Animation PhD

Because Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Animation programs are not available, finding a master's degree program or certificate program either on-campus or online will be your best option. Learn what a master's degree program and certificate program entails in animation, curricula for both program types, common courses, online availability, and possible careers upon graduating. Schools offering Animation degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Will I Learn in a Graduate Program for Animation?

In a master's degree program in animation, you gain a solid understanding of the animation production processes used in today's field. You begin by studying some fundamental art courses, such as art history and design, before progressing to animation techniques and styles. Most programs culminate with a student animation reel that showcases the projects you completed during the program. You can use this reel to show potential employers the skills that you acquired during the program.

Graduate-level certificate programs are usually much shorter than degree programs and concentrate on a specific animation technique or field. Topics include 2-D and 3-D animation, as well as video game animation.

Curriculum Master's degree: art history, design, animation techniques. Certificate programs: 2-D animation, 3-D animation, video game animation
Common Courses Master's degree: Animation layout, mechanics, animation short films. Certificate program: Digital storytelling, 3-D modeling, interactive design
Online Availability Fully or hybrid format
Possible Careers Storyboard artist, special effects animator, game artist, commercial animator
Median Salary (2018)$52,121* (for animators)
Job Outlook (2016-26)8%** (for all multimedia artists and animators)

Source: *, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Courses Will I Take?

In a master's degree program, you take foundational classes in areas such as design and film history before branching out into specific animation areas. Courses may include:

  • Animation layout
  • Timing in animation
  • Animation mechanics
  • Animation styles
  • Animated short films

Coursework in a certificate program typically provides a quick overview of animation fundamentals before introducing you to process studies. Classes discuss:

  • Digital storytelling
  • 3-D modeling
  • Digital lighting
  • Interactive design
  • Computer special effects

Is This Degree Available Online?

Master's degree programs and graduate certificate programs are both available fully online or in hybrid format - which means taking some classes on campus. In an online program, you are required to have access to a number of animation and photo-imaging software programs that would be provided in a computer lab if you were participating in an on-campus program.

You also need a computer that meets RAM and memory requirements for large animation projects. Many schools offer online students discounted software programs and computer hardware through their bookstores or through affiliated software and computer merchants.

What Are My Career Options?

Graduate-level animation programs prepare you for a career in the production end of animation. You can find work for animation studios, movie sets, special effects companies or video game manufacturers. Possible career titles include:

  • Special effects animator
  • Storyboard artist
  • Modeler
  • Game artist
  • Commercial animator

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.

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