What is the top animation school program in Minnesota for 2022?

Top Animation School Program in Minnesota - 2022 College Rankings
1Minneapolis College of Art and DesignMinneapolis
2Minnesota State University, MoorheadMoorehead
3University of Northwestern, St. PaulSt. Paul

Our 2022 ranking -our eleventh annual- of the top animation school program in Minnesota. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

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

Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) offers a BFA and a Minor in Animation and an MFA in Visual Studies. The MFA is an interdisciplinary and experimental program, which allows students to focus in one or more areas of interest. Examples include animation, experimental film and video, illustration, drawing and painting, comic arts, and web and multimedia, to name a few. 

Other program highlights include some 50 private studios, smart classrooms, access to state-of-the-art production facilities, and a large gallery space. MCAD MFA students may also participate in the Master’s Trip to NYC, featuring visits to art and design venues, creative agencies, artist studios, and more.

The MCAD Minor in Animation covers traditional animation techniques, storytelling, compositing, and pre-production. Students will also learn how to use the latest industry software to create animations. Four classes are required to complete the program: Character Design, Drawing for Animators, Experimental Animation, and Storyboarding.

The Minneapolis College of Art and Design BFA in Animation has two tracks: 2D and 3D Animation. Both tracks require 12 credit hours of study within the 120 credit hours required to graduate. Students may focus in other areas through the programs 26 required studio electives. Course examples include 3D Rendering, Experimental Animation, Introduction to Filmmaking, Stop-Motion Animation, and Professional Practice.

Both BFA and MFA students may complete an internship and/or study abroad in places such as Italy, the UK, Germany, and Japan. Students have interned at Nickelodeon, MTV, Walker Art Center, Massachusetts Museum of Art, and more.

Potential careers for MCAD Animation and Visual Studies graduates include Background Animator, Character Developer, 3D Modeler/Animator, Pixel Artist, Special-Effects Animator, Storyboard Artist Inker/Opaquer/Checker, Producer, Project Manager, Film Editor, Stop-Motion Animator, and Writer, among others.

Established in 1886, Minneapolis College of Art and Design serves more than 800 students. The school offers 14 undergraduate majors leading to a BFA or BS, three MA programs, including the new MA in Creative Leadership (launching summer 2022), one MFA program, and five professional development certificate programs.

Minneapolis College of Art and Design is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). MCAD is also affiliated with the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD).

2. Minnesota State University-Moorhead, Moorhead, Minnesota
Minnesota State University Moorhead

The School of Media Arts & Design at Minnesota State University, Moorhead (MSUM) offers a BFA in Animation. While this is the most popular option for animators, other related programs include Minors in Film Production, Media Arts, Graphic and Interactive Design, and Film Studies. Students in all programs may take animation coursework. 

Housed in the College of Humanities, the MSUM School of Media Arts & Design also provides internship opportunities, portfolio development courses, and help compiling a reel of the student’s best work. Other Art & Design highlights include access to student organizations and state-of-the art labs, studios, and production facilities.

All courses in the School of Media Arts & Design are taught by industry professionals. The 120 credit hour BFA in Animation consists of courses such as 2D Animation & Motion Graphics, 3D Animation, Stop-Motion Animation, Digital Imaging, Scriptwriting, 3D Modeling, and Scriptwriting. The BFA Program ends with a Final Project (Capstone).

Graduates of the MSUM BFA in Animation Program are prepared to pursue employment with major animation studios, web and multimedia firms, video production houses, film/TV studios, and advertising agencies, among others.

Minnesota State University Moorhead opened in 1888 as The Moorhead Normal School. The first graduating class consisted of just eight students. Today, MSUM serves around 5,550 students enrolled in more than 230 majors, degrees, certificates, and emphasis areas. Programs are offered in five colleges. Minnesota State University Moorhead is accredited by Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).

3. University of Northwestern St. Paul, St. Paul, Minnesota
University of Northwestern St. Paul

The College of Arts & Humanities at University of Northwestern St. Paul (UNW or Northwestern) houses the Department of Art & Design, which offers a BS in Animation & Illustration. A 16-18 credit hour Animation Minor is also available.

The BS in Animation & Illustration consists of 125 credit hours. Course examples include Animation I-II, CG Production, 3D Modeling, Digital Illustration, Single Camera Production, Character Design, Figure Drawing, Advanced Animation, Design Concepts, and Audio Production. An optional Animation & Illustration Internship, worth 1-2 credits, is also part of the program.

All Department of Art & Design students have access to Northwestern’s Design Lab, which offers industry-level software and tools such as Maya, Autodesk MotionBuilder, Unreal Engine, Premiere, InDesign, and Adobe After Effects, to name a few.  

UNW Department of Art & Design graduates have started their own studios or freelance businesses.  Others have established careers in animation, game animation, computer graphics, interactive media development, digital animation, advertising, and motion graphics, among others. 

University of Northwestern - St. Paul was founded in 1902 as Northwestern Bible and Missionary Training School. When it opened, the school had just seven students. Today UNW serves nearly 3,500 students enrolled in more than 80 degree programs across four colleges and 16 departments and schools. University of Northwestern - St. Paul is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).