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Best Animation Schools: The Top Colleges and Universities for Animation Programs

Uwidia Emmanuel - July 04, 2022

The best schools for animation prepare students for careers in the ever-growing field of art and technology. Animation and motion arts education courses from the best animation universities provide an opportunity for students to study interactive entertainment, visual arts, art direction, and game animation. Upon graduation, students can create animated projects and work with popular global animation companies.

Choosing a program from the range of best animation colleges can be daunting.  To help you choose the best program for you, this article covers the best animation schools, sample courses, and admission requirements. We also outline prospective jobs you can get with a degree in animation.

Best Animation College and University Rankings: Top 10 Animation Schools at a Glance

School State Formats Available US News Ranking
DePaul University IL In-person, hybrid 127
George Mason University VA In-person 148
Northeastern University MA In-person 49
Ohio State University OH In-person 49
Rochester Institute of Technology NY In-person 117
University of California, Los Angeles CA In-person 20
University of Florida FL Online, in-person 28
University of Pennsylvania PA In-person 8
University of Southern California CA Online, in-person 27
Wilmington University DE Online, in-person, hybrid 299 – 391

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Animation School Rankings: Best Animation Colleges and Universities

The schools listed below are the best animation colleges in the US. These animation schools have experienced faculty members and thorough curricula to prepare students for a fulfilling career as an animator.


DePaul University

Graduation Rate: 70%

Established in 1898, DePaul University is the foremost Catholic private research university in the United States, with over  21,000 students. It provides online and on-campus degree programs in arts, business, and the sciences.

DePaul University Overview

  • School Type: Private
  • Acceptance Rate: 69%
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s to PhD
  • US News Ranking: 127
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: N/A

Best DePaul University Animation Programs

  • Bachelor of Arts in Animation. This four-year, 192-credit program teaches students the basics of animation and relevant animation principles. The BA in Animation program is a hybrid program and students have the option to take specific courses online.
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation. This 208-credit undergraduate degree program lasts for four years. It teaches traditional animation concepts and art history. It is designed for students serious about pursuing a career in animation, and you can choose to specialize in 3D animation, game art, motion graphics, character design, or visual effects.
  • Master’s of Arts in Animation. DePaul University’s Master of Arts in Animation program is an in-person program that provides five different concentrations for students. Students enrolled in the 52-credit-hour traditional animation program are expected to spend one year obtaining their degree.
  • Master’s of Fine Arts in Animation. This intensive two-year 80-credit-hour graduate degree covers various topics, including character animation, motion graphics, and game art. The MFA in Animation program is available on-campus.
  • Master’s of Science in Game Programming. Animation is an essential aspect of game development. Students will learn programming principles and animation concepts in this 52-credit-hour hybrid master’s degree program.

DePaul University Animation Key Takeaway

DePaul University provides well-rounded, animation-focused graduate and undergraduate animation programs for its students.


George Mason University

Graduation Rate: 70%

George Mason University , founded in 1957, is a reputable public school with over 38,000 students. It has nine schools and colleges and provides accelerated and dual degree programs in various subjects, including art and visual technology, computer science, and economics.

George Mason University Overview

  • School Type: Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 91%
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s to PhD
  • US News Ranking: 148
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 251-300

Best George Mason University Animation Programs

  • Bachelor of Arts in Art and Visual Technology . This four-year, 120-credit undergraduate degree is delivered at the Fairfax campus. It has seven concentration options, including a New Media Art stream. In this program, students can learn 2D animation, 3D animation, and essential technical animation skills.
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art and Visual Technology . The BFA Art and Visual Technology degree is a four-year, 120-credit undergraduate degree. It has eight concentrations and provides instruction on several critical animation concepts. Classes are available only on campus.
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Computer Game Design . The BFA Computer Game Design program is an on-campus, four-year, 120-credit degree offered by the College of Visual and Performing Arts at George Mason University. It teaches students the technical aspects of game design and the animation techniques used for developing video games.

George Mason University Animation Key Takeaway

George Mason University provides world-class training for animation students and offers an option for an accelerated master’s degree.


