|1||California Institute of the Arts||California|
|2||Ringling College of Art and Design||Florida|
|3||Savannah College of Art and Design||Georgia|
|4||University of Southern California||California|
|5||Rhode Island School of Design||Rhode Island|
|6||School of Visual Arts||New York|
|7||University of California Los Angeles||California|
|8||Pratt Institute||New York|
|9||Carnegie Mellon University||Pennsylvania|
|10||School of the Art Institute of Chicago||Illinois|
|11||Brigham Young University||Utah|
|12||New York University||New York|
|13||Gnomon School of Visual Effects||California|
|14||The Ohio State University||Ohio|
|15||Rochester Institute of Technology||New York|
|17||Academy of Art University||California|
|18||Digipen Institute of Technology||Washington|
|19||Full Sail University||Florida|
|21||Texas A&M University||Texas|
|22||ArtCenter College of Design||California|
|23||Parsons The New School for Design||New York|
|24||Columbia College Chicago||Illinois|
|25||California College of the Arts||California|
|26||The DAVE School||Florida|
|27||Maryland Institute College of Art||Maryland|
|28||Laguna College of Art and Design||California|
|29||Loyola Marymount University||California|
|30||University of Central Florida||Florida|
|31||Columbus College of Art and Design||Ohio|
|32||Otis College of Art and Design||California|
|33||Minneapolis College of Art and Design||Minnesota|
|36||California State University-Long Beach||California|
|37||Massachusetts College of Art and Design||Massachusetts|
|38||Bowling Green State University||Ohio|
|39||University of Pennsylvania||Pennsylvania|
|40||Clemson University||South Carolina|
|41||San Jose State University||California|
|42||California State University-Fullerton||California|
|43||California State University-Northridge||California|
|45||University of the Arts||Pennsylvania|
|47||University of South Florida||Florida|
|48||University of Texas at Dallas||Texas|
|49||Syracuse University||New York|
|50||Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design||Colorado|
Our 2016 list of the Top 50 Animation School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.
1. California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California (top 1% of schools considered)
Established in 1961 by Walt and Roy Disney, California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) is the nation's first postsecondary institution to offer graduate and undergraduate degrees in both the visual and performing arts. With a population of 1,489 students enrolled in more than 70 programs at all degree levels, CalArts attracts a large population of aspiring filmmakers and animators. Around 26.9% of the student body is enrolled in the School of Film/Video, which offers BFA degrees in Character Animation and Experimental Animation. An MFA in Experimental Animation is also available.
Dubbed the “Harvard Business School of Animation” by the Los Angeles Times, CalArts has produced hundreds of successful alumni who have generated more than $26 billion in box office grosses since 1985.
2. Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida (top 1% of schools considered)
Ringling College of Art and Design (RCAD) was established in 1931 by circus baron, art collector, and real estate developer John Ringling. The school opened with 111 courses and just 75 students. Today, RCAD sits on a 35-acre campus and is home to 1,300 degree-seeking students with 94% enrolled full-time, and 6% enrolled part-time. The school offers BA and BFA degree programs in 13 majors. The Computer Animation program, which was established in 1990, leads to a BFA and it is one of the most popular programs at RCAD. Around 20% of the student population is enrolled in the program.
RCAD graduates go on to work at studios such as Pixar Animation Studios, LucasFilm, Warner Bros. and MTV. Some have started their own studios. Moonbot Studios is just one example.
3. Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia (top 5% of schools considered)
Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) was founded in 1978. It is home to more than 12,000 students enrolled in over 40 majors and 60-plus minors. With campuses in Savannah, Atlanta, Hong Kong, and Lacoste, France, SCAD offers several programs for aspiring animators through the School of Digital Media. Options include BFA (Atlanta, Hong Kong, Savannah), MA Savannah, eLearning), and MFA (Atlanta, Savannah, eLearning) degrees in Animation. A Minor in Animation is also on the menu.
Graduates of SCAD’s animation programs have landed positions at major studios such as Walt Disney Animation Studios, Digital Domain, and Bento Box Entertainment.
4. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California (top 5% of schools considered)
Established in 1880, the University of Southern California (USC) is home to 43,000 students enrolled in more than 200 undergraduate programs, 300-plus graduate programs, and more than 150 minors. Program offerings for aspiring animators include a BA in Animation and Digital Arts and a BFA in Film and Television Production with heavy Animation and Interactive Media electives. The BA program is offered through The John C. Hench Division of Animation and Digital Arts at the School of Cinematic Arts. The BFA is offered through the Division of Film and Television Production of the School of Cinematic Arts.
