According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, prospective animators often need at least a bachelor's degree to work in animation. Here we'll take a look at several of the country's top schools offering degree programs that can prepare students for this career field. Animation degrees are available at the bachelor's and master's degree levels and are often part of a fine arts or an arts programs. Three of the country's top-rated animation schools include the University of Southern California, California Institute of the Arts, and Brigham Young University. These schools were selected for their fine arts programs or national university rankings as well as their unique degree concentrations, state of the art facilities, distinguished faculty, and student awards.
California Institute of the Arts
In 2016, U.S. News & World Report ranked the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia 9th among all schools offering graduate fine arts programs. CalArts has several notable alumni, including Tim Burton, Henry Selick, and John Lasseter, who is the chief creative officer of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios. The university's School of Film and Video is home to an animation design studio, which houses specialized editing computers, camera stands, testing centers and printers. Students can earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Experimental Animation, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Character Animation, or a Master of Fine Arts in Experimental Animation.
The University of Southern California
The University of Southern California in Los Angeles was ranked 23rd among all national universities by U.S. News & World Report in 2016. Through the John C. Hench Division of Animation and Digital Arts, students can earn a Bachelor of Arts in Animation and Digital Arts. Concentrations are available in visual effects, character animation, three-dimensional computer animation, and interactive animation. The University of Southern California also offers a Master of Fine Arts in Animation and Digital Arts and a 24-credit digital arts and animation minor.
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Animation, Video Graphics, and Special Effects
- Computer Typography and Composition
- Graphic and Printing Equipment Operations
- Prepress, Publishing, and Image Design
- Printing Management
- Printing Press Operation
Brigham Young University
Brigham Young University in Provo, UT, is home to the Center for Animation, a collaboration between the College of Science, Engineering, and Fine Arts. It offers a bachelor's degree in animation as well as a bachelor's degree in computer science with an animation emphasis. Students enrolled in these programs are taught by faculty from some of the largest animation studios in the world. They've also won 1st-place awards from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, also known as the Student Emmys.
Top Animation Schools
In addition to the top three covered already, there are several more top schools with highly-rated animation programs:
|Carnegie Mellon University||Pittsburgh, PA||Earned a 6th-place ranking on U.S. News & World Report's 2016 listing of best fine arts schools.|
|Drexel University||Philadelphia, PA||Provides animation programs that are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).|
|Rhode Island School of Design||Providence, RI||Tied for 4th on the U.S. News & World Report's list of best fine arts schools in the country|
|Rochester Institute of Technology||Rochester, NY||The animation facility features labs, studios, production equipment, and specialty stations.|
|University of Central Florida||Orlando, FL||Students can enroll in a Character Animation specialization.|
|University of Idaho||Moscow, ID||Offers a virtual technology and design program with access to motion-capture systems, 3D projectors, and 3D digitizers.|
|University of Utah||Salt Lake City, UT||The president of Pixar is an alum|
The California Institute of the Arts, the University of Southern California, and Brigham Young University are three exceptional animation colleges, producing many famous animators and directors over the years. These and other top schools offer many opportunities for experimental learning in different media.