Along with graphic designers, photographers, and other creative professionals, animation jobs are among the most popular and well-paying. The animation industry is one of the largest and fastest-expanding in the entertainment sector.
The median wage reported for US special effects artists and animators in May 2021 was $78,790, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of animation and visual effects positions will be 16% greater in 2030 than in 2020. This growth rate is more than double the national average for all occupations. While the demand for animators is increasing, competition is stiff. So, in this piece, we’ll go over the best animation colleges that will undoubtedly prepare you for success!

Best Animation Universities and Colleges

We’ve given you the fundamentals to get you thinking. Without further ado, here is a list of the best animation institutions and colleges in 2023.

#1. The University of Utah

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation

The BFA in Animation program at Brigham Young University has a limited enrollment. Students who have been accepted into the pre-major must complete the requirements and apply at the end of the first term of the fall or winter semesters. Once accepted, students have access to everything the BYU Center of Animation has to offer for the animation, live-action, special effects, and game industries, both artistically and technologically.

#2. California Institute of the Arts

Bachelor of Arts in Animation

The animation program at California College of the Arts is designed to teach students how to create for both TV and movies. It teaches 2D animation, 3D animation, animation for video games, stop-motion animation, and more. CCA provides an open-lab setting in which students can work on cutting-edge equipment such as 24-inch Cintiq monitors, a Foley room, a sound studio, and more.

#3. California Institute of the Arts (CalArts)

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Character Animation; Bachelor of Fine Arts in Experimental Animation
The California Institute of the Arts offers two BFA programs in animation: one in character animation and one in experimental animation. Character animation, the first, focuses on the craft of storytelling and character acting. Students in this intensive four-year program will construct a professional-caliber portfolio by working in both conventional and computer graphic (CG) animation environments. The Experimental Animation curriculum is aimed at forward-thinking artists and will challenge students to create artistically revolutionary designs.

#4. Cleveland Museum of Art

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation

The goal of the Cleveland Institute of Art’s Animation Department is to produce expert content with a storytelling emphasis. Students will study 2D and 3D animation, as well as acting, human and animal anatomy, and other subjects. Before graduating, all animation students work with a client, community partner, or intern.

#5. Chicago’s Columbia College

BFA and BA degrees in both traditional and computer animation; BA degree in animation

Columbia College of Chicago provides programs in both traditional and computer animation, as well as BA and BFA degrees. If you wish to work in stop-motion and hand-drawn animation, 3D animation, or a combination of the two, Columbia has a program for you. Students can use a Cintiq Lab, Stop-Motion Labs, Camera Labs, and other animation production spaces.

#6. University of DePaul

BFA and BA degrees in animation

DePaul University’s College of Computing and Digital Media offers both a BA and a BFA in animation. Within a wide liberal arts curriculum, the BA degree promotes animation, creativity, and critical thinking. The BFA goes deeper, providing a solid foundation in the art of animation as well as its history. Students will practice both traditional and 3D computer animation and modeling. Students can specialize in cinema animation, game art, storyboarding and character design, motion graphics, or 3D animation.

#7. University of Florida

BFA in Motion Picture Arts with a concentration in Animation and Digital Arts

Florida State University is home to the College of Motion Picture Arts, which offers a 3-year curriculum and a 4-year degree in Animation and Digital Arts. Students learn how to create 3D animation and visual effects in live-action filming.

#8. Laguna College of Art and Design, California

Degree: Animation focused on developing amazing storytellers

The BFA Program at Laguna College of Art and Design in California is intended to train students to become storytellers who understand the animation process from beginning to end. Every year, the college sponsors the LCAD Animation Film Festival, which showcases the best student work from all levels.

#9. Loyola Marymount University

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation

The animation program at Loyola Marymount University seeks to help each student create their own distinct artistic vision. LMU was the first university to construct a motion-capture facility and teach the techniques utilized in James Cameron’s Avatar. Students will learn visual effects, stop-motion animation, experimental animation, 2D and 3D, game design, and more in small classes using cutting-edge networked computer workstations.

