and Design is a private, not-for-profit college. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), RCAD has been around since 1931, when it was co-founded by circus baron, John Ringling. Serving nearly 1,700 students from 54 countries, 45 states, and four territories, Ringling College of Art and Design offers eleven majors leading to a BFA degree, two majors leading to a BA, and minor options in 10 areas.

3. Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Full Sail University

Full Sail University (Full Sail) offers a BS in Computer Animation with online and on-campus options. The distance learning option takes 29 months to complete, while the campus option takes just 20 months to complete. For both programs, students will learn how to navigate the production pipeline used in today’s major studios. Course highlights include 3D Animation I-II, Technical Animation, Industry Production, Character Rigging, and Visual Development.

All Full Sail animation students are required to take two professional development seminar courses and seven project and portfolio courses covering 3D arts and computer animation. 

Professional development courses provide the opportunity for students to explore the computer animation industry, while learning to build their personal brand. Professional development courses are enhanced by industry guest speakers. Project and portfolio courses highlight hands-on, project-based learning, independent study, and portfolio development

Full Sail University graduates have worked on Oscar-nominated films, earning credits on at least 24 projects across 20 categories.

Full Sail University offers graduate certificates and programs at all degree levels in the Arts, Entertainment, Media, and Technology. The school, which opened in 1979 in Dayton, Ohio, is located just 35 minutes from downtown Orlando and Universal Studios. Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), Full Sail serves approximately 21,000 students.

4. University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida
University of Central Florida

The School of Visual Arts & Design (SVAD) at the University of Central Florida (UCF) offers animation programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Housed in the College of Arts and Humanities, SVAD animation pathways include BFA and MFA degrees in Emerging Media. The BFA program has two track options for animators: Character Animation and Experimental Animation. The MFA has Animation & Visual Effects, and Studio Art & Design Tracks.

Character Animation is a portfolio-based track that takes two years to complete, full-time. Program highlights include courses taught by industry professionals, access to state-of-the-art labs, and internship opportunities.

In the Experimental Animation Track, students will complete courses such as Digital Effects & Compositing, Stop Motion Animation, and Modeling for Visual Language. Specific experimental animation courses include Advanced Experimental Animation, Experimental Animation Professional Practice, Experimental Animation Workshop, and Experimental Animation Portfolio. Students in this Track will also complete the BFA thesis project and exhibition/screening.

Graduates of the UCF SVAD animation programs are employed with major studios such as Pixar, DreamWorks, Disney, Electronic Arts, and many others.

The University of Central Florida College of Sciences houses the Nichols School of Communication & Media—home to Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA). Established in partnership with the City of Orlando, the State of Florida, and UCF, FIEA enrolls more than 130 students annually.

The Academy offers an MS in Interactive Entertainment that covers areas such as 3D animation and modeling, motion capture, technical and level design, technical art, and preproduction. The program requires 30 credits including 12 credit hours of core courses, nine credit hours in a specialization, a practicum, and a capstone experience. An internship is also part of the program.

University of Central Florida FIEA graduates have been hired at studios such as Blizzard Entertainment, Marvel, Sony, Gameloft, Nintendo, Electronic Arts, Walt Disney Imagineering, DreamWorks, Universal, Google, Microsoft Studios, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) (ILM), Zynga, and many others.

Also housed in the College of Sciences’ Nichols School of Communication & Media is the Digital Media MA Program. This option prepares animation students for entry into a PhD program or employment in the animation, games, AR/VR, or special effects industries.

Founded in 1963, University of Central Florida opened in 1968 as Florida Technological University. When it began, the school had less than 2,000 students. Today, UCF serves more than 70,000 students, making it the largest university by enrollment in the State of Florida, and one of the nation’s largest universities. Program offerings include 106 bachelor’s degrees, 95 master’s degrees, 31 research doctorates, three professional doctorates, and three specialist degrees.

University of Central Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

5. Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida
Florida State University

The College of Motion Picture Arts at Florida State University (FSU) offers a BFA in Animation and Digital Arts. Students spend their first year of the program completing general education requirements. For the remaining years of the program, students will immerse in 91 credit hours of study in the major.

Course highlights include Reality & Illusion in World Cinema, Motion Picture Editing, Story Development and Screenwriting, History & Practice of Visual Effects and Animation, Filmmaking, Lighting, Texturing and Rendering, and Professional Development. The FSU College of Motion Picture offers nearly 30 electives for the BFA program, allowing students to pursue a variety or interests. Examples include Documentary Filmmaking, Visual Effects, Screenwriting, Marketing and Exhibition, and Film Business.

