Cartoon Art College Programs with Course Information

Although a few private for-profit schools offer degrees specifically in cartoon art, most public and private non-profit universities and colleges offer degrees in art with concentrations in illustration, sequential art, graphic design or animation. Options include the associate's, bachelor's and master's levels.

How to Choose an Animation School

Animation has changed substantially over the past several decades, with the majority of animated content being produced on computers. In most animation-related programs, artists learn both traditional illustration and computer animation with opportunities for combining techniques and media.


  • Associate's programs fit those without prior experience while bachelor's and master's programs may require portfolio submission prior to admission.
  • Career goals should inform pursued educational level: for example, those who wish to begin their careers sooner might choose an associate's program rather than a bachelor's.
  • Investigate a school's reputation and faculty to see what experience they have to offer.
  • Many art schools provide opportunities to show work in a gallery; all should assist in developing a portfolio and some might even help promote a student's work.

Program Overviews

Associate's Degree in Digital and Film Arts Animation

These programs are offered as an Associate in Science for those who wish to start working right away, as well as an Associate of Arts that can transfer to bachelor's degrees in the field. The program of study includes some general education requirements. Specific coursework includes rendering, computer graphics and color theory. Students also take:

  • Video editing
  • Storytelling
  • Photo editing
  • Cinematography
  • 3D animation

Associate's Degree in Graphic Storytelling

This program is focused on advertising or creating graphic novels or comic books. Students learn design and traditional and digital illustration techniques. They take courses in art appreciation, drawing, figure drawing and design, as well as:

  • History of illustration
  • Commercial art business
  • Graphic storytelling
  • Marketing for visual artists
  • Portfolio development

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation

Intensive 4-year programs in animation and illustration tend to be competitive. Portfolios will most likely be required, with demonstrated skills in the art. BFA students take basic art courses, like life drawing, art history, sculpture and design. They then move on to courses like:

  • Traditional animation
  • 3D computer animation
  • Writing for animation
  • Caricature
  • Motion graphics

Master of Fine Arts in Animation

MFA programs tend to be even more highly competitive to enter. Master's candidates may also perform a teaching internship or other placement related to their field of study. Coursework will vary according to the school. Course topics may include:

  • Sequential art
  • Drawing strategies
  • Contemporary art
  • Theories and practices in sequential art
  • Writing for sequential art

10 Animation Schools

College/University Institution Type
Brigham Young University 4-year, Private
George Mason University 4-year, Public
Full Sail University 4-year, Private for-profit
Eastern Michigan University 4-year, Public
Northeastern University 4-year, Private
DePaul University 4-year, Private
Academy of Art University 4-year, Private for-profit
Miami Dade College 4-year, Public
Houston Community College 2-year, Public
Portland Community College 2-year, Public

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