#10. Maryland Institute of Art

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation

The Animation Department of the Maryland Institute College of Art offers a BFA in Animation, with students gaining real-world experience in the Baltimore neighborhood. Students will graduate with skills in 2D animation, stop-motion animation, and 3D animation.

#11. Massachusetts College of Art & Design

Animation Degree Program

The BFA in Animation program at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design is searching for talented students who are eager for a challenge. Students will graduate with a solid understanding of Technology and Workflow, the Creative Process, Critique and Assessment, and Research and context. Students at MassArt have access to 6 unique animation studios, Multi-Modal labs, an Editing and sound Studio, and other resources.

#12. College of Art & Design Minneapolis

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation

The BFA in Animation program at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design provides a broad historical perspective on animation as both an applied and fine art by providing education in illustrated, stop-motion, and computer-generated methods of animation. Students are obliged to do an internship and are encouraged to study abroad during their third year before diving into senior-year projects.

#13. Montclair University

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation/Illustration

The BFA in Animation/Illustration at Montclair State University is a pre-professional degree that teaches students digital illustration, 2D and 3D animation, cartooning, character design, screenwriting for animation, texture mapping, and much more. Students can work in a variety of studios, including a Product/Design Studio and a Drawing Studio.

#14. University of New York

BS and BFA in Film and Television, Animation Concentration

The Animation Area at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts is intended to meet the needs of all Film and TV students in both animation and live-action. The program includes classes in 2D and 3D animation, storyboarding, optical and digital effects, titles, life painting, history, and critique.

#15. Ohio University

BFA in Art with a focus on Art and Technology

The BFA in Art with an Emphasis in Art & Technology program at Ohio State University may not say “Animation,” but it has some animation awards. Students will construct interactive installations, make moving images and 3D animations, work in virtual reality, 3D modeling, art games, holography, and more as part of the curriculum.

#16. Purdue University

Bachelor of Arts in Animation

Purdue University’s Animation major focuses on six aspects of animation: 3D modeling, texturing, lighting, rendering, character rigging, and motion. Students learn by doing in teams and with professionals at the Polytechnic Institute.

#17. The Pratt Institute

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Arts and Animation

Pratt Institute’s BFA in Digital Arts and Animation program exposes students to the philosophy, practice, and history of digital media. They can specialize in one of three areas of digital arts: 3D Animation and Motion Arts, 2D Animation, or Interactive Arts. The Animation department is housed in Myrtle Hall, which includes digital studio/classrooms, 2D and 3D printers, a dedicated green screen facility, a high-speed Fibre Channel network, traditional animation equipment, and more.

#18. Rhode Island Design School

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film, Animation, and Video

The Rhode Island School of Design provides a BFA in Film, Animation, and Video, or FAV for short, which trains students in both live-action and animation, as well as hybrids of the two. Animation stand studios, stop-action animation studios, and other equipment and programs are available to students.

#19. Ringling College of Art and Design

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Computer Animation

A BFA in Computer Animation is available at Ringling College of Art and Design, with a concentration on creating original work that affects the audience emotionally, visually, and intellectually. RCAD hosts visiting artists from the industry and has eight state-of-the-art computer labs for students to work in, as well as a render farm.

#20. Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film and Animation

The Rochester Institute of Technology’s School of Film and Animation provides a BFA in animation with three tracks to select from 2D, 3D, and stop-motion animation. Students have access to a variety of facilities from the outset, including a Mixdown Room, SOFA Cage, and Animation Crane Rooms.

#21. Savannah College of Art and Design, Georgia.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation

Savannah College of Art and Design offers a BFA, MA, and MFA in Animation and has locations in Atlanta, Hong Kong, Savannah, and online through e-learning. SCAD provides the knowledge and resources needed to work in cinema, television, video games, AR/VR, and other fields. Students have access to high-performance digital workstations, cutting-edge motion capture devices, and other resources.

