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What are the top animation bachelor's of fine arts programs in the U.S. for 2023?
|1||California Institute of the Arts||California|
|2||Savannah College of Art and Design||Georgia|
|3||Ringling College of Art and Design||Florida|
|4||School of Visual Arts||New York|
|5||University of Southern California||California|
|6||Rhode Island School of Design||Rhode Island|
|7||Pratt Institute||New York|
|8||Gnomon School of Visual Effects||California|
|9||New York University||New York|
|10||Brigham Young University||Utah|
|11||Rochester Institute of Technology||New York|
|12||Academy of Art University||California|
|14||School of the Art Institute of Chicago||Illinois|
|15||Carnegie Mellon University||Pennsylvania|
|16||California College of the Arts||California|
|17||Otis College of Art and Design||California|
|18||The Ohio State University||Ohio|
|19||University of Central Florida||Florida|
|20||San Jose State University||California|
|21||Massachusetts College of Art and Design||Massachusetts|
|22||Columbia College Chicago||Illinois|
|23||Columbus College of Art & Design||Ohio|
|24||DigiPen Institute of Technology||Washington|
|25||Maryland Institute College of Art||Maryland|
|26||Florida State University||Florida|
|27||California State University||California|
|28||Minneapolis College of Art and Design||Minnesota|
|29||College for Creative Studies||Michigan|
|30||Laguna College of Art and Design||California|
|31||University of Colorado-Denver||Colorado|
|32||Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design||Colorado|
|33||University of the Arts||Pennsylvania|
|34||Arizona State University||Arizona|
|35||California State University, Long Beach||California|
|36||The New School's Parsons School of Design||New York|
|37||Cleveland Institute of Art||Ohio|
|38||Kansas City Art Institute||Missouri|
|39||University of North Carolina School of the Arts||North Carolina|
|41||Bowling Green State University||Ohio|
|43||Ball State University||Indiana|
|44||Pennsylvania Western University||Pennsylvania|
|46||Sam Houston State University||Texas|
|47||New York Film Academy||California|
For our undergraduate degree rankings, we have evaluated animation schools and programs with the best Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), and Bachelor of Science (BS) options. To determine which degree matches your career goals, it is important to understand how each qualification differs.
The Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree is the principal liberal arts degree. Most BA programs require 30-some or 40-some credits, which leaves plenty of flexibility in the form of free electives. BA students can use the free electives to sample widely from other course offerings or to earn an additional credential (a second major, a minor, or some combination of additional credentials).
The Bachelor of Science (BS) degree is offered in areas such as Computer Science, Mathematics, Psychology, Statistics, and each of the natural sciences. The BS is best suited to the student who wants to focus more on courses in the major and on 'collateral' courses (like chemistry or mathematics for a major in Geological Sciences) and is willing to give up some of the flexibility of the BA in return for the greater focus.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree is considered the most prestigious bachelor's degree that you can receive in the visual arts. This option is for students who wish to gain as much experience and skill in the arts as possible.
Below are the Top 50 Animation BFA Programs for 2023.
1. California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California
The Animation Programs at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) are housed in the School of Film/Video where famous alumni such as Chris Buck (Frozen), John Lasseter (Toy Story, Cars), and Tim Burton (Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood) got their start. The largest of CalArts’ six schools, the School of Film/Video focuses on intensive programs that emphasize comprehensive and technical artistic training. The BFA degrees in Experimental Animation and Character Animation within the school are led by experienced professionals working in computer graphic (CG), traditional, and independent animation.
The BFA in Character Animation at California Institute of the Arts is a four-year program that prepares students to work in both traditional and CG animation environments. In addition to required courses such as Acting for Animators and Perspective, the intensive Character Animation curriculum includes 2D Character Animation, Animation Layout, CG Foundation, Digital Methods, Life Drawing, Storyboarding, Character Animation I-IV, Film Workshop I-IV, and Professional Preparation. This four-year program concludes with the creation of a professional portfolio and several short films.
Students in the Experimental Animation BFA Program at in CalArts collaborate closely with mentors to develop skills in animation processes, approaches and techniques. Examples include 2D animation, digital production, installation, motion capture, multipane, performance animation, programming, and stop motion. Experimental Animation students will participate in independent study, lecture courses, and the internship program and attend seminars, workshops, and visiting artist lectures.
Experimental BFA students will take courses such as Animation Production, Animation Workshop, Concept Development, Film History, and Motion and Meaning. MFA course examples include Digital Workflow for Animators, Drawn Techniques for the Experimental Animator, First Year Shorts, Sound for Experimental Animation, and The Digital Path for Animation. Undergraduate students may add the Digital Arts Minor to develop skills in video editing, digital sound production, computer programming, web design, digital fabrication, and digital arts.
The Experimental BFA takes four years to complete and students will produce a professional portfolio and final project to graduate.
California Institute of the Arts graduates go on to successful careers in advertising, animation, film/video, and marketing. Many have launched their own freelance careers and studios.
2. Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia
The School of Animation and Motion at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) houses the world’s first specialized degree in Motion Media Design, three Animation degrees, and three Visual Effects (VFX) options for students seeking an undergraduate or advanced degree. Students in all School of Animation and Motion programs have access to more than 800 networked computers along with a 60,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art digital media center consisting of a green screen lab, in-house theater, and studio environment.
Students in all programs and at all degree levels receive instruction from celebrated professors who have worked at major studios and on award-winning productions such as Ice Age, Pocahontas, and The Lion King.
The Animation BFA at SCAD consists of 180 credit hours and it is available at the Atlanta and Savannah campuses. The program includes 80 hours in the major, which consists of concentrations in 2D Animation, 3D Character Animation, Storytelling and Concept Development, or Technical Animation. Students may also choose 10 hours of free electives. Course examples for the program include Collaborative Experiences in Animation, 3D Character Animation: Creatures and Quadrupeds, and Story and Concept: Seeding the Narrative.
All SCAD Animation students may add a minor or enroll in Gradpath@SCAD. Minor examples include Animated Illustration and Publication Design, Concept Design for Animation and Games, Visual Effects (VFX), Technical Direction, Storyboarding, Illustration for Entertainment, Interactive Design and Game Development, and Character Technical Direction. Gradpath@SCAD provides the opportunity to earn a BFA and MA or MFA at an accelerated pace. The BFA/MA could take less than four years to complete, and the BFA/MFA can be completed in five years or less.
All Animation BFA students will complete three Film Capstone courses including Preproduction, Production, and Postproduction. An optional internship is also part of the program.
From Stop-Motion Animator to Creature Technical Director, SCAD Animation graduates have been recruited by major studios, gaming companies, and networks such as Pixar, 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Electronic Arts (EA), DreamWorks, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Disney, and Lucasfilm Animation.
3. Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida
The Computer Animation BFA at Ringling College of Art and Design (RCAD) was established in 1990. Consisting of 120 credit hours of study, the program features courses taught by accomplished professionals in the field, complemented by communications with visiting artists and industry guest speakers from major studios such as DreamWorks.
Students in RCAD’s Computer Animation Program have the opportunity to complete an internship and work with area businesses on practical projects. In addition, all RCAD students participate in the school’s initiative known as INDEX (Industry Experience). Developed by in partnership with The Patterson Family Foundation, the initiative provides experiential learning opportunities through everything from internships to competitions sponsored by major brands and clients. INDEX also helps students build their portfolios and resumes.
Another degree option for individuals looking to launch a career in animation is RCAD’s Motion Design BFA. This program covers animation, design, stop motion, and sound. Motion Design students have the opportunity to collaborate on projects in teams and attend the week-long FutureProof conference. This event consists of workshops, presentations, and keynote speakers.
Ringling College of Art and Design Computer Animation students have won 17 Student Academy Awards since 1998. RCAD graduates have gone on to win a number of Oscars, they have launched successful careers at studios such as Pixar, DreamWorks, and Disney Animation Studios, and many have started their own companies and animation studios.
