Top Schools for Animation, Video Graphics, and Special Effects

Find out which top schools offer courses in animation, video graphics and special effects. Read about the degree options at three leading art and design institutions, as well as other schools that offer programs for animation, graphic and special effects artists.

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School Overview

Students who are interested in creating moving images and graphics for movies, television commercials and websites can find training in animation and closely related areas at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. All three schools have received high rankings from U.S. News & World Report for the quality of their graphic design programs and award fine arts degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Top U.S. Schools with Animation, Video Graphics and Special Effects Programs

1. School of Visual Arts in New York, NY

The School of Visual Arts is a private, for-profit art and design school that ranked sixth for its graphic design program in 2011, as designated by U.S. News & World Report. Undergraduate programs include a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Animation, as well as a BFA in Computer Art, Computer Animation and Special Effects; graduate students can earn a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Computer Art. In a studio-based environment, students learn how to develop 2-D and 3-D images for films and other forms of media, while also utilizing computer programs to add special effects to their moving images. Aspiring animation, graphic and video game artists can also pursue internships and networking opportunities.

2. Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY

The Pratt Institute is a private institution that U.S. News & World Report placed ninth among graphic design programs in 2011. At Pratt, students can pursue a BFA in Digital Arts with a concentration in 2-D animation, 3-D animation or interactive arts. Once enrolled, students have access to cutting-edge 2-D and 2-D production and animation facilities, digital studios and the Digital Arts Resource Center, where they can acquire advanced techniques in storytelling, production and alternate forms of animation. Graduate students can earn an MFA in Digital Arts while concentrating on digital animation and motion arts, digital imaging or interactive arts.

3. Minneapolis College of Art and Design in MN

The Minneapolis College of Art and Design ranked 15th on U.S. News & World Report's list of best graphic design programs for 2011. Undergraduates in the BFA program can major in animation; graduate students pursuing an MFA can study animation, graphic design and interactive media. Instructional topics include hand-drawing techniques and the basics of stop-motion animation; students also use cutting-edge technology to create traditional 2-D and 3-D images for video games or films. Undergraduate degree requirements include a senior internship, professional practice and project.

Ten Good Schools with Animation, Video Graphics and Special Effects Programs

School Name Distinction Location
Minneapolis College of Art and Design Undergraduate and graduate programs in animation Minneapolis, MN
Pratt Institute Undergraduate concentration in 2-D and 3-D animation Brooklyn, NY
School of Visual Arts Undergraduate and/or graduate programs in animation and computer art New York, NY
California Institute of the Arts Degree options in animation and video graphics Valencia, CA
Yale University Interdisciplinary film and video courses offered alongside other art majors New Haven, CT
Rhode Island School of Design Undergraduate program in film, animation and video Providence, RI
School of the Art Institute of Chicago Master's degree program in visual and critical studies Chicago, IL
California Institute of the Arts Graphic design major offered alongside art and design major Valencia, CA
Cranbrook Academy of Art 2-D graphic design program available Bloomfield Hills, MI
University of Cincinnati Awards a bachelor's degree in graphic communication design Cincinnati, OH
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