Our 2017 list of the Top 50 Animation School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here. 1. California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California (top 1% of schools considered) California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) is the nation's first postsecondary institution to offer graduate and undergraduate degrees in both the visual and performing arts. Established in 1961 by Walt and Roy Disney, the school is home to 1,449 students enrolled in more than 70 programs across six schools including the School of Critical Studies, The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance, the School of Art, the School of Film/Video, The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts, and the School of Theater.
The School of Film/Video is the largest school at CalArts, accounting for nearly 30% of the student population. Programs offered include a BFA in Character Animation and BFA and MFA degrees in Experimental Animation.See Also: Animal Welfare League Port Charlotte
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An introductory note from the editor: We started publishing US based regional and national lists in 2012 in response to myriad emails from aspiring animators seeking advice regarding the "best" schools in the US. The US-centric lists have been well-received, so much so that we now receive frequent requests to publish rankings of international animation schools. ACR staff writer and Social Media Manager Tom Fronczak managed and authored this year's Top 100 International Animation Schools rankings.
In preparing this year’s list, we surveyed over one hundred animation schools across the globe. Our end-goal is to give students access to ample information so they can make an informed decision about the school they choose to attend and the program they pursue. The criteria for this list includes the following, in no particular order: Find a school Overall quality of program including technology and facilities available to students.
Consistency and quality of student and graduate animation works. Geographic advantages derived from the school being located near animation employment hotspots. Reputation of program within the industry. A school can have online classes, but must not be online only. We will publish a separate rankings for online animation schools. Tuition and overall cost of attendance, while taken into consideration, are not a major influence in this ranking.
No one school is perfect for everybody, and there is no single opinion that trumps all when it comes to which school is the “best”. Ultimately every student has different needs regarding the type and academic rigor of a program, technology requirements, campus culture, as well as cost, lifestyle, and career focus. Our hope is that as 2017 begins, these comprehensive rankings are a starting point for students to discover the schools that are the best fit for them.
The top twenty five schools are ranked on the last page, but the other schools are listed alphabetically by country. Countries with only one school on the list are in a section before the top twenty five at the end. Please note that schools are only included once on this list. Schools in the top twenty five -- or with locations in several countries -- are only included on the list once. So a school with one location in India could actually be listed in a different country’s section.
Australian Schools: Academy of Interactive Entertainment. Australia campus locations: Adelaide, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney. Founded in 1996, AIE is celebrating its twenty year anniversary! AIE offers three main programs: Game Art & Animation, Game Programming, and Game Design & Production. Each program runs two years and the AIE site has PDFs with the full tuition breakdown costs for each program sorted by campus.
They also offer online classes, holiday courses, summer camps, short courses, certificates, master classes, and even an incubator program! Australian Film, Television, and Radio School. Sydney, Australia. Also known as AFTRS, this school has a few options. Their relevant 2017 degrees are Advanced Diploma in Editing (two semesters over 32 weeks for $7,000), Advanced Diploma in Visual Effects (two semesters over 32 weeks for $7,000), Diploma in Camera (one semester over sixteen weeks for $3,500), and a Diploma in Editing (one semester over sixteen weeks for $3,500).
They also have postgraduate courses for editing and cinematography which are both two semesters over 32 weeks for $12,360. Australian National University. Canberra, Australia. The Australian National University (ANU) was founded in 1946 and offers degrees for a wide range of career paths including one for aspiring animators. Their “Animation and Video Major” is a 48 unit degree that teaches students 2D and 3D animation, as well as video editing, compositing, and other production skills.
Their School of Art also has a Bachelor of Visual Arts that’s a 144 unit degree that spans three years. Billy Blue College of Design. Australia campus locations: Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney. Billy Blue has a Diploma of Digital Media Design which can run seven months or one year. They also provide a Bachelor of Digital Media in three different areas for you to choose from: 3D Design & Animation, Interaction Design, and Film & Video Design.