4. School of Visual Arts, New York, New York
The Animation Department at School of Visual Arts (SVA) has three pathways for animators: Animation, Computer Art, and Computer Animation and Visual Effects. Leading to a BFA, all programs emphasize hands-on experience; mentors who are accomplished special effects artists, directors, and character designers; and working relationships with independent animators across New York, and alumni-owned Augenblick Studios, Plymptoons, and Titmouse. As interns and part-time employees, SVA Animation students have produced animations for non-profit organizations and public service organizations such as UNESCO, Ted-ED, and UNICEF.
Students in all BFA programs will train on the latest industry software including Maya, Adobe Animate, Storyboard Pro, After Effects, and Toon Boom Harmony. SVA Animation students will also participate in the School of Visual Arts Thesis Celebration, where their best work will be presented to industry professionals and other prominent figures in the world of art.
Graduates of the Animation, Computer Art, and Computer Animation and Visual Effects BFA programs at SVA have gone on to win awards presented by the Academy of Motion Pictures, The International Animation Festival, and the Association of International Film Animators (ASIFA). Graduates have also won awards for their short and feature films at numerous festivals around the world.
SVA Animation alumni can be found at independent animation studios worldwide and at major studios such as DreamWorks, Lucasfilm Animation, Warner Bros. Animation, Nickelodeon, Sony Pictures Animation, and Disney Animation Studios.
5. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
The School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) at University of California (USC) houses the John C. Hench Division of Animation + Digital Arts (Hench DADA), which has an Animation + Digital Arts BFA Program consisting of general education requirements, a concentration area, and several courses that must be taken from the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences (Physical Education), USC Kaufman School of Dance, and USC School of Dramatic Arts.
Potential areas of concentration include Character Animation, Immersive Media, 3D Computer Animation, Experimental Animation, Motion Graphics, Interactive Animation, Visualizing Science, Documentary Animation, and Visual Effects.
During the final year of the program, BFA students will complete a Senior Project, which consists of the production and post-production of a fully rendered, animated piece—with soundtrack. Projects are presented to a committee upon completion.
Graduates of the Animation Program at University of Southern California have been hired at major studios such as Digital Domain, Digital Idea, DreamWorks Animation, Illumination Entertainment, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Nickelodeon Animation Studios, Pixar, and Sony Pictures. Many USC alumni have founded their own independent studios.
6. Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island
The Animation Program at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) combines three areas: Film, Animation, and Video (FAV). Leading to a BFA, the FAV Program provides the opportunity to focus in Animation, Live Action or a combination of the two. Students may produce experimental, narrative or documentary films, as well as productions for interactive media and installations. Student works may be viewed and analyzed through film festivals and visiting artists.
Course examples for the RISD FAV BFA include Advanced Stop Motion, Animation Practices, Character Animation Workshop, Computer Animation: Integrated Techniques, Computer Generated Imagery 3-D, Digital Effects and Compositing for the Screen, Directing, Experiments in Stop Motion Animation, Intermediate Studio: Live Action or Animation, Spatial Dynamics, Stop-Motion Animation, Time, Light, and Sound, and Video Practices.
All RISD FAV students have access to animation and live action studios, studios for green screen and blackout shooting, and Apple workstations equipped with Avid, Final Cut, Pro Tools, Autodesk Maya, the Adobe Production Suite, and a variety of animation software. Collaborative study, workshops, and a professional internship are also part of the program.
During the senior year of the FAV BFA Program, students will develop, design, animate, direct, and produce an independent project. Throughout this final year, students will receive critiques and individual guidance weekly from established professionals in the world of animation. Class meetings are devoted to specialized technical workshops, film screenings, and group critique. The year culminates with the RISD Senior Festival, a public showcase. Graduates will leave the program with a professional reel and portfolio.
Graduates of the Rhode Island School of Design FAV BFA Program have gone on to create, direct and/or produce a number of animated films and series such as The Simpsons (Lance Wilder, Animator), Family Guy (Seth Macfarlane, Creator), and the Oscar-nominated animated short Feral (Daniel Sousa, Animator and Director). RISD graduates have also landed positions at DreamWorks, HBO, Pixar, Fox, and PBS or launched their own studios and production companies.
7. Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York
The School of Art at Pratt Institute (Pratt) houses eight departments and more than 30 degree programs. The Department of Digital Arts here has a Digital Arts Program, which leads to a BFA. The program has several emphasis options including 2-D Animation, 3-D Animation and Motion Arts, and Interactive Arts.
Department highlights include small class sizes, a collaborative environment, state-of-the art studios and classrooms, and courses taught by experienced artists in the field. BFA students can expect to take courses such as 3D Modeling, Coding for Animation, Compositing and Special FX, and Lighting and Rendering. Senior Project Development and Senior Projects courses are also part of the program.
Pratt Institute Digital Arts graduates work in a wide variety of positions for major studios such as Digital Domain, Gameloft, Walt Disney Animation Studios, NBCUniversal, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), and Sony Pictures Imageworks. Many Pratt alumni have also gone on to establish academic careers at institutions such as New York University (NYU), Rochester Institute of technology (RIT), New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), Howard University, and American Academy in Rome.
8. Gnomon School of Visual Effects, Hollywood, California
Gnomon School of Visual Effects has a BFA Program that is designed to develop studio-ready professionals. Over three years or less, Gnomon BFA students will receive training in industry software such as After Effects, Nuke, V-Ray, Photoshop, ZBrush, and Maya. Students will graduate from the BFA program with a professional demo reel that showcases their best work.
With a near 100% employment rate, Gnomon School of Visual Effects has alumni working at studios and gaming companies such as DreamWorks, Electronic Arts (EA), Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Sony Pictures Imageworks, Marvel Entertainment, Nickelodeon Animation, Blizzard Entertainment, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Reel FX, and Digital Domain.
9. New York University (NYU), New York, New York
Tisch School of the Arts (Tisch) at New York University (NYU) houses the Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film & Television, which produces more than 5,000 films per year. The Institute, which produces more than 5,000 films a year, houses the Department of Animation and Digital Arts home to the Film and Television BFA with an Animation Area.
The Animation Area launched in 1980 with just five classes and 80 students, and it was the first program to bring digital technology to Kanbar. Today, the Animation Area consists of nearly twenty different courses and more than 500 students from nearly every state and dozens of countries.
The Animation Area at NYU Tisch provides instruction in 2D, 3D, and Traditional Animation. The program begins with animation fundamentals and progresses to intermediate animation, then advanced. Course examples include Experimental Animation, Life Drawing: Anatomy, Storyboarding, Visual Effects and Compositing, Action Analysis, Writing for Animation, Drawing and Design for Animation, and Motion Design & Titles.
Besides a diverse array of classes. the Animation Area at NYU Tisch highlights guest speakers such as Jeffrey Katzenberg, David Polonski, and Chris Butler, study abroad experiences, and internship opportunities.
Graduates of the Animation Area at NYU Tisch work as freelancers, many have started their own studios, and others work at major studios such as DreamWorks, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and Pixar.
10. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
The BYU Center for Animation at Brigham Young University (BYU) was established in 2010. Managed by the Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology, the College of Fine Arts and Communications and the Physical and Mathematical Sciences, the Center accepts just 20-25 students each year. The program is open to artists from the BYU Animation BFA Program.
The Animation BFA is a 62.5-64.5 credit hour limited enrollment program (75 students) that explores animation, film production, storyboarding, special effects, video game production, illustration, screenwriting, and more.
The BYU Center for Animation provides extensive hands-on training in animation, games, live-action, and special effects. All BFA and BYU Center for Animation students have opportunities to work on personal projects, group projects, and major films. Students will have the opportunity to complete an internship, study abroad, and develop a portfolio of their best work.
BYU Animation graduates go on to establish successful careers at studios such as Blizzard, DreamWorks, Disney, Sony, Digital Domain, Pixar, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Nickelodeon, Riot Games, and many others.
11. Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York
The College of Art and Design at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) houses the School of Film and Animation, home to the Animation Program. At the undergraduate level, the School has a Film and Animation BFA Program with the option to enroll in an Animation Option or a Production Option. The Animation Option focuses on 2D and 3D Animation, production, screenwriting, and stop-motion animation.
Three tracks are available within the Option including 2D, 3D and Stop-Motion Animation. Students will learn to animate for AR/VR, digital and visual effects, games, and films. Course examples across all tracks include After Effects for Animators, Programming for 3D Animators, Production Processes, Experimental Animation, Virtual Production, Digital Effects & Compositing, World Building Workshop, and Directing.
