What are the top ranked animation school programs in Texas for 2023?

Top Texas Animation School Programs - 2023 College Rankings
1Texas A&M UniversityCollege Station
2University of Texas at DallasDallas
3Sam Houston State UniversityHuntsville
4University of the Incarnate WordSan Antonio

Our 2023 ranking, our twelfth annual, of the top animation school programs in Texas. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

1. Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas
Texas A&M University

The School of Performance, Visualization & Fine Arts at Texas A&M University (TAMU) houses the Visualization Program, which has three degree pathways for animators including the BS, MS, and MFA in Visualization. The Visualization MFA is one of a few programs of its kind in the U.S. and possibly the only one in the state of Texas.

Established in 1989 the TAMU Visualization Program is cross-disciplinary, allowing students to explore interaction, art, design, visualization, and computer graphics. Students at all levels may focus in an area of emphasis. Options for BS students include Animation and Virtual Production, Media Art, Interactive Design, Game Creation, and Visual Computing.

MS students may focus in areas such as Computer Animation, Interactive Design, Gaming, Virtual Reality or Computer Graphics, to name a few. Examples of emphasis areas for MFA students include Computer Animation, Visual Storytelling, Visual Effects, Virtual/Augmented Reality (VR/AR), Interactive Art, and Gaming.

Students in all programs have the opportunity to participate in the Annual Career Fair, the Semester Away Program in Italy, Germany, and other countries, and the TAMU Internship Program. The supervised undergraduate internship spans 15 weeks and 600 hours, and students earn six credit hours. Graduate internships are worth eight credits. TAMU Visualization students have completed internships at animation, game, and graphic design companies. 

Texas A&M University Visualization graduates will leave the program with a polished portfolio of their best work. Program alumni are routinely hired for positions at major studios. Examples include DreamWorks Animation, Pixar, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Walt Disney Animation Studios, and Reel FX Animation Studios.

With more than 73,000 students, Texas A&M University is one of the nation’s largest universities by enrollment. Established in 1876, TAMU is also Texas’s first public institution of higher learning. Texas A&M houses 17 colleges and schools that provide more than 400 degree programs. Texas A&M University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

2. University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, Texas
University of Texas at Dallas

The School of Arts, Humanities, and Technology (AHT) at University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) has four degree options including the BA, MA, MFA, and PhD in Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication (ATEC). A concentration in Animation and Games (A&G) is available for ATEC BA students. ATEC coursework for this option explores computer animation, motion graphics, game studies, user experience/user interface UX/UI design, and digital fabrication.

Required A&G courses include Computer Animation, Modeling and Texturing, Lighting and Composition, Rigging, Game Design, and Level Design. Students will complete 30 semester credit hours of required electives as well. Examples include Animation Lab, Procedural Animation, Motion Capture Animation. Virtual Environments, Animation Studies, Game Production Lab, and Project Management for ATEC.

ATEC MFA students may specialize in Animation, while MA and PhD students may focus their studies and research in animation, games, science and technology, or other areas. All graduate level programs provide advanced study in computer-based arts, interactive media, digital media, technology, and professional practices.

Other ATEC program highlights include guest speakers from major studios such as Disney, Pixar, and DreamWorks; applied and experimental research in collaboration with instructors in varying areas of expertise; seminars and lectures presented by industry professionals; and portfolio and project-based exercises.

ATEC students have access to the following labs and studios: 3D Studio, ArtSciLab, Creative Automata Lab, Cultural Science Lab, Emerging Gizmology Lab, Fashioning Circuits, LabSynthE, Narrative Systems Research Lab, Public Interactives Research Lab (PIRL), SP&CE Media, and The Studio for Mediating Play. Students focusing in animation also have access to the ATEC Animation Lab, which provides the opportunity to participate in a simulated animated studio experience. Over two semesters, a crew of 40 students will write, design, direct, and produce a two-minute CG animated short film. Just a few past films include Bad Timing (2022), Octo Ninja (2021), Night Shift (2020), and Stargazer (2019).

Graduates of the ATEC programs at UT Dallas are prepared to seek careers in 3D computer animation, film and television, games, modeling and simulation, virtual environments, and medical and scientific visualization.

University of Texas at Dallas opened in the 1960s as the Graduate Research Center of the Southwest. Established by the owners of Texas Instruments, UT Dallas is an official member of the University of Texas System. The school serves 31,570 students enrolled in more than 140 degree programs across eight schools. University of Texas at Dallas is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

3. Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas
Sam Houston State University

The College of Fine Arts and Mass Communication at Sam Houston State University (SHSU) houses the Department of Art, home to the Computer Animation Program. Leading to a BFA, the program consists of 120 credit hours of study, including 45 credit hours in Animation. Courses explore pre-visualization of virtual environments, characters, and objects, 3D modeling, lighting and shading, character modeling and rigging, texturing, creating realistic and expressive movement, motion graphics, and video compositing.

Course examples include Animation Concepts and Techniques, Character Animation, Shading, Lighting, and Rendering, Advanced 3D Animation, Experimental Animation, and Animation Preproduction. Electives allow students to focus in additional areas in the arts. All Department of Art students will spend a semester in the Workshop in Art Studio and History (W.A.S.H.) Program and they will have opportunities to complete an internship and join SHSU SIGGRAPH—the Animation Program’s student organization.

Graduates of the Sam Houston State University Animation BFA Program go on to pursue careers in animation, film, game design, advertising and marketing, multimedia, and many other areas. Program alumni work at places such as Zynga, EA Mobile, Kiloo Games, Perkins+Will, Stoic Studio, and Jacobs Visual Media Group.

Graduates of the SHSU Department of Art have also been accepted into graduate programs at top universities and art and design colleges such as Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Southern Methodist University (SMU), Florida State University (FSU), and University of Texas Dallas (UT Dallas). 

Sam Houston State University was founded in 1879 as the Sam Houston Normal Institute. The school serves approximately 21,500 students enrolled in 90 bachelor's degree programs, 55 master’s degree programs, and 10 doctoral programs, including America’s first PhD in Forensic Science. Programs at SHSU are housed across eight colleges. Sam Houston State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

4. University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, Texas
University of the Incarnate Word

University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) houses the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, home to the School of Media and Design. Within the School of Media and Design is the Department of 3D Animation and Design. Animation students here will earn a 3D Animation and Game Design (ANGD) BFA with a Specialization in either Animation, Modeling, Programming for Games, or Production Management.

The ANGD BFA Program features small class sizes, courses taught by professionals currently working in the industry, and internship opportunities. Course examples for the program include Anatomy for Animators, Animation I-IV, Previsualization and Storytelling, Rigging, Figure Drawing, Motion Capture for Animators, History of Animation, Visual Narrative Conventions, Organic Modeling, Animation Industry Seminar, and Business of Animation and Game Design.

Students will spend the final year of UIW’s 3D ANGD BFA Program working in teams to conceive, design, produce, and submitted a final animated film or game for festival consideration. This team project takes place across two courses—Senior Thesis Production I-II. In addition, students will create a professional portfolio on their own during the Senior Portfolio Studio/Lecture course.

Graduates of the 3D ANGD BFA Program at University of the Incarnate Word have established successful careers in television and film, VFX, animation production, forensic animation, art direction, game production and design, multimedia, consulting, and information technology, among others.

Serving close to 9,500 students across the globe, University of the Incarnate Word is the largest Catholic University in Texas and the fourth largest private university in the state. Founded in 1881 by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, UIW has campuses in San Antonio, Texas and across the state; in Mexico; and in Strasbourg, France. More than 115 programs are offered across 11 colleges and schools. University of the Incarnate Word is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)