List of Top Rated Animation Colleges and Universities

Read on to learn about top schools in the country to offer animation programs for students. Discover ranking information about top-rated programs as well as program details to make an informed decision about your education.

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School Overviews

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, prospective animators often need at least a bachelor's degree to work in the field of animation. Animation degrees are available at the bachelor's and master's degree levels and are often part of a fine arts or arts programs. Two of the country's top-rated animation colleges and universities are the University of Southern California and California Institute of the Arts.

1. California Institute of the Arts in Valencia

School Highlight: In 2015, U.S. News & World Report ranked CalArts #6 among all schools offering fine arts programs.

As of 2015, the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) was listed as #6 in U.S. News & World Report's list of the nation's top rated animation colleges. This school has several notable alumni, including Tim Burton and John Lasseter, who is the chief creative officer at Pixar. The School of Film/Video has an animation design studio, which houses specialized editing computers, camera stands, testing centers and printers. Students can earn a Bachelor or Master of Fine Arts in Experimental Animation or a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Character Animation.

2. University of Southern California in Los Angeles

School Highlight: USC was ranked #8 on U.S. News & World Report's 2014 list of best multimedia/visual communications schools.

Also located in California, this private research university was ranked #25 among all national schools and #8 among the best multimedia/visual communications universities, according to U.S. News & World Report in 2015 and 2014 respectively. Through the John C. Hench Division of Animation and Digital Arts, students can earn a Bachelor of Arts in Animation and Digital Arts. Concentrations are available in visual effects, character animation, three-dimensional computer animation and interactive animation. USC offers a graduate degree in animation and a 24-credit digital arts and animation minor.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Animation, Video Graphics, and Special Effects
  • Computer Typography and Composition
  • Graphic and Printing Equipment Operations
  • Platemaker
  • Prepress, Publishing, and Image Design
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  • Printing Press Operation

Top Animation Schools

College/University Name Distinction Location
Brigham Young University Students enrolled in the BYU Center for Animation programs have won First Place College Television Awards, a.k.a. the Student Emmys Provo, UT
Carnegie Mellon University Carnegie Mellon earned a #7 ranking on U.S. News & World Report's 2012 listing of best fine arts schools. Pittsburgh, PA
Drexel University The school's programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Philadelphia, PA
Rhode Island School of Design RISD tied for #2 ranking on U.S. News & World Report's list of best fine arts schools in the country. Providence, RI
Rochester Institute of Technology The RIT animation facility, The Cage, features labs, studios, production equipment and specialty stations. Rochester, NY
University of Central Florida Students can enroll in a Character Animation specialization. Orlando, FL
University of Idaho The school offers a virtual technology and design program with motion-capture systems, 3D projectors and 3D digitizers. Moscow, ID
University of Utah The president of Pixar is a Utah alum. Salt Lake City, UT
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