|1||University of California Los Angeles||Top 1%|
|2||The Ohio State University||Top 2%|
|3||Texas A&M University, College Station||Top 4%|
|4||University of Washington||Top 5%|
|5||University of Central Florida||Top 10%|
|6||San Jose State University||Top 10%|
|7||Massachusetts College of Art and Design||Top 10%|
|8||California State University, Long Beach||Top 10%|
|9||California State University, Fullerton||Top 15%|
|10||University of Texas at Dallas||Top 15%|
|11||California State University, Northridge||Top 15%|
|12||Purdue University||Top 15%|
|13||Clemson University||Top 15%|
|14||Florida State University||Top 20%|
|15||Bowling Green State University||Top 20%|
|16||University of Maryland Baltimore County||Top 20%|
|17||University of South Florida||Top 25%|
|18||North Carolina State University||Top 25%|
|19||University of Illinois at Chicago||Top 25%|
|20||Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University||Top 25%|
|21||Virginia Commonwealth University||Top 25%|
|22||Missouri State University||Top 30%|
|23||Louisiana State University||Top 30%|
|24||University of North Carolina School of the Arts||Top 30%|
|25||University of Connecticut||Top 30%|
|26||University of Colorado - Denver||Top 35%|
|27||Edinboro University||Top 35%|
|28||New Mexico State University||Top 35%|
|29||Ball State University||Top 35%|
|30||Kendall College of Art and Design||Top 35%|
|31||East Carolina University||Top 40%|
|32||Ohio University||Top 40%|
|33||Middle Tennessee State University||Top 40%|
|34||Montclair State University||Top 40%|
|35||Eastern Michigan University||Top 45%|
|36||The College of New Jersey||Top 45%|
|37||University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth||Top 45%|
|38||Sam Houston State University||Top 45%|
|39||Indiana University||Top 50%|
|40||Dakota State University||Top 50%|
|41||Minnesota State University, Moorhead||Top 50%|
|42||East Tennessee State University||Top 50%|
|43||Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis||Top 55%|
|44||California State University Los Angeles||Top 55%|
|45||Southern Illinois University||Top 55%|
|46||University of Montana||Top 55%|
|47||Towson University||Top 55%|
|48||Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey||Top 60%|
|49||University of Nebraska-Lincoln||Top 60%|
|50||University of Idaho||Top 60%|
Our 2017 list of the Top 50 Public Animation School Programs in the US.
For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.
1. University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California (top 1% of schools considered)
University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) is home to nearly 45,000 students from all 50 states and more than 100 foreign countries. Founded in 1919 as the Southern Branch of the University of California, the school offers 125+ undergraduate majors across 109 academic departments, and more than 40 graduate programs including the Animation Workshop of the School of Theater, Film and Television.
Founded in 1948 by Disney animator William Shull, 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 or a BFA with a Concentration in Animation at UCLA. 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.
Once in the program, students have access to the exclusive Summer Institute Symposium, which provides the opportunity to “meet and listen to some of Hollywood’s most accomplished professionals.” Past guests have included Simon Kinberg (writer-producer, X-Men: First Class, Mr. & Mrs. Smith), Meg LeFauve (writer, Inside Out), Zak Penn (writer, The Incredible Hulk), Chris Gorak (director, The Darkest Hour), John Hegeman (chief marketing officer, New Regency Productions), and many others.
Graduates of UCLA’s animation programs have worked with directors such as Tim Burton and on films such as The Simpsons Movie and Monster House. Many graduates have also landed positions at major studios such as Pixar, DreamWorks, and Nickelodeon.
2. The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio (top 2% of schools considered)
The Ohio State University offers over 200 majors, minors and specializations from which more than 66,000 students can choose multiple paths to focus on animation in both the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering. Paths in animation encourage students to explore courses in 3D modeling, 2D/3D animation, video game production, augmented and virtual reality, digital imaging, digital video, interactive visualization, interactive art, game art and design, Art Games, motion capture, procedural content generation for games, real-time rendering, photogrammetry and more at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students in all programs can work on individually-defined or team-based projects.
The Department of Art offers BFA and MFA degrees in Art with an emphasis in Art and Technology. It emphasizes the creation of animation, interactive art and experimental forms in the context of art making.
The Department of Design offers an MFA degree in Design focusing on Digital Animation and Interactive Media. This program emphasizes the production of creative research-based projects in the user-centered context of design.
The Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) offers BS, MS and PhD degrees in Computer Science with a specialization in Computer Graphics and Game Design.
Ohio State introduced an interdisciplinary BA program in Moving Image Production in Autumn, 2017.
Students utilize state of the art facilities, equipment, and interdisciplinary expertise in our many special labs, including the world class Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD).
3. Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas (top 4% of schools considered)
Established in 1876 and home to more than 60,000 students, Texas A&M University is the state’s first public institution of higher learning and one of the largest. The school offers nearly 400 degree programs across 16 colleges and schools, including the College of Architecture, which offers programs for animators at all degree levels. The College, which broadly defines animation within “Visualization,” offers BS, MS, and MFA degrees in Visualization. These interdisciplinary programs prepare students to work in animation, technical animation, illustration, and other areas.
4. University of Washington, Seattle, Washington (top 5% of schools considered)
University of Washington (UW) is home to 58,819 students across three campuses located in Bothell, Seattle, and Tacoma. Established in 1861, the school offers more than 579 degree options across 16 colleges and schools. Programs for aspiring animators are offered through the Computer Science & Engineering Department (UW CSE). Options include BS degrees in Computer Science or Engineering and a PhD or Professional Master’s Program (PMP) in Computer Science & Engineering (CSE). All programs offer heavy animation coursework and access to the department’s three main labs dedicated to research in the areas of Animation, Computer Graphics, Game Science, Vision, and Visualization.
