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Best Animation Schools in the US

If you desire to study animation in the United States, this article contains the best schools that offer the course.

We advise you to read the article to the end to retrieve all the necessary information you need about each school and also make the selection of schools easier for you.


Animation is both an internationally enjoyed art form and a rapidly booming entertainment sector, making it a great industry to work in for aspiring artists.

Although it is not entirely necessary to earn a degree in animation prior to pursuing a career in this field, there are many benefits to getting a formal education in animation.

For one, getting at least a bachelor’s degree opens up many more employment opportunities for animators since most jobs in the field of animation and special effects require at least a four-year degree.

On top of that, people who work in animation and hold degrees tend to earn more than their professional counterparts who did not go to college.

Studying animation in a formal, academic setting under the instruction of university faculty — most of whom are also thriving, working animators and artists — also provides students with the opportunity to receive invaluable mentorship and guidance from experienced industry professionals.

Tons of major universities offer degrees in animation, so students have many options to choose from.

Of course, it can be difficult for many students to find the best-fit animation school, with the available options varying significantly in terms of program offerings, academic rigor, student body size, and so much more.

Intended for students who are in the process of selecting an animation school to attend, we have compiled the following list of schools with world-class animation programs, as well as some information about each school.

Here are our picks for 10 of the best animation schools in the United States.

  • Ringling College of Art and Design
  • Savannah College of Art & Design
  • California Institute of the Arts
  • Rhode Island School of Design
  • University of Southern California
  • School of Visual Arts
  • Pratt Institute
  • Academy of Art University
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • University of California – Los Angeles

1. Ringling College of Art and Design

The Ringling College of Art and Design offers eleven BFA programs and two BA programs. These include Motion Design, Virtual Reality Development, Game Art, Computer Animation, and Illustration.

The school’s Computer Animation program was deemed the best animation program in the US by Animation Career Review.

Ringling students have won 16 Academy Awards, most recently in 2020 for the animated short film Mime Your Manners. 

During Industry Critiques, the school brings in world-renowned visiting artists to offer their professional insights to students, allowing them to think outside of the classroom.

Ringling also offers students many internship opportunities in collaboration with the Center for Career Services.

Participating in real-world projects with industry professionals is a requirement for all Ringling students as part of their experiential education initiative, INDEX.

2. Savannah College of Art & Design

The Savannah College of Art & Design offers BFA, MA, and MFA programs in animation. The school came in third on Animation Career Review’s 2021 list of top animation schools in the country.

SCAD alumni are frequently recruited or hired by big names in the animation industry, like Pixar, Dreamworks, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Disney, and Lucasfilm Animation.

The program’s faculty includes John Webber, who has contributed to the animation of famous characters such as Lilo from Lilo and Stitch and Mushu from Mulan. 

In addition to its well-connected faculty and alumni network, SCAD offers animation students access to a number of cutting-edge resources.

The SCAD Digital Media Center in Atlanta is a 60,000 square foot facility housing an in-house theater, a real, professional-quality studio environment, and green screen lab.

3. California Institute of the Arts

The California Institute of the Arts offers aspiring animation students a handful of degree program options. The Institute was founded by Walt Disney himself, along with his brother Roy and several others.

The School of Film/Video has BFA Programs in Character Animation and Experimental Animation, as well as a three year MFA Experimental Animation Program.

The character animation program, then called the Disney animation program, was originally created in the now-famous classroom A113.

CalArts alumni have since incorporated sneaky references to this classroom into many films, including in Disney and Pixar films.

CalArts alumni include Tim Burton, director of Edward Scissorhands and many other well-known films, and  Chris Buck, Academy Award winning animation writer-director for Frozen.

Every spring, the School of Film/Video hosts the Bijou Festival, during which selected student works are presented during public screenings.

The Festival is often attended by professional producers, animators, directors, and others in the field.

4. Rhode Island School of Design

The Rhode Island School of Design was one of the first art schools in the US, established in 1877.

The school offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film/Animation/Video, where students can choose to concentrate in animation, live action, or both.

RISD’s Film/Animation/Video program allows students to access state-of-the-art facilities including digital editing and sound mixing rooms, CGI workstations with a broad range of professional production and editing software, and production studio spaces equipped for video, film, and puppet animation projects.

The school aims to provide its students with not only the technical skills they need to create successful animated works, but also the analytical, practical, and aesthetic knowledge and awareness that new animators need in order to solve whatever problems may arise in the production studio environment. 

Senior RISD students have the opportunity to screen thesis project films at the popular annual Graduate Thesis Exhibition.


If you read to this point, we are glad you did. The article was written on the best animation schools in the United States. We believe it was helpful to you and you were able to make your choice of school from it.

Last Updated on December 22, 2022 by Admin

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