What are the top animation bachelor's of fine arts programs in the U.S. for 2024?

Top 50 Animation BFA Degree Programs – 2024 College Rankings
1California Institute of the ArtsCalifornia
2Savannah College of Art and DesignGeorgia
3Ringling College of Art and DesignFlorida
4School of Visual ArtsNew York
5University of Southern CaliforniaCalifornia
6Rhode Island School of DesignRhode Island
7Gnomon School of Visual EffectsCalifornia
8Pratt InstituteNew York
9Academy of Art UniversityCalifornia
10New York UniversityNew York
11Brigham Young UniversityUtah
12DePaul UniversityIllinois
13Rochester Institute of TechnologyNew York
14Carnegie Mellon UniversityPennsylvania
15School of the Art Institute of ChicagoIllinois
16University of Central FloridaFlorida
17The Ohio State UniversityOhio
18Otis College of Art and DesignCalifornia
19California College of the ArtsCalifornia
20San Jose State UniversityCalifornia
21Massachusetts College of Art and DesignMassachusetts
22DigiPen Institute of TechnologyWashington
23Columbia College ChicagoIllinois
24Columbus College of Art & DesignOhio
25Maryland Institute College of ArtMaryland
26Minneapolis College of Art and DesignMinnesota
27California State University, FullertonCalifornia
28The New School's Parsons School of DesignNew York
29Arizona State UniversityArizona
30Florida State UniversityFlorida
31Laguna College of Art and DesignCalifornia
32University of Colorado, DenverColorado
33College for Creative StudiesMichigan
34Rocky Mountain College of Art and DesignColorado
35California State University, Long BeachCalifornia
36University of the ArtsPennsylvania
37Cleveland Institute of ArtOhio
38Kansas City Art InstituteKansas
39Ball State UniversityIndiana
40Bowling Green State UniversityOhio
41University of North Carolina School of the ArtsNorth Carolina
42Northeastern UniversityMassachusetts
43Woodbury UniversityCalifornia
44Chapman UniversityCalifornia
45Sam Houston State UniversityTexas
46Lipscomb UniversityTennessee
47Syracuse UniversityNew York
48Virginia Commonwealth UniversityVirginia
49Milwaukee Institute of Art and DesignWisconsin
50University of South FloridaFlorida

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 2024.

1. California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California
California Institute of the Arts

The School of Film/Video is the largest department at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). It is also one of the nation’s most celebrated F/V schools, with famous alumni such as Tim Burton (Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood), Chris Buck (Frozen), and John Lasseter (Toy Story, Cars).

Within the School of Film/Video at CalArts are several intensive BFA programs in F/V, Film Directing, Character Animation, and Experimental Animation. All programs allow students to explore live-action, animation/animated cinema, and documentary filmmaking, among others. For students seeking a solid animation program, the Experimental Animation BFA and the BFA in Character Animation are ideal options.

The Character Animation BFA at CalArts is a four-year program that prepares students to work in both traditional and CG animation environments. Students also have opportunities to pursue one of several interdisciplinary programs (concurrently) and/or add a minor that complements the BFA program. A popular option is the Digital Arts minor.

Other program features include participation in lectures; interactions with visiting artists such as accomplished animators and filmmakers; attendance at a variety of demonstrations and screenings throughout the program; and a comprehensive curriculum that explores all areas of character and CG animation. Examples include several courses in Digital Methods; Character Animation; Film Workshop; Storyboarding; CG Foundation; and Professional Preparation. All students are also required to take Acting for Animators at least once during the program.

The Character Animation BFA at California Institute of the Arts concludes with the creation of a professional portfolio and several short films.

The Experimental Animation BFA collaborates closely with mentors to develop skills in animation approaches, techniques, and processes. Examples include 2D animation, programming, stop motion, digital production, installation, performance animation, motion capture, and multipane. Experimental Animation students will also participate in independent study, lecture courses, and the internship program, as well as seminars, workshops, and visiting artist lectures.

BFA students will take courses such as Sound for Experimental Animation; Animation Workshop; Motion and Meaning; Hybrid Imaging; Concept Development; Animation Production; Critical Studies; and Film History. Like Character Animation students, all Cal Arts Experimental Animation BFA students can add the Digital Arts Minor and/or pursue one of several interdisciplinary programs (concurrently). The Digital Arts Minor allows students to develop skills in areas such as computer programming, web design, video editing, digital sound production, and digital fabrication.

The CalArts Experimental Animation BFA program takes four years to complete. To graduate, students will produce a professional portfolio and final project.

2. Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia
Savannah College of Art and Design

The School of Animation and Motion at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) houses three Animation degrees, three Visual Effects (VFX) options for students seeking an undergraduate or advanced degree, and the world’s first specialized degree in Motion Media Design. Across programs, students have access to more than 800 networked computers and a state-of-the-art 60,000-square-foot SCAD Digital Media Center, which houses a green screen lab, in-house theater, and studio.

Other program features include instruction from celebrated professors who have worked at major studios and on award-winning productions such as Ice Age, Pocahontas, and The Lion King; participation in SCAD Study Abroad in Lacoste, France, or other location; and SCAD Savannah Film Festival, which highlights special film screenings, celebrity panels, lectures, workshops, and presentations with celebrated industry professionals. SCAD Film Festival is the largest university-run film festival in the world.

For artists seeking an undergraduate program in Animation, Savannah College of Art and Design has an Animation BFA. Consisting of 180 credit hours, the SCAD Animation BFA is available at the Atlanta and Savannah campuses. The major curriculum for the program consists of 80 credit hours, including concentrations in 2D Animation, 3D Character Animation, Technical Animation, or Storytelling and Concept Development. Students can also select 15 credit hours of free electives.

Course examples for the program (and concentrations) include Digital Communication; Visual Culture in Context: Making Modernities; Storyboarding Essentials; Inventing Environments; Collaborative Experiences in Animation, 3D Character Animation: Creatures and Quadrupeds, and Story and Concept: Seeding the Narrative.

Each student in the SCAD Animation BFA program will complete three Film Capstone courses including Preproduction, Production, and Postproduction. An optional internship is also part of the program. Graduates are prepared to pursue leadership roles in all areas of Film and Animation.

SCAD Animation alumni 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, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and Lucasfilm Animation.

SCAD alumni have also worked on Oscar nominated productions such as Encanto (won), Raya and the Last Dragon, Luca, and Turning Red. Many SCAD graduates have also established careers at places such as Microsoft, Adobe, Deloitte, Spotify, and Delta Air Lines.

3. Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida
Ringling College of Art and Design

Ringling College of Art and Design (RCAD) has a Computer Animation program that has produced 17 Student Academy Award-winning students since 1998. Established in 1990 and leading to a BFA, the program requires 120 credit hours of study. Courses are taught by accomplished professionals in the field, complemented by interactions with industry guest speakers from major studios such as DreamWorks.

Other program features include internship opportunities; real-world projects with area businesses; visiting artists; and participation in the RCAD initiative INDEX (Industry Experience). Developed in partnership with The Patterson Family Foundation, INDEX provides experiential learning opportunities including everything from additional internships to competitions sponsored by major clients and brands. INDEX also helps students build their resumes and portfolios.

The RCAD Computer Animation BFA requires 120 credit hours, including 48 credit hours in the major and 12 credit hours of open electives. Electives allow students to enhance the curriculum by gaining skills in multiple areas of art and design. Students will take required major courses such as Computer Animation I-VI; Visual Development for Computer Animation I-II; Traditional Animation I-II; Story Development I-II; and Animation Preproduction. The culminating experience for this BFA program is the Thesis Project in Computer Animation.

An additional 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 access to state-of-the-art Studio 314; opportunities to collaborate on projects in teams; participate in the ART Network Group; and attend the week-long FutureProof conference. This major event consists of presentations, workshops, and other activities designed to enhance the BFA degree. Past speakers have included artists and others from Nickelodeon, Telemundo, Hue&Cry, Hornet, and FutureDeluxe.

The Motion Design BFA requires 120 credit hours, including 39 in the major, 12 (regular electives), and 12 (open electives). Examples of major courses include 2D Animation; 3D Animation; Concept Development I-II; Advanced 2D Animation; Advanced 3D Animation; Design Fundamentals for Motion; and Branding and Visual Systems. Elective examples include Styleframe Development in Motion; Advanced Animation Techniques; Digital Compositing for 3D; Project Mapping; and Advanced Motion Design Techniques I-II.

The Motion Design BFA program at Ringling College of Art and Design culminates with two courses: Senior Project: Production Studio and Senior Project: Experimental (with presentation).

Graduates of the art and design programs at RCAD have won Oscars and many have launched their own studios and freelance businesses. RCAD alumni have worked with major companies and studios around the globe. Examples include Disney, Netflix, Nickelodeon, Universal, Sony, Walt Disney Animation, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Hulu, Titmouse, Discovery, LAIKA Studios, Meta, ESPN, MPC, Ubisoft, Ford, Pandora, TikTok, and Feld Entertainment.

4. School of Visual Arts, New York, New York

The Animation Department at School of Visual Arts (SVA) has three undergraduate pathways for students who would like to train for a career in animation. Options include Animation, Computer Art, and Computer Animation and Visual Effects. Leading to a BFA, all programs emphasize hands-on experience; working relationships with independent animators across New York and alumni-owned Augenblick Studios, Plymptoons, and Titmouse; and mentors who are accomplished special effects artists, directors, and character designers.

Students in all BFA programs train on the latest industry software including Toon Boom Harmony, Adobe Animate, Storyboard Pro, Maya, and After Effects. SVA Animation students also participate in the School of Visual Arts Thesis Celebration, where they have the opportunity to present their best work to industry professionals and other celebrated 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 Association of International Film Animators (ASIFA), the Academy of Motion Pictures, and The International Animation Festival. 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, Nickelodeon, Sony Pictures Animation, Lucasfilm Animation, Disney Animation Studios, and Warner Bros. Animation.

5. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
University of Southern California

University of Southern California (USC) is home to the School of Cinematic Arts (SCA). Within USC Cinematic Arts is The John C. Hench Division of Animation + Digital Arts (Hench DADA), which has an Animation + Digital Arts BFA. Students in this and all SCA programs have the opportunity to collaborate with students across other USC schools such Roski School of Art and Design, Thornton School of Music, the School of Architecture, and Viterbi School of Engineering.

School of Cinematic Art students also have access to state-of-the art facilities and equipment such as the Ganek Immersive Studio; Cintiq and computer labs; Motion Capture, sound mixing; green screen, and film stages; and an IMAX theater and new Virtual Production Stage.