Labs include the Graphics and Imaging Lab (GRAIL), the Animation Research Labs, and the Center for Game Science. According to the Department, “The GRAIL group is known for ground-breaking research in computational photography, games for science and education, 3-D reconstruction, Internet photo collections, object recognition, human shape and motion analysis, information visualization, and animation.” The Animation Research Labs “is a multi-disciplinary effort that brings together faculty and students from UW CSE, the Department of Architecture, and the Schools of Art, DXARTS, Drama, and Music.” The ARL “is focused on advancing the state-of-the-art in animation through teaching, research, and computer-animated production in collaboration with experts from Disney Animation Studios, Bungie, Industrial Light & Magic, Microsoft Game Studios, Pixar, and many others.”
Researchers at the Center for Game Science “use gaming to solve grand challenges, crowdsource human problem-solving to aid scientific discovery, and improve student interest and achievement in mathematics.”
5. University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida (top 10% of schools considered)
University of Central Florida (UCF) is home to more than 64,000 students, making it the nation’s second largest university. Established in 1963, UCF is also one of the nation’s youngest universities. Though young, the school offers around 230 degree programs across 13 colleges. The College of Arts and Humanities is home to the School of Visual Arts & Design (SVAD), which offers a number of degree programs for aspiring animators including a BFA in Art with an Emerging Media Track/Character Animation Specialization and an Emerging Media Track/Experimental Animation Specialization.
With four campuses across Orlando and Daytona Beach, UCF also has several offerings at the graduate level. Options include an MFA in Emerging Media with Tracks in Digital Media, Entrepreneurial Digital Cinema, and “Studio Art and the Computer.”
6. San Jose State University, San Jose, California (top 10% of schools considered)
San Jose State University (SJSU) is home to more than 32,000 students. Founded in 1857, SJSU consists of eight colleges that offer 145 areas of study, with an additional 108 concentrations.
The College of Humanities and the Arts, Department of Design offers a BFA in Animation/Illustration. Graduates of this program have worked on films such as A Bug’s Life, Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc. and Shrek. Graduates have also been hired at more than 135 animation studios, game design companies, film studios, and academic institutions.
Just a few include Animation Mentor, Blizzard Entertainment, Blue Sky Studios, Cartoon Network, Cogswell Institute, Disney Interactive Studios, Electronic Arts, Lucasfilm Animation, NBCUniversal Studios, Nickelodeon, Pixar, Sony/Columbia, The Art Institute of Las Vegas, 20th Century Fox, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and Zynga.
7. Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, Massachusetts (top 10% of schools considered)
Founded in 1873, Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) is home to nearly 2,000 students enrolled in more than 20 undergraduate art programs, nearly a dozen graduate programs, and around seven certificate programs across a number of departments. The Animation Department offers a BFA in Animation that gives students the opportunity to engage in a variety of conventional and experimental techniques. Students will study Documentary Animation, Digitally Generated Animation, Character Animation, Stop Motion, Experimental Video, and Emerging Technologies.
Other highlights include “Squealing Pegs” (an annual screening of recent animated short films), visiting artists and lectures, and the Animation Senior Showcase.
8. California State University-Long Beach, Long Beach, California (top 10% of schools considered)
California State University Long Beach (CSULB) is one of the 23 campuses of the California State University System. The school was established in 1949 and it is home to 37,430 students enrolled in more than 300 programs across eight colleges. The College of the Arts, School of Art offers a BFA with an Option in Illustration/Animation. Students may choose the Animation or Illustration Track, but they may take courses in both tracks and work with students in both tracks in the digital lab. An MFA/MA degree is also available.
This advanced degree is "designed with a dual emphasis on tailoring programs of study to individual students while fostering shared experience among a community of students.” Also part of the College of the Arts is the Department of Film & Electronic Arts, which offers a BA in Film and Electronic Arts. The program features heavy animation coursework including courses such as 3D Computer Animation, History of Animation, Digital Arts Production (Visual Effects, Computer Animation, Interactive Media), and many others.
9. California State University-Fullerton, Fullerton, California (top 15% of schools considered)
California State University Fullerton (Cal State Fullerton) is home to more than 40,000 students enrolled in more than 100 degree programs. Established in 1957, the school consists of eight colleges, including the College of the Arts (Department of Visual Arts), which offers more than a dozen graduate and undergraduate programs for artists. Programs for aspiring animators include a BFA in Art with a Concentration in Entertainment Art/Animation.
Through a partnership with Nickelodeon Studios, the Entertainment Art/Animation area has “developed educational opportunities to further the career goals of its students.” In addition to Nickelodeon, graduates of the program have landed positions at Lucasfilm, Sony Games, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Cartoon Network, Disney Feature Animation, Disney TV Animation, and Electronic Arts, to name a few. Students have also worked on productions such as Superman Returns, Avatar, Spiderman 3, SpongeBob Squarepants, Alvin and The Chipmunks, Ice Age 2, and The Simpsons.
10. University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, Texas (top 15% of schools considered)
The University of Texas-Dallas (UT Dallas) was established in 1969. A member of the University of Texas System and home to approximately 26,797 students, UT Dallas offers 130 academic programs across seven schools. The School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication (ATEC) offers a variety of programs for aspiring animators including a BA in Arts and Technology (BA ATEC), an MFA in Arts and Technology (MFA ATEC), an MA in Arts and Technology (MA ATEC), and a PhD in Arts and Technology (PhD ATEC).
