What are the top animation school programs in the District of Columbia for 2024?

Top Washington DC Animation School Programs - 2024 College Rankings
1Howard UniversityDC
2The Catholic University of AmericaDC

Our 2024 ranking -our thirteenth annual- of the top animation school programs in Washington DC. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

1. Howard University, Washington, DC
Howard University

Howard University (HU) is home to the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts. Led by the Emmy-nominated, Tony award-winning actress Phylicia Rashad, the college houses the Department of Art, which provides more than 30 areas of study leading to an undergraduate degree, master’s or minor. Programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), with opportunities to intern with organizations such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met), Sotheby’s, National Gallery of Fine Arts, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and Whitney Museum of American Art (The Whitney). Many HU internships are paid.

Among the undergraduate programs in the Department of Art at Howard University is an Electronic Studio concentration. Leading to a BFA, MFA, or minor, the curriculum explores 2D and 3D animation; drawing, painting, and illustration; 2D and 3D design; video; and photography. Students will learn to create animated works using Maya, Blender, Adobe Creative Cloud platform, Cinema 4D, and other industry software.

Across pathways course examples include 2D Animation; Computer Graphics Workshop; 3D Modeling & Animation I-II; Computers in the Arts; Web Development & Interactive Media; Multimedia I-II; Desktop Web Publishing; Drawing I-IV; Image Processing; Art History; and Independent Study.

BFA students will complete two Senior Workshop Capstone courses and the Internship in Digital Media Arts to graduate. MFA students will complete a thesis to graduate.  

Graduates of the Electronic Studio program at Howard University are prepared for careers in 2D Animation & Motion Graphics, 3D Animation & Modeling, Digital Art Creation & Illustration, UX/UI Design & Interactive Media, and Visual Storytelling & Narrative Driven Art.

Howard University was founded on March 2, 1867 by Civil War hero General Oliver O. Howard. The school serves approximately 9,690 students representing 45 states, DC, and nine nations. Students at Howard pursue more than 130 academic programs across 13 colleges and schools. Programs lead to the undergraduate, graduate, joint, and professional degrees. Howard University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

2. The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC
The Catholic University of America

The Catholic University of America (CUA or CatholicU) is home to the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, Drama, and Art, which houses the Department of Art. Within the department is an Art and Design BA with a concentration in 3D Animation & Character Design, and a Digital Art and Design undergraduate certificate. Both programs provide access to the state-of-the-art Salve Regina Digital Arts Lab and Printmaking Facilities and the CUA Study Abroad program.

The Digital Art and Design certificate at CatholicU provides a foundation in design, animation, production, and more. The program consists of six courses. This includes one required course—Digital Art and Design I: Visual Communication—and one core course from options such as 3D Modeling and Animation; Video Production; and Design Tools. The remaining four courses can come from departments and schools across CUA including Art, Architecture and Planning; Media Studies; Computer Science; Engineering; Drama; Education; and Library and Information Sciences.

The 3D Animation & Character Design concentration focuses on experimentation and mastering industry-standard software such as Mudbox, Blender, Substance Painter, and Maya. In the core, students will take courses such as Drawing I-II; Digital Design I: Visual Communication; Contemporary Art; and the Creative Art & Design Studio seminar. In the concentration, students will take courses (electives) such as 3D Modeling & Animation I-II; Character Design I-II; and an Art elective such as Time-Based Media, Advanced Digital Art and Design, or Cryptoart and NFT’s.   

The 3D Animation and Character Design program at CatholicU culminates with the completion of a professional portfolio and demo reel.

Catholic University of America graduates enjoy a 90% employment rate. The Center for Academic and Career Success (CACS) here attracts more than 80 major corporations and others to the CUA Annual Spring Career Fair. Animation, Art and Design, and Digital Design graduates are prepared to pursue roles in Animation, Film and Video Production, Storyboard Art, Visual Effects (VFX), Game Art, Special Effects (SFX), Advertising, Graphic Design, and Web Design.

The Catholic University of America is the largest college campus by area in Washington, DC. Established in 1887, this national research university serves approximately 5,060 students enrolled in more than 250 academic programs across 12 colleges and schools. The Catholic University of America is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).