Northeastern University

Graduation Rate: 91%

Northeastern University was founded in Boston, Massachusetts in 1898 as a research university. It has over 22,000 students. Northeastern University has nine colleges, including the colleges of art and design, engineering, and health sciences.

Northeastern University Overview

  • School Type: Private
  • Acceptance Rate: 18%
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s and Master’s
  • US News Ranking: 49
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 168

Best Northeastern University Animation Programs

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Game Art and Animation . This bachelor’s degree program emphasizes the art of animation for game design. Students taking this in-person, 129-hour undergraduate animation program should be able to complete it within four years.
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Media Arts . Northeastern University’s BFA in Media Arts program is delivered in person. It has a 130-hour animation concentration option. Undergraduate students in this program will learn art history, character design, and essential animation concepts over the course of four years.
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Game Design . The BFA in Game Design degree is an in-person program designed to produce creative animators for the gaming industry. After four years, students enrolled in this 128-semester hour program will have a solid knowledge of interactive design for video games and other forms of digital media.

Northeastern University Animation Key Takeaway

Northeastern University’s College of Arts and Design is a top-rated animation college. It is a great fit for students looking to work as an animator in the gaming industry.


Ohio State University

Graduation Rate: 88%

Ohio State University has about 61,000 students and five regional campuses. This public institution offers over 200 majors, including popular subjects such as computer science, information systems, and visual communications design.

Ohio State University Overview

  • School Type: Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 57%
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Degrees Offered: Associate to PhD
  • US News Ranking: 49
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 85

Best Ohio State University Animation Programs

  • Masters of Fine Art in Digital Animation and Interactive Media. This graduate program lasts three years and teaches game art, interactive media, and other animation topics within a multidisciplinary environment. Students enrolled in this master's degree are expected to complete 60 credit hours of coursework on the school’s main campus.

Ohio State University Animation Key Takeaway

Ohio State University offers one of the best master’s degree programs for individuals who wish to learn modern animation and interactive media principles for animation industry roles.


Rochester Institute of Technology

Graduation Rate: 69%

Since its inception in 1829, Rochester Institute of Technology has trained high-performing graduates through its 11 colleges. Over 16,000 students at this public university are studying a wide range of in-demand programs such as computing security, game design and development, and engineering.

Rochester Institute of Technology Overview

  • School Type: Private
  • Acceptance Rate: 71%
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Degrees Offered: Associate to PhD
  • US News Ranking: 117
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 801-1000

Best Rochester Institute of Technology Animation Programs

  • Associate in Applied Science in 3D Graphics Technology. This three-year, 72-credit associate degree program at Rochester Institute of Technology teaches students the fundamentals of 3D digital media art. It is delivered on campus and offers students the option of extending their qualifications to a bachelor’s degree.
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in 3D Digital Design . Over four years, students enrolled in Rochester Institute of Technology’s 120-credit BFA in Digital Design program will learn critical digital media design concepts such as modeling and motion strategies. This program is conducted on campus and includes collaborative projects.
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Motion Picture Science . Rochester Institute of Technology’s BFA in Motion Picture Science is a four-year undergraduate degree program that teaches animation production for film and television. It is a 125-credit course and is available as an on-campus program.
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in New Media Design. This bachelor’s degree is a four-year, 122-credit program. It is provided on campus and covers subjects such as motion animation and experimental animation.
  • Master’s of Fine Arts in Film and Animation . This three-year, 65-credit graduate program is delivered in person on the school’s campus.

Rochester Institute of Technology Animation Key Takeaway

Rochester Institute of Technology is one of the most reputable animation schools with several animation degrees for undergraduate students seeking to begin their careers in the animation field.


University of California, Los Angeles

Graduation Rate: 92%

University of California, Los Angeles , has 13 schools and colleges and over 44,000 students. It was established in 1919 and is known as one of the foremost public colleges in the United States.

