Animation Graduate Programs: Options by Degree Level

Essential Information

A master's degree in animation is designed to provide students with a means to gain more advanced creative and technical skills. Many degree programs at the graduate level allow students to select particular areas of focus, such as interactive media, cinema and film, game design or visual design.

Each specific track allows students to devote their time to perfecting one or more in-depth animation techniques, such as human movement modeling and scripting for nonlinear animation formats. Students also learn to design animations for navigation devices, develop interactive gaming communities and use animation as a tool for experimental learning techniques.

Most master's degree programs in animation take approximately two years to complete and require studio time and independent research. A graduate student generally has to complete a final project or thesis project, which displays the area of animation in which he or she has been specializing. The thesis projects should also serve as further exploration or investigation into particular areas of animation.

Master of Arts in Animation

A bachelor's degree is the most common prerequisite to a graduate program in animation, and some undergraduate programs cover animation, art, drawing, computer graphics, visual design, film studies and interactive media. Many colleges and universities also require that students take the GRE and submit a portfolio of previously completed works. Some course subjects that might be covered in such a program are:

  • 2D and 3D animation
  • Advanced or experimental drawing for animation
  • Stop motion animation
  • Narrative structure
  • Documentary animation
  • Interactive media

Popular Career Options

A graduate degree in animation can open several doors to entry-level and advanced positions in film production, game design, television, computer technology and more. Possible positions include:

  • Special effects artist
  • 2D animator
  • 3D animator
  • Video game designer
  • Motion capture
  • Motion graphics designer
  • After effects artist
  • Digital colorist
  • Illustrator

Pursuing a Master of Arts in Animation can allow individuals to improve and explore specific skills to apply to a career in a large and varied field. Students can choose to specialize in different areas, depending on their career goals.

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