USC also offers a Minor in Animation and Digital Arts along with several graduate programs for animators including an MFA in Animation and Digital Arts and an MFA in Interactive Media with heavy Animation electives. Graduates of the Animation programs at USC have been hired at Pixar Animation Studios, Rhythm and Hues, Industrial Light & Magic, DreamWorks Animation, Nickelodeon Animation Studios, Sony Pictures, Digital Idea, Illumination Entertainment, Digital Domain and many others.
5. Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island (top 5% of schools considered)
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is home to 2,481 students from across the U.S. and 57 other countries. This private art school offers 16 undergraduate and 16 graduate art and design programs. Founded in 1877, RISD has a large Film/Animation/Video Department (FAV) that highlights a variety of programs for aspiring filmmakers and animators. Offerings for animators include a BFA in Film/Animation/Video (BFA FAV). This program is listed among RISD’s top five most popular majors.
RISD boast famous alumni such as Seth Macfarlane, creator of Family Guy, Daniel Sousa, animator and director of the Oscar-nominated film Feral and Lance Wilder, animator for The Simpsons.
6. School of Visual Arts, New York, New York (top 5% of schools considered)
Founded in 1947 as “Cartoonists and Illustrators School,” School of Visual Arts (SVA) is home to 6,000 students at its Manhattan campus and has 35,000 alumni in 100 countries. With more than 30 program offerings for aspiring artists, SVA offers BFA degrees in Animation, Computer Art, and Computer Animation and Visual Effects. An MFA in Computer Art is also on the menu as well as a BFA in Cartooning and Continuing Education (CE) Animation courses.
SVA animation graduates can be found working at Sony ImageWorks, Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Curious Pictures, DreamWorks Animation, Blue Sky Studios, Marvel Entertainment, MTV, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and many others.
7. University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California (top 5% of schools considered)
The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) is home to the Animation Workshop of the School of Theater, Film and Television. Founded in 1948 by William Shull, a Disney animator, the UCLA Animation Workshop is a three-year MFA program (MFA in Film, Television, and Digital Media) that accepts just 12 new students each year.
Students applying to the MFA program come from a variety of backgrounds; some have earned a BA or BFA in art or film studies, applicants also come from English, engineering, architecture, psychology, communications, and more. Animation graduates have landed positions at Pixar Animation Studios, and every major animation studio in Southern California; they have gone on to direct features such as The Simpsons Movie and Monster House and have directed with Tim Burton producing (the feature film 9).
UCLA also offers a BA in Film Television and Digital Media with a Concentration in Animation for senior students. The BA program gives students the opportunity to study all facets of digital media, film, and television, as well as a full year of animation studies, followed by an internship.
Founded in 1919 as the Southern Branch of the University of California, UCLA is home to 43,239 students from all 50 states and more than 100 foreign countries. The school offers 323 degree programs and majors through the College of Letters and Science, the university’s 11 professional schools, and more than 109 academic departments.
8. Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York (top 5% of schools considered)
Founded in 1887, Pratt institute is home to 4,617 students. The school offers 22 undergraduate degree programs, 26 graduate degree programs, and a variety of Certificate and Minor programs across five schools and The Center for Continuing and Professional Studies. The Pratt Institute School of Art offers a BFA in Digital Arts with Concentrations in 3-D Animation and Motion Arts, and 2-D Animation. The School also offers an MFA degree in Digital Animation and Motion Arts.
Pratt Institute School of Art alumni can be found working at major studios such as Walt Disney Animation Studios, DreamWorks Studios, Digital Domain, Rhythm and Hues, Curious Pictures, Sony Imageworks, Cartoon Network, and many others.
9. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (top 5% of schools considered)
Founded in 1900, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is home to 13,650 students, enrolled in more than 100 programs across seven colleges. The College of Fine Art, School of Art offers a BFA in Electronic and Time-Based Media with a Focus in Animation and a Bachelor’s in Integrative Design, Arts and Technology (IDeATe) with a Concentration in Animation and Special Effects. According to CMU, “the Integrative Design, Arts and Technology Network connects students and faculty from across the university through coursework and collaborative studio experiences.” It allows students from every college to take minors or concentrations in Animation, Special Effects, Game Design, and more.
In addition to the programs listed, the College of Fine Art, School of Art at CMU offers supportive courses that serve “to enrich the student experience in IDeATe.” Offerings include Advanced ETB: 2D Animation, Advanced ETB: Animation, Advanced ETB: Moving Image Magic: Visual Effects and Motion Graphics, and Animation, Art, and Technology. The school’s interdisciplinary programs combine art school and computer science.