ATEC students have the opportunity to take a total of 15 credit hours/five courses in Animation, Design, Storytelling, and Games, to name a few. Topics courses such as Topics in Animation, Topics in Game Development and Topics in ATEC are also on the menu.
11. California State University-Northridge, Northridge, California (top 15% of schools considered)
California State University Northridge (CSUN) is home to 40,131 students enrolled in more than 140 programs. Founded in 1958, CSUN consists of nine colleges, including the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication, which houses the Department of Art, which offers several programs for aspiring animators. Program offerings include a BA Visual Arts with a Concentration in Animation and MA and MFA degrees in Visual Arts with a Concentration in Video/Digital Art.
Curb College Department of Art students have the opportunity to participate in industry events and internships with Nickelodeon, Disney, DreamWorks, Film Roman, Warner Bros., and many others.
12. Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana (top 15% of schools considered)
Founded in 1964 as Purdue University College of Technology, Purdue Polytechnic Institute is part of Purdue University (est. 1869) and it consists of eight departments and schools that offer 68 academic options in six subject areas. The Department of Computer Graphics Technology (CGT) offers BS degrees in Animation, Visual Effects Compositing and Effects Technical Direction. An MS in Computer Graphics Technology (MS CGT) is also on the menu as well as a PhD in Technology offered through the Department of Graphics Technology (CGT).
The BS in Animation program focuses on six areas of animation including 3-D Modeling, Texturing, Lighting, Rendering, Character Rigging (creating a digital skeleton) and Motion.
The BS in Visual Effects Compositing combines Animation, Visual Effects, and Video “to create highly graphical videos for episodic television and films, while the BS in Effects Technical Direction highlights supplemental coursework in Animation. The MS CGT offers several focus areas for aspiring animators including Computer Animation, Video Production and Visual Effects, Computational Art, and Virtual and Augmented Reality.
The PhD Program offers a CGT Specialization that covers Animation, Game Studies, Human Centered Design and Development, Virtual Product Integration, and Web Programming and Design. Students may also earn a BS CGT/MS Technology with a Specialization in CGT, which may be completed in just five years instead of six years or more if pursued separately.
Graduates of the programs at Purdue Polytechnic have landed positions at major studios such as DreamWorks, Walt Disney Company, and Rhythm & Hues. Eight of the school’s alumni were part of the creative teams behind 2014 Oscar winner Big Hero 6 and 2014 Golden Globe winner How to Train Your Dragon 2.
13. Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina (top 15% of schools considered)
Clemson University was established in 1889 and it is home to nearly 22,000 students enrolled in more than 80 majors, more than 75 minors, and over 110 graduate degree programs across seven colleges. The College of Engineering and Science offers several programs for aspiring animators including an MFA in Digital Production Arts (MFA DPA) and a Minor in DPA. The DPA MFA Program has 31 students and highlights Computer Animation, 3D Modeling, Compositing, Computer Games, FX, Lighting, Rigging, Simulation, and Visual Effects, to name a few.
Graduates of the program have worked on films such as The Croods, Frozen, How to Train Your Dragon, Hobbit, and Rio, and many have been hired by major studios such as Blue Sky Studios, DreamWorks, Pixar, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Walt Disney Animation Studios, EA, and ReelFX.
14. Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida (top 20% of schools considered)
Florida State University (FSU) is one of the largest and oldest of the 11 institutions of higher learning in the State University System of Florida. Founded in 1851 and home to more than 41,000 students, the school offers 275+ degree programs across 16 colleges. The College of Motion Picture Arts offers several programs for aspiring animators including a BFA in Motion Picture Arts – Animation and Digital Arts, and The Torchlight Program.
BFA students will begin with Film History, Screenwriting, Directing, Cinematography, CG and Live Action Production, Editing and Sound. Students will then learn the craft of digital filmmaking through 3D Animation, Character Development, Compositing, Modeling, Stop Motion, Texturing, Rendering, and Visual Effects Cinematography. The Torchlight Program gives FSU animation students who would like to freelance or start their own studios the opportunity to learn about “current and emerging business practices of the motion picture industry.” The program offers coursework in key areas such as Motion Picture Financing, Marketing and Distribution.
15. Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio (top 20% of schools considered)
Bowling Green State University (BGSU) is home 19,000 students, including 2,500 at BGSU Firelands in Huron, Ohio. Founded in 1910, the school offers more than 200 undergraduate majors and programs on the main campus and 22 at BGSU Firelands. The school houses nine colleges, including the College of Arts and Sciences, home of the School of Art. The School houses the BGSU Digital Arts program, which offers a BFA in Digital Arts and a BA in Art with a Digital Arts Specialization with three Focus Areas—Computer Animation & Video, Imaging, and Interactive Multimedia. An MFA in Art with a Major in Digital Arts (Computer Animation, Digital Imaging, and Interactive Media) is also on the menu, as well as a Minor in Digital Art.
The MFA program is an “intensive, 60-credit studio degree designed to prepare students to become both professional artists in industry and university-level instructors while developing their own studio practice.” Both programs offer study abroad experiences and internships in more than 40 countries worldwide.
16. University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, Maryland (top 20% of schools considered)
Founded in 1966, University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) is home to approximately 13,640 students enrolled in more than 200 majors, minors, certificate, master’s and doctoral programs across seven colleges and schools. The College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences is home to the Department of Visual Arts which offers two degree programs for aspiring animators—BA and BFA degrees in Visual Arts with a Concentration in Animation.