Production Option BFA students will learn to produce documentary, fiction, experimental, and live-action films. Students will gain hands-on experience working with cameras, and editing and sound equipment. All Production Option students will have the opportunity to participate in RIT’s Study Away: LA Program. Students that choose to participate in the program will spend a semester in Los Angeles where they can intern at top studios and entertainment companies, and take two courses to complement the study-away experience.
RIT also has one of the fourth-oldest and one of the largest cooperative (co-op) education programs in the world. As such, all RIT programs provide co-op education opportunities as well as internships and other experiential learning opportunities. RIT animation students also have access to 52,000 square foot MAGIC Spell Studios, and labs and classrooms outfitted with industry standard technology and software.
All RIT Animation students will participate in the school’s Creative Industry Day, where they will have the opportunity to mingle with representatives of studios, design firms, and other creative companies.
Graduates of Rochester Institute of Technology work in a wide variety of positions at Lucasfilm, Electronic Arts (EA), Dolby, Nickelodeon, Sony, DreamWorks, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Disney Animation Studios, and many others.
12. Academy of Art University, San Francisco, California
The School of Animation & Visual Effects (VFX) at Academy of Art University (Academy of Art) has a 132-unit Animation & VFX BFA that provides the opportunity to focus in one primary area of emphasis. Options include VFX, 2D animation and stop motion, 3D modeling, 3D animation, and storyboarding. The Program takes place in a studio production environment known as StudioX. The School of Animation & VFX is the only school of its kind to teach in this type of environment. Because StudioX mirrors most real-world studios, students gain hands-on experience with industry standard equipment, collaborating with other artists and on teams, and managing a production from start to finish.
In addition to several collaborative projects, all degree-seeking students at Academy of Art will complete an internship and create a professional portfolio of their best work.
Academy of Art Animation alumni go on to establish careers at major studios and companies such as Google, LAIKA Studios, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Marvel, Sony Pictures Animation, CASA VFX, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Riot Games, Weta Digital, and Industrial Light & Magic (ILM).
13. DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois
Jarvis College of Computing and Digital Media at DePaul University (DePaul) houses the School of Cinematic Arts, home to the Animation Program. Listed as a Top Film School by Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, the School of Cinematic Arts features courses taught by award-winning filmmakers and access to a state-of-the-art, 32,000 square foot production facility known as DePaul Cinespace Studios. In addition to award-winning filmmakers, courses for the animation programs at DePaul are taught by members of one of the largest full-time animation faculties in the nation. They teach courses such as 3D Animation Production, Cinema, Animation and Art, Screenwriting, Motion Graphics, 3D Design and Modeling, Stop-Motion Animation, Narrative Development, Storyboarding, Drawing, and Motion Capture.
The Animation BFA Program has Concentrations in 3D Animation, Visual Effects Animation, Cinema, Game Art, Motion Graphics, and Storyboarding and Character Design. The program also provides the opportunity to participate in the Los Angeles Quarter Program. This 10-week immersion program allows students to intern at major Hollywood studios such Disney, DreamWorks Animation, Sony Studios, Nickelodeon, The Jim Henson Company, Titmouse Animation, Bix Pix Animation, Warner Brothers, and many others.
Other program benefits include the visiting artist series, where past guests have included artists from Disney and Pixar, access to the Animation Lodge, and participation in Project Bluelight. Students at The Lodge collaborate on group projects, network, and build their portfolios. Bluelight provides hands-on experience in motion picture production to all interested students.
Graduates of the Animation Programs at DePaul University have been hired by major studios and gaming companies such as Electronic Arts (EA), Google, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Blizzard Entertainment, DreamWorks Animation, LAIKA Studios, Disney Animation Studios, Wargaming, Warner Bros. Animation, BioWare, and Iron Galaxy Studios.
14. School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
The Film, Video, New Media, and Animation Department (FVNMA) at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has a Studio Program that leads to a BFA. Students in this program can may select the Liberal Arts Thesis Option or Visual Critical Studies Thesis Option, and all programs offer extensive coursework in animation. Course examples include Puppet Animation, 3D Character Animation, Sonic and Optics, Type and Image in Motion, Advanced Experimental 3D, Advanced Drawing for Animation, Motion Graphics and Visual Effects, Advanced Screenwriting, Writing and Art Direction for Animation, Visualization and Storyboarding.
Other FVNMA Department highlights include interaction with visiting artists; access to state-of-the-art film, editing, and production equipment, the Art Institute of Chicago Museum, and on-campus galleries; and graduate seminars, screenings, and performances.
Graduates of the FVNMA Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago are prepared to seek careers in animation, film, games, digital media, and other areas.
15. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Carnegie Mellon University’s (CMU) College of Fine Art (CFA) houses the School of Art. Serving around 200 students, CMU School of Art has an interdisciplinary program that explores animation, bioArt, game arts, computational and interactive arts, video, and other related areas. Leading to a BFA in Electronic & Time-Based Media (BFA ETB), the program features advanced courses such as Animation, Art & Technology, Digital Storytelling and Resistance, Experimental Capture, and Visual Music.
Carnegie Mellon University is also home to the Integrative Design, Arts and Technology Network (IDeATe). In collaboration with the School of Computer Sciences’ Robotics Institute (est. 1979), the IDeATe network manages eight undergraduate areas that can be taken as minors. This includes Animation & Special Effects.
Courses for the Animation & Special Effects Minor are led by faculty with expertise in Art and Robotics. Course examples include Animation, Art, and Technology, Art of Robotic Special Effects, Computational Photography, Advanced ETB: Video: Experimental Science Fiction, Technical Character Animation, and IDeATe: Introduction to 3D Animation Pipeline. IDeATe Animation & Special Effects course are open to all students. This provides opportunities for animation minors to collaborate with students from game design, film, digital media, and more.
Graduates of the ETB and Animation & Special Effects Programs have gone on to establish successful careers at major studios, networks, and gaming companies such as Sony Interactive Entertainment, Walt Disney Studios, Warner Interactive, Zynga Games, Comedy Central, DreamWorks Animation, Electronic Arts (EA), MTV, Paramount, and Blizzard Entertainment.
16. California College of the Arts, San Francisco and Oakland, California
The Animation BFA at California College of the Arts (CCA) is the school’s largest major. Housed in the Animation Department, the program provides hands-on learning in state-of-the art studios and labs such as the Foley Room, Hybrid Lab, Sound Studio, and Founder 309. In the classroom and labs, Animation BFA students will learn to create 2D and 3D animation, sound effects, animation for games, stop-motion animation, and more.
Courses for the BFA program are taught by instructors who are working in the industry with studios such as Pixar, DreamWorks, and Tippett Studio. Course examples include 3D Computer Animation, Drawing for Animation, Animation 1 and 2, Workshop: Experimental Animation, Visual Storytelling, Sound for Animation, Acting for Animation, and Writing 1 and 2. During the third year of study, CCA animation students will complete Junior Project 1 and 2. In the final year of the program, students will complete Senior Project 1: Pre-production and Senior Project 2: Production.
Upon completion of the Animation BFA Program, graduates will have a portfolio of their best work. CCA Animation alumni have gone on to establish successful freelance careers or launch their own studios. CCA graduates have also been hired at studios and gaming companies such as Sony Pictures Animation, Nickelodeon Animation Studios, Electronic Arts (EA), Walt Disney Feature Animation, Pixar, Cartoon Network, DreamWorks Animation, Phosphor Games, Bento Box Entertainment, and many others.
17. Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, California
Otis College of Art and Design (OTIS) has an Animation BFA Program that explores 3D modeling, storyboarding, animation, character design, rendering and sound. Students will gain experience in 2D and 3D computer animation, 3D production, and visual development, as well as software such as Houdini, Maya, ToonBoom, Unreal, Nuke, Adobe Suite, Zbrush, and Cinema 4D. All BFA students will complete key projects including Animation Explorations, Animation Studio Project I & II, and Animation Senior Project I & II.