10. School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (top 5% of schools considered)
Founded in 1866 as the Chicago Academy of Design, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) is one of the oldest accredited independent schools of art and design in the country. Home to 3,590 students enrolled in more than 25 programs, SAIC offers several programs for aspiring animators through its Film, Video, New Media, and Animation Department (FVNMA). Options include a BFA or MFA in Studio with a Concentration Animation, and a Certificate in Studio.
Students in the FVNMA Department have access to world-class resources such as the Art Institute of Chicago Museum, on-campus galleries, and state-of-the-art facilities. Specifics include The Video Data Bank—the leading resource in the United States for videos by and about contemporary artists, The Gene Siskel Film Center—one of the country's premiere screening venues dedicated to promoting alumni, student, and faculty work, and The Donna and Howard Stone Gallery for film, video, and new media in the Art Institute of Chicago's Modern Wing.
11. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah (top 10% of schools considered)
Brigham Young University (BYU) is home to the Center for Animation, which operates under the direction of 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 showcases student films, spotlights successful alumni, publishes award announcements, and manages the Animation Emphasis for BS in Computer Science students. The school also offers a BFA in Animation.
Founded in 1875 by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), Brigham Young University is home to 29,672 undergraduate students enrolled in 100-plus programs across more than a dozen colleges and departments.
12. New York University (NYU) Tisch School of the Arts, New York, New York (top 10% of schools considered)
Founded in 1965, Tisch School of the Arts is part of New York University (NYU) and it is home to the Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television. The Institute offers a BA in Film and Television with an Animation Core in Production. An MFA in Animation and Digital Arts is also on the menu, and it is offered at Tisch Asia.
The animation program, which was established in 1979, began with three classes: Art & Design, Animation I, and Animation II. For the 1980-1981 academic year, the program was home to 80 students enrolled in five classes. In 2013, the program enrolled 461 students, and the current Animation curriculum consists of nearly twenty different classes. Graduates of the Animation program at Tisch have landed jobs at Pixar, DreamWorks, Walt Disney Animation Studios and many others.
13. Gnomon School of Visual Effects, Hollywood, California (top 10% of schools considered)
Established in 1997, Gnomon School of Visual Effects is home to more than 100 students enrolled in variety of computer graphics classes and programs. Offerings for aspiring animators include several intensive training programs leading to a Certificate. Programs include Entertainment Design (One-Year Track), Digital Production for Entertainment (Two-Year Program), Entertainment Design and Digital Production (Three-Year Program), and Maya Fast Track (10-Week Program). Gnomon also offers a variety of onlionline courses ranging from Character Animation to Games Tools and Techniques.
Many Gnomon graduates have landed positions at some of the world’s top studios. A few include Walt Disney Animation Studios, Industrial Light & Magic, DreamWorks, Digital Domain, Blizzard Entertainment, Reel FX, Electronic Arts, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Nickelodeon Animation, Rhythm & Hues, and Marvel Entertainment.
14. The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio (top 10% of schools considered)
The Ohio State University (OSU) was established in 1870. It is home to 65,184 students enrolled in more than 200 majors, specializations and minors across more than a dozen colleges and schools. The College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Art offers interdisciplinary three-year MFA and four-year BFA programs in Art with an Emphasis Art and Technology. The Art and Technology emphasis allows students to study 3D Modeling and Animation, Art Games, Digital Imaging, Internet Art and more.
15. Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York (top 10% of schools considered)
Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) was founded in 1885 as Mechanics Institute. The school’s first class was mechanical drawing and more than 400 students enrolled at the school. Today, RIT is home to 18,606 students majoring in everything from Art and Design to Urban Community Studies. RIT’s College of Imaging Arts and Sciences (CIAS) is home to the School of Film and Animation (SOFA), which offers BFA and MFA degrees in Film and Animation.
Graduates of RIT’s animation programs have found employment at top studios such as DreamWorks, Blue Sky Studios, Industrial Light and Magic, Rhythm and Hues Studios, Disney Animation Studios, Nickelodeon, and Electronic Arts.
16. DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois (top 10% of schools considered)
Established in 1898, DePaul University is the nation’s largest Catholic University. it is home to 23,539 students enrolled in more than 300 programs of study across 10 colleges and schools. The College of Computing and Digital Media, which enrolls 4,651 students, offers animation programs at all degree levels. Undergraduate offerings include a BA and BFA in Animation. Graduate offerings include MA and MFA degrees in Animation. A Minor in Animation is also available.
In addition to a variety of animation programs, DePaul University offers a Game, Cinema and Animation Summer Academy for future animation students. According to the Academy, the weeklong program features “hands-on instruction using the latest equipment and technology.” Academy participants have the opportunity to focus on 3D Computer Modeling and Animation for Games and Cinema, Computer Game Development, and Digital Cinema Production.