Other SCA features include guest speakers; courses taught by seasoned filmmakers and industry professionals; and the student-organized USC Animation Studio Day, where students have the opportunity to meet with studio representatives to discuss internships and job opportunities, and present their portfolios.

The Animation + Digital Arts BFA program at University of Southern California provides the opportunity to choose a concentration area. Potential options include Character Animation, Immersive Media, 3D Computer Animation, Experimental Animation, Motion Graphics, Interactive Animation, Visualizing Science, Documentary Animation, and Visual Effects.

In addition to the concentration, BFA students will complete courses such as Design Fundamentals I-II; Storyboarding for Animation; Intermediate Character Performance; Cinematography for Animators; and Professionalism in Animation; and Ideation + Pre-Production. Access to an array of animation electives allow students to enhance the degree further. Just a few elective examples include Demystifying the TV Animation Pipeline; Procedural Animation (Houdini); and Live Action Integration with Visual Effects.  

During the final year of the Animation + Digital Arts BFA program, students will complete the Senior Capstone Film/Project course, 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 the University of Southern California are prepared to pursue leadership roles at major studios across the U.S. and around the globe. Program alumni have been hired at places such DreamWorks Animation, Pixar, Sony Pictures, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Nickelodeon Animation Studios, Illumination, and Digital Domain. Many USC alumni have also launched their own independent studios. 

6. Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island
Rhode Island School of Design

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is home to the Film/Animation/Video (FAV) Department, which serves 150 students. Leading to a BFA, the FAV program combines animation, live-action, and open media. Students have the option to specialize in any of the three areas. Regardless of specialization, all students are required to take first year studios in Experimental and Foundation Studies (EFS). Students will also take courses in Liberal Arts to supplement studio studies.

Course examples for the RISD FAV BFA include Animation Practices; Time, Light, Sound; Intermediate Studio: Animation; Digital Practices; Intermediate Studio: Live Action; and Senior Studio: Animation.

All RISD FAV students have access to state of the art facilities and equipment such as production studios puppet animation, film, video, 16mm, and 35mm; Macintosh and CGI workstations equipped with a variety of professional editing and production software; and sound mixing and digital editing rooms. Collaborative study, workshops, and a professional internship are also part of the program.

During the senior year of the FAV BFA program at Rhode Island School of Design, 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. Held in May, this public event allows students to network and put their final animated or live action films on the map. Graduates will leave the FAV BFA program with a professional reel and portfolio.

Graduates of FAV BFA program at the Rhode Island School of Design have gone on to create, direct and/or produce a number of animated films and series such as the Oscar-nominated animated short Feral (Daniel Sousa, Animator and Director), Family Guy (Seth Macfarlane, Creator), and The Simpsons (Lance Wilder, Animator). RISD graduates have also been hired at major studios such as Pixar, DreamWorks, HBO, Fox, and PBS. Some RISD FAV alumni have launched their own studios and production companies.

7. Gnomon School of Visual Effects, Hollywood, California
Gnomon School of Visual Effects

Gnomon School of Visual Effects houses several immersive programs designed to develop studio-ready professionals. Options include the Digital Production BFA or Certificate, and a preparatory program known as Foundation in Art & Design. The certificate program can be completed in two years and the BFA can be completed in as few as three years. The preparatory program requires a full year of continuous study, which includes four courses per quarter. The goal of the program is to help students enhance existing skills, pursue a degree in a related field, or polish their portfolios.

The Digital Production BFA at Gnomon requires 180 total units, including 135 in career-focused study and 45 in general education. Students may choose from three options including 3D Generalist, Visual Effects, or Game Art. The 3D Generalist option explores all aspects of 3D production, making it an ideal choice for animators.

Across all options, students will receive intensive training in industry software such as After Effects, Houdini, Nuke, V-Ray, Unreal Engine, Photoshop, ZBrush, and Maya. Course examples for the program include Character Animation; Animation and Visual Effects; Animal Drawing; Creature Animation; Storyboarding; Figure Drawing; Digital Painting; Photoshop for Digital Production; Matchmoving and Integration; Narrative Structure; Previsualization and Animatics; Digital Production; Art of Compositing; and HD Digital Filmmaking for VFX.

The Digital Production BFA program at Gnomon School of Visual Effects concludes with the production of a professional demo reel. This culminating experience takes place across four courses.

The Gnomon Digital Production Certificate is a 147-unit program that provides five areas of focused study. Options include Character & Creature Animation; Visual Effects Animation; 3D Generalist; Game Art; and Modeling & Texturing.

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), Riot Games, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Sony Pictures Imageworks, Marvel Entertainment, Nickelodeon Animation, Blizzard Entertainment, Reel FX, Digital Domain, Naughty Dog, and Weta FX.

8. Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York
Pratt Institute

Pratt Institute (Pratt) is home to the School of Art, which houses eight departments and more than 30 degree programs. The Department of Digital Arts is home to the 2D Animation, 3D Animation, and Motion Arts concentrations within the BFA program. Features across options include small class sizes with courses taught by industry professionals; a collaborative environment; access to state-of-the art studios and facilities; and the opportunity to create a final professional portfolio or reel.

Pratt BFA students will take courses such as Time and Movement; History of Animation; 3D Animation Studio; Compositing and Special Effects; Audio for Digital Media; Animation Narrative; Video Editing; 2D Animation Studio; Screenwriting; and Professional Practices. BFA students will complete a 2D or 3D Animation Senior Project across several classes. This culminating experience results polished portfolio quality piece.

Graduates of the Digital Arts program at Pratt Institute are prepared to pursue positions across a variety of creative industries. MFA alumni have been hired at places such as Sony Pictures Imageworks, Walt Disney Animation Studios, NBCUniversal, Inc., Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), Augenblick, Cartoon Network, Gameloft, DreamWorks, Curious Pictures, Framestore, Digital Domain, Buzzfeed, Titmouse, and Thrillist.

9. Academy of Art University, San Francisco, California
Academy of Art University

Academy of Art University (Academy of Art) is home to the Houdini Certified School of Animation & Visual Effects (VFX). The school provides programs that take place in a studio production environment known as StudioX. The Academy of Art School of Animation & VFX is the only school of its kind to teach in this type of environment.

Because StudioX functions like most real-world studios, students gain hands-on experience using the latest industry standard equipment. Studio X students have been credited for their work on productions such as Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, and many others.

Other School of Animation & VFX highlights include collaborations with other artists individually and in teams; the opportunity to manage a production from start to finish; and FAT (Feature Animation Training) Tuesdays classes. Taught by industry professionals from companies like Pixar and Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), these classes take place every Tuesday evening, and allow students to immerse in the mental processes of creating a character, and explore the emotional aspects of acting to enhance the characters they have created. All degree-seeking students will also complete an internship and create a professional portfolio of their best work. 

For students seeking an undergraduate degree, the School of Animation & VFX at Academy of Art has a 132-unit Animation & VFX BFA with the opportunity to focus in one primary area of emphasis. Options include VFX, 2D animation and stop motion, 3D modeling, 3D animation, and storyboarding.

Course examples include Cinematics for Animation; History and Technology of VFX and Computer Animation; Traditional Animation 1-3; Motion Quick Sketching; Cinematics for Animation and VFX; Storyboarding Principles; Digital Drawing for Entertainment; Game Engines; 3D Character Animation 1 for Animators, Riggers; Programming and Culture; 3D Realistic Animation; and Physics for Artists: Light, Sound, and Motion.

Graduates of the School of Animation & VFX at Academy of Art University are prepared to pursue positions in all areas of animation, and at all levels. Graduates have gone on to establish careers at major companies and studios such as Pixar, Paramount, Marvel, Sony Pictures Animation, Google, LAIKA Studios, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Wieden + Kennedy, DNEG, Riot Games, Weta Digital, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM). 

10. New York University, New York, New York
New York University

New York University (NYU) is home to Tisch School of the Arts (Tisch). Founded in 1965, Tisch serves more than 4,000 students from 46 states and 58 countries. Programs at Tisch are provided at all degree levels through the Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film & Television; the Institute of Emerging Media; and the Institute of Performing Arts. 

Producing more than 5,000 films per year, Kanbar houses the Department of Animation and Digital Arts—home to the Film and Television BFA. Within the BFA program is an Animation Area. Launched in 1980 with just five classes and 80 students, the Animation Area was the first program to bring digital technology to Kanbar. Today, the Animation Area provides nearly twenty different courses to 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; Drawing and Design for Animation; Stop Motion Animation; Visual Effects for Compositing; Special Topics in 3D Animation; Advanced Animation Production; Action Analysis I-II; Writing for Animation; and Animation: From Pitching to Pipeline to Production.

In addition to providing in-demand courses and access to state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, the Animation Area at NYU Tisch features guest speakers such as Jeffrey Katzenberg, David Polonski, and Chris Butler, along with access to numerous study abroad and internship opportunities.  

Graduates of the Animation Area at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts are prepared to pursue positions at studios across the U.S. and abroad. Some program alumni go on to launch their own studios and freelance businesses. Others have been hired at major studios such as Pixar, DreamWorks, and Walt Disney Animation.

11. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
Brigham Young University

Brigham Young University (BYU) is home to the BYU Center for Animation. Established in 2010, this hands-on, closed-enrollment program accepts just 20-25 students per year. Managed by the Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology, the College of Fine Arts and Communications, and the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, the Center is open to artists from the BYU Animation BFA program and the Computer Science BS with an Animation and Games Emphasis. BYU Center for Animation students may choose to focus in anything from 2D animation to special effects.

The BYU Center for Animation provides extensive hands-on training in animation, games, live-action, and special effects. All BFA, BS, and BYU Center for Animation students have opportunities to work on personal projects, group projects, and major films. Students also have the opportunity to complete an internship, study abroad experience, and develop a portfolio of their best work.

Housed in the College of Fine Arts and Communications-Department of Design, the Animation BFA is a 62.5-64.5 credit hour limited enrollment program that accepts just 75 students per enrollment period. The program explores animation, film production, storyboarding, special effects, video game production, illustration, screenwriting, and more. Course examples include Visual Narrative; Scripting for Animation; Experimental Animation and Production; Technical Animation; Visual Development and Character Design; Directed Studies in Animation; 3D Visual Effects; and Animated Film Production 1-3.  

