Cartoon Art College Programs with Course Information

Although a few private for-profit schools offer degrees specifically in cartoon art, most public and private non-profit universities and colleges offer degrees in art with concentrations in illustration, sequential art, graphic design or animation. Options include the associate's, bachelor's and master's levels.

Animation has changed substantially over the past several decades, with the majority of animated content being produced on computers. Colleges offer a variety of programs in animation at both graduate and undergraduate levels.

10 Animation Schools

These colleges offer programs in animation art or similar programs.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)*
Brigham Young University Provo, UT 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's $5,150 (undergraduate)
George Mason University Fairfax, VA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's $10,592 in-state, $31,598 out-of-state (undergraduate); $13,304 in-state $31,424 out-of-state (graduate)
Full Sail University Winter Park, FL 4-year, Private for-profit Bachelor's, Master's $23,117 (undergraduate); $17,215 (graduate)
Eastern Michigan University Ypsilanti, MI 4-year, Public Bachelor's $10,417 in-state, $27,712 out-of-state (undergraduate)
Northeastern University Boston, MA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's $45,530 (undergraduate); $22,061 (graduate)
DePaul University Chicago, IL 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's $36,361 (undergraduate); $18,330 (graduate)
Academy of Art University San Francisco, CA 4-year, Private for-profit Bachelor's, Master's $20,340 (undergraduate); $22,740 (graduate)
Miami Dade College Miami, FL 4-year, Public Associate's $7,093 (undergraduate)**
Houston Community College Houston, TX 2-year, Public Associate's $1,632 in-district, $3,360 in-state, $3,756 out-of-state (undergraduate)
Portland Community College Portland, OR 2-year, Public Associate's $3,766 in-state $8,374 out-of-state (undergraduate)

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

College Selection Criteria

In most animation-related programs, artists learn both traditional illustration and computer animation with opportunities for combining techniques and media. Students interested in cartoon art may also consider:

  • Associate's programs fit those without prior experience while bachelor's and master's programs may require portfolio submission prior to admission.
  • Career goals should inform pursued educational level: for example, those who wish to begin their careers sooner might choose an associate's program rather than a bachelor's.
  • Investigate a school's reputation and faculty to see what experience they have to offer.
  • Many art schools provide opportunities to show work in a gallery; all should assist in developing a portfolio and some might even help promote a student's work.

Program Overviews

Associate's Degree in Digital and Film Arts Animation

These programs are offered as an Associate in Science for those who wish to start working right away, as well as an Associate of Arts that can transfer to bachelor's degrees in the field. The program of study includes some general education requirements. Specific coursework includes rendering, computer graphics and color theory.

Associate's Degree in Graphic Storytelling

This program is focused on advertising or creating graphic novels or comic books. Students learn design and traditional and digital illustration techniques. They take courses in art appreciation, drawing, figure drawing and design.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation

Intensive 4-year programs in animation and illustration tend to be competitive. Portfolios will most likely be required, with demonstrated skills in the art. BFA students take basic art courses, like life drawing, art history, sculpture and design.

Master of Fine Arts in Animation

MFA programs tend to be even more highly competitive to enter. Master's candidates may also perform a teaching internship or other placement related to their field of study. Coursework will vary according to the school.

Artist interested in animation or cartoon art can receive a formal education in the field from a variety of sources. Those wishing to further their studies can work towards a degree from either a private or public university.

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