Master's Degree Programs in Animation
A Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Animation equips you with the skills and knowledge required for a career in computer animation, or in other fields requiring animation skills. Learn more about the requirements for a master's degree program, the courses you'll take, career possibilities, online study options, and salary projections for people working in animation.
Am I Qualified to Apply For a Master's Degree Program in Animation?
Colleges offering a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Animation require you to possess a bachelor's degree; an undergraduate study in a related field may be helpful but is typically not mandatory. In addition, you must submit a portfolio that shows your artistic competence. While specifics vary by school, samples of fine art, website design, computer graphics, animations and any other appropriate works of art that you have created are generally acceptable for inclusion in the portfolio. Undergraduate GPA and test scores are taken into consideration, but portfolio work tends to weigh more heavily in the acceptance decision.
|Requirements||A bachelor's degree in any field and a solid portfolio|
|Common Courses||Story-boarding, animation production techniques, layout design, modeling and design, texture and lighting|
|Career Options||Concept artist, 3D modeler, technical director, animation director, visual developer|
|