University of California, Los Angeles Overview

  • School Type: Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 11%
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s to PhD
  • US News Ranking: 20
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 20

Best University of California, Los Angeles Animation Programs

  • Bachelor of Arts in Film and Television. Understanding the world of audio-visual entertainment is essential for students who want to work on animated films or television projects. The BA in Film and Television degree is a four-year, 76-unit, on-campus program that teaches filmmaking, editing, and animation.
  • Bachelor of Arts in Design Media Arts. This undergraduate program provides a deep dive into the basics of media arts. It also includes courses on game design and 3D modeling for animation. It is provided on campus and takes four years to complete.
  • Master’s of Fine Art in Design Media Arts . The MFA Design Media Arts degree is a two-year, 80 quarter-unit, on-campus program offered by the University of California, Los Angeles. It is designed for media artists with visual art, science, or engineering backgrounds to help develop their skills and improve the quality of their work.

University of California, Los Angeles Animation Key Takeaway

The University of California, Los Angeles, is a highly reputable school providing quality education in animation and other in-demand forms of digital media.


University of Florida

Graduation Rate: 91%

University of Florida was established in 1853. It has 14 schools and colleges and more than 53,000 students. As well as in-person programs, the University of Florida also delivers several fully online programs in the arts and sciences.

University of Florida Overview

  • School Type: Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 30%
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Degrees Offered: Associate to PhD
  • US News Ranking: 28
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 154

Best University of Florida Animation Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Digital Arts and Sciences. The BS in Digital Arts and Sciences undergraduate degree is a 120-credit program. Students will learn computer science, interactive media, and animation concepts.
  • Bachelor of Arts in Digital Arts and Sciences . This is a four-year, 120-credit undergraduate program that provides students with a foundation in liberal arts concepts, game design, and animation. It is taught exclusively on campus.
  • Master’s in Digital Arts and Sciences . University of Florida provides an accelerated, one-year Master’s in Digital Arts and Sciences degree program for prospective students looking to work in the animation and the interactive media industry. All classes are delivered on campus.

University of Florida Animation Key Takeaway

University of Florida is a research-focused university that delivers world-class animation programs for budding industry professionals.


University of Pennsylvania

Graduation Rate: 96%

University of Pennsylvania was founded in 1740. It is a top-rated private school with arts, sciences, social sciences, law, and medicine programs. The university has more than 26,000 students enrolled in its 12 schools.

University of Pennsylvania Overview

  • School Type: Private
  • Acceptance Rate: 6%
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Degrees Offered: Associate to PhD
  • US News Ranking: 8
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 13

Best University of Pennsylvania Animation Programs

  • Bachelor of Engineering and Science in Digital Media Design. The BSE Digital Media Design program is a 37-course-unit degree covering game design, animation, and computer graphics design. It takes four years to complete this program and all lectures are delivered on campus.

University of Pennsylvania Animation Key Takeaway

University of Pennsylvania’s animation program combines animation, math, and social science topics to provide students with well-rounded knowledge in entertainment arts and design within the digital domain.


University of Southern California

Graduation Rate: 92%

University of Southern California is a prestigious college with about 46,000 students. It offers quality education through degree programs in art and design, engineering, education, and law.

University of Southern California Overview

  • School Type: Private
  • Acceptance Rate: 13%
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s to PhD
  • US News Ranking: 27
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 63

Best University of Southern California Animation Programs

  • Bachelor of Arts in Animation and Digital Arts . University of Southern California’s BA in Animation and Digital Arts program covers 3D computer animation, visual effects, experimental animation, and character design. This four-year degree is delivered on campus and students must take 52 credits of major courses.
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Game Art. Students enrolled in this on-campus, four-year undergraduate program will learn visual development techniques for video games. This 128-credit program for prospective game designers includes courses on interactive design and 2D animation.
  • Masters of Fine Arts in Animation and Digital Arts . The MFA in Animation and Digital Arts program is a three-year, 50-unit graduate program that teaches students interactive animation principles. This program is only offered on campus and prepares students to become industry professionals in the animation space.
  • Masters of Fine Arts in Interactive Media . With this graduate degree, animation students will learn about various aspects of interactive media design, including 3D animation techniques for character development. The MFA in Interactive Media program is a 50-credit program that lasts for three years and is taught on campus.
  • PhD in Cinematic Arts (Media Arts and Practice). This PhD program supports graduate students in carrying out in-depth research on a broad range of cinematic arts topics, including animation. Students explore topics at the intersection of art, media, and critical thinking in a creative research environment, and can specialize in topics like sound design for animation, digital animation and motion arts, or entertainment arts.

