Cartooning Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

Programs that provide education for future cartoonists are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students can find relevant degree and certificate offerings at traditional universities as well as dedicate art schools.

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Aspiring cartoonists can pursue certificates, diplomas and bachelor's degrees in fields like cartooning or animation. Master's-level programs are also available for students who have already earned a bachelor's degree.

Schools with Cartooning Programs

University Location Institution Type Degree Offered Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)*
Academy of Art University San Francisco, CA 4-year, Private for-profit Certificate, Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's $20,340
School of Visual Arts New York, NY 4-year, Private for-profit Bachelor's $35,000
The Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art Dover, NJ 2-year, Private for-profit Certificate, Diploma $20,100
The Art Institute of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA 4-year, Private for-profit Bachelor's $17,628
Full Sail University Winter Park, FL 4-year, Private for-profit Bachelor's $23,117
Gnomon School of Visual Effects Hollywood, CA 2-year, Private for-profit Certificate $93,292
Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design Lakewood, CO 4-year, Private for-profit Bachelor's $16,370
University of Advancing Technology Tempe, AZ 4-year, Private for-profit Bachelor's $23,750

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Students thinking of enrolling in a cartooning program should consider the following:

  • Students should find out if there are any campus-based publication opportunities, such as student-based magazines to which they can submit their work.
  • For students who want to focus on animated cartoons, it is important to make sure that the school provides students with access to the state-of-the-art computer technology that they need to hone their skills.
  • It is important to find out whether students have the chance to display their work either on-campus or in off-campus galleries, where they can gain exposure among students and faculty as well as collectors, dealers and critics.
  • Students who are interested in distance learning programs should look for schools that provide online coursework.

Undergraduate Certificate Programs

Cartooning-related undergraduate certificate programs generally focus on one specific subfield of animation, such as 3D animation. The basic animation courses included in these programs are similar to those of bachelor's degree programs, but students are not required to take general education classes. Over the course of these programs, students build up a portfolio that they may present to potential employers to demonstrate their skills.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

Although it is not possible to earn a bachelor's degree specifically in cartooning, students can pursue a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) in a related field such as animation or media arts. In these programs, students take courses in drawing, storyboarding and animation mechanics, as well as general education and liberal arts classes. They may also gain experience with software used for digital editing and 3D modeling.

Master's Degree Programs

At the master's degree level, Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programs are available in animation. Aspiring cartoonists hone their skills through more advanced courses related to the artistic and technological aspects of cartoon creation. Depending on the school, these programs typically take either two or three years to complete. Students are usually required to submit either a master's thesis or a final project prior to graduation.

Students interested in preparing to become animators or cartoonists will find a variety of certificate, diploma and degree options offered in schools across the country, many of which provide opportunities for students to network and publish their work.

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