Other program highlights include the opportunity to complete four major films, including the thesis film, small class sizes of no more than 15 student, and the chance to complete a professional internship. All FSU College of Motion Picture students may participate in the Torchlight Program, which provides instruction in the financing, marketing, and distribution of films.

Florida State University BFA graduates are prepared to seek positions in the film, television, and animation industries. Potential job titles include Animator, Effects Animator, Visual Effects Artist, CG Lighter, Animation Supervisor, Modeler, Animatics Supervisor, Rigger, and Storyboard Artist, to name a few.

Founded in 1851, Florida State University serves nearly 44,000 students enrolled in around 276 degree programs at all levels. One of the largest and oldest universities in Florida, FSU houses 16 colleges and schools at campuses across the state. Florida State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

6. Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina
Clemson University

The College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences at Clemson University (Clemson) is home to School of Computing, which houses the Division of Visual Computing’s Digital Production Arts (DPA) Program. Pathways for animators include MFA and MS degrees in Digital Production Arts (MFA DPA, MS DPA).

A Digital Production Arts Minor is jointly offered by the Department of Art in the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities, and the School of Computing. Launched in 2011 the Minor requires a minimum of 15 credit hours of study.

Digital Production Arts at Clemson University encompasses dozens of disciplines. However, each DPA program pathway has its own learning objectives. The curriculum for the MFA DPA pathway blends computer science and engineering, psychology, graphic communications, art, philosophy, and performing arts. Course examples include Technical Character Animation, Physically Based Animation, Visual Foundations of Digital Production, 3D Modeling and Animation, and Special Effects compositing.

The 60 credit hour MFA DPA program at Clemson is the terminal degree in the field. Graduates are prepared for a range of roles in the film and animation, video, electronic gaming, and visual effects industries. Graduates have gone on to land positions at DreamWorks, Electronic Arts, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), ReelFX, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Pixar, and Walt Disney Animation Studios.

The MS DPA was established in 2017. The program focuses on the technical and visual effects aspects of film production, games, and commercial video. The program includes many of the same animation courses offered in the MFA program, which provides many opportunities for students to develop their animation skills. Other course highlights include Software Construction, Advanced Computer Graphics, Human and Computer Interaction (HCI), 2D Game Engine Design, and Virtual Reality. Six required electives allow students to explore areas such as improvisation, scene painting, audio engineering, visual narrative, photography, and drawing, to name a few.

In addition to technical roles in the animation industry, graduates of the Clemson University MS DPA Program can pursue positions such as Technical Director, 3D Graphics Programmer, Tool Builder, and Software Engineer, and VR Developer in the broad entertainment industry.

Clemson University began as Clemson Agricultural College in 1893. The school serves a population of 26,400 students enrolled in more than 200 degree programs. An additional 90+ minors are available. Clemson University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

7. The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School (DAVE School), Orlando, Florida
DAVE School logo

The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School (DAVE School) has several programs for animators looking to enter the entertainment industry. Options include Visual Effects Production (VFX), Motion Graphics, Game Production, and Virtual Production. Programs lead to a Diploma or a bachelor’s degree.

DAVE School Diploma programs take 12 or 18 months to complete, and bachelor’s degree programs may be completed in 32 or 36 months. Through electives, students in all programs have the opportunity to learn and work in animation. Students will master industry software such as After Effects, Maya, and Unreal Engine, while immersing in the production process from start to finish.

Course examples across all programs include 3D Animation, 3D Animation for Motion Graphics, Level Design, Dynamics and Visual Effects for Motion Graphics, Digital Compositing, Character, Prop and Environment Modeling, and Rotoscoping. Students will also learn the basics of creating a start-up.

Student in all DAVE School programs will build a demo reel and create a portfolio. Programs are offered in a hybrid format where student will complete the program virtually and via studio residencies at the Orlando campus. Residencies take place in a collaborative studio environment.

Graduates of the Digital Animation & Visual Effects School go on to establish freelance careers, start their own studios, or work with major studios.

The Digital Animation & Visual Effects (DAVE) School was founded in 2000. Located on the backlot of Universal Studios, Florida, The DAVE School is an academic unit of NUC University, which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MCSHE).

8. University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
University of Florida

The University of Florida (UF) houses the College of the Arts, home to the Digital Worlds Institute. Founded in 2001, the Institute is a partnership between seven UF colleges that focuses on advanced media systems by combining engineering, science, communications, and art.

