Animation Schools and Universities in Dallas with Degree Summaries

There are at least four schools in the Dallas area that have animation-related degree programs. Read an overview of the programs, requirements and admission info at three schools within 20 miles of downtown and find out which school is the right one for you.

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Dallas-Area Animation Schools

The Dallas region houses several programs in which students can study animation. This article looks at three schools, none more than a half-hour from the city center, that offer a variety of programs related to animation technology. There is also a table with data about each school that includes enrollment numbers, campus setting, tuition costs and graduation rates. At the end of the article is a little information about one more school in the Dallas area with a relevant program.

  • Just six miles from downtown Dallas is Southern Methodist University, which offers an interdisciplinary bachelor's degree program in creative computing, along with a minor program in that field of study. This school has a specialized website that allows art department students to display selected work to the online public.
  • Richland College is a 2-year college about 14 miles from downtown Dallas. It offers an animation-related associate's degree program that emphasizes gaming simulation and technology.
  • The University of Texas at Dallas, about 18 miles from downtown Dallas in Richardson, TX, features an arts, technology and emerging communication program with degrees at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. Each degree program includes a variety of animation-related courses.

Comparison of Schools

Students who are deciding on a school need to consider many factors. This table presents important facts about these three schools in a format that makes it easy to compare them.

Southern Methodist University Richland College University of Texas at Dallas
School Type 4-year; private not-for-profit 2-year; public 4-year; public
Total Enrollment (2017) 11,789* 18,794* 27,642*
Campus Setting Large Suburb Large city Midsize city
Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $52,498* $1,770 in-district; $3,330 in-state; $5,220 out-of-state* $11,528 in-state; $29,656 out-of-state*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017) 79%* 55%* 74%*
Acceptance Rate (2017) 49%* N/A - Open admissions 76%*
Retention Rate (2016-2017) 91% for full-time students* 67% for full-time students* 88% for full-time students*
Graduation Rate 81% (Began 2011)* 15% (19% transfer-out rate) (began 2014) * 69% (began 2011)*

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

Southern Methodist University

The major and minor in creative computing at Southern Methodist University (SMU) represent an interdisciplinary integration of engineering, computer technology, and artistic capacities and principles.

Bachelor of Arts in Creative Computing

SMU's creative computing bachelor's degree program comprises courses from a variety of disciplines and departments, including engineering, arts, computer science, and natural sciences. In addition to undertaking coursework in areas like data structures and programming languages, students choose a minimum number of classes from such subjects as biology, chemistry, or physics. Study in chosen artistic disciplines such as photography, sculpture, or painting is also required. Students will additionally select six classes from a list that includes topics like digital imaging, 3-D animation, new media distribution, and modern electronic technology, to name a few. A capstone class involving the creation and presentation of a final project is required for graduation. Potential animation students may also be interested in the certificate or degrees in digital game development that are offered through SMU's Guildhall.

Minor in Creative Computing

To minor in creative computing at SMU, students must complete a total of 18 credits. Three of those credits include a theory course on the elements of computing systems, from Nand to Tetris. An additional six hours are chosen based on a student's choice of track. Available tracks include computational art, graphics and gaming, music, creative coding, digital humanities. Students can customize their track with adviser approval.

Richland College

Richland College is part of the Dallas County Community College District. Its interactive simulation and game technology program has 15 faculty members, as of 2018, and offers two specializations, including one in artist/animation.

Associate in Applied Science in Interactive Simulation and Game Technology

In the artist/animation concentration of the Associate in Applied Science (AAS) program in interactive simulation and game technology, students take core courses in subjects such as mathematics, game design, 3-D rendering, and digital sound. Beyond those, classes are required on topics including drawing, project development, and level design, in addition to a minimum number of elective courses. Students can choose to complete an internship or participate in a final group venture that includes developing a comprehensive simulation project or game.

University of Texas at Dallas

The School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication (ATEC) at UT Dallas was founded in 2015. As of 2018, the department comprises more than 1,600 students in bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs.

Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication with Animation

This 120-credit program includes 42 credit hours in its core curriculum. Students will study major requirements in topics like drawing, computer animation, computer imaging, digital content design and computer graphics. A capstone project or a senior seminar will also be required. The degree will include 30 semester credit hours in elective coursework as well.

Master of Arts in Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication: Interaction Design Pathway

UT Dallas master's degree students in arts, technology and emerging communication in the interaction design pathway undertake coursework in areas such as design principles, human computer interaction and media analytics. A master's thesis is required to complete the program.

Master of Fine Arts in Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication: Animation Pathway

The Master of Fine Arts in Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication: Animation Pathway curriculum incorporates study in areas such as animation, cinematography and technical direction. Students complete additional courses on topics like the history of animation, motion capture and special topics in sound design. To graduate, MFA students must also complete a thesis and two final projects.

Doctor of Philosophy in Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication

The arts, technology and emerging communication PhD program requires students to complete 60 coursework hours. Classes are available in areas including research methodologies, interactive arts aesthetics, and interactive media, to name a few. In addition, students will develop a dissertation, which they will be required to defend.

Other School Options

Collin College, with a main campus in McKinney, located about 30 miles from Dallas, offers an associate's degree and certificate programs in animation and game art.

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