According to the school, “advanced level courses in animation incorporate technically intensive experiences in 3-D computer animation and digital compositing, as well as explorations of emerging practices including real-time applications and interactive animation.” Other program highlights include the opportunity to work on 3D animation and interactive projects through the Imaging Research Center (IRC), study abroad opportunities at two institutions in Europe—the University of Applied Sciences (Germany) and Polytechnic University of Valencia (Spain), and visiting artists and designers.
17. University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida (top 25% of schools considered)
The University of South Florida (USF) is part of three-school USF System including USF, USF St. Petersburg, and USF Sarasota-Manatee. Established in 1956, the school serves more than 49,000 students enrolled in 180 undergraduate majors and concentrations, and dozens of graduate programs, across 14 colleges. The College of the Arts, School of Art & Art History offers several programs for aspiring animators. Options include BA and BFA degrees in Studio Art with a Focus in Video, Animation, and Digital Arts.
According to USF, the Animation program “offers a unique opportunity for artists to pursue a cutting edge approach to Video, 2D and 3D Animation, 3D Modeling, Sound, and Digital Media. This comprehensive digital arts program offers students the ability to both develop an expertise in specific digital tools and allows students the flexibility to combine classes to hone a student’s individual artistic voice.”
18. North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina (top 25% of schools considered)
North Carolina State University (NC State) was established in 1887 and it is home to 35,755 students enrolled in more than 300 degree programs across 12 colleges and 65 academic departments. The College of Design, Department of Art + Design, offer several programs for aspiring animators. Programs include a Bachelor of Art + Design: Animation + Interactive Media, a Master of Art + Design: Animation and Interactive Media, and a Minor in Art + Design.
According to the school, Animation students will “take studios that introduce them to Principles of Storytelling, Animation, and Character Design through Sequential Imaging, Introduction to Animation, and Digital Modeling.” Graduates of the program are prepared to work on short and full-length animated films, in Character Development for Animated Films, Games, and Digital Storybooks, and on interactive and experimental projects.
19. University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (top 25% of schools considered)
University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) was formed in 1982 “by the consolidation of two U. of I. campuses: the Medical Center campus, which dates back to the 19th century and the comprehensive Chicago Circle campus which replaced, in 1965, the two-year undergraduate Navy Pier campus that opened in 1946 to educate returning veterans.” Today, with more than 29,000 students enrolled in 240 degree programs and 53 certificate programs across 15 colleges, UIC is the largest university in the Chicago area.
The College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts (CADA) houses the School of Art & Art History, which offers BFA and MFA degrees in New Media Arts and Moving Image. All programs feature animation coursework. An Art Minor is also available.
The College of Applied Health Sciences, Department of Biomedical and Health Information Sciences (BHIS) offer another option for students that might be interested in a career that fuses science, medicine, and animation. The MS in Biomedical Visualization features heavy animation electives such as 3D Space: Animation, Animation I, II, III, & IV, Modeling, Illustration, Advanced Illustration, Interactive 3D, Visualization, and Virtual Reality. The program also highlights Advanced Graphic Design and Video Game Design and Development courses.
20. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia (top 25% of schools considered)
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) welcomed its first class in 1872 under the name Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College. Today, the school is home to approximately 31,090 students enrolled in 250 degree programs across nine colleges and a graduate school. The College of Architecture and Urban Studies houses the School of Visual Arts (SOVA), which offers several programs for aspiring animators. Offerings include a BFA in Studio Art with heavy coursework in 3D Animation and Modeling, Digital Video and Visual Effects, and Digital Painting.
SOVA also offers an MFA in Creative Technologies that allows students to design a specific program of study that fits their individual interests. According SOVA, students have the opportunity to develop original work in motion graphics, digital imaging, 3D animation, interactive multi-media design, video, installation, creative coding, spatial interactivity, web design, and sound and imaging.
21. Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia (top 25% of schools considered)
Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) was established in 1838 and it is home to 31,242 students enrolled in 225 academic programs across 13 schools and one college. The School of the Arts, Department of Kinetic Imaging offers two programs for aspiring animators—a BFA and an MFA in Kinetic Imaging. The BFA program is home to 100 to 110 students and it accepts just 28 to 35 new incoming sophomores each year.
The Kinetic Imaging program is dedicated to Animation Art, Emerging Media, Sound and Video. Students can expect to take courses such as Principles of Experimental Animation, 3D Computer Graphics and Animation, Theory and Production of Media-Based Sound, and Video Editing Techniques.
22. Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri (top 30% of schools considered)
Founded in 1905 and home to more than 26,000 students, Missouri State University is the states second largest university. The school, which consists of four campuses, seven academic colleges, and one Graduate College, offers more than 90 graduate degree programs and 85 undergraduate majors leading to more than 180 academic options. The College of Arts and Letters, Department of Art and Design offers several programs for aspiring animators. Offerings include a BFA in Art and a BS in Electronic Arts. Both programs offer an Animation Emphasis.
According to the Department, “the degree pathways within the BFA in Art, Animation Emphasis are designed to develop students’ personal point of view within a body of animation work. Degree paths in the BS in Electronic Arts, Animation Emphasis are geared towards students developing a collaborative, senior-level project between at least two disciplines within Electronic Arts.” Students in both programs may participate in the Japanese Animation Club and the internship and study abroad programs.
23. Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana (top 30% of schools considered)
Louisiana State University (LSU) welcomed its first students on January 2, 1860. Today, the school offers 200 programs across 11 colleges and schools to more than 45,000 students across all campuses. The College of Art + Design offers several multidisciplinary programs for aspiring animators including BFA and MFA degrees in Digital Art. According to LSU, students in the programs “refine their skills in classes that provide a broad, integrated understanding of creative practice across 3D modeling, animation, video, web, interactive systems, photo-based media, and digital printmaking.”
Home to around 500 students, the Digital Art Program offers access to the Arts, Visualization, Advanced Technologies and Research (AVATAR) Initiative and The Digital Art and Design Association (DADA). Both provide support to Digital Art students as they pursue “opportunities throughout the university and the broader community.”
24. University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Winston-Salem, North Carolina (top 30% of schools considered)
Founded in 1963, University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) is one of the 17 campuses of the University of North Carolina. The school awards the four-year arts certificate, bachelor's degrees, master's degrees and the professional artist’s certificate. Home to 1,240 students, UNCSA consists of five schools including Dance, Design and Production (includes a Visual Arts Program), Drama, Filmmaking, and Music. A High School Academic Program and Division of Liberal Arts are also part of UNCSA.
An official partner of the Sundance Institute, the School of Filmmaking is home to more than 300 students and it offers several program options for aspiring animators. Offerings include BFA degrees in Animation, Cinematography, and Production Design & Visual Effects. Animation program graduates have completed internships at Sony Pictures Imageworks and Stargate Studios while others have gone on to establish careers at Cartoon Network, Prologue Pictures, and many others. In addition, according to the school, “a recent Animation graduate was honored with a 2015 Emmy Award Nomination for his work in the title sequence for American Horror Story.”
25. University of Connecticut, Storrs, Stamford, Connecticut (top 30% of schools considered)
Established in 1881 as Storrs Agricultural School, the University of Connecticut (UConn) opened with just three faculty members and 13 male students. Today, the school is home to more than 30,000 students enrolled in seven undergraduate degrees in 108 majors, 17 graduate degrees in 79 research and professional practice fields of study, and six professional degree programs (JD, LLM, MD, DMD, PharmD, SJD). Programs are offered across one main campus, five regional campuses and 14 colleges and schools.
The School of Fine Arts offers several programs for aspiring animators including BA and BFA programs in Digital Media and Design with Concentrations in 2D Animation & Motion Graphics, and 3D Animation & Visualization. MA and MFA degrees in Digital Media and Design are also on the menu. Creative areas include Digital Arts, Entertainment, Digital Humanities/Social Sciences, STEM, and Business.
Also on the menu is a Certificate in Digital Media and Design Online. This 12-credit program will help students “develop proficiency with the concepts and tools for business, web design, motion graphics, animation, and video games,” among others. All Digital Media and Design programs are available at the Storrs and Stamford campuses.
26. University of Colorado - Denver, Denver, Colorado (top 35% of schools considered)
Established in 1912, the University of Colorado Denver (UC Denver) is home to approximately 18,937 students enrolled in more than 140 degree programs across 13 colleges and schools. The College of Arts & Media is home to the Department of Visual Arts (VA) and the Digital Animation Center (DAC), which offer a BFA with an Emphasis in 3D Graphics and Animation.
According to VA DAC, “to date, DAC student senior short films have been seen in over 230 national and international film festivals in 22 countries. Our student films have been seen by 100’s of thousands across the globe winning more than 50 Best Animated Short awards in non-student categories.”
27. Edinboro University, Edinboro, Pennsylvania (top 35% of schools considered)
Founded in 1857, Edinboro University is home to 6,550 students enrolled 135 degree programs across five colleges and schools. The College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences is home to the Art Department which houses Edinboro’s second largest program by enrollment—the BFA in Applied Media Arts with 15 majors and programs. Aspiring animators typically choose the Applied Media Arts – Cinema program, which covers Animation, Computer Animation, and Film & Video.
Graduates of the program have worked on award-winning productions such as Ice Age and Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Ratatouille, Night at the Museum, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, The Day After Tomorrow, Pocahontas, and Mulan. Graduates also work as independent animators, filmmakers, writers, directors, and producers, as well as on television shows from Robot Chicken and The Simpsons to Game of Thrones.
28. New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico (top 35% of schools considered)
New Mexico State University (NMSU) was established in 1888 as Las Cruces College. The school, which offers 276 programs across seven colleges and a graduate school, is home to more than 15,000 students from 49 states and 89 foreign countries. The College of Arts and Sciences is home to the Creative Media Institute for Film and Digital Arts (CMI), which offers Bachelor of Creative Media in Animation & Visual Effects (BCM-ANVE) and a Minor in Animation & Visual Effects.
According to CMI, the BCM program is a “cross-disciplinary program that prepares students for the 21st century in Digital Filmmaking and Animation & Visual Effects.” While students may choose an area of emphasis, “they study all aspects of Digital Filmmaking and Digital Arts, whether they are aspiring writers, directors, cinematographers, or animators.” All BCM students have access a state of the art digital projection screening room, post-production lab, animation lab, and production space.
29. Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana (top 35% of schools considered)
Established in 1918, Ball State University is home to 21,000 students enrolled in more than 300 programs across 10 colleges. The College of Fine Art, School of Art offers several programs for aspiring animators. Offerings include BFA and MFA degrees with an Emphasis in Animation. The programs, which explore traditional 2D and 3D Animation, Character Design, Storyboarding, and other topics, prepare students to work in Film and Television, Video Games, Advertising, Product Visualization, Medical Animation, and Architectural Rendering.
