Animation Schools and Universities in Dallas with Degree Summaries

There are 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 a few 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 and technology program with degrees at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. Each degree program includes a variety of animation-related courses.

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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 (2014) 11,272* 19,343* 23,095*
Campus Setting Large Suburb Large city Small city
Tuition & Fees (2015-2016) $48,190* $1,770 in-district; $3,330 in-state; $5,220 out-of-state* $10,864 in-state; $26,894 out-of-state*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2013-2014) 76%* 58%* 84%*
Acceptance Rate (2014) 52%* N/A - Open admissions 62%*
Retention Rate (2013-2014) 89% for full-time students* 70% for full-time students* 86% for full-time students*
Graduation Rate 77% (Began 2008)* 12% (32% transfer-out rate) (began 2011) * 71% (began 2008)*

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 computer programming, 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.

Minor in Creative Computing

To minor in creative computing at SMU, students must complete a total of 18 credits, Six of those credits include a theory course on a topic such as algorithm fundamentals, logic, or aesthetic experience, as well as a computer science course or classes in programming concepts, art and coding. An additional 6 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 seven faculty members and offers three 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 art or imaging. 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 arts and technology department at the University of Texas (UT) at Dallas was started in 2004. The department comprises around 50 faculty members and serves over 1,000 students.

Bachelor of Arts in Arts and Technology

The bachelor's degree program in arts and technology at UT Dallas includes general education courses in such disciplines as math, social sciences, and communication. In addition, students complete classes in subjects like drawing, computer graphics, design principles, and texturing and modeling. Arts and technology majors can further choose courses in game development, virtual environments, computer animation, animation topics, and animation studio, among others.

Master of Arts in Arts and Technology

UT Dallas master's degree students in arts and technology undertake coursework in areas such as game production, virtual analog computing, animation portfolio development, and immersive environments. A final project is required to complete the program.

Master of Fine Arts in Arts and Technology

The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Arts and Technology curriculum incorporates study in areas such as computer imaging, computer animation processes, and 3-D texturing and modeling. Students complete additional courses on topics like game studies, interaction design, design practices, and digital communications. To graduate, MFA students must also complete a final project.

PhD in Arts and Technology

The arts and technology PhD program requires students to complete 60 coursework hours. Classes are available in areas including research methodologies, interactive arts aesthetics, and interactive narratives, to name a few. An animation studio is included in the program. In addition, students will develop a dissertation, which they will be required to defend.

Other School Options

Collin College, which is located about 23 miles from Dallas, offers associate degree and certificate programs in animation, as well as an achievement award program in advanced animation and game art production.

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