What are the top animation school programs in New Jersey for 2022?

Top 5 Animation School Programs in New Jersey - 2022 College Rankings
1New Jersey Institute of TechnologyNewark
2Fairleigh Dickinson UniversityMadison
3Rutgers UniversityCamden
4William Paterson UniversityWayne
5The College of New JerseyEwing

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

1. New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, New Jersey
New Jersey Institute of Technology

New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) houses the J. Robert and Barbara A. Hillier College of Architecture and Design (HCAD), home to the School of Art + Design. Programs for animators include BA, MS, and MFA degrees in Digital Design.

The Digital Design BA has two tracks: Entertainment and Interactive Media. Students in both tracks can expect to take required courses such as 2D and 3D Character Design and Modeling, Simulated Environments, Game Level Design, Video & Animation, Digital Audio, Imaginary Worlds, Acting Fundamentals for Animators, Environment Design in Motion Pictures, and SFX/VFX in Movies.

Collaborative design studios are a major component of both tracks, and the curriculum also allows for study in areas across HCAD including VR/AR, robotics, and physical computing.

The NJIT MFA in Digital Design (MFADD) and the MS in Digital Design (MSDD) offer opportunities to focus in animation through coursework and the 12 credit hour Certificate in Animation Essentials. Sample courses for the MFADD and MSDD Programs include Animation, and UI/UX, Acting for Animators, Character Modeling, Environment Design, Visual Storytelling, and Game Design and Interactivity.

Graduates of the Digital Design Programs at New Jersey Institute of Technology are prepared to pursue careers in Animation, Game Design, Advertising, Digital Media Design, Web Design, and Visualization, among other industries. Program alumni work or have interned at NTropic, Tripwire Interactive, 1st Avenue Machine, SUSPECT vfx+design, CSALAS & Co Labs, and SWDTech Games, among others.

Established in 1881 as Newark Technical School, New Jersey Institute of Technology serves more than 11,400 students. This polytechnic university offers 126 degree programs through six colleges and schools. New Jersey Institute of Technology is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

2. Fairleigh Dickinson University, Madison, New Jersey
Fairleigh Dickinson University

The School of Art in the Maxwell Becton College of Arts and Sciences at Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) offers several programs for animators. Options include a BA in Film and Animation, MA and MFA degrees in Animation, BA-MA and BA-MFA Film and Animation-Animation combined degrees, and Minors in Animation and 3D Video Game Animation.

The undergraduate degrees have three concentrations: 2D Animation, 3D Animation, or Video Game Animation. Students in the MA, MFA, and combined degree programs may choose from 3D Character Animation, Video Games, and Visual Effects. Course and elective examples across programs include Vector Animation, Advanced After Effects, Creative Imagery with Photoshop, 3D Computer Animation, Game Design, Logo and Product Animation, Character Animation using CAT, and Custom 3D Character Rigging & Animation.

Students in all Animation programs may participate in FDU’s internship program, which allows students to gain valuable experience working with DreamWorks, Viacom, Nickelodeon, NBC Universal, MTV, and ABC, among others. FDU Animation graduates are often hired by many of these companies. Other companies and studios that have hired FDU graduates include Sony Pictures Imageworks, Marvel Comics, Verizon, High Five Games, Pixel Light Digital Media, Skyline Entertainment, Tribe Pictures, and Whisper Productions, among others.

Established in 1942, Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) was the first American university to own and operate an overseas campus (Wroxton College in Oxfordshire, UK) and the first comprehensive university in the world to require distance learning of its undergraduates. Serving more than 12,000 students, FDU is also New Jersey’s largest private university.

More than 100 degrees and disciplines are offered across two New Jersey campuses (Madison and Teaneck), the UK campus, and a campus in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The school also has extension sites throughout New Jersey, along with partner institutions and study abroad opportunities around the world. Fairleigh Dickinson University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

3. Rutgers University Camden, Camden, New Jersey
Rutgers University Camden

Rutgers University Camden (Rutgers-Camden) houses the College of Arts and Sciences, which offers more than 40 majors and program the fine arts, humanities, and natural, social, and physical sciences. The largest academic unit at Rutgers-Camden, the College of Arts and Sciences provides opportunities to gain hands-on experience through experiential learning, internships, and study abroad experience.

Within the Rutgers-Camden College of Arts and Sciences is the Department of Visual, Media, and Performing Arts (VMPA), which offers a BA in Art with a Concentration in Animation. Students in the program have access to on-campus laboratories outfitted with state-of-the art equipment and the latest industry software.

The Animation Concentration consists of 21 focused credit hours. Students may also explore game design, 3D modeling and printing, and character rigging through electives or add a minor. Options include Digital Arts, Graphic Design, Intermedia: Art and Technology or Studio Art.

Required courses include Classical Animation, Effects and Production, Computer Animation, Storyboard and Character Design, and Character Animation. Animation students must complete Animation Capstone I-II to graduate.

Graduates of the Rutgers University Camden Animation Program have been hired at Digital Domain, Disney, Warner Brothers, Psyop, Ubisoft Entertainment, and BBC Earth, among others. Alumni credits include Frozen, Walking with Dinosaurs 3D, Assassin’s Creed Unity (video game), Ice Age, and Happy Feet, among others.

Rutgers University Camden was established in 1926 as South Jersey Law School. The school serves around 7,230 students enrolled in nearly 70 degree programs in six colleges and schools. Rutgers University Camden is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

4. William Paterson University, Wayne, New Jersey
William Paterson University

William Paterson University’s College of the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences houses the Art Department, which offers a BFA in Art with a Concentration in Animation and Multimedia.

Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the Art Program begins with studio foundation and art history requirements totaling 30 credit hours. BFA students will then complete 21 credits in 2D and 3D electives, followed by five Animation and Multimedia elective courses totaling 15 credit hours and 27 hours  in studio electives.

Course examples include Advanced Cell Animation, Advanced Character Animation, Interactive Multimedia, Storyboarding and Production Design, Digital Drawing Illustration, Advanced Projects in 2D Computer Art, Filmmaking, Screenwriting, Acting I: Improvisation, and Video Production and Editing.

Four writing intensive courses are required to graduate, as well as BFA Studio Seminar and the Senior Thesis Project course.

William Paterson University alumni have been hired at studios and with companies such as NBC, Disney, Fox News, iHeart Media, and Perception.

Founded in 1855 as Paterson City Normal School, William Paterson University is the third oldest public institution in the State of New Jersey. The school serves 9,635 students enrolled in nearly 150 degree and certificate programs in five colleges. William Paterson University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

5. The College of New Jersey, Ewing, New Jersey
The College of New Jersey

The School of the Arts and Communication at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) houses the recently launched Department of Design and Creative Technology, which offers a BA in Interactive Multimedia (IMM). Students may choose one to two focus areas. Options include Visual Storytelling and Animation, Culture and Technology, Games and Playable Media, Creative Coding, Music Technology, and Digital Fabrication. Students can even pursue a minor or second major in Art, Computer Science, Business, Communications, or Graphic Design.

Students in all Department of Design and Creative Technology Programs have opportunities to gain experience through the TCNJ internship program. Students have interned at studios such as DreamWorks, Amazon, and NFL Films. 

The College of New Jersey IMM alumni are employed by Nickelodeon, TIME, and MakerBot, among others. Some program alumni have gone on to pursue graduate study at top schools such as Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), School of Visual Arts (SVA), and New York University (NYU).

The College of New Jersey was established in 1855 as the New Jersey State Normal School. TCNJ serves approximately 7,400 students enrolled in more than 50 programs in seven schools. The College of New Jersey is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).