10 Best Animation Schools in the U.S.

Studying animation in the 10 best animation schools in the US is a terrific approach to developing technical abilities while pursuing artistic interests.

Graduates who have a Bachelor of Arts or Master of Fine Arts in animation stand out from the crowd in this fiercely competitive industry.

We are eager to assist you in making your aspirations of being an animator come true through this material. As a result, we’ve addressed several questions about the 10 best animation schools in the US.

We created this ranking list by compiling data from existing rankings of the top animation programs. We look at each program’s positions in various publications, then compute each school’s average position across all lists.

Let’s have a look at the list!

We’ve selected what we consider to be the top 10 animation schools in the US to aid you in your college search. Figure them out!

1. California Institute of the Arts

California Institute of the Arts

In Santa Clarita, California, a private art college called the California Institute of the Arts opened its door in 1961. The 3D animation certificate from CalArts is well-known.

The Senior College and University Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges has accredited the school.

Tim Burton, the filmmaker of Edward Scissorhands and numerous other famous movies, and Chris Buck, the Academy Award-winning writer-director of the Frozen animated film, are both CalArts graduates.

Besides theater, music, literary arts, and dance, the school also offers two different animation courses. You may find the animation department at the School of Video/ Film – the largest school of CalArts.

The first option is a BFA in Character Animation. It is a four-year course that aims to equip students with the knowledge and abilities necessary for both conventional 2D animation and more contemporary CGI animation.

The BFA and MFA programs in experimental animation give students even more latitude to express their creativity. A fantastic option for pupils with even more innovative interests and operation or Stop-Motion lovers.

Website: https://filmvideo.calarts.edu/programs/character-animation

2. Ringling College of Art and Design

Established in 1931 by Dr. Ludd M. Spivey, Ringling College of Art and Design lies in Sarasota, Florida. The institution had only 75 students and 111 academic options when it first opened.

Over 1,600 students attend RCAD now, hailing from 60 nations and 45 states.

The animation department at this university offers 11 areas of concentration, such as Computer Animation, Motion Design, and Virtual Reality Development.

At RCAD, students learn how to tell tales and develop characters with computer-generated animation with the BFA in Computer Animation.

This animation degree also lets students concentrate on learning how to integrate technical expertise with conceptual objects.

The National Association of Schools of Art and Design and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges have accredited Ringling College. It is among the best animation schools on the globe.

Animation Career Review named the institution’s Computer Animation course the finest animation college in the US.

Ringling learners conquered 16 Academy Awards, with the majority coming in 2020 for the short movie Mime Your Manners.

Josiah Haworth, Eric Prah, and Patrick Osborne are well-known former alumni of this school.

Website: https://www.ringling.edu/computer-animation/

3. Savannah College of Art & Design

Savannah College of Art & Design

Lying in Savannah, Georgia, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) opened its door in 1978. The institution houses several successful animators and offers all three degrees—the MFA, MA, and BFA.

Learners who enroll in this program have access to outstanding digital workstations and cutting-edge motion capture technology.

Motion capture, rigging, stop-motion, and 2D and 3D animation methods are just a few of the things you’ll learn.

You can take some animating classes online. But you’ll skip out on SCAD’s students’ access to its indoor tech, which is its best advantage.

Many prestigious arts organizations hired the school’s graduates in lucrative positions, such as Pixar, Nickelodeon, Disney, and Cartoon Network.

Learners stand to benefit from the faculty’s profile for strength, competence, and leadership, as well as their ability to connect them with better job possibilities.

The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has accredited this university.

Incredibly, 98% of alumni from this prestigious animation college in the US reported finding work within ten months after graduation.

Website: https://www.scad.edu/academics/programs/animation

4. University of Southern California

Established in Los Angeles, California, in 1880, the University of Southern California (USC) is a public research institution with 22 academic schools and departments.

The USC BA in Animation and Digital Arts program enables students to combine a liberal arts education with a career specialty.

The following study areas are available to students:

  • Visual effects
  • 3D computer animation
  • Character animation
  • Science visualization
  • Experimental animation
  • Interactive animation

Degree courses in fine arts provide both a BFA and an MFA. USC encourages its animation learners to get chances to collaborate on multidisciplinary projects with peers from the college’s many other disciplines, including:

  • Thornton School of Music,
  • School of Cinematic Arts,
  • Kaufman School of Dance, and others.

The Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences offers pre-professional classes. You may choose the main courses from the School of Cinematic Arts.

To graduate, all candidates must successfully pass a senior project. After graduation, more than 70% of USC students find employment.

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges has accredited this animation school. “Gumby” creator Art Clokey received his degree at USC in 1956. George Lucas, the man behind “Star Wars,” is also a USC alumnus.

Website: https://catalogue.usc.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=8&poid=7332

5. Rhode Island School of Design

Rhode Island School of Design

The Rhode Island School of Design was among the earliest art colleges in the US when it opened its doors in 1877. This school lies in the lovely city of Providence.

Learners can decide to focus on live action, animation, or both when pursuing the school’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film or Animation or Video degree.

Undergrads at RISD have access to cutting-edge resources like sound mixing rooms and digital editing. The CGI workstations with many industry-standard productions, editing software, and production studio areas are also ready for projects involving film, video, and puppet animation.

The school seeks to equip its pupils with the practical, analytical, and artistic knowledge that beginners require. These skills will help you to tackle any issues that may occur in the production studio setting and the technical abilities they need to produce successful animated works.

The New England Association of Schools and Colleges and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredited RISD.

