Background

We started publishing regional and national rankings in 2012 in response to myriad emails from aspiring animators and game designers asking us what the best schools were in the US, a given State, or in a particular area of the country. We consider every degree-granting school of which we are aware, with the exception of two-year community colleges. In some cases we will include non-degree granting schools, when the program’s quality merits inclusion. Our end goal is to provide students and their parents access to ample information so they can make an informed decision about the school they choose to attend and the program they pursue.

Information Sources

During the school year we reach out via email to every school under consideration requesting information about their specific program, as well as their perspective regarding which other school programs they considered to be the most impressive, both nationally and regionally. In the instance where we can not obtain information directly from a college program representative, we obtain the necessary information from the college's web site or from other reputable publications.

Animation School Rankings
Rankings published since 2012
Colleges Considered: 198
School surveys were emailed in September, 2019

The criteria we used for the animation rankings consists, in no particular order, of the following:

  • Academic reputation
  • Admission selectivity
  • Depth and breadth of the program
  • Value as it relates to tuition and indebtedness
  • Geographic location
  • Employment data (new for 2019)

International Animation School Rankings
Rankings published since 2013
Colleges Considered: 185
School surveys were emailed in September, 2019

The criteria we used for the animation rankings consists, in no particular order, of the following:

  • Academic reputation
  • Admission selectivity
  • Depth and breadth of the program
  • Value as it relates to tuition and indebtedness

Game Design School Rankings
Rankings published since 2013
Colleges Considered: 136
School surveys were emailed in September, 2019

The criteria we used for the animation rankings consists, in no particular order, of the following:

  • Academic reputation
  • Admission selectivity
  • Depth and breadth of the program
  • Value as it relates to tuition and indebtedness
  • Geographic location
  • Employment data (new for 2019)

Graphic Design School Rankings
Rankings published since 2015
Colleges Considered: 712
School surveys were emailed in September, 2019

The criteria we used for the animation rankings consists, in no particular order, of the following:

  • Academic reputation
  • Admission selectivity
  • Depth and breadth of the program
  • Value as it relates to tuition and indebtedness

Illustration School Rankings
Rankings published since 2019
Colleges Considered: 142
School surveys were emailed in September, 2019

The criteria we used for the animation rankings consists, in no particular order, of the following:

  • Academic reputation
  • Admission selectivity
  • Depth and breadth of the program
  • Value as it relates to tuition and indebtedness

A note on geographic location as a ranking factor:

As we researched schools and spoke with working professionals in the industry, it became increasingly more evident that the location of a school matters in the fields of animation and/or game design, perhaps more so than in many other professions. Students who attend school in cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Orlando, New York City, Chicago, Boston, Austin, and a few other cities have a distinct advantage over students in other parts of the country in terms of full-time employment, networking opportunities, internships, free-lance gigs, and career specific part-time work. Does that mean you must attend school in one of these cities to work in the animation or gaming industry? Absolutely not. But schools located in these cities do offer real advantages that are less available elsewhere. So keep in mind that we are taking geographic advantages into account in our rankings.

How to use our rankings:

Like any college ranking, ours is not perfect and is open for debate. There is no single opinion that trumps all when it comes to which school is the “best”. Ultimately every student has different needs regarding the type and academic rigor of a program, campus culture, as well as cost, lifestyle, and career focus. Our intent is that these rankings serve as a starting point for students to discover the schools that are the best fit for them and that the rankings not be used as a deciding factor in choosing a school.

For more info about Animation Career Review please check out our Frequently Asked Questions.