|1||New Jersey Institute of Technology||Newark|
|3||Montclair State University||Montclair|
|4||Fairleigh Dickinson University||Madison|
|5||The College of New Jersey||Ewing|
Our 2019 rankings of the top animation school programs in New Jersey. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.
1. New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, New Jersey
New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) was founded in 1881. The school opened its doors as The Newark Technical School on Monday, February 9, 1885, with just 88 students. Today, NJIT serves more than 11,400 students enrolled in 50 bachelors, 59 masters and 19 doctoral degree programs across eight colleges and schools. The College of Architecture and Design houses the School of Art + Design, which offers a BA in Digital Design with two Tracks: Entertainment and Production.
Sample courses for the program include Digital Design Studio, 2D Character Design, 3D Character Development, Acting for Animators, Simulated Environments, Imaginary Worlds, Game Architecture and Design, Digital Sound and Music, Design Techniques, Color and Composition, and Game Modification.
Graduates of NJIT’s Digital Design Program have landed positions in the areas of animation, game design, graphic design, architectural and environment visualization, web design, storyboard art, and more. Among the studios where NJIT students have interned or worked full-time are 1st Avenue Machine, CSALAS & Co Labs, KWD – Kim Wendell Design LLC, Miskowski Design LLC, NTropic, SUSPECT vfx+design, SWDTech Games, and Tripwire Interactive.
2. Rutgers University, Newark, New Jersey
Founded in 1766 as Queen's College, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is the largest and most comprehensive higher education institution in the state. The school nearly 70,900 students from 50 states and more than 125 countries enrolled in more than 550 programs through 29 schools and colleges. The College of Arts and Sciences houses the Department of Fine Arts, which offers a BA with an area of Specialization in Art: Concentration Animation.
Per the school, students in the program “learn to prepare two and three-dimensional art for animation films, gaming, video, advertising, architecture, medical research, and web design in the most comprehensive and advanced courses available in this region.” Sample courses include Animation Production, Advanced Computer Studio, Visual Fundamentals, Character Animation, Computer Animation, Computer Graphics, Kinetic Sculpture, New Media Art, Color Theory, Classical Animation, Computer Multimedia, Environmental Design, Design for the World Wide Web and Video and Film Production.
Students in the program will also complete Special Studio Projects, which allows them to work closely with a studio faculty adviser to develop and execute a specified series of art works. An internship is also part of the program and all students have access to on-campus laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art networked computers and post-production units, as well as 2D/3D editing software.
Graduates of the program have worked in the 3D animation industry as art directors and technical directors for various companies, such as Blue Sky, Walt Disney, Warner Brothers, Digital Domain, Ubisoft, BBC Earth, Quiet Man, Psyop, The Mill, Smoke & Mirrors, etc. In addition, they have participated making a variety of award-winning movies and games, such as Ice Age, Happy Feet, Frozen, Sesame Street 3D, Walking with Dinosaurs 3D, Assassin’s Creed Unity, and more.
3. Montclair State University, Montclair, New Jersey
Founded in 1908 as New Jersey State Normal School at Montclair, Montclair State University serves 21,115 enrolled in 300 majors, minors, concentrations and certificate programs through 11 colleges and schools. The College of the Arts houses the Department of Art and Design, which offers a BFA in Animation/Illustration. This pre-professional program consists of courses in both traditional and digital drawing techniques that provide a foundation for advanced animation coursework.
In addition to fine arts courses, students will take illustration and animation courses such as Animation Production, Cartooning, Character Design, Digital Illustration, Screenwriting for Animation, Texture Mapping, 2D and 3D Animation, and 3D Modeling. All students will complete a number of initial and advanced project assignments as well. Initial assignments include Advertising Illustration, Book Cover Art, Comic Book and Graphic Novel Art, and Editorial illustration.
Advanced projects include Animated Shorts, Animated Storyboards, and Character Development for 2D and 3D Animation. Through advanced projects such as Senior Year Portfolio and courses such as Portfolio & Professional Business Practices and Portfolio Development, students will create a polished portfolio of their best work.
Graduates of the program are prepared to seek positions such as Art Director, Effects Animator, Flash Animator, Concept Artist, Editorial Illustrator, Environments Designer, Layout Artist/Supervisor, Multimedia Designer, Storyboard Artist, Technical Director/Support Engineer, Technical Illustrator, Visual Development Artist, and many others.
