31. San Jose State University, San Jose, California (top 15% of schools considered)
San Jose State University (SJSU) was founded in 1857 and it is home to more than 32,000 students enrolled in 145 areas of study, with an additional 108 concentrations, across eight colleges. The College of Humanities and the Arts, Department of Design offers a BFA in Animation/Illustration. Graduates of this program have worked on films from A Bug’s Life and Finding Nemo to Monsters, Inc. and Shrek. Graduates have also been hired at more than 135 animation studios, game design companies, film studios, and academic institutions. Just a few include 20th Century Fox, Animation Mentor, Blue Sky Studios, Blizzard Entertainment, Cartoon Network, Cogswell Institute, Disney Interactive, Electronic Arts, Lucasfilm Animation, NBCUniversal Studios, Nickelodeon, Pixar, Sony/Columbia, The Art Institute of Las Vegas, Disney Animation, and Zynga.
32. Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California (top 20% of schools considered)
Loyola Marymount University (LMU) was established in 1911 and it is home to 9,295 students enrolled in roughly 170 major, minor, master’s, and doctoral programs across seven colleges and schools. The School of Film and Television is home to LMUs Animation Program. The cross-disciplinary BA in Animation includes 3D Filmmaking, Advanced Storytelling and Production Techniques, Interactive Design, and Visual Effects. An internship during the Spring semester, senior year, is also part of the program. The School of Film and Television also offers an Animation Minor that is available to all students, regardless of major.
33. Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, Massachusetts (top 20% of schools considered)
Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) was founded in 1873 as a training institution for aspiring drawing teachers, architects, artists, and designers. Today, MassArt offers more than 20 undergraduate art programs, nearly a dozen graduate programs, and around seven certificate programs to a population of nearly 2,000 students. The Animation Department at MassArt offers a BFA in Animation that gives students the opportunity to engage in a variety of conventional and experimental techniques. Students will study Documentary Animation, Digitally Generated Animation, Character Animation, Stop Motion, Experimental Video, and Emerging Technologies.
Other highlights include “Squealing Pegs,” which is an annual screening of recent animated short films, the Animation Senior Showcase, and visiting artists and lectures.
34. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (top 20% of schools considered)
Founded in 1740, the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) is home to nearly 25,000 students enrolled in more than 400 programs across 16 schools. The School of Engineering and Applied Science is home to the Digital Media Design Program, which leads to a Bachelor’s in Engineering and Science (BSE) with a Digital Media Design Major (DMD). Created in 1998, this interdisciplinary program was “designed for students who have an interest in computer graphics, animation, games, and the design of virtual reality environments and interactive technologies.” A Digital Media Design (DMD) Minor, and a PhD in Human Modeling and Simulation (HMS PhD) are also on the menu.
BSE DMD students go on the work at major studios such as Walt Disney Animation, DreamWorks Animation, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Pixar, and Zynga Games. These are the largest employers of UPenn DMD graduates.
35. California State University-Long Beach, Long Beach, California (top 20% of schools considered)
California State University Long Beach (CSULB) was established in 1949. One of the 23 campuses of the California State University System, CSULB is home to 37,430 students enrolled in more than 300 programs across eight colleges. The College of the Arts, School of Art offers a BFA with an Option in Illustration/Animation. Students may choose the Animation or Illustration Track, but they may take courses in both tracks and work with students in both tracks in the digital lab.
An MFA/MA degree is also on the menu. This advanced degree is "designed with a dual emphasis on tailoring programs of study to individual students while fostering shared experience among a community of students.” Also part of the College of the Arts is the Department of Film & Electronic Arts, which offers a BA in Film and Electronic Arts. The program highlights heavy animation coursework including 3D Computer Animation, History of Animation, Digital Arts Production (Visual Effects, Computer Animation, Interactive Media), and others.
36. The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School (DAVE School), Orlando, Florida (top 20% of schools considered)
Founded in 2000, The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School (Dave School) is a 35,000 square foot facility located on the backlot of Universal Studios Florida, Soundstage 25. The school offers intensive and “comprehensive training” in 3D Modeling, 3D Animation, 3D Visual Effects, and Game Production. Programs for aspiring animators include a Bachelor’s in Motion Graphics, and Certificates in Visual Effects Production and Game Production.
