40 Animation Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

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1. California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), Valencia, California (top 5% of schools considered)

Established in 1961, California Institute of the Arts is home to 1,489 students enrolled in more than 70 programs at all degree levels. The nation’s first postsecondary institution to offer graduate and undergraduate degrees in both the visual and performing arts, CalArts attracts a large population of aspiring filmmakers and animators. Around 26.9 percent of the schools population is enrolled in the School of Film/Video. The School offers a BFA degree in Character Animation, and BFA and MFA degrees in Experimental Animation.

2. Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida (top 5% of schools considered)

Ringling College of Art and Design (RCAD) was established in 1931 by circus baron John Ringling. The school opened with 111 courses and just 75 students. Today, RCAD sits on a 35-acre campus that houses nearly 1,300 students enrolled in BA and BFA degree programs in 14 majors. Programs for aspiring animators include a BFA in Computer Animation.

3. Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Savannah, Georgia (top 5% of schools considered)

Founded in 1978, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is home to more than 11,000 students enrolled in 40-plus majors and more than 60 minors. The school has campuses in Savannah, Atlanta, and Hong Kong, as well as a variety of degree programs for aspiring animators. SCAD’s School of Digital Media offers a BFA, MA, and MFA in Animation. A Minor in Animation is also available.

4. University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles, California (top 5% of schools considered)

The University of Southern California was established in 1880. It is home to 43,000 students enrolled in more than 200 undergraduate programs, 300-plus graduate programs, and more than 150 minors. Program offerings for aspiring animators include a BA in Animation and Digital Arts and a BFA in Film and Television Production (with heavy Animation and Interactive Media electives). The BA program is offered through The John C. Hench Division of Animation and Digital Arts of the School of Cinematic Arts and the BFA is offered through the Division of Film and Television Production of the School of Cinematic Arts.

USC also offers a Minor in Animation and Digital Arts along with several graduate programs for animators including an MFA in Animation and Digital Arts and an MFA in Interactive Media with heavy Animation electives.

5. Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Providence, Rhode Island (top 5% of schools considered)

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) was founded in 1877. It is home to 2,449 students from across the U.S. and 57 other countries. This private art school has a large Film/Animation/Video Department (FAV) that offers a variety of programs for aspiring filmmakers and animators. Offerings for animators include a BFA in Film/Animation/Video (BFA FAV).

6. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah (top 5% of schools considered)

Brigham Young University (BYU) was founded in 1875 by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). Home to 26,674 undergraduate students enrolled in 100+ programs across more than a dozen colleges and departments. The College of Fine Arts and Communications, Department of Visual Arts, and the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Computer Science Department offer several programs for aspiring animators. Offerings include a BFA in Animation and a BS in Computer Science with an Animation Emphasis.

Brigham Young University is also home to the Center for Animation, which operates under the direction of 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 showcases student films, spotlights successful alumni, publishes award announcements and manages the Animation Emphasis for CS students.

7. University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, California (top 5% of schools considered)

The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) was founded in 1919 as the Southern Branch of the University of California. It is home to 43,239 students from all 50 states and more than 100 foreign countries. UCLA is also home to the Animation Workshop of the School of Theater, Film and Television. Founded in 1948 by William Shull, a Disney animator, the Animation Workshop is a three-year MFA program that accepts just 12 new students each year.

Before applying to the program, students typically earn a BA in Film and Television. The BA program gives future MFA students the opportunity to study all  facets of digital media, film, and television, as well as a full year of animation studies, followed by an internship.

8. Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York (top 5% of schools considered)

Founded in 1887, Pratt institute is home to 4,556 students enrolled in 22 undergraduate degree programs, 26 graduate degree programs, and a variety of Certificate and Minor programs across five schools and The Center for Continuing and Professional Studies. The School of Art offers a BFA in Digital Arts with Concentrations in 3-D Animation and Motion Arts, and 2-D Animation. The School also offers an MFA degree in Digital Animation and Motion Arts.