Graduates of the Animation BFA Program at OTIS have gone on to secure positions at major studios such as Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), DreamWorks Animation, Nickelodeon, Disney, and Pixar Animation Studios, among others. OTIS Animation alumni are 3D Animators, Animation Designers, Game Designers, Junior Character Animators, Layout Artists, 2D/3D CG Artists, Cinematic Animators, Previz Artists, Production Coordinators, and Storyboard Artists, among others.
18. The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
The College of Arts and Sciences at The Ohio State University (OSU) houses 38 departments, more than 20 research centers, and over 2,000 faculty and staff members that provide more than 80 majors, 100+ minors and certificates, and over 50 graduate programs. The Department of Art houses the Art and Technology Area, which has an interdisciplinary emphasis area that allows students to explore everything from 3D modeling and animation to electronics/robotics/animatronics.
Course examples for the area include Computer Animation, Moving Image Art, Digital Imaging, Art & Technology Studio Practice, Video Art, New Media Robotics, Internet Art, and Graphic Novel – Web Comic Production.
Graduates of the Art and Technology Area at OSU are Animators, Art Directors, Interaction Designers, Virtual Reality Designers, Multimedia Designers, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Designers, Game Designers, Motion Graphics Designers, Mixed Reality Designers, User Interface/User Experience (UI/UX) Designers, Freelance Artists, and College Professors.
19. University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida
The College of Arts and Humanities at the University of Central Florida (UCF) houses the School of Visual Arts & Design (SVAD), home to the Emerging Media Program. Leading to a BFA, the undergraduate pathway has Character Animation and Experimental Animation Tracks. Both tracks are portfolio-based and highly competitive.
Students in the program benefit from courses taught by industry professionals; courses in multiple areas such as storytelling, technology, art, and design; access to state-of-the-art production labs; a studio-environment that mirrors today’s professional studios; faculty mentors; and internship opportunities.
Course examples for the Character Animation Track include Digital Effects and Compositing, Visual Storytelling and Visual Development, Digital Production in Artificial Environments, Advanced 3D Animation, New Imagery in Motion Workshop, 3D Textures, and Character Animation Portfolio Review.
Course examples for the Experimental Animation Track include Advanced Experimental Animation, Experimental Animation Professional Practice, Experimental Animation Workshop, and Experimental Animation Portfolio. Students in this Track will also complete the BFA thesis project and exhibition/screening.
Both BFA Tracks allow students to work their way through the production pipeline from story creation to film completion. The Emerging Media BFA takes two years to complete, full-time.
Graduates of the UCF SVAD Emerging Media Program are Animators, Effects Artists, Story Artists, Modelers, Visual Development Artists, Lighting Artists, Riggers, Technical Artists, and Texture Artists. Program alumni are employed with major studios and gaming companies such as Pixar, DreamWorks, Disney, and Electronic Arts (EA).
20. San Jose State University, San Jose, California
San Jose State University (SJSU) houses the College of Humanities and the Arts, home to the Department of Design and the BFA in Animation/Illustration (A/I BFA). This professional degree covers 3D and traditional animation. Students may specialize in Animation or Visual Development. Specializations are 21 units, including 12 units of approved electives. Course examples across specializations include Animation Production – Storyboarding, Digital Animation I-II, Visual Development I-II, and Digital Modeling I-II. Students in both areas must pass a milestone portfolio review and complete a six-unit capstone—Senior Seminar Animation/Illustration.
All SJSU Department of Design students enjoy access to state-of-the-art studios, courses taught by industry professionals, and guest speakers from major studios such as Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Nickelodeon, Disney, Sony Pictures Animation, DreamWorks, Blizzard Entertainment, Pixar, Cartoon Network, Hallmark, Warner Bros. Animation, and many others.
Graduates of Art and Design Programs at SJSU have been hired at more than 135 studios and colleges. Examples include Disney Interactive, Cartoon Network, Cogswell Institute, Sony Pictures, Blizzard Entertainment, Lucasfilm Animation, Animation Mentor, NBCUniversal Studios, Nickelodeon, Pixar, Zynga, and 20th Century Fox.
21. Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, Massachusetts
The Animation Department at Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) houses more than 20 classrooms, studios, and labs dedicated to animation. The Animation Program, which leads to a BFA, begins with the foundation year, which consists of courses such as Time, Form Study, Drawing Projects, Studio for Drawing, and Visual Language. During the second year of the program, students are introduced to animation basics, experimental animation, and digital 2D animation. Color & media, figure, liberal arts, and history of art courses are also explored during the second year. Course examples for the program include Stop-Motion Animation, Puppet Animation & Fabrication, Drawing for Animators, VFX Alchemy: Pixels & Grain, 3DCG Character Animation, Motion Graphics, Figurative Clay Construction, and Advanced 3D Digital Animation.
In the third and fourth years of the MassArt Animation BFA Program, students will focus primarily on advanced animation coursework, the animation portfolio, and the final animation project, while continuing to complete liberal arts and art history coursework. An internship is also available.
Graduates of the MassArt Animation BFA Program are prepared to pursue a wide range of positions in the film and animation industries, digital art, advertising and marketing, design, and many other industries.
22. Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
The School of Media Arts at Columbia College Chicago (Columbia) houses the Interactive Arts and Media Department (IAM), home to the Animation Program. Students in the program have access to state-of-the-art animation production spaces including Cintiq, stop-motion, and traditional animation labs, as well as the Equipment Cave, Game Lab, Sound Studio, and Open Lab. IAM BFA options include Computer Animation or Traditional Animation.
Course examples across programs include Alternative Strategies in Animation, Computer Animation: Keyframing, Environmental Design & Modeling, Animation for Comics, Stop-Motion Animation, Animation Maquettes, Character Design and Modeling, CVFX: Compositing, Advanced 3D Digital Sculpting, Character Design and Modeling, Cartooning, Acting for Animators, and Screenwriting: Writing the Short Film.
Select BFA students will have the opportunity to participate in the Animation Studios in LA Program. This one credit course provides allows students to explore career opportunities at major Hollywood animation studios. Events include tours, portfolio reviews, and employment screenings. Participating studios have included DreamWorks, Nickelodeon, Disney, Cartoon Network, and Warner Bros.
As a senior, BFA students will produce an animated film as a solo project, serving as producer, editor, and director. Films will be presented at Manifest—Columbia Colleges annual art festival showcasing graduating students work.
Graduates of the Animation Programs at Columbia College Chicago have launched their own studios, they have gone on to win Oscars and Emmy Awards, and some alumni have worked on films and series such as The Lion King, Robot Chicken, Brave, Frozen, Pocahontas, UP, The Lego Batman Movie, Coco, and Finding Dory. Columbia College graduates have been hired at networks and studios such as Disney, Warner Bros. Animation, Nickelodeon, Pixar, DreamWorks Studios, Cartoon Network, and Weta Digital.
23. Columbus College of Art & Design, Columbus, Ohio
The Animation Program at Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD) was established in 1987. Recognized as a Center of Excellence by Toon Boom, the Program has BFA and Minor options. Students in both programs have unlimited access to CCAD’s Cloyd Family Animation Center, which houses state-of-the-art stop-motion, virtual reality drawing, computer and teaching labs. The Center also houses flex spaces, a student lounge, and the Animation Student Collective.
CCAD Animation students have the option to add concentration or one of 18 minors to the program. Just a few concentrations include Animation/Experimental, Animation/Game Design, Illustration/Entertainment Design/Drawing, Illustration/Illustrative Design, and Illustration/Entertainment Design/Modeling. Minors that complement the program include Animation 2D or 3D, Comics & Narrative Practice, Film & Video, Illustration, Advertising & Graphic Design, Creative Writing, Photography, and Fine Art. Concentrations require nine hours of credit hours of coursework and minors require 15 credit hours.
Students with an interest in animation, live action, and visual effects (VFX) can enroll in the BFA in Film & Video Program and add a concentration or minor in animation.
Consisting of 120 total credit hours of study, the CCAD BFA in Animation is divided into 60 credit hours of program requirements, 40 in core liberal arts, and 18 in core studio. Visual Literacy, Historical Art & Design, Writing & the Arts, Visual & Narrative Storyboard, 3D Animation Modeling & Surfacing, Café Sketch, Animation Lab Pipeline, 3D Character Animation Simulation, and Animation Lab Production are a just a few course titles for the program.