University of Southern California Animation Key Takeaway

University of Southern California is one of the top colleges for creative studies. It provides animation courses in a range of specializations from undergraduate to PhD levels.


Wilmington University

Graduation Rate: 23%

Wilmington University was founded in 1968. It has over 9,000 undergraduate students enrolled in on-campus, online, and hybrid programs. Wilmington University provides several associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate programs in public policy, art, education, and science.

Wilmington University Overview

  • School Type: Private
  • Acceptance Rate: 100%
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Degrees Offered: Associate to PhD
  • US News Ranking: 299-391
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: N/A

Best Wilmington University Animation Programs

  • Undergraduate Certificate in 3D for Digital Media. This 15-credit undergraduate certificate program lasts for less than a year and covers rudimentary animation subjects such as visual communication, character rigging, rendering, and basic 3D animation. Students enrolled in this program can take their classes either on-campus or online.
  • Associate of Science in Digital Media . This 60-credit associate degree program equips students with the technical skills to secure animation and digital media jobs. This degree can be obtained in two years and admitted students can learn either on campus or online.
  • Bachelor of Science in Animation and 3D . Wilmington University’s BS in Animation and 3D is a fully online, 120-credit degree program. It provides courses on concept development, advanced motion graphics, and 3D texture. This program also offers an accelerated option with a graduate certificate in technology project management.
  • Bachelor of Science in Game Design and Development . This 120-credit program is provided only on-campus and spans four years. Students enrolled in this program will be taught the principles of game design, including animation-based concepts.

Wilmington University Animation Key Takeaway

Wilmington University is an excellent choice of school to study animation, especially if you are looking for a hybrid or fully online animation bachelor’s degree programs.

The Best Schools for Animation: Types of College Degrees and University Programs Offered

There are many types of animation degrees offered by animation schools and colleges. Depending on your experience, skill level, and career goals, you can get a community college certificate or an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or PhD degree from a top-rated animation school. Whether you are looking for animation BFAs, graduate degree programs, or a minor in animation, the top digital art and animation schools will have a program for you.


Animation Community College Certificate

An animation community college certificate is typically a one or two-year certificate program for students looking to kick start their careers in the animation industry. Usually, animation community college students learn basic aspects of animation such as character animation, concept development, and storyboarding.


Animation Associate Degree

Animation associate degrees are provided by universities and community colleges. Prospective animation students can obtain an associate of arts, science, applied arts, or applied science degree in animation. Usually, animation associate degrees take two years to complete, although some programs span three years. Your hours of study will be divided between theoretical topics, such as the history of animation, and practical aspects like motion design.


Animation Bachelor’s Degree

Animation bachelor’s degrees prepare students to become industry professionals at top animation or film companies such as Walt Disney Animation, Dreamworks Animation Studios, or Sony Pictures Animation. A bachelor’s degree usually takes four years to complete, but some art schools offer accelerated programs that can be completed in a shorter time frame.

Students looking to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Animation can get a bachelor of arts, bachelor of fine arts, or a bachelor of science degree. In a typical animation bachelor’s degree program, you will be taught all you need to know about entertainment design, interactive entertainment, and digital production. During your program, you will be given a brief introduction to essential liberal arts concepts and equipped with the required visual arts and graphic design skills to work in a digital animation lab.


Animation Master’s Degree

An animation master’s degree is a one or two-year graduate program for students looking to sharpen their skills and become eligible for senior animation industry roles. Several animation colleges allow prospective students to obtain a Master’s of Arts or Master of Fine Arts in Animation or a closely related subject area.

