What are the top animation school programs in Indiana for 2024?

Top 5 Animation School Programs in Indiana - 2024 College Rankings
1Purdue UniversityWest Lafayette
2Ball State UniversityMuncie
3Indiana University IndianapolisIndianapolis
4Huntington UniversityHuntington
5University of Saint FrancisFort Wayne

Our 2024 ranking -our thirteenth annual- of the top animation school programs in Indiana. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

1. 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 electives, 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).

2. 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).

3. 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 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.

Program alumni work in a variety of roles such studios 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. Indiana University Indianapolis alumni have been hired at studios 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).

4. Huntington University, Huntington, Indiana
Huntington University

The Digital Media Arts Department at Huntington University (HU) has an Animation BS program that provides the opportunity to work with real clients through the Junior Animation Studio Experience. This major component pairs student teams with local businesses to create promotional media or public service announcements (PSAs). Past partners include Habitat for Humanity, Conner Prairie: Indiana’s Living History Museum, and Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo.

In addition to working with local partners, Animation BS students have the opportunity to create a variety of works to be presented at film festivals. Students will also participate in animation-related trips (locally, nationally, and around the world) during J-term and Spring Break.

Courses for the HU Animation BS are led by accomplished industry-professionals and explore stop-motion animation, visual development, storytelling, motion graphics, 3D modeling and sculpting, 2D hand-drawn animation, and 3D computer technology. Course examples include Tools and Media Management for Animators; Principles of Character Animation; Faith, Film, and Culture; Motion Graphics for Animators; Storyboard and Concept; Inspirational Design for Digital Media; and 3D Computer Graphics.

Other program features include high-tech classrooms, collaborative projects, and access to state-of-the-art labs and studios. Housed in the Martin Center for Digital Media Arts, examples include traditional and stop motion; editing; a sound stage, green screen, and Foley pit; and a screening theater. Classrooms and labs are equipped with professional workstations outfitted with industry-standard software, 3D printing technology, and VR equipment, allowing students to begin animating from day one.

Graduates of the Animation BS program at Huntington University are prepared to pursue careers in animation for television, film, advertising, medicine, law, architecture, and science; game art, design, programming, and development; education and health; government; job training; and more.

Huntington University alumni have been hired at studios, networks, and companies such as DreamWorks Animation, Amazon, ABC-TV Network, Eli Lilly and Company, the U.S. Army, Edward Jones, Youth for Christ, Sweetwater Sound Inc., and Fort Wayne Community Schools.

Founded in 1897 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington University serves approximately 1130 students across campuses in Huntington and Fort Wayne, Indiana; Peoria, Arizona; and online. This private university provides more than 90 majors and minors, and dozens of graduate programs in just about every discipline. A member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), HU also provides over 300 learning and internship opportunities. Huntington University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

5. University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne, Indiana
University of Saint Francis

The College of Arts, Sciences, and Business at University of Saint Francis (USF) is home to the Division of Creative Arts. Fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the division houses an Animation BA program that emphasizes hands-on experience in USF’s animation and TV studios. Students in this program also have opportunities to gain experience with ad agencies, game design companies, media outlets, and film studios through the Division of Creative Arts’ internship program.

Other program features include courses taught by a animators, producers, artists, and writers; 24-hours access to state-of-the-art equipment and facilities in the USF Animation Lab and Television Studio; trips to the Creative Talent Network Animation Expo in Burbank, California; webinars and workshops with accomplished industry professionals; participation in campus clubs such as BigThink Animation and the Film Club; and meetings with professionals at major studios such as Pixar, Disney, Blizzard, DreamWorks, and Warner Bros.

The Animation BA at University of Saint Francis consists of 120 credit hours of study. This includes 69 credits in the major and up to 15 elective credit hours. Major coursework explores 2D and 3D Animation, Concept Art, and Motion Graphics. Course examples include Traditional Animation; History of Animation; Visual Storytelling; Lighting and rendering; Motion Graphics; 3D Production; Character Puppeting; and Audio for Film, Video & Animation.

The program also requires successful completion of the Animation Studio Experience course, where students will collaborate on a project pipeline. Working as a studio, animation students will create several industry-ready projects.

Graduates of the Animation BA program at University of Saint Francis are prepared to pursue roles such as Animator, Art Director, 2D or 3D Artist, Animation Editor, Visual Effects Artist or Designer, Art Director, Game Artist, Character or Environment Designer, Storyboard Artist, Motion Graphic Artist, Compositor, and Production Coordinator.

USF alumni have worked on award-winning productions such as Frozen and Moana, and they have been hired at major studios such as Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), DreamWorks, Blizzard Entertainment, Disney Animation, and Warner Bros. Animation.

University of Saint Francis was founded in 1890 by the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. The school serves approximately 1,900 students from 23 states and 22 foreign countries. Available programs include 60+ majors and a wide range of minors. University of Saint Francis is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).