What are the top animation school programs in Maryland for 2023?

Top 5 Maryland Animation Schools - 2023 College Rankings
1Maryland Institute College of ArtBaltimore
2Towson UniversityTowson
3University of Maryland Baltimore CountyBaltimore
4Bowie State UniversityBowie
5Morgan State UniversityBaltimore

Our 2023 ranking -our twelfth annual- of the top animation school programs in Maryland. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

1. Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Maryland
Maryland Institute College of Art

Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) requires all undergraduates to complete The First Year Experience (FYE), which explores contemporary art and design practice. The rigorous curriculum also highlights skill-building, technology, and 2D, 3D, and 4D media. Upon completion of The FYE, students will move on to their chosen major.

House din the Animation Department at MICA is the BFA and Minor in Animation. The Animation BFA Program requires 24 credit hours of study in the major. Course highlights include Digital Tools for Animation, 3D Character Animation: Performance, Stop-Motion Animation, Haptics and Optics, 2D and 3D Character Animation, and Professional Practice for Animators. Students in the program must complete several project courses and Animation Senior Thesis I and II.

The MICA Animation Minor requires 15 credit hours of study. Course examples include Digital Tools for Animation, Stop-Motion Animation, Animation Pre-Production, and Storyboarding for Animators.

The art and design programs at Maryland Institute College of Art have helped launch the careers of thousands of students. MICA alumni are Google Animators, Mobile App Developers, Comic Artists, Filmmakers, and more. They have been hired at DreamWorks, LAIKA Studios, MTV, Disney, and other major networks and studios. Many MICA graduates have also entered graduate programs or launched careers as independent artists in the animation industry.

Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art is the nation’s oldest independent, continuously degree-granting college of art and design. The school serves nearly 3,500 students from 49 states and 52 countries. Programs at MICA lead to a BFA, MA, MFA, MBA, MPS degree, or post-baccalaureate certificate.

Maryland Institute College of Art is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

2. Towson University, Towson, Maryland
Towson University

Serving 2,900 students enrolled in more than 30 majors and minors at all degree levels, the College of Fine Arts and Communication (COFAC) at Towson University (Towson or TU) is one of the largest colleges at TU. Within the COFAC is the Department of Art, which has two pathways to study animation including an Art + Design BFA and Studio Art MFA. The BFA Program has a Digital Art and Design Concentration with Specializations: Animation, Digital Arts, and Experimental.

The BFA Program begins with foundation courses such as 2D and 3D Process, Drawing: Observation and Invention, Visual Concepts, and Digital Tools and Concepts. Next, students will complete concentration courses such as Animation: Motion Design, Illustration Principles for Designers and Illustrators, Digital Art: Experimental, and a BFA Project. Finally, students will take Animation Specialization courses such as Animation: 2D, Animation: 3D, Animation Studio, and Photo Imaging – Motion. The Art + Design BFA requires 121-122 credits to graduate.

The MFA offers professional study in areas such as animation, digital media, illustration, interactive media design, and interrelated media. This 60 credit hour program consists of 24 credits in the student’s chosen area of study. Students will also complete Art Topics, Directed Readings in Art History, the MFA Seminar, MFA Studio II, and the MFA Project.

Graduates of the COFAC Art + Design and Studio Art Programs at Towson University are Animators, Art Directors, Graphic Designers, Multimedia Artists, and Fine Artists, among others.

Serving approximately 19,800 students, Towson University is the largest university in the Baltimore area and the second-largest university in the University System of Maryland. The school began as a teacher’s college in 1866. Today, TU students have access to more than 200 programs housed across seven colleges and dozens of departments. Towson University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

3. University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, Maryland
University of Maryland Baltimore County

University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) houses the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (CAHSS), home to the Department of Visual Arts, which has two pathways for animators. Options include BA and BFA degrees in Visual Arts with a Concentration in Animation.

Students in both programs will complete the Visual Arts Foundation Area, which totals 27-30 credits, and 27 credits in the Animation Concentration. Visual Arts course examples include Visual Concepts: Time-Based Media, Art and Media Studies, Visual Concepts: Three Dimensional Form, Space and Interaction, and Studies in Visual Culture.