In an animation master’s degree program, students will receive in-depth training in 2D and 3D animation, modeling, character development, and other visual arts concepts. They will also research an animation-related topic and write a thesis reporting their findings.


Animation Graduate Certificate

An animation graduate certificate is one of the options available to students who have completed a bachelor’s degree and are interested in advanced learning. Graduate certificates typically take less than a year to complete. They provide in-depth training in specialized animation topics and prepare students to succeed in more demanding animation roles.


Animation Doctorate

An animation doctorate is the most advanced degree in animation. Students enrolled in an animation PhD program spend at least three years completing their course requirements. Animation doctorate programs usually involve many hours of study on an original research topic and require students to write a final dissertation.

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Best Animation Schools: Other Animation University Rankings

Below, we rank the best animation schools for different degree types. The schools listed in our animation university rankings are among the leading schools and design colleges for animation degrees in that category.

Best Online Animation Schools

  1. Arizona State University. Arizona State University is a public, research-focused university founded in 1885. It provides top-notch, fully online programs for aspiring animators.
  2. Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design. Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design is a private school located in Denver, Colorado. It provides fully online bachelor’s degree programs taught by leading industry professionals with practical experience.
  3. Southern New Hampshire University. Southern New Hampshire University was founded in 1932. Its 100-percent-online animation bachelor’s degree program provides students with the technical knowledge required to work in the best global animation studios.

Best Community Colleges for Animation

  1. Bergen Community College. Bergen Community College was founded in New Jersey in 1965. It offers an associate degree program in animation and assists students in transferring to a four-year bachelor’s degree.
  2. Glendale Community College. Glendale Community College was established in 1927 in California. It delivers high-quality animation programs covering art history, design principles, and 2D and 3D animation.
  3. Borough of Manhattan Community College. The Borough of Manhattan Community College is located in New York. Its associate degree program in animation and motion graphics teaches students the basics of motion graphics and VFX animation.

Best Undergraduate Schools for Animation

  1. Savannah College of Art and Design. Savannah College of Art and Design is a private art college located in Atlanta, Georgia. Students enrolled in Savannah College of Art and Design’s BFA in Animation program will go through 180 credit hours of intensive study.
  2. Rhode Island School of Design. This private school in Rhode Island is one of the oldest art colleges in the US. Its BFA in Film/Animation/Video program trains undergraduate students in the technical skills required to develop an excellent motion picture project.
  3. Academy of Art University. Academy of Art University is located in San Francisco. Its BFA in Animation and Visual Effects degree ensures that students become proficient in computer software for 3D animation and VFX. Graduates from this program can work with popular companies such as Dreamworks Animation, Electronic Arts, and Sony Pictures Imageworks.

Best Graduate Schools for Animation

  1. University of Florida. University of Florida has over 18,000 graduate students. Its Master in Digital Arts and Sciences program is designed for students who want to improve their technical skills and secure better-paying animation jobs.
  2. University of California, Los Angeles. This public research-focused university has more than 12,000 graduate students. It offers an MFA in Design Media Arts program which merges modern-day design concepts with animation and other forms of digital media.
  3. University of Southern California. University of Southern California, with over 26,000 students, is one of the most popular destinations for graduate studies. Its MFA in Animation and Digital Arts graduate program is well known for its thorough training of future animation professionals.

Best Animation Schools With Dual Degree Programs

  1. DePaul University | BFA in Animation/ MS Animation. DePaul University is located in Illinois. It allows students pursuing their undergraduate degree in animation to pursue a master’s simultaneously.
  2. Florida State University | BA in Studio Art / MA Art Education. Florida State University provides advanced-level education to more than 11,000 students. This public institution offers animation students the opportunity to broaden their career options by obtaining a Master’s Degree in Art Education
  3. George Mason University | BFA in Art and Visual Technology/MA Art Management. George Mason University is a highly ranked public university located in Fairfax, Virginia. The university permits undergraduate art and visual technology students to also obtain a Master’s of Arts in Art Management.