The Bachelor’s in Motion Graphics introduces students to 3D Modeling and Animation for Motion Graphics. Students in the program will learn and practice the principles of Animation, Compositing, Composition, and Design. The 15-month Game Production Program covers Animation Fundamentals and Digital Modeling and Sculpting, while the 12-month 3D Visual Effects Program covers Modeling & Sculpting, Visual Effects, Studio Production, and Animation Fundamentals as well.
DAVE school graduates have worked on major productions such as Terminator Genisys, Jurassic World, Captain America, The Hobbit, and Godzilla.
37. California State University-Fullerton, Fullerton, California (top 20% of schools considered)
Established in 1957, California State University Fullerton (Cal State Fullerton) is home to more than 40,000 students enrolled in more than 100 degree programs across eight colleges. The College of the Arts, Department of Visual Arts offers more than a dozen graduate and undergraduate programs for artists. Programs for aspiring animators include a BFA in Art with a Concentration in Entertainment Art/Animation.
Through a partnership with Nickelodeon Studios, the Entertainment Art/Animation area has “developed educational opportunities to further the career goals of its students.” In addition to Nickelodeon, graduates of the program have been hired at Cartoon Network, Disney Feature Animation, Disney TV Animation, Electronic Arts, Lucasfilm, Sony Games, and Sony Pictures Imageworks, to name a few. Students have also worked on productions such as Avatar, Alvin and The Chipmunks, Ice Age 2, Spiderman 3, SpongeBob Squarepants, Superman Returns, The Simpsons, and many others
38. Laguna College of Art and Design, Laguna Beach, California (top 20% of schools considered)
Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) was established in 1961 as the Laguna Beach School of Art. The school is home to more than 600 students and it offers twelve undergraduate majors and four graduate degrees. Options for aspiring animators include a BFA in Animation and a BFA in Illustration with an Emphasis in Entertainment. The Animation BFA provides the opportunity for students to participate in master class workshops each summer where they learn from leaders in the field. Each year, LCAD also hosts the LCAD Animation Film Festival that “showcases the best work from all levels of (the schools) animation artists.”
LCAD Animation graduates have worked for a number of major studios including Cartoon Network, Disney, DreamWorks, Fox, Nickelodeon, Obsidian Entertainment, Pixar, Renegade Animation, Sony, South Park Studios, Titmouse, and Zynga.
39. Woodbury University, Burbank, California (top 20% of schools considered)
Founded in 1884, Woodbury University is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in Southern California. The school, which has campuses in Los Angeles/Burbank and San Diego and a Gallery (WUHO Gallery) in Hollywood, is home to approximately 1,283 students enrolled in 18 undergraduate majors and eight gradate majors across four colleges and schools. They include the College of Liberal Arts, the School of Architecture, the School of Business, and the School of Media, Culture & Design.
The School of Media, Culture & Design is home to the Animation Program. Woodbury promotes “cross-disciplinarity,” which means Animation students may study in other areas such as Game Art & Design, Media Technology, Filmmaking and others. In addition to the opportunity to study other disciplines, animation students may participate in Woodbury’s internship program and the Animation Club, which hosts events, speakers, and exhibitions. Internship opportunities include positions at Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, DreamWorks, Warner Bros., Chiodo Bros., Bix Pix Entertainment, Blur Studios, Walt Disney Imagineering, Walt Disney Animation, Renegade Animation, Hasbro Studios, and others.
40. University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, Texas (top 20% of schools considered)
The University of Texas-Dallas (UT Dallas) was established as a member of the University of Texas System in 1969. The school is home to approximately 26,797 students enrolled in 130 academic programs across seven schools. The School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication (ATEC) offers a variety of interdisciplinary programs for aspiring animators including a BA in Arts and Technology (BA ATEC), an MA in Arts and Technology (MA ATEC), an MFA in Arts and Technology (MFA ATEC), and a PhD in Arts and Technology (PhD ATEC).
ATEC students have the opportunity to take a total of 15 credit hours/five courses in Animation, Design, Storytelling, and Games, to name a few. Topics courses such as Topics in Animation, Topics in ATEC, and Topics in Game Development are also available.
41. Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus, Ohio (top 20% of schools considered)
Established in 1879, Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD) is one of the oldest private art and design colleges in the United States. The school is home to more than 1,300 students enrolled in 14 degree programs. Programs for aspiring animators include an Animation BFA with Concentrations in Animation/Game and Animation/Experimental. Minor options include Animation 2D and Animation 3D. An MFA program is also available. Students in this program have executed individual projects from animation and video to interactive design and illustration.
