|1||California Institute of the Arts||Top 1%|
|2||University of Southern California||Top 2%|
|3||Ringling College of Art and Design||Top 3%|
|4||School of Visual Arts||Top 3%|
|5||Rhode Island School of Design||Top 4%|
|6||Savannah College of Art and Design||Top 5%|
|7||Pratt Institute||Top 10%|
|8||Carnegie Mellon University||Top 10%|
|9||New York University||Top 10%|
|10||Brigham Young University||Top 10%|
|11||School of the Art Institute of Chicago||Top 10%|
|12||Rochester Institute of Technology||Top 10%|
|13||ArtCenter College of Design||Top 15%|
|14||Columbia College Chicago||Top 15%|
|15||California College of the Arts||Top 15%|
|16||The New School/Parsons||Top 15%|
|17||Gnomon School of Visual Effects||Top 15%|
|18||Otis College of Art and Design||Top 15%|
|19||DePaul University||Top 20%|
|20||Chapman University||Top 20%|
|21||Maryland Institute College of Art||Top 20%|
|22||Academy of Art University||Top 20%|
|23||Digipen Institute of Technology||Top 20%|
|24||Full Sail University||Top 20%|
|25||Animation Mentor||Top 25%|
|26||Loyola Marymount University||Top 25%|
|27||University of Pennsylvania||Top 25%|
|28||The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School (DAVE School)||Top 25%|
|29||Laguna College of Art and Design||Top 25%|
|30||Woodbury University||Top 25%|
|31||Columbus College of Art and Design||Top 30%|
|32||Minneapolis College of Art and Design||Top 30%|
|33||Drexel University||Top 30%|
|34||Kansas City Art Institute||Top 30%|
|35||Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute||Top 30%|
|36||The University of the Arts||Top 35%|
|37||Emerson College||Top 35%|
|38||College for Creative Studies||Top 35%|
|39||Syracuse University||Top 35%|
|40||School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University||Top 40%|
|41||Lesley University||Top 40%|
|42||SAE Expression College||Top 40%|
|43||Academy of Interactive Entertainment||Top 40%|
|44||Bradley University||Top 40%|
|45||Farleigh Dickinson University||Top 40%|
|46||Cleveland Institute of Art||Top 40%|
|47||Hampshire College||Top 40%|
|48||Webster University||Top 45%|
|49||Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design||Top 45%|
|50||New York Film Academy||Top 45%|
Our 2017 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, 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. Home to 1,449 students, CalArts offers more than 70 programs across six schools including the School of Critical Studies, The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance, the School of Art, the School of Film/Video, The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts, and the School of Theater. The School of Film/Video is the largest school at CalArts, accounting for nearly 30% of the student population. Programs offered through the school include a BFA in Character Animation and BFA and MFA degrees in Experimental Animation.
Crowned the “Harvard Business School of Animation” by the Los Angeles Times, CalArts has produced hundreds of successful alumni who have generated billions at the box office worldwide. The school lists Tim Burton, Mark Andrews (director and screenwriter of Pixar’s Oscar winning animated feature Brave), Eric Darnell (co-director of Antz, Madagascar, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa and Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, and Mark Osborne (director of Kung Fu Panda) among its most famous alumni.
2. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California (top 2% of schools considered)
Established in 1880, University of Southern California (USC) is home to 44,000 students enrolled in more than 200 undergraduate programs, 300-plus graduate programs, and more than 150 minors. Undergraduate offerings for aspiring animators are offered through The John C. Hench Division of Animation and Digital Arts (Hench DADA) of the School of Cinematic Arts (USC Cinematic Arts) and the Division of Film and Television Production. Hench DADA offers a BA in Animation and Digital Arts, while the Division of Film and Television Production offers a BFA in Cinematic Arts, Film & Television Production with Animation and Interactive Media electives.
Graduate offerings include MFA degrees in Animation and Digital Arts and Interactive Media with heavy Animation electives. Minors in Animation & Digital Arts and Game Animation are also on the menu. Graduates of both the undergraduate and graduate animation programs at USC Cinematic Arts have landed positions at DreamWorks Animation, Sony Pictures, Nickelodeon Animation Studios, Pixar, Rhythm and Hues, Industrial Light & Magic, Digital Idea, Illumination Entertainment, Digital Domain, and many others.
3. Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida (top 3% of schools considered)
Ringling College of Art and Design (RCAD) was established in 1931 by circus baron John Ringling. The school opened with just 75 students and 111 course offerings. Today, the school is home to 1,300 students and it offers BFA degrees in eleven disciplines and BA degrees in two. Just a few majors include Computer Animation, Film, Game Art, Motion Design, and Visual Studies.
