What are the top animation school programs in North Carolina for 2022?

Top Animation School Programs in North Carolina - 2022 College Rankings
1University of North Carolina School of the ArtsWinston-Salem
2North Carolina State UniversityRaleigh
3University of North Carolina WilmingtonWilmington

Our 2022 ranking -our eleventh annual- of the top animation school programs in North Carolina. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

1. University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

The School of Design & Production and the School of Filmmaking at University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs for animators.

Offered in the School of Filmmaking, the BFA in Animation requires 121 credit hours of study. The first year consists of liberal arts and foundations courses in filmmaking. At the end of the first year, students will complete a portfolio for entry into the Animation Program.

The Animation BFA emphasizes drawing, character design, lighting, props, and storytelling. Third year students will complete a three-minute animation project and begin working on the final fourth-year project. The final project is a five minute film that will serve as the BFA Thesis.

During the junior or senior years, students may complete an internship or independent study as well as upper level elective courses to enhance the degree. UNCSA Animation BFA students have interned at major studios such as Sony Pictures Imageworks and Stargate Studios.

Graduates of the Animation BFA Program at UNCSA have worked with Cartoon Network and Prologue Pictures, among others.

The School of Design and Production offers an MFA in Animatronics. This hybrid program blends electronics and animation. Students in the program will master animatronic programming and design, engineering and infrastructure of animatronic figures, sculpting, 3D printing, and project management.

Other program highlights include seminars and workshops led by professionals in the industry and access to a 100,000 square feet of state-of-the-art production space.

The Animatronics MFA Program at University of North Carolina School of the Arts culminates with a final project (thesis) conducted in collaboration with an advisor.

Graduates of the Animatronics MFA Program at University of North Carolina School of the Arts go on to establish careers at places such as Universal Studios, Nickelodeon, and Walt Disney Imagineering.

The University of North Carolina School of the Arts was founded in 1963. The school became part of the 17-campus University of North Carolina system in 1972. UNCSA serves 920 undergraduate and 150 graduate students enrolled in dozens of programs across five schools. University of North Carolina School of the Arts is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

2. North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina
North Carolina State University

North Carolina State University (NC State University) houses the College of Design, home to the Department of Art + Design. Options for animators include the Bachelor of Art + Design (BAD) and Masters of Art + Design (MAD). A 15 credit hour Art + Design Minor consisting of courses such as Animation, Three-Dimensional Design, Drawing, Color and Light, and Sequential Imaging, is also available.

Department of Art + Design programs are highly multidisciplinary, allowing students to study both traditional disciplines and emerging techniques. Examples include animation, VR/AR, visual composition, interactive and computational media, and visual effects. Electives allow additional opportunities to focus the bachelor’s degree.

Examples of required courses and elective options for the NC State University BAD program include Advanced Digital Techniques, Animation I. Art + Design Laboratory I-II, Creative Technology Studio I-III, Drawing I-II, Visualization I-II, Digital Motion, Sequential Imaging, Color and Light, Digital Modeling, Digital Representation, and Writing About Film.

Undergraduate students will move from foundation courses in the first and second years to intermediate and advanced classes in the final two years of the program. Students will leave the Bachelor of Art and Design program with a final project and a polished portfolio of their work.

The NC State University MAD Program emphasizes experimental media arts and provides the same opportunities to study animation as the BAD Program does. Examples of past MAD elective options include 3D Animation, Seminar in Animation, Special Effects, Creative Coding, Digital Motion, Visualizing Narrative, Digital Modeling, Sequential Imaging, and Business of Design. During the final years of the program, MA students will have the option to produce a project in animation, interactive media, or other area of their choosing, or complete a research-based study or paper.

North Carolina State University Art + Design graduates are currently working in fields such as animation, digital special effects, multimedia, illustration, filmmaking, and software design. Many graduates go on to become art and design educators or entrepreneurs.

North Carolina State University was established in 1887 as a land-grant institution focusing in agriculture and engineering. Employing more than 9,000 faculty and staff members that serve 36,000+ students, NC State University offers more than 260 degree programs across 11 colleges. North Carolina State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

3. University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, North Carolina
University of North Carolina Wilmington

The College of Arts and Sciences at University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) houses the Department of Art and Art History, which offers a BA and a Minor in Digital Arts. The BA program offers a Concentration in Interactive Graphics. Students in this interdisciplinary program will learn to design 3D graphics and interactive user experiences for film animation, VR/AR, digital art, games, and 3D animation applications.

The UNCW BA in Digital Arts consists of a mix of computer science, math, design, web design, game design, art, and art history courses. Course examples include Calculus I-II, Web Page Development, Object-Oriented Programming & Design, Computer Gaming, Drawing Fundamentals, Computer Animation, 2D Design, Ancient through Medieval Art, and Visual Design for Multimedia. A Digital Arts Capstone (Portfolio Project) is also part of the program. Students will complete the Capstone during the last year in the major and present it in a campus venue.

The College of Arts and Sciences at UNCW allows Computer Science majors to add the Digital Art Concentration to their degree program. Leading to a BS in CS/Digital Art, the program requires 55 credit hours in the CS Core and 24 credit hours of study in the concentration.

Computer Networks, Design and Analysis of Algorithms, Programming Languages, and Software Engineering are examples of some of the core courses students can expect to take. Sample concentration courses include Multimedia Systems, Computer Animation, Film Production, 3D Computer Graphics, Tools & Literacy, Digital Video Production, and Graphic Design.

Graduates of the Digital Arts Programs at the University of North Carolina Wilmington are prepared for careers at animation and VFX studios, game design studios, graphic design firms, companies that specialize in using VR/AR for entertainment, training, and education, video production companies, places that utilize HCI such as theaters, galleries, and museums, architectural firms, and engineering firms.

Established in 1946, University of North Carolina Wilmington is part of the part of the 17-campus University of North Carolina System. The school serves 18,030 students enrolled in more than 100 programs in five colleges and schools. The University of North Carolina Wilmington is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission (SACSCOC).