Animation students also have the opportunity to gain experience through the school’s internship program. Students have worked with Walt Disney Animation Studios, WMS Gaming, Arc Worldwide/Leo Burnett, and Richter Studios.
17. Academy of Art University, San Francisco, California (top 10% of schools considered)
Academy of Art University was established in 1929. It had a 2015 Fall enrollment of 8,813 students and it offers dozens of Art, Design, Fashion, and Architecture programs. Degrees are offered at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and many programs are available entirely online. The Department of Animation and Visual effects offers BFA and MFA degrees in Animation and Visual Effects. BFA emphasis areas include Storyboarding, 3D Animation, 3D Modeling, Traditional Animation, and Visual Effects. The Department also offers an Online Award of Completion (OAC) and a Certificate in Animation and Visual Effects.
Graduates of Academy of Art University have landed positions at Blizzard Entertainment, Disney Interactive, DreamWorks Animation, Electronic Arts, Lucasfilm, Pixar Animation Studios, and Sony Computer Entertainment America, NBCUniversal, Google, and CBS Interactive.
18. Digipen Institute of Technology, Redmond, Washington (top 10% of schools considered)
DigiPen Institute of Technology was founded in 1988. It is home to around 1,072 students from all 50 states and 45 countries. Digipen offers 10 graduate and undergraduate programs in the areas of Art, Design, and Computer Science. Offerings for aspiring animators include a BFA in Digital Art and Animation. This program is also available at DigiPen Institute of Technology Europe – Bilbao, which was established in 2011.
Graduates of Digipen can be found working at studios such as Blizzard Entertainment, Sony Online Entertainment, Microsoft, Disney Online, Activision, Electronic Arts, and Snowblind Studios.
19. Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida (top 10% of schools considered)
Full Sail University was established in 1979. It offers dozens of degree programs in the areas of Entertainment, Media and the Arts. Home to 18,000 students from 50 states and 73 countries, Full Sail University awards Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Associate degrees as well as Graduate Certificates. Offerings for aspiring animators include a BS in Computer Animation. This program is offered through Full Sail’s Art School and it is available online and on campus.
20. Animation Mentor, Emeryville, California (top 10% of schools considered)
Animation Mentor-The Online Animation School was founded in 2005. The Animation Mentor Community consists of 5,500 students and alumni in more than 105 countries around the world. The school offers a variety of immersive animation programs and workshops. Offerings include a variety of intensive training programs such as Character Animation, which leads to a Certificate of Completion, several 12-week workshops including Creature Animation: Locomotion; Creature Animation: Fight or Flight, and Maya Workshop: Animation Basics, and the six-week Animation Feedback, Storyboarding, and Cartoony Animation for 3D Animators Programs.
Graduates of Animation Mentor have worked on award-winning features such as Frozen, Inside Out, How to Train Your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda, and many others. They are also routinely hired by major studios such as Pixar, DreamWorks, Industrial Light & Magic, and Laika Entertainment.
21. Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas (top 15% of schools considered)
Texas A&M University is the state’s first public institution of higher learning. Established in 1876, the school is home 59,000 students enrolled in nearly 400 bachelors’, masters, doctoral, and first professional degree programs across 16 colleges and schools. The College of Architecture offers programs for animators at all degree levels and broadly defines animation within “Visualization.” Options include BS, MS, and MFA degrees in Visualization. These interdisciplinary programs prepare students to work in animation, technical animation, illustration, and other areas.
22. ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena, California (top 15% of schools considered)
Founded in 1930, ArtCenter College of Design is home to approximately 1,900 students enrolled in 11 undergraduate and seven graduate degrees in the areas of Visual and Applied Arts and Industrial Design. The school also offers a joint MS/MBA program with the Drucker-Ito School of Management. Programs for aspiring animators include Fine Arts (Entertainment Design) with a Track in Character Animation. The program, which also offers a Track in Concept Design, leads to a BS in Entertainment Design.
ArtCenter faculty consists of professionals working at major studios such as DreamWorks, Blue, and Walt Disney Animation Studios. They help prepare students for “career opportunities as performance and action animators with companies such as Pixar, Disney, DreamWorks, ILM, Sony, Blur, 343 and Riot,” says the school.
23. Parsons The New School for Design, New York, New York (top 15% of schools considered)
Founded in 1896, Parsons The New School for Design is home to more than 5,000 students enrolled in 27 undergraduate, graduate, and associate degree programs. Parsons houses five schools, including the School of Art and Design History and Theory, the School of Art, Media, and Technology, the School of Constructed Environments, the School of Design Strategies, and the School of Fashion.
