Special Effects Animation Degree Programs

Scope out the curriculum and admissions requirements for a bachelor's or master's degree in animation and special effects, and the availability of online programs. Learn which careers use the technical and artistic skills taught in an animation degree program. Schools offering Animation degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Topics Will I Study in Special Effects Animation?

At the bachelor's degree level, many animation programs have courses in special effects, but there are very few degree programs in special effects or visual effects. The bulk of the animation program pertains to creating animated characters, manipulating designs and using computer technology. Typically, these courses teach you to use color, storyboarding and animation principles to create appealing and realistic characters. In special-effects animation courses, you could learn to create such simulations as explosions for videos or games. Possible program titles include Bachelor of Science in Media Arts or Visual Effects or a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation; these programs take approximately four years to finish.

Master's degree programs are where you can really study special effects and visual effects. They may result in a Master of Arts or Master of Fine Arts in Animation or Visual Effects, and consist of 60-90 credit-hours. You may start by using computer software designed to mimic human behavior, and then study methods used in the past and how they're changing to meet modern viewers' expectations. You learn to create your own digital effects by incorporating light, texture and 3-D principles to make your designs more realistic. You could also study:

  • Object behaviors
  • Digital composition
  • Modeling animated designs
  • Problems in visual effects
  • Marketing techniques
  • Web design

Common Course TopicsStoryboarding, object behaviors, digital composition, problems in visual effects, marketing techniques
Online AvailabilityRarely; programs are offered at the master's and bachelor's level
Admission RequirementsFor an undergraduate program, a high school diploma or equivalent, minimum GPA, standardized test scores, and a demonstration of artistic interest may be required; At the master's level, a bachelor's degree and portfolio will be required
Career PossibilitiesArtist, storyboard creator, character designer, lighting director, special effects artist

Are Online Programs Available?

Online programs in animation are available at both the master's and bachelor's degree levels, but they're very rare. The online programs use videos that you can watch to study and mimic professional techniques. You can send completed projects to your professors online so they can provide feedback. Discussion boards are available, so you can fulfill participation credits by discussing techniques, methods and critiques with your instructor and classmates. You may also be able to share your work through an online portfolio.

What Are the Admissions Requirements?

Entry to a bachelor's degree program targeting animation and special effects requires having a high school diploma or its equivalent with a minimum GPA and acceptable scores on standardized tests; demonstration of artistic talent and interest may be necessary at some schools. When you apply for a master's degree in this field, you must have a bachelor's degree--preferably one that highlights a background in art, animation or design. Many schools also want to see a portfolio showcasing your work.

How Can I Use My Degree?

Your bachelor's degree can lead to a career as a special effects artist or a storyboard creator. You could also create models of animated characters for movies or TV. Your master's degree can lead to a career in character design, developing the look and actions of characters. You could also create lighting or scenery for a story. Positions may also be available to you as a special effects artist who creates a variety of realistic visual phenomena for animated or regular films.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • The Art Institutes

    The Art Institutes responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at The Art Institutes:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs
    • Certificates

    Campus Locations:

    • Virginia: Arlington
  • Full Sail University

    Full Sail University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Full Sail University:

    Online Programs Available

  • The George Washington University

    The George Washington University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at The George Washington University:

    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Ashford University

    Ashford University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Ashford University:

    Online Programs Available

  • American University

    American University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at American University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University

    Purdue University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University:

    • Master
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Indiana Wesleyan University

    Indiana Wesleyan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Indiana Wesleyan University:

    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado State University Global

    Colorado State University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado State University Global:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • ECPI University

    ECPI University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at ECPI University:

    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next »