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

Top Animation School Programs in Colorado - 2022 College Rankings
1Rocky Mountain College of Art and DesignDenver
2University of Colorado-DenverDenver
3Colorado Mesa UniversityGrand Junction

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

1. Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, Denver, Colorado
Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design

Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design (RMCAD) has an animation program that enrolls more than 100 students. Degree options include BFAs in 2D and 3D Animation. The 2D Animation BFA is for students interested in traditional animation, while the 3D BFA emphasizes computer animation.

Students in both programs will take courses in the areas of 2D and 3D drawing, modeling, character design, storyboarding, and stop motion. While the RMCAD Animation BFAs are offered on-campus and online, campus-based students are required to take part in online education to experience learning in a virtual environment.

RMCAD Animation graduates will leave the program with a professional portfolio of their work. Alumni can be found at major studios such as Industrial Light & Magic, and Pixar.

Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design began in 1963 as Rocky Mountain School of Art. Serving more than 1,000 students, RMCAD offers 16 degree and certificate programs offered in campus/hybrid and online formats. Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). RMCAD is also an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

2. University of Colorado Denver, Denver, Colorado
University of Colorado Denver

The College of Arts & Media (CAM) at University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver) houses the school’s Film and Television, Media Forensics, Music and Visual Arts programs. Within CAM is the Department of Visual Arts (VA) and the Digital Animation Center (DAC). Together, the VA and DAC offer a BFA in Visual Arts with an Emphasis in 3D Graphics and Animation.

This 120 credit hour program provides coursework and training that prepares students to work in film and animation, as well as science and medicine. Course examples include Dynamic Simulation, Environment Production, Surface Modeling, Character FX, Intro to Film, Character Creation, and Reproduction Look Development.

In the junior year of the program, students will begin an 18-month Capstone experience—the Senior Film. In collaboration with departments across CAM, animation students will work in all areas to create this final project. They will create sound, effects, storylines, soundtracks, motion graphics, and more. Students may also participate in the internship program during the final years of the BFA program.

Graduates of the CU Denver BFA in Visual Arts-3D Graphics and Animation, have produced films that have been screened in more than 300 film festivals in 22 countries. Graduates have also won more than 75 Best Animated Short awards in non-student categories.

University of Colorado Denver animation alumni are employed by major studios such as Pixar, Sony, and LucasArts, to name a few.

University of Colorado Denver began in 1912 as an extension of the University of Colorado Boulder. The school became CU Denver in 1973 making it an independent campus. Organized into eight colleges and schools, CU Denver serves a population of 15,000 students enrolled in more than 110 academic degrees.

University of Colorado Denver is accredited by Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).

3. Colorado Mesa University, Grand Junction, Colorado
Colorado Mesa University

The Colorado Mesa University (CMU) Department of Art & Design offers a BFA in Animation, Film, Photography and Motion Design (AFP&MD). Major components of this professional degree program include cross-disciplinary coursework, hands-on practice, collaborative projects, Animation, Motion, membership in the Photography Club (AMP), travel opportunities, and field trips. Students have participated in local and national experiences, and international trips to places such as Peru.

Students in the AFP&MD BFA Program will complete studio courses such as Advanced Motion Studio, and AFP&MD Studio, along with other courses such as Lights! Camera! Action!, 3D Digital Modeling, 2D Animation and Motion Design, Image and Motion, Character Design and Story Concepts, Advanced Filmmaking, and Sound Principles and Production.

To produce short films and other animated projects, Colorado Mesa University provides unlimited access to several labs, two stop-motion studios, and a photography studio.

The CMU AFP&MD BFA Program ends with the production of a demo reel, portfolio, resume, and promotional materials that can be used to gain entry onto the animation and film industries, among others. Before graduation, students will present their best work to students and faculty.   

Founded in 1925, Colorado Mesa University began as a junior college with just 39 students. Today, CMU serves more than 10,000 students. The school offers more than 100 undergraduate programs leading to  a certificate, associate, bachelor's, or master’s degree. Colorado Mesa University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).