Motion Graphics Degrees by Degree Program Level

Many motion graphics degree programs are also described as video arts programs and are available at the associate's, bachelor's, and master's degree levels. Learn about program courses and requirements, as well as job prospects.

Essential Information

Software programs provide the basis for creating motion graphics. Therefore, students earning degrees learn how to use common graphic design and editing software tools, such as Final Cut Studio, Adobe After Effects, and Dreamweaver.

Associate's degree programs are focused on project work in image editing, illustration and video production. Bachelor's degree programs help students hone their skills in graphic design and use image and video editing software. Master's degree programs are designed for those with a background in graphic design and digital video. These programs include several studio courses and a thesis project.

Associate of Arts in Motion Graphics

Students enrolled in an associate's degree program receive instruction in areas such as digital video production, digital video editing, and graphic design. They also learn how to use software like Adobe Illustrator and create 3D motions graphics. A majority of the program is dedicated to the completion of projects where students work together to conceptualize and implement ideas. These projects are then shown on video, film, or the Web.

In order to enroll in this program, students must have a high school diploma. An associate's degree program may require that students develop a portfolio that can be shown to prospective employers. Common courses offered include:

  • Drawing
  • Typography
  • Storytelling for the digital medium
  • Digital media and design
  • Fundamentals of digital imaging
  • Principles of interactive design

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Motion Graphics

A bachelor's degree program explores the fundamentals of graphic design. A high school diploma is needed to enroll. Students take courses in areas such as drawing, color theory, and concept creation before moving onto advanced topics. Almost all of the classes in a Bachelor of Fine Arts program are project based. This gives students the opportunity to master skills in class and then apply this knowledge to a mandatory senior-year project. Courses may include:

  • Cultural anthropology
  • Media sound design
  • Business of media
  • Basics of design
  • Animation
  • Motion theory

Master of Fine Arts in Motion Graphics

A Master of Fine Arts in Motion Graphics is the highest degree a student can earn in the field. Programs generally take three years to complete. The curriculum is comprised of studio courses and a final thesis project and paper. Students complete foundational classes in motion graphic design prior to taking studio electives and completing the thesis project. Some art schools may substitute the thesis project and paper requirement with a comprehensive examination that tests students' knowledge of motion graphics design theory and history.

Applicants to master's programs must have completed courses in computer graphics, digital video and graphic design while earning their bachelor's degree. They must also possess letters of recommendation and a personal statement. Students take classes in typography, visual communication theory, and advanced graphic design. Some other courses include:

  • Principles of integrated design
  • Creative conceptualization
  • Publishing and copyright laws
  • Screenwriting
  • Digital video workshop

Popular Career Options

An associate's degree in motion graphics prepares graduates for entry-level careers in the digital media industry. Other graduates may choose to work as freelance graphic artists and technicians. Common employers include advertising, commercial design, and marketing firms. A bachelor's degree qualifies holders to work in advanced digital media positions. Those with some years of experience may pursue supervisory roles, such as digital art director and art department administrator. Other career options include:

  • Digital audio technician
  • Post-production specialist
  • Digital videographer
  • Motion graphics designer
  • Digital video editor
  • Broadcast designer

Job Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of graphic designers is expected to increase by 1% for the 2014-2024 decade. The BLS also specified that graphic designers working in computer systems design and related services would see opportunities rise by 21% during the same time frame. The median annual salary among all graphic designers was published as $46,900 in May 2015 by the BLS.

Associate's, bachelor's, and master's degrees in arts or fine arts with a motion graphics specialization teach students about graphic design and how to create works of art that move. These programs prepare you for a number of careers related to art, edition, and design.

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