Our 2017 rankings of the top 5 animation school programs in Tennessee. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.
1. Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
The Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) College of Media and Entertainment, Department of Electronic Media Communication, offers a BS in Animation and Mass Communication with Concentrations in Electronic Media Communication, which includes two Specialties: Electronic Media Production (video and film production) and Electronic Media Management (media management). An MS In Media and Communication is also available, and it allows students to choose six hours of approved Animation Electives.
The Animation Programs at MTSU prepare student for careers in Character Animation, Motion Graphics, and Visual Effects. Electronic Media Production students are also prepared to create Animated and Feature Films, as well as content for Documentary Films, Television, and Educational Videos.
About MTSU: Middle Tennessee State University opened on September 11, 1911 as Middle Tennessee State Normal School and one of three teacher preparatory schools in the state of Tennessee. Today, the school is home to more than 22,000 students enrolled in more than 115 programs across seven colleges.
2. East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee
East Tennessee State University (ETSU) is home to the College of Business and Technology, which houses the Department of Engineering Technology, Surveying, and Digital Media. The Department offers a BS in Digital Media (BS DIGM), a DIGM Minor, and an MA in New Media Studio. Undergraduate Concentrations include Animation, Visual Effects, Game Design, and Visualization. MA may focus on a number of areas including 3-D Animation, Gaming, Motion Capture, Visualization, Video and Special Effects, and Digital Illustration, to name a few.
About ETSU: Founded in 1911 as East Tennessee State Normal School, East Tennessee State University is home to more than 14,500 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. The school offers more than 350 programs across 11 colleges and schools.
3. Memphis College of Art, Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis College of Art (MCA) offers a BFA in Animation that highlights internship opportunities and multiple studios, which provide intensive hands-on training. Students in the program can expect to take courses such as Experimental Animation, 2D and 3D Animation, Visual Storytelling, Film Production, and a variety of studio electives. Other programs worth considering include the BFA in Illustration and the BFA in Illustration with a Track in Comics.
About MCA: Memphis College of Art was founded in 1936. This small art and design college has a population of 400-450 students from 25 states and five foreign countries.
4. The Art Institute of Tennessee – Nashville, Nashville, Tennessee
The Art Institute of Tennessee-Nashville offers several programs for aspiring animators. Options include BFA degrees in Media Arts & Animation and Visual Effects & Motion Graphics. Students in the Animation Program will take a variety of classes such as Character and Object Design for Animation, Cinematic Storytelling, Computer 3D Modeling and Animation, Acting / Movement, 2D Animation, Storyboard Rendering for Animation, Camera and Lighting Techniques, 3D Modeling, 3D Character Animation, and 3D Textures, and Web Animation. Visual Effects & Motion Graphics students will take some of the same classes and others such as Editing for Visual Effects, 3D Effects, Advanced Visual Effects, and Interactive Visual Design.
About The Art Institute of Tennessee-Nashville: The Art Institute of Tennessee-Nashville, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta, is one of The Art Institutes, a system of schools throughout North America. Founded in 2006, the school offers Visual Design, Animation & Effects, Film & Production, Fashion, and Culinary programs. Degree levels offered range from Diplomas to a BFA.
5. Southern Adventist University, Collegedale, Tennessee
The School of Visual Art and Design at Southern Adventist University offers a BFA in Animation with three Emphasis areas including Character Animation, Effects Animation, and Motion Design. Each Emphasis requires 12 credit hours of study beyond the required 67 for the Animation BFA. According to the School, animators in the Character Animation Emphasis “will develop advanced skills in animation performance, movement, story development, and acting.” Effects Animators will “focus on 3D design, character setup, motion graphics, visual effects animation, compositing, and rendering techniques,” while “Motion Design concentrates on commercial motion graphics.”
Graduates of the program have gone on to successful jobs in character animation, character modeling, texturing, rigging, visual effects, compositing, gaming, commercial animation, motion design, and technical direction.
About Southern Adventist University: Southern Adventist University was founded in 1892 as Graysville Academy. When it opened, the school had just 23 students. Today, Southern Adventist University is home to approximately 2,673 students from 50 states and 43 countries. The school offers 86 baccalaureate majors, 15 associate majors, 10 graduate degrees, and one post-master’s certificate.