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Top School in Minneapolis for Computer Animation Courses

Students interested in studying animation in Minneapolis, MN, have only a few schools to choose from. Read about the top local schools' degree programs, tuition and ranking info to find the right one for you.

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School and Ranking Information

While there are only two schools in the Minneapolis area that offer programs specifically in animation, there are additional schools that offer computer animation training through related programs, such as graphic design or web design. The three top schools located near Minneapolis that offer animation training or programs are Minneapolis College of Art and Design, University of Northwestern - St. Paul and Dunwoody College of Technology, according to school rankings from U.S. News & World Report and program options.

  • Winner: Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) is located right in Minneapolis and earned the top spot on this list by offering both undergraduate and graduate degree programs in animation.
  • Runner Up #1: University of Northwestern - St. Paul (formerly Northwestern University) was ranked 16th among Midwest schools and offers a degree program with an emphasis in animation. It also had the second-highest graduation rate among area schools, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
  • Runner Up #2: Dunwoody College of Technology was ranked 63rd among regional universities in the Midwest and offers animation training within its graphic design programs.

School Comparison Chart

Category Minneapolis College of Art and Design University of Northwestern - St. Paul Dunwoody College of Technology
Rankings 36th among best graduate fine arts programs in 2012* 16th among regional colleges in the Midwest in 2013* 63rd among regional colleges in the Midwest in 2013*
Location Minneapolis, MN St. Paul, MN (about 6 miles from Minneapolis) Minneapolis, MN
School Type 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, private not-for-profit
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $31,650 (undergraduate); $31,650 (graduate)** $26,960 (undergraduate)** $18,154 (undergraduate)**
Animation Degrees Offered Bachelor's and master's degrees Bachelor's degree Associate's degree
Animation Degrees Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-2012 9 (Master's degrees not reported)** 1** 10 (graphic design)**
Most Popular Animation Programs in 2011-2012 Bachelor's in Animation (9 degrees awarded)** Bachelor's in Animation (1 awarded)** Associate's in Graphic Design (10 awarded)**
Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal program time) for 2006 Entering Class 61%** 67%** 41%**
Noteworthy Accredited by the Association of Schools of Art and Design Students can participate in study abroad experiences Graphic design studio and printing facility available

Sources: *U.S. News & World Report, **NCES College Navigator.

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Winner: Minneapolis College of Art and Design

  • Students complete experiential learning through internships, study-abroad and off-campus study programs
  • The school offers access to professional facilities, like galleries, personal studio spaces, a 3D shop and media center

MCAD is a private fine arts school near downtown Minneapolis with bachelor's and master's degree programs in animation. The Bachelor of Fine Arts program in animation includes required coursework in stop-motion animation, character animation and 3D animation, as well as a senior project and internship. On top of computer animation, students also learn hand-designed animation during the 120-credit program. Participants take studio courses and select 23 credits in electives from other media areas.

The 60-credit Master of Fine Arts degree program has a concentration option in animation. The program involves studio study with a thesis. Students attend seminars in design, perform research and can take an optional training seminar to prepare to teach animation after graduation. Full-time teaching assistantships are also available.

Runner-Up #1: University of Northwestern - St. Paul

  • Program curriculum developed with assistance from Pixar Animation Studios
  • University hosts the Five16 Film Festival, where students can showcase animated films alongside other categories of film, including comedy, drama, documentary and music video

The University of Northwestern - St. Paul is a private, Christian school located in nearby St. Paul. Within the Department of Art & Design, students can complete a Bachelor of Science program in digital media arts with an animation emphasis. This program prepares graduates for entry-level positions in the field of animation.

Students complete digital media core courses in figure and motion drawing, storytelling and character design. The animation emphasis introduces students to subjects such as audio production, CG production, 3D modeling and animation techniques. Students must also complete a portfolio and a senior capstone project.

Runner-Up #2: Dunwoody College of Technology

  • Campus digital lab equipped with latest equipment
  • Students complete an industry internship to gain hands-on training

Located on the western side of downtown Minneapolis, Dunwoody is a private institution that offers an Associate of Applied Science degree program in graphic design that includes courses in computer animation. Students learn how to use industry applications, such as Illustrator and Photoshop, and complete classes in design for animation and interactivity, 2D design and image effects. During this 2-year program, participants also complete an internship, a capstone course and create a portfolio of work.

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