The Animation BFA program at BYU culminates with the BFA Final Project. Graduates are prepared for careers in all animation and game design and development. Sample job titles include Animator, Animation Tool Developer, Concept Artist, Lead Animator, Multimedia Programmer, Animation Director, Game Developer, Animation Producer, Game Designer, Animation Technical Director (TD), Art Director, Animation Production Coordinator, and Effects Technical Director (FX TD).

BYU Animation alumni have been hired at major studios such as Pixar, Blizzard, DreamWorks, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Nickelodeon, Riot Games, Disney, Sony, and Digital Domain.

12. DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois
DePaul University

Jarvis College of Computing and Digital Media (CDM) at DePaul University (DePaul) houses three schools including Cinematic Arts, Computing, and Design. Across schools, students have access to more than 65 degree programs and minors.

Within the School of Cinematic Arts is an Animation program that features courses taught by award-winning filmmakers who are part of one of the largest full-time animation faculties in the nation; access to a state-of-the-art, 32,000 square foot production facility known as DePaul Cinespace Studios; and the new Jarvis Student Center for Innovation and Collaboration. This 8,000 square-foot open space focuses on industry partnerships and multidisciplinary professional learning across emerging technologies. Collaborations and projects between students and faculty emphasize innovation and community needs.

Cinespace and other CDM/SCA studios and facilities provide access to latest industry animation software, tools, and technologies. This includes Cintiq labs, professional animation and effects software, 3D printing, stop motion stages and fabrication studios, sound studios, 3D motion capture, and motion control.

The Animation program at DePaul University has a professional Animation BFA with concentrations in 3D Animation, Visual Effects Animation, Motion Graphics, Storyboarding and Character Design, Cinema, and Game Art. In addition to the opportunity to select an in-demand concentration, BFA students have the unique opportunity to participate in the Los Angeles Quarter Program. This 10-week immersive experience allows students to intern at major Hollywood studios such Disney, DreamWorks Animation, Sony Studios, Nickelodeon, The Jim Henson Company, Titmouse, and Warner Bros. Animation.

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. Project Bluelight provides hands-on experience in motion picture production to all interested students.

Graduates of the Animation program at DePaul University are prepared to pursue careers in all industries that require animation and game design and development skills. Program alumni have been hired by major studios and gaming companies such as DreamWorks Animation, Electronic Arts (EA), Warner Bros. Animation, Google, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Blizzard Entertainment, Disney Animation Studios, Iron Galaxy Studios, BioWare, and LAIKA Studios.

13. Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York
Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) is home to the College of Art and Design, which houses the School of Film and Animation. A designated Center of Excellence (COE) by Toon Boon Animation, the School provides many opportunities for students to gain hands on experience and network—all before graduation.

For starters, RIT School of Film and Animation students may 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 houses the fourth-oldest and one of the largest cooperative (co-op) education programs in the world. All RIT programs provide co-op education opportunities as well as internships and other experiential learning experiences. 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.

At all levels, animation students will participate in the RIT’s Creative Industry Day, where they will have the opportunity to mingle with representatives of studios, design firms, and other creative companies.

The School of Film and Animation at RIT also houses the stand-alone Film and Animation BFA, with a focus on production, screenwriting, 2D and 3D animation, and stop motion animation. A BFA in Film and Animation with an Animation or Production Option is also available. Across all School of Film and Animation programs students have access to state-of-the-art facilities and equipment such as MAGIC Spell Studios; Stop Motion Studios; Animation 2D and 3D Labs; Soundstages; Animation and Drawing Studios; Virtual Reality Labs; Editing Suites; a Mixdown Room; Post-Production Labs; SOFA Cage; and the Pro Tools Editing Suite.

All programs culminate with a finished film completed across several Capstone or Thesis courses. Students will then take part in a public screening of their finished work.

Graduates of Rochester Institute of Technology enjoy an impressive 92% employment rate. School of Film and Animation alumni are prepared to pursue careers across the creative, technical, medical, architecture, and legal industries. Examples of companies and studios that have hired RIT Animation graduates include Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Disney Animation Studios, Lucasfilm, Electronic Arts (EA), Dolby, DreamWorks, Nickelodeon, and Sony.

14. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University’s (CMU) is home to the Integrative Design, Arts and Technology Network (IDeATe). In collaboration with Robotics Institute (est. 1979) in the School of Computer Sciences, the IDeATe network manages 10 undergraduate minors, including Animation & Special Effects.

Consisting of a minimum of 27 units, the Animation & Special Effects minor allows students to gain experience in areas such as digital 2D and 3D animation techniques; visual effects and procedural animation; real-time animation systems; expanded and experimental animation methods; and storytelling through animation. Project-based courses for the program are led by faculty with expertise in Art and Robotics.

Course examples include Technical Character Animation; Topics in Animation: Story Development; Advanced ETB: Animation Studio; IDeATe Special Topics in Animation: Bipedal Rigging for Animation Production; and Introduction to 3D Animation Pipeline.

The IDeATe Animation & Special Effects courses are open to all students. This provides opportunities for animation minors to collaborate with students from game design, film, digital media, and more.

For students seeking a four-year undergraduate degree, the College of Fine Art (CFA) at Carnegie Mellon University has an interdisciplinary BFA in Electronic & Time-Based Media (BFA ETB) that explores areas such as animation, computational and interactive arts, game arts, and video and performance. Students in this program will take advanced courses such as Animation, Art, and Technology; Experimental Game Design; Digital Storytelling and Resistance; and Digital Storytelling and Resistance.

Graduates of the ETB and Animation & Special Effects programs at Carnegie Mellon University are prepared to pursue positions at major studios, networks, and gaming companies. Program alumni have been hired at places such as DreamWorks Animation, Electronic Arts (EA), MTV, Paramount, Blizzard Entertainment, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Walt Disney Studios, Warner Interactive, Zynga Games, and Comedy Central.

15. School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
School of the Art Institute of Chicago

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) is home to the Film, Video, New Media, and Animation Department (FVNMA), which has a Studio BFA program that explores animation (experimental 2D and 3D), new media art, cinema, and video. Concentration areas may include Hand-Drawn and Digital 2D and 3D Animation; Moving-Image Installation; Nonfiction/Documentary and Narrative Film and Video; Media Art Histories; Interactive Art; VR/AR; and Web-Based Projects.

FVNMA students also have access to courses such as Puppet Animation; Motion Graphics and Visual Effects; 3D Character Animation; Intermediate Animation: Experimental Methods; Writing and Art Direction for Animation; Realtime; New Media: Crash Course; Visualization and Storyboarding; Media Practices: The Moving Image; Sonics and Optics; The Digital Dark Age; Video Everywhere; Internet Artware; Advanced Experimental 3D; Handmade Cinema I-II; Graduate Production Studio; and Large Scale Cinematic Production.   

Across programs, students benefit from interactions with visiting artists; access to state-of-the-art film, editing, and production equipment; graduate seminars, screenings, and performances; and unlimited admittance to the Art Institute of Chicago Art Museum (est. 1879) and on-campus galleries. Students also have access SIAC’s Gene Siskel Film Center, which regularly highlights films from around the world, along with student work.

The FVNMA Studio Art BFA at SAIC culminates with the Senior Film/Video Projects Capstone. During this final course, students will complete a professional quality moving image project for public presentation. The MFA program culminates with a final project. Work will be presented in the SAIC Graduate Thesis Exhibition, the Gene Siskel Film Center, or other end-of-year events at SAIC. Each year more than 200 graduate students present time-based works, performances, and writings to 30,000 people.

Graduates of SAIC’s FVNMA Department are prepared to seek careers in animation, film, games, digital media, and more. As part of SAIC, FVNMA alumni enjoy a 92% employment or graduate school rate.

16. University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida
University of Central 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 BFA with tracks in Character Animation and Experimental Animation. These portfolio-based, highly competitive tracks take place in a studio-environment that mirrors today’s professional studios. Students in both tracks also benefit from faculty mentors; courses taught by industry professionals and in multiple areas such as storytelling, technology, art, and design; access to state-of-the-art production labs; and internship opportunities.

Course examples for the Character Animation track include Advanced 3D Animation; Digital Effects and Compositing; New Imagery in Motion Workshop; 3D Textures; Visual Storytelling and Visual Development; Digital Production in Artificial Environments; and Character Animation Portfolio Review.

Course examples for the Experimental Animation track include Advanced Experimental Animation; Experimental Animation Workshop; Experimental Animation Professional Practice; and Experimental Animation Portfolio. Students in this track will also complete the BFA thesis project with exhibition/screening.

Both BFA tracks allow students to work their way through the production pipeline from story creation to film completion. After completing general education and other program requirements, the Emerging Media tracks take two years to complete, full-time.

Graduates of the Emerging Media program at University of Central Florida 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).

17. The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
The Ohio State University

The College of Arts and Sciences at The Ohio State University (OSU) houses more than 20 centers and institutes, 38 departments and schools, and over 2,000 faculty and staff members. The College provides more than 250 majors, minors, certificates, and graduate programs to approximately 19,310 students. Among the many programs in the College of Arts and Sciences is the BFA in Art and Technology.

Part of the Department of Art, this interdisciplinary program explores everything from 3D modeling and animation to electronics/robotics/animatronics. Course examples include Computer Animation; Graphic Novel – Web Comic Production; Moving Image Art; Art & Technology Studio Practice; Digital Imaging; New Media Robotics; Video Art; and Internet Art.

In addition to a variety of courses, BFA students have access to dedicated labs, state-of-the-art facilities, and collaborative spaces for producing animations, moving image art, interactive and robotic art, game art, internet art, and more.

Graduates of the Art and Technology BFA program at The Ohio State University are prepared to pursue roles across industries such as entertainment, advertising, education, architecture, medical, and legal. Program alumni are Animators, CG Generalists, Motion Graphics Designers, Mixed Reality Designers, Art Directors, Design Educators, Interaction Designers, Virtual Reality Designers, Freelance Artists, Multimedia Designers, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Designers, User Interface/User Experience (UI/UX) Designers, Game Designers, and Visual Communication Designers.

18. Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, California
Otis College of Art and Design

Otis College of Art and Design (OTIS or Otis College) has an Animation BFA program that explores animation, character design, 3D modeling, storyboarding, sound, and rendering. In addition to gaining experience in 2D and 3D computer animation, 3D production, and visual development, students will master software such as Houdini, Unreal, Toon Boom, Nuke, Adobe Suite, Maya, ToonBoom, Zbrush, and Cinema 4D.