The School of Art, Media, and Technology, offers several degree programs for aspiring animators. Offerings include BFA and MFA degrees in Design and Technology, and a BFA in Communication Design. All programs allow students to study 2D and 3D Animation and Motion Graphics. Another program worth mentioning is the BFA in Illustration, which also allows students to study Animation and Motion Graphics.
24. Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (top 15% of schools considered)
Columbia College was established in 1890, and it is home to more than 10,000 students enrolled in 100-plus academic majors or programs. The School of Media Arts is home to the Cinema Art + Science Department, which offers a variety of programs for aspiring animators. The school lists the following options: BFA in Computer Animation and Traditional Animation, BA in Cinema Art + Science with an Animation focus, BA in Game Art, BFA in Illustration, and an Animation Minor.
25. California College of the Arts, San Francisco and Oakland, California (top 15% of schools considered)
Founded in 1907, California College of the Arts (CCA) is home to nearly 2,000 students enrolled in 21 undergraduate and 13 graduate degree programs. The Animation Department is home to the fourth largest major at CCA—the BFA in Animation. Graduates of the program have landed positions at Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar, and others.
26. The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School (DAVE School), Orlando, Florida (top 15% of schools considered)
The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School (Dave School) is a 35,000 square foot facility located on the backlot of Universal Studios Florida, Soundstage 25. The school offers intensive and “comprehensive training” in 3D Modeling, 3D Animation, 3D Visual Effects, and Game Production. Programs for aspiring animators include a Certificate in Visual Effects Production and Game Production. The 12-month 3D Visual Effects program covers Animation Fundamentals, Modeling & Sculpting, Visual Effects and Studio Production. The 15-month Game Production program also covers Animation Fundamentals and Digital Modeling and Sculpting.
DAVE school graduates have worked on major productions such as Terminator Genisys, Jurassic World, Captain America, The Hobbit, and Godzilla.
27. Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Maryland (top 15% of schools considered)
Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest degree-granting college of art in the nation. Founded in 1826 and home to 1,863 undergraduate and 306 graduate students, MICA offers more than 80 programs leading to the BFA, MA, MFA, and MPS degrees, and a variety of post-baccalaureate Certificate programs. Programs for aspiring animators include a BFA in Animation with three paths including Traditional Narrative/2D, Stop-Motion, and 3D Animation. The school also offers and an integrated BFA degree in Animation and Humanistic Studies.
In addition to animation studies, students in this degree program will study philosophy and ethics, social and natural sciences, and social and political history.
28. Laguna College of Art and Design, Laguna Beach, California (top 15% of schools considered)
Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) was established in 1961 as the “Laguna Beach School of Art.” Home to just under 500 students, LCAD offers five undergraduate majors and three graduate programs. Programs for aspiring animators include a BFA in Animation. The BFA program provides the opportunity for students to participate in master class workshops each summer where they learn from leaders in the field. Each year, LCAD also hosts the LCAD Animation Film Festival that “showcases the best work from all levels of (the schools) animation artists.”
LCAD Animation graduates have worked for a number of major studios including Cartoon Network, Disney, DreamWorks, Fox, Nickelodeon, Obsidian Entertainment, Pixar, Renegade Animation, Sony, South Park Studios, Titmouse, and Zynga.
29. Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California (top 15% of schools considered)
Established in 1911, Loyola Marymount University (LMU) is home to 9,295 students enrolled in more than 160 programs across seven colleges and schools. The School of Film and Television is home to LMUs Animation Program. In addition to liberal arts courses, the cross-disciplinary BA in Animation highlights coursework in 2D and 3D, Visual Effects, Stop-Motion, Experimental Animation, and Game Design. The School of Film and Television also offers an Animation Minor that is available to all students.
30. University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida (top 15% of schools considered)
Established in 1963 and home to approximately 60,810 students, the University of Central Florida (UCF) is the nation’s second-largest university. One of the nation’s youngest universities, UCF offers more than 200 programs across 13 colleges. The College of Arts and Humanities is home to the School of Visual Arts & Design (SVAD), which offers a number of degree programs for aspiring animators.
Offerings for undergraduates include a BFA in Art with an Emerging Media Track/Character Animation Specialization and an Emerging Media Track/Experimental Animation Specialization. Programs for graduate students include an MFA degree in Emerging Media with a Digital Media, Entrepreneurial Digital Cinema, or “Studio Art and the Computer” Track.
31. Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus, Ohio (top 20% of schools considered)
Established in 1879, Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD) is home to more than 1,300 students from 40 states and 35 countries. The school offers Animation, Advertising & Graphic Design, Cinematic Arts, Fashion Design, Fine Arts, Illustration, Industrial Design, Interior Design, and Photography majors. The Animation program, leads to a BA in 2D or 3D Animation. Concentrations include Animation/Experimental and Animation/Game. An MFA program is also on the menu as well as a Minor in Animation (2D or 3D). Students in the MFA program have executed individual projects from animation and video to interactive design and illustration.
32. Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, California (top 20% of schools considered)
Otis College of Art and Design (OTIS) was established in 1918 by the founder and publisher of the Los Angeles Times—General Harrison Gray Otis. Home to 1,140 students, OTIS offers more than a dozen interdisciplinary art and design programs from Animation and Motion Design to Graphic Design and Illustration. Specific programs for aspiring animators include a BA in Digital Media with an Animation Major and a Digital Media Arts Certificate with a Specialization Track in Animation. OTIS graduates have gone on to become “design stars” at major companies and studios such as at Pixar, DreamWorks, Mattel, Disney, and Apple.
33. Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis, Minnesota (top 20% of schools considered)
Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) was established in 1886. It is home to 800 students enrolled in 20-plus programs across several departments. The Animation Department offers a BFA in Animation. The program covers Stop Motion (e.g. Claymation) and Hand-drawn 2D Techniques. Another option is the BFA in Comic Art and the MFA. Graduates of the MFA program typically pursue creative work in the fields of Animation, Comic Arts, Interactive Media, Illustration, and others.
34. Woodbury University, Burbank, California (top 20% of schools considered)
Founded in 1884, Woodbury University is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in Southern California. The school has campuses in Burbank and San Diego, and it is home to 1,552 students enrolled in more than 20 programs across three schools including the School of Architecture, the School of Business, and the School of Media, Culture & Design. The School of Media, Culture & Design “promotes cross-disciplinarity as a core attribute of the school.” This means Animation BFA students may study in other areas such as Game Art & Design, Media Technology, Filmmaking and others. In addition to the opportunity to study other disciplines, animation students may participate in Woodbury’s Animation Club, which hosts events, speakers, exhibitions, and more.
35. Chapman University, Orange, California (top 20% of schools considered)
Founded in 1861 as Hesperian College, Chapman University is home to 7,570 students from 49 states and more than 60 different countries. Chapman offers 100-plus programs across nine colleges and schools. The Dodge College of Film and Media Arts offers a wide range of programs for aspiring filmmakers and other artists. Offerings for aspiring animators include a BFA and a Minor in Digital Arts. According the College, Digital Arts students have the chance to develop, design, and produce their own projects as well as contribute animation or visual effects to fellow students. Students also have the opportunity to intern at some of the world’s top studios. Past students have interned at Blizzard Entertainment, Cartoon Network, Digital Domain, LeapFrog, Nickelodeon, Sony Pictures Entertainment/Imageworks, Third Floor Previz, Titmouse, and many more!
36. California State University-Long Beach, Long Beach, California (top 20% of schools considered)
California State University Long Beach (CSULB) was established in 1949. The school is home to 37,430 students enrolled in more than 300 programs across eight colleges. The College of the Arts houses the School of Art which offers a BFA in Studio with two tracks—Animation and Illustration. According to the School of Art, “students are able to take courses in both tracks, and work together in (the schools) digital lab, in addition to learning traditional skills.” An MFA/MA degree is also on the menu. It is "designed with a dual emphasis on tailoring programs of study to individual students while fostering shared experience among a community of students.”
Also part of the College of Arts is the Department of Film & Electronic Arts. The Department offers another option for aspiring animators—a BA in Film and Electronic Arts. The program features heavy animation coursework including 3D Computer Animation, History of Animation, Digital Arts Production (Visual Effects, Computer Animation, Interactive Media), and others.
37. Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, Massachusetts (top 20% of schools considered)
Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) was founded in 1873 as a training institution for aspiring drawing teachers, architects, artists, and designers. Today, MassArt offers more than 20 undergraduate art programs, nearly a dozen graduate programs, and around seven certificate programs to a population of around 2,000 students. The Animation Department offers a BFA in Animation that gives students the opportunity to engage in a variety of conventional and experimental techniques. Students will study Documentary Animation, Digitally Generated Animation, Character Animation, Stop Motion, Experimental Video, and Emerging Technologies.
38. Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio (top 20% of schools considered)
Founded in 1910, Bowling Green State University (BGSU) is home 19,000 students, including 2,500 at BGSU Firelands in Huron, Ohio. The school offers more than 200 undergraduate majors and programs on the main campus and 22 at BGSU Firelands. Among the school’s nine colleges is the College of Arts and Sciences, home of the School of Art. The School houses the BGSU Digital Arts program, which offers more than 150 majors.
