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Special Effects Certificate Programs in New York City

New York City has a number of colleges within ten miles of the downtown area that offer special effects programs. Learn about three of these programs, admission info and program requirements to make an informed education decision.

New York City Schools with Special Effects Certificate Programs

Students interested in studying special effects in New York City may choose to pursue programs in filmmaking, digital design or animation, such as those described in the paragraphs below. The featured programs are available at two private schools and one public school, which you can learn about through the accompanying comparison table. Information about an additional school and its programs can be found at the end of the resource.

  • New York University, located about 1.5 miles from downtown NYC, has one certificate program with coursework related to special effects.
  • The Pratt Institute, located four miles from downtown NYC in Brooklyn, has a motion graphics certificate program.
  • CUNY Hostos Community College in the Bronx is a little over six miles from downtown NYC and offers an associate's degree program in digital design and animation, which can prepare students for visual and special effects careers. The only public institution on this list, the college is a member of the City University of New York (CUNY).

Comparison of Schools

The table below has been designed to provide you with an easy way to compare the chance of being admitted, cost of attendance and potential for financial assistance at the three schools highlighted above. You'll also find some key facts about enrollment and percentages of first-year students who return for a second year of study.

New York University Pratt Institute CUNY Hostos Community College
School Type 4-year; private not-for-profit 4-year; private not-for-profit 2-year; public
Total Enrollment (2017)* 51,123 5,035 7,211
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large city
Tuition and Fees (2017-2018)* $50,464 $50,038 $5,208 in-state;
$8,088 out-of-state
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Aid (2016-2017)* 54% 84% 90%
Acceptance Rate (2017)* 28% 57% N/A - open admissions policy
Retention Rate (2017)* 93% for full-time students;
71% for part-time students
88% for full-time students 61% for full-time students;
44% for part-time students
Graduation Rate* 84% (students who began in 2011) 66% (students who began in 2011) 20% (13% transfer-out rate) (students who began in 2014)
Distance from Downtown* 1.7 mi. 4.3 mi. 6.2 mi.

Source: *NCES College Navigator

New York University

The School of Professional Studies at New York University (NYU) provides students with opportunities to focus on career-based study. NYU is located in New York City's East Village and offers non-credit undergraduate certificate programs that might appeal to students interested in special effects. In addition to the filmmaking certificate described below, a diploma program in digital filmmaking is also available.

Certificate in Filmmaking

This program must be completed in three years, but it can take less time. There are five required courses that will put the student into the filmmaking process. Students will learn about writing and directing, as well as using different film techniques. To finish the certificate, students will work in small groups to develop, shoot and edit a short film.

Pratt Institute

Located in Brooklyn, Pratt Institute offers a certificate program in motion graphics. The program, which is offered through Pratt's continuing and professional studies division, is for individuals pursuing careers in special effects, film, game design, entertainment and broadcast design.

Certificate in Motion Graphics

This program is made up primarily of two courses: an introductory course in motion graphics and a motion graphics portfolio. Though not required, it is recommended that students complete the Adobe After Effects course prior to entering the introductory course. Some of the topics students will explore include track mattes, particles and keyframing. Each of these three courses are worth 3.6 CEUs and take 12 full sessions to complete. On top of the course fees, there is a $100 non-refundable certificate fee.

CUNY Hostos Community College

Hostos Community College is part of the CUNY school system and is located in the Bronx. While the school does not offer a certificate program in special effects, it does have an associate's degree program in digital design and animation that covers some relevant skills.

Associate of Applied Science in Digital Design and Animation

This 60-credit associate's degree program prepares students for careers in motion graphics and animation. Students must complete some major coursework in digital media design and 2-D design, and they can choose from electives in animation, sound design, Final Cut Pro, After Effects and Maya software. General education classes, such as math, psychology and sociology, are also required.

Other School Options

Another school in NYC with programs that train students in special effects design is the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), which is part of the State University of New York (SUNY) school system. FIT's Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) program in computer animation and interactive media includes studies in 3-D modeling, animation, scripting, compositing and special effects. Students interested in this program must have completed 60 credits prior to entry.


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