9. New York University (NYU), New York, New York (top 5% of schools considered)

Tisch School of the Arts was founded in 1965. It is part of New York University (NYU) and home to the Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television. The Institute offers BA, BFA, MFA, MPS, MA, and PhD degrees. Programs for aspiring animators include a BA in Film and Television with an Animation Core in Production.

The BA in Film and Television with an Animation Core in Production features Introduction to Animation Techniques, Intermediate Animation Production, Advanced Animation Production, and Experimental Animation.

10. The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio (top 5% of schools considered)

The Ohio State University (OSU) was established in 1870. It has a student population of nearly 65,000 enrolled in more than 350 programs across more than a dozen schools and colleges. Within OSU’s College of the Arts and Sciences, the Department of Art and the Department of Design both offer programs for aspiring animators.

The Department of Art offers both a BFA and MFA degree in Art with an Emphasis in Art and Technology that allow students to study 3D Modeling and Animation, Art Games, Digital Imaging, and other related areas. The Department of Design offers an MFA in Design with a track of study in Digital Animation and Interactive Media. This program operates in conjunction with the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD), which provides world-class facilities and technical expertise in the context of an interdisciplinary research center.

Many graduates of the Design program have animated and directed some of the best-known works of studios such as Pixar and DreamWorks, while others go on to explore the application of animation and interactive media to game design and emerging approaches to visualization within a full range of disciplines and industries.

11. Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas (top 5% of schools considered)

Established in 1876, Texas A&M is the state’s first public institution of higher learning. The school is home to more than 50,000 students enrolled in more than 360 graduate and undergraduate programs across 16 colleges and schools. The College of Architecture offers a BS, MS, and MFA degrees in Visualization. These programs are for aspiring animators interested in an interdisciplinary degree that allows them to study Computer Generated Animation, among other subjects.

12. Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York (top 10% of schools considered)

Founded in 1885 as Mechanics Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) is home to 18,063 students majoring in everything from Art and Design to Urban Community Studies. RIT’s College of Imaging Arts and Sciences (CIAS) is home to the School of Film and Animation (SOFA). SOFA offers BFA and MFA degrees in Film and Animation.

13. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (top 10% of schools considered)

Founded in 1900, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is home nearly 13,000 students, enrolled in more than 100 programs across seven colleges. The College of Fine Art, School of Art offers a BFA in Electronic and Time-Based Media with a Focus in Animation and a Bachelors in Integrative Design, Arts and Technology (IDeATe) with a Concentration in Animation and Special Effects. According to CMU, “the Integrative Design, Arts and Technology Network connects students and faculty from across the university through coursework and collaborative studio experiences.”

14. School of Visual Arts, New York, New York (top 10% of schools considered)

School of Visual Arts (SVA) was founded in 1947 as “Cartoonists and Illustrators School.” The school is home to more than 4,300 students enrolled in more than 30 programs. SVA offers BFA degrees in Animation, Computer Art, and Computer Animation and Visual Effects. An MFA in Computer Art is also on the menu as well as a BFA in Cartooning, and Continuing Education (CE) Animation courses.

15. University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (top 10% of schools considered)

Founded in 1740, the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) is home to more than 24,000 graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in more than 400 programs across 16 schools.

The School of Engineering and Applied Science offers several programs for aspiring animators. Offerings include a Bachelors in Engineering and Science (BSE) with a Digital Media Design Major (DMD), a Digital Media Design (DMD) Minor, and a PhD in Human Modeling and Simulation (HMS PhD).

16. Laguna College of Art and Design, Laguna Beach, CA (top 10% of schools considered)

Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) was established in 1961 as the “Laguna Beach School of Art.” Home to just under 500 students, LCAD offers five undergraduate majors and three graduate programs. Programs for aspiring animators include a BFA in Animation.

17. Academy of Art University, San Francisco, California (top 10% of schools considered)

Established in 1929, Academy of Art University is home to more than 18,000 students enrolled in dozens of Art, Design, Fashion, and Architecture programs. Degrees are offered at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and many programs are available entirely online. The Department of Animation and Visual effects offers a BFA and MFA in Animation and Visual Effects. BFA Emphasis Areas include Storyboarding, 3D Animation, 3D Modeling, Traditional Animation, and Visual Effects. The Department also offers an Online Award of Completion (OAC) and a Certificate in Animation and Visual Effects.

