What is the top animation school program in Wisconsin for 2023?

Top Wisconsin Animation School Programs - 2023 College Rankings
1Milwaukee Institute of Art and DesignMilwaukee
2University of Wisconsin – StoutMenomonie

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

1. Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design

The Illustration Program at Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD) houses the new Animation Track that emphasizes hands-on experience in a range of animation techniques. In addition to the Animation Track, this BFA Program allows students to focus their studies further through required electives.

All students will take courses that explore 2D, 3D, and interactive animation, video games, and virtual reality. Course examples for the program include 3D Modeling & Animation, Visual Development & Storytelling, Animation Professional Practice, Illustration I-III, Digital 2D, Interactive & New Media, Visual Language, 2D Motion Fundamentals, and Systems of Drawing. For the culminating experience, Animation Track students will produce industry-ready animation projects individually or in teams across two Thesis courses (Animation Thesis Pre-Production and Animation Thesis Production). Final projects will be presented at MIAD’s Thesis Exhibition.

Graduates of the Illustration BFA: Animation Track are prepared for careers in animation for entertainment, games, advertising, medical, education, architecture, and law; news media; graphic design; computer systems design and software publishing; and data visualization. Potential job titles include Advertising Animator, Art Director, Special Effects Artist, Visual Effects (VFX Artist), Online News Media Animator, 3D Modeler, Game Artist, Keyframe Animator, Concept Artist, Illustrator, Television/Film/Video Editor, E-Learning Designer, and Multimedia Specialist.

Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design is a member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD)—a consortium of 39 leading art schools in the United States and Canada. The school is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD) and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Founded in 1974, MIAD is the only four-year, nonprofit, private college of visual art and design in the State of Wisconsin. Serving 1,750 degree-seeking, pre-college, and outreach/special programs students, MIAD offers 20 degree and minor programs in everything from Animation to Sustainability.

2. University of Wisconsin – Stout, Menomonie, Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin – Stout

University of Wisconsin – Stout (UW-Stout) has two pathways to study animation at both the undergraduate and graduate degree levels. Programs are housed in the School of Art & Design and include an Animation & Digital Media BFA (formerly Entertainment Design) and a Design MFA. Program highlights across pathways include access to studio classrooms, galleries, and industry-caliber labs, animation studios, and technology; collaborative learning; and local, national, and international internship opportunities.

The UW-Stout Animation & Digital Media BFA consists of 120 credit hours of study. The program explores traditional two-dimensional animation, three-dimensional modeling and animation, real-time production, character and environment design, motion capture, and principles of visual storytelling. Students will develop creative and critical thinking skills and they will take courses that cover specific animation and design software.

Course examples for the program include 3D Modeling and Animation, 3D Character Animation, Animation Production, Typography in Motion, Comics, Commercial Motion Graphics, Virtual and Augmented Reality Video Applications, Digital Illustration, Visual Effects and Compositing, Video Production, and Digital Sound.

The University of Wisconsin – Stout Design MFA takes place in a cross-disciplinary environment where graduate students may study Animation & Digital Media, Interactive Media & UX, Game Design, Digital Cinema, Photography & Video, and more. Design MFA students will complete a number of design studios and seminar courses, independent study, and at least nine credits of focused electives. Successful Completion of the MFA Thesis is required to graduate. 

University of Wisconsin – Stout graduates enjoy a 97.8% employment rate. School of Art & Design alumni work in a variety of roles such as Animator (2D or 3D), Stop-Motion Animator, Concept Artist, Game Designer, Art Director, and 3D Modeler. Graduates have been hired by companies and studios, big and small. Examples include Apple, Disney, DreamWorks Animation, Raven Software, Shutterfly, PUNY Entertainment, Fantasy Flight Games, Larsen Design, and The Nerdery. Some Design MFA alumni have gone on to teach at Vancouver College of Art and Design, UW-River Falls, and UW-Stout, among others.

University of Wisconsin – Stout (UW-Stout) was established in 1891 as The Stout Manual Training School. Today, the school one of just 125 polytechnic universities in the U.S. and the only one in the State Wisconsin. Serving approximately 7,700 students, University of Wisconsin-Stout offers 45 undergraduate and 20 graduate programs, many of which are unique to UW-Stout or are not offered anywhere else in the Midwest. University of Wisconsin – Stout is accredited Higher Learning Commission (HLC).