4. Fairleigh Dickinson University, Madison, New Jersey
Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) was established in 1942. The school serves more than 12,000 students, making it New Jersey’s largest private university. More than 100 degrees and disciplines are offered across two New Jersey campuses (Madison and Teaneck) and two FDU locations outside the U.S. including Wroxton College in Oxfordshire, England, and the Vancouver Campus in British Columbia, Canada.
Programs for aspiring animators are offered through the School of Art, which is part of FDU’s Becton College. Options include a BA in Film and Animation, MA and MFA degrees in Animation, BA-MA and BA-MFA combined degrees, and Minors in 3D Video Game Animation, Animation, Film Production, Studio Arts, and Cinema Studies. The BA offers three concentrations including 3D Animation, 2D Animation, and Video Game Animation. Common course titles for the undergraduate programs include Character Animation using CAT, History of Animation & Special Effects, Logo and Product Animation, Motion Capture, Storytelling, 3D Computer Animation, and Vector Animation.
FDU’s MA and MFA degrees in Animation offer concentrations in 3D Character Animation, Visual Effects, and Video Games. The MA requires 36 credit hours of study and the MFA requires 60 credit hours. Both programs require completion of a thesis.
Per the school, the combined BA-MA in Animation “offers FDU students the option to complete both the Bachelor and Master degrees in Animation. This program is designed for animation students seeking additional training at the graduate level that goes beyond their undergraduate education.” The BA-MFA is designed for “talented, highly motivated students seeking specialized training at the terminal degree level in addition to their undergraduate education in animation.”
The curriculum for the terminal degree “culminates in a major Thesis work, incorporates motion capture and virtual reality technology, gives students experience in working on group projects, and also promotes career readiness.” The graduate and undergraduate programs offer access to FDU’s internship program, “which allows students to gain real world experience by completing industry internships for clients such as MTV, ABC, Nickelodeon, Blue Sky Studios, DreamWorks, NBC Universal at CNBC, NJ Jets, World Wresting Entertainment, and Viacom among others.”
Alumni have landed positions at ABC, Animated Storyboards, Blue Sky Studios, Blindhack Software, CCG Metamedia, Curious Pictures, DreamWorks, Entertainment at Fox Interactive, High Five Games, Marvel Comics, Pixel Light Digital Media, Skyline Entertainment, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Tribe Pictures, Viacom, Verizon, Whisper Productions, and many others.
5. The College of New Jersey, Ewing, New Jersey
The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) was established in 1855 as the New Jersey State Normal School. The school serves 6,580 undergraduates and hundreds of graduate students enrolled in 50 Liberal Arts and Professional programs through seven schools. The School of the Arts and Communication houses the Interactive Multimedia Department, which offers a BA in Interactive Multimedia (IMM).
This interdisciplinary program combines Digital Media (digital imaging; animation, motion graphics and digital video; digital audio and electronic music, web design), Interactive Computing (experience design, interaction design, interface design, and programming for everything from web sites to video games), and Professional Writing (interactive storytelling, stories and scripts for movies, animations and video games, technical writing, proposal writing, and online journalism).
Students may also pursue minors or even second majors in related areas such as Graphic Design, Art, Music, Computer Science, or Business. Other program highlights include the opportunity to work in teams to develop installations, productions, and more, faculty members who are active in helping students launch their careers (they hold mock interviews, review resumes, and monitor job listings), internship opportunities, and access to TCNJ’s Art and Interactive Multimedia (AIMM) building.
Opened in 2010, the school says that the AIMM building “features state-of-the-art facilities, including computer labs with a range of industry-standard software, a recording studio for hands-on experience with the latest audio production tools, and multipurpose studios for everything from video to building custom electronic hardware.” The AIMM building also hosts exhibitions, screenings, performances, guest workshops, student organizations, community groups and more.
IMM students have completed internships at Amazon, MTV Networks, DreamWorks, and NFL Films, and many graduates have found positions at major companies and studios such as Nickelodeon, TIME, and MakerBot. Graduates have also entered graduate programs at top art and design schools such as the School of Visual Arts (SVA), New York University (NYU), and Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).