What are the top animation school programs in New Jersey for 2023?

Top 5 New Jersey Animation Schools - 2023 College Rankings
1Rutgers UniversityCamden
2New Jersey Institute of TechnologyNewark
3Fairleigh Dickinson UniversityMadison
4Monmouth UniversityWest Long Branch
5Montclair State UniversityMontclair

Our 2023 ranking -our twelfth annual- of the top animation school programs in New Jersey. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

1. Rutgers University Camden, Camden, New Jersey
Rutgers University

Rutgers University Camden (Rutgers-Camden) is home to the College of Arts and 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 Arts and Sciences is the Visual, Media, and Performing Arts (VMPA) Department, which has one pathway to study animation—the Art BA Program. Students have the opportunity to Concentrate in Animation—the fastest growing section of the VMPA Art Program. Program highlights include access to three on-campus laboratories outfitted with state-of-the-art networked computers, post-production units, and 2D/3D and editing software; internship opportunities; and study abroad experiences.

The Animation Concentration consists of 21 focused credit hours. Students may also explore video game design, 3D modeling and printing, and character rigging through electives or they can add a minor in an area such as Painting & Drawing, Graphic Design, Computer Science, Film, Digital Studies, or Art History. 

Required courses for the Art BA/Animation include Computer Animation I-II, Classical Animation, Effects and Production, 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 (but are not limited to) Frozen, Walking with Dinosaurs 3D, Assassin’s Creed Unity (video game), Ice Age, Happy Feet, and Sesame Street 3D. 

Rutgers University Camden is part of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Founded in 1766, Rutgers is the 8th oldest university in the U.S. New Jersey’s land-grant university, Rutgers has locations in all 21 New Jersey counties. Camden was founded in 1926 as South Jersey Law School and the College of South Jersey. SJLS & the CSJ merged with Rutgers University in 1950, and became Rutgers University Camden.

Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and serving approximately 6,075 students today, Rutgers University Camden offers nearly 70 degree programs across four colleges and schools.

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

The J. Robert and Barbara A. Hillier College of Architecture and Design (HCAD) at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) houses the School of Art + Design, which has several pathways to study animation. At the undergraduate level, the School’s Digital Design BA has two tracks including Entertainment and Interactive Media. Students in both tracks will take required courses such as Video and Animation, Acting Fundamentals for Animators, 2D and 3D Character Design and Modeling, SFX/VFX in Movies, Simulated Environments, Game Level Design, Digital Audio, Imaginary Worlds, and Environment Design in Motion Pictures.

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

At the graduate level, the School of Art + Design has both Digital Design MFA (MFADD) and Digital Design MS (MSDD) programs. Both provide opportunities to focus in animation through elective coursework and the 12 credit hour Certificate in Animation Essentials. Course examples across programs include Animation, 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 a variety of roles in Animation, Game Art and Design, Digital Media Design, Visualization, Advertising, and Web Design, among others. Program alumni have been hired by or have interned at NBCUniversal, ETS, High 5 Games, NTropic, Method Studios, Tripwire Interactive, and Grafx Co.

Established in 1881 as Newark Technical School, New Jersey Institute of Technology is a public, polytechnic university that serves more than 11,500 students. More than 125 undergraduate and graduate degree programs are available across six specialized schools. The programs at New Jersey Institute of Technology are accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA), the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), he Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), and the  National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB).

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

Maxwell Becton College of Arts and Sciences at Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) houses the School of Art, home to the Animation Program. Available pathways include the Film and Animation BA, the Animation MA and MFA, the combined Film and Animation/Animation BA/MA and BA/MFA and Minors in Animation and 3D Video Game Animation.

The Film and Animation BA has three concentration options including 2D Animation, 3D Animation, and Video Game Animation. Students in the MA, MFA, and combined degree programs may focus in 3D Character Animation, Video Games or Visual Effects. Course and elective examples across programs include Character Animation using CAT, Logo and Product Animation, Custom 3D Character Rigging & Animation, 3D Computer Animation, Vector Animation, Game Design, Advanced After Effects, and Creative Imagery with Photoshop.

