Did you know? Academy of Art University offers BFAs in Animation and Visual Effects, Game Development, Game Programming, Graphic Design, Illustration, Visual Development, and more. Learn more.
What is the top animation school program in South Carolina for 2023?
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Our 2023 ranking -our twelfth annual- of the top animation school programs in South Carolina. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.
1. Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina
The College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences (CECAS) at Clemson University (Clemson) houses the School of Computing—home to the Division of Visual Computing and the Digital Production Arts (DPA) Program. Pathways for animators include the DPA MFA and DPA MS. A Digital Production Arts Minor is jointly offered by the Department of Art in the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities, and the School of Computing. Launched in 2011 the Minor requires a minimum of 15 credit hours of study.
Digital Production Arts at Clemson University encompasses dozens of disciplines. However, each DPA program pathway has its own learning objectives. The curriculum for the MFA DPA pathway blends computer science and engineering, psychology, graphic communications, art, philosophy, and performing arts. Course examples include Technical Character Animation, Physically Based Animation, Visual Foundations of Digital Production, 3D Modeling and Animation, and Special Effects compositing.
The 60 credit hour DPA MFA at Clemson no longer requires the GRE and it is the terminal degree in the field. Graduates are prepared for a range of roles in the film and animation, video, electronic gaming, and visual effects industries. Graduates have been hired at major studios such as Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Pixar, DreamWorks, Electronic Arts (EA), Walt Disney Animation Studios, ReelFX, and Sony Pictures Imageworks.
Established in 2017, the DPA MS focuses on the technical and visual effects aspects of film production, games, and commercial video. The program includes many of the same animation courses offered in the DPA MFA, which provides many opportunities for students to develop their animation skills. Other course examples include Software Construction, Advanced Computer Graphics, Human and Computer Interaction (HCI), 2D Game Engine Design, and Virtual Reality. Six required electives allow students to explore areas such as visual narrative, drawing, improvisation, scene painting, and audio engineering.
In addition to technical roles in the animation industry, graduates of the Clemson University DPA MS Program can pursue positions such as Technical Director, Software Engineer, VR Developer, 3D Graphics Programmer, or Tool Builder in the broad entertainment industry.
Clemson University began as Clemson Agricultural College in 1893. The school serves approximately 27,340 students enrolled in more than 200 degree programs and 90+ minors across seven colleges and a graduate school. Clemson University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
2. University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina
The School of Visual Art and Design (SVAD) at University of South Carolina (UofSC) has several pathways to study animation. Options include BA and MA degrees in Media Arts, and a Media Arts Minor. The Minor requires 18 credit hours of study and it is open to students in any undergraduate program. With an emphasis on modern media production and hands-on experience, the program allows students to create a focus by selecting 12 credit hours of electives.
Across all SVAD Media Arts Programs, students will take courses such as Animation, Digital Media Arts Fundamentals, The Moving Image, New Media Art, Sound for Motion Picture, Video Game Design, Experimental, Manga and Anime, Cinematography, Media Performance, and Digital Imaging. Courses are hands-on and immersive, and led by instructors who are professionals in their respective fields.
Other SVAD highlights include access to an 85,000-square-foot facility that includes an animation lab, lighting and sound studios, a green screen stage, a virtual reality lab, and several computer labs; an internship with a top local or global studio; the opportunity to declare a focus in an area such as Animation, Games, or Cinematography; and participation in UofSC’s study abroad program.
Graduates of the Media Arts Programs at University of South Carolina have been hired at major studios and companies across the U.S. Examples include Blizzard Entertainment, Nickelodeon, Marvel, ABC, Showtime, HBO Films, Netflix, Amazon Studios, and NBC.
Established in 1801 as South Carolina College, University of South Carolina is one of the nation’s oldest public universities. Part of the eight-campus University of South Carolina System, UofSC provides more than 300 areas of study to a population of nearly 35,400 students. Programs are offered across 16 colleges and schools. University of South Carolina is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).