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

Top 5 Missouri Animation School Programs - 2023 College Rankings
1Kansas City Art InstituteKansas City
2Webster UniversitySt. Louis
3Missouri State UniversitySpringfield
4Drury UniversitySpringfield
5Missouri Western State UniversitySt. Joseph

Our 2023 ranking -our twelfth annual- 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

The Animation BFA Program at Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) is housed in the Department of Converging Media. Because Filmmaking, Interactive Arts, and Photography are also housed in the Department, cross-disciplinary study is encouraged. Animation students may also declare a double major in Art History and Animation or Creative Writing and Animation. Both options require 141 credit hours to graduate.

Animation BFA course examples include Digital Methods, Explorations in Animation, Contemporary Animation History, and Ideas in Motion. Elective options for the KCAI Animation BFA run the gamut from Documentary and Narrative Storytelling to The Art of Stop Motion Puppetry and Filmmaking and Animation. The Professional Practice course, taken during the senior year of the program allows students to interact and network with visiting artists, scholars, and industry professionals.

Also during the final year of the program, students will engage in two six-credit studios where they will have the opportunity to conceptualize and produce an animated work. Students may also complete an internship at a local or national studio. 

Many graduates of the Kansas City Art Institute BFA in Animation Program go on to pursue advanced degrees at top institutions such as School of Visual Art New York (SVA NY), University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC), and California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts).   Others have been hired at major studios, companies, and networks such as Nickelodeon, Titmouse, Warner Bros., Disney, Netflix, Hallmark, and Digital Domain.

Kansas City Art Institute was established in 1885 as a Sketch Club. Situated within Kansas City’s arts corridor—just steps from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art—this four-year art and design college serves more than 700 students enrolled in 13 majors across 15 program areas. Kansas City Art Institute is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

2. Webster University, St. Louis, Missouri
Webster University

The School of Communications (SOC) at Webster University (Webster) provides degrees, minors, and certificates in areas from Audio in Media Arts  and Sound Recording and Engineering to Animation and Scriptwriting. Housed in the SOC Media Arts Department, the Animation Program has two options: the Animation BA and Animation Production Minor. Students in both programs benefit from small classes, collaboration across SOC disciplines and the University, hands-on experience, and access to state-of-the-art production facilities and equipment.

The Animation BA Program at Webster University explores animation, storytelling, production, performance, and more. The major consists of 57 credit hours, with required courses such as Graphics and Effects, Animation I-II, 3D Modeling, Storyboarding, Writing the Short Script, Voicing Your Creation, Character Design, and Professional Development for Media Careers. Students may develop additional skills in a specific area through the required 12 credit hours (minimum) of electives. Course examples include Cartooning, Comic Book Creation, Game Art, Visual Effects, and Writing Screenplays for Film.

The 18 credit hour Animation Production Minor explores the theory, principles, and practice of animation. Courses include Animation I-II and Writing Screenplays for Film. Students will also complete nine hours of animation electives. Examples include Experimental Animation, Storyboarding, Animation Production, Cartooning, Visual Storytelling, 3D Animated Short Film, Character Design, Photorealistic 3D Animation, and Special Topics in Animation.

Students in all Webster SOC Programs have the opportunity to add a Certificate in Entrepreneurship and complete an internship. SOC students have interned at companies and studios in St. Louis, Los Angeles, Orlando, and New York City. Examples include MTV Networks, Titmouse, Bad Dog Pictures, ESPN, Genius Games, Plymptoons, and Vidzu Media. Offered by the George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology/Management Department, the Entrepreneurship Certificate is an 18 credit hour program that covers small business management, marketing, and financial management for Animation, Media Arts, Film/Television and Video Production, Music, and Graphic Design Majors, among others.

Graduates of the Animation Programs at Webster University have been hired at major studios such as Disney, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Digital Domain, Sony Pictures Imageworks, and DreamWorks. Alumni credits include Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Lord of the Rings (2001, 2002, 2003), and King Kong.

Webster University was founded in 1915 as Loretto College by the Sisters of Loretto. When it opened, the school became the first senior Catholic college for women in Missouri and one of the first Catholic women’s colleges west of the Mississippi River. Today, Webster serves a diverse population of 10,000 students enrolled in more than 160 programs across five colleges and schools. Webster University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

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

The Judith Enyeart Reynolds College of Arts and Letters at Missouri State University (MSU) houses the Department of Art and Design, home to the Art BFA Program. Within the program is a Computer Animation Track that explores a range of 2D and 3D animation techniques. In partnership with the Department of Media, Journalism, and Film, the Department of Art and Design also has an Electronic Arts BS with an optional Computer Animation Studies Track.