The Digital Worlds Institute at University of Florida offers two programs for animators—a BA in Digital Arts & Sciences (BADAS) and a DAS Minor.

BADAS students benefit from the project-based learning environment which allows them to gain hands-on experience and team-building skills. Electives are offered in three areas: Animation, Game Design, and Experience Design & Production. Students may choose coursework in one or more of these areas based on their interests and goals. They may also take electives outside of the BADAS Program. The remaining courses for the program are in the BADAS cores and general education (30%).

BADAS core courses cover areas such as 2D and 3D animation, mobile games, design and production, digital visualization, game content creation, digital storytelling, writing for interactive media, and digital technologies. All students must complete the senior project and a portfolio. Independent study, an internship, and production practicum are optional.

Graduates of the Digital Worlds Institute at University of Florida have been hired at major studios and companies such as DreamWorks Animation and Microsoft. Many UF alumni have also gone on to launch their own start-ups.

University of Florida was founded in 1858 as Gainesville Academy. When it opened, the Academy has just a few students. Today, UF serves nearly 58,000 students enrolled in more than 300 undergraduate and graduate programs in 14 colleges and schools. The University of Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

9. University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

The School of Design & Production and the School of Filmmaking at University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs for animators.

Offered in the School of Filmmaking, the BFA in Animation requires 121 credit hours of study. The first year consists of liberal arts and foundations courses in filmmaking. At the end of the first year, students will complete a portfolio for entry into the Animation Program.

The Animation BFA emphasizes drawing, character design, lighting, props, and storytelling. Third year students will complete a three-minute animation project and begin working on the final fourth-year project. The final project is a five minute film that will serve as the BFA Thesis.

During the junior or senior years, students may complete an internship or independent study as well as upper level elective courses to enhance the degree. UNCSA Animation BFA students have interned at major studios such as Sony Pictures Imageworks and Stargate Studios.

Graduates of the Animation BFA Program at UNCSA have worked with Cartoon Network and Prologue Pictures, among others.

The School of Design and Production offers an MFA in Animatronics. This hybrid program blends electronics and animation. Students in the program will master animatronic programming and design, engineering and infrastructure of animatronic figures, sculpting, 3D printing, and project management.

Other program highlights include seminars and workshops led by professionals in the industry and access to a 100,000 square feet of state-of-the-art production space.

The Animatronics MFA Program at University of North Carolina School of the Arts culminates with a final project (thesis) conducted in collaboration with an advisor.

Graduates of the Animatronics MFA Program at University of North Carolina School of the Arts go on to establish careers at places such as Universal Studios, Nickelodeon, and Walt Disney Imagineering.

The University of North Carolina School of the Arts was founded in 1963. The school became part of the 17-campus University of North Carolina system in 1972. UNCSA serves 920 undergraduate and 150 graduate students enrolled in dozens of programs across five schools. University of North Carolina School of the Arts is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

10. East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee
East Tennessee State University

The College of Business and Technology at East Tennessee State University (ETSU) houses the Digital Media Department. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the Department offers a Digital Media Minor and a Major leading to a BS in Digital Media.

The Digital Media Minor is a 24 credit hour program that requires Digital Animation, Visual Effects and Motion Graphics, Visualization, and Digital Game Design courses. Students may choose up to eight elective credits to complete the program.

The Digital Media Major consists of 120 credit hours of study. A Digital Animation Concentration is available. Digital Media students will complete 35 credit hours of study in the Digital Media Core and 28 credit hours of study in the Digital Animation Concentration. The Department encourages students to select courses in additional areas such as scripting, digital film, or digital media production.

The following are just a few course titles for the program: Principles of Digital Animation, Visual Effects and Motion Graphics, and Digital Game Design, 3D Animation, Effects Animation, Character Animation, Technical Direction, High-Fidelity Modeling for Entertainment, Visual Effects Compositing, and Raster-Based Imaging. Digital Media students will also complete several projects and a professional portfolio of their work through the final course in the program—Portfolio Development for Digital Media.

Graduates of the ETSU BS Digital Media/Digital Animation Concentration are well-positioned for careers in 2D or 3D animation, technical direction, motion graphics, or character animation, among others. Graduates are also prepared to pursue an advanced degree at ETSU or other university.

East Tennessee State University offers an MFA in Digital Media. While the program does not have an official focus in animation, students may complete 12 credit hours of study in any area, to create a specialization. The culminating experience for the MFA program is the development of a final body of work in digital media.

East Tennessee State University was established in 1911 as East Tennessee State Normal School. The school serves around 13,120 students enrolled in 140 academic programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. ETSU programs are housed in eleven colleges and schools.

11. Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Middle Tennessee State University

The College of Media and Entertainment at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) houses the Department of Media Arts, which offers a BS in Animation. A 17 credit hour Minor in Animation is also available.  

The 120 credit hour Animation BS Program requires an Art or Interactive/Illustration Minor worth 18 credits. Major requirements consist of 58 credit hours of study including the College Core (nine hours) and the Major (49).  Courses such as Scripts for Media, Ethics and Law for Visual Communication, and Free Expression, Mass Media, and the American Public may count towards the required 41 General Education credits. 

In the Animation area, students can expect to take courses such as Animation and Performance, Basic Video Production, Motion Graphics, Professional Practices in Animation, Texturing, Lighting, and Rendering, and Digital Compositing. An Animation Capstone is also part of the program. This final student project will consist of an original animated short film that will be submitted to film and animation festivals locally, nationally, and around the world.

Graduates of the Animation BS Program at Middle Tennessee State University are prepared to seek careers in animated and feature films, documentary filmmaking, television, and education (productions).

Middle Tennessee State University was established in 1909 as Middle Tennessee State Normal School. The school opened with 125 students on September 11, 1911. Today, MTSU serves around 22,000 students enrolled in more than 300 degree programs in over a dozen colleges and schools. Middle Tennessee State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

12. Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Louisiana State University

The College of Art & Design at Louisiana State University (LSU) houses the School of Art, which has several pathway options for animators. The BFA in Studio Art with a Digital Art Concentration provides instruction and training in Animation, 3D Modeling, Visual Effects (VFX), Games, and Experimental New Media Art. Course examples include Virtual Space and Motion, Two-Dimensional Design, Moving Image, Creative Coding, Digital Art, and Three-Dimensional Design.

To enhance the BFA degree, students may add any Minor from the LSU School of Art Digital Media Arts & Engineering (DMAE) Program or the Screen Arts Program.

The School of Art also offers a BA that allows students to integrate courses from areas such as Film & TV, Computer Science, Screen Arts, and Mass Communications, into the program. The BA explores Animation, VFX, New Media Art, and Games. Course highlights include Intermediate 3D Animation, Houdini, Digital Art Studio, Intermediate 3D Modeling, Unreal Engine, and Video Game Prototyping.

This Liberal Arts degree is an attractive option for transfer students and students seeking a second degree.

At the graduate level, Louisiana State University’s School of Art offers an interdisciplinary Master in DMAE that offers coursework in Animation, Video Games, and VFX and an MFA in Digital Art. This immersive program takes two years to complete.

The curriculum for the LSU Digital Art MFA is experimental and allows students to blend courses that explore computational artmaking with coursework in animation, film, computer science, painting, electronic music, and more. Graduate MFA students will complete 60 credit hours, with 12 general electives to be taken in any specialization, and nine in an area of focus. Six credit hours are devoted to Thesis Research.

Students in all School of Art programs at Louisiana State University have access to the Arts, Visualization, Advanced Technologies and Research (AVATAR) Initiative and they may join the Digital Art and Design Association (DADA), which hosts the Annual Animation Jam.

Louisiana State University was founded in 1860 as the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy. The flagship institution of the Louisiana State University System, LSU serves nearly 36,000 students enrolled in more than 330 programs across 18 colleges, schools, and centers, and LSU Online.  Louisiana State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The three areas of concentration in the School of Art are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

13. University of South Florida, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida
University of South Florida

The College of the Arts at the University of South Florida (USF) houses the School of Art & Art History, which offers BA, BFA, and MFA degrees in Studio Art. A 24 credit hour Minor in Studio Art is also available. All programs, including the minor, allow students to focus their studies in Animation & Digital Modeling.

Studio Art students will explore 2D and 3D animation, digital imaging, video, games, film, fine art, and virtual 3D production. Course highlights across pathways include Video, Animation, & Digital Arts (VADA) and Advanced VADA, Digital Modeling, Computer Animation, 3D Animation, Graduate Seminar, and Professional Practices.

USF BFA students will complete a senior thesis along with an internship and/or a study abroad experience, while graduate students will complete an MFA research project. BA students have the following options totaling two credit hours: Extended Studies, Artists Internships/Apprenticeships, The Paris or London Middlesex Program, Public Art, Museum Internships, or Community Art.

Students in all Studio Art Programs at the University of South Florida may explore courses in other disciplines within the School of Art & Art History. Graduates of the USF School of Art & Art History go on to establish careers in animation, television and film, advertising, art, education, science, medicine, games and more.