30. Kendall College of Art and Design, Ferris State University, Grand Rapids, Michigan (top 35% of schools considered)
Founded in 1928, Kendall College of Art and Design, Ferris State University (KCAD) is home to approximately 1,214 students enrolled in more than 20 BFA, BS, MA, MFA, and Certificate programs. The school offers a BA in Digital Media that offers the opportunity to develop focused portfolios in 2D Animation, 3D Game Art, Digital Imaging, Interactive Design, and Video and Motion Graphics. Students may choose three credit hours in Imaging/Animation Prof. Studio or Design/Animation Prof. Studio, as well as supportive studio courses in Drawing, Digital Imaging, Graphics, Design and Color, and more. A required fifteen studio electives allows students to enhance their degree.
31. East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina (top 40% of schools considered)
Established in 1907, East Carolina University (ECU) welcomed its first class of 174 students in 1909. One of 17 universities in the State University System, ECU is now home to nearly 29,000 students enrolled in more than 250 programs across 12 colleges and schools. The College of Fine Arts and Communication houses the School of Art and Design, which has been accredited since 1962. It is home to 540-plus students enrolled in three undergraduate programs with 11 concentration options, and two graduate degree programs.
Animation programs include BFA degrees in Art or Art Education with a Concentration in Animation/Interactive Design (AID), and an Art Minor. Students in AID Concentration will study Fine Art as a foundation for AID. All School of Art and Design students have the opportunity to participate in the school’s “Italy Intensive” study abroad experience, which takes place in the heart of Tuscany.
32. Ohio University, Athens, Ohio (top 40% of schools considered)
Ohio University was established in 1804 as Ohio’s first university. The school is home to more than 40,000 students enrolled at the Athens campus, eLearning, and five regional campuses. Ohio University offers more than 300 programs across 11 colleges. The E.W. Scripps College of Communications, School of Media Arts & Studies offers a Games & Animation (G&A) Program that focuses on Computer Animation and Digital Games. The program, which leads to a BS in Communication with an Emphasis in Games & Animation, consists of courses such as Modeling & Animation, Narrative Animation, Visual Storytelling, Screenwriting, Compositing, Motion Graphics, Video Game Design, Video Production, Game Development, Media Content Management, Sound for Moving Images, and Media Arts Management (FILM), to name a few.
33. Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee (top 40% of schools considered)
Middle Tennessee State University opened on September 11, 1911 as Middle Tennessee State Normal School and one of three teacher preparatory schools in the state of Tennessee. Today, the school is home to more than 22,000 students enrolled in more than 115 programs across seven colleges. The College of Media and Entertainment, Department of Electronic Media Communication, a BS in Animation and Mass Communication with Concentrations in Electronic Media Communication, which includes two specialties: Electronic Media Production (video and film production) and Electronic Media Management (media management); New Media Communication, and Photography. An MS In Media and Communication is also available. Students in this program may choose six hours of approved electives in Animation.
The Animation Program prepares student for careers in Character Animation, Motion Graphics, and Visual Effects. Electronic Media Production students are also prepared to create Animated and Feature Films, as well as content for Documentary Films, Television, and Educational Videos.
34. Montclair State University, Montclair, New Jersey (top 40% of schools considered)
Montclair State University is home to approximately 20,987 students enrolled in nearly 300 majors, minors, concentrations, and certificate programs. Founded in 1908, Montclair consists of six colleges and schools, including the College of Arts, which houses the Department of Art and Design. The Department offers a BFA in Animation/Illustration. According the school, students in the program will study “both traditional and digital drawing techniques that provide a foundation for advanced animation coursework.”
Advanced projects include Animation Storyboards, Animated Shorts, and Character Development for 2D and 3D Animation. Initial projects include Book Cover Art, Editorial Illustration, Comic Book and Graphic Novel Art, and Advertising illustration. Because this is a multidisciplinary program, the Animation/Illustration BFA prepares students to work in a range of careers including Effects Animator, Flash Animator, Character Designer, Animator, Technical Director Compositor, Visual Development Artist, Rigging Supervisor, 2D or 3D Artist, Technical Illustrator, Architectural or Interiors Illustrator, Mechanical Illustrator, or Magazine Illustrator, to name a few.
35. Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan (top 45% of schools considered)
Eastern Michigan University (EMU) was established in 1849 as Normal School, then as a College, and finally as a University. Today, Eastern Michigan University is home to approximately 21,105 students enrolled in more than 200 programs across five colleges plus the Honors College.
The College of Technology, School of Visual and Built Environments is home to the Simulation, Animation and Gaming Program (SAG). The program, which emphasizes Animation, Modeling, Lighting, Rigging, and Camera Work in 3D, gives students “a wide variety of experiences in their course of study, which provides a competitive advantage over many other programs that are local, national and international.” The SAG Program leads to a BS with a Focus in Simulation, Animation, and Gaming.
36. The College of New Jersey, Ewing, New Jersey (top 45% of schools considered)
The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) was established in 1855 as the New Jersey State Normal School. It is home to approximately 7,400 students enrolled in more than 50 Liberal Arts and Professional programs across seven schools. The School of the Arts & Communication houses the Interactive Multimedia Department, which offers a BA in Interactive Multimedia (IMM). This interdisciplinary program combines Digital Media (digital imaging; animation, motion graphics and digital video; digital audio and electronic music, web design), Interactive Computing (experience design, interaction design, interface design, and programming for everything from web sites to video games), and Professional Writing (interactive storytelling, stories and scripts for movies, animations and video games, technical writing, proposal writing, and online journalism).