Graduates of the Animation and Visual Arts Programs at Columbus College of Art & Design work in a variety of fields as Character Animators, Motion Designers, Television Animators, Storyboard Artists. VFX Animators, Game Artists, and Architectural Visualization Producers, among others. Recent employers include Electronic Arts (EA), Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, DreamWorks Animation, LAIKA Studios, Proctor & Gamble, Phosphor Games, Pixar, Riot Games, Sony Pictures Animation, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and Stoopid Buddy Stoodios.
24. DigiPen Institute of Technology, Redmond, Washington
DigiPen Institute of Technology (DigiPen) students have earned more than 300 awards and festival selections and more than 230 awards for game projects and academic papers since the school’s inception in 1988. The school provides programs for talented professionals seeking a degree in art, design, technology or engineering.
At the undergraduate level, DigiPen has a Digital Art and Animation BFA designed for professional artists looking to enhance their skills. Competitive and challenging, the program covers traditional media, 2D and 3D digital art, animation production, pipelines, and more. Students will work solo and in teams to create animated projects, games, and/or films.
Coursework for the BFA ranges from foundation courses such as Animation Basics and The Language of Drawing to advanced courses such as Conceptual Illustration and Visual Development, Cinematic Production, and Scripting and Programming. BFA students will complete a career preparation course and several projects.
The Digital Art and Animation BFA is available at the main DigiPen campus in Redmond and at the school’s international branch campuses DigiPen Europe-Bilbao, Spain and DigiPen Singapore.
Graduates of the Digital Art Program at DigiPen Institute of Technology are prepared for positions such as Animator, Character Artist, Simulation and Effects Animator, Art Director, 3D Modeler, Concept Artist, Producer, Environmental/Asset Artist, and UI Designer, among others. To date, more than 600 companies worldwide have hired DigiPen graduates. Examples include Apple, Amazon Games, Walt Disney Imagineering, Google, Blizzard Entertainment, Warner Bros. Games, Zynga, Meta, DreamWorks Interactive, Sony, Riot Games, ArenaNet, Electronic Arts (EA), Microsoft, Nintendo, and many others.
25. Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Maryland
Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) requires all undergraduates to complete The First Year Experience (FYE), which explores contemporary art and design practice. The rigorous curriculum also highlights skill-building, technology, and 2D, 3D, and 4D media. Upon completion of The FYE, students will move on to their chosen major.
Housed in the Animation Department at MICA is the Animation BFA, which requires 24 credit hours of study in the major. Course examples include Digital Tools for Animation, 3D Character Animation: Performance, Stop-Motion Animation, Haptics and Optics, 2D and 3D Character Animation, and Professional Practice for Animators. Students in the program must complete several project courses and Animation Senior Thesis I and II.
The Art and Design Programs at Maryland Institute College of Art have helped launch the careers of thousands of students. MICA alumni are Google Animators, Mobile App Developers, Comic Artists, Filmmakers, and more. They have been hired at DreamWorks, LAIKA Studios, MTV, Disney, and other major networks and studios. Many MICA graduates have also entered graduate programs or launched careers as independent artists in the animation industry.
26. Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida
The College of Motion Picture Arts at Florida State University (FSU) has an Animation and Digital Arts Program that leads to a BFA. Students in this four year program will spend their first year completing general education requirements. For the next three years, students will immerse in the major.
Course examples for the program include Reality & Illusion in World Cinema, Motion Picture Editing, Story Development and Screenwriting, History & Practice of Visual Effects and Animation, Filmmaking, Lighting, Texturing and Rendering, and Professional Development. The FSU College of Motion Picture Arts provides close to 30 elective options for the BFA program, allowing students to pursue a variety of interests. Examples include Visual Effects (VFX), Screenwriting, Documentary Filmmaking, Film Business, and Marketing and Exhibition.
FSU Animation and Digital Arts students will have the opportunity to complete four major films (including the thesis film), and a professional internship. All FSU College of Motion Picture Arts students may participate in the Torchlight Program, which provides instruction in the financing, marketing, and distribution of films.
Florida State University BFA graduates are prepared to seek positions in the film, television, and animation industries. Potential job titles include Animator, Effects Animator, VFX Artist, CG Lighter, Animation Supervisor, Modeler, Animatics Supervisor, Rigger, and Storyboard Artist.
27. California State University, Fullerton, Fullerton, California
California State University, Fullerton (Cal State Fullerton) houses the College of the Arts, home to Department of Visual Arts. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the Department features partnerships with studios such as Nickelodeon and Walt Disney; access to the Visual Arts Complex, which houses state-of-the-art animation, illustration, drawing, and painting studios; and an Art BFA with an Entertainment Art/Animation Concentration.
Students in this 132-unit program will complete 36 units in the concentration. Course highlights include Cartooning and Caricature, Visual Development and Background Painting, Special Studies in Entertainment Art/Animation, 3D Animation, and Elements of Sequential Art. Other courses include Animation Preproduction, Animation Production, Animal and Wildlife Drawing, and Writing in the Visual Arts. Studio Art electives allow students to explore other areas of art such as illustration, graphic design, photography, kinetic sculpture, and even glass blowing.
In addition to a wide range of course options, the Cal State Fullerton Art BFA Program includes Group Projects, Independent Research, internship opportunities at major studios, and the BFA Capstone.
Cal State Fullerton alumni have worked on The Simpsons, SpongeBob Squarepants, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Superman Returns, Avatar, Ice Age 2, Spiderman 3, and many other productions. BFA program graduates also hold positions at Nickelodeon, Lucasfilm, Sony Games, Cartoon Network, Disney Feature Animation, Disney TV Animation, Sony Pictures Imageworks, and Electronic Arts (EA), among others.
28. Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) has a collaborative Animation BFA Program with two tracks: 2D and 3D Animation. Both tracks require 12 credit hours of study within the 120 credit hours required to graduate. Students may focus in other areas through the programs 26 credits of required studio electives. Course examples include 3D Rendering, Experimental Animation, Introduction to Filmmaking, Stop-Motion Animation, and Professional Practice.
BFA students may complete an internship and/or study abroad in places such as Italy, Germany, Japan, and the UK. MCAD Students have interned at Nickelodeon, MTV, Walker Art Center, Massachusetts Museum of Art, among others.
Potential careers for MCAD Animation graduates include Background Animator, 3D Modeler/Animator, Stop-Motion Animator, Film Editor, Pixel Artist, Special-Effects Animator, Storyboard Artist, Character Developer, Inker/Opaquer/Checker, Director, Producer, Writer, and Project Manager.
29. College for Creative Studies, Detroit, Michigan
College for Creative Studies (CCS) has an Entertainment Arts BFA Program with a variety of STEM-designated concentrations. This includes animation. Students in this concentration have the opportunity to customize a specific track. Examples include Traditional Animation, Storyboarding, CG, Visual Development, and Stop Motion. Other program benefits include an optional internship; coursework and mentorships that help students build an understanding of the production pipeline for animation, games, television, and advertising; and a Writing Workshop.
All students at CCS are required to complete 42 to 43 credits in liberal arts and 84 credits in studio. Course examples for the program include 2D Design Principles, Creative Visualization, 2D Digital Animation, Digital Filmmaking, Storyboarding for Film/Animation, Animation Projects I-II, Lighting & Rendering, Computer Character Animation, Advanced Story Concepts, Stop Motion, Environments & Characters, Sound Design, Animation Nuts & Bolts, and Senior Production Studio I-II.
Graduates of the CCS Animation Program are Animators, Directors, Storyboard Artists, Riggers, and VFX Artists, among others. College for Creative Studies alumni have been hired at studios and networks such as DreamWorks Animation, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Disney, and ABC Television Group.
30. Laguna College of Art and Design, Laguna Beach, California
The Animation Program at Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) has the largest enrollment of any other program at the school. Degree options include BFAs in Animation and Experimental Animation. The Animation BFA provides instruction and hands-on training in creating animated characters, filmmaking (editing, directing, screenwriting, sound design), pitching stories, and working in teams. The program consists of a combination of liberal arts and studio courses. Examples of liberal arts courses include Age of Michelangelo, Illuminating Women: Female Artists, Scientists, Poets, and Philosophers of the Renaissance, Worldly + Otherworldly Creatures, Traditional Arts of West Africa, and the Science of Sight.
