Our 2017 rankings of the top 5 animation school programs in Pennsylvania. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.
1. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is home to the College of Fine Art, School of Art, which offer a BFA in Electronic and Time-Based Media with a Focus in Animation and a Bachelor’s in Integrative Design, Arts & Technology (IDeATe) with a Concentration in Animation & Special Effects. According to CMU, “the Integrative Design, Arts and Technology Network connects students and faculty from across the university through coursework and collaborative studio experiences.” It allows students from every college to take minors or concentrations in Animation, Special Effects, Game Design, and more.
In addition to the programs listed, the School of Art offers supportive courses that serve “to enrich the student experience in IDeATe.” Offerings include Advanced ETB: 2D Animation, Advanced ETB: Animation, Advanced ETB: Moving Image Magic: Visual Effects and Motion Graphics, and Animation, Art, and Technology. The school’s interdisciplinary programs combine art school and computer science.
About CMU: Founded in 1900, Carnegie Mellon University is home to 13,650. The school offers more than 100 programs across seven colleges and schools including the College of Engineering, College of Fine Arts, Dietrich College of Humanities & Social Sciences, Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy, Mellon College of Science, School of Computer Science, and Tepper School of Business.
2. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) is home to the Digital Media Design Program, which leads to a Bachelor’s in Engineering and Science (BSE) with a Digital Media Design Major (DMD). Created in 1998, this interdisciplinary program was “designed for students who have an interest in computer graphics, animation, games, and the design of virtual reality environments and interactive technologies.” A Digital Media Design (DMD) Minor, and a PhD in Human Modeling and Simulation (HMS PhD) are also on the menu.
The largest employers of UPenn DMD graduates are Walt Disney Disney Animation, DreamWorks Animation, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Pixar, and Zynga Games.
About UPenn: The University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) was founded in 1740. The school is home to nearly 25,000 students enrolled in more than 400 programs across 16 schools. The College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, the School of Engineering and Applied Science (Penn Engineering), the Wharton School, Annenberg School for Communication, and the School of Design are just a few.
3. Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Drexel University is home the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, which houses the Digital Media Department. Several programs are available through the Department including a BS and a Minor in Animation & Visual Effects and an MS in Digital Media. The Animation & Visual Effects program features a six-month co-op, where students will “learn the underlying principles of animation along with industry-standard software technology. The entire creative pipeline from storyboarding through modeling and animation is covered in-depth, allowing students to experience all aspects of production.” The two-year MS in Digital Media program offers comprehensive studies in Advanced Digital Design including 3D Modeling, Animation, Interactivity, Gaming and Digital Media History, and Theory and Methods.
About Drexel: Drexel University was established in 1891. The school is home to approximately 25,595 students enrolled in over 200 degree programs across 15 colleges and schools. Just a few include Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, College of Engineering, College of Computing & Informatics, and the College of Arts & Sciences.
4. The University of the Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
University of the Arts (UArts) is home to the College of Art, Media & Design, which houses the School of Film. The School offers several programs for aspiring animators including a BFA in Animation, a BFA in Film + Animation, and a Minor in Animation. All UArts animation students have access to international opportunities such as study abroad, festivals, and workshops in countries such as France, Canada, and South Korea.
About UArts: Founded in 1876, The University of the Arts (UArts) is the nation’s only comprehensive arts university. The school is home to approximately 1,890 students enrolled in 41 undergraduate and graduate programs through four colleges and divisions including the College of Art, Media & Design, the College of Performing Arts, the Division of Liberal Art, and the Division of Continuing Studies (Graduate Programs).
5. Edinboro University, Edinboro, Pennsylvania
The College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Edinboro University is home to the Art Department, which houses the school’s second largest program by enrollment—the BFA in Applied Media Arts, which offers 15 majors and programs. Aspiring animators typically choose the Applied Media Arts – Cinema program, which covers Animation, Computer Animation, and Film & Video. Graduates of the program have worked on award-winning productions such as Ice Age and Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Ratatouille, Night at the Museum, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, The Day After Tomorrow, Pocahontas, and Mulan. Graduates also work as independent animators, filmmakers, writers, directors, and producers, as well as on television shows from The Simpsons and Robot Chicken to Game of Thrones.
About Edinboro University: Founded in 1857 as the Edinboro Academy, Edinboro University is home to 6,550 students enrolled 135 degree programs across five colleges and schools including the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Science and Health Professions, School of Business, School of Education, and School of Graduate Studies and Research. The schools and colleges of Edinboro are home to 22 academic departments.