What are the top 5 animation school programs in Missouri for 2020?

Top 5 Animation School Programs in Missouri - 2020 College Rankings
1Kansas City Art InstituteKansas City
2Drury UniversitySpringfield
3Missouri State UniversitySpringfield
4Webster UniversityWebster Groves
5Missouri Western State UniversitySt. Joseph

Our 2020 ranking of the top animation school programs in Missouri. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

1. Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City Art Institute

Established in 1885, Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) trained students such as Walt Disney (who took Saturday Classes as a child), and multimedia artist Robert Rauschenberg. Today, the school serves more than 700 students, enrolled in 15 program areas through several departments. The Department of Converging Media houses the school’s animation program, which leads to a BFA. Double Majors in Art History and Animation and Creative Writing and Animation are also available.

The Animation BFA highlights intensive instruction in classical, experimental and computer animation. Students in the program work in technologically integrated classrooms and studios to produce a significant personal work. The Department of Converging Media houses Filmmaking, Interactive Arts, and Photography, so animation students also work in an environment that facilitates creativity and cross-disciplinary approaches to image making.

The school says, “sequential classes emphasize the creative process by combining aspects of animation principles, concept modeling, production methods, history, theory and technique into each project.” Course highlights include Creating the Environment, Digital Methods, Drawing for Animators, Explorations in Animation, Ideas in Motion, Intermediate 3D, Principles of Animation, Sound for Screen and Space, and Visual Communication. Students will also complete Professional Practice and Studio I & II as well as The Senior Graduation Animation Project, which prepares them to enter the field with practical experience and a competitive portfolio.

In addition to the Senior Project, BFA students will gain experience through internship opportunities at major studios such as Walt Disney Animation Studios, DreamWorks, Digital Domain, Nickelodeon, Hallmark, Bazillion Pictures, Titmouse Inc., and many others.

2. Drury University, Springfield, Missouri
Drury University

Founded in 1873, Drury University serves 3,210 students enrolled in more than 70 majors and programs, 39 minors, and five graduate programs. Among these programs is a BA in Animation with Concentrations in 2D Traditional Animation & 3D Computer Animation. Animation majors must complete 51 credit hours consisting of 30 credit hours in animation and 21 credit hours in the humanities and arts. 

Course highlights for the program include Acting I & II, Animation I & II, Computer Animation I & II, Drawing, History of Animation, History of Film, Multimedia Storytelling, and The 12 Principles of Animation. Students will have the opportunity to choose electives from a list of eight advanced courses. Options include Advanced Character & Set Design, Storyboarding, Modeling & Texturing, Compositing, Rigging & Dynamics, Alternative Animation Techniques, Virtual and Augmented Reality, and Motion Graphics. Two Capstone courses are part of the program as well as an optional, but strongly recommended, internship.

Other program highlights include Drury University’s Study Abroad Program and the opportunity to work in the new animation lab with Emmy-award winning animator Steven Carpenter, whose work has appeared in major Hollywood productions such as Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, Xena: Warrior Princess, Dungeons & Dragons, and Virus.

The Study Abroad Program offers both short and long-term international study opportunities. The school maintains an ongoing program with the Drury Center in Greece, as well as partnerships with other institutions in countries around the world. The school says the study abroad experience is “an excellent way for students to satisfy one of the engaged learning experiences required by Drury's CORE curriculum.”

3. Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri
Missouri State University

Missouri State University was founded in 1905 as the Fourth District Normal School. The school serves 34,390 students making it the state's second largest university campus by enrollment. Missouri State University offers hundreds of programs through seven academic colleges and one Graduate College. The College of Arts and Letters houses the Art and Design Department, which offers a BFA in Art with a Computer Animation Track.

Course highlights for the program include 2D Design, 3D Design, Drawing, Computer Animation I-V, Introduction to Digital Arts, and Digital Film and Media Production. Students in the program will complete a Senior Exhibition and an internship opportunity is also part of the program.

Missouri State University also lists computer animation as part of its Electronic Arts (EA) program. Students in this program will take many of the same classes as students in the BFA in Art program. In addition to these courses, students will complete a Senior Project in Electronic Arts.

4. Webster University, Webster Groves, Missouri
Webster University

Founded in 1915, Webster University serves around 18,250 students studying at campuses in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and online. The school houses five colleges and schools including the College of Arts & Sciences, Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts, George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology, the School of Communications, and the School of Education. The School of Communications (SOC) is home to the Electronic and Photographic Media Department, which offers a BA in Animation and Minors in Animation Production and Interactive Digital Media. An undergraduate Certificate in Animation Production is available as well as graduate Certificates in Advanced New Media Production and Fundamentals of Multimedia Production.

The most popular program for aspiring animators, the 128 credit hour Animation BA “offers students the opportunity to learn core principles and techniques focusing on storytelling, motion, drawing, performance and expression through traditional and digital forms,” says the school. Students in the program will “undertake an intensive course of study including character animation, experimental concepts, fine art techniques and diverse applications, building a strong, global foundation before embarking upon an eventual area of concentration.” To gain hands-on experience in the field, each student will also complete an internship.

The Electronic and Photographic Media Department also offers an MA in New Media Production with courses such as Digital Graphics and Motion Graphics Production, Digital Design and Information Graphic Production, Written Storytelling, Digital Images and Storytelling, Video Editing, Interactive Communications, and Visual Storytelling.

All programs feature small classes, hands-on experience with equipment and resources early in the program, and collaboration across disciplines within the SOC and across the University. Students also have access to internship opportunities, and assistance with portfolio development.

Webster graduates work in the industry with companies such as Disney, DreamWorks, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Motion Picture Company, Dark Horse, Industrial Light and Magic, Digital Domain, Stereo D, and Legend 3D. Students have gone on to become successful professionals and have worked on productions such as King Kong, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and all three installments of The Lord of the Rings.

5. Missouri Western State University, St. Joseph, Missouri
Missouri Western State University

Missouri Western State University was founded in 1915 as St. Joseph Junior College. The school serves more than 5,500 students from 35 states and 40 countries. More than 200 majors, minors and certificates are offered through six colleges and schools. The School of Fine Art, Department of Art offers a BFA in Digital Animation “reflects the convergence of computers and art, and emphasizes working with 2D and 3D graphics in a computer based, graphics-intensive environment,” says the school. The flexible curriculum allows students to specialize in an area based on their interests and talents.

All students will” gain a broad foundation in animation from traditional hand drawn to 3D animation. Balancing theory and practice, the educational emphasis will be on developing creative problem-solving skills and processes; honing artistic identity; spatial and temporal thinking and analysis; mastering digital animation technologies; and, research of new strategies for learning through digital advances.”

Graduates will be qualified for positions in the digital art industry including character animator,  illustrative animator, motion graphic designer, character modeler, texture and lighting artist, background painter, medical and scientific visualization artist, product designer, visual effects artist, environment artists and level designer. An increasing number of Digital Animators also are developing material for internet web pages, interactive media, and multimedia projects.