Founded in 1956, University of South Florida serves around 46,350 students enrolled in more than 200 undergraduate programs and over 150 graduate, specialist, and doctoral programs. The degree programs at USF are offered in 14 colleges from Arts to Engineering to Public Health. The University of South Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

14. North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina
North Carolina State University

North Carolina State University (NC State University) houses the College of Design, home to the Department of Art + Design. Options for animators include the Bachelor of Art + Design (BAD) and Masters of Art + Design (MAD). A 15 credit hour Art + Design Minor consisting of courses such as Animation, Three-Dimensional Design, Drawing, Color and Light, and Sequential Imaging, is also available.

Department of Art + Design programs are highly multidisciplinary, allowing students to study both traditional disciplines and emerging techniques. Examples include animation, VR/AR, visual composition, interactive and computational media, and visual effects. Electives allow additional opportunities to focus the bachelor’s degree.

Examples of required courses and elective options for the NC State BAD program include Advanced Digital Techniques, Animation I. Art + Design Laboratory I-II, Creative Technology Studio I-III, Drawing I-II, Visualization I-II, Digital Motion, Sequential Imaging, Color and Light, Digital Modeling, Digital Representation, and Writing About Film.

Undergraduate students will move from foundation courses in the first and second years to intermediate and advanced classes in the final two years of the program. Students will leave the Bachelor of Art and Design program with a final project and a polished portfolio of their work.

The NC State MAD Program emphasizes experimental media arts and provides the same opportunities to study animation as the BAD Program does. Examples of past MAD elective options include 3D Animation, Seminar in Animation, Special Effects, Creative Coding, Digital Motion, Visualizing Narrative, Digital Modeling, Sequential Imaging, and Business of Design. During the final years of the program, MA students will have the option to produce a project in animation, interactive media, or other area of their choosing, or complete a research-based study or paper.

North Carolina State University Art + Design graduates are currently working in fields such as animation, digital special effects, multimedia, illustration, filmmaking, and software design. Many graduates go on to become art and design educators or entrepreneurs.

North Carolina State University was established in 1887 as a land-grant institution focusing in agriculture and engineering. Employing more than 9,000 faculty and staff members that serve 36,000+ students, NC State University offers over 260 degree programs across 11 colleges. North Carolina State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

15. Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana
Tulane University

The School of Liberal Arts at Tulane University houses the Newcomb Art Department, which offers BA, BFA, and MFA degrees in Studio Art. A Minor in Studio Art is also available.

All programs allow students to study Digital Arts, which allows ample opportunities to explore time-based media (animation and video). Students will explore other areas such as digital imaging, 3D graphics, and interactivity. The undergraduate programs begin with the Foundations of Art Series. The interdisciplinary MFA focuses on individual studio practice and cross-disciplinary seminars. Graduate students will participate in the Thesis Show, where each artist will exhibit a culminating body of work in the Newcomb Art Department’s Carrol Gallery located in the Woldenberg Art Center.

In addition to a number of projects completed throughout the program, BA students will complete a Senior Capstone, while BFA students will complete a final major project. Final works will be presented at the Carroll Gallery.

Tulane University was founded in 1834. Serving more than 14,500 students, Tulane was the first major research institution to require public service for graduation. The school offers more than 275 programs in 10 colleges and schools. Tulane University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

16. University of Tampa, Tampa, Florida
University of Tampa

The College of Arts and Letters (CAL) at University of Tampa offers a BFA and a Minor in Animation. Housed in the CAL Department of Film, Animation and New Media, the BFA is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

This professional degree program explores CGI, computer animation, creative coding, interactive media, visual effects, physical computing, stop-motion animation, motion capture, Maya, sound design, and more. A major component of the BFA degree is the internship program. Known as FMX 374 Internship in FMX, the program is open to second year students and higher with overall GPA 3.0.

Through FMX 374, BFA students will have opportunities to gain work experience with local and national companies. Examples include Sony Music Entertainment in New York, Legend 3D in Los Angeles, and Tampa-based studios and production houses such as Theory Studios, Diamond View Studios, and ES Creative.

During the final years of the Animation BFA Program, students will build a portfolio of their best work and complete a Capstone course.

University of Tampa Animation BFA graduates are prepared for graduate study or a career in animation, TV/film, advertising, game design, or interactive media.

