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Animation Degrees in San Diego, CA with School Descriptions

There are at least four schools within 40 miles of San Diego that offer animation certificate programs and courses. Read an overview of three schools' programs, requirements and admission info and find out which school is the right one for you.

San Diego Schools with Animation Programs

Students have college choices within the city as well as in the San Diego area. This article looks at three schools that offer animation and related programs. All are 2-year community colleges within a 45-minute drive of San Diego. The article also includes a table that allows prospective students to review facts about the schools. At the end is a brief paragraph about another area school with a relevant program.

  • MiraCosta College offers certificate programs focused on animation and related subjects. This school also houses several resources like computer labs and clubs. Its Oceanside campus is about 35 miles from downtown San Diego.
  • Palomar College , approximately 30 miles from the city center, provides a variety of animation certificates and associate's degree programs that cover standard industry applications and concepts.
  • Just about six miles from the heart of the city is San Diego Mesa College. It offers both certificate and associate's degree programs that could interest potential animators.

Comparison of Schools

When choosing a school, prospective students need to consider many factors, such as size, costs and the graduation rate. The following table offers a quick look at important information for the three schools profiled in this article.

MiraCosta College Palomar College San Diego Mesa College
School Type 4-year; public college 2-year; public college 4-year; public college
Total Enrollment (2017) 14,617* 23,848* 23,532*
Campus Setting Large suburb Large suburb Large city
Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $1,152 in-state; $6,768 out-of-state* $1,338 in-state; $7,386 out-of-state* $1,142 in-state; $5,894 out-of-state*
% of First-Year, Full-Time Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017) 61%* 63%* 65%*
Acceptance Rate (2017) N/A - Open admissions* N/A - Open admissions* N/A - Open admissions*
Retention Rate (2017) N/A* 71% for full-time students; 47% for part-time students* N/A*
Graduation Rate 31%; 18% transfer-out rate (Students began in 2011)* 29%; 10% transfer-out rate (Students began in 2014)* 23%; 18% transfer-out rate (Students began in 2011)*

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

MiraCosta College

This college provides two certificate programs for students who seek to learn about animation. The proficiency program is shorter and more concise, and the achievement program includes more foundational courses and covers concepts in greater depth.

Certificate of Proficiency in Video and Animation

Students are required to complete 15 credit hours to earn this certificate. Courses include video postproduction and special effects, 3-D Maya animation, MotionBuilder animation and video production. Those who complete this course can pursue jobs in video editing, storyboarding or product animation.

Certificate of Achievement in Video and Media Design

This program is comprised of 30 credit hours and can help students prepare for animating or editing careers. Students complete foundational courses in Adobe Photoshop, graphic design, interactive media and Web design. Additionally, they take animation courses in Maya and MotionBuilder, as well as video production and postproduction classes. Advanced courses in design studio and portfolio development are also required.

Palomar College

While there are a variety of visual arts and multimedia programs at this college, there are two specific programs for aspiring animators. The certificate program is shorter and includes music courses. The associate's degree program is designed for students who seek to become animators or to transfer to another school.

Certificate of Proficiency in Digital Animation, Compositing and Music

This certificate is comprised of 13-15 units of coursework. Students study various animation techniques in 3-D design, modeling and motion graphics. They can also learn to incorporate music into multimedia projects.

Associate in Science in Interactive Media Design with an Emphasis in 3-D Modeling and Animation

Students in this program can prepare for careers in multimedia production or design. Specific major coursework includes illustration, digital 3-D design/modeling, 3-D Studio Max, digital imaging/Photoshop and multimedia motion graphics. Students choose electives from topics such as digital TV production, SolidWorks intro 3-D design and game animation.

San Diego Mesa College

There are two programs available for aspiring animators or multimedia artists. The certificate program is completely focused on animation coursework, while the associate's degree program includes general studies courses, and graduates can transfer to a 4-year program or enter the multimedia field.

Certificate of Achievement in 3-D Animation and Modeling

This program consists of 32 units. Required courses include multimedia, digital video, 3-D character animation, realism animation, production studio animation and digital image editing. Students also take electives in such areas as 2-D design, graphic design, color theory, drawing and life drawing.

Associate in Science in Multimedia

Students planning to transfer to a 4-year college may be interested in this degree program. The program requires completion of 60 units, and 32-34 units are multimedia related. Some of multimedia classes include digital image editing, digital video and multimedia. Those who are interested in animation can also take courses in character animation, realism animation and animation production studio.

Other School Options

At Grossmont College, located about 12.5 miles from downtown San Diego, students can take animation courses or pursue an associate's degree in studio art with a digital art emphasis.


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