Top School in Torrance, CA, for Special Effects & Animation Training

Students interested in studying special effects and animation near Torrance, CA, have several schools to choose from. Read about the top local schools' degree programs, tuition and ranking info to find the right one for you.

School and Ranking Information

Approximately 17 schools within a 19-mile radius of Torrance offer special effects and animation training. The area's top schools for special effects and animation are Loyola Marymount University, Marymount College, and Santa Monica College, based on factors such as program size, competitiveness, and the school's graduation rate.

Winner: Loyola Marymount University is ranked among regional universities in the West by U.S. News & World Report. The school features a bachelor's degree program and the highest graduation rate of the three schools, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Runner Up #1:Marymount College offers a bachelor's degree in animation and motion graphics and the second highest graduation rate of the three schools.

Runner Up #2:Santa Monica College offers the lowest tuition of the three schools, according to NCES, and an associate's and certificate program in animation.

School Comparison Chart

Category Loyola Marymount University Marymount College Santa Monica College
2013 Ranking(s) 3rd among regional universities in the West,
14th among best value schools (West)*
N/A N/A
Location Los Angeles, CA (8.5 miles from downtown Torrance) Rancho Palos Verdes, CA (9.8 miles from downtown Torrance) Santa Monica, CA (18.7 miles from downtown Torrance)
School Type 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, private not-for-profit 2-year, public
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $39,125 (undergraduate)** $28,920 (undergraduate)** $1,140 (in-state), $6,012 (out-of-state)**
Special Effects and Animation Programs Offered Bachelor's degrees Bachelor's degrees Certificates; associate's degrees
Special Effects and Animation Degrees and/or Certificates Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-2012 12** 6** 16**
Most Popular Special Effects and Animation Program (2011-2012) Bachelor's in Animation and Special Effects (12 awarded)** Bachelor's in Animation and Special Effects (6 awarded)** Certificate in Animation and Special Effects (13 awarded)**
Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal program time) 75% (2006 Entering Class) ** 37% (2006 Entering Class)** 28% (2009 Entering Class)**
Noteworthy The animation program is interdisciplinary, and students are not required to concentrate on one area School offers day and evening classes N/A

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

Winner: Loyola Marymount University

  • Has a student-faculty ratio of 11:1, per NCES
  • According to NCES, 89% of full-time, beginning undergraduate students received some form of financial aid in 2011-2012
  • During the final year of the program, students create a professional animation reel and portfolio

Loyola Marymount University's School of Film and Television has a bachelor's degree program in animation. This program's curriculum places a heavy emphasis on storytelling, and students are required to take classes in subjects such as drawing, visual development, cinema, and screenwriting. Recommended elective courses include cinematography, editing, sound design, fiction, painting, computer programming, and dance. The first three years of the animation program are composed of courses in production techniques, computer animation and digital filmmaking, and multimedia animation. In the final year of the program, students complete a senior thesis project and internship.

Runner-Up #1: Marymount College

  • Graduates of the media studies program have gone on to work for companies such as ABC, DigiLabs, and Showtime
  • Grants or scholarships were awarded to 73% of all students who were enrolled in 2011-2012, per NCES
  • The school offers individual faculty mentoring

Marymount College offers a bachelor's program in media studies with a concentration in animation and motion graphics. Within the program, students take foundational classes the first two years then delve into their area of concentration. Students learn to understand design elements, create professional artwork using industry-standard software, and use creative media concepts. Animation classes examine 3D design, modeling, typography, interactive web design, and multimedia design. Students in the media studies program also have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience through internships in fields such as film, design, and digital art.

Runner-Up #2: Santa Monica College

  • Opportunity to participate in internships with industry partners
  • Six different animation concentrations available in the associate's degree and certificate program in animation

Students in Santa Monica College's design technology department can pursue associate's degrees, certificates of achievement, and department certificates in the field of entertainment technology. Within the 60-unit Associate of Arts and 49- to 50-unit Certificate of Achievement in Animation programs, specific areas of study include 2D animation, 3D animation, 3D modeling and rendering, game design, digital effects, and digital media. Department certificates are also available in each concentration and include 15-16 units of coursework. Coursework covers animation, character design, rendering, digital imaging, and digital effects, depending on the concentration. Additionally, entertainment technology students must complete a professional portfolio. The school offers internships when they are available.


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