The Computer Animation program is one of the most popular programs at RCAD, accounting for around 20% of the student population. The program was established in 1990 and it leads to a BFA. Graduates of the program have gone on to work at Blue Sky Studios, Cartoon Network, DreamWorks Animation, Electronic Arts, Lucasfilm, Nickelodeon, Pixar, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and many others.
4. School of Visual Arts, New York, New York (top 3% of schools considered)
Founded in 1947 as “Cartoonists and Illustrators School,” the School of Visual Arts (SVA) is home to more than 6,000 students enrolled in more than 30 programs. Offerings for aspiring animators include 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. Animation students have opportunities to intern or work part-time at alumni-owned studios such as Titmouse, Augenblick Studios, and Plympton, as well as with numerous independent animation studios across New York.
SVA animation graduates have gone on to work at major studios such as Blue Sky Studios, Walt Disney Animation Studios, DreamWorks Animation, Lucasfilm Animation, Nickelodeon, Sony Pictures Animation, Warner Bros. Animation, and independent animation studios around the globe.
5. Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island (top 4% of schools considered)
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is home to nearly 2,500 students from across the U.S. and 57 other countries. Founded in 1877, RISD offers 16 undergraduate and 16 graduate art and design programs, with Film/Animation/Video, Illustration, Graphic Design, Painting, and Industrial Design leading the pack. The school’s popular Film/Animation/Video Department (FAV) offers a BFA in Film/Animation/Video (BFA FAV). Famous RISD alumni include 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. Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia (top 5% of schools considered)
Founded in 1978, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is home to nearly 13,000 students from nearly 50 states and 115 countries. The school, which has campuses in Savannah, Atlanta, Hong Kong, and Lacoste, France, offers more than 40 majors and over 60 minors, including animation. The SCAD Animation Program was one of the top five majors in Fall 2014. Offered through the School of Digital Media, four options are available for aspiring animators including a BFA in Animation (Atlanta, Hong Kong, Savannah), an MA in Animation (Savannah, eLearning), an MFA in Animation (Atlanta, Savannah, eLearning) Animation, and a Minor in Animation.
Graduates of SCAD’s animation programs have landed positions at major studios such as Walt Disney Animation Studios, Digital Domain, and Bento Box Entertainment.
7. Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York (top 10% of schools considered)
Pratt institute was founded in 1887 and it is home to 4,659 students enrolled in 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 and Animation with two Emphasis areas including Digital Animation and Motion Arts, and Interactive Arts. Concentrations include 2-D, 3-D, and Interactive Arts. The School also offers an MFA in Digital Arts with Concentrations in Digital Animation and Motion Arts Animation and Interactive Arts.
School of Art alumni can be found working at major studios such as Digital Domain, Cartoon Network Studios, DreamWorks Studios, Rhythm and Hues, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Curious Pictures, Sony Imageworks, and many others.
8. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (top 10% of schools considered)
Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) was founded in 1900 and it 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 & Technology (IDeATe) with a Concentration in Animation & 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 School of Art 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.
9. New York University (NYU), New York, New York (top 10% of schools considered)
Tisch School of the Arts is part of New York University (NYU) and home to the Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television. The Kanbar 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.
Tisch was founded in 1965, and the animation program was established in 1979 with just three classes including 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 major studios such as Pixar, DreamWorks, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and many others.
10. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah (top 10% of schools considered)
Brigham Young University (BYU) was founded in 1875 by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). The school is home to 33,363 students enrolled in 178 undergraduate majors, 109 undergraduate minors, 68 master's programs, and 26 doctorate programs across dozens of colleges and departments. The College of Fine Arts and Communications, Department of Design offers a BFA in Animation and the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Department of Computer Science offers a BS in Computer Science with an Animation Emphasis.
Students in both programs have access to the BYU Center for Animation (est. 2010), which operates under the direction of three colleges—the Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology, the College of Fine Arts and Communications, and the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences.
11. School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (top 10% of schools considered)
Founded in 1866, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) is one of the oldest accredited independent schools of art and design in the country. The school, which is home to 3,590 students enrolled in more than 25 programs, offers several programs for aspiring animators through its Film, Video, New Media, and Animation Department (FVNMA). Options include a BFA and MFA in Studio with a Concentration Animation. A Certificate in Studio is also available.
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.
12. Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York (top 10% of schools considered)
Founded in 1885 as Mechanics Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) opened with just one program (mechanical drawing), which attracted more than 400 students. Today, RIT is home to 18,632 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 nation’s first PhD in Imaging Science and the School of Film and Animation (SOFA). SOFA offers BFA and MFA degrees in Film and Animation.
Graduates of RIT’s animation programs have found employment at top studios such as Disney Animation Studios, Electronic Arts, DreamWorks, Blue Sky Studios, Nickelodeon, Industrial Light and Magic, and Rhythm and Hues Studios.
13. ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena, California (top 15% of schools considered)
ArtCenter College of Design was founded in 1930 and it is home to 2,133 students enrolled in 11 undergraduate and seven graduate degree programs in a variety of Industrial Design, Visual, and Applied Arts Disciplines. The school, which also offers a joint MS/MBA program with the Drucker-Ito School of Management, has two campuses in Pasadena and satellite studios in Los Angeles (at the Peterson Automotive Museum), and Berlin. Programs for aspiring animators include Entertainment Design with a Track in Character Animation or Concept Design. Both programs lead to a BS in Entertainment Design.
According to the school, Entertainment Design graduates are “prepared for career opportunities as performance and action animators with companies such as Pixar, Disney, DreamWorks, ILM, Sony, Blur, 343 and Riot.”
14. Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (top 15% of schools considered)
Established in 1890, Columbia College is home to more than 10,000 students enrolled in over 100 academic majors or programs across three schools and more than 20 departments. Schools include the School of Media Arts, the School of Fine and Performing Arts, and the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The School of Media Arts is home to the Cinema Art + Science Department, which offers a large number of programs for aspiring animators.
The school lists the following options: BA in Animation, BFA degrees in Computer Animation and Traditional Animation, BA in Game Art, and Minors in Animation and Game Art. Besides animation, the programs at Columbia College prepare students to work in video game production, television production, cinema visual effects, toy design, product design, and illustration and digital advertising, to name a few.
15. California College of the Arts, San Francisco and Oakland, California (top 15% of schools considered)
California College of the Arts (CCA) was founded in 1907, and it is home to more than 1,500 undergraduates and 456 graduate students enrolled more than 30 programs leading to a degree. The Animation Department is home to the fourth largest CCA major—the BFA in Animation. According to the school, students will receive guidance from “the best animators in the industry” from Pixar, DreamWorks Animation, and Tippett Studio, among others. Students in the program “receive feedback and visual storytelling advice from actual industry animators and directors of such animated films as Toy Story, Star Wars, and Brave.”
Graduates of CCA’s Animation program have landed positions at major studios such as Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar, as well as award-winning studios such as Bento Box Entertainment.
16. The New School/Parsons, New York, New York (top 15% of schools considered)
The New School was founded in 1896 as The Chase School by American Impressionist William Merritt Chase. Today, The New School/Parsons is home to more than 10,000 students enrolled in 138 degree programs, diploma programs and majors, and more than 50 minors across five colleges. New School colleges include the Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts, College of Performing Arts, Schools of Public Engagement, The New School for Social Research, and Parsons School of Design.
Program offerings for animators are offered through the School of Art, Media, and Technology (AMT) of Parsons School of Design. Options include BFA and MFA degrees in Design and Technology, and BFA degrees in Communication Design and Illustration. A Minor in Communication Design is also available. All programs allow students to study 2D and 3D Animation and Motion Graphics.
17. Gnomon School of Visual Effects, Hollywood, California (top 15% of schools considered)
Established in 1997, Gnomon School of Visual Effects is home to an estimated 350+ students enrolled in a variety of programs and courses. Offerings for aspiring animators include a three-year Certificate in Entertainment Design & Digital Production with Specialized Tracks in Visual Effects Animation and Character & Creature Animation; a two-year Certificate in Digital Production for Entertainment with Specialized Tracks in Visual Effects Animation and Character & Creature Animation, and a BFA in Digital Production with heavy animation coursework,
Gnomon also offers a variety of individual animation courses that may be “mixed and matched” to suit students’ career goals. Courses levels include Foundational, Intermediate, High Intermediate, Advanced, and High Advanced. Just a few options include Animation and Visual Effects, Animation for Games, Character Animation, Character Development, Character Texturing and Shading, Creature Animation, Environment and Design, History and Principles of Animation, Houdini Effects, Motion Graphics, Storyboarding, and Visual Structure.
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.
18. Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, California (top 15% of schools considered)
Established in 1918 by General Harrison Gray Otis (founder and publisher of the Los Angeles Times) Otis College of Art and Design (OTIS) is home to approximately 1,070 full-time students enrolled in 11 BFA degree programs ranging from Digital Media (Animation, Game and Entertainment Design, and Motion Design) to Toy Design. The school also offers MFA degrees in Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Public Practice, and Writing, along with a variety of minors and certificate programs. Specific programs for aspiring animators include a BFA in Digital Media with an Animation Major, a Digital Media Minor, and a Digital Media Arts Certificate with a Specialization Track in Animation.
Just a few recent employers include Pixar, Disney, DreamWorks, Sony Imageworks, Nickelodeon, Electronic Arts, Sony Online Entertainment, and Blizzard Entertainment.
19. DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois (top 20% of schools considered)
DePaul University (est. 1898) offers 300 programs of study across 10 colleges and schools and two campuses in Chicago. The DePaul Animation Program in the School of Cinematic Arts, part of the College of Computing and Digital Media, offers BA, BFA, MA, and MFA degrees in Animation, with the following concentrations: Game Art, Traditional Animation (hand-drawn and stop motion), 3D Animation, Storyboarding and Character Design, Technical Artist, and Motion Graphics, and a VFX concentration is available within the Film and Television BFA. With thirteen full-time Animation professors, DePaul has one of the largest full-time Animation faculties in the US.
DePaul Animation students can apply to participate in the Animation Summer LA Quarter, a ten-week immersion program structured around living in student housing, taking classes on a historic studio lot, and interning at high profile animation studios. The experience teaches students how to navigate the studio system and helps them build a network of professional contacts. Past participants have interned at Warner Brothers, DreamWorks Animation, Sony Studios, Disney, Nickelodeon, The Mill, The Jim Henson Company, Titmouse Animation, Bix Pix Animation, and others. DePaul University also offers a Game, Cinema and Animation Summer Academy for high school students interested in animation, with tracks in hand-drawn, stop motion, and 3D animation for games.
20. Chapman University, Orange, California (top 20% of schools considered)
Chapman University was founded as Hesperian College in 1861 and it is home to approximately 8,305 students from 49 states and more than 60 countries. Chapman offers more than 100 programs across nine colleges and schools. Dodge College of Film and Media Arts offers a BFA and a Minor in Digital Arts that allows students to develop, design, and produce their own projects and contribute animation or visual effects to fellow students. Students also have the opportunity to intern at some of the world’s top studios including Blizzard Entertainment, Cartoon Network, Digital Domain, Nickelodeon, Sony Pictures Entertainment/Imageworks, and many others.
21. Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Maryland (top 20% of schools considered)
Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest degree-granting college of art in the nation. Founded in 1826, the school is home to nearly 3,500 students enrolled in more than 80 programs leading to the BFA, MA, MFA, and MPS degrees. Post-baccalaureate certificate programs are also available. Programs for aspiring animators include a BFA Studio Concentration – Animation with three paths including Traditional Narrative/2D, Stop-Motion, and 3D Animation. The school also offers and a BFA in Animation + 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.
22. Academy of Art University, San Francisco, California (top 20% of schools considered)
Established in 1929, Academy of Art University is home to approximately 7,959 students enrolled in 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 School of Animation and Visual Effects offers AA, BFA, MA and MFA degrees in Animation and Visual Effects. These programs are available on campus and online. BFA emphasis areas include 2D Animation and Stop Motion, 3D Animation, 3D Modeling, Storyboarding, and Visual Effects. The School also offers an Online Award of Completion (OAC) and a Certificate in Animation and Visual Effects.
Graduates of the animation programs at Academy of Art University have landed positions at Blizzard Entertainment, CBS Interactive, Disney Interactive, DreamWorks Animation, Electronic Arts, Lucasfilm, NBCUniversal, Pixar Animation Studios, and Sony Computer Entertainment America.
23. Digipen Institute of Technology, Redmond, Washington (top 20% of schools considered)
Founded in 1988, DigiPen Institute of Technology is home to approximately 976 undergraduates and 78 graduate students from all 50 states and close to 50 countries. Programs are available in the areas of Art, Design, and Computer Science. Offerings for aspiring animators include a BFA in Digital Art and Animation. According to the school, the program is designed to “prepare students to create artwork at the professional level.” Students can expect to take courses such as Animation, Human Anatomy, Art and Technology, Storytelling, Storyboards, 2D and 3D Animation, Cinematography, and Conceptual Illustration and Visual Development.
The BFA in Digital Art and Animation is available at the school’s Redmond campus and two international branch campuses including Digipen Europe-Bilbao and Digipen Singapore.
Digipen graduates have been hired by companies such as Activision, Blizzard Entertainment, Disney Online, Electronic Arts, and Microsoft.
24. Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida (top 20% of schools considered)
Full Sail University was established in 1979 and it is home to approximately 15,000 students. The school offers Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Associate degrees and Graduate Certificates in the areas of Entertainment, Media and the Arts. Options for aspiring animators include a BS in Computer Animation that takes 20 months to complete on-campus, and 32 months to complete online. Students can expect to take courses such as 2D and 3D Animation, Character Animation, Animation Production, Shading and Lighting, Character Rigging, and Visual Development.
A total of seven Project and Portfolio courses must be completed as well. These courses “combine hands-on learning experiences with summative and formative portfolio assessments.” Courses cover 3D Arts and Computer Animation.
25. Animation Mentor, Emeryville, California (top 25% of schools considered)
Animation Mentor was founded in 2005. This “community” of 5,500 students and alumni, offers a variety of immersive animation programs and workshops including Character Animation, which consists of six 12-week classes leading to a Certificate of Completion, three 12-week workshops including Creature Animation: Locomotion; Creature Animation: Fight or Flight, and Maya Workshop: Animation Basics, and the six-week Storyboarding Fundamentals or 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 DreamWorks, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), and Pixar.
26. Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California (top 25% of schools considered)
Established in 1911 Loyola Marymount University (LMU) is home to 9,295 students enrolled in roughly 170 major, minor, master’s, and doctoral programs across seven colleges and schools. The School of Film and Television is home to LMUs Animation Program. The BA in Animation is cross-disciplinary and it highlights 3D Filmmaking, Advanced Storytelling and Production Techniques, Interactive Design, and Visual Effects. An internship during the Spring semester, senior year, is also part of the program. The School of Film and Television also offers an Animation Minor that is available to all students, regardless of major.
27. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (top 25% of schools considered)
University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) was founded in 1740 and it 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, which leads to a Bachelor’s in Engineering and Science (BSE) with a Digital Media Design Major (DMD). Created in 1998, this interdisciplinary program 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.
Some of the largest employers of DMD graduates are Walt Disney Animation Studios, DreamWorks Animation, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Pixar, and Zynga Games.
28. The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School (DAVE School), Orlando, Florida (top 25% 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. Founded in 2000, the school offers intensive and “comprehensive training” in 3D Modeling, 3D Animation, 3D Visual Effects, and Game Production. Programs for aspiring animators include a Bachelor’s in Motion Graphics, and Certificates in Visual Effects Production and Game Production.
The Bachelor’s in Motion Graphics introduces students to 3D Modeling and Animation for Motion Graphics. Students in the program will learn and practice the principles of Animation, Compositing, Composition, and Design. The 15-month Game Production Program covers Animation Fundamentals and Digital Modeling and Sculpting, while the 12-month 3D Visual Effects Program covers Modeling & Sculpting, Visual Effects, Studio Production, and Animation Fundamentals as well.
DAVE school graduates have worked on major productions such as Terminator Genisys, Jurassic World, Captain America, The Hobbit, and Godzilla.
29. Laguna College of Art and Design, Laguna Beach, California (top 25% of schools considered)
Established in 1961 as the Laguna Beach School of Art, Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) is home to more than 600 students and it offers twelve undergraduate majors and four graduate degrees. Options for aspiring animators include a BFA in Animation and a BFA in Illustration with an Emphasis in Entertainment. The Animation BFA 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 and other studios including Cartoon Network, Disney, DreamWorks, Fox, Nickelodeon, Obsidian Entertainment, Pixar, Renegade Animation, Sony, South Park Studios, Titmouse, and Zynga.
30. Woodbury University, Burbank, California (top 25% of schools considered)
Woodbury University is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in Southern California. Founded in 1884, the school is home to approximately 1,283 students and it has campuses in Los Angeles/Burbank and San Diego. The school also has a Gallery called WUHO Gallery in Hollywood. Woodbury offers 18 undergraduate majors and eight gradate majors across four colleges and schools including the College of Liberal Arts, the School of Architecture, the School of Business, and the School of Media, Culture & Design. The School of Media, Culture & Design is home to the Animation Program.
Because Woodbury promotes “cross-disciplinarity,” Animation students may study in other areas such as Game Art & Design, Media Technology, and Filmmaking. In addition to the opportunity to study other disciplines, animation students may participate in Woodbury’s internship program and the Animation Club, which hosts events, speakers, and exhibitions. Internship opportunities include positions at Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, DreamWorks, Warner Bros., Chiodo Bros., Bix Pix Entertainment, Blur Studios, Walt Disney Imagineering, Walt Disney Animation, Renegade Animation, Hasbro Studios, and others.
31. Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus, Ohio (top 30% of schools considered)
Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD) was established in 1879, making it one of the oldest private art and design colleges in the United States. The school is home to more than 1,300 students enrolled in 14 degree programs. Programs for aspiring animators include an Animation BFA with Concentrations in Animation/Game and Animation/Experimental. Minor options include Animation 2D and Animation 3D. An MFA program is also available. Students in this program have executed individual projects from animation and video to interactive design and illustration.
All students may participate in CCAD’s International Exchange Program, which highlights study at China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, China; Universidad Mayor, Santiago, Chile; Xi’an Fine Arts Academy, Xi’an, China, and Northumbria, Newcastle, England. Students may also study at CCAD-approved programs at Studio Art Centers, Florence, Italy, and University of Arts London, London. Graduates of the CCAD Animation BFA Program have landed positions at Animal Logic, Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios, DreamWorks, Cartoon Network, Electronic Arts, Nickelodeon Animation Studios, Sony Pictures Animation, Time Warner, Twentieth Century Fox, and many others.
32. Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis, Minnesota (top 30% of schools considered)
Established in 1886, Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) is home to 800 students enrolled in more than 20 programs across several departments. The Animation Department offers a BFA in Animation and an MFA in Visual Studies. The BFA Program highlights courses such as Stop-Motion Animation, Character Animation, 3D Animation, 3D Modeling, Filmmaking, Storyboard, Sound, and Drawing. A required internship is also part of the program as well as optional study abroad experiences in Japan, Germany, England, Italy, and other places. MCAD students have interned at Nickelodeon, MTV, Walker Art Center, and Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.
Housed in an all-MFA studio and gallery space, the MFA Program, which is allows students to pursue creative work in areas such as Animation, Comic Arts, Filmmaking, Illustration, Installation Art, and Interactive Media.
33. Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (top 30% of schools considered)
Established in 1891, Drexel University is home to approximately 25,595 students enrolled in over 200 degree programs across 15 colleges and schools. The Westphal College of Media Arts & Design is home to the Digital Media Department, which offers several programs for aspiring animators. Offerings include a BS and a Minor in Animation & Visual Effects and an MS in Digital Media. The Animation & Visual Effects program features a six-month co-op, where students will “learn the underlying principles of animation along with industry-standard software technology. The entire creative pipeline from storyboarding through modeling and animation is covered in-depth, allowing students to experience all aspects of production.”
The two-year MS in Digital Media program offers comprehensive studies in Advanced Digital Design including 3D Modeling, Animation, Interactivity, Gaming and Digital Media History, and Theory and Methods.
34. Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Missouri (top 30% of schools considered)
Established in 1885, Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) is home to more than 700 students enrolled in around 15 programs. The school, which trained students such as Walt Disney (who took Saturday Classes as a child), and multimedia artist Robert Rauschenberg, offers one program for aspiring animators—a BFA in Animation. The program allows students to spend a full year of “structured studio time producing a significant personal work.” Students also have access to internship and employment opportunities at studios such as Walt Disney Animation Studios, DreamWorks, Digital Domain, Nickelodeon, Hallmark, Bazillion Pictures, Titmouse Inc., and many others.
35. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York (top 30% of schools considered)
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) was founded in 1824 and it is home to 7,113 students enrolled in more than 145 programs across five schools. The School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) is home to five academic departments including Arts, Cognitive Science, Communication and Media, Economics, and Science and Technology Studies (STS). The Department of Communication and Media (C&M), in collaboration with the Department of Arts, offers a BS in Electronic Media, Arts, & Communication (EMAC). The EMAC program offers a Concentration in Digital Storytelling (Animation, Video, and Game Design).
The Department of the Arts offers a BS in Electronic Arts (BS EART) with a Concentration in Visual Arts & Animation, as well as MFA and PhD degrees in EART. Both advanced degree programs allow students to explore areas of interest ranging from Animation and Communication Technologies to Gaming.
36. The University of the Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (top 35% of schools considered)
The University of the Arts (UArts) is the nation’s only comprehensive arts university. Founded in 1876, UArts is home to approximately 1,890 students enrolled in 41 undergraduate and graduate programs through the College of Art, Media & Design, the College of Performing Arts, the Division of Liberal Art, and the Division of Continuing Studies (Graduate Programs). The College of Art, Media & 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.
37. Emerson College, Boston, Massachusetts (top 35% of schools considered)
Founded 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 & Media Arts with a Specialization in Animation and Motion Media. The Department also offers an intensive three-year Film & Media Art MFA that admits just 22 students per class year.
The MFA program allows students to focus in one or more areas of Computer Animation, Documentary, Experimental Media, Fiction Narrative, Installation, Interactive Art, Media Production, Sound Design or an individualized hybrid form. According to the school, “the program includes a monthly colloquium in which you will present and discuss your in-progress work; the MFA Production Workshop, which provides advanced training and experimentation within a collaborative cohort; and an annual portfolio review.”
Recent graduates of Emerson’s 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 more.
38. College for Creative Studies, Detroit, Michigan (top 35% of schools considered)
The College for Creative Studies (CCS) was founded in 1906 as the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts. The school is home to approximately 1,402 students enrolled in more than a dozen degree programs across 14 academic departments. Home to 285 students, Entertainment Arts is the school’s largest department, and it offers a BFA in Entertainment Art with a Concentration in Animation. All Entertainment Art students have the opportunity to customize their curriculum by taking coursework in other concentrations such as Game Design or Digital Film.
Graduates of the CCS Animation Program have been hired at major studios across the U.S. such as DreamWorks Animation, Disney ABC Television Group, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Bento Box Entertainment, Pixomondo, and Blur Studio.
39. Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York (top 35% of schools considered)
Founded in 1870, Syracuse University (SU) is home to approximately 21,789 students from across the U.S. 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.”
Computer Art and Animation graduates have found employment at major studios such as Pixar, Rhythm and Hues, Industrial Light and Magic, LucasArts, Blizzard Entertainment, Tippett Studios, Moving Picture Company, and Sony Pictures Imageworks. Graduates have also presented their work at galleries and media art festivals internationally.
40. School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts (top 35% of schools considered)
Established in 1876, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA) at Tufts University is home to 450 students from 37 states and 16 countries, enrolled in 12 areas of study. Programs lead to the BFA, MFA, MAT, Combined-degree (BFA + BA/BS), Certificate or Studio Diploma. Programs for aspiring animators include a BFA and a Combined BFA + BA/BS. The BFA is entirely elective, so students may choose any animation, film or other courses that they would like to take. Just a few options include Animation 1: Techniques and Sound, Animation 2: The Completed Short, Sound for Moving Image, and Advanced Production.
Better known as the SMFA/Tufts BFA, the Combined BFA + BA/BS “is specifically designed for students intending to pursue their art and academic interests to the fullest possible extent.” Upon completion of this program, students will graduate with two degrees from Tufts: a BA or BS in a major of their choice and a BFA. According to the school, the five-year program makes it possible for students to refine and focus their studies in an academic field and to cultivate their fine arts abilities.
41. Lesley University, Cambridge, Massachusetts (top 35% of schools considered)
Founded in 1909 as the Lesley School, Lesley University is home to approximately 7,536 students enrolled in hundreds of programs across four colleges and schools including the College of Art and Design, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School of Education, and the Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences. The College of Art and Design, Video and Animation Department offer several programs for aspiring animators including a BFA In Animation and Motion Media, an Advanced Professional Certificate in Animation, and an Animation Minor. Double major opportunities are also available and include BFA degrees in Animation & Motion Media/Design and Animation & Motion Media/Illustration.
The College of Art and Design is one of the few art and design institutions nationally that requires a professional experiential learning experience in the junior or senior year. Previous internships have included Soup2Nuts, Cartoon Network Studios, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Nickelodeon, Hasbro, FableVision Studios, and Green Lens Media, to name a few. Study abroad opportunities are also on the menu and can last a semester, a summer, a term, or a year.
42. SAE Expression College, Emeryville, California (top 40% of schools considered)
SAE Expression College (formerly Ex’pression College) was established in 1998. The school, which occupies over 102,000 square feet in two buildings, offers five bachelor’s degree programs in Digital Arts to a population of more than 500 students. Animation programs include a Bachelor’s of Applied Science (BAS) in Animation & Visual Effects that teaches the fundamentals of animation design, art, and visual effects (VFX) through hands-on training. Students will take courses such as Current Industry Techniques, Dynamic Effects, Motion Studies, Character Rigging, Creative Pre-Production, Animation Body Mechanics, Facial Animation & Lip Sync, Live Action Compositing, Reel Production, and Popular Culture. The BAS program is designed to get students into the field in as few as 32 months.
43. Academy of Interactive Entertainment, Seattle, Washington (top 40% of schools considered)
The Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE) was established in 1996. The school, which has a dedicated Online campus and seven campuses in the U.S. and Australia, offers a variety of Game Design and Animation programs. Offerings for aspiring animators include an intensive Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media, Specializing in 3D Animation & VFX for Film, an Advanced Diploma of Professional Game Development, Specializing in Game Art & Animation, and a Certificate II in Creative Industries (Media), 3D Animation Foundations.
The Advanced Diploma Programs take two years to complete, full-time or 1.5 years, intensive, and they are also available part-time, online. The Certificate Program offers 10, 15 and 20-week options and it is available online and on campus. Courses cover Animation, 3D Modeling, Texturing, Lighting, Rendering, Character Design, Environment Design, and Short Movie Production.
44. Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois (top 40% of schools considered)
Bradley University was founded in 1897 and it is home to 5,400 students enrolled in more than 185 undergraduate programs and 30-plus graduate programs across eight colleges and schools. Slane College of Communications & Fine Arts is home to the Department of Interactive Media, which offers BFA degrees in Animation and Animation & Game Design. Program highlights include guest speakers, internship opportunities, access to the Interactive Media, Animation Research, and Game Design Research Labs, access to the InterMedia Center, and the opportunity to present a project at the department’s annual show, FUSE.
45. Farleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck, New Jersey (top 40% of schools considered)
Farleigh Dickinson University (FDU) was established in 1942. It is home to 11,500 students enrolled in more 100 degree programs across two New Jersey campuses (Madison and Teaneck) and two FDU locations outside the U.S.: Wroxton College, in Oxfordshire in England, and the Vancouver Campus, in British Columbia, Canada. The school houses four colleges including Becton College of Arts and Sciences, Petrocelli College of Continuing Studies, Silberman College of Business, and University College.
Becton College of Arts and Sciences is home to the Visual and Performing Arts Department, which offers several programs for aspiring animators. Program offerings include a BA in Film and Animation with Concentrations Animation, Cinematography, Editing, Film, Film Directing, Film Production, and Video Game Animation. Several Minors are also available and include Animation, 3D Video Game Animation, Film Production, Studio Arts, and Cinema Studies.
University College, School of Art and Media Studies, also offers several options for aspiring animators. Options include a BA in Art with a Concentration in Computer Art & Design and Minors in Art, Computer Animation, and Computer Graphics. The Computer Art & Design Program combines 2D & 3D Computer Animation, Digital Video, Multimedia Production, Desktop Publishing, Design for the Web, and Digital Photography.
46. Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, Ohio (top 40% of schools considered)
Established in 1882, Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) is an independent college of art and design with a population of approximately 550 students enrolled in 15 majors in the areas of Art, Craft, Design, and Interactive Media. The school offers a BFA in animation that features an integrated curriculum that focuses on sequential narrative storytelling, methods of animation, conceptual development, framing and staging, storyboarding, animatics, layers, and motion and figure studies. Students can expect to take courses such as Advanced 3D Animation, Mapping, Digital Lighting, 2D/3D Compositing for Animation, 3D Texture, and Concept Development.
The CIA Animation Program prepares students for positions such as 3D Character Animator, Animator, Game Designer, Concept Artist, Storyboard Artist, and Independent Filmmaker.
47. Hampshire College, Amherst, Massachusetts (top 40% of schools considered)
Hampshire College was founded in 1965 and admitted its first students in 1970. Today, the school is home to 1,400 students enrolled in more than 50 areas of study. Animation programs include a BA in Animation and Digital Art, a BS in Computer Science with heavy Animation coursework, and a BA in Digital Media, also with heavy Animation coursework. Hampshire College is a member of the Five College Consortium, so students have access to an additional 5,300 courses offered through nearby University of Massachusetts (UMass) as well as Amherst, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges.
The animation programs at Hampshire College combine “individualized training with interdisciplinary collaboration between studio artists, animators, filmmakers, composers, and computer scientists,” says the school. Animation students also have access to internship and mentoring opportunities with the independent production house Bit Films. Since 2002, a number of students have produced short animated films through BIT, which have “gone on to win dozens of awards from film festivals worldwide.”
Hampshire alums have landed positions at the Cartoon Network, Pixar Animation Studios, South Park, Rhythm & Hues Studios, and more.
48. Webster University, Webster Groves, Missouri (top 45% of schools considered)
Webster University was founded in 1915 and it is home to more than 17,000 students studying at campuses in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. The school houses five colleges and schools including the College of Arts & Sciences, Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts, George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology, School of Communications, and the School of Education. The School of Communications (SOC) is home to the Electronic and Photographic Media Department, which offers BA degrees in Animation, Film, Television & Video Production, and Interactive Digital Media. Minors and Certificates are available in Animation Production and Interactive Digital Media, and a Minor in Film, Television and Video Production is also available.
Highlights for all programs include small classes, hands-on experience with equipment and resources early in the program, internships and portfolio development, and collaboration across disciplines within SOC and across the University.
49. Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, Denver, Colorado (top 45% of schools considered)
Founded in 1936, Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design (RMCAD) is home to 775 students enrolled in 16 degree and certificate programs. More than 100 students are enrolled in the schools Animation Program. Offerings include a BFA in Animation and Certificates in 3D Animation: Pre-Production or 3D Animation: Character Animation. Animation program highlights include Drawing (2D) or Advanced Software (3D) Concentrations; Stop Motion, Anatomy and Figure studies; Modeling, Character Design, Virtual Environments, and Storyboarding, and Line of Action. The BFA program, which takes four years to complete, had an enrollment of 70 students (on-campus and hybrid) and 30 online students for the Fall 2012 term. This is the most current information available.
50. New York Film Academy, Los Angeles, California (top 45% of schools considered)
Founded in 1992, New York Film Academy (NYFA) is home to thousands of students enrolled in dozens of Visual and Performing Arts Programs across 22 campuses in the U.S. and abroad. Just a few include Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Shanghai, Florence, Beijing, Berlin, Istanbul, and Mumbai. New York Film Academy houses the 3D Animation & Visual Effects School, which offers a BFA in 3D Animation, a One-Year 3D Animation Program, an 8-Week Interactive VR Workshop, and 3- and 4-Week 3D Animation Workshops.
Students in the NYFA Animation Program students “will gain hands-on experience with the industry standard Maya, ZBrush, Mudbox, Motion Builder, and Nuke software as well as learn to use professional-grade equipment.” The BFA program is offered at the Los Angeles campus. Workshops are available in LA and at multiple campuses.