All OTIS Animation BFA students will complete courses such as Storyboarding and Pre-Viz; Design and Drawing for Animation I-III; Storytelling Fundamentals; Art History of Animation; Advanced Animation; and Creative Action Studio. Key projects include Animation Explorations; Animation Studio Project I & II; and Animation Senior Project I & II. BFA students also have the opportunity to complete a professional internship.

Graduates of the Animation BFA program at Otis College of Art and Design have gone on to secure positions at major studios such as Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), DreamWorks Animation, Nickelodeon, Disney, and Pixar. OTIS Animation alumni hold positions such as 3D Animator, Animation Designer, Cinematic Animator, Visual Effects Artist, Creative Director, Game Designer, Junior Character Animator, Production Coordinator, Layout Artist, 3D Modeler, Storyboard Artist, 2D/3D CG Artist, Concept Artist, and Previz Artist.

19. California College of the Arts, San Francisco and Oakland, California
California College of the Arts

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, collaborative learning in state-of-the art studios and labs. CCA’s Animation Studios house six labs, a sound booth, and stop motion suites. The school also houses the Digital Animation Lab, which has a Hybrid Lab for experimental making, a foley room for sound effects and voice-overs, and a sound studio for editing and mixing soundtracks. Students also have access to a Multi-Purpose Suite and the Open VR Space.

The studios, shops, and labs at California College of the Arts are outfitted with the latest industry equipment and software such as Autodesk software, including Maya and Mudbox; down-shooter cameras for stop-motion animation; Wacom Cintiq displays for digital drawing; Dragonframe, TVPaint Animation, Adobe Creative Cloud, and Toon Boom's Harmony and Storyboard Pro; 27-inch iMac workstations; and drawing light tables.

In CCA classrooms and studios, Animation BFA students learn to create 2D and 3D animation, sound effects, animation for games, and stop-motion animation. Because the program is interdisciplinary, animation students will develop skills in other creative areas from drawing and sculpture to acting and storytelling. The CCA BFA also requires 48 units of Humanities and Sciences coursework. Course examples include Introduction to the Modern Arts; Media History: History of Animation; Foundation in Critical Studies; Writing 1 and 2; Literary and Performing Arts Studies.

Courses for the CCA BFA are led by working professionals in the entertainment industry. CCA faculty work at major studios such as DreamWorks, Pixar, and Tippett Studio. Course examples include Animation 1 and 2; Visual Storytelling; Animation Tutorials; Sound for Animation; Acting for Animation; Drawing for Animation; and 3D Computer Animation 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 at California College of the Arts, graduates will have a portfolio of their best work. CCA Animation alumni have gone on to launch their own studios, start a freelance career, or establish themselves at major studios and gaming companies. Examples include Cartoon Network, Pixar, DreamWorks Animation, Electronic Arts (EA), Walt Disney Animation Studios, Sony Pictures Animation, Nickelodeon Animation, Phosphor Games, Bento Box Entertainment, and many others.

20. San Jose State University, San Jose, California
San Jose State University

The College of Humanities and the Arts at San Jose State University (SJSU) is home to the Design Department, which houses the Animation/Illustration BFA (ANI BFA). This professional degree explores traditional and 3D animation, storyboarding, visual development, character design, modeling, and physics of motion. Students in this program may specialize in Animation or Visual Development. Specializations are 21 units, including 12 units of approved electives. Course examples across specializations include Digital Animation I-II; Visual Development I-II; Animation Production – Storyboarding; and Digital Modeling I-II.

Students in both specializations will take courses such as Drawing for Animation/Illustration; Visual Storytelling; 2D Animation I-II; Illustration Fundamentals I-III; Color Principles for Screen Arts; and All ANI BFA students must also pass a milestone portfolio review and complete the six-unit capstone Senior Seminar Animation/Illustration.

Across all creative programs at SJSU, students have access to state-of-the-art studios; courses taught by industry professionals; and internship and study abroad opportunities. Animation/Illustration BFA students also benefit from interactions with guest speakers from major studios such as Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Pixar, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Disney, DreamWorks, Blizzard Entertainment, Warner Bros. Animation, Sony Pictures Animation, and Hallmark.  

Graduates of the ANI BFA program at San Jose State University are prepared to pursue roles at major studios, top academic institutions, and any industry that utilizes animation, illustration, digital media, and games. To date, SJSU alumni have been hired at more than 135 studios and colleges. Examples include Disney Interactive, the Cogswell Institute, Sony Pictures, Blizzard Entertainment, Pixar, Animation Mentor, Cartoon Network, Lucasfilm Animation, NBCUniversal Studios, Nickelodeon, 20th Century Fox, and Zynga.

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

Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) has an Animation BFA program that emphasizes experimentation, collaboration, studio-based learning. Housed in the Animation Department, the program takes place across 20 state-of-the-art classrooms, studios, and labs dedicated to animation.

The BFA begins with the foundation year, which consists of courses such as Thinking, Making, Writing: Using Words with Clarity and Flair; Time; Studio for Drawing; Form Study; Visual Language; and Drawing Projects.

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 include Figurative Clay Construction; Design for Animators; Media Techniques; Animation 1: Basics; Color for Painting; Animation 2: Experiments; Introduction to Digital 2D Animation; Life Drawing; and Human Figure in Illustration.

In the final years of the Animation BFA program at MassArt, students will focus primarily on studio electives such as Puppet Animation & Fabrication; Sound Design for Animators; and 3DCG Character Animation, along with advanced coursework such as Animation 3: Communication, and Animation 4: Production. Students will also complete an animation portfolio and the final animation project, while finishing any liberal arts and art history coursework. In addition, a professional internship may be completed during this time.

Graduates of the Animation BFA program at Massachusetts College of Art and Design are prepared to pursue a wide range of positions in industries such as film and animation, digital art, advertising and marketing, and design. Program alumni are also prepared to launch their own studios or freelance careers. MassArt alumni hold titles such as Director, Cartoonist, Designer, Composer, Visual Artist, Art Educator/Professor, Comic Book Creator, Illustrator, Painter, Producer, and Screenwriter.  

22. DigiPen Institute of Technology, Redmond, Washington
DigiPen Institute of Technology

DigiPen Institute of Technology (DigiPen) is the first school in the world to offer a bachelor’s degree in video game programming. The school is also a Certified Partner of SideFX—developers of the procedural 3D art software, Houdini. This tool is preferred by major studios that produce films, games, and projects for television.

DigiPen provides intensive programs for artists seeking a degree in art, design, technology, and engineering. Across programs, students benefit from technology-focused curriculums; interdisciplinary team-based projects that last anywhere from a semester to a year; courses taught by instructors who have worked on projects for Walt Disney Animation Studio and LucasArts; and the opportunity to study abroad at a DigiPen campus in Singapore or Spain.

For animators seeking an undergraduate degree, DigiPen has a Digital Art and Animation BFA designed for artists looking to enhance their skills. Competitive and challenging, the program covers animation, 2D and 3D digital art, traditional media, and production pipelines. Course examples for this 126 credit hour program include Animation I-III; Introduction to Scripting and Programming; 3D Digital Art Pipeline; Visual Development for Production; Film History; Storytelling; Game History; and Cinematic Project I-III.

The Digital Art and Animation BFA is available at the main DigiPen campus in Redmond and at the school’s overseas campuses DigiPen Europe-Bilbao, Spain and DigiPen Singapore. Graduates are prepared for advancement opportunities in their current careers or to pursue positions in their chosen area. 

Since its inception in 1988, DigiPen Institute of Technology has produced hundreds of accomplished animators, filmmakers, game designers, and other artists who have earned more than 300 awards and festival selections. DigiPen students and graduates have also won 230 awards for game projects and academic papers. And, to date, DigiPen graduates have helped develop more than 2,000 commercial game titles.

More than 1,250 companies worldwide have hired DigiPen graduates. Examples include Walt Disney Imagineering, Riot Games, Blizzard Entertainment, Warner Bros. Games, Electronic Arts (EA), Microsoft, Zynga, DreamWorks Interactive, Sony, ArenaNet, Google, Apple, Meta, Amazon Games, and Nintendo.

23. Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Columbia College Chicago

The School of Media Arts at Columbia College Chicago (Columbia) houses the Interactive Arts and Media (IAM) Department. Within the Department is an Animation program that provides access to the latest industry-standard technology, equipment, and tools. Examples include Cintiq Labs, Stop-Motion Labs, the Animation Equipment Center, and Traditional Animation Camera Labs. Animation Instructional Spaces for stop-motion and traditional animation projects include state-of-the-art classrooms and workshops.

The Animation program at Columbia College Chicago has two BFA options: Traditional Animation and Computer Animation. The BFA is ideal for students who would like to specialize in a specific area of animation and complete two films before graduating.

Programs also provide the opportunity to begin animating in the very first year. Course examples across programs include Cartooning; Character Design and Modeling, Environmental Design & Modeling; Alternative Strategies in Animation; Animation for Comics; CVFX: Compositing; Stop-Motion Animation; Computer Animation: Keyframing; Screenwriting: Writing the Short Film; Animation Maquettes; Advanced 3D Digital Sculpting; Character Design and Modeling; and Acting for Animators.

Select BFA students 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 Disney, DreamWorks, Warner Bros., Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network.

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 highlighting graduating students work.

Columbia College Animation graduates have gone on to win Oscars and Emmy Awards. 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. Others have launched their own studios and freelance businesses. Columbia College graduates have also been hired at major networks and studios such as Pixar, DreamWorks, Cartoon Network, Weta Digital, Disney, Nickelodeon, and Warner Bros. Animation.

24. Columbus College of Art & Design, Columbus, Ohio
Columbus College of Art & Design

The Animation program at Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD) is recognized as a Center of Excellence by Toon Boom. Established in 1987, the program has BFA, minor, and concentration options. All provide unlimited access to CCAD’s Cloyd Family Animation Center, which houses state-of-the-art labs such as stop-motion, virtual reality drawing, computer, and teaching. The Center also houses flex spaces, a student lounge, and the Animation Student Collective.

CCAD Animation BFA students may add a concentration or one of 20 minors to the program. Just a few concentrations include Animation/Experimental; Animation/Game Design; Illustration/Entertainment;  Design/Drawing; Illustration/Illustrative Design; and Design/Modeling. Concentrations require nine hours of credit hours of coursework.

Minors that complement the program include Animation 2D or 3D; Illustration; Comics & Narrative Practice; Fine Art; Film & Video; Creative Writing; Advertising & Graphic Design; and Photography. Minors require 15 credit hours. Film and Video BFA students who would like to study animation, live action, and visual effects (VFX) can also add a concentration or minor in animation. 

