What are the top animation school programs in Indiana for 2023?

Top Indiana Animation School Programs - 2023 College Rankings
1Purdue UniversityWest Lafayette
2Ball State UniversityMuncie
3Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis Indianapolis

Our 2023 ranking -our twelfth annual- of the top animation school programs in Indiana. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

1. Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
Purdue University

Purdue University (Purdue) houses Purdue Polytechnic Institute (Purdue Polytechnic). Within the Institute is the Department of Computer Graphics Technology (CGT), which has several paths to study animation. Options include a CGT BS with a Major in Animation or Animation and Visual Effects, CGT MS, and a 5-Year CGT BS/MS. The CGT MS Program participates in Purdue’s Computational Interdisciplinary Graduate Program.

The CGT BS/Animation Program focuses on Character Rigging, Motion, Lighting, 3D Modeling, Rendering, and Texturing. Using the same software used in the animation industry, such as Maya and Autodesk, BS students will create animations, games, films, and other related productions.

The CGT BS/Animation and Visual Effects explores areas such as Animation, Computer Rendering, Audio, Special Effects, Video, and Digital Lighting. Visual Effects at Purdue is a STEM-based discipline, so students will also take courses in Physics, Calculus, and Trigonometry. The animation business is also explored, including coursework in marketing, management, business writing, and entrepreneurship.

Graduates of Purdue University’s CGT BS/Animation and Animation and Visual Effects Programs are routinely hired at studios such as Walt Disney and DreamWorks. Some graduates go on to teach at schools such as Animation Mentor, while others have launched their own studios and freelance businesses.

The Purdue University CGT MS provides study and training in Animation, Games, Information Visualization, and UX Design. A large number of course options allow students to concentrate in a specific area. Because the CGT MS program is interdisciplinary, students have opportunities to take coursework across other Purdue graduate programs.

MS students who would like to study animation may choose the Thesis or Non-Thesis option. Those in the Non-Thesis option will complete a Senior Capstone. Course examples across options include The Art and Technology of Computer Animation, Visual Intelligence and Perception, The Development of Graphics in Technology, and Seminar in Computer Graphics Technology. Elective requirements also allow students to explore other areas.

Purdue University CGT MS alumni are Animators, Technical Directors, Digital Lighting Specialists, Simulation and Visualization Specialists, Riggers, and Technical Artists at both independent and major studios.

Students with a graduate degree from Purdue University are eligible to apply to the Technology PhD Program. Also offered in Purdue Polytechnic Institute’s Department of Computer Graphics Technology, the PhD program supports study and research Computer Animation, Game Studies, Human-Computer Interaction, User Experience (UX) Design, and other related areas.

Graduates of the CGT PhD Program at Purdue University go on to pursue careers in entertainment, academics, technology, and government, among others.

Founded in 1869, Purdue University began classes in 1874 with six instructors and just 39 students. Today, the school serves approximately 50,885 students, with around 5,600 enrolled in Purdue Polytechnic Institute. Founded in 1964 as Purdue University’s School of Technology, Purdue Polytechnic houses seven departments and schools offering dozens of technology-centered programs. Purdue University offers more than 400 programs across 10 colleges and schools. Purdue is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

2. Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana
Ball State University

The College of Fine Arts at Ball State University (Ball State) houses the School of Art, home to the Visual Arts/Animation BFA Program. Students in this program will explore areas such as traditional 2D animation, stop-motion animation, 3D animation, visual effects, character animation, lighting, texturing, and modeling. The BFA Program also provides instruction and hands-on training in industry tools such as Toon Boom, Adobe Illustrator, Toon Bom Harmony, Photoshop, and Maya.

Other program highlights include collaborative projects, professional skills development including professional terminology and marketing, and courses taught by industry professionals. Course examples include 3D Animation, Rigging, and Simulation, Pre-Production, Production, Traditional Animation, Storyboarding, Character Design, Experimental techniques, Compositing and Motion Graphics, Drawing Studio, 4D Foundations Studio, and Animation: Specialty. Students will complete a senior project, professional portfolio, and demo reel of their best work to graduate.

Ball State University was established in 1918. The school serves more than 20,000 students enrolled in over 200 programs across seven academic colleges. Ball State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Programs in the School of Art at Ball State are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

3. Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Indianapolis, Indiana

Luddy School of Informatics, Computing & Engineering at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) has a Media Arts & Science Program with two undergraduate pathways to study animation: the Media Arts & Science BS with a 3D Graphics and Animation Specialization, and the 3D Graphics and Animation Minor.

The IUPUI Luddy School Media Arts & Science BS requires 120 credit hours of study. The Minor requires 15 credit hours. Examples of courses across programs include Advanced 3D Character Animation, 3D Compositing and Visual Effects, Stop-Motion Animation, Storyboarding for Multimedia, 2D Animation, Character Design and Animation, Digital Storytelling, Creature and Character Design for Videogames, Comics, Film, and Animation, Digital Effects, Design Issues in Digital Media, 3D Prototyping for Application in Medicine, Motion Graphics, Visualizing Information, and Stereoscopic Production and Display.

Students in the Luddy School IUPUI BS Program will complete the Career Planning, Portfolio Development, and Multimedia Project Development courses. While the Capstone Project Internship is strongly recommended, 3D Graphics and Animation students may complete the Mentorship or Bridge to Industry courses instead. Should a student choose the Capstone Project Internship, they will have the opportunity to develop a work in a professional setting to be presented at an exhibition.

Graduates of the Media Arts & Science/Animation Programs at IUPUI are 2D and 3D Animators, Technical Animators, Medical Animators, Compositors, Game Production Artists, Creative Directors, Digital Designers, Film Production Artists, Architectural Visualization Artists, Motion Graphics Artists, Visual Effects Artists, and AR/VR Designers. Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) alumni have been hired at major studios such as Pixar Animation Studios, EA Sports, Digital Domain, Sony Pictures ImageWorks, and Rockstar Games.

Purdue School of Engineering & Technology at IUPUI houses the Department of Computer Information and Graphics Technology (CIGT), which has an additional program option for students who wish to pursue a career in animation. The Computer Graphics Technology (CGT) Program here features an Animation and Spatial Graphics plan of study consisting of 120 credit hours of study. This unique Track requires courses such as Computer Animation, Visual Effects in Film and Animation, Sketching for Visualization and Communication, Animation Preproduction, Production for Computer Animation, Motion for Computer Animation, Digital Lighting and Rendering for Computer Animation, Digital Post Production, and Raster Imaging for Computer Graphics.

CGT/Animation and Spatial Graphics students will have the opportunity to enhance the degree program through 25 required credit hours of selective and technical electives. A Career Enrichment Internship is part of the program as well as the Senior Design Project. Graduates of the CGT Program at IUPUI are prepared to pursue a variety of careers. Potential titles include 3D Animator, Motion Designer, Multimedia Designer, 3D Production Artist, Themed Attraction & Experience Designer, Graphic Designer, Web Designer, and Computer Graphics Trainer and Educator.

Indiana University (est. 1820) and Purdue University (est. 1869) merged in 1969 to create what is known today as Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). The school serves approximately 27,690 students enrolled in more than 550 degrees and majors across 17 degree-granting schools. Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).