Our 2017 rankings of the top 5 animation school programs in Massachusetts. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.
1. Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, Massachusetts
The Animation Department at Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) offers a BFA in Animation that gives students the opportunity to engage in a variety of conventional and experimental techniques. Students will study Documentary Animation, Digitally Generated Animation, Character Animation, Stop Motion, Experimental Video, and Emerging Technologies. Other highlights include “Squealing Pegs,” which is an annual screening of recent animated short films, the Animation Senior Showcase, and visiting artists and lectures.
About MassArt: Massachusetts College of Art and Design was founded in 1873 as a training institution for aspiring drawing teachers, architects, artists, and designers. Today, the school offers more than 20 undergraduate art programs, nearly a dozen graduate programs, and around seven certificate programs to a population of nearly 2,000 students.
2. Emerson College, Boston, Massachusetts
The School of the Arts, Department of Visual & Media Arts at Emerson College offers both BA and BFA degrees in Visual & Media Arts with a Specialization in Animation and Motion Media. The Department also offers an intensive three-year Film & Media Art MFA that admits just 22 students per class year. The MFA program allows students to focus in one or more areas of Computer Animation, Documentary, Experimental Media, Fiction Narrative, Installation, Interactive Art, Media Production, Sound Design or an individualized hybrid form.
According to the school, “the program includes a monthly colloquium in which you will present and discuss your in-progress work; the MFA Production Workshop, which provides advanced training and experimentation within a collaborative cohort; and an annual portfolio review.” Recent graduates of Emerson’s Department of Visual & Media Arts have found employment at Soup2Nuts, Hallmark Channel, SCG Productions, World Wide Pants, Digital Domain, Fox Searchlight, MAD TV, MGM Studios, Bunim-Murray Productions, and more.
About Emerson: Founded in 1880, Emerson College is home to around 4,450 students from across the U.S. and more than 30 countries. The school offers more than 50 programs leading to a BA, BS, BFA, MS, MA, or MFA degree.
3. School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts
The School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA) at Tufts University offers a BFA and a Combined BFA + BA/BS. The BFA is entirely elective, so students may choose any animation, film or other courses that they would like to take. Just a few options include Animation 1: Techniques and Sound, Animation 2: The Completed Short, Sound for Moving Image, and Advanced Production.
Better known as the SMFA/Tufts BFA, the Combined BFA + BA/BS “is specifically designed for students intending to pursue their art and academic interests to the fullest possible extent.” Upon completion of this program, students will graduate with two degrees from Tufts: a BA or BS in a major of their choice and a BFA. According to the school, the five-year program makes it possible for students to refine and focus their studies in an academic field and to cultivate their fine arts abilities.
About SMFA: Established in 1876, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University is home to 450 students from 37 states and 16 countries. The school offers 12 areas of study and programs lead to the BFA, MFA, MAT, Combined-degree (BFA + BA/BS), Certificate or Studio Diploma.
4. Lesley University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
The College of Art and Design at Lesley University is home to the Video and Animation Department, which offers several programs for aspiring animators. Options include a BFA In Animation and Motion Media, an Advanced Professional Certificate in Animation, and an Animation Minor. Double major opportunities are also available and include BFA degrees in Animation & Motion Media/Design and Animation & Motion Media/Illustration.
The College of Art and Design is one of the few art and design institutions nationally that requires a professional experiential learning experience in the junior or senior year. Previous internships have included Soup2Nuts, Cartoon Network Studios, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Nickelodeon, Hasbro, FableVision Studios, and Green Lens Media, to name a few. Study abroad opportunities are also on the menu and can last a semester, a summer, a term, or a year.
About Lesley University: Founded in 1909 as the Lesley School, Lesley University is home to approximately 7,536 students. The school offers hundreds of programs across four colleges and schools including the College of Art and Design, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School of Education, and the Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences.
5. University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Dartmouth, Massachusetts
The College of Visual & Performing Arts (CVPA) at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (UMass Dartmouth) offers two programs for aspiring animators including a BFA and MFA in Visual Design (Digital Media, Graphic Design, Illustration, Photography). According to the school, “students specializing in Digital Media engage in concentrated studies in Digital Animation and Interactive Multimedia.” In addition to courses such as 2D Animation, 3D Modeling, Storytelling, Storyboarding, Virtual Reality Studies, and Interface Design, students have access to CVPA’s Hall-Hildreth IDEAStudio.
This “collaborative venture between the College of Engineering and the College of Visual and Performing Arts,” allows students to “rapidly” access industry animation and design software packages, mock-up team projects, and prototype designs. Artists will also collaborate with other students and faculty, and work on advanced capstone projects.
About UMass Dartmouth: Established in 1895, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth is home to 8,647 students from 43 states and 46 foreign countries. The school houses seven colleges and schools that offer more than 80 undergraduate programs and 78 graduate programs.