What are the top animation school programs in Maryland for 2024?

Top Maryland Animation School Programs - 2024 College Rankings
1Maryland Institute College of ArtBaltimore
2University of Maryland Baltimore CountyBaltimore
3Towson UniversityTowson

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

1. Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Maryland
Maryland Institute College of Art

Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) requires all undergraduate students to complete the school’s innovative First Year Experience (FYE). During this exploratory year, students will study contemporary art and design practice; collaborate; and participate in constructive critiques. The rigorous FYE curriculum also highlights skill-building, technology, and 2D, 3D, and 4D media. Upon completion of the MICA FYE, students will move on to their chosen major.

Students who choose the Animation major will be admitted to the Animation Department at MICA. Leading to a BFA, the Animation program requires 24 credit hours of study in the major. Course examples include Otherworldly; Stop-Motion Puppet Rubbish; Astro-Animation; Animation Digital Fabrication; Animation in Unique Spaces; Advanced 3D Open Studio; Experimental Animation; 3D Computer Animation; Storyboarding for Animation; Digital tools for Animation; and Character Conflict Performance; Special Topics in Animation; and Professional Practice for Animators.

BFA students will also complete several projects, plus the Animation Senior Thesis I and II courses. The Senior Thesis is a year-long capstone that culminates in a final film, installation, or interactive media project. Final projects are presented at the MICA Grad Show, which consists of exhibitions and events that showcase the thesis and capstone work of all students across the school’s 14 MA and MFA programs.

For students who would like to study animation in addition to different major, Maryland Institute College of Art has an Animation (studio) minor. This 18 credit hour program requires Introduction to 2D Animation, and Electronic Media and Culture. For the remaining courses, students must select options from animation and studio electives.

Maryland Institute College of Art graduates are prepared for creative careers in a wide range of industries. MICA alumni are Google Animators, Mobile App Developers, Comic Artists, Filmmakers, and more. They have been hired at major studios such as MTV, DreamWorks, Disney, and LAIKA Studios. Many MICA graduates go on to pursue graduate study, launch their own studios, or establish a freelance business.

Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art is the nation’s oldest independent, continuously degree-granting college of art and design. The school serves nearly 3,500 students from 49 states and 52 countries. Programs at MICA lead to a BFA, MA, MFA, MBA, MPS degree, or post-baccalaureate certificate. Maryland Institute College of Art is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

2. University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, Maryland
University of Maryland Baltimore County

The College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (CAHSS) at University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) houses the Department of Visual Arts. Within the Department are two paths to study animation: the BA and BFA in Visual Arts. Both options allow students to select a concentration in Animation.

The program BA program requires completion of a 24 credit hour Visual Arts core and a 24-27 credit hour Animation concentration. The BFA Visual Arts core is 27 credits, with a 45 credit hour Animation concentration. Visual Arts course examples across programs include Introduction to Art and Media Studies; Drawing I/Beginning Drawing; Studies in Visual Culture (Prehistory through the 1750s); and Visual Concepts I-IV. The Visual Concepts courses cover Two-Dimensional Design Principles; Camera Vision; Three-Dimensional Form, Space and Interaction; and Time-Based Media.

Course examples for the Animation concentration include Real Time Animation; Motion Graphics and Compositing; Animation in the Physical World; Advanced 3D Animation; Writing for Media Arts; History of Animation; and Sound Design. Visual Arts will alco complete nine credits of electives, including courses such as Topics in Animation and Interactive Art; Advanced 3D Animation; Installation Art; and Team-Based Game Development.

In addition to a variety of course options, the Visual Arts program at UMBC provides the opportunity to complete an internal or external internship related to the students focus. Visual Arts student have interned at places such as Smithsonian, Baltimore Orioles, Stanley Black & Decker, Baltimore Office of Promotion of the Arts, Maryland Public Television, Image Factory DC, Mindgrub Technologies, Renegade Productions, Maryland Art Place, and Creative Alliance. 

Students may also gain experience by enrolling in the elective course ART 496 – Imaging Research Center Internship (IRC). Students in this option will work on animation, graphics, and multimedia production in a professional work environment for real clients or research teams. Students will work in collaborative teams under the guidance of IRC directors.

In the final year of the Visual Arts BA and BFA programs, students will exhibit their best work at the Senior Exit Exhibition, held at the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture. Awards for Excellence are presented at the opening reception.

Graduates of the Visual Arts BA and BFA programs at University of Maryland Baltimore County are prepared to pursue roles in the entertainment industry, game design and development, advertising, web design, architecture, science and medicine, government, and education.

University of Maryland Baltimore County is part of the University System of Maryland. The school was established as a member in 1966. UMBC serves approximately 13,990 students enrolled in more than 200 degree, minor, and certificate programs across seven colleges and schools. The University of Maryland Baltimore County is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

3. Towson University, Towson, Maryland
Towson University

Serving 2,900 students enrolled in more than 30 majors and minors, the College of Fine Arts and Communication (COFAC) is one of the largest colleges at Towson University (TU). The school provides more than 30 majors and minors across seven departments. COFAC programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD), and the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST)

Students in all COFAC programs have access to creative studios, state-of-the-art production facilities, and other resources such as the Center for the Arts Gallery. Programs also feature workshops; internship opportunities; and optional study abroad experiences.

The COFAC Department of Art at Towson University also houses an Art and Design BFA program with a Digital Art and Design concentration. Within the concentration are three 12-unit specializations including Animation, Experimental, and Digital Arts. Leading to as BFA, all options require anywhere from three to five projects per course.

Students will begin the BFA program with foundation courses such as Visual Concepts; Drawing: Observation and Invention; 2D and 3D Process; and Digital Tools and Concepts. Next, students will complete concentration courses such as Illustration Principles for Designers and Illustrators; Animation: Motion Design; Imagemaking: Concept and Practice; Digital Art: 2D and 3D; and Digital Art: Experimental.

Finally, students will complete any specialization requirements. Courses for the Animation specialization include Animation: 2D; Animation: 3D; Animation Studio; and Photo Imaging – Motion. The Art and Design BFA requires 121-122 credits to graduate.

Graduates of the Art and Design BFA program at Towson University are prepared to pursue creative roles across industries. Program alumni are Animators, Art Directors, Graphic Designers, Multimedia Artists, and Fine Artists. Some top employers for Towson University alumni include Amazon, Northrop Grumman, Baltimore Ravens, GBMC, TEKsystems, Starbucks, Target, Enterprise, and Tech USA.

Founded as the Maryland Normal School in 1866, Towson University serves approximately 19,530 students, making it the largest university in the Baltimore area and the second-largest in the University System of Maryland. TU students have access to more than 110 undergraduate options, 47 master’s degrees, seven doctoral programs, and 36 graduate certificates. Programs are managed across seven colleges and dozens of departments. Towson University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).