Our 2015 list of the Top 50 Public Animation School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.
1. University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, California
Founded in 1919 as the Southern Branch of the University of California, the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) is home to 43,239 students enrolled in more than 220 programs across five schools and 109 academic departments. UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television is home to the Animation Workshop.
Founded in 1948 by Disney Animator William Shull, the Animation Workshop is a three-year MFA program that accepts just 12 new students each year. Before applying to the program, students typically earn a BA in Film and Television. The BA program gives future MFA 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.
2. The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
The Ohio State University (OSU) was established in 1870. It has a student population of nearly 65,000 enrolled in more than 350 programs across more than a dozen schools and colleges. Within OSU’s College of the Arts and Sciences, the Department of Art and the Department of Design both offer programs for aspiring animators.
The Department of Art offers both a BFA and MFA degree in Art with an Emphasis in Art and Technology that allow students to study 3D Modeling and Animation, Art Games, Digital Imaging, and other related areas. The Department of Design offers an MFA in Design with a track of study in Digital Animation and Interactive Media. This program operates in conjunction with the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD), which provides world-class facilities and technical expertise in the context of an interdisciplinary research center.
Many graduates of the Design program have animated and directed some of the best-known works of studios such as Pixar and DreamWorks, while others go on to explore the application of animation and interactive media to game design and emerging approaches to visualization within a full range of disciplines and industries.
3. Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas
Established in 1876, Texas A&M is home to more than 50,000 students enrolled in more than 360 programs across 16 colleges and schools. Texas A&M’s College of Architecture offers several programs for aspiring animators. Options include BS, MS, and MFA degrees in Visualization. This interdisciplinary degree allows students to study Computer Generated Animation, among other subjects.
4. University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida
University of Central Florida (UCF) was established in 1963 and it is home to 61,000 students enrolled in 210 degree programs across 12 colleges. The College of Arts and Humanities’ School of Visual Arts and Design (SVAD) offers several programs for aspiring animators. Undergraduate offerings include a BFA in Art with an Emerging Media Track-Character Animation Specialization and a BFA in Art with an Emerging Media Track-Experimental Animation Specialization. Programs for graduate students include MFA degrees in Emerging Media-Digital Media Track, Entrepreneurial Digital Cinema Track, or Studio Art and the Computer Track.
5. University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, Texas
The University of Texas-Dallas (UT Dallas) was established in 1969. The school is home to 23,095 students enrolled in 133 academic programs across seven schools. The Department of Arts and Technology (ATEC) of the School of Arts and Humanities is home to more than 1,100 students and it offers several programs for aspiring animators. Offerings 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 Arts and Technology (PhD ATEC).
6. San Jose, California
Founded in 1857, San Jose State University (SJSU) is home to 31,906 students enrolled in 144 degree programs across seven colleges. The College of Humanities and the Arts houses the Department of Design. The Department offers one program for aspiring animators—a BFA in Animation/Illustration.
7. California State University-Fullerton, Fullerton, California
California State University Fullerton (Cal State Fullerton) was established in 1957. It is home to 37,677 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 Entertainment Art/Animation.
8. Florida State University Tallahassee, Florida
Florida State University (FSU) is the oldest and largest school in the State University System of Florida. Established in 1823, FSU is home to more than 40,000 students enrolled in more than 275 programs across 16 colleges. The College of Motion Picture Arts at FSU offers several programs for aspiring animators. Offerings include a BFA in Motion Picture Arts – Animation and Digital Arts, and The Torchlight Program.
The Torchlight Program gives FSU animation students, with an interest in freelancing or starting their own studios, the opportunity to learn about “current and emerging business practices of the motion picture industry,” says FSU. The program offers coursework in vital areas such as including distribution, marketing, and motion picture financing.
9. North Carolina State University Raleigh, North Carolina
Established in 1887, North Carolina State University (NC State) is home to 33,989 students enrolled in more than 300 degree programs across 12 colleges and 65 academic departments. The College of Design, Department of Art and Design offers several programs for aspiring animators. Programs include a BFA in Art and Design with a Focus in Animation and a Master of Art and Design in Animation.
10. California State University-Long Beach, Long Beach, California
California State University Long Beach (CSULB) was established in 1949. It is home to 35,592 students enrolled in more than 300 programs across eight colleges. The College of the Arts, Department of Film and Electronic Arts and the School of Art offer several programs for aspiring animators. Department of Film offerings include a BA in Film and Electronic Arts with heavy Digital Arts Production and 3D Computer Animation coursework. School of Art offerings include a BFA in Art with an Animation Track and MA/MFA degrees in Animation. The MA/MFA are individualized programs.