#22. Syracuse University

BFA in Computer Art and Animation

The Department of Transmedia at Syracuse University offers a BFA in Computer Art and animation. The curriculum begins with an emphasis on building a strong foundation and includes the option to fly to Los Angeles for an immersive experience in animation and film.

#23. A&M University, Texas

Bachelor of Science in Visualization

Another curriculum that doesn’t have the term “Animation” in it, but graduates of Texas A&M University’s BS in Visualization degree have gone on to contribute to big-name Animation films including Toy Story 4 and Zootopia. Visualization Aggies are trained to participate and develop in all areas of visual communication, including animation, both scientifically and aesthetically. Students are obliged to study away for a semester in their junior year before engaging deeply in studio time and capstone projects their senior year.

#24. Penn State University

Digital Media Design Program

The Digital Media Design Program at the University of Pennsylvania is a Bachelor of Engineering and Science (BSE) degree designed for students interested in computer graphics, animation, gaming, and more. This curriculum was founded in 1998 to integrate visual arts and computer science – while students will use their artistic skills, they will also be expected to focus on the programming, mathematics, and technology that construct computer graphics.

#25. Southern California University

Bachelor of Arts in Animation and Digital Arts

The program of the University of Southern California’s John C. Hench Division of Animation includes classic character animation, 2D and 3D storytelling, performance capture, visual effects, motion graphics, stop-motion animation, and more. Students from USC Animation can study at Studio Art Centers International (SACI) in Florence, Italy.

#26. Woodbury College

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation

Woodbury University’s BFA in Animation program is taught in a studio environment and is hands-on from the outset. Students in Woodbury’s animation program create characters and environments to star in their own films, whether the medium is hand-drawn, stop-motion, or computer graphics. Students must do an internship before graduating, but with Woodbury’s prime location only 20 minutes away from 15 different animation studios, there are lots of options.

What You Should Know Before Becoming an Animator

You must be skilled in art, innovation, storytelling, and technology to work as an animator. Animation has a plethora of applications in media, entertainment, education, and even medicine. One of the reasons animators are in such great demand is their versatility.

What are the Degree Requirements For the Animation Colleges?

Most animation positions do not have specific degree requirements, so it is totally possible to work in the animation industry without a Bachelor’s degree in animation or a related discipline.
To be employed, successful animators will require an excellent portfolio.

Animation colleges are fantastic places to learn how to animate and create your portfolio while receiving assistance and feedback from peers and teachers. It is a wonderful place for learning new skills and expanding your knowledge as an animator.

Do Degrees Really Matter?

Getting a degree should be near the bottom of your priority list if you want to be an animator. Whatever path you choose to become an animator, you should always emphasize studying the skills necessary to grow and become an exceptional animator.

While obtaining a degree is eventually important for a variety of reasons, degrees are pointless without being accompanied by a solid portfolio that proves your ability as an animator. When considering you as a candidate, companies may glance at your portfolio first, before looking at your credentials.

Your portfolio and projects reflect your ability as an animator far more effectively than your degree. As a result, prioritize the process of learning and developing over academic credentials.

What is the Best Major for Animation?

The most common degree program in colleges for aspiring animators is the B.F.A. in Computer Animation. The B.A. Cinema Art + Science focuses on the principles of film production with a concentration on animation.

Are Animators Adequately Compensated?

Compensation for animators, like that of many other professions, is based on experience; it’s not uncommon for senior-level animators or art directors to make well into six figures

Last Thoughts

If you want to be an animator, then this post can provide you with some new ideas and inspiration.
While those who work in animation frequently begin with a tremendous passion, achieving success as a vocation requires a significant investment of time and effort. You must be willing to devote your time, energy, and tenacity to the creation of numerous animated projects.

While this can be said about any professional path, employment prospects for animators appear to be better than ever. Everything you go through will be worth it in the end if you stay dedicated, especially if you go to one of the best animation colleges in the country.


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