Best Schools With Accelerated Animation Programs

  1. Full Sail University | BS in Computer Animation. Full Sail University is a highly-ranked art college located in Winter Park, Florida. Its accelerated BS in Animation program lets students obtain their bachelor’s degree in 20 months on-campus or in 29 months online.
  2. Rochester Institute of Technology | MS in Game Design and Development. Rochester Institute of Technology is a New York-based, private research college. It offers a dual accelerated degree for its BS and MS Game Design and Development programs, where individuals can obtain both degrees in just five years.
  3. Wilmington University | BS in Animation and 3D. Wilmington University is located in New Castle. It provides an accelerated dual-credit advantage option where students enrolled in the BS in Animation and 3D program can take master’s level courses during their undergraduate program and complete their master’s program in a shorter period.

Easy Colleges to Get Into

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Is Graduate School for Animation Worth It?

Yes, graduate school for animation is worth it. Graduate degree programs expose you to a broad range of opportunities in the animation industry. Animation companies generally prefer to hire candidates with a master’s degree for senior roles and graduate school is a great place to refine your personal style as an animator.

What Jobs Can You Do With an Animation Degree?

With an animation degree, you can work as an art director, multimedia producer, or 3D animator. Visual effects artists, electronic arts specialists, and other digital artists also often have a background in animation. By obtaining a bachelor’s degree from a top animation school, you become eligible to work as a full-time employee at a leading animation company.

How Much Can I Earn With a Degree in Animation?

How much you earn with an animation degree primarily depends on your degree type. According to PayScale, associate degree holders in animation earn an average of $56,000 per year, bachelor’s degree holders receive $61,000 , and those with a master’s degree receive $75,000 , annually.

Highest-Paying Animation Careers

Profession Minimum Education Average Salary
Art Director Bachelor’s degree $100,890
Animation Lecturer Master’s degree $79,640
Multimedia Producer Bachelor’s degree $98,680
Animation Director Bachelor’s degree $98,680
Special Effects Artist Bachelor’s degree $78,790
3D Animator Bachelor’s degree $78,790
Digital Designer Bachelor’s degree $77,200
Movie Editor Bachelor’s degree $62,680
Graphic Designer Bachelor’s degree $50,710
Video Technician Associate degree $49,050

Best Jobs With an Animation Degree

The best jobs for someone with an animation degree are art director, animation lecturer, multimedia producer, and animation director. Your eligibility for an animation industry job largely depends on your level of education.



Animation Associate Degree


Animation associate degree jobs are typically junior roles at film and animation companies. Some of the best animation associate degree jobs include video technician, junior graphic designer, and technical illustrator.

Top Animation Careers With an Associate Degree



Animation Bachelor’s Degree


Animation BFAs and other bachelor’s degree programs make you eligible to work as a 3D animator, movie editor, and graphic designer. A Bachelor’s Degree in Animation allows students to work at top companies in the animation field, including Disney Animation Studios and Sony Pictures Animation. Most bachelor's degree roles involve working as part of a team engaged in a film, game, or other digital media project.

Top Animation Careers With a Bachelor’s Degree



Animation Master’s Degree


Some of the best animation master’s degree jobs are lead animator, creative director, and product designer. These jobs require a strong knowledge of integrative design and digital production skills. Individuals in these positions usually lead a team of creatives, and as such, require the additional expertise and experience acquired with a master’s degree.

Top Animation Careers With a Master’s Degree



Animation Doctorate


The best animation doctorate jobs are visual effects supervisor, animation professor, and animation director. A PhD will provide the appropriate experience to instruct fellow animators or lead a team of designers when working on a project.

Top Animation Careers With a PhD


Best Internships for Animation Students

Internships are an excellent way for students to learn industry-relevant skills and identify a suitable animation pathway. There are several exciting internship opportunities for students with little to no industry experience. You can find these openings on job listing websites such as Indeed or Glassdoor.

Top Animation Internships

How Can I Pay for Animation School?

You can pay for animation school by taking on graduate assistantships, fellowships, scholarships, or student loans. These options enable interested students to pursue and obtain an animation college degree with less financial strain. Some of the best financing options for your animation program are listed below.