Animation course examples include Real Time Animation, Advanced 3D Animation, Motion Graphics and Compositing, Animation in the Physical World, Sound Design, Writing for Media Arts, Installation Art, and Team-Based Game Development. Students will complete a Senior Project and an internship outside the university or in the school’s Imaging Research Center (IRC).

Graduates of the Visual Arts BA and BFA Programs at University of Maryland Baltimore County are graduate students, freelance artists, educators, and salaried artists at major animation studios, game companies, television and film studios, advertising agencies, digital media companies, web design firms, and government agencies.

University of Maryland Baltimore County is part of the University System of Maryland. The school was established as a member in 1966. UMBC serves approximately 13,990 students enrolled in more than 200 degree, minor, and certificate programs across seven colleges and schools. The University of Maryland Baltimore County is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

4. Bowie State University, Bowie, Maryland
Bowie State University

The College of Arts and Sciences at Bowie State University (BSU or Bowie State) houses the Department of Fine and Performing Arts, home to the Visual Communication and Digital Media Arts (VCDMA) Program. Within the VCDMA Program is an Animation and Motion Graphics Concentration that requires 120-122 credit hours of study. Leading to a BS, the program consists of portfolio reviews, exhibitions and screenings, internships, and a Senior Thesis Project.

Course examples for the Animation and Motion Graphics Program include 2D Design, Computing Principles & Technology, Screenwriting, Film, Digital Cinematography, Advanced 2D Digital Animation, 3D Animation and Modeling, Multimedia Workshop, Introduction to Electronic Music, and Self promotion and Marketing.

All Animation and Motion Graphics students have the opportunity to participate in the Department of Computer Science’s Computational Perception and Animation Lab (CPAL). Research here explores computer graphics, computer animation, simulation, human-computer interaction (HCI), and video image processing.

Graduates of the Animation and Motion Graphics Program at Bowie State University are prepared to pursue positions in animation (2D/3D), compositing, motion graphics, new media, visual effects (VFX), special effects (SFX), and just about any industry that utilizes animation.

Founded in 1865, Bowie State University is Maryland’s oldest Historically Black College/University (HBCU) and one of the top 15 oldest HBCU’s in the country. A member institution of the University System of Maryland, Bowie State serves 6,275 students enrolled in 27 undergraduate majors, 18 master’s degrees, 15 specialty certificates, and two doctoral programs. Programs are housed in the Colleges of Arts & Sciences, Business, Education, and Professional Studies. Bowie State University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

5. Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland
Morgan State University

The College of Liberal Arts (CLA) at Morgan State University houses the Department of English and Language Arts. Within the Department is the most technology immersive program in the CLA—Screenwriting and Animation. Known as SWAN, the program BA and BFA options, along with Concentrations in Computer Animation, Film and Television Writing, and Integrated Media Writing (Screenwriting) and Animation.

Students in all concentrations will study computer animation, film, game art and design, IAR/VR immersive storytelling, screenwriting, graphic comics, webisode and short film production, independent filmmaking, and more. Although students in all concentrations will study animation, Computer Animation is the most popular option for students seeking a solid focus in animation.

Across areas, students will take courses such as Filmmaking, Cinematic Storytelling, Animation Workshop, History of Animation, Screenwriting, Art of Motion (Film Editing), Computer Science, and Film and Digital Storytelling. Courses for the Computer Animation Concentration include Cinematography, Advanced Screenwriting, Film Editing II, Filmmaking II, and Comedy Writing or SWAN 1-Hour Drama. A Film and Digital Storytelling Internship is part of the concentration as well as Senior Studio Projects I & II. Computer Animation students will also select 12 credit hours of electives.

The Department of English and Language Arts at Morgan State University also houses a Film & Digital Storytelling Minor with three tracks: Cinematic Studies, Film and Digital Storytelling, and Screenwriting (Film and Television Writing). All areas offer the opportunity to learn animation through core requirements, seminars, hands-on production, and an internship.

Graduates of Morgan State University’s Animation Program are prepared to pursue positions in animation, television, film, games, advertising, and many other fields that utilize animation.

Founded in 1867, Morgan State University is an R2 Carnegie-classified, coeducational doctoral research institution that serves more than 9,100 students enrolled in over 100 academic programs across 10 colleges and schools. Also a Historically Black College/University (HBCU), Morgan State University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).