Consisting of 120 total credit hours of study, the CCAD Animation BFA is divided into 60 credit hours of program requirements, 40 in core liberal arts, and 18 in core studio. Course examples include 3D Animation Modeling & Surfacing; Café Sketch; Visual Literacy; Visual & Narrative Storyboard; 3D Character Animation Simulation; Writing & the Arts; Animation Lab Pipeline; Historical Art & Design; and Animation Lab Production.

CCAD Animation and Film/Video BFA graduates are prepared to pursue an advanced degree or titles such as Character Animator, Motion Designer, Television Animator, Storyboard Artist, VFX Animator, Game Artist, and Architectural Visualization Producer. Recent employers include Sony Pictures Animation, Electronic Arts (EA), Cartoon Network, Pixar, Nickelodeon, DreamWorks Animation, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Riot Games, LAIKA Studios, and Phosphor Games, and Stoopid Buddy Stoodios.

25. Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Maryland
Maryland Institute College of Art

Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) requires all undergraduate students to complete the school’s innovative First Year Experience (FYE). During this exploratory year, students will study contemporary art and design practice; collaborate; and participate in constructive critiques. The rigorous FYE curriculum also highlights skill-building, technology, and 2D, 3D, and 4D media. Upon completion of the MICA FYE, students will move on to their chosen major.

Students who choose the Animation major will be admitted to the Animation Department at MICA. Leading to a BFA, the Animation program requires 24 credit hours of study in the major. Course examples include Otherworldly; Stop-Motion Puppet Rubbish; Astro-Animation; Animation Digital Fabrication; Animation in Unique Spaces; Advanced 3D Open Studio; Experimental Animation; 3D Computer Animation; Storyboarding for Animation; Digital tools for Animation; and Character Conflict Performance; Special Topics in Animation; and Professional Practice for Animators.

BFA students will also complete several projects, plus the Animation Senior Thesis I and II courses. The Senior Thesis is a year-long capstone that culminates in a final film, installation, or interactive media project. Final projects are presented at the MICA Grad Show.

Maryland Institute College of Art graduates are prepared for creative careers in a wide range of industries. MICA alumni are Google Animators, Mobile App Developers, Comic Artists, Filmmakers, and more. They have been hired at major studios such as MTV, DreamWorks, Disney, and LAIKA Studios. Many MICA graduates go on to pursue graduate study, launch their own studios, or establish a freelance business.

26. Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) has a collaborative Animation BFA with 2D and 3D tracks. Both require 12 credit hours of study. Students in this 120 credit hour program may customize an additional focus area (or areas) through 26 credits of required studio electives. Course examples for the program include Background Layout for Animators; 2D Digital Animation; Character Animation; 3D Modeling; Virtual Environments; Experimental Animation; and Professional Practice Animation.

All Animation BFA students have the opportunity to complete an internship and/or study abroad in places such as Japan, Italy, Germany, and the UK. Across tracks, students have completed internships at places such as Nickelodeon, MTV, Massachusetts Museum of Art, and Walker Art Center.

The Animation BFA program culminates with the final Senior Project. Graduates are prepared for a variety of positions and leadership roles in art, entertainment, and design. Possible careers include Background Animator, 3D Modeler/Animator, Editorial Illustrator, Stop-Motion Animator, Film Editor, Pixel Artist, Special Effects Animator, Graphic Designer, Storyboard Artist, Character Developer, Inker/Opaquer/Checker, Director, Producer, Writer, Project Manager, and Arts Educator.

27. California State University, Fullerton, Fullerton, California
California State University, Fullerton

California State University, Fullerton (Cal State Fullerton or CSUF) houses the College of the Arts, home to Department of Visual Arts. This National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD)-accredited Department features partnerships with major studios such as Walt Disney and Nickelodeon. Visual Arts students also benefit from experiential learning through exhibitions, visiting artists, internships, and external projects; and access to the Visual Arts Complex, which houses state-of-the-art animation, illustration, drawing, and painting studios.

The Visual Arts Department also provides eight studio concentrations. This includes an Art BFA with a concentration in Entertainment Art/Animation. Students in this 132-unit program will complete 36 units in the concentration. Course examples include Principles of Animation; Intermediate Character Animation; 3D Animation; Design for Interactive Art; Video Art and Moving Image; Special Studies in Entertainment Art/Animation; Elements of Sequential Art; Digital narrative Illustration; and Cartooning and Caricature. Studio Art electives allow students to explore other areas of art such as sculpture, photography, printmaking, and even glass casting.

In addition to a wide selection of course options, the Cal State Fullerton Art BFA program includes Group Projects, Independent Research, and internship opportunities at major studios. The program culminates with the BFA Capstone: Game Art, Animation, and Immersive Media, worth three credits.

Graduates of the Entertainment Art/Animation BFA program at Cal State Fullerton alumni have worked on productions such as Avatar, The Simpsons, Spiderman 3, SpongeBob Squarepants, Ice Age 2, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and Superman Returns. BFA alumni also hold positions at major studios such as Sony Pictures Imageworks, Disney Feature Animation, Electronic Arts (EA), Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Lucasfilm, and Sony Games.

28. The New School's Parsons School of Design, New York, New York

In the 20th century, The New School became famous for housing courses in the creative arts taught by artists such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Martha Graham, W. H. Auden. In 1926, The New School was also the first American university to teach the history of film, and one of the first to offer college-level courses in photography and jazz. Today, The New School is the only university to house a design school, liberal arts college, performing arts college, and graduate programs and colleges under one roof.

Serving 5,755 students, design is the largest college at The New School. Known as Parsons School of Design, the school also houses a STEM-designated Design and Technology BFA that focuses on interaction, storytelling, and emerging art and design practices. Specializations include Creative Technology and Game Design. Course examples for this the 120 credit hour program include Drawing/Imaging; Space/Materiality; Integrative Studio; Time’ Design Studies; Core Studio Environments; Objects as History; and Integrative Studio.

All New School undergraduates must also complete the first-year experience. Consisting of 30 credits, the experience includes seminars and studios; liberal arts studies; and the exploration of 2D and 3D processes, drawing, digital design, and more. By the time BFA students begin their upper division coursework, they will be eligible to participate in the Parsons internship program and projects with external partners. Recent partners include Google, MIT, Panasonic, IBM, The New York Times, SXSW, Nokia, Intel, Samsung, and NYC Media Lab.

The Design and Technology BFA at Parsons School of Design culminates with a thesis project, completed across two courses worth a total of 12 credits. Graduates are prepared to pursue positions in areas such as animation, 2D and 3D animation, game design, advertising, VR/AR, motion graphics, immersion experience design, digital filmmaking, graphic arts, interaction design, television production, mobile and application design, web design, software design, and media art.

29. Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
Arizona State University

Arizona State University (ASU) is home to the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, which houses the School of Art, which houses the Art BFA with a concentration in Animation. Consisting of 120 credit hours of study, this program features courses such as The Art Experience; 3D Computer Imaging and Animation; Illustration; Animation Motion Studies; Storyboarding and Narrative Sequencing; and Junior Animation Projects I-II.

Elective options for the BFA allow students to gain experience in other areas such as visual effects (VFX), game art and graphics, stop motion animation, screenwriting, prototyping, and experimental video art. Other BFA program benefits include internship opportunities and the Animation Capstone completed across two courses. This culminating experience consists of an independent short film or a full-length film produced as a team.

Graduates of the Art BFA/program at Arizona State University are professionals in a range of creative, technical, and scientific industries. Examples include animation and film, robotics, medical illustration, scientific and data visualization, games and game development, cinema and television, AR/VR, illustration, and fine arts. ASU alumni hold titles such as Animators, Creative Director, VFX Artist, Multimedia Designer, Art Director, and Graphic Artist.

30. Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida
Florida State University

Florida State University (FSU) is home to the College of Motion Picture Arts, which houses a limited access Animation and Digital Arts program. Each class for this BFA program is limited to just nine students. Consisting of 120 credit hours (with 91 in the major), this four year program highlights three years of immersive animation coursework.  

Course examples include History & Practice of Visual Effects and Animation; Advanced Filmmaking; Story Development and Screenwriting; Character Art; Lighting, Texturing, and Rendering; Visualization I-III; Character Animation; Film Aesthetics; Reality & Illusion in World Cinema; Character Animation; Motion Picture Editing; Digital Studio Department Leadership; and Production Management. Courses such as the Professional Internship; Portfolio Production; and marketing and Exhibition are provided as electives.

Throughout the Animation and Digital Arts program at FSU will have the opportunity to complete a total of four major films. This includes the Thesis film. All enrolled students in the College of Motion Picture Arts may participate in the Torchlight Program. This option provides instruction in the marketing, financing, and distribution of films.

Graduates of the Animation and Digital Arts BFA program at Florida State University are prepared to pursue positions in the film, television, and animation industries. Potential job titles include Animator, Effects Animator, VFX Artist, Animatics Supervisor, CG Lighter, Animation Supervisor, Modeler, Storyboard Artist, and Rigger.

31. Laguna College of Art and Design, Laguna Beach, California
Laguna College of Art and Design

The Animation at Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) has the largest enrollment of any other program at the school. Students in this area have opportunities to work with and learn from industry partners such as Disney, DreamWorks, Nickelodeon, Pixar, Sony, and Industrial Light & Magic (ILM). In addition, students have two program options—Animation and Experimental Animation. Both programs lead to a BFA.

An Animation minor be added to any LCAD program. However, this program is an ideal option for students Game Art, Entertainment Design, and Illustration majors. The Animation minor explores principles of both traditional and CG animation. Courses for the program include Animation 1 and 2; Character Design for Animators 1; Storyboarding 1; and CG Animation 1. History of Animation is strongly recommended for this program, but it is not a requirement.

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. Required liberal arts courses include Art History: Modern Movements; Professional Studies for Animators; and the Senior Capstone and Thesis Defense. Students will select other liberal arts courses from titles such as Project Green: Oceans; The Psychology of Space and Settings; Exhibition Design; and Exiles in LA: Art, Architecture, Film of Wartime Émigrés. 

Studio courses include Visual Development; Animal Drawing; Background Painting; Animation Practicum; and Thesis Film 1, 2 and 3. Students in the LCAD Animation BFA program will complete a total of 122 credit hours to graduate. Program alumni can pursue a variety of roles in the entertainment industry. Examples include animating, directing, editing, cinematography, screenwriting, and sound design. 