  • Graduate assistantships. This financing option is available to students pursuing a graduate degree in animation. Graduate assistantships typically offer you a tuition waiver in exchange for working as a graduate assistant.
  • Fellowships. Fellowships are grants given to graduate students to enable them to carry out groundbreaking research. Fellowship awards can be applied to cover tuition costs and living expenses.
  • Scholarships. Most schools offer scholarships to prospective students who may need assistance in paying their tuition or other fees. You can check your prospective college’s website or catalog for its list of available scholarship opportunities.
  • Student loans. The US government allows students to take out a loan to cover their tuition and academic expenses. Student loans are expected to be repaid with a specified amount of interest.

How to Pay for Your Chosen School Education Path

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Choosing the Best Animation School for You

When choosing the best animation school for you, you should consider how flexible the school’s animation program is, the availability of accelerated degree options, its overall reputation, and its curriculum.


When choosing an animation school, you must consider how flexible the program is. Some schools offer hybrid programs where you can take both online and in-person classes, and others offer fully online programs. Depending on your schedule, you may need to choose a school that provides flexible learning options to accommodate other commitments.

Accelerated Degrees

Many colleges provide accelerated degree options to enable students to complete their undergraduate or graduate degrees in a shorter period. If you want to enter the industry faster, you should check whether your desired program offers an accelerated program option.

Reputation of the School

The reputation of your school plays a significant role in determining your chances of landing a job at reputable companies like Nickelodeon Animation Studios, Sony Pictures, and Walt Disney Animation Studios. Before enrolling in a program, you must find out how employers and recruiters perceive your school.


Before you apply, you should look into the school’s curriculum. Certain animation schools and colleges may specialize in electronic arts, graphic design, experimental animation, character animation, or motion capture for video game design. Depending on your interests, you may want to choose a broader, foundational program, or one that specializes in a specific area of animation.

How to Get Into the Right School for Your Profession

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Does It Matter What College I Go to for Animation?

Yes, it matters what college you go to for animation. Attending an accredited animation program will prepare you to land the best animation industry jobs. Your animation college plays a large role in how you are seen by potential recruiters and employers, and the specializations and courses offered by your program will determine your skillset for your future career.

Animation University Ranking Methodology: How We Ranked the Best Schools for Animation

We ranked the best animation schools by consulting the university rankings conducted by US News & World Report and Times Higher Education. To further refine our animation university ranking methodology, we gave special consideration to things like reputation, graduation rate, student-to-faculty ratio, and breadth and depth of animation degree program offerings.

Additional Reading About Animation


Best Animation Schools FAQ

Will I need to work with software tools in animation school?

Yes, you will need to work with software tools in animation school. Most animation degrees expect students to learn 3D animation by using modeling tools such as Maya, Blender, and Cinema 4D.

Can I learn animation with online courses?

Yes, you can learn animation with online resources and courses. Sites like Udemy and Skillshare provide courses that are helpful for students looking to improve their animation skills. Although you may still need a degree to increase your chances of getting a job, these resources can help you build foundational skills and develop your competence as an animator.

How do I determine the best animation career path?

The best way to determine the best animation career path for you is through internship opportunities and working with an animation mentor. Taking on different internship positions at an animation studio is an excellent way to get a feel for various industry roles to know what is most suitable for you. Working as an intern with major studios will also help you network and set you up for success in the job market.

Do I need a degree to become an animator?

No, you don’t need a degree to become an animator. You can build technical skills and land a job in animation by taking animation courses and building a stunning portfolio. However, getting a job without a degree is extremely difficult. A degree from a school of visual arts will keep you competitive in the job market and significantly enhance your chances of landing a high-paying job in an animation department.

About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.

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Uwidia Emmanuel

About the author: Uwidia is a freelance writer and science expert. Other than writing, Uwidia’s goal is to continue his career in public health as an epidemiologist and improve the standard of preventative healthcare. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Medical Biochemistry from the University of Benin.

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