2018
2018 Animation School Rankings - Top 5 in the Southwest
RankingSchool%
1Brigham Young Universitytop 4%
2Texas A&M Universitytop 8%
3University of Texas at Dallastop 12%
4Rocky Mountain College of Art and Designtop 16%
5University of Colorado top 20%

Our 2018 rankings of the Top 5 Animation Schools in the Southwest.

We define the Southwest as Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada.

For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah (top 4% of schools considered)
Brigham Young University

Brigham Young University (BYU) was founded in 1875 by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). The school is home to around 33,500 students enrolled in 178 undergraduate majors, 109 undergraduate minors, 68 master's programs, and 26 doctorate programs across dozens of colleges and departments. The College of Fine Arts and Communications, Department of Design offers a BFA in Animation and the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Department of Computer Science offers a BS in Computer Science with an Animation Emphasis.

Students in both programs have the opportunity to gain entrance to the BYU Center for Animation (est. 2010), which operates under the direction of three colleges—the Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology, the College of Fine Arts and Communications, and the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. Accepting just 20-25 students each year through the BFA or BS program, the BYU Center for Animation is a competitive, highly dynamic, hands-on program structured to provide students with the skill sets necessary for success in the animation, live-action, special effects, and game industries.

The program attracts faculty members from major studios such as Disney, Pixar, DreamWorks, and Warner Bros.

2. Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas (top 8% of schools considered)
Texas A&M University

Texas A&M University is the state’s first public institution of higher learning. Established in 1876, the school is home to 68,625 students enrolled in nearly 400 degree programs across 16 colleges and schools. The College of Architecture, which broadly defines animation within “Visualization,” offers several programs for aspiring animators. Options include BS, MS, and MFA degrees in Visualization.

Sample courses include Drawing for Visualization, Graphic Design, Color Theory, Visualization Technology, Programming, Visualization Studio, Digital Painting, and Visual and Performing Arts. The interdisciplinary Visualization programs offered in the College of Architecture prepare students to work in animation, technical animation, illustration, and many other areas.

3. University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, Texas (top 12% of schools considered)
University of Texas at Dallas

The University of Texas-Dallas (UT Dallas) was established as a member of the University of Texas System in 1969. The school is home to more than 27,600 students enrolled in 130 academic programs across seven schools. The School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication (ATEC) offers a variety of interdisciplinary programs for aspiring animators including a BA in Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication with Animation, (BA ATEC), an MA in Arts and Technology (MA ATEC), an MFA in Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication (MFA ATEC), and a PhD in Arts,  Technology, and Emerging Communication (PhD ATEC).

ATEC students have the opportunity to take a total of 15 credit hours/five courses in Animation, Design, Storytelling, and Games, to name a few. Courses such as Topics in Animation, Topics in ATEC, and Topics in Game Development are also available.

4. Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, Denver, Colorado (top 16% of schools considered)
Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design

Founded in 1936, Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design (RMCAD) offers 16 degree and certificate programs to a population of 760 students in campus/hybrid and online programs. More than 100 students are enrolled in the schools Animation Program. Options include a BFA in Animation with an Emphasis in 2D or 3D Animation, and Certificates in 3D Animation: Pre-Production or 3D Animation: Character Animation. Animation program highlights include Drawing (2D) or Advanced Software (3D) Concentrations; Stop Motion, Anatomy and Figure studies; Modeling, Character Design, Virtual Environments, and Storyboarding, and Line of Action.

The BFA program takes four years to complete and Certificate programs consist of 18 credit hours of study. Certification highlights include Fundamentals of Animation, 3D Computer Animation Motion Studies, 3D Character & Production Design, Game Animation + Motion Capture, Advanced Character Creation Methods, and Advanced Computer Animation Motion Studies.

5. University of Colorado - Denver, Denver, Colorado (top 20% of schools considered)
University of Colorado

Established in 1912, the University of Colorado Denver (UC Denver) serves around 15,000 students enrolled in more than 115 programs across 13 colleges and schools. The College of Arts & Media is home to the Department of Visual Arts (VA) and the Digital Animation Center (DAC), which offer a BFA in Visual Arts with an Emphasis in 3D Graphics and Animation.

Each year between 28 and 34 students are selected for the program, which consists of courses such as Character Creation, Environment Production, Surface Modeling, VFX Rigging and Animation, and Digital 3D Methods: Motion Graphics for Animators. Students are required to take at least twelve semester hours of Visual Arts electives, to fine tune the emphasis.

To date, DAC student senior short films have been seen in over 230 national and international film festivals in 22 countries. The school says its student films have been seen by hundreds of thousands across the globe, winning more than 50 Best Animated Short awards in non-student categories.