The three Bachelor programs can be completed full-time in two or three years, or part-time in four or six years. All four of their programs can be taken at their campuses in Brisbane, Melbourne, or Sydney. Central TAFE. Australia campus locations in East Perth and Joondalup. Central Institute of Technology is a Technical and Further Education (TAFE) Institution. Central TAFE has many different programs for animation and gaming: Certificate III in Media, Certificate IV in Digital Media Technologies, Diploma of Screen and Media, Diploma in Digital Media Technologies, Advanced Diploma of Animation, Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media, and Advanced Diploma of Games Development.
Students can go through some of these programs – which are each six or twelve months – to achieve one of three degrees: Bachelor of Arts (Games Art & Design), Bachelor of Arts (Digital Design), or Bachelor of Arts Creative Industries. Deakin University Australia. Australia campuses at Cloud, Geelong Waterfront, Gellong Waurn Ponds, Melbourne, and Warrnambool. Students seeking a career in animation, filmmaking, special effects, or game design can enter their program for Animation and Motion Capture.
One of the perks is their state-of-the-art motion capture facility, Motion.Lab. The Bachelor of Creative Arts (Animation and Motion Capture) program at the Burwood campus is a three year full-time undergraduate degree that costs about $6,381 per year. Griffith University. South Bank, Australia. Animators seeking coursing at Griffith University should consider these programs that they offer: Bachelor of Animation (three years, $6,349 per year), Bachelor of Animation with Honours (one year, $6,349 per year), Bachelor of Creative and Interactive Media (three years, $6,349 per year), Graduate Certificate in Interactive Media (half year, $10,250 per year), or a Master of Interactive Media (one to two years, $20,500 per year).
Raffles College of Design and Commerce. North Sydney, Australia. Raffles has three appealing programs for animators. Two of them are Visual Communication degrees: Bachelor of Arts in Animation and a Bachelor of Arts in Games Design. The other degree is a Bachelor of Design in Multimedia Design. Their three year programs are usually $55,440 total over six semesters. RMIT University. Melbourne, Australia.
RMIT offers three animation programs in Melbourne. Two of them are undergraduate degrees: Bachelor of Design (Animation and Interactive Media) and a Bachelor of Media and Communication (Honours). They also have a postgraduate degree that’s a Master of Animation, Games and Interactivity. In addition to these, they offer a one year Diploma of Interactive Digital Media as well. SAE Institute Australia (SAE Sydney was formerly Qantm College).
Including campuses from: SAE Brisbane, SAE Byron Bay, SAE Melbourne, SAE Perth, and SAE Sydney. There are lots of SAE Institutes all around the world but this was the very first one to be opened! It launched back in 1976 and the other SAE schools have spread to more than 50 other locations! This school offers three animation programs: Bachelor of Animation (two years, six trimesters), Associate Degree of Animation (four trimesters), and a Diploma of Screen and Media (seven months, two trimesters).
They also offer two game degrees: Bachelor of Games Development (two years, six trimesters) and an Associate Degree of Games Development (four trimesters). Swinburne University of Technology. Hawthorn, Australia. Swinburne has a three year Bachelor of Animation that covers both 2D and 3D production techniques, and costs roughly $6,349 per year for full-time students. They also offer five diploma programs that are focused on animation or screen media, as well as one certificate course.
Those seeking game design degrees have six Bachelor programs to choose from, though most of them are coding intensive and focused on computer science over art. University of Melbourne. Victoria, Australia. Founded way back in 1853, The Victorian College of the Arts at University of Melbourne has seen its School of Film and Television graduates enter the entertainment industry from all angles since 1968.
Their Animation Major in Bachelor of Fine Arts covers 2D, 3D, stop motion, editing, and sound courses using a variety of software. Australian students who have completed post-secondary study may be eligible for credit towards your studies at this university! Queensland University of Technology. Brisbane, Australia. Known by its students as QUT, this school has a virtual production studio for motion capture! Its undergraduate programs focus on game animation, game design, and software technologies.