Founded in 1931, University of Tampa opened as Tampa Junior College with just 62 students. Today, UT serves 10,500 students enrolled in more than 200 academic programs across four colleges. University of Tampa is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

17. Lipscomb University, Nashville, Tennessee
Lipscomb University

George Shinn College of Entertainment & The Arts at Lipscomb University offers BA, BFA, and MFA degrees in Animation. An Animation Minor consisting of 18 credit hours of study is also available. Students in all programs have opportunities to travel to places such as Los Angeles and Italy to attend animation events or complete an internship. In addition, each semester, George Shinn College welcomes industry experts to speaking events designed to help students get an idea of what it’s like to work in some of the world’s top animation studios.

Courses are led by instructors who have worked at major studios such as Disney Animation, among others. Course examples across all animation programs include 2D Character Animation, Character Design, New Media Studio, Storyboarding for Animation, CG Modeling and Lighting, and Computer Animation. BA students will complete 52 credit hours in the major, and BFA students will complete 64. Students in both programs must complete the Animation Capstone to graduate.

The MFA in Animation is a flexible hybrid program that allows students to complete the on-campus portion of the program at the Nashville campus or the Lipscomb University Austin Center (LUAC). Animation students will also attend classes with Film students, which provides multiple opportunities to train in many areas of film production.

Consisting of 62 credit hours, the Animation MFA also offers a range of advanced courses. Examples include Directing Animation, Advanced Film Business, Sound & Voice Performance, Digital Entertainment Law, Film Direction, 2D/CG Animation Pipeline, AD & Set Management, and CEA Studios Internship.

MFA students will complete a short film or TV pilot, to be screened at the end of the final semester before graduation.

Lipscomb University was founded in 1891 by ministers David Lipscomb and James A. Harding as Nashville Bible School. The school serves nearly 5,000 students enrolled in more than 240 undergraduate majors and minors, master’s degrees, and doctoral programs in 10 colleges. Lipscomb University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

18. Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, Georgia
Kennesaw State University

Kennesaw State University (KSU) offers a BFA in Digital Animation and an MA in Art and Design (MAAD). Programs are offered in the College of the Arts’ School of Art and Design (SOAAD), which serves more than 1,200 students.

The KSU Digital Animation BFA Program consists of general studies and 45 credit hours in the Animation Core and Animation Studio. Course examples include 3D Animation Modeling, Concept Art, Digital Animation Production I-II, Storyboarding & Composition, Environments for Animation, and Digital Animation Studio. Students in the BFA program have access to printers, design studios, and several iMac computer classrooms. Graduates will leave the program with a professional portfolio of their work.  

The Kennesaw State University MA in MAAD is an interdisciplinary program that has three concentrations: Digital Animation, Art Education, and Museum Studies. The Digital Animation Concentration explores rigged animation, storyboarding, visual development for games and film, and frame-by-frame animation. Course examples include Creative Problems in Digital Animation I-II, Technologies, Innovation Design Thinking, and Ideation and Iteration for Creatives.

KSU MAAD MA students will complete a final research project consisting of two courses and the two-course thesis.  The Kennesaw State University MA in MAAD may be completed entirely online in just one year.

Founded in 1963 as a junior college, Kennesaw State University (KSU) serves nearly 43,000 students enrolled in over 170 degree programs in 11 colleges and KSU Journey Honors College. Kennesaw State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

19. University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, North Carolina
University of North Carolina Wilmington

The College of Arts and Sciences at University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) houses the Department of Art and Art History, which offers a BA and a Minor in Digital Arts. The BA program offers a Concentration in Interactive Graphics. Students in this interdisciplinary program will learn to design 3D graphics and interactive user experiences for film animation, VR/AR, digital art, games, and 3D animation applications.

The UNCW BA in Digital Arts consists of a mix of computer science, math, design, web design, game design, art, and art history courses. Course examples include Calculus I-II, Web Page Development, Object-Oriented Programming & Design, Computer Gaming, Drawing Fundamentals, Computer Animation, 2D Design, Ancient through Medieval Art, and Visual Design for Multimedia. A Digital Arts Capstone (Portfolio Project) is also part of the program. Students will complete the Capstone during the last year in the major and present it in a campus venue.

The College of Arts and Sciences at UNCW allows Computer Science majors to add the Digital Art Concentration to their degree program. Leading to a BS in CS/Digital Art, the program requires 55 credit hours in the CS Core and 24 credit hours of study in the concentration.

Computer Networks, Design and Analysis of Algorithms, Programming Languages, and Software Engineering are examples of some of the core courses students can expect to take. Sample concentration courses include Multimedia Systems, Computer Animation, Film Production, 3D Computer Graphics, Tools & Literacy, Digital Video Production, and Graphic Design.