Michael Dante DiMartino (1996), Lance Wilder, and Seth MacFarlane are well-known former alumni of this school.

Website: https://www.risd.edu/academics/film-animation-video

6. School of Visual Arts

Founded in New York City in 1947, the School of Visual Arts (SVA) has been a pioneer in training designers, artists, and other creative workers.

SVA is unique from other animation schools because it emphasizes hands-on learning more than other VFX colleges.

You will learn how to do every kind of industry-standard application available through their “BFA in Animation” program, including Toon Boom Harmony, Photoshop, Maya, etc.

In addition, instructors are professionals working in the field. Writers will teach you how to create a story, directors will teach you how to operate an animation production, and specialist artists will teach you how to utilize 3D modeling tools.

UNICEF, UNESCO, and Ted-ED are a few well-known non-profit firms and public service organizations on whose animation projects former SVA graduates have worked.

The National Association of Schools of Art and Design and the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools have accredited this school.

Website: https://sva.edu/academics/continuing-education/animation

7. Pratt Institute

Pratt Institute

Located in Brooklyn, New York, the Pratt Institute was established in 1887.

The Game Arts BFA and the Digital Arts BFA are two distinct degree programs offered by Pratt’s Department of Digital Arts.

The Department spends a concentration on the value of fostering small class sizes, one-on-one faculty mentoring, and a learning atmosphere that is interesting and socially responsible.

Individuals pursuing a certificate in digital arts have the right to focus on Interactive Arts, 3-D Animation and Motion Arts, or 2-D Animation.

Alumni of this prestigious digital animation program will acquire the knowledge and abilities necessary to contribute to the animation industry.

There are many options for BFA and MFA students to intern in New York City production companies like Psyop Studios, Curious Pictures, and Cartoon Network.

Choices outside of New York City include, among others, Sony Imageworks, Disney, and Blue Sky Studios.

The National Association of Schools of Art and Design and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education both accredit Pratt Institute. Eric Goldberg and Joseph Barbera are notable alumni of this school.

Website: https://www.pratt.edu/art/digital-arts-and-animation/

8. Academy of Art University

Academy of Art University

The Academy of Art University was founded in 1929. It is one of the enormous private, authorized art and design universities in San Francisco, California.

The Academy of Art offers many diplomas in animation that fit the required levels and prepare ambitious 2D or 3D animators for a satisfying profession.

This exciting curriculum also equips you whether you desire a profession as a visual effects creator or storyboard artist.

Storyboarding, 2D Animation, 3D Modeling, 3D Animation, Visual Effects, and Stop Motion are the areas of concentration.

The school teaches prospective animation learners in a professional studio setting where they earn the opportunity to perform more practicals.

Students from this institution may become industry leaders. You will have access to over 200 workspaces and other labs.

The production of the film “Fruitvale Station and Beasts of the Southern Wild” is a powerful testament to the institution’s outstanding practical skills.

Alyce Tzue, a graduate of the Academy of Art, earned the Gold Medal Student Academy Award in 2015 for her animated film “Soar.”

Website: https://www.academyart.edu/art-degree/animation-visual-effects/

9. Carnegie Mellon University

Philanthropist and industrialist Andrew Carnegie opened Carnegie Mellon University in 1900. The school provides one of the top animation courses.

The educational service provider conducts an animation course under Integrative Design – Arts and Technology Network (IDeATe).

This curriculum is complicated and uses extensive, demanding, and thorough education. The school prepares both technical and management positions for learners during their education.

Undergraduate specializations offered by the program include:

  • Intelligent Environments
  • Physical Computing
  • Design for Learning
  • Media Design
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Game Design
  • Animation and Special Effects
  • Sonic Arts

Experienced tutors and lecturers are conducting all these courses. Some of them even work with other universities.

Blizzard Entertainment, Disneytoons Studios, DreamWorks Animation, Walt Disney Studios, Sony Interactive Entertainment, and other big companies have employed CMU alumni.

Website: https://ideate.cmu.edu/undergraduate-programs/animation-special-effects/

10. Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester Institute of Technology is in Rochester, New York. It opened its door in 1829 and ranked number 10 on the list of the ten most prominent schools.

A production-focused BFA in cinema and animation is available from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Students start working on digital video, 16mm film, and animating in their first year. They continue to improve their production skills over the coming years.

Students have the option of concentrating on animation. The program includes lectures, labs, and guest lecturers to aid students in honing their animation talents.

Students create some cartoons throughout the curriculum at this prestigious animation school in New York. They work through all stages of production, like shooting, scripting, budgeting, and editing.

Graduates from RIT have gone to work in research engineering at organizations like Dolby and Sony. They also participate in Lucasfilm’s film and animation industries and other significant businesses.

Leading animation studios like Disney, Blue Sky Studios, Electronic Arts, and DreamWorks employ recent MFA grads.

Website: https://www.rit.edu/artdesign/school-film-and-animation

Why Attend Animation Schools in the US?

Reasons to choose animation schools in the US

One person should enroll in an animation program in the US for several compelling reasons. According to job projections, they predicted professional prospects in animation to increase by 16% in the US between 2020 and 2030, while other professions saw an average growth of 8%.

It demonstrates that the US has a higher employability rate. As a result, you will have more consideration if you study in an animation school.

The typical annual wage range for artists and animators, as shown in the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), is around $77,000. It is more than twice what other careers pay on average.


A degree from one of these schools may help you advance in the visual effects business.

Now, it’s time to think about the sort of animation you want to study and the essential software tools before looking for exemplary animation programs.

Once you know what you want to achieve, start applying for your college admission form now!