Graduate Programs in Animation

Find tips for choosing a school with graduate degree programs in animation. Learn about course topics you could study, and discover the employment outlook for computer animators. Schools offering Animation degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Do I Need to Know

While talent is key, modern animators may pursue career goals through an associate's, bachelor's, master's, or fine arts degree in a program that offers courses in the most up-to-date technical aspects of the industry.

Degree Program Associate's, bachelor's, master's, or fine arts degree
Classes Digital image design, computer graphics development, programming
Median Salary (2017) $70,530 per year (multimedia artists and animators)*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Where Can I Find a Graduate Program in Animation?

Many graduate schools in the U.S. offer master's degree programs in computer animation and interactive media. Whether you're interested in digital animation for the Internet, designing cutting-edge graphics for animated films, or developing new video games, you can find a graduate program that fits your career goals. A master's degree program typically takes 2-3 years to complete, and you could also participate in internship opportunities through major companies like Disney, Pixar, and DreamWorks. Here are some of the schools offering graduate programs in animation:

  • Savannah College of Art and Design (Savannah, Georgia) offers both MA and MFA options in animation.
  • Ohio State University (Columbus, Ohio) has a three-year MFA program with an innovative curriculum.
  • University of Southern California (Los Angeles, California) has an MFA program in animation and digital arts with options to minor in specialties like 3-D animation.
  • University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania): Penn Engineering offers a master's degree in computer graphics and game technology.
  • University of California Los Angeles (Los Angeles, California): One of the oldest animation programs in the country, this graduate program boasts a distinguished alumni list.

What Will I Study in a Graduate Program in Animation?

Many graduate programs are designed for graphics and animation specialists. A program may focus on one industry-standard application, such as Autodesk Maya or Adobe After Effects, giving you advanced training on its features so that you can master the software. Professional animators argue over which provides the most value, making the decision one of personal preference. Whichever you favor, you'll learn to fully utilize the application within a graduate program.

Animation graduate programs, whether for gaming, film, or Internet, offer you hands-on education. You'll learn the fundamentals of creating 2-D and 3-D images, animated characters, and advanced digital effects. Some examples of courses you'll find in an animation curriculum are below:

  • Computer animation for film and video
  • Animation design
  • Animation timing
  • Animation layout
  • Cinema production

How Should I Choose a Graduate School for Animation?

You may find graduate schools that offer multiple master's degree programs in different forms of animation, though most focus on a single medium, such as video games or film. Determine what your career goals are and contact the school to find out if the curriculum meets your needs. Research job placement of a particular school's graduates and see if you can participate in internships for credit toward your degree. Some schools maintain relationships with film and animation companies where you can receive professional experience. Talk to the instructors to find out the primary computer software used and other effects applications you'll be introduced to during the program.

What Can I Do With a Graduate Degree in Animation?

Occupations for computer animators are expected to see healthy growth. Several major motion picture studios offer intern and student programs while you're in school or after you graduate, enhancing the studies from your academic program. Most of these require you to be either registered in a college program or graduated with a degree in animation. They may offer you a permanent position at the internship's completion.

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:
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