All students may participate in CCAD’s International Exchange Program, which highlights study at China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, China; Universidad Mayor, Santiago, Chile; Xi’an Fine Arts Academy, Xi’an, China, and Northumbria, Newcastle, England. Students may also study at CCAD-approved programs at Studio Art Centers, Florence, Italy, and University of Arts London, London. Graduates of the CCAD Animation BFA Program have landed positions at Animal Logic, Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios, DreamWorks, Cartoon Network, Electronic Arts, Nickelodeon Animation Studios, Sony Pictures Animation, Time Warner, Twentieth Century Fox, and many others.
42. California State University-Northridge, Northridge, California (top 25% of schools considered)
California State University Northridge (CSUN) was founded in 1958. It is home to 40,131 students enrolled in more than 140 programs across nine colleges. The Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication houses the Department of Art, which offers several programs for aspiring animators. Program offerings include a BA Visual Arts with a Concentration in Animation and MA and MFA degrees in Visual Arts with a Concentration in Video/Digital Art.
Curb College Department of Art students have the opportunity to participate in industry events and internships with Disney, DreamWorks, Warner Bros., Nickelodeon, Film Roman, and many others.
43. Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis, Minnesota (top 25% of schools considered)
Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) was established in 1886. It is home to 800 students enrolled in more than 20 programs across several departments. The Animation Department offers a BFA in Animation and an MFA in Visual Studies. The BFA Program highlights courses such as Stop-Motion Animation, Character Animation, 3D Animation, 3D Modeling, Filmmaking, Storyboard, Sound, and Drawing. A required internship is also part of the program as well as optional study abroad experiences in Japan, Germany, England, Italy, and other places. MCAD students have interned at Nickelodeon, MTV, Walker Art Center, and Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.
Housed in an all-MFA studio and gallery space, the MFA Program allows students to pursue creative work in areas such as Animation, Comic Arts, Filmmaking, Illustration, Installation Art, and Interactive Media.
44. Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (top 25% of schools considered)
Drexel University was established in 1891 and it is home to approximately 25,595 students enrolled in over 200 degree programs across 15 colleges and schools. The Westphal College of Media Arts & Design is home to the Digital Media Department, which offers several programs for aspiring animators. Offerings include a BS and a Minor in Animation & Visual Effects and an MS in Digital Media. The Animation & Visual Effects program features a six-month co-op, where students will “learn the underlying principles of animation along with industry-standard software technology. The entire creative pipeline from storyboarding through modeling and animation is covered in-depth, allowing students to experience all aspects of production.”
The two-year MS in Digital Media program offers comprehensive studies in Advanced Digital Design including 3D Modeling, Animation, Interactivity, Gaming and Digital Media History, and Theory and Methods.
45. Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana (top 25% of schools considered)
Purdue Polytechnic Institute was founded in 1964 as Purdue University College of Technology ad it is part of Purdue University. Established in 1869, Purdue University is home to 40,450 students from all 50 states and nearly 130 countries. Purdue Polytechnic houses eight departments and schools that offer 68 academic options in six subject areas. The Department of Computer Graphics Technology (CGT) offers animation programs at all degree levels beginning with a BS in Animation. This program focuses on six areas of animation including 3-D Modeling, Texturing, Lighting, Rendering, Character Rigging (creating a digital skeleton) and Motion. Graduates of the BS program have found employment at DreamWorks, Walt Disney Company, and Rhythm & Hues and eight of the school’s alumni were part of the creative teams behind 2014 Oscar winner Big Hero 6 and 2014 Golden Globe winner How to Train Your Dragon 2.
The CGT Department also offers a BS in Visual Effects Compositing that combines Animation, Visual Effects, and Video “to create highly graphical videos for episodic television and films. A BS in Effects Technical Direction is also available and it highlights supplemental coursework in Animation. Graduates of the program have also landed positions at DreamWorks, Walt Disney Company, and Rhythm & Hues.
Graduate offerings include an MS in Computer Graphics Technology (CGT) and a PhD in Technology offered through the Department of Computer Graphics Technology (CGT).