Undergraduate programs for aspiring animators include a BFA in Digital Arts and a BA in Art with a Digital Arts Specialization with three Focus Areas—Computer Animation & Video, Imaging, and Interactive Multimedia. Graduate programs include an MFA in Art with a Major in Digital Arts (Computer Animation, Digital Imaging, and Interactive Media). According to the School of Art, the MFA program is an “intensive, 60-credit studio degree designed to prepare students to become both professional artists in industry and university-level instructors while developing their own studio practice.
39. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (top 20% of schools considered)
Founded in 1740, the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) is home to nearly 25,000 students enrolled in more than 400 programs across 16 schools. The School of Engineering and Applied Science is home to the Digital Media Design program. Created in 1998, the program is interdisciplinary and leads to a Bachelors in Engineering and Science (BSE) with a Digital Media Design Major (DMD).
According to the School, the BSE DMD “was designed for students who have an interest in computer graphics, animation, games, and the design of virtual reality environments and interactive technologies.” A Digital Media Design (DMD) Minor, and a PhD in Human Modeling and Simulation (HMS PhD) are also on the menu.
The BSE DMD program produces graduates that go on the work at major studios and other companies. The largest employers of UPenn BSE DMD graduates are Disney Animation, DreamWorks Animation, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Pixar, and Zynga Games.
40. Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina (top 20% of schools considered)
Clemson University was established in 1889 as Clemson Agricultural College. It is home to 22,104 students enrolled in more than 80 undergraduate majors and 110-plus graduate degree programs across five colleges and a graduate school. The College of Engineering and Science offers several programs for aspiring animators including an MFA in Digital Production Arts (MFA DPA) and a Minor in DPA. The DPA program highlights Animation, 3D Modeling, Compositing, FX, Lighting, Rigging, and Simulation.
Graduates of Clemson’s DPA programs have worked on films such as Frozen, Hobbit, Rio, How to Train Your Dragon, and The Croods. Many have been hired by Blue Sky Studios, DreamWorks, EA, Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios, NVIDIA, RedStorm, ReelFX, and Sony Pictures Imageworks.
41. San Jose State University, San Jose, California (top 25% of schools considered)
Founded in 1857, San Jose State University (SJSU) is a public university that sits on a 154-acre campus in downtown San Jose. The school is home to more than 30,000 students enrolled in 145 areas of study, with an additional 108 concentrations, across eight colleges. The College of Humanities and the Arts, Department of Design offers a BFA in Animation/Illustration.
Graduates of the program have worked on films from A Bug’s Life and Finding Nemo to Monsters, Inc. and Shrek, and they have been hired at more than 135 animation studios, game design companies, film studios, and academic institutions. Just a few include 20th Century Fox, Animation Mentor, Blue Sky Studios, Blizzard Entertainment, Cartoon Network, Cogswell Institute, Disney Interactive, Electronic Arts, Lucasfilm Animation, NBC-Universal Studios, Nickelodeon, Pixar, Sony/Columbia, The Art Institute of Las Vegas, Walt Disney Animation, and Zynga.
42. California State University-Fullerton, Fullerton, California (top 25% of schools considered)
Established in 1957, California State University Fullerton (Cal State Fullerton) is home to nearly 39,000 students enrolled in 107 degree programs across eight colleges. The College of Arts, Department of Visual Arts offers more than a dozen graduate and undergraduate programs for artists. Programs for aspiring animators include a BFA in Art with an Entertainment Art/Animation Concentration.
The Entertainment Art/Animation area has a partnership with Nickelodeon Animation Studios to develop educational opportunities to further the career goals of its students. In addition to Nickelodeon, graduates of the program are working or animating for Cartoon Network, Disney Feature Animation, Disney TV Animation, Electronic Arts, Lucas Films, Sony Pictures Imageworks, and Sony Games, to name a few. Students have worked on productions such as Spiderman 3, Superman Returns, Alvin and The Chipmunks, Ice Age 2, The Simpsons, Avatar, SpongeBob Squarepants, and many others.
43. California State University-Northridge, Northridge, California (top 25% of schools considered)
California State University Northridge (CSUN) was founded in 1958. It is home to 40,131 students enrolled in more than 140 programs across nine colleges. The Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication houses the Department of Art, which offers several programs for aspiring animators. Program offerings include BA and MA degrees in Visual Arts. Both programs offer a Concentration in Animation and the opportunity to intern with Disney, DreamWorks, Warner Bros., Nickelodeon, Film Roman, and other major studios.
44. Purdue University – Purdue Polytechnic Institute, West Lafayette, Indiana (top 25% of schools considered)
Purdue University was established in 1869. It is home to 39,409 students enrolled in more than 200 majors across 10 academic colleges and schools. The College of Technology offers a BS in Computer Graphics Technology, which has expanded into eight areas of interest. Among them is Animation. An MS in Computer Graphics Technology is also on the menu as well as 5-Year BS/MS in Computer Graphics Technology.
