Common questions about animation degrees asked by our readers:
For the 2017-2018 academic year, dollar prices for undergraduate tuition and required fees were estimated at $8,309 (in-district), $8,336 (in-state) and $18,674 (out-of-state) at public institutions, $27,963 at private nonprofit institutions, and $16,200 at private for-profit institutions. Books and supplies were $1,284, $1,192, and $1,293 for public, private nonprofit, and private for profit institutions, respectively and on-campus room and board was $10,096, $10,391 and $10,550, respectively.
It takes four years to complete a typical animation program leading to a bachelor’s degree. Some schools offer programs that allow students to complete their degree in three years by limiting the number of required courses outside of the core animation curriculum. For an even shorter path to an animation degree, some four-year colleges and many community colleges offer two-year programs leading to an associate degree.
Dozens of program options exist for aspiring animators, with most leading to a BA, BFA, MA or MFA. However, some schools offer BS and MS degrees and others (primarily overseas) offer PhDs in animation. Sample programs include BA, BFA, MA, MFA Animation, BFA Character Animation, BFA, MFA Computer Animation, BFA Digital Art and Animation, BA Cinema Art + Science: Animation Focus, BA Film & Television: Animation Core in Production, BFA Animation & Visual Effects, BS Computer Science: Animation Emphasis, BS Computer Graphics” Computer Animation, BS Media Arts & Animation.
Many colleges and universities offer advanced degrees in animation. MA and MFA degrees are more common, while the MS and PhD’s are somewhat less common. Some of the top schools for animation master’s degrees include California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), School of Visual Arts (SVA), Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), University of Southern California (USC), Pratt Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), The Ohio State University, and DePaul University.
Aspiring animators seeking a master’s degree may choose the MA, MFA, or MS. The MFA is a terminal degree, which typically requires more coursework than the MA or MS. Students in these programs may focus in areas such as Animation, Computer Animation, Experimental Animation, Animation and Visual Effects, and many others. MS students often computer science majors specializing in animation or related area.
While it is possible to get a PhD in animation, most programs are available overseas, with many located in the UK. In the U.S., University of Southern California offers a PhD in Cinematic Arts (Media Arts and Practice) that allows students to tailor the degree to their particular needs and interests. University of Colorado, Boulder offers a PhD in Emergent Technologies and Media Art Practices with an Animation Research Area.
Several schools in the U.S. offer programs that might appeal to animators seeking a PhD. Two options are the PhD in Cinematic Arts (Media Arts and Practice) and the PhD in Emergent Technologies and Media Art Practices with an Animation Research Area. Head over to the UK and PhDs in animation are plentiful. Examples include PhD Animation, PhD Animation Academy, PhD Research Theme Computer Animation and Digital Visual Effects, PhD Computer Science (Animation), and PhD Media Communications (Animation Research Area).
While curriculums vary by school and program (traditional animation, computer animation, digital animation, stop-motion), courses common to most animation programs include animation I-IV, drawing, painting, history of animation, illustration, figure drawing, character animation, texturing and lighting, storyboarding, animation production, 3D design and modeling, screenwriting, 3D rigging, story development, 2D or 3D character modeling, stop motion, and editing.
Students seeking a two-year degree in animation have several options: associate of arts (AA), associate of fine art (AFA), associate of science (AS), and associate of applied science (AAS). The AA and AFA are the most common two-year degree paths for animators. Examples of schools that offer two-year programs for aspiring animators include Academy of Art University, New York Film Academy, Gaston College, Delta College, Santa Barbara City College, and Miami Dade College.
A typical four-year animation degree program consists of no less than 120 credit hours. However, some schools may require as many as 200 credit hours to graduate. Examples: DePaul University requires 208 credit hours, Drexel University requires 186, and Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) requires 180.