What are the top animation school programs in Utah for 2024?

Top Utah Animation School Programs - 2024 College Rankings
1Brigham Young UniversityProvo
2Utah Valley UniversityOrem

Our 2024 ranking -our thirteenth annual- of the top animation school program in Utah. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

1. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
Brigham Young University

Brigham Young University (BYU) is home to the BYU Center for Animation. Established in 2010, this hands-on, closed-enrollment program accepts just 20-25 students per year. Managed by the Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology, the College of Fine Arts and Communications, and the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, the Center is open to artists from the BYU Animation BFA program and the Computer Science BS with an Animation and Games Emphasis. BYU Center for Animation students may choose to focus in anything from 2D animation to special effects.

The BYU Center for Animation provides extensive hands-on training in animation, games, live-action, and special effects. All BFA, BS, and BYU Center for Animation students have opportunities to work on personal projects, group projects, and major films. Students also have the opportunity to complete an internship, study abroad experience, and develop a portfolio of their best work.

Housed in the College of Fine Arts and Communications-Department of Design, the Animation BFA is a 62.5-64.5 credit hour limited enrollment program that accepts just 75 students per enrollment period. The program explores animation, film production, storyboarding, special effects, video game production, illustration, screenwriting, and more. Course examples include Visual Narrative; Scripting for Animation; Experimental Animation and Production; Technical Animation; Visual Development and Character Design; Directed Studies in Animation; 3D Visual Effects; and Animated Film Production 1-3. The Animation BFA program at BYU culminates with the BFA Final Project.

Housed in the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences-Department of Computer Science, the Computer Science: Animation and Games BS is a limited enrollment program that accepts just 42 students per enrollment period. Consisting of 77-80.5 credit hours, the program explores animation, computer graphics, video game production, programming, software engineering, visual effects, user interfaces, and more.

Course examples for the program include Computer Graphics; History of Animation; Previsualization; Scripting for Animation; 3D Effects; Digital Sculpting; Photography for Animation; Lighting for 3D; Introduction to Game Design; Real Time Techniques; 3D Graphics (introduction); and Advanced Shading.

The culminating experience for the BYU Animation and Games BS is the Senior Film or Senior Game completed across two or more production courses.

Graduates of the Animation and Animation and Games programs at Brigham Young University are prepared for careers in all areas of animation or game design and development. Sample job titles include Animator, Animation Tool Developer, Concept Artist, Lead Animator, Multimedia Programmer, Animation Director, Game Developer, Animation Producer, Game Designer, Animation Technical Director (TD), Art Director, Animation Production Coordinator, and Effects Technical Director (FX TD).

BYU Animation alumni have been hired at major studios such as Pixar, Blizzard, DreamWorks, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Nickelodeon, Riot Games, Disney, Sony, and Digital Domain.

Brigham Young University was founded as Brigham Young Academy (BYA) in 1875 by Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints President Brigham Young. With more than 35,000 students from 105 countries, BYU is the one of the largest private universities in the U.S. The school provides approximately 435 programs across more than a dozen colleges and departments. Campuses include BYU-Utah, BYU-Idaho, BYU-Hawaii, BYU Pathway Worldwide, and Ensign College.

Brigham Young University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

2. Utah Valley University, Orem, Utah
Utah Valley University

Utah Valley University (UVU) is home to Scott M. Smith College of Engineering and Technology (CET). Serving more than 6,100 students, Smith CET provides over 90 technology programs across 11 departments. The CET Digital Media (DGM) Department has an Animation and Game Development program led by professional animators and game producers from places such as Electronic Arts (EA) and DreamWorks.

Leading to a BS, the program also provides opportunities for students to participate in associations and Animation and Game conferences to stay current with advancements in the industry. Examples include the Game Developers Conference, the Digital Animation and Games Association (DAGA), Immerse Global Summit, and The Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference.

The Animation and Game BS has two tracks: 2D Animation & Games, and 3D Animation & Games. Both options are cohort-based and require 120 credit hours of study. This includes 35 credits in general education, 40 credits in the discipline core, and 45 credits in the track.

Recognized as an Animation Center of Excellence by Toon Boom, the 2D track focuses on Animation, Character Rigging, and Compositing. Course examples include Animation Essentials Lab; Digital Storyboarding; Advanced Technical Direction I and II; Performance Animation; Compositing; and Studio Technology Essentials. 2D graduates are prepared to pursue careers in animation production.

The 3D track focuses on Modeling, Rigging, and Scripting. Students in this track will take many of the same courses as students in the 2D track, as well as Scripting for Animation and Games I and II; Game Development I, II, and III; and Fundamentals of Programming. 3D students will produce both group and individual titles throughout the program. Graduates are prepared to pursue careers in animation and games production.

The culminating experience for the Animation and Game Development BS is the Senior Capstone. Students will develop real-world projects, individually and as part of a team, in consultation with a faculty advisor. This course may be repeated for a maximum of six credits towards graduation.

Graduates of the DGM program at UVU are prepared to pursue careers in all areas of animation and games, advertising, architecture, science and medicine, aerospace, legal, government, health, education, and more. Program alumni have been hired at places such as Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Amazon, Northrop Grumman, Gearbox Software, ArenaNet, and Tektonux.

Utah Valley University has an additional option for students who would like to pursue a career that values skills in animation, traditional illustration, and digital illustration. Housed in the School of Art—one of the largest art and design schools in the state—is the Art and Design BFA with an emphasis in Illustration. Also part of the Department of Art and Design, the program provides opportunities to intern with places such as Paramount Studios, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met), and Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (Utah MOCA). Students also have opportunities to compete for international internships in places such as Italy, Germany, the UK, and South Korea.

Consisting of 120 credit hours, the UVU Art and Design BFA/Illustration allows students to focus in an area of interest through electives. Course examples include 2D Animation for Illustration; Character Design; 3D Texturing and Rendering; Environment Design; Sequential Animation; Advanced Rendering of Forms and Surfaces; and Digital Illustration. Discipline Core and Emphasis requirements also include animation courses such as 2D and 3D Design; Conceptual Illustration; Computer Graphics; Narrative Illustration; 3D Modeling; and Advanced Illustration.

The Art and Design BFA culminates with the BFA Project, completed across two semesters. Final projects will be presented at the Student Art Show and Exhibition.  

Graduates of Art and Design BFA Program at Utah Valley University are prepared to pursue positions at film and animation studios, game design companies, advertising agencies, marketing firms, magazines, publishing companies, printing firms, graphic design studios, and in-house art and design departments. Some UVU Art and Design alumni also go on to launch their own studios or freelance businesses, while others continue to graduate school.

Utah Valley University was established in 1941 as Central Utah Vocational School (CUVS). The school’s primary function was to provide war production training. Today, UVU serves a record 44,650+ students making it the largest public university in the state. The school provides more than 200 degree and certificate programs across eight colleges and schools. Utah Valley University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).