Our 2015 list of the Top 50 Private Animation School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.
1. California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), Valencia, California
Established in 1961 by Walt and Roy Disney, CalArts is the nation's first postsecondary institution to offer graduate and undergraduate degrees in both the visual and performing arts. Home to 1,489 students, with 26.9 percent enrolled in the School of Film/Video, CalArts offers a BFA degree in Character Animation, and a BFA and MFA in Experimental Animation.
2. Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida
Ringling College of Art and Design (RCAD) was established in 1931. The school, which was founded by John Ringling—co-founder of the Ringling Bros. and co-owner of the Barnum and Bailey Circus, opened with 111 courses and 75 students. Today, RCAD is home to nearly 1,300 students enrolled in 14 majors leading to a BA or BFA degree. Programs for aspiring animators include a BFA in Computer Animation.
3. Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Savannah, Georgia
Founded in 1978, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has campuses in Savannah, Atlanta, and Hong Kong. Home to more than 11,000 students, SCAD offers 40-plus majors and more than 60 minors. A number of programs are available for aspiring animators. The School of Digital Media at SCAD offers a BFA, MA, and MFA in Animation. A Minor in Animation is also on the menu.
4. University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles, California
Established in 1880, the University of Southern California 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. A Minor in Animation and Digital Arts is also on the menu as well as several graduate programs for animators including an MFA in Animation and Digital Arts and an MFA in Interactive Media with heavy Animation coursework.
The BFA in Film and Television Production features heavy Animation and Interactive Media coursework as well and it is offered through the Division of Film and Television Production of the School of Cinematic Arts. The BA program is offered through the School of Cinematic Arts, John C. Hench Division of Animation and Digital Arts.
5. Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Providence, Rhode Island
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) was founded in 1877 and it is home to 2,449 students from across the U.S. and 57 other countries. This school has a large Film/Animation/Video Department (FAV) that offers a variety of programs for aspiring filmmakers and animators. Offerings for animators include a BFA in Film/Animation/Video (BFA FAV).
6. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
Brigham Young University (BYU) was founded in 1875 and it is home to 26,674 undergraduate students enrolled in more than 100 programs across more than a dozen colleges and departments. Programs for aspiring animators include a BFA in Animation and a BS in Computer Science with an Animation Emphasis. The BFA program is offered through the College of Fine Arts and Communications, Department of Visual Arts. The BS program is offered through the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Computer Science Department.
Brigham Young University is also 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 CS students.
7. Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York
Pratt institute was established in 1887 and it is home to 4,556 students enrolled in 48 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, as well as a variety of Certificate and Minor programs. Programs are offered through five schools and The Center for Continuing and Professional Studies. The School of Art offers several programs for aspiring animators. Offerings include 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.
8. New York University (NYU) Tisch School of the Arts, New York, New York
Tisch School of the Arts (Est. 1965) is part of New York University (NYU) and it is home to the Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television. The Institute offers BA, BFA, MFA, MPS, MA, and PhD degrees. Programs for aspiring animators include a BA in Film and Television with an Animation Core in Production. The BA in Film and Television with an Animation Core in Production includes Introduction to Animation Techniques, Intermediate Animation Production, Advanced Animation Production, and Experimental Animation courses.
9. Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York
Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) was established in 1885 as Mechanics Institute. The school is home to 18,063 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). SOFA offers both BFA and MFA degrees in Film and Animation.
10. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) was established in 1900 and it is home nearly 13,000 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 Bachelors 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.”