Top 5 Massachusetts Animation Schools and Colleges - 2018 Rankings
1Massachusetts College of Art and DesignBoston
2Emerson CollegeBoston
3Northeastern UniversityBoston
4SMFA at Tufts UniversityBoston
5Boston UniversityBoston

Our 2018 rankings of the top 5 animation school programs in Massachusetts. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, Massachusetts
Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) 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 more than 2,000 students. The Animation Department at MassArt offers a BFA in Animation that gives students the opportunity to engage in a variety of conventional and experimental techniques.

Students in the program 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.

2. Emerson College, Boston, Massachusetts
Emerson College

Founded in 1880, Emerson College is home to 4,424 students from across the U.S. and more than 57 countries. The school offers more than 50 programs leading to a BA, BS, BFA, MS, MA, or MFA degree. The School of the Arts, Department of Visual & Media Arts 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.

3. Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts
Northeastern University

Northeastern University was established in 1898. The school serves more than 30,000 students enrolled in over 150 undergraduate majors and concentrations and more than 125 graduate programs, across nine colleges and schools. The College of Arts, Media and Design houses the Media Arts program, which has several offerings for aspiring animators—a BFA in Media Arts with a Concentration in Animation, and a Minor in Animation.

The BFA is an intensive studio program that consists of courses in imaginative and narrative arts, which are required for professional work in documentary films, game art and promotion, visualization, motion graphics, interactive art, illustration and short animated film. Sample courses include Animation Tools, Interactive Narrative, Character Design for Animation, Animation for Games, Interaction Design, Digital Sculpture and Model Making, 4D Fundamentals: Sequence and Drawing, and American Animation.

Northeastern also offers a BS in Computer Science/Media Arts. Offered through the College of Computer and Information Science, the combined major provides a solid foundation in Computer Science and Media Arts both through a curriculum that spans animation, computer graphics, database design, human-computer interaction, photography, and video. Sample courses for the program include Animation Basics and Animation Tools, Animation 1, 2 and 3, Virtual Environment Design, Animation for Games, Character Design for Animation, Digital Sculpting and Model Making, and Narrative Basics.

4. SMFA at Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts
SMFA at Tufts University

The School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA) at Tufts University was established in 1876. The school serves around 400 students enrolled in 12 areas of study. Programs lead to the BFA, MFA, MAT, Combined-degree (BFA + BA/BS), Certificate or Studio Diploma. Programs for aspiring animators include a BFA and a Combined BFA + BA/BS. The BFA is entirely elective, so students may choose courses from a range of disciplines. Just a few options include Animation, Digital Media, Film/Video, Graphic Design, and Illustration. Sample animation courses include Animation 1: Techniques and Sound, Animation 2: The Completed Short, Sound for Moving Image, and Advanced Production.

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.

5. Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts
Boston University

Boston University (BU) began as a Methodist seminary 1839. Originally located in Vermont and named the Newbury Biblical Institute, the school moved to New Hampshire in 1847 and to Boston in 1867. It was chartered as Boston University in 1869. Today, the school is home to more than 33,000 students enrolled in more than 250 programs of study across 10 colleges and schools.

The College of Arts and Sciences is home to the Computer Science Department, which offers a BA in Computer Science with a Concentration in Computer Graphics, Games & Animation. Sample courses include 3D Design and Animation, Motion Graphics, Information Design, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Image and Video Computing. BA in CS students also have the opportunity to earn a BA/MS by adding just one semester to the undergraduate program.

The BU School of Visual Arts has several other options for aspiring animators. Offerings include BFA, MFA, and MA degrees with the option to explore studio areas such as Animation, Multimedia Design, Motion Graphics and Printmaking, among others. All MFA students have individual studios or workspaces and a Visual Arts Minor is also available.

Visual Arts and BA in CS  graduates go on to work at companies like Pixar, Converse, and Nike; to attend prestigious graduate programs like Yale University and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and to generate their own unique, entrepreneurial ventures.