Graduates of the Digital Arts Programs at the University of North Carolina Wilmington are prepared for careers at animation and VFX studios, game design studios, graphic design firms, companies that specialize in using VR/AR for entertainment, training, and education, video production companies, places that utilize HCI such as theaters, galleries, and museums, architectural firms, and engineering firms.

Established in 1946, University of North Carolina Wilmington is part of the part of the 17-campus University of North Carolina System. The school serves 18,030 students enrolled in more than 100 programs in five colleges and schools. The University of North Carolina Wilmington is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

20. University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, Louisiana
University of Louisiana at Lafayette

The College of the Arts at University of Louisiana at Lafayette (UL Lafayette) houses the Department of Visual Arts. Launched in 1992, the Department has the oldest established computer animation program in Louisiana.

Within the Department of Visual Arts is the BFA in Visual Arts Program, which offers a Concentration in Computer Animation. Sample courses for the program include Introduction to, Intermediate, and Advanced Computer Animation, Conceptual Formal Development Drawing, Media Workshop, and Digital Art.

During the final year of the program, students will complete the Senior Capstone Art Project consisting of two courses totaling six credit hours and 12 lab hours. The project leads to a completed professional portfolio and exhibition.

Graduates of the Computer Animation and Visual Arts Programs at UL Lafayette have worked on projects for Pixel Magic in Lafayette. Examples include The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Men in Black, Looper, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One and Part Two, Looper, and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part One.

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette was established in 1898 as the Southwestern Louisiana Industrial Institute. The school serves more than 19,000 students, making UL Lafayette the second largest university in Louisiana. More than 110 programs are offered in 14 colleges and schools. The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

21. Louisiana State University-Shreveport, Shreveport, Louisiana
Louisiana State University-Shreveport

The Digital Media and Arts Department at Louisiana State University-Shreveport (LSUS) offers a BFA in Digital Arts and a BS in Computer Science with a Digital and Interactive Design Concentration. Both programs take four years to complete, and the BS prepares students for technical roles in the animation and visual effects industries.

The BFA program explores 2D and 3D animation, computer graphics, motion graphics, media arts, painting, photography, drawing, and software applications such as Adobe Photoshop. Fifteen credit hours of electives allow students to focus in areas such as animation, game design or graphic design.

Other program highlights include hands-on learning in a collaborative environment, internship opportunities with local companies and studios, and the chance to join ACM SIGGRAPH, the American Advertising Federation, or the Game Development Club. All offer opportunities to participate in workshops and network with other artists and professionals.

Students in both programs will graduate with a resume and a professional portfolio of their best work. Potential careers include animation, game art, game design and development, visual effects, advertising and marketing, film and video production, and graphic design, to name a few.

Part of the Louisiana State university System, Louisiana State University-Shreveport began as a two-year college in 1967. Serving close to 10,000 students, LSUS offers more than 20 undergraduate degree programs, a dozen master's degree programs, and a Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) in Leadership Studies. Louisiana State University-Shreveport is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

22. East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina
East Carolina University

The School of Art & Design at East Carolina University (ECU) has an Art BFA Program that offers 11 Concentrations. Options suited for individuals seeking a career in animation and film include Animation/Interactive Design, Illustration, and Film and Video Production. Students in all ECU School of Art concentrations will complete 120 credit hours of study to include 40 hours in general education, 30 in the common core, 30 in the concentration, and 20 elective credits. To be accepted into any concentration, students must pass a portfolio review.

Students in the Animation/Interactive Design Concentration can expect to take courses such as Digital 3D Animation, Intermediate Video Art, Digital 3D Lighting and Rendering, Electronic Interactive Multimedia, Motion Graphics Studio, Animation/Interactive Design Survey, Introduction to Digital 3D Modeling and Animation, Advanced Interactive Media, and Professional Practice.

Housed in the Jenkins Fine Arts Center at East Carolina University, the School of Art & Design also offers opportunities for BFA students to add an interdisciplinary studio to the program. During the final year of the Art BFA Program at ECU, students will complete a senior exhibition, film, reel, or portfolio, depending on the concentration.

Animation/Interactive Design graduates will be ready to pursue careers in animation, game design, digital design, and advertising and marketing, among others.

