Master of Computer Animation: Degree Overview

Oct 26, 2019

A master's degree program in computer animation is designed to teach advanced skills to people wishing to pursue a career in this specialty. These programs provide hands-on training in computer graphics, along with courses in art history, theory and technology.

Essential Information

Computer animation is used in computer game development and animated movies. Students in these master's degree programs can learn programming languages associated with computer animation and study algorithms used in design and art. They may also develop business, critical-thinking and writing skills. Students typically learn about character development, storytelling and storyboard development, as well as 2-D and 3-D animation. Programs generally require a thesis project, including papers and portfolio for exhibition.

Master's Degree in Computer Animation

These master's degree programs are designed to be completed in two years. Students are given a variety of elective courses to choose from, including 3-D modeling, animation and digital video. Applicants to a master's degree program in computer animation must hold a bachelor's degree, and some schools prefer applicants to hold a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree. Common course topics include:

  • Art and technology history
  • Theory and aesthetics
  • Advanced animation and 3-D modeling
  • Character animation
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Game design and hardware architectures

Popular Career Options

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that a bachelor's degree is the general requirement for employment in graphic design ( A master's degree program can prepare a graduate for a leadership position as a project manager or studio director. Project managers ensure that projects meet budget constraints and are finished on time. Studio managers handle the day-to-day business of public relations, incoming projects and client relations. Some other job titles might include:

  • Animator
  • Development director
  • Junior designer
  • Market research analyst
  • Software quality assurance engineer

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, multimedia artists and animators are projected to see a 4% increase in job opportunities from 2018-2028. The mean annual wage for animators was $78,230 in May 2018.

Continuing Education information

Graduates of a master's degree program in computer animation might choose to enroll in a doctoral program if they plan to conduct research or teach at the college level. A certificate program could be beneficial to a graduate who seeks specialized training in specific software applications, such as Maya.

A master's degree program in computer animation will advance students' computer programming and artistic skills relevant to computer animation, with an emphasis on key business and career applications. These programs will also give students an opportunity to build a portfolio and display their work as they build their skill sets.

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