18. University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida (top 10% of schools considered)

Established in 1963, University of Central Florida (UCF) is home to 61,000 students enrolled in 210 degree programs across 12 colleges. The School of Visual Arts & Design (SVAD) of the College of Arts and Humanities offers a number of degree programs for aspiring animators. Offerings for undergraduates include a BFA in Art with an Emerging Media Track/Character Animation Specialization and a BFA in Art with an Emerging Media Track/Experimental Animation Specialization. Programs for graduate students include an MFA degree in Emerging Media with a Digital Media Track, Entrepreneurial Digital Cinema Track, or “Studio Art and the Computer” Track.

19. Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (top 10% of schools considered)

Founded in 1890, Columbia College is home to more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in more than 100 academic majors or programs. The Cinema Art + Science Department of The School of Media Arts offers several programs for aspiring animators.  Offerings include BFA degrees in Computer Animation and Traditional Animation, and a BA in Cinema Art + Science with an Animation focus.

20. Parsons The New School for Design, New York, New York (top 10% of schools considered)

Founded in 1896, Parsons The New School for Design is home to nearly 5,000 students enrolled in 27 undergraduate, graduate, and associate degree programs. Parsons houses five schools, including the School of Art and Design History and Theory, the School of Art, Media, and Technology, the School of Constructed Environments, the School of Design Strategies, and the School of Fashion.

The School of Art, Media, and Technology, offers several degree programs for aspiring animators. Offerings include BFA and MFA degrees in Design and Technology, and a BFA in Communication Design. All programs allow students to study Animation and Motion Graphics. Another program worth mentioning is the BFA in Illustration, which also allows students to study Animation and Motion Graphics.

21. University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, Texas (top 10% of schools considered)view counter

The University of Texas-Dallas (UT Dallas) was established as a member of the University of Texas System in 1969. The school is home to 23,095 students enrolled in 133 academic programs across seven schools. The Department of Arts and Technology (ATEC) of the School of Arts and Humanities is home to more than 1,100 students and it offers several programs for aspiring animators at all degree levels. Offerings include a BA in Arts and Technology (BA ATEC), an MA in Arts and Technology (MA ATEC), an MFA in Arts and Technology (MFA ATEC), and a PhD Arts and Technology (PhD ATEC).

22. Animation Mentor, Online (top 10% of schools considered)

Animation Mentor, the Online Animation School, was founded in 2005. More than 5,000 students from over 105 countries attend Animation Mentor, which offers a variety of immersive animation programs and workshops. Offerings include the Classic Animation Track, which includes six 12-week classes, and several 12-week workshops including Creature Animation: Locomotion; Creature Animation: Fight or Flight, and Maya Workshop: Animation Basics. Animation Mentor offers a Certificate of Completion to students who choose to take all six classes offered in Classic Animation.

23. Gnomon School of Visual Effects, Hollywood, California (top 15% of schools considered)

Gnomon School of Visual Effects was established in 1997. It is home to more than 100 students enrolled in variety of computer graphics classes and programs. Offerings for aspiring animators include one, two, and three-year programs leading to a Certificate. Programs include Entertainment Design (One-Year Track), Digital Production for Entertainment (Two-Year Program), Entertainment Design and Digital Production (Three-Year Program), and Maya Fast Track (10-Week Program). Gnomon also offers a variety of online courses ranging from Character Animation to Games Tools and Techniques.

24. School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (top 15% of schools considered)

Founded in 1866 as the Chicago Academy of Design, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) is home to 3,519 students enrolled in more than 25 programs. SAIC’s Film, Video, New Media, and Animation Department (FVNMA) offers several programs for aspiring animators including a BFA and MFA in Studio with a Concentration Animation, and a Certificate in Studio.

25. DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois (top 15% of schools considered)

DePaul University was established in 1898. It is the country’s largest Catholic University and it is home to 23,799 students enrolled in more than 300 programs of study across 10 colleges and schools. The College of Computing and Digital Media offers animation programs at all degree levels. Undergraduate offerings include a BA, BFA and Minor in Animation. Graduate offerings include MA and MFA degrees in Animation.

In addition to a variety of animation programs, DePaul University offers a Game, Cinema and Animation Summer Academy for future animation students. According to the Academy, the week-long program features “hands-on instruction using the latest equipment and technology.” Academy participants have the opportunity to focus on 3D Computer Modeling and Animation for games and cinema, Computer Game Development, and Digital Cinema Production.

26. The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School (DAVE School), Orlando, Florida (top 15% of schools considered)

The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School is a 35,000 square foot facility located on the backlot of Universal Studios Florida. The school offers Certificate programs in Visual Effects Production and Game Production. The 12-month Visual Effects program covers Animation Fundamentals, Modeling and Sculpting, Visual Effects, and Studio Production. Animation Fundamentals along with Digital Modeling and Sculpting are also covered in the 15-month Game Production program.

27. Woodbury University, Burbank, California (top 15% of schools considered)

Woodbury University was founded in 1884. It has two campuses—one in Burbank, the other in  San Diego. The school is home to 1,552 students enrolled in more than 20 programs across three schools including the School of Architecture, the School of Business, and the School of Media, Culture and Design. The School of Media, Culture and Design offers a BFA in Animation.

28. San Jose State University San Jose, California (top 15% of schools considered)

Founded in 1857, San Jose State University (SJSU) is a public university that sits on a 154-acre campus in downtown San Jose. The school is home to 31,906 students enrolled in 144 degree programs across seven colleges. The College of Humanities and the Arts, Department of Design offers a BFA in Animation/Illustration.

29. Digipen Institute of Technology, Redmond, Washington (top 15% of schools considered)

DigiPen Institute of Technology was founded in 1988. It is home to around 1,028 students from all 50 states and 45 countries. Digipen offers 10 graduate and undergraduate programs in the areas of Art, Design, and Computer Science. Offerings for aspiring animators include a BFA in Digital Art and Animation.

30. Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California (top 15% of schools considered)

Loyola Marymount University (LMU) was established in 1911. This Catholic college is home to  9,395 students enrolled in more than 160 programs across seven colleges and schools. The School of Film and Television is home to LMUs Animation Program. In addition to liberal arts courses, the BA in Animation includes coursework in 2D and 3D, Visual Effects, Stop-Motion, Experimental Animation, and Game Design.

31. California State University-Fullerton, Fullerton, California (top 15% of schools considered)

Established in 1957, California State University Fullerton (Cal State Fullerton) is home to 37,677 students enrolled in 107 degree programs across eight colleges. The College of Arts, Department of Visual Arts offers more than a dozen graduate and undergraduate programs for artists. Programs for aspiring animators include a BFA in Entertainment Art/Animation.

32. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York (top 15% of schools considered)

Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic is a collection of five schools offering more than 145 programs to a population of 7,028 students. The School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) is home to five academic departments including Arts, Cognitive Science, Communication and Media, Economics, and Science and Technology Studies (STS). The Department of Communication and Media (C&M), in collaboration with the Department of Arts, offers a BS in Electronic Media, Arts, and Communication (EMAC). The EMAC program offers a Concentration in Digital Storytelling (Animation, Video, Game Design). The Department of Arts offers a BS in Electronic Art (BS EART) with a Concentration in Visual Arts & Animation as well.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute also offers several advanced degree programs for aspiring animators. Graduate offerings include MFA and PhD degrees in Electronic Art (EART). Also offered through the Department of Arts, both degree programs allow students to explore areas of interest ranging from Animation and Communication Technologies to Gaming.

33. Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), Baltimore, Maryland (top 15% of schools considered)

Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest degree-granting college of art in the nation. Founded in 1826 and home to 1,863 students, MICA offers more than 80 BFA, MA, MFA, and MPS degree programs. Programs for aspiring animators include a BFA in  Animation and an integrated BFA degree in Animation and Humanistic Studies. Many MICA animation graduates choose to continue their studies. Popular graduate options include an MFA in Illustration or Filmmaking, or a Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in The Business of Art and Design.

34. Florida State University Tallahassee, Florida (top 20% of schools considered)

With a history that dates back to 1823 and more than 40,000 students, Florida State University (FSU) is the oldest and largest school in the State University System of Florida. The school houses 16 colleges offering more than 275 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, professional and specialist degree programs. The College of Motion Picture Arts at FSU offers several programs for aspiring animators including a BFA in Motion Picture Arts – Animation and Digital Arts, and The Torchlight Program.

The Torchlight Program gives FSU animation students, with an interest in freelancing or starting their own studios, the opportunity to learn about “current and emerging business practices of the motion picture industry,” says FSU. The program offers coursework in key areas such as Distribution, Marketing, and Motion Picture Financing.

35. Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California (top 20% of schools considered)

The Art Center College of Design was established in 1930. The school is home to 1,829 students enrolled in more than a dozen undergraduate and graduate programs from Advertising to Transportation Design. In Fall 2015, the Art Center College of Design plans to launch a brand new program for aspiring animators—Entertainment Design with a Track in Character Animation. The program, which also offers a Track in Concept Design, leads to a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Entertainment Design.

36. Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MCAD) Boston, Massachusetts (top 20% of schools considered)

Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) was founded in 1873 as a training institution for aspiring drawing teachers, architects, artists, and designers. Today, MassArt offers more than 20 undergraduate art programs, nearly a dozen graduate programs, and around seven certificate programs to a population of 2,000 students. The Animation Department at MassArt offers a BFA in Animation, which allows students to engage in a variety of conventional and experimental techniques such as Documentary Animation, Digitally Generated Animation, Stop Motion, and Emerging Technologies.

37. Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, California (top 20% of schools considered)

Otis College of Art and Design (OTIS) was founded in 1918 by General Harrison Gray Otis—the founder and publisher of the Los Angeles Times. Home to 1,100 students , OTIS offers more than a dozen art and design programs from Advertising Design to Sculpture. Offerings for aspiring animators include a BA in Digital Media with an Animation Major and a Digital Media Arts Certificate Program with a Specialization Track in Animation.

38. North Carolina State University Raleigh, North Carolina (top 20% of schools considered)

North Carolina State University (NC State) was established in 1887. The school is home to 33,989 students enrolled in more than 300 undergraduate and graduate degree programs across 12 colleges and 65 departments. The College of Design, Department of Art and Design offers several programs for aspiring animators. Programs include a BFA in Art and Design with a Focus in Animation and a Master of Art + Design (Animation).

Areas of Focus for the Master’s program include Animation and Digital Storytelling, Kinect Interaction Design, Exhibit Design and Interactive Architectures, Mechatronics and Electronic Art, Computer Gaming and Serious Games, and Video (documentary, experimental, and promotional film).

39. Emerson College Boston, Massachusetts (top 20% of schools considered)

Established in 1880, Emerson College is home to around 4,500 students enrolled in more than 50 programs across several schools and departments. The School of the Arts, Department of Visual and Media Arts offers BA and BFA degrees in Visual and Media Arts with a Specialization in Animation and Motion Media. The Department also offers an MFA in Media Art. The MFA program includes the following areas of study: Computer Animation, Documentary, Experimental Media, Fiction Narrative, Installation, Interactive Art, and Sound Design.

40. California State University-Long Beach, Long Beach, California (top 20% of schools considered)

California State University Long Beach (CSULB) was established in 1949. The school is home to 35,592 students enrolled in more than 300 programs across eight colleges. The College of the Arts, School of Art offers a BFA in Art with an Animation Track and MA/MFA degrees in Animation (individualized programs). The Department of Film and Electronic Arts (of The College of the Arts), offers a BA in Film and Electronic Arts with heavy Digital Arts Production and 3D Computer Animation coursework.

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