East Carolina University was founded in 1907 as a teacher training school. Serving more than 26,700 students, ECU offers more than 300 degree, minor, and certificate programs in 12 colleges and schools. East Carolina University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

23. University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina
University of South Carolina

The School of Visual Art and Design (SVAD) at University of South Carolina (UofSC) offers BA and MA degrees in Media Arts. The programs are designed for students seeking careers in animation, filmmaking, screenwriting, game design, among others. An 18 credit Minor in Media Arts is also available as well as an accelerated program that allows students with 90 credits and a minimum 3.4 GPA to take 12 credits that can be applied to the MA in Media Arts.

A major component of Media Arts at SVAD is the internship program. During the junior and senior years, students have the opportunity to intern with some of the nation’s top media companies and studios. Students also have the opportunity to create a focus area such as animation, games, or cinematography.

Students in all areas will take courses with titles such as The Art and Business of Manga and Anime, Comedy, Hong Kong Action Cinema, Tarantino, Advanced Game Design, Documentary Production, TV Writing, Narrative Production, Advanced Animation, and Advanced Game Design. By graduation, UofSC Media Arts students will have mastered lighting, directing, screenwriting, TV pilot design, manga writing, sound recording, and motion capture.

University of South Carolina Media Arts alumni work at Showtime, Nickelodeon, Marvel, Turner Studios, HBO Films, Amazon Studios, Blizzard, NBC, IBM, and Netflix, among others.

Established in 1801 as South Carolina College, the University of South Carolina is one of the nation’s oldest public universities. The school offers more than 300 areas of study to a population of nearly 35,400 students. Programs are UofSC are housed in 16 colleges and schools. University of South Carolina is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

24. University of Arkansas Fort Smith, Fort Smith, Arkansas
University of Arkansas Fort Smith

The College of Business and Industry at University of Arkansas Fort Smith (UAFS) offers a BS in Animation Technology (BSAT). This advanced program is designed for students who have completed an AAS or AAT degree. Students who have completed at least 45 credit hours toward the degree may also apply.

Accredited by the Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE), the BSAT at UAFS consists of 120 credit hours of study. Upper level courses allow students to delve into animation through courses such as Motion for Applied Animation, Lighting and Rendering, Computer Color Applications, Digital Production Techniques, and 3D Advanced Concepts. Other BSAT Program benefits include hands-on learning, small class sizes, and internship opportunities with local and national companies.  

The UAFS Animation Technology BS Program ends with the Senior Capstone Project. Graduates are prepared to pursue a variety of roles in animation, visual effects, games, and other media. University of Arkansas Fort Smith alumni work in industries such as Film and Video, Video Game Design, Computer System Design, and Advertising and Marketing, among others.

University of Arkansas Fort Smith (UAFS) was established in 1928. The school serves around 7,000 students enrolled in more than 100 career-based degree and certificate programs across three colleges: Arts and Sciences, Business and Industry, and Health, Education, and Human Sciences. University of Arkansas Fort Smith is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).

25. Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, Kentucky
Northern Kentucky University

Northern Kentucky University (NKU) offers a BA in 3D Digital Design and Visual Effects (VFX) (DFX) and a BFA in Visual Arts with a Studio Arts Animation Track. A 24 credit hour Minor in 3D DFX is also available.

The BA and Minor in 3D DFX are offered in the College of Informatics’ Department of Communication. The program explores animation, digital media, games visual effects, and 3D content. Core requirements and electives allow students to focus their studies on animation or other areas. Course examples include Principles of Digital 3D Animation, Digital Arts & Effects, Interactive Storytelling, Digital Compositing, Media Scripting for Interactivity, 3D Hard Surface Modeling, and Analog Game Design. Other required components of the program include Professional Practices and Advanced Portfolio Production.

The BFA in Visual Arts Program at NKU is housed in the College of Arts & Sciences’ School of the Arts (SOTA). Students in this program will complete 70 credit hours in the track. Course requirements include Animation Studio, Character Animation, Rigging and Animation, Principles of 3D Digital Animation, Drawing for Animation, 3D Hard Surface Modeling, and Topics in Animation, to name a few.

BFA students will complete a Portfolio Review course and the two-course Senior Capstone in Animation, and they will participate in the Senior Exhibition. During the exhibition, students’ final works will be critiqued by faculty.

Graduates of the Northern Kentucky University Visual Arts-Animation and 3D DXF BA Programs are prepared for positions such as Animator, Special Effects Artist, Model Maker, Illustrator, Digital Imaging Artist, Scientific/Technical Animator/Modeler, Art Director, and Multimedia Designer, among others.

Founded in 1968, Northern Kentucky University is a four-year, public university that serves nearly 16,000. The school offers more than 200 programs in eight colleges and schools. Northern Kentucky University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).