IMM students have completed internships at Amazon, MTV Networks, DreamWorks, and NFL Films, and many graduates have found positons at Nickelodeon, Johnson & Johnson, MakerBot, and many other companies and studios. Graduates have also entered graduate programs at top art and design schools such as the School of Visual Arts (SVA) at New York University and Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).
37. University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, Dartmouth, Massachusetts (top 45% of schools considered)
Established in 1895, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (UMass Dartmouth) is home to 8,647 students from 43 states and 46 foreign countries. The school houses seven colleges and schools that offer more than 80 undergraduate programs and 78 graduate programs. The College of Visual & Performing Arts (CVPA) offers two programs for aspiring animators including BFA and MFA degrees in Visual Design (Digital Media, Graphic Design, Illustration, Photography). According to the school, “students specializing in Digital Media engage in concentrated studies in Digital Animation and Interactive Multimedia.”
In addition to courses such as 2D Animation, 3D Modeling, Storytelling, Storyboarding, Virtual Reality Studies, and Interface Design, students have access to CVPA’s Hall-Hildreth IDEAStudio. This “collaborative venture between the College of Engineering and the College of Visual and Performing Arts” allows students to “rapidly” access industry animation and design software packages, mock-up team projects, and prototype designs. Artists will also collaborate with other students and faculty, and work on advanced capstone projects.
38. Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas (top 45% of schools considered)
Established in 1879 as Sam Houston Normal Institute or School, Sam Houston State University (SHSU) is home to approximately 20,120 students, making it the twelfth largest university in Texas. The school offers more than 80 bachelor's degree programs, more than 50 master’s degree programs, and six doctoral programs across seven colleges and schools. The College of Fine Arts and Mass Communication is home to the Department of Art, which offers a BFA in Computer Animation. One of the most popular programs in the Department of Art, the Computer Animation program “offers a highly collaborative experience in 2D and 3D animated storytelling to a diverse student body.”
Students in the program can expect to take courses such as 2D Animation, 3D Computer Animation, Character Animation, 3D Animation for Interactive Games, 3D Modeling, the History of Animation, and Pre-Visualization. In addition, all art majors will spend a semester in the W.A.S.H. (Workshop in Art Studio and History) program, which emphasizes contemporary and collaborative art practices. Graduates of the program are prepared to pursue careers in animation and film, game production, fine art, video production, and advertising.
39. Indiana University Bloomington, Bloomington, Illinois (top 50% of schools considered)
Established in 1820, Indiana University consists of eight campuses, including core campuses in Bloomington and Indianapolis, and regional campuses in Fort Wayne, Gary, Kokomo, New Albany, Richmond, and South Bend. The Bloomington campus (IU Bloomington) is home to approximately 49,695 students enrolled in more than 550 academic programs across 15 colleges and schools. The College of Arts and Sciences is home to The Media School, which offers several popular options for aspiring animators including a BA degree in Media with Concentrations in Interactive and Digital Media or Cinema and Media Arts.
The BA Program allows students to customize their Media School experiences by selecting from a variety of courses that match their career goals.
40. Dakota State University, Madison, South Dakota (top 50% of schools considered)
Dakota State University (DSU) was established in 1881 as a school for teacher education in the Dakota Territory. Today, DSU is home to more than 3,000 students enrolled in more than 35 majors and more than a dozen graduate degrees and certificates. DSU offers a BS in Digital Arts and Design with a Focus in Production Animation and Minors in Production Animation 2D or 3D. The animation programs at DSU highlight Digital Arts and Design and Production Animation coursework, so graduates are prepared to pursue careers in Animation, 3D Graphic Design, TV/Film Effects, Broadcast Design, and many others.
41. Minnesota State University – Moorhead, Moorhead, Minnesota (top 50% of schools considered)
Minnesota State University – Moorhead (MSUM) opened in 1887 as The Moorhead Normal School with just 29 students and five faculty members. When it opened, the school offered Science, Music, History, Algebra, Latin, English and Literature. Today, MSUM is home to approximately 5,836 students enrolled in 247 academic programs across five colleges and the Department of Graduate Studies. The College of Arts, Media and Communication, School of Media Arts & Design (MAD) is home to the Animation Program and the Film Program. Offerings include BA degrees in Animation, Film Production, Film Studies, and Graphic Communications. Minor offerings include Media Arts, Graphic Communication, and Film Production.
The Media Arts Minor offers 3D Modeling, 3D Animation, and Dreamweaver courses, while all majors offer the opportunity to study animation through core and/or elective coursework. Students must take 12 to 13 credits of elective courses. Just a few options include 3D Animation, 3D Modeling, Motion Graphics, Animation Studio, Motion Design, Video Production, and Dreamweaver. Animation BA students can expect to take core courses such as MAYA, 3D Animation, 3D Modeling, Animation Studio, Animation Techniques, Video Production, Motion Graphics, and Computer Graphics.
42. East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee (top 50% of schools considered)
Founded in 1911 as East Tennessee State Normal School, East Tennessee State University (ETSU) is home to more than 14,500 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. The school offers more than 350 programs across 11 colleges and schools. Part of the College of Business and Technology, the Department of Engineering Technology, Surveying, and Digital Media offers a BS in Digital Media (BS DIGM) with a Concentration in Digital Animation, a DIGM Minor, and an MA in New Media Studio.