Courses cover animated filmmaking, visual effects, game development, visual arts, and teach skills in motion graphics, 3D graphics, drawing, and real-time modelling for virtual environments. QUT has postgraduate options spanning Graduate Certificates, Honours Degrees, Masters Programs, and Doctoral Degrees. Want something shorter? They have a short course in Character Movement for Animation for just $176! University of Technology Sydney.
Sydney, Australia. University of Technology Sydney (UTS) has several Bachelor program options for artists! Here are their three year programs: Bachelor of Design in Animation, Bachelor of Science in Games Development, and a Bachelor of Design in Visual Communication. Want more specialization? UTS also offers combined Bachelor programs like Bachelor of Design in Animation Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation, which is four years, and a Bachelor of Design in Animation Bachelor of Arts in International Studies, which is five years.
Canadian Schools: Algonquin College. Ottawa, Canada. This school uses Mac computers and teaches Toonboom’s Harmony, Autodesk’s Maya, Final Cut Pro, Adobe After Effects, and Photoshop. Their three year Animation Diploma has a domestic tuition of $8,380 and an international tuition of $17,906, with books and supplies costing roughly $2,000 per year. Their three year Game Development Diploma is slightly cheaper.
Algonquin College also offers a one year Pre-Animation and Illustration program that's $5,804 for domestic students and $15,330 for international students. Want a shorter, cheaper option? They have a five week course in Advanced Harmony Animation Strategies for $3,495. Capilano University. North Vancouver, Squamish, and Sunshine Coast, Canada. Their graduate portfolios are pretty impressive, and so is their curriculum! Capilano School of Motion Picture Arts has fourteen different programs to choose from in areas spanning Motion Picture, Cinematography, Visual Effects, Independent Filmmaking, Digital Imaging, 2D Animation, 3D Animation, and Game Design.
Their 3D Animation graduates have gone on to work at dozens of large studios in the industry! Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Vancouver, Canada. After a first year of Bachelor of Media Arts foundation studies at Emily Carr, students can then apply for the Animation Major in the second year, which boasts 70% studio work time and 30% critical studies time. This school also offers certificate courses in Drawing, Painting, Illustration, Photography, 2D Design Basics, and 3D Design Basics.
Younger artists who are between 16 and 18 in age might qualify for their summer courses! LaSalle College International Vancouver. Vancouver, Canada. Their 2D/3D Animation Program is three semesters (fifteen weeks per semester) with a commitment of twenty hours per week for a total of 45 weeks and 900 hours. Software training covers Softimage, Photoshop, Mudbox, Nuke, ZBrush, and Premiere. Students can then seek jobs in the following career paths: Production Designer, Animator, 3D Character Builder, 3D Object Modeler, Storyboard Artist, or Production Designer.
LaSalle College also has a 825 hour Video Game 3D Modeling program that runs sixteen months. Ontario College of Art and Design. Toronto, Canada. The “OCAD University” has two undergraduate Digital Painting and Expanded Animation programs. One is an Integrated Media path and the other is a Drawing & Painting path. They also offer programs for Graphic Design, Illustration, and Advertising. The Art Institute of Vancouver.
Vancouver, Canada. This Art Institute location has several degrees worth pursuing! All of the following have gainful employment: Diploma in Game Art & Design (90 credit hours over six quarters), Bachelor of Science in Game Programming (180 credit hours over twelve quarters), Diploma in Visual & Game Programming (90 credit hours over six quarters), Diploma in 3D Modeling for Animation & Games (105 credit hours over seven quarters), Diploma in Animation Art & Design (105 credit hours over seven quarters), and a Diploma in VFX for Film & Television (105 credit hours over seven quarters).
Visual College of Art and Design of Vancouver. Vancouver, Canada. Also known as VCAD, this school began as a branch of the Victoria College of Art and Design. They have the following relevant program paths: Graphic Design, 3D Modeling Animation Art & Design, Game Development & Design, Mobile Game Design & Development, and Visual Effects Art and Design. Their animation program is six terms and currently is offering a $2,500 scholarship! In total across all programs, VCAD plans on giving away up to $150,000 in scholarships in 2017!