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

Top Minnesota Animation School Programs - 2023 College Rankings
1Minneapolis College of Art and DesignMinneapolis
2Minnesota State University, MoorheadMoorhead

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

1. Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) has several pathways to study animation. At the undergraduate level, MCAD has a collaborative Animation BFA Program and a 15 credit-hour Animation Minor. At the graduate level, MCAD has interdisciplinary and experimental Visual Studies MFA Program that allows students to focus in one or more areas of interest. Examples include animation, experimental film and video, comic arts, illustration, drawing and painting, and web and multimedia.

Students in the MCAD MFA Program also benefit from access to some 50 private studios, smart classrooms, state-of-the-art production facilities, and a large gallery space. MCAD MFA students may also participate in the Master’s Trip to NYC featuring visits to art and design venues, creative agencies, and artist studios.

The MCAD Animation Minor explores traditional animation techniques, compositing, storytelling, and pre-production. Students will also learn how to use the latest industry software to create animations. Four classes are required to complete the program: Character Design, Drawing for Animators, Experimental Animation, and Storyboarding.

The Minneapolis College of Art and Design Animation BFA has two tracks: 2D and 3D Animation. Both tracks require 12 credit hours of study within the 120 credit hours required to graduate. Students may focus in other areas through the programs 26 credits of required studio electives. Course examples include 3D Rendering, Experimental Animation, Introduction to Filmmaking, Stop-Motion Animation, and Professional Practice.

Both BFA and MFA students may complete an internship and/or study abroad in places such as Italy, Germany, Japan, and the UK. MCAD Students have interned at Nickelodeon, MTV, Walker Art Center, Massachusetts Museum of Art, among others.

Potential careers for MCAD Animation and Visual Studies graduates include Background Animator, 3D Modeler/Animator, Stop-Motion Animator, Film Editor, Pixel Artist, Special-Effects Animator, Storyboard Artist, Character Developer, Inker/Opaquer/Checker, Director, Producer, Writer, and Project Manager.

Minneapolis College of Art and Design was established in 1886 by the Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts. The school serves more than 800 students from 45 states and 15 countries. Programs include 14 undergraduate majors leading to a BFA or BS, three MA degrees, one MFA degree, and five professional development certificate options.

Minneapolis College of Art and Design is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The school is also affiliated with the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD).

2. Minnesota State University Moorhead, Moorehead, Minnesota
Minnesota State University Moorhead

The School of Media Arts & Design at Minnesota State University, Moorhead (MSU Moorhead or MSUM) houses the Animation Program. Leading to a BFA, Animation is MSUM’s most popular program. Housed in the College of Humanities, the Animation BFA features  internship opportunities, portfolio development courses, and help compiling a reel of the student’s best work. Other program highlights include access to student organizations and state-of-the art labs, studios, and production facilities.

All courses in the School of Media Arts & Design are taught by industry professionals. The 120 credit hour Animation BFA explores traditional stop-motion animation, 2D and 3D animation, technical graphics, 3D modeling, and other techniques used in the animation industry, including 3D simulations and game graphics. Course examples include 3D Animation, Stop-Motion Animation, Video Production, 2D Animation & Motion Graphics, Digital Imaging, 3D Modeling, Critical Approaches to Film & Media Arts, and Animation Studio.

During the final year of the MSU Moorhead Animation BFA Program, students will complete a Capstone Research Project and a Final Capstone Project.

Graduates of the Animation BFA Program at Minnesota State University, Moorhead are prepared to pursue positions with major animation studios, video production houses, film/TV studios, web and multimedia firms, and advertising agencies, among others.

Minnesota State University Moorhead opened in 1888 as The Moorhead Normal School. The first graduating class consisted of just eight students. Today, MSUM serves around 5,550 students enrolled in more than 230 majors, degrees, certificates, and emphasis areas. Programs are offered in five colleges. Minnesota State University Moorhead is accredited by Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and a member of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).