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 hands-on projects. In addition, BFA students can specialize in Storyboarding, Show Design, and/or Internet Series Projects.

Course examples for the Experimental Animation BFA program include Storyboarding for Limited Animation; Fundamentals of Maya; 2D Paperless Animation; Experimental Stop Motion Techniques; Animation for New Media; Art Direction for TV and New Media; Original Series Development; Acting for Animators; Compositing for Animators; and Directing for Limited and Experimental Animation. This 122 credit hour program culminates with the Senior Capstone and Thesis Defense course.

Graduates of the LCAD Experimental Animation BFA program are prepared to pursue careers in areas such as stop motion animation; 3D modeling and animation; character design & storyboarding for limited animation; 2D digital puppetry; 2D paperless animation; show and series design; and new media authorship.

All LCAD Animation students 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 Animation programs at Laguna College of Art and Design are routinely hired by major animation, film, television, and game studios. Examples include Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Cartoon Network, DreamWorks, Warner Brothers Feature Animation, Disney, South Park Studios, Nickelodeon, Obsidian Entertainment, Pixar, The Jim Henson Company, Sony, Titmouse, LAIKA, and Fox.

32. University of Colorado-Denver, Denver, Colorado
University of Colorado Denver

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 (DAV), home to the 3D Graphics and Animation emphasis. Provided as part of the Visual Arts BFA, the emphasis consists of 75 credit hours.  Course examples include Dynamic Simulation; Creating Visual Story – Narrative Techniques and Visual Design; Digital Cinematography; International Perspectives through Animation; and Production I-III.

Students in this program will learn and create in the DAC, with access to other CAM centers such as the Comcast Media and Technology Center (CMTC). The DAC is a state-of-the-art facility that focuses on collaboration. Students here have access to over 100 workstations; a large volume Vicon motion capture system; and a dedicated tender farm with more than 4,300 cores. Industry standard 3D software includes Houdini, Maya, and Zbrush.

The CMTC is a transdisciplinary center for innovation that focuses on research and development. The CMTC is a partnership between CAM and the College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS). Other 3D Graphics and Animation program benefits include internship opportunities at major studios and study abroad experiences in places such as France, Italy, Greece, Sout Korea, and the UK.

CU Denver CAM students have interned with studios, productions, and organizations such as Pixar Animation Studios, NBC Universal, Walt Disney Animation Studios; AMC's The Walking Dead, The Denver Art Museum, and High Noon Entertainment.

In the third year of the 3D Graphics and Animation program at CU Denver, 3D Graphics and Animation students will begin their 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.

To date, graduates have produced films that have been screened at more than 300 film festivals across 22 countries. Program graduates have also won more than 75 Best Animated Short awards in non-student categories. CU Denver Animation alumni work in a variety of roles at major studios such as Pixar, Sony, and LucasArts.

33. College for Creative Studies, Detroit, Michigan
College for Creative Studies

Entertainment Arts at the College for Creative Studies (CCS) consists of Animation, Game Design, Digital Film, and Concept Design pathways. All options are STEM-Designated and taught by Hollywood insiders, using the latest equipment and software. A Toon Boom Center for Excellence, Entertainment Arts at CCS houses state-of-the-art PC and MAC equipment, editing suites, gaming labs, and full VR capabilities with Vive goggles and sensors.

In addition to declaring a major, all College for Creative Studies undergraduate students will choose from seven liberal arts minors or 20 studio minors. Required credits include 42 to 43 in liberal arts and 84 in studio. Students are also encouraged to take classes outside of their major, to enhance their skill set. Like all CCS departments, Entertainment Arts emphasizes technical skill, aesthetic and conceptual ability, and practical experience.

The Entertainment Arts program with a concentration in Animation requires a total of 126-127 credit hours. Leading to a BFA, the program begins with the First Year Experience (FYE), which focuses on academic preparedness. During the first year, students will also complete courses such as Drawing I: Rapid Concept; Drawing II: Style & Skill; Animation I; Digital Techniques; Process & Making; and 2D Design Principles.

Animation II-III; Experimental Animation; Animation Nuts & Bolts; and Storyboarding for Film/Animation are just a few 2nd year courses. Upper division courses include Advanced Story Concepts; Animation Projects I-II; and Business Practices. In the final year of the program, students will complete several required general education electives; Entertainment Arts electives; and Senior Production Studio I-II. CCS Animation students also have the opportunity to complete an internship.

Graduates of the Animation program at College for Creative Studies are prepared to pursue careers across the entertainment, advertising, games, and other industries. Program alumni are Animators, Directors, Storyboard Artists, Riggers, and VFX Artists. College for Creative Studies alumni have been hired at major studios and networks such as Disney, Sony Pictures Imageworks, DreamWorks Animation, and ABC Television Group.

34. Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, Denver, Colorado
Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design

Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design (RMCAD) has a collaborative Animation program that requires all on-campus students to participate in online learning. Consisting of 123 credit hours completed over four years, this BFA program has options in both 2D and 3D Animation. Each option requires 27 credit hours.

Designed for students interested in traditional animation, the 2D option also requires 21 credits in Animation and six Studio elective credits. With a focus on computer animation, the 3D option requires 18 credits in Animation and nine in Studio electives.

All students must complete the Liberal Arts Curriculum which emphasizes global consciousness, information literacy, and critical awareness. Across options, students will explore Storyboarding; Observational Drawing; Character Design; Animation; Texture Mapping; Modeling; and Line of Action.

Graduates of the Animation programs at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design will leave the program with a professional portfolio of their best work. Program alumni are prepared for roles such as Animator, Story Artist, 3D Modeler, Texture Artist, 3D Artist, and Lighting Artist. Graduates have been hired at major networks and studios such as Pixar, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, and Industrial Light & Magic (ILM).

35. California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, California
California State University, Long Beach

The College of the Arts (COTA) at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) is one of the school’s largest and most popular colleges. Housing six separate academic units (departments), COTA employs over 100 full-time and 150 part-time faculty members that serve more than 3,000 students. Departments include the School of Art; Bob Cole Conservatory of Music; Theatre Arts; Film and Electronic Arts; Design; and Dance.

The COTA School of Art at California State University, Long Beach received designation as a school in 2012. The school houses state-of-the-art facilities and top-rated work spaces and seven separate and customizable galleries for displaying, critiquing, and viewing student work. School of Art students also have access to international travel opportunities to support their work, as well as opportunities to interact with professional working artists.

Within the CSULB COTA School of Art is an Art BFA with an option in Animation. BFA students have the option to complete the Animation track or the Pre-Production track. Both provide plenty of opportunities to study animation. Animation track students are required to take Professional Practices in Illustration/Animation and Experimental Animation 1. Pre-Production students must take Core Studio: Illustration. Examples of common course options include Advanced Studio: Animation; Special Studies in Animation; Animation Film I; and Animation Film II.

Upon completion of the COTA BFA program at California State University, Long Beach graduates will have a professional portfolio of their best work. Program alumni are prepared for careers such as Animator, Art Director, Storyboard Artist, Animation Technical Director, Forensic Animator, Character Animator, Compositing Artist, and Illustrator.

36. University of the Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
University of the Arts

The School of Film at University of the Arts (UArts) has two degree options for animators—the Animation BFA and the BFA in Film & Animation. The School of Film encourages collaboration between schools, so all students have opportunities to study design, photography, acting, and other disciplines.

The Animation BFA allows students to focus in 2D, 3D, or Stop Motion Animation. Students may also create a hybrid focus path. The Film & Animation BFA explores styles and genres across animation and filmmaking. Examples include experimental, computer-generated animation, documentary, traditional animation, stop motion, and narrative. Across programs, students have opportunities to work with professionals and faculty associated with major studios and networks such as Nickelodeon, HBO, Comedy Central, Netflix, IFC, Disney Animation Studios, and Cartoon Network.

The BFA curriculum combines hands-on teaching with internships at studios such as Augenblick, Stretch Films Inc., and Sesame Workshop; study away experiences in places such as France and South Korea; and formal critiquing sessions designed to evaluate the students’ progress and work. BFA students also have opportunities to interact with guest speakers and alumni; collaborate on projects with peers; and participate in lectures and screenings.

A major component of the Animation programs at University of the Arts is the Professional Practices requirement. During this multifaceted course, which takes place in the third year of the programs, provides the opportunity for students to post their reels to their branded portfolio websites; participate in mock interviews; design business cards, resumes, and other materials; and develop social media strategies.

The Animation programs at UArts also provide access to a 5,600-square-foot space known as the Center for Immersive Media (CIM). Within the CIM, students can 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.

The Animation and Film BFA at UArts culminates with the Animation Thesis or Film Thesis completed across two courses. The culminating experience for the Animation BFA is the Animation Thesis, completed across two courses. For Animation BFA students who would like to complete an additional project, the program provides the option to complete the Client Animation Project course instead of an internship.

University of the Arts Animation graduates are prepared to pursue roles such as Character Animator, Storyboard Artist, Effects Animator, Computer Animator, Art Director, Cinematographer, Clay/Puppet Animator, Director, Motion Graphics Designer, Producer, Animatic Editor, Scientific Animator, Forensic Animator, and Background Artist.

UArts graduates have been hired local companies and studios such as Center City Film & Video, Alkemy X, and unPOP. UArts alumni also work at major companies, studios, and networks such as Sony Interactive Entertainment, HBO, Warner Bros., DreamWorks, Netflix, Cartoon Network, Google, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Nickelodeon, Google, Augenblick, Titmouse, and Bento Box Entertainment.

37. Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland Institute of Art

The Animation Program at Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) prepares students for careers in animation through independent and collaborative project; internships; and work experiences with real clients and community partners. Animation students also benefit from field trips the zoo and museums for inspiration, as well as mentorships with veteran industry professionals with a combined 600+ feature film, television, and digital production 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 Storyboarding & Sequential Art; 2D and 3D Animation; Experimental Animation; Motion Graphics; Body Mechanics for Animation; 3D Texture, Mapping, Digital Lighting; Narrative Production; 3D Modeling for Concept Vehicles; Advanced 3D Animation; Community Projects: Animation Production (EP); and Animation Portfolio Reel + Shorts. 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 Animation BFA program at Cleveland Institute of Art, students will complete a thesis project. Students may do this individually or through collaboration in their chosen area of animated media. Through the Animation Portfolio Reel & Shorts course, students will develop and present an industry-ready portfolio and demo reel of their best work.

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. Program alumni are Animators, Storyboard Artists, 3D Character Animators, Game Designers, and Independent Filmmakers.

38. Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) houses a state-of-the-art digital studio outfitted with the latest tools and equipment such as 3-D printers, CNC routers, and a digital loom. The KCAI campus also houses two art galleries—an encyclopedic museum and contemporary art museum—where students can explore contemporary art, collections of Impressionist paintings, and ancient Chinese sculptures. Students in all KCAI programs have access to these resources and more.

For students seeking an animation degree, Kansas City Art Institute has an Animation BFA that allows students to create their own path through the school’s mentor-based studio-instruction model. All students begin the program by exploring analog, classical, and experimental techniques. In the second year, students will take courses such as Sophomore Studio: Principles of Animation; History of Animation: Origins; and Sophomore Studio: Animators Toolbox.

The third year consists of Junior Studio: Explorations in Animation; History of Animation Since 1960; and Sophomore Studio: Ideas in Motion.

Throughout the 126 credit hour Animation BFA program, students will have the opportunity to select 15 credit hours from electives. Examples include Live Action for Animation; The Art of Stop Motion Puppetry; Real-Time Animation; Intro to Toon Boom Harmony; and Motion Graphics: History & Practice.

In the final year of the KCAI Animation BFA program, students will complete the Professional Practice course and Senior Studio: Graduation Animation 1 and 2. The Professional Practice course allows students to interact and network with visiting artists, scholars, and industry professionals. The two six-credit Senior Studios provide the opportunity to conceptualize and produce an animated work. Students may also complete an internship at a local or national studio. 

Graduates of the Kansas City Art Institute Animation BFA program are prepared to pursue roles in the entertainment industry, advertising, and many others. Program alumni have been hired at major networks and studios such as Nickelodeon, Digital Domain, Warner Bros., Disney, Netflix, Hallmark, and Titmouse. Some KCAI BFA graduates go on to pursue advanced degrees at top institutions such as University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts), School of Visual Art New York (SVA NY), and University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC).

39. Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana
Ball State University

The College of Fine Arts at Ball State University (Ball State) houses the School of Art. Within the School is Visual Arts/Animation BFA program that provides hands-on training in industry tools such as Maya, Toon Boom, Adobe Illustrator, and Photoshop. Students in this 85 credit hour major will explore traditional 2D animation, 3D animation, and stop motion. Courses for the program are collaborative and led by professors who have worked at Disney and other major studios.

The Visual Arts/Animation BFA at Ball State University requires 42 credit sin Animation, 18 form art studio electives, and 25 credit from art foundations. Course examples include 2D, 3D and 4D Foundations Studio; Animation: Experimental Techniques; Storyboarding; 3D Animation, Rigging, and Simulation; Character Design; Animation: Compositing and Motion Graphics; Drawing Studio; 3D Modeling, Texturing, Lighting, and Rendering; and Painting: Introduction.

Other Ball State BFA program highlights include collaborative projects; professional skills development including professional terminology and marketing; and internship opportunities.

The culminating experience for the Visual Arts/Animation BFA at Ball State includes three production courses leading to the Senior Project (Capstone), which will be presented as a student exhibition. Students will also enter the job market with a professional portfolio and demo reel of their best.

Graduates of the Visual Arts/Animation BFA at Ball State University are prepared to pursue roles such as 3D Animator (film), Animation Web Designer, 3D Animator or Modeler (video game industry), Storyboard Artist (film or advertising), 3D Modeler (entertainment, advertising, engineering, and medicine), and Multimedia Artist.

40. Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio
Bowling Green State University

The School of Art at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) is one of the largest state art schools in Ohio. In existence for more than 75 years and housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, the School houses five divisions: Digital Arts, Studio, Graphic Design, Art History, and Art Education. Students in all divisions benefit from a student-faculty ratio of 15:1; National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) accreditation; study abroad opportunities at BGSU’s partner school in Florence, Italy; hands-on experience through internships with major studios and organizations such as Pixar, Disney Animation, and the Museum of Modern Art; and access to a variety of minors and programs at all degree levels.

Across all School of Art programs, students also have access to Graduate Assistantships; opportunities to work BGSU’s professional large-format printing studio; and the newly built Wolfe Center for the Arts. Within the Center are three state-of-the-art digital studio classrooms; a 20-seat Mac Pro OSX lab; a 20-seat HP (Windows 7) lab; and an editing lab with 20 Mac Pro video editing workstations.

The School of Art at Bowling Green State University also houses The Media Center, which features high-dynamic range wide format printers; high-end digital A/V equipment for student checkout; 3D printing capabilities; and high-resolution scanners.

For individuals seeking a professional Animation degree at the undergraduate level, the Division of Digital Arts within the School of Art has a Digital Arts BFA with a specialization in Animation. 2D and 3D Animation tracks are available, and an optional interdisciplinary track allows students to incorporate classes from other areas such as Drawing, Graphic Design, and Photography.

The Animation specialization 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 are prepared to pursue roles such as 2D or 3D Animator, Motion Graphics Artist, Video Game Animator, Special Effects Artist, and Web Design Animator.

BGSU alumni are routinely hired by major animation and game studios such as DreamWorks Animation, Epic Games, and Blizzard Entertainment.

41. University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
University of North Carolina School of the Arts

University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) is home to the School of Filmmaking, which houses the Animation BFA. The first year of this 121 credit hour program consists 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, student animators will begin exploring character design, drawing, storytelling, props, and lighting techniques. Third year students will complete a three-minute animation project and begin working on the final fourth-year project. This culminating experience results in a five minute film that will serve as the BFA Thesis.

During the junior or senior years, students may also 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 have worked with studios such as Cartoon Network and Prologue Pictures. A recent Animation BFA graduate also received an Emmy Nomination for his work on American Horror Story.

42. Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts
Northeastern University

Northeastern University has a number of paths to study animation. Options are housed across several colleges and departments. The College of Arts, Media and Design (CAMD) at Northeastern University houses the Department of Art + Design, home to the Art + Design BFA with an Animation concentration, and the Game Art and Animation BFA.

All Art + Design BFA students have the opportunity to learn and work in a collaborative, immersive environment. In addition to animation, students have the option to explore other areas such as game design, interactive video, and AR/VR. During the course of the BFA programs, students will work their way through the production pipelines for animated films, visual effects, games, simulations, spatial media, and visualizations.

Other program benefits include courses taught by professionals in the industry; global experiences; and plenty of co-op and other experiential learning experiences. Northeastern University has established relationships with co-op employers such as Microsoft Studios, Apple, CBS, Amazon, NBC Universal Television, Sony, Viacom, Walt Disney Company, Adobe, National Geographic Learning, School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), and Facebook.

The CAMD Animation concentration requires 134-135 credit hours of study. Course examples include Color and Composition; Animation Basics; Movement and Time; Animation 1 and 2; Visual Intelligence; Animation Tools; and Typographic Systems. The Media Arts Degree Project is the culminating experience for this degree program. This advanced studio course provides preparation for graduating students in their careers as professional artists and creative practitioners.

The Game Art and Animation BFA at Northeastern University consists of 135 credit hours and requires many of the same courses as the Art + Design BFA with an Animation concentration. Other courses for the Game Art and animation program include Foundations of Game Design; Games and Society; Experience and Interaction Tools; Animation for Games; Narrative for Games; Survey of the Still Moving Image; and the Media Arts Degree Project.

Graduates of the CAMD BFA programs at Northeastern University go on to establish careers in areas such as animation, TV and film, game art and design, VR/AR, HCI, and digital media. Program alumni are Animators, Game Artists, Art Directors, Experience Designers, Producers, and Sound Designers.

43. Woodbury University, Burbank, California
Woodbury University

The School of Media: Culture: Design at Woodbury University (Woodbury) houses eight programs. Six are STEM-designated. This includes the Animation + VFX BFA that explores 2D animation, stop=motion, 3D animation, and VFX. Led by accomplished professionals and academics, course examples include History of Animation and VFX; Animation Principles 1 and 2; Figure and Animal Drawing; Industry Insiders; Stop Motion Animation; 3D Animation 1 and 2; Storyboarding; Production Design; and Digital Media.

Animation + VFX at Woodbury University also provides opportunities for students to develop skills in additional areas through electives. Puppet Building, Digital Painting, and Digital Sculpting are just a few examples. Other program highlights opportunities to work one-on-one with instructors in small studio classes; the Progress Portfolio, where students will develop a portfolio/reel in specified work from each completed lower-division studio; access to state-of-the art computer labs and equipment; and the required internship.

Thanks to Woodbury’s location near more than 15 animation and visual effects studios, students have many opportunities to fulfill the internship requirement. Examples include Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, DreamWorks, Warner Bros., Bix Pix Entertainment, Acme Filmworks, Walt Disney Imagineering, Walt Disney Animation, Titmouse Studios, Hasbro Studios, Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, Netflix Animation, and Skydance Animation.

In the third year of the Animation + VFX program, students will complete a 20- to 30-second long junior thesis film. This Junior Thesis course includes a review of the 2D/3D/stop-motion production pipelines and soundtrack synchronization. The BFA program culminates with Animation Thesis I, 2 and 3, completed over three semesters. This final film project will be viewed at the end of year Animation + VFX Showcase in Woodbury’s campus theater, equipped with surround-sound and 4K projection. Student films are also ready for submission to national and international animation festivals.

Graduates of the Animation + VFX BFA program at Woodbury University are prepared to pursue roles such as 3D Animator, Director, Stop-Motion Animator, Storyboard Artist, 2D Animator, Character Designer, Puppet-Builder, Medical Animator, Visual Effects Artist, Architectural Visualizer, Visual Development Artist, Character Technical Director, Visual Effects Supervisor, Rendering Artist, Writer, Game Artist or Game Animator, and Visual Effects Producer. 

Program alumni have been hired by major networks and studios such as DreamWorks, The Walt Disney Company, 20th Century Studios, Netflix Animation, and American Broadcasting Company (ABC).

44. Chapman University, Orange, California
Chapman University

Dodge College of Film & Media Arts (Dodge College) at Chapman University (Chapman) is one of the nation’s fastest growing film, advertising, and broadcast journalism schools. Serving around 16% of all students enrolled, Dodge regularly welcomes award-winning guest speakers such as Judd Apatow, Natasha Lyonne, Oliver Stone, Barry Jenkins, Michelle Yeoh, Alejandro G. Inarritu, and Brendan Fraser.

