What are the top animation school program in South Carolina for 2024?

Top South Carolina Animation School Programs - 2024 College Rankings
1Clemson UniversityClemson
2University of South CarolinaColumbia

Our 2024 ranking -our thirteenth 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
Clemson University

The College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences (CECAS) at Clemson University (Clemson) is home to the School of Computing, which houses the Division of Visual Computing. Within the Division is the Digital Production Arts (DPA) Program, which provides several paths to study animation. Graduate degree options include the DPA MFA and DPA MS. At the undergraduate level, students can enroll in the DPA minor. 

Launched in 2011, the minor is jointly offered by the School of Computing and the Department of Art in the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities. The program explores computer animation, visual effects, animation production, computer games, and graphics production using Maya. Course examples include Studio Methods for Digital Production; Advanced 3D Modeling; Visual Foundations of Digital Production I-II; and Special Topics in Digital Production Arts. The DPA minor requires a minimum of 15 credits.

Digital Production Arts at Clemson University encompasses dozens of disciplines. However, each DPA degree program has its own learning objectives. The curriculum for the DPA MFA blends art, computer science and engineering, graphic communications, performing arts, philosophy, and psychology. Course examples include 3D Modeling and Animation; Visual Foundations of Digital Production; Physically Based Animation; Special Effects Compositing; Advanced Animation; and Technical Character Animation.

Consisting of 60 credit hours, the DPA MFA at Clemson 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 Walt Disney Animation Studios, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Pixar, ReelFX, Electronic Arts (EA), and DreamWorks.

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 Virtual Reality; Software Construction; Physically Based Visual Effects; Human and Computer Interaction (HCI), 2D Game Engine Design; and Advanced Computer Graphics. Six required electives allow students to explore areas such as audio engineering, visual narrative, scene painting, drawing, and improvisation.

In addition to technical roles in the animation industry, graduates of the DPA MS program at Clemson University can pursue positions such as Technical Director, 3D Graphics Programmer, Software Engineer, Tool Builder or VR Developer in the broad entertainment industry.

Founded in 1889, Clemson University opened in 1893 as Clemson Agricultural College. On the first day of classes, the school welcomed 446 students. Today, Clemson serves approximately 28,465 students enrolled in more than 80 majors, 90+ minors, and over 130 graduate degree programs. Clemson University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

2. University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina
University of South Carolina

University of South Carolina (USC) is home to the School of Visual Art and Design (SVAD), which provides four major areas of study—studio art, media arts, art education, and art history. Leading to both undergraduate and graduate degrees, SVAD programs are housed in McMaster College—an 85,000-square-foot facility designed specifically for visual arts learning and creation. Other SVAD highlights include visiting artists; access to exhibition galleries; assistantships for graduate students; internship opportunities with local and national studios; and study abroad experiences in places such as Kenya and Japan.

For students looking to pursue a career in animation, SVAD has BA and MA degrees in Media Arts, and a Media Arts minor. With an emphasis on modern media production and hands-on experience, the 18 credit hour minor requires Foundations of Media Arts Production (three credits) and Digital Media Arts Fundamentals (three credits). For the remaining 12 credit hours, students have the opportunity to create a focus in any area from electives.

Across all SVAD Media Arts Programs, students have access to courses such as Animation; Digital Compositing; Sound Art; Digital Media; The Moving Image; New Media Art; Manga and Anime; Video Game Design; and Media Culture. Led by industry professionals, Media Arts courses are hands-on and immersive, with many opportunities to work on animation projects individually or in a group.

Graduates of the Media Arts programs at University of South Carolina are prepared to pursue careers in areas such as entertainment, game design, advertising, fine art, science and medicine, architecture, and art education. Program alumni have been hired by major studios and companies such as Blizzard Entertainment, Nickelodeon, ABC, Showtime, HBO Films, CBS Television, Netflix, Amazon Studios, IBM, Marvel, and NBC.

Established in 1801 as South Carolina College, University of South Carolina is one of the nation’s oldest public universities. The flagship campus of the eight-campus University of South Carolina System, USC serves approximately 34,700 students enrolled in more than 350 degree programs across 16 colleges and schools. University of South Carolina is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).