Through heavy coursework and training in all areas of animation, the BS DIGM Program prepares students for careers 3D Animation, 2D Animation, Motion Graphics, Character Animation, and Technical Direction. The MA Program covers 3D Animation, Gaming, Motion Capture, Visualization, Video and Special Effects, Digital Illustration, and Graphic Design. The DIGM Minor offers courses such as Animation Fundamentals, 3D Animation, Fundamentals of Character Animation, Effects Animation and Lab, 3D Model Design, Motion Tools, and Interactive Development.
43. Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Indianapolis, Indiana (top 55% of schools considered)
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) was created in 1969. The school is home to 29,804 students enrolled in more than 250 degree programs across 19 schools. The School of Informatics and Computing (SOIC) offers several programs for aspiring animators. Offerings include both a BS and a five-year BS+MS in Media Arts and Science (MAS) with a Specialization in 3D Graphics and Animation or Digital Storytelling.
Program highlights include access to the Advanced Visualization Lab, a virtual reality theater, the Media Arts Research and Learning Arcade, as well as internship and study abroad opportunities. MAS graduates have landed positions at major studios and companies such as Blizzard Entertainment, Pixar, ChaCha, BET, Capital Records, and Wiley and Sons.
44. California State University Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California (top 55% of schools considered)
California State University – Los Angeles (Cal State LA or CSULA) was founded in 1947. The school is home to 24,488 students enrolled in hundreds of programs across seven colleges and The Honors College. The College of Arts and Letters houses the Department of Art, which offers a BA in Art with an Animation Option and MA and MFA degrees in Art with a Design Option (Graphic Design/Visual Communication, Animation). Students in all programs have access to internship and study abroad opportunities.
45. Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois (top 55% of schools considered)
Southern Illinois University (SIU) was founded in 1869 as the state’s second teachers college as the state’s second teachers college. When it opened, the school had just a dozen academic departments and 143 students. Today, SIU is home to approximately 17,292 students enrolled in more than 200 programs across 11 colleges and schools. The College of Mass Communication and Media Arts houses the Department of Radio, Television, and Digital Media, which offers several programs for aspiring animators. Offerings include a BA in Radio, Television, and Digital Media with a Specialization in Digital Media Arts and Animation, and an MFA in Media Arts. The MFA program allows students to produce work in Film, New Media, Video, Sound, and Photography.
46. University of Montana, Missoula, Montana (top 55% of schools considered)
University of Montana (UM) was founded in 1893 and it is home to more than 13,000 students enrolled in degree programs at all levels across more than a dozen colleges and schools. The College of Visual & Performing Arts houses the School of Media Arts, which offers a BFA with Specializations in Animation, Digital Filmmaking, Integrated Digital Media, and Sonic Arts. According to the School, the graduate program offers an MFA, which provides “an intensive, dedicated program in either Digital Filmmaking or Integrated Digital Media.” The Integrated Digital Media Track focuses on the areas of Animation, Interactive Digital Media, Digital Compositing, and Digital Image Design. A Media Arts Minor is also available.
47. Towson University, Towson, Maryland (top 55% of schools considered)
Founded in 1866 and home to approximately 22,343 students, Towson University is the second-largest university in the University System of Maryland and the 12th-largest public university system in the United States. The school offers more than 135 programs across seven colleges. The College of Fine Arts & Communication (COFAC) houses the Department of Art + Design, Art History, Art Education, which offers a BFA in Art + Design with a Digital Art and Design Concentration. Students in this concentration may choose between three Areas of Focus including Animation, Digital Arts, or Experimental.
The Digital Art and Design Concentration requires courses such as Illustration, Digital Art 2D and 3D, Photo Imaging: Film, Digital Concepts: Motion, and Digital Concepts: Image and Surface. The Animation Area highlights Animation I and II, Advanced Motion, and expression, Narrative, and Personal Content.
48. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey – Camden, Camden, New Jersey (top 60% of schools considered)
Home to nearly 69,000 students from all 50 states and more than 120 countries, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey is the largest university in New Jersey. The school has campuses in New Brunswick (flagship), Newark, and Camden, and a presence in all 21 New Jersey counties. Chartered in 1766 as all-male Queen’s College, the school is also the nation’s eighth oldest institution of higher learning. The Camden campus, which houses 6,475 students, is home to the Camden College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Fine Arts. The Department offers a BA and a Minor in Art: Electronic or Studio.
Students have access to two animation labs, post-production labs, a drawing studio, and a new digital studies center. Internship opportunities at design studios, computer graphics labs, and galleries are also part of the program. The BA in Art: Electronic or Studio can prepare students for a career in animation, illustration, or graphic design, to name a few.
49. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska (top 60% of schools considered)
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) was chartered in 1869. It is home to nearly 26,000 students enrolled in hundreds of programs across 10 colleges. The Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts houses the Johnny Carson School of Theater & Film, which offers a BFA with a Film and New Media (FNM) Production Emphasis. Focus areas for aspiring animators include Computer Animation, Visual Effects, and Film and Digital Video Production. The BFA FNM Program prepares graduates for a career in Animation, Digital Art, Screenwriting, Production Design, Cinematography, and many other areas.
50. University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho (top 60% of schools considered)
The University of Idaho was established in 1889. It is home to approximately 11,780 students enrolled more than 175 degree programs across 10 colleges. The Moscow campus is home to approximately 9,349 students and the College of Art and Architecture. Program options for aspiring animators include the interdisciplinary BS in Virtual Technology and Design that teaches students how to “create virtual technologies for gaming, animated films, simulations, business and education, and other applications while studying art and design, computer science, animation, storytelling and much more.” Other options include a BA in Art and a BFA or MFA in Studio Art & Design with a Concentration in Interaction Design.