Top 10 Animation Schools in the U.S.

Aug 14, 2018

Animation programs are available at colleges and universities across the U.S. Get details about program options, rankings and other distinctions for some of the best places to study animation.

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School Information

If you are interested in pursuing a degree and career in animation, this video may help you find the right school. Each school featured here was chosen because it ranks among some of the best in the nation or has something unique to offer students.

Animation college degrees are offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Three of the nation's top animation schools are Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania, California Institute of the Arts, and Brigham Young University in Utah. Two of the three schools were ranked by U.S. News & World Report in 2016, and all three were highly ranked in Animation Career Review's 2016 list of top animation schools.

Carnegie Mellon University in PA

In addition to Animation, Carnegie Mellon (CMU) also offers degrees in related subjects, like game design, sound design, and intelligent environments. Located in Pittsburgh, PA, CMU was among the U.S.'s top 25 colleges in 2016, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Animation training is offered through the Bachelor of Computer Science and Arts program, which combines a concentration from the School of Computer Science and a second specialization from the College of Fine Arts. Animation majors can take courses in game design, animation technology, artificial intelligence, computer graphics, and web applications.

California Institute of the Arts

For an idea of what students accomplish while at California Institute of the Arts, the school displays all its students' showcases on its main site.

Home to a variety of animation-focused degree programs, this top-ranked animation college in Valencia, CA, has also been accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design since 1972. Students can earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Character Animation or Experimental Animation as well as a Master of Fine Arts in Experimental Animation. Depending on the animation major, courses may include stop-motion, 2- and 3-dimensional computer animation, color and design, life drawing, storytelling, dialogue, or sound effects.

Brigham Young University in Provo, UT

Students in the BFA program in animation at Brigham Young University (BYU) have access to facilities that include computer animation labs and the 3-D capable virtual reality auditorium. In addition to these facilities, BYU offers faculty mentors to each student in the BFA program. Limited to 100 students, the animation program focuses on both art and technology with coursework in drawing, 2- and 3-dimensional design, storyboarding, animation history, and more. Another option at BYU is its BS in Computer Science with an emphasis in animation.

According to U.S. News & World Report in 2016, Brigham Young tied for the 68th top university in the nation and was the 15th-best value school.

Top Animation Schools in the U.S.

Let's explore seven more schools with top animation programs:

College/University Name Location Distinction
Lesley University Cambridge, MA Has a BFA program in animation, an animation minor, and a 2-year professional-level certificate program
Pratt Institute Brooklyn, NY Has a computer graphics certificate program with a computer animation and video track that gives students the option to focus on 2-D and 3-D animation
Ringling College of Art and Design Sarasota, FL Offers a BFA in computer animation; the institution has accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design
Rhode Island School of Design Providence, RI Has facilities available to students in the BFA program in film, animation, and video that include an animation stand studio and a stop-action animation studio
Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester, NY BFA and MFA animation students can gain real-world experience and network with industry professionals through co-op opportunities
University of Central Florida Orlando, FL Has an emerging media track of the BFA in Art program with specialization options in character animation and experimental animation
University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA Animation students can apply for an internship abroad with the Tokyo Broadcasting System; bachelors and master's degree options in animation and digital arts are available

These top-notch colleges and universities may prepare students for successful animation careers, as evidenced by how they rank among other schools and the programs they offer students.

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