|1||Kansas City Art Institute||Kansas City|
|2||Missouri State University||Springfield|
|3||Webster University||Webster Groves|
|5||Southeast Missouri State University||Cape Girardeau|
Our 2019 rankings of the top animation school programs in Missouri. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.
1. Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Missouri
Established in 1885, Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) trained students such as Walt Disney (who took Saturday Classes as a child), and multimedia artist Robert Rauschenberg. Today, the school serves more than 700 students, enrolled in 14 studio majors through several departments. The Department of Converging Media houses the school’s animation program, which leads to a BFA. Double Majors in Art History and Animation and Creative Writing and Animation are also available.
The Animation BFA highlights intensive instruction in classical, experimental and computer animation. Students in the program work in technologically integrated classrooms and studios to produce a significant personal work. The Department of Converging Media houses Filmmaking, Interactive Arts, and Photography, so animation students also work in an environment that facilitates creativity and cross-disciplinary approaches to image making.
Per the school, “sequential classes emphasize the creative process by combining aspects of animation principles, concept modeling, production methods, history, theory and technique into each project.” Course highlights include Creating the Environment, Digital Methods, Drawing for Animators, Explorations in Animation, Ideas in Motion, Intermediate 3D, Principles of Animation, Sound for Screen and Space, and Visual Communication. Students will also complete Professional Practice and Studio I & II.
BFA students will gain experience through internship opportunities at major studios such as Walt Disney Animation Studios, DreamWorks, Digital Domain, Nickelodeon, Hallmark, Bazillion Pictures, Titmouse Inc., and many others.
2. Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri
Missouri State University was founded in 1905 as the Fourth District Normal School. With a student population of nearly 25,000 students, Missouri State is the state's second largest university campus by enrollment. The school offers hundreds of programs through seven academic colleges and one Graduate College. The College of Arts and Letters houses the Art and Design Department, which offers a BFA in Art with a Computer Animation Track.
Course highlights for the program include 2D Design, 3D Design, Drawing, Computer Animation I-V, Introduction to Digital Arts, and Digital Film and Media Production. Students in the program will complete a Senior Exhibition. An internship opportunity is also part of the program.
Missouri State University also lists computer animation as part of its Electronic Arts (EA) program. Students in this program will take many of the same classes as students in the BFA in Art program. In addition to these courses, students will complete a Senior Project in Electronic Arts.
3. Webster University, Webster Groves, Missouri
Founded in 1915, Webster University is home to more than 17,000 students studying at campuses in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and online. The school houses five colleges and schools including the College of Arts & Sciences, Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts, George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology, the School of Communications, and the School of Education. The School of Communications (SOC) is home to the Electronic and Photographic Media Department, which offers a BA in Animation and Minors in Animation Production and Interactive Digital Media. An undergraduate Certificate in Animation Production is available as well as graduate Certificates in Advanced New Media Production and Fundamentals of Multimedia Production.
The most popular program for aspiring animators, the 128 credit hour Animation BA “offers students the opportunity to learn core principles and techniques focusing on storytelling, motion, drawing, performance and expression through traditional and digital forms,” says the school. Students in the program will “undertake an intensive course of study including character animation, experimental concepts, fine art techniques and diverse applications, building a strong, global foundation before embarking upon an eventual area of concentration.” To gain hands-on experience in the field, each student will also complete an internship.
The Electronic and Photographic Media Department also offers an MA in New Media Production with courses such as Digital Graphics and Motion Graphics Production, Digital Design and Information Graphic Production, Written Storytelling, Digital Images and Storytelling, Video Editing, Interactive Communications, and Visual Storytelling.
All programs feature small classes, hands-on experience with equipment and resources early in the program, and collaboration across disciplines within the SOC and across the University. Students also have access to internship opportunities, and assistance with portfolio development.
4. Drury University, Springfield, Missouri
Founded in 1873, Drury University serves around 3,360 students enrolled in more than 70 majors and programs, 39 minors, and five graduate programs. Among these programs is a BA in Animation with Concentrations in 2D Traditional Animation & 3D Computer Animation. Animation majors must complete a total of 51 credit hours consisting of 30 credit hours in animation and 21 credit hours in the humanities and arts.
Course highlights for the program include Acting I & II, Animation I & II, Computer Animation I & II, Drawing, History of Animation, History of Film, Multimedia Storytelling, and The 12 Principles of Animation. Students will have the opportunity to choose electives from a list of eight advanced courses. Options include Advanced Character & Set Design, Storyboarding, Modeling & Texturing, Compositing, Rigging & Dynamics, Alternative Animation Techniques, Virtual and Augmented Reality, and Motion Graphics. Two Capstone courses are part of the program as well as an optional, but strongly recommended, internship.
Animation students will also have the opportunity to enroll in Drury University’s Study Abroad Program, which offers both short and long-term international study opportunities. The school maintains an ongoing program with the Drury Center in Greece, as well as partnerships with other institutions in countries around the world. Per the school, the study abroad experience is an “excellent way for students to satisfy one of the engaged learning experiences required by Drury's CORE curriculum.”
5. Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, Missouri
Founded in 1873, Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO) serves more than 11,000 students enrolled in more than 200 areas of study through five colleges and schools. The College of Science, Technology and Agriculture offers a BS in Commercial Multimedia with a Computer Multimedia Graphics Option. The school says that the program introduces students to animation, multimedia software, hardware, the integration of text, technical graphics, sound, webpage design, and digital publishing.
Students will also be introduced to the digital video camera and video editing suite and produce personal and corporate videos in individual and group settings. They will be exposed to Autodesk Maya, Mudbox, the Adobe Creative Suite, and Adobe Lightroom and use electronic equipment and software for the preparation of copy, including design, editing, and typography.
A major component of the BS program is career preparation. During students’ senior year, they will learn about resume development, professional communication, interviewing, and transitioning to the first job from college. An internship is offered as well as study abroad opportunities, clinical opportunity, student teaching, and research internships.
Graduates of the SEMO BS in Commercial Multimedia: Computer Multimedia Graphics are prepared to seek careers such as 3D Animator, Digital Publisher, Interactive Developer, Video Game Designer, and Video Production/Editor.