The MS offers several focus areas for aspiring animators including Computer Animation, Video Production and Visual Effects, Computational Art, and Virtual and Augmented Reality. The PhD Program offers a CGT Specialization that covers Animation, Game Studies, Human Centered Design and Development, Virtual Product Integration, and Web Programming and Design. Students may also earn a BS CGT/MS Technology with a Specialization in CGT, which may be completed in just five years instead of six years or more if pursued separately.
46. Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina (top 25% of schools considered)
Established in 1889 as Clemson Agricultural College, Clemson University is home to nearly 22,000 students enrolled in 80+ majors, 75+ minors, and 110+ graduate degree programs across seven colleges. The College of Engineering and Science offers several programs for aspiring animators including an MFA in Digital Production Arts (MFA DPA) and a Minor in DPA. The DPA MFA Program has 31 students and highlights Computer Animation, 3D Modeling, Compositing, Computer Games, FX, Lighting, Rigging, Simulation, and Visual Effects, to name a few.
Graduates of the program have worked on films such as Frozen, Hobbit, Rio, How to Train Your Dragon, and The Croods. Many have been hired by major studios such as Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Blue Sky Studios, DreamWorks, EA, ReelFX, and Sony Pictures Imageworks.
47. Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Missouri (top 25% of schools considered)
Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) was established in 1885, and boasts such names as Walt Disney (who took Saturday Classes as a child), and multimedia artist Robert Rauschenberg. The school is to more than 700 students enrolled in around 15 programs, including a BFA in Animation. The program allows students to spend a full year of “structured studio time producing a significant personal work.” Students also have access to internship and employment opportunities at studios such as Disney, DreamWorks, Digital Domain, Nickelodeon, Hallmark, Bazillion Pictures, and Titmouse Inc.
48. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York (top 25% of schools considered)
Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) is home to 7,113 students enrolled in more than 145 programs across five schools. The School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) is home to five academic departments including Arts, Cognitive Science, Communication and Media, Economics, and Science and Technology Studies (STS). The Department of Communication and Media (C&M), in collaboration with the Department of Arts, offers a BS in Electronic Media, Arts, & Communication (EMAC). The EMAC program offers a Concentration in Digital Storytelling (Animation, Video, and Game Design).
The Department of the Arts offers a BS in Electronic Arts (BS EART) with a Concentration in Visual Arts & Animation, as well as MFA and PhD degrees in EART. Both advanced degree programs allow students to explore areas of interest ranging from Animation and Communication Technologies to Gaming.
49. Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida (top 25% of schools considered)
Founded in 1851 and home to more than 41,000 students, Florida State University (FSU) is one of the largest and oldest of the 11 institutions of higher learning in the State University System of Florida. The school offers more than 275 degree programs across 16 colleges. The College of Motion Picture Arts offers several programs for aspiring animators including a BFA in Motion Picture Arts – Animation and Digital Arts, and The Torchlight Program.
BFA students will begin with Film History, Screenwriting, Directing, Cinematography, CG and Live Action Production, Editing and Sound. Students will then learn the craft of digital filmmaking through 3D Animation, Character Development, Compositing, Modeling, Stop Motion, Texturing, Rendering, and Visual Effects Cinematography. The Torchlight Program gives FSU animation students who would like to freelance or start their own studios the opportunity to learn about “current and emerging business practices of the motion picture industry.” The program offers coursework in key areas such as Distribution, Marketing, and Motion Picture Financing.
50. Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio (top 25% of schools considered)
Founded in 1910, Bowling Green State University (BGSU) is home 19,000 students, including 2,500 at BGSU Firelands in Huron, Ohio. The school offers more than 200 undergraduate majors and programs on the main campus and 22 at BGSU Firelands. The school houses nine colleges, including the College of Arts and Sciences, home of the School of Art. The School houses the BGSU Digital Arts program, which offers a BFA in Digital Arts and a BA in Art with a Digital Arts Specialization with three Focus Areas—Computer Animation & Video, Imaging, and Interactive Multimedia. An MFA in Art with a Major in Digital Arts (Computer Animation, Digital Imaging, and Interactive Media) is also on the menu, as well as a Minor in Digital Art.
According to the School of Art, the MFA program is an “intensive, 60-credit studio degree designed to prepare students to become both professional artists in industry and university-level instructors while developing their own studio practice.” Both programs offer internship opportunities and study abroad experiences in more than 40 countries worldwide.