Graduates of the Animation programs “work primarily in the animated film and video game industries,” says the school. A number of alumni have been part of the creative teams behind 2014 Oscar winner Big Hero 6 and 2014 Golden Globe winner How to Train Your Dragon 2, while others have gone on to work for educational software companies and in forensics animation and advertising.
45. University of the Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (top 25% of schools considered)
The University of the Arts (UArts) is the nation’s only comprehensive arts university. The school, which traces its roots as a national leader in educating creative individuals back to 1868, is home to around 1,900 students enrolled in 41 undergraduate and graduate programs through the College of Art, Media and Design, the College of Performing Arts, and the Division of Liberal Arts. The College of Art, Media and Design houses the School of Film, which offers several programs for aspiring animators. Offerings include a BFA in Animation, a BFA in Film + Animation, and a Minor in Animation.
All animation students have access to international opportunities such as study abroad, festivals and workshops in countries such as Canada, France, and South Korea.
46. Emerson College, Boston, Massachusetts (top 25% of schools considered)
Established in 1880, Emerson College is home to around 4,450 students from across the U.S. and more than 30 countries. The school offers more than 50 programs leading to a BA, BS, BFA, MS, MA, or MFA degree. The School of the Arts, Department of Visual & Media Arts offers both BA and BFA degrees in Visual and Media Arts with a Specialization in Animation and Motion Media. The Department also offers an MFA in Media Art. The MFA program includes the following areas of study for aspiring animators: Computer Animation, Interactive Art, and Experimental Media.
Recent graduates of the Department of Visual & Media Arts have found employment at Soup2Nuts, Hallmark Channel, SCG Productions, World Wide Pants, Digital Domain, Fox Searchlight, MAD TV, MGM Studios, Bunim-Murray Productions, and many others.
47. University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida (top 25% of schools considered)
Established in 1956, the University of South Florida (USF) is home to more than 48,000 students enrolled in more than 220 programs across 14 colleges and three campuses including Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Sarasota-Manatee, Florida. The College of the Arts, School of Art and Art History offers several programs for aspiring animators. Options include BA and BFA degrees in Studio Art with a Focus in Video, Animation, and Digital Arts.
48. University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, Texas (top 25% of schools considered)
The University of Texas-Dallas (UT Dallas) was established as a member of the University of Texas System in 1969. The school is home to 24,554 students enrolled in 130 academic programs across seven schools. The School of Arts and Humanities houses the Department of Arts and Technology (ATEC), which is home to more than 1,100 students. Interdisciplinary program offerings for aspiring animators include a BA in Arts and Technology (BA ATEC), an MA in Arts and Technology (MA ATEC), an MFA in Arts and Technology (MFA ATEC), and a PhD in Arts and Technology (PhD ATEC).
ATEC students have the opportunity to choose electives in more than one area. Just a few options for animators include Animation Studio, Animation Production Lab, Virtual Environments, Motion Capture, Modeling and Simulation, and Special Topics in Animation. Animators interested in games and animation might add courses such as Game Design, Game Production Lab, Game Pipeline Methodologies, Serious Games, or Educational Games, to name a few.
49. Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York (top 25% of schools considered)
Founded in 1870, Syracuse University (SU) is home to approximately 21,789 students from all 50 U.S. states and 123 countries. The school offers more than 400 programs across 12 colleges and schools and a graduate school. The College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA), Department of Transmedia offers several programs for aspiring animators. Offerings include a BFA in Computer Art and Animation, an MFA in Computer Art, and a Minor in Animation. According to VPA, the MFA program is “an artistic research and development program situated in the context of technology” where students “are encouraged to develop a diverse set of practices within computer art.”
Graduates of the Computer Art and Animation Program work at some of the world’s top animation studios and visual effects companies. Just a few include Pixar, Rhythm and Hues, Industrial Light and Magic, LucasArts, Blizzard, Tippett Studios, Motion Picture Company, and Sony Pictures Imageworks. Graduates have also presented their work at galleries and media art festivals internationally.
50. Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, Denver, Colorado (top 25% of schools considered)
Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design (RMCAD) was founded in 1936. This art and design school is home to more than 1,100 on-campus and online students enrolled in 16 Bachelor’s Masters, and Certificate programs. More than 100 students are enrolled in the schools animation programs. Offerings include a BFA in Animation and Certificates in 3D Animation: Pre-Production and 3D Animation: Character Animation. Certificate-level programs are 18 credit hours.