What are the top animation school programs in Michigan for 2022?

Top 5 Animation School Programs in Michigan - 2022 College Rankings
1College for Creative StudiesDetroit
2Ferris State UniversityGrand Rapids
3Grand Valley State UniversityAllendale
4Central Michigan UniversityMount Pleasant
5Eastern Michigan UniversityYpsilanti

Our 2022 ranking -our eleventh annual- of the top animation school programs in Michigan. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

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

The Entertainment Arts Program at the College for Creative Studies (CCS) offers an Animation Concentration within the BFA in Entertainment Art Program. One of the largest offerings at CCS, Entertainment Arts also offers concentrations in Digital Film, Concept Design, and Game Design. All concentration areas are STEM-designated.

Entertainment Art/Animation students may customize the curriculum by taking coursework from all concentration areas. Internships are strongly encouraged, and students are required to complete Writing Workshop and Senior Production Studio courses. Other course highlights include 3D Computer Graphics, Advanced Rendering Techniques, 2D Digital Animation, Digital Filmmaking, Gesture Drawing, Computer Character Animation, Experimental Animation, and Stop Motion.

Graduates of the CCS Animation Program hold positions from Animator and Director to Rigger and VFX Artist. Companies that have hired College for Creative Studies graduates include ABC Television Group, DreamWorks Animation, Sony Pictures Imageworks, and Disney, to name a few.

The College for Creative Studies was founded in 1906 as the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts. Serving more than 1,400 students, CCS offers more than 30 art and design programs at all degree levels. The College for Creative Studies is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and it is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

2. Ferris State University, Kendall College of Art and Design (KCAD), Big Rapids & Grand Rapids, Michigan
Ferris State University

Kendall College of Art and Design (KCAD) at Ferris State University (Ferris or Ferris State) offers a BFA in Digital Art and Design, and a Minor. Students in the BFA program may choose from two focus areas: Entertainment Arts or Multimedia Design. Both areas allow students to develop portfolios in 2D Animation, Motion Design, 3D Game Art, Interaction Design, or Visual Development.

The Digital Art and Design Minor consists of five courses. The BFA program requires 120 credit hours of study consisting of supportive studio, major studio, art history, general education, and elective coursework. Professional Practices, Professional Studio I-II, and Digital Art & Design Thesis I-II are major components of the programs. Students in both focus areas can also expect to take courses such as Animation Processes, Interactive Multimedia Design, Digital Character Drawing, and Digital 3D.

From animation and entertainment to advertising and education, KCAD Digital Art and Design graduates are prepared to seek careers in a wide variety of industries. Possible job titles include 2D Character Animator or Designer, Storyboard Artist, 2D/3D Motion Graphics Animator, 2D/3D Character Concept Artist, Character Animator, Background Designer, and 2D/3D Prop & Environment Concept Artist.

Kendall College of Art and Design alumni work at Disney Television Animation, Epic Games, YouTube, and R/GA New York, to name a few. Graduates of the KCAD Digital Art and Design Program have also gone on to graduate school at School of Visual Arts, New York (SVA NY), Academy of Art University (San Francisco, CA), Vancouver Film School (Vancouver, Canada), and Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing (Indianapolis, IN).

Ferris State University was established in 1884. Located in Big Rapids, Michigan, the school serves 11,165 students enrolled in more than 190 programs in seven degree-granting colleges. Ferris State university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).

Founded in 1928, Kendall College of Art and Design is one of the seven colleges within Ferris State University. Located in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, KCAD serves more than 1,000 students enrolled in dozens of specialized undergraduate degree programs and several graduate and certificate programs. As part of Ferris State University, Kendall College of Art and Design is accredited by the HLC-NCA. KCAD of Ferris State University is also an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

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

Grand Valley State University’s (GVSU) College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) houses the School of Communications. In the Department of Visual & Media Arts here, animators can earn a BA or BS in Film and Video Production.

Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the Film and Video Production Program at GVSU explores animation, new media, sound design, scriptwriting, film studies, and more. While both the BA and BS pathways prepare students for careers in the industry, the BA requires proficiency in a foreign language and the BS requires three courses in Computer Information Systems, History or Statistics.

Program highlights include courses taught by working professionals in the field, membership in several student organizations, the opportunity to present work at local screening events, and experience through internships and production projects for clients outside of the classroom.

GVSU Film and Video Production students have interned at DreamWorks Animation, Voyage Pictures, Contact Light Films, 52 Watt Studios, Match Frame Creative, A2 Creative, D-Squared Creative, Coastline Studios, M-1 Studios, Detroit Public Television, and Allied Productions, among others. Grand Valley State University alumni are often hired by many of these studios and firms.

Grand Valley State University was established in 1960. With eight regional campuses and centers, GVSU serves around 22,400 students enrolled in 143 degree programs in seven schools. Grand Valley State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).

4. Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, Michigan
Central Michigan University

The Department of Art and Design at Central Michigan University (CMU) offers a BFA with a Focus in Animation. Housed in the College of the Arts and Media (CAM) the department highlights multidisciplinary study including coursework from areas such as graphic design, painting and drawing, art history, ceramics, photography, printmaking, and sculpture, access to state-of-the art facilities such as labs and production studios, and guest artists and speakers.

Within the Animation Focus, students may specialize in Character Effects and Animation, Storyboarding, 3D Modeling or Character Design, among other areas.

During the final years of the programs Animation BFA students will take what they’ve learned and apply it to several animated productions. Graduates will leave the CMU Animation Program with a professional portfolio that can be used to obtain a position in the animation and film industries, game design, advertising, medical, forensic, or scientific illustration, and art education, among others. 

Founded in 1892, Central Michigan University opened as Central Michigan Normal School and Business Institute. CMU serves 11,441 undergraduate and 3,980 graduate students (fall 2021 figures). More than 300 programs are offered in seven colleges. Central Michigan University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).

5. Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan
Eastern Michigan University

The Eastern Michigan University (EMU) College of Arts and Sciences houses the School of Art & Design, which offers a BS in Simulation, Animation, and Gaming (SAG). A 20 credit hour SAG Minor is also available. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the SAG BS combines writing, story development, and traditional art disciplines with coursework in illustration, game development tools such as Unity, lighting and camera techniques, animation, rigging, and graphics for simulation.

Specific animation courses include Historical and Contemporary Approaches to Animation, 2D Animation, Vector Illustration for SAG, Animation Studio, SAG Movement, Simulation and Animation Dynamics, Simulation, Animation and Gaming, and Advanced Principles of Animation. SAG BS students will complete several additional studios, and Senior Projects in SAG.

Graduates of the Eastern Michigan University SAG BS Program are prepared to seek positions in computer animation, games, character design and development, special effects, storyboard art and design, graphic design, and concept art, among others.  

Founded in 1849, Eastern Michigan University is the state’s second oldest public university. The school offers more than 200 undergraduate majors and 150 graduate programs to nearly 22,000 students. Programs at EMU are offered in five colleges, the Graduate School, and the Honors College. Eastern Michigan University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).