Dodge College also houses the highly collaborative Digital Media Arts Center (DMAC), which was inspired by the creative spaces at major studios and companies such as Disney, Pixar, Microsoft, and Google. Students have access to industry software and tools such Toon Boom, Adobe, Unreal Engine, Maya, Houdini, Zbrush, Nuke, Blender, and Rokoko.

Within Dodge College at Chapman University are several paths to study animation. The Animation and Visual Effects (VFX) program has three study areas: CG Animation, 2D Animation, and Visual Effects. 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 Production Design for Animation and Visual Effects; 2D Computer Graphics I-II; Character Design; Advanced Storyboards and Character Layout; Figure Drawing for Animators; and Writing for Animation. Note that many courses overlap for the CG and 2D areas.

In the Visual Effects area, students will take courses such as Compositing for Visual Effects; Virtual Production Workshop for Animation and Visual Effects; Unreal Engine for Filmmakers 3 credits Advanced 3D Computer Graphics for Visual Effects; Advanced Visual Effects Production and Workflow Advanced Pre-visualization for Motion Pictures; and On-Set and Post-Production Visual Effects Supervision.

Across areas, students have access to electives such as Pinocchio & Co: The Puppet Across Media; Game Development; Audio Techniques; Short Film Analysis; Set Decoration; and Costume Design. All Animation and VFX students 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 VFX program leads to a BFA.

During the final years of the Animation and VFX program at Chapman University, students may complete an internship. Because Dodge College has relationships with major studios such as Disney, Pixar, DreamWorks, Nickelodeon, Blizzard Entertainment, and Blur Studios, students have access to these coveted internship opportunities. All Dodge College students also have the opportunity to study abroad in places such as Japan, New Zealand, France, Mozambique, and Peru, and participate in student clubs such as the Chapman Animation and Visual Effects Club, The Collective, and the Virtual Reality/AR Club.

Graduates of the Animation and VFX BFA program at Chapman University are prepared for careers across the animation, television, film, and game industries, among others. Program alumni have landed positions at Marvel, DreamWorks, Blizzard Entertainment, Sony Pictures, Nickelodeon, PlayStation, Netflix, DNEG, Bento Box Entertainment, Frame48, and Lightstorm Entertainment.

45. Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas
Sam Houston State University

Sam Houston State University (SHSU) houses the College of Fine Arts and Mass Communication, home to the Department of Art. Within the Department is an Animation program that explores storyboarding, 2D and 3D animation, character design, 3D modeling/rigging/texturing, lighting, and rendering. Students in this program also benefit from interactions with guest speakers, workshops, and portfolio reviews by active professionals in the industry.

Leading to BFA, the Animation program also provides access to SHSU SIGGRAPH—a self-governed student-run organization that highlights on-campus exhibitions, student-led workshops, and creating animations and other digital art.

Course examples for this 120 credit hour program include The History of Animation; Film Appreciation; Animation Concepts and Techniques; 2D Computer Animation; Experimental Animation; Drawing I and II; Character Animation; Photographic Concepts; Shading, Lighting, and Rendering; Advanced 3D Animation; Web Site Development; Visual Computing; and Animation Preproduction. Electives allow students to focus in additional areas in the arts. Examples include.

All Department of Art students will also take several Workshop in Art Studio and History (W.A.S.H.) courses including W.A.S.H. 2D, W.A.S.H. 3D, and W.A.S.H. Lecture. The Animation program culminates with the Animation Portfolio course.

Graduates of the Animation BFA program at Sam Houston State University go on to pursue careers in areas such as animation, film, game design, advertising, marketing, and multimedia. Program alumni work at places such as Zynga, EA Mobile, Kiloo Games, Perkins+Will, Stoic Studio, and Jacobs Visual Media Group. Some Animation alumni have launched their own studios or freelance businesses, while others are educators in the Texas public school system.

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), University of Texas Dallas (UT Dallas), Florida State University (FSU), Texas A&M, and Southern Methodist University (SMU).

46. Lipscomb University, Nashville, Tennessee
Lipscomb University

Lipscomb University was the first university in the nation to purchase the Positron Voyager—the first chair designed specifically for fully immersive cinematic virtual reality. Lipscomb also houses one of the few Animation programs to provide BA, BFA, and MFA degrees. Housed in the George Shinn College of Entertainment and the Arts, all options are led by Disney Animators, experts in Maya, and other accomplished professionals in the field.

Across programs, students have opportunities to travel to places such as Los Angeles and Italy to attend animation events. Students also have opportunities to complete an internship at a major studio, and 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 at some of the world’s top animation studios.

The Animation BFA at Lipscomb University requires 64 credit hours in the major. Course examples include Dynamic Gestures; Animation Tools; CG Modeling and Lighting; Computer Animation I; Perspective, Color & Composition; Storyboarding for Animation; Writing for Animation; History of Animation; and Animation Production.

Students may enhance the degree through the required 15 credit hours of electives. Unreal Technology; Character Modeling in Zbrush; Digital Imaging (After Effects, Color, etc.); Computer Animation II-IV; and Film Production Workshop are just a few elective examples. The BFA program culminates with the Portfolio Development course and Animation Capstone.

Graduates of the Animation programs at Lipscomb University are prepared to pursue a variety of roles in the entertainment industry. Potential career paths include (but are not limited to) 2D Animator, 3D Animator, Storyboard Artist, Director, Computer Animator, Lead Animator, Producer, and Game Animator.

47. Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York
Syracuse University

The Department of Film and Media Arts at Syracuse University (SU) is part of the College of Visual & Performing Arts (VPA). Within the Department a Computer Art and Animation BFA that provides the opportunity to observe the production processes at studios around the world. Examples include Method Studios (Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Vancouver and Montreal, Canada, Melbourne, Australia, and Pune, India); and Filmworks/FX (Brooklyn, New York, Los Angeles, and Woodland Hills, California).

All BFA students also have the opportunity to participate in the VPA LA Semester. This immersive professional development program allows students to work as interns in Los Angeles, while taking courses taught by professionals working in the city’s entertainment industry. Course examples for this 121 credit hour program include History of Animation; Art and Craft of Animation; Intermediate 3D Animation; Visual Effects Workshop I and II; Topics in Computer Gaming; Film and Media Arts Advanced Studio; Previsualization and Character Development for Animation; and Advanced Animation.

The SU Computer Art and Animation BFA program at Syracuse University culminates with the Senior Project and Portfolio, completed across two courses. Graduates have been hired at places such as Pixar, Cartoon Network, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Filmworks/FX, and Tippett Studio.

48. Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia
Virginia Commonwealth University

Virginia Commonwealth University’s (VCU) School of the Arts (VCUArts) houses the Department of Kinetic Imaging (KI), which has programs for students who are interested in video, sound, and animation as they relate to filmmaking, experimental video, and art-making. Other KI Department highlights include lectures, workshops, and performances by visiting artists; access to state-of-the-are facilities, studios, and labs; and internship opportunities.

For students seeking a career in animation, the KI Department at VCU has a Kinetic Imaging BFA program that requires a minimum of 120 credit hours. This multidisciplinary program explores areas such as animation, video, virtual reality, emerging art, and sound.

BFA students will complete courses such as Space Research; Animation I-IV; Survey of Art; Video I-III; Time Studio; Animation Practices; 3D Computer Animation I-II; Creative Code and Electronics; 3D Computer Art; Virtual Interactive Worlds; Sound Communication I-II; Concept and Development Studio; Media Arts Survey; Video Practices; and Critical Issue in Media.

The program culminates with the Research and Production I and II courses. Completed across the fall and spring semesters, the courses consist of the critical analysis and development of a culminating project with emphasis on implementation, execution, and presentation.

The Kinetic Imaging BFA program at Virginia Commonwealth University takes four years to complete, full-time. Graduates are prepared to pursue titles such as 2D Animator, 3D Animator, Director, Sound Designer, Motion Graphics Artist, and UI/UX Designer. 

49. Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design

Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD) is the only four-year nonprofit private college of visual art and design in the state of Wisconsin. The school provides a range of programs that allow students to gain real-world experience through internships and the MIAD Lubar Innovation Center. Examples of past clients include the Milwaukee Business Journal, Ninewise Publishing, Carmex, the Milwaukee Ballet, Kohler, Imagine MKE, Gallery at The Ave, The Marcus Corporation, and 3rd St. Market Hall.

For students seeking an animation degree, the Illustration BFA program at Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design recently launched an Animation track. All Illustration students will take courses that explore 2D, 3D, and interactive animation, video games, and virtual reality. Animation track students can focus their studies further through required studio electives.

Course examples for the program include 3D Modeling & Animation; Visual Development & Storytelling; 2D Motion Fundamentals; Interactive & New Media; Illustration Seminar I and II; Digital 2D; Systems of Drawing; Visual Language; Digital 4D; and Animation Professional Practices.

For the culminating experience, MIAD Animation students will produce industry-ready animation projects individually or in teams across two thesis courses including Animation Thesis: Preproduction and Animation Thesis: Production. Final projects will be presented at Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design Thesis Exhibition.

Graduates of the Illustration BFA/Animation program are prepared to pursue careers in animation for entertainment, games, and advertising; medical, education, architecture, and legal; news media; graphic design; computer systems design and software publishing; and data visualization. Illustration program alumni have worked with HBO, The New Yorker, Amazon Studios, Nike, and Variety.

Program alumni are Animators, 3D Modelers, Game Artists, Keyframe Animators, Advertising Animators, Art Directors, Special Effects Artists, Online News Media Animators, Concept Artists, Illustrators, Multimedia Specialists Television/Film/Video Editors, and E-Learning Designers.

50. University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida
University of South Florida

The College of the Arts University of South Florida (USF) is home to the School of Art & Art History. Within the School is a Studio Art BFA program that provides the opportunity to specialize in Animation and Digital Modeling. Students will explore 3D modeling, visual storytelling, concept design, motion, composition, acting, 3D printing, and lighting.

Animation and Digital Modeling students will take courses such as The Real World; Digital Modeling; Visual Storytelling; Motion Design; Character Animation; Advanced Animation; Computer Animation; Selected Topics in Film and Video; Digital Drawing; and Professional Practices.

USF BFA students will complete several self-directed projects, an internship and/or a study abroad experience, and the senior thesis.

Graduates of the Studio Art programs at University of South Florida are prepared to pursue roles in a wide range of industries and in just about any position that requires creativity, critical thinking, and the production of visual materials. Program alumni are Animators, Storyboard Artists, Game Artists, Art Directors, Artists, Designers, Filmmakers, Media Specialists, Photographers, Videographers, Imagists, Educators, and Consultants.