All FDU Animation students may participate in FDU’s internship program, which provides the opportunity to gain valuable experience working with major studios and networks such as DreamWorks, Nickelodeon, MTV, Viacom, NBC Universal, and ABC. Graduates of the Animation Programs at Fairleigh Dickinson University are often hired by many of these studios and networks, as well as Sony Pictures Imageworks, Marvel Comics, High Five Games, Pixel Light Digital Media, Verizon, Whisper Productions, Skyline Entertainment, and Tribe Pictures.

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 the largest private university in New Jersey. Fairleigh Dickinson University provides more than 100 degrees and disciplines across two New Jersey campuses (Madison and Teaneck), the UK campus, and a campus in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. FDU 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).

4. Monmouth University, West Long Branch, New Jersey
Monmouth University

The Wayne D. McMurray School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Monmouth University (Monmouth) is home to the Department of Art and Design, which has two pathways to study animation. Students can enroll in the Design and Animation BFA Program or the Animation/Motion Design Minor. The Minor is open to all students, regardless of major. Students in this 15 credit hour program will take courses such as Principles of Animation, Motion Graphics, Digital Design, and 2D Animation.

The Design and Animation BFA Program has a Concentration in Animation. Students in this program will complete a minimum of 120 credit hours, including 48 in Animation. Course examples for the program include Principles of Animation, 2D Animation, 3D Animation, Advanced Digital Imaging and Illustration, 3D Design, Animation/Motion Graphics, 3D Modeling Lighting and Rendering, Group Project in 3D Animation, and Web Design/Interactive. Monmouth Animation students will also complete the Art and Design Portfolio Review and Senior Animation Reel courses. An internship and participation in the Senior Show are also part of the BFA Program.

Across all Art and Design Programs at Monmouth University, students have access to state-of-the-art facilities including the Animation/Motion Lab, Video-Editing Room, Virtual Reality Room, Stop Motion Recording Set, 3D printers such as MakerBot and GigaBot, and 3D scanners.

Graduates of the Design and Animation BFA Program at Monmouth University are prepared for graduate study or careers in all fields that utilize animation. Examples include entertainment, advertising, augmented reality, scientific visualization, architecture, education, healthcare, and broadcast journalism.

Monmouth University was established in 1933 as Monmouth Junior College. Today, the school provides 59 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs to a population of 5,675 students. Monmouth University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

5. Montclair State University, Montclair, New Jersey
Montclair State University

Twice designated as a Center of Excellence, the College of the Arts (CART) at Monclair State University (Montclair State) houses the School of Communication and Media (SCM). Within the SCM is an Animation and Visual Effects (VFX) BFA Program that allows students to take anywhere from 20-30 free elective credits, enroll in a minor, or add a certificate. This provides the opportunity to enhance the degree by developing professional skills in other areas. Other program benefits include immersive courses, internship opportunities, participation in the study abroad program, collaborative projects, and access to state-of-the-art production facilities and studios.

Course examples for the program include Drawing Anatomy for Animation, 2D Animation & VFX I-II, Experimental Animation, Animated Development & Pitch Bible, Visual Effects Compositing I-II, Immersive Storytelling, VFX for Film, 3D Animation & Rigging I-II, Industry Prep, Lighting & Rendering, and Game Development I-II.

Graduates of the Animation and VFX BFA Program at Montclair University are prepared to produce professional animations for the film, television, games, and interactive media industries. Montclair State alumni work or teach at places such as Saatchi & Saatchi, MSNBC, Instagram, MLB Network, CBS Local, Fanbrandz, VSA Partners, CDGNYC, and School of Visual Arts.

Montclair State University was founded in 1908 as New Jersey State Normal School at Montclair. Today, Montclair state serves approximately 21,785 students across locations in the New Jersey communities of Montclair, Little Falls, and Clifton. More than 300 majors, minors, concentrations, and certificate programs are offered across 10 academic colleges and schools. Montclair State University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).