Students in the Art BFA with a Computer Animation Track will complete courses such as Computer Animation II-V and Professional Practices in Computer Animation. Students also have the opportunity to complete three to six credit hours in any studio area. An Art Internship, Public Affairs Capstone, and BFA Art Senior Exhibition are also part of the program.

Electronic Arts with Computer Animation Studies students will complete 69 credits in the major, including 18 in Computer Animation Studies. BS students will complete the same coursework required in the BFA program, along with Animation I and Professional Practices in Computer Animation, Principles of Cinematography or Editing for Film and Television. Junior Portfolio Review, the Public Affairs Capstone, and Senior Project in Electronic Arts are also part of the BS Program.

Graduates of the Missouri State University Animation Programs are prepared for careers in Animation/Computer Animation, Visual Effects (VFX), Game Art, Design and Development, Television/Film, Advertising/Marketing, and Education, among others.

Missouri State University was founded in 1905 as the Fourth District Normal School. This public university system of four campuses (including three in Missouri and one in Dalian, China) serves more than 24,000 students, enrolled in over 260 undergraduate majors and graduate options across eight colleges. Missouri State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

4. Drury University, Springfield, Missouri
Drury University

Drury University’s School of Communication & Fine and Performing Arts is home to the Department of Communication, home to the Animation Program. Options include an Animation Bachelor’s degree or and an Animation Minor. The 18 credit hour Animation Minor covers the 12 Principles of Animation, the History of Animation, Traditional Animation, and Computer Animation. After completing these four courses, students have the option to take one advanced animation or computer animation course.

The Animation Bachelor’s Program requires students to select two certificate programs or a certificate and a minor or second major. Examples of certificate and minor options include Interactive Design, Professional and Visual Communication, Writing, Fine Arts, Computer Science, Graphic & Digital Design, and Web Communication & Design.

The Animation Program also provides the opportunity to choose a Concentration in 2D Traditional Animation or 3D Computer Animation. Three interdisciplinary elective courses are also required as well as a minimum of two advanced animation courses. Course examples for the program include History of Animation, Multimedia Storytelling, The 12 Principles of Animation, Motion Graphics, Advanced Alternative Animation Techniques, Animation I-III, Advanced Virtual and Augmented Reality, Acting I-II, Advanced Rigging & Dynamics, and Computer Animation I-III. An optional internship is also part of the program. Animation Students are also encouraged to take advantage of this hands-on learning opportunity.

The Animation Program at Drury University culminates with a Senior Capstone consisting of two Pre- and Post-Production courses. Graduates are prepared to pursue graduate study or a wide range of roles in the animation, film, and television industries.

Drury University was established in 1873 as a private liberal arts college named Drury College. The school was one of the first in the state to offer evening and continuing education classes to non-traditional students. Today, Drury university serves approximately 2,410 students enrolled in more than 100 programs across eight colleges and schools. Drury University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

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

The School of Fine Art at Missouri Western State University (MWSU) houses the Department of Art, home to the Digital Animation BFA and Minor. The BFA requires 42-47 credits in the major and the Minor requires 21 credit hours. Course examples across programs include Animation Fundamentals, Design Software Applications, Digital 3D Modeling, Motion Graphics, Digital Animation, Game Design, Advanced Motion Graphics, Character Animation, Greenscreen & Rotoscoping, Matchmoving, CGI Integration, and Digital Animation Production.

All Digital Animation BFA students will have the opportunity to complete an internship, an Online Digital Animation Portfolio of their best work, a resume, and business cards. The Portfolio will be in the form of a demo reel or interactive medium.

Graduates of the Digital Animation Program at Missouri Western State University are prepared to pursue positions at animation studios, design firms, game studios, advertising agencies, and more. Potential job titles include (but are not limited to) Animator, Character Animator, Art Director, Motion Graphic Designer, Background Painter, Visual Effects (VFX) Artist, Game Artist, Medical Animator, Scientific Visualization Animator Illustrator, and Level Designer.

Founded in 1915 as St. Joseph Junior College, Missouri Western State University is a four-year university and a full member of the Missouri State University System. MWSU serves 4,395 students enrolled in more than 100 degree, minor, and certificate programs across seven colleges and schools. Missouri Western State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).