Examples of studio courses and other course requirements include Character Design for Animators, Digital Skills, Acting for Animators, CG Modeling, Directing for Animators, Visual Development for Animators, and Figure Drawing for Animators. Animation BFA students will also complete the Animation Practicum, and the Senior Capstone and Thesis Defense course.
The Experimental Animation BFA Program at Laguna College of Art and Design is led by experienced instructors who are active in the television, film, games, and animation industries. With class sizes limited to 18 students, the program emphasizes learning by doing. This means, students will complete several projects throughout the program, including Experimental Thesis Film 1 and 2. In addition, students may specialize in one or more of the following areas: storyboarding, internet series projects, and show design.
Course examples for the Experimental Animation BFA Program include Fundamentals of Maya, 2D Analog/Digital Puppetry, Directing for Limited and Experimental Animation, Paperless Animation, Experimental Stop Motion Techniques, Compositing for Animators, Animation for New Media, Art Direction for TV and New Media, New Media Auteur, Storyboarding for Limited Animation, and Character Design or Limited Animation and Stop Motion.
Students in all LCAD Animation Programs have the opportunity to participate in the LCAD Animation Film Festival (LAFF). Held annually, LAFF is a theatrical exhibition that showcases the best student animated films.
Graduates of the LCAD Animation Programs are routinely hired by major television, film, games, and animation studios. Examples include Warner Brothers Feature Animation, Obsidian Entertainment, Pixar, The Jim Henson Company, Sony, South Park Studios, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Disney, LAIKA Studios, DreamWorks, Fox, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), and Titmouse.
31. University of Colorado Denver, Denver, Colorado
The College of Arts & Media (CAM) at University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver) houses the Department of Visual Arts (VA) and the Digital Animation Center (DAC). Together, the VA Department and DAC manage the Visual Arts BFA Program. Students who would like to study animation can enroll in the 3D Graphics and Animation Emphasis Area.
This 120 credit hour program includes courses such as Animation Foundations, Digital Cinematography, 2D Design, Advanced Character Animation, 3D, Advanced Character FX, Production I-II, Lighting & Rendering, Surface Modeling, and Reproduction Look Development. In the junior year of the program, VA BFA students will begin an 18-month Capstone experience—the Senior Film.
In collaboration with departments across CAM, animation students will work in all areas to create this final project. They will create sound, effects, storylines, soundtracks, motion graphics, and more. Students may also participate in the internship program during the final years of the program.
Graduates of the CU Denver VA BFA with 3D Graphics and Animation have produced films that have been screened at more than 300 film festivals in 22 countries. Program graduates have also won more than 75 Best Animated Short awards in non-student categories.
University of Colorado Denver animation alumni are employed in a variety of positions at major studios such as Pixar, Sony, and LucasArts.
32. Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, Denver, Colorado
The Animation Program at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design (RMCAD) has two options: 2D Animation and 3D Animation. Leading to a BFA, both programs require courses in the areas of 2D and 3D drawing, modeling, character design, line of action, storyboarding, and stop motion. However, the 2D Animation BFA is designed for students interested in traditional animation, while the 3D BFA emphasizes computer animation.
While both the 2D and 3D Animation Programs are offered on-campus and online, campus-based students are required to take part in online education to experience learning in a virtual environment.
RMCAD Animation graduates will leave the program with a professional portfolio of their best work. Program alumni have been hired at major networks and studios such as Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Pixar, Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network. Alumni are Animators, Story Artists, 3D Modelers, Texture Artists, Lighting Artists, and 3D Artists, among others.
33. University of the Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The School of Film at University of the Arts (UArts) has two degree options for animators: the Animation BFA and the Film & Animation BFA. The School of Film encourages collaboration between schools, so students in both programs have opportunities to study design, acting, photography, and other disciplines.
The Animation BFA Program allows students to focus in 2D, 3D, Stop Motion/Experimental, or a hybrid focus path. The Film & Animation BFA explores many styles and genres in both animation and filmmaking. Examples include traditional animation, narrative, computer-generated animation, documentary, stop motion, and experimental. Across programs, students will have opportunities to work with professionals and faculty associated with major studios and networks such as Disney Animation Studios, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, HBO, Cartoon Network, and Netflix.
The curriculum for the BFA Programs combines a collaborative, hands-on teaching environment with internships at studios such as Augenblick, and study away experiences in places such as France and South Korea. Students will also participate in lectures, screenings, and formal critiquing sessions designed to evaluate their progress and work.
A major component of the Animation Programs at University of the Arts is the Professional Practices class. This multifaceted course, which takes place in the final year of the program, includes guest speakers, personal branding development, mock interviews, social media strategies, design, and resume building. At the end of the course, students will have the opportunity to display their final portfolio reels online.
The Animation Programs at UArts also provide access to a 5,600-square-foot space known as the Center for Immersive Media (CIM), which allows students to explore other areas such as human-computer interaction (HCI), VR/AR, and performance motion-capture. In addition to CIM, animation students have unlimited access to computer labs and state-of-the-art animation, film, and stop-motion studios.
University of the Arts Animation graduates are Character Animators, Storyboard Artists, Effects Animators, Computer Animators, Art Directors, Clay/Puppet Animators, Directors, Scientific Animators, Forensics Animators, and Background Artists, among others.
UArts graduates have been hired at a number of local companies such as unPOP, Alkemy X, and Center City Film & Video. UArts alumni also work at major companies, studios, and networks such as Netflix, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Google, DreamWorks, HBO, and Sony Interactive Entertainment.
34. Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
Arizona State University (ASU) houses the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, home to the School of Art. The Art BFA Program here has an Animation Concentration with electives that allow students to gain experience in other areas such as game engine development, visual effects (VFX), or photography. Other program benefits include internship opportunities and the Animation Capstone, which leads to an independent short film or a full-length film produced as a team.
Graduates of the Art Programs at ASU Herberger work in animation and film, games and game development, cinema and television, AR/VR, illustration, robotics, medical illustration, scientific and data visualization, fine arts, and many other areas. ASU alumni are Animators, Creative Directors, VFX Artists, Graphic Artists, Multimedia Designers, and Art Directors, among others.
35. California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, California
California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) houses the College of the Arts (COTA). One of the universities largest and most popular colleges, COTA consists of six separate academic units including the School of Art, The Bob Cole Conservatory of Music, and the Departments of Film and Electronic Arts, Dance, Design, and Theatre Arts. The School of Art houses the Art BFA Program, which has an Illustration/Animation Option.
Students in the BFA Program may choose one of three Tracks within the Option: Animation, Illustration or Pre-Production. Consisting of 132 units, the Art BFA Program requires 31 units in the Animation Track, six units of upper division Art History courses, and nine units of electives. Examples of required courses include Core Studio: Animation - Practices, Core Studio: Animation - Design 1-2, Professional Practices in Illustration/Animation, Core Studio: Animation - Story Art, Advanced Studio: Animation Filmmaking, Advanced Studio: Animation - 3D CG 1, Experimental Animation, and Animation Senior Project.
Electives provide opportunities to create additional works. Elective examples include Costumed Figure Drawing, Experimental Animation, Advanced Animation Practices, Animation: Acting and Staging, and Animation Senior Film I-II.
Graduates of the Art BFA Program at California State University, Long Beach will enter the job market with a professional portfolio of their best work. Program alumni are prepared for careers such as Animator, Animation Technical Director, Character Animator, Compositing Artist, Illustrator, Art Director, Storyboard Artist, and Forensic Animator.
36. The New School's Parsons School of Design, New York, New York
The New School houses Parsons School of Design, which is the largest of the school’s seven colleges. Within Parsons School of Design is a Design and Technology Program that has a STEM-designated BFA that focuses on interaction, storytelling, and emerging art and design practices. Specializations for this 120 credit hour program include Creative Technology and Game Design. In addition to a specialization, students may add a Certificate.
Housed in the School of Continuing & Professional Education at The New School Parsons, the Motion Design and Animation Certificate is a popular option for animators. The program consists of three courses that explore the production process from start to finish. This includes storyboarding, editing, special effects, film production, and more.
Students in all New School programs have the opportunity to interact with and work on projects with professionals at places such as Apple, Siemens, Nickelodeon, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, gameLab, Samsung, MTV, Rockwell Interaction Lab, Atari, UNESCO, OnePlus Technology, and Eyebeam Art & Technology Center.
Graduates of the BFA and Certificate programs at The New School Parsons are prepared for success in a wide range of positions in areas such as 2D and 3D animation, game design, advertising, VR/AR, UI/UX, graphic arts, interaction design, film and television, mobile and application design, digital filmmaking, web design, hardware engineering, media art, and software design.
37. Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, Ohio
The Animation Program at Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) prepares students for careers in animation through work experiences with real clients and community partners, internships, and both independent and collaborative projects. Students in the program are also mentored by veteran industry professionals with hundreds of feature film credits. CIA faculty have worked with major studios and companies such as DreamWorks, Warner Bros., Walt Disney Feature Animation, Hasbro, Sony Animation, Illumination, American Greetings.
Leading to a BFA, the CIA Animation Program consists of courses such as Experimental Animation, Advanced 3D Animation, Narrative Production, Animation Portfolio Reel + Shorts, 3D Modeling for Concept Vehicles, and Community Projects: Animation Production (EP). Open electives allow students to declare a customized focus area in their junior year, study outside the program, and collaborate with other CIA departments.
In the senior year of the CIA Animation BFA Program, students will work on a thesis project. Through the Animation Portfolio Reel + Shorts course, students will develop and present an industry-ready portfolio and demo reel in their focus area.
Graduates of the Animation BFA Program at Cleveland Institute of Art have worked on feature films, games, and television series. Program alumni also work in the medical, sports, and communications industries, among others. Graduate are Animators, Storyboard Artists, Game Designers, 3D Character Animators, and Independent Filmmakers, among others.
38. Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Missouri
The Animation BFA Program at Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) is housed in the Department of Converging Media. Because Filmmaking, Interactive Arts, and Photography are also housed in the Department, cross-disciplinary study is encouraged. Animation students may also declare a double major in Art History and Animation or Creative Writing and Animation. Both options require 141 credit hours to graduate.
Animation BFA course examples include Digital Methods, Explorations in Animation, Contemporary Animation History, and Ideas in Motion. Elective options for the KCAI Animation BFA run the gamut from Documentary and Narrative Storytelling to The Art of Stop Motion Puppetry and Filmmaking and Animation. The Professional Practice course, taken during the senior year of the program allows students to interact and network with visiting artists, scholars, and industry professionals.
Also during the final year of the program, students will engage in two six-credit studios where they will have the opportunity to conceptualize and produce an animated work. Students may also complete an internship at a local or national studio.
Many graduates of the Kansas City Art Institute BFA in Animation Program go on to pursue advanced degrees at top institutions such as School of Visual Art New York (SVA NY), University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC), and California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts). Others have been hired at major studios, companies, and networks such as Nickelodeon, Titmouse, Warner Bros., Disney, Netflix, Hallmark, and Digital Domain.
39. University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) houses the School of Filmmaking, home to Animation BFA Program. Consisting of 121 credit hours of study, the Animation BFA requires a full first year of liberal arts and foundations courses in filmmaking. At the end of the first year, students will complete a portfolio for entry into the Animation Program. Once admitted, students will begin exploring character design, storytelling, lighting techniques, drawing, and props. Third year students will complete a three-minute animation project and begin working on the final fourth-year project. This final project consists of a five minute film that will serve as the BFA Thesis.
During the junior or senior years, students may complete an internship or independent study as well as upper level elective courses to enhance the degree. UNCSA Animation BFA students have interned at major studios such as Sony Pictures Imageworks and Stargate Studios. Graduates of the Animation BFA Program at UNCSA have worked with Cartoon Network and Prologue Pictures, among others.
40. Chapman University, Orange, California
Chapman University (Chapman) houses Dodge College of Film & Media Arts—one of the fastest growing film, advertising, and broadcast journalism school in the U.S. Students in all Dodge programs have access to the highly collaborative Digital Media Arts Center (DMAC), which was inspired by the creative spaces at major studios and companies such as Google, Disney, Microsoft, and Pixar.
Other Dodge College highlights include internships with studios such as Blizzard Entertainment, Disney, and Blur Studios; study abroad experiences in places such as Japan, France, Mozambique, Peru and New Zealand; access to industry software and tools such Adobe Creative Suite, 3ds Max, Xsens MVN Animate, and Autodesk Maya; and participation in student clubs such as the Chapman Animation and Visual Effects Club, The Collective, and the Virtual Reality/AR Club.
For animators, Chapman’s Dodge College of Film & Media Arts has an Animation and Visual Effects (VFX) Program with a focus in either Animation or VFX. Within the Animation Focus are two Areas: CG and 2D. Course examples for the CG Area include Mechanics of Motion, Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Character Animation for CG, Storyboarding and Story Reels, Production Design, and Storytelling in Animation and Visual Effects.
2D students will take courses such as Fundamental Graphics I-II for Animation and Visual Effects, 3D Computer Graphics I-II, Character Design, Visual Storytelling, and Color and Design: Principles and Practice. Students in both areas will complete Senior Thesis I: Concept Development, Senior Thesis II: Pre-Production and Production I, and Senior Thesis III: Production II and Post-Production. The Animation and VFS Program leads to a BFA.
Graduates of the Animation and VFX Program at Chapman University are prepared for careers in the animation, film and gaming industries. Possible job titles include Animator, Production Designer, Modeler, Texture Painter, Visual Effects Artist or Supervisor, Rigger, and Compositor, among others.
41. Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio
The College of Arts and Sciences at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) is home to one of the largest and oldest state art schools in Ohio. In existence for 75 years, the School of Art houses the Graphic Design, Digital Arts, Art History, Studio, and Art Education Divisions. Students in all Divisions have the opportunity to study abroad and complete an internship at a major studio such as Pixar or Disney Animation.
The Division of Digital Arts has a BFA Program that provides the opportunity to specialize in Animation. 2D and 3D Animation Tracks are available within the specialization. An Interdisciplinary Track, which provides the opportunity to incorporate classes from areas such as Drawing, Graphic Design, and Photography, is also available.
The Animation Track culminates in a semester-long senior capstone project that is screened at The Wolfe Center for the Arts during the School of Art's annual BFA exhibition and Film Festival.
Graduates of the Digital Arts Programs at Bowling Green State University are prepared to pursue positions such as 2D or 3D Animator, Special Effects Artist, Motion Graphics Artist, Video Game Animator, and Web Design Animator, among others. BGSU Digital Arts alumni are routinely hired by major animation and game studios such as Blizzard, DreamWorks Animation, and Epic Games.
42. Woodbury University, Burbank, California
The School of Media: Culture : Design at Woodbury University (Woodbury) has an Animation + VFX Program that prepares students for careers in professional animation and visual effects production. This STEM-designated BFA program consists of coursework in 2D animation production, 3D animation production, stop-motion animation production, and visual effects. The program also provides a variety of electives such as Digital Painting, History of Women in Animation, Puppet Building, Digital Sculpting, and History of Disney Animation.
The Animation + VFX BFA at Woodbury University is a professional degree that requires the completion of a thesis. Students will complete this final project across four courses during the junior and senior years of the program. In addition, all students are required to complete an internship. Students have interned at major studios such as Walt Disney Imagineering, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Cartoon Network, DreamWorks, and Nickelodeon.
Graduates of the Animation + VFX Program at Woodbury have been hired at Netflix Animation, DreamWorks, 20th Century Studios, The Walt Disney Company, and American Broadcasting Company (ABC), among others.
43. Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana
The College of Fine Arts at Ball State University (Ball State) houses the School of Art, home to the Visual Arts/Animation BFA Program. Students in this program will explore areas such as traditional 2D animation, stop-motion animation, 3D animation, visual effects, character animation, lighting, texturing, and modeling. The BFA Program also provides instruction and hands-on training in industry tools such as Toon Boom, Adobe Illustrator, Toon Bom Harmony, Photoshop, and Maya.
Other program highlights include collaborative projects, professional skills development including professional terminology and marketing, and courses taught by industry professionals. Course examples include 3D Animation, Rigging, and Simulation, Pre-Production, Production, Traditional Animation, Storyboarding, Character Design, Experimental techniques, Compositing and Motion Graphics, Drawing Studio, 4D Foundations Studio, and Animation: Specialty. Students will complete a senior project, professional portfolio, and demo reel of their best work to graduate.
44. Pennsylvania Western University, Edinboro, Pennsylvania
The College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Pennsylvania Western University, Edinboro (PennWest Edinboro) is home to the Department of Art, which provides programs in the visual arts at all degree levels. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the Department houses dedicated studio spaces, several galleries with frequent exhibitions, and several student organizations. Students in all programs in the Department of Art also benefit from engagement with visiting artist and speakers on a regular basis and courses taught by accomplished specialists in their respective fields.
The PennWest Art Department has an Animation BFA Program that prepares students for positions in film, television, games, advertising, and other related areas. Course examples for the program include 2D Design, Animation I-IV, 3D Design, Drawing I-II, Graphic Design Software, and 4D Design.
Animation BFA students have access to state-of-the-art facilities and software such Maya and the 2D Cintiq Lab, the Animation Club, and the internship program, which provides opportunities to work with local, regional, and national production studios. In addition, the Animation Program welcomes professional animators, storyboard artists, and directors to the campus to present talks to students about the industry. Students will also have opportunities to travel to animation conferences and festivals in Los Angeles, New York, and Toronto, and tour major studios such as DreamWorks, Sony, Disney, Warner Bros, Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, Nickelodeon, and Universal.
Graduates of the Animation BFA Program at PennWest Edinboro are Animators, Storyboard Artists, Visual Effects (VFX) Artists, Directors, Character Designers, and Modelers. Program alumni have been hired at major studios such as Pixar, DreamWorks, Nickelodeon, Disney, and Blizzard Entertainment.
45. Emerson College, Boston, Massachusetts
Emerson College (Emerson) houses the School of the Arts, home to the Department of Visual & Media Arts (VMA), which has a Media Arts Production (MAP) Program. Leading to BFA, the program provides the opportunity to develop expertise in a specific area through plans of study designed by the VMA Faculty. Examples include Animation and Motion Media, Interactive Media and Games, Filmmaking, Experimental Media Production, and Post-Production. Course examples across plans include Computer Animation, Drawing for Character Design, Game Design, Film Production, and Interactive Media.
Emerson BFA students must complete a thesis-level project that takes one year to complete. All students have access to the Emerson College Emerging Media Lab (EML), where they can work in multiple areas of new media including 3D modeling and animation, artistic anatomy & 2D animation, rigging and animation, VR/AR, character design, and game design, among others.
Graduates of the VMA Department at Emerson College have been hired in a variety of roles at studios such as Worldwide Pants, Digital Domain, MGM Studios, Bunim Murray Productions, and Searchlight Pictures.
46. Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas
The College of Fine Arts and Mass Communication at Sam Houston State University (SHSU) houses the Department of Art, home to the Computer Animation Program. Leading to a BFA, the program consists of 120 credit hours of study, including 45 credit hours in Animation. Courses explore pre-visualization of virtual environments, characters, and objects, 3D modeling, lighting and shading, character modeling and rigging, texturing, creating realistic and expressive movement, motion graphics, and video compositing.
Course examples include Animation Concepts and Techniques, Character Animation, Shading, Lighting, and Rendering, Advanced 3D Animation, Experimental Animation, and Animation Preproduction.
Electives allow students to focus in additional areas in the arts. All Department of Art students will spend a semester in the Workshop in Art Studio and History (W.A.S.H.) Program and they will have opportunities to complete an internship and join SHSU SIGGRAPH—the Animation Program’s student organization.
Graduates of the Sam Houston State University Animation BFA Program go on to pursue careers in animation, film, game design, advertising and marketing, multimedia, and many other areas. Program alumni work at places such as Zynga, EA Mobile, Kiloo Games, Perkins+Will, Stoic Studio, and Jacobs Visual Media Group.
Graduates of the SHSU Department of Art have also been accepted into graduate programs at top universities and art and design colleges such as Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Southern Methodist University (SMU), Florida State University (FSU), and University of Texas Dallas (UT Dallas).
47. New York Film Academy, Los Angeles, California
The 3D Animation & Visual Effects (VFX) School at New York Film Academy Los Angeles (NYFA Los Angeles) has an Animation BFA that provides the opportunity to work and learn in hands-on production workshops on the Universal Studios backlot in the Burbank area of Los Angeles. Course examples for the program include Animation, Maya Polygonal Modeling, Professional Development in Animation, Character Design, Screenwriting, Acting for Animation, Advanced Rigging, UP Mapping, and Particle Dynamics and Visual Effects in Maya.
Courses at NYFA Los Angeles are taught by professionals in the field who have worked with studios and companies such as Disney Animation, DreamWorks, Netflix, Digital Domain, and Sony Pictures Imageworks.
NYFA Los Angeles alumni are Animators, VFX Artists, and Filmmakers. They work for (or have worked with) NBCUniversal, Bad Robot Productions, Digital Domain, DreamWorks Animation, Tyler Perry Studios, ACM Siggraph, and Gearbox Software, among others.
48. Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts
The School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University (SMFA at Tufts) is part of a top-tier research university that provides intensive studio arts training, an interdisciplinary learning environment, networking opportunities, and hands-on experience through on-campus projects and internships.
Programs for animators include a BFA and Combined BFA + BA/BS. These unique pathways allow students to focus their work with their academic advisors to customize a focus in one or more mediums. Examples include Animation, Film and Video, Virtual Reality, Digital Media, and Graphic Arts. Animation coursework includes Animation Basics, Animation Integration, Drawing for Animation, Animation 2, Stop-Motion Animation, and Moving Image.
Coursework for both programs is complemented by visiting artist lectures, screenings, projects, and demos, and students may add a Studio Art Minor to enhance their degree.
In the final year of the BFA program, students may apply to the SMFA Tufts Senior Thesis Program. This yearlong capstone leads to a professional work and exhibition. Combined BFA + BA/BS students will graduate with two degrees: a BFA and a BA or BS in their chosen area.
49. Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts
The College of Arts, Media and Design (CAMD) at Northeastern University has several pathways to study animation. Options include an Art + Design BFA with a Concentration in Animation, a Game Art and Animation BFA, and an Animation Minor.
All CAMD BFA students have the opportunity to learn and work in a collaborative, immersive environment. In addition to animation, students will have opportunities to explore other areas such as game design, AR/VR, and interactive video. During the course of the programs, students will work their way through the production pipelines for animated films, games, visual effects, simulations and visualizations, and spatial media.
Other program benefits include courses taught by professionals in the industry, global experiences, and plenty of co-op and experiential learning experiences. Northeastern University has established relationships with co-op employers such as Sony, Walt Disney Company, Microsoft Studios, CBS, Adobe, Zynga, MIT Design Lab, National Geographic Learning, Apple, NBC Universal Television, School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) Amazon, Meta (formerly Facebook), and Viacom.
The CAMD BFA Programs at Northeastern culminate with a one-year Capstone Project and Professional Portfolio. Graduates of the programs go on to establish careers in animation, TV and film, game art and design, VR/AR, HCI, and digital media, among others. Program alumni are Animators, Producers, Game Artists, Art Directors, Experience Designers, and Sound/Audio Designers.
50. Lipscomb University, Nashville, Tennessee
The George Shinn College of Entertainment and the Arts at Lipscomb University has an Animation Program with a 64 credit hour BFA option. All George Shinn students have opportunities to travel to places such as Los Angeles and Italy to attend animation events or complete an internship. In addition, each semester, George Shinn College welcomes industry experts to speaking events designed to help students get an idea of what it’s like to work in some of the world’s top animation studios.
Courses for the Animation BFA Program are led by instructors who have worked at major studios such as Disney Animation. Course examples include 2D Character Animation, Character Design, New Media Studio, Storyboarding for Animation, CG Modeling and Lighting, and Computer Animation. In addition, an Animation Capstone is required to graduate.