What are the top animation school programs in Arizona for 2022?

Top Arizona Animation School Programs - 2022 College Rankings
1Arizona State UniversityTempe
2University of Advancing TechnologyTempe
3Grand Canyon UniversityPhoenix
4Embry-Riddle Aeronautical UniversityPrescott

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

1. Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
Arizona State University

Arizona State University (ASU) offers several programs for animators across several institutes, departments, and schools. The Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts houses the School of Art, and the Schools of Arts, Media and Engineering, and Music, Dance and Theatre. The Design School, The Sidney Poitier New American Film School, and the ASU Art Museum are also housed in the Institute.

The ASU Herberger Institute School of Art offers 18 major degrees including 13 undergraduate and five graduate programs. Minors are offered in Studio Art and Art History. Programs for animators include a BFA in Art with a Concentration in Animation and an Art MFA. The ASU Herberger School of Arts, Media and Engineering offers a BA in Digital Culture. An interdisciplinary, 21 credit hour undergraduate Minor, and an 18 credit hour Certificate in Digital Culture are also available.  

The BFA in Art with a Concentration in Animation consists of 120 credit hours of study. Elective options allow students to gain experience in other areas such as game engine development, photography, or visual effects. Other program highlights include internship opportunities and the Animation Capstone, which leads to an independent short film, or a full-length film produced as a team.

Art MFA students have the opportunity to complete projects in a discipline of their choice in their own private studios. Other program highlights include visiting artist lectures, workshops, and teaching opportunities.

Graduates of the Arizona State University Herberger Art programs work in animation and film, games and game development, cinema and television, AR/VR, illustration, robotics, medical illustration, scientific and data visualization, fine arts and many other areas. ASU alumni are Animators, Creative Directors, Graphic Artists, Multimedia Designers, and Art Directors, among others.

The BA in Digital Culture offered in the ASU School of Arts, Media and Engineering provides animation coursework that allows students to create a focus. Course options include, but are not limited to, Animating Virtual Worlds, Introduction to Computer Animation, 2D Digital Animation, 3D Computer Imaging and Animation, Stop Motion Animation, Experimental Video Art, 3D Tools, Introduction to Animation for Film, and Motion Graphics & Animation.

Graduates of the ASU BA in Digital Culture have opportunities to work in animation and film, gaming and entertainment, media arts, computing, and communications, among others.

In early 2021, Arizona State University announced that enrollment at the school would be more than 134,500 undergraduate and graduate students for the fall semester. Founded in 1885 as the Arizona Territorial Normal School, ASU has four campuses and 800 degree programs in 16 colleges and schools. Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).

2. University of Advancing Technology, Tempe, Arizona
University of Advancing Technology

University of Advancing Technology (UAT) offers a BA in Game Art and Animation. Students in this 120 credit hour program will learn how to create 2D and 3D art and animation for VR/AR and online, console, PC and mobile games. Course highlights include Digital Video and Animation, Game Art and Animation, Character and Vehicle Animation, Visual Effects Compositing, Environmental and FX Animation, UI Design and Animation, Storyboarding, VR/AR User Experience Design, Virtual Reality World Build, and Production Studio I-III.

As part of the university core UAT Game Art and Animation students must complete at least three credit hours in an internship. Though not required, courses such as Digital Asset Creation, Java Programming, and Introduction to AI and Analytics are highly recommended. Students can expect to complete the UAT Game Art and Animation BA in eight semesters.

Graduates of the University of Advancing Technology BA in Game Art and Animation are character and environment animators, texture, storyboard and game artists, and art directors, among others.

University of Advancing Technology is a 100% STEM-based, private, family-owned University that serves more than 1,000 students enrolled in more than 20 technology degree programs. Founded in 1983 as the CAD Institute, UAT is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA)

3. Grand Canyon University, Phoenix, Arizona
Grand Canyon University

The College of Fine Arts and Production at Grand Canyon University (GCU) offers a BA in Digital Design, with an Emphasis Animation. Offered online and on campus, the BA Program guides students through the design process, storytelling, and animation techniques in a hands-on learning environment. The bulk of the 120 required credit hours are in the major. Course examples include 2D Motion Design, Designing with Type, Motion Technologies, Layout and Composition, Interface Design, Creative Processes, and 3D Motion Design.

The curriculum also requires the completion Design Professionalism—a four credit hour course that delves into personal branding and marketing, ethical and legal issues, project management, teamwork, networking, the industry landscape, and more. Digital Design students will also complete two portfolio courses—one mid-program, designed to help students secure an internship, the other in the fourth year of the program. The final portfolio course is designed to prepare students for employment in the industry or to pursue a graduate degree.

Graduates of the BA in Digital Design, Animation Emphasis, go on to establish careers in animation, film and TV, game or app design, education, scientific services, and more.

Grand Canyon University was chartered in 1949 as Grand Canyon College. The school opened with just 100 students and 16 faculty members. Today, GCU serves 23,500 students enrolled in more than 275 programs in nine colleges. Grand Canyon University has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) since 1968.

4. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott, Arizona
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Embry-Riddle) offers a unique program that fuses animation, games, simulation, and  science. Housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Simulation Science, Games and Animation (SSGA), the BS in SSGA offers STEM and project-based production courses that allow students to design user experiences, virtual worlds, animations, simulations, and more.

Course examples include Games Systems (Multiplayer, Mixed Reality), Digital Illustration, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), World Building I-IV (Modeling, Materials, Mechanics, Motion) Computer/Modeling Simulation, Artificial Intelligence, Interactive Media I-II, Game Design Workshop, and Graphics Processing. Students in this 125 credit hour program will also complete a final project across two Capstone courses during their senior year.

Graduates of the Embry-Riddle BS in SSGA Program have a wide variety of career options. Examples include gaming, animation, software development, military and intelligence, education, healthcare, aviation, high-tech manufacturing, and virtual training environments.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University graduates have been hired at Blizzard Entertainment, The Boeing Company, ForgeFX Simulations, Mass Virtual, Win Reality Training Platform (baseball and softball), and Super League Gaming.

Founded in 1925, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is the world’s largest university specializing in aviation and aerospace. With two campuses in Daytona Beach, Florida, and Prescott, Arizona, Embry-Riddle serves nearly 33,000 students enrolled in more than 100 degrees at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. levels. Both Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University campuses are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).