|1||Massachusetts College of Art and Design||Boston|
|4||SMFA at Tufts University||Boston|
Our 2019 rankings of the top 5 animation school programs in Massachusetts. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.
1. Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, Massachusetts
Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) was founded in 1873 as a training institution for aspiring drawing teachers, architects, artists, and designers. Today, the school offers more than 20 undergraduate art programs, nearly a dozen graduate programs, and around seven certificate programs to a population of nearly 2,100 students. Programs are offered through dozens of departments.
The Animation Department at MassArt offers a BFA in Animation that gives students the opportunity to engage in a variety of conventional and experimental techniques. With access to students in the program study Documentary Animation, Digitally Generated Animation, Character Animation, Stop Motion, Experimental Video, and Emerging Technologies. In addition, students will complete an Independent Study course, a course assistantship, and an internship.
Per the school, “coursework for the program culminates in a degree project consisting of a sustained film as well as a portfolio and reel highlighting students' professional and creative objectives.”
Other program highlights include “classrooms, labs, and studios that facilitate and enhance the work of animation majors,” the Animation Senior Showcase, visiting artists and lectures, and “Squealing Pegs”—an annual screening of recent animated short films.
2. Lesley University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Founded in 1909, Lesley University serves around 2,400 undergraduates and close to 4,500 graduate students enrolled in more than 160 programs through four colleges and schools. The College of Art & Design offers several programs for aspiring animators including a BFA and a Certificate in Animation & Motion Media, and a Dual BFA in Animation/Illustration. A 15 credit hour Minor in Animation that explores character animation, 2D and 3D, experimental, motion media, game art, and VFX is also available.
Per the school, Animation & Motion Media students “will explore media and tools that give life to visual stories, characters, and environments,” they will experiment with traditional and emerging techniques, from stop-motion to digital CGI, “master new concepts, like storyboarding, character design, and motion art, and build toward creating impactful animated shorts, special effects, advertising spots, and more.”
Courses for the 123 credit hour program are taught by “expert faculty who’ve won Emmys and international awards, run successful studios, and worked for innovators like Nickelodeon, DreamWorks, and White Snake Projects.” Course highlights include Animation Seminar, Audio Production Design, Business of Animation, Character Design, Digital Animation 2D and 3D, Drawing Intensive, Editing Intensive, Game Production, Image in Context, Stop Motion Animation, Toys, Props & Products, and Visual Culture Seminar.
Students will also take two Senior Studio courses, they will create productions in the school’s “new state-of-the-art visual effects (VFX) facilities, including a 3D fabrication studio, a rendering farm, and a 130-seat screening room,” and they will complete a required internship that will take them to “real-life studios in Greater Boston.”
The internship helps students “develop critical thinking, collaboration, and problem-solving skills.” Through the internship, students can expect to “gain professional experiences that lead to careers in film, TV, game design, and more.”
The Dual BFA is a 156 credit hour program that consists of 12 credits of required foundation courses, 72 credits in the Animation/Illustration core, and more. In addition to animation courses such as Digital Animation and Drawing for Animation, students in the program will take courses such as Design for Illustration, Principles of Illustration, Sequential Projects, The Working Illustrator and Typography. Students in the program will also complete Senior Studio, Illustration Internship Seminar, and an Animation Internship.
3. Emerson College, Boston, Massachusetts
Founded in 1880, Emerson College serves nearly 4,500 students from 50 U.S. states and 55 countries. The school offers more than 50 programs leading to a BA, BS, BFA, MS, MA, or MFA degree. The School of the Arts, Department of Visual & Media Arts (VMA) offers both BA and BFA degrees in Animation and Motion Media, and a BA in Visual & Media Arts with a Production Track. The Department also offers an intensive three-year Film & Media Art MFA that admits just 22 students per class year.
The BA degree requires 44 credits in the major and the BFA requires 60. Both degrees include eight additional upper-level liberal arts credits. Per the school, the programs focus on computer animation, film animation, motion graphics, visual effects, and compositing techniques. Students have the opportunity to “take a broad range of courses and will produce original work in digital 2D animation, 3D modeling and animation, and frame-by-frame film animation.”
Course highlights include Computer Animation, Advance Computer Animation, Film Animation, Motion Graphics, Advances Interactive Media, Programming for Digital Media, and 3D Gaming.
Graduates of the VMA animation programs will be prepared to seek careers in the movie, gaming, and television industries.
The VMA MFA program allows students to focus in one or more areas of Computer Animation, Documentary, Experimental Media, Fiction Narrative, Installation, Interactive Art, Media Production, Sound Design or an individualized hybrid form. The program includes a monthly colloquium in which students will present and discuss their in-progress work. The MFA Production Workshop provides advanced training and experimentation within a collaborative cohort, and an annual portfolio review helps students develop and fine-tune their portfolios.
Recent graduates of Emerson’s Department of VMA have found employment at Soup2Nuts, Hallmark Channel, SCG Productions, World Wide Pants, Digital Domain, Fox Searchlight, MAD TV, MGM Studios, Bunim-Murray Productions, and more.
4. SMFA at Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts
The School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA) at Tufts University was established in 1876. The school serves around 400 students enrolled in 12 areas of study. Programs lead to the BFA, MFA, MAT, Combined-degree (BFA + BA/BS), Certificate or Studio Diploma. Programs for aspiring animators include a BFA and a Combined BFA + BA/BS. The BFA is entirely elective, so students may choose courses from a range of disciplines. Just a few options include Animation, Digital Media, Film/Video, Graphic Design, and Illustration. Sample animation courses include Animation 1: Techniques and Sound, Animation 2: The Completed Short, Sound for Moving Image, and Advanced Production.
Known as the SMFA/Tufts BFA, the Combined BFA + BA/BS is specifically designed for students intending to pursue their art and academic interests to the fullest possible extent. Upon completion of this program, students will graduate with two degrees from Tufts: a BA or BS in a major of their choice and a BFA. According to the school, the five-year program makes it possible for students to refine and focus their studies in an academic field and to cultivate their fine arts abilities.
5. Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts
Northeastern University was established in 1898. The school serves more than 26,000 students enrolled in over 150 undergraduate majors and concentrations and more than 125 graduate programs, across nine colleges and schools. The College of Arts, Media and Design houses the Media Arts program, which has several offerings for aspiring animators. Options include a BFA in Media Arts with a Concentration in Animation, and a Minor in Animation.
The BFA is an intensive studio program that consists of courses in imaginative and narrative arts, which are required for professional work in documentary films, game art and promotion, visualization, motion graphics, interactive art, illustration and short animated film. Sample courses include Animation Tools, Interactive Narrative, Character Design for Animation, Animation for Games, Interaction Design, Digital Sculpture and Model Making, 4D Fundamentals: Sequence and Drawing, and American Animation.
Northeastern also offers a BS in Computer Science/Media Arts. Offered through the College of Computer and Information Science, the combined major provides a solid foundation in Computer Science and Media Arts both through a curriculum that spans animation, computer graphics, database design, human-computer interaction, photography, and video. Sample courses for the program include Animation Basics and Animation Tools, Animation 1, 2 and 3, Virtual Environment Design, Animation for Games, Character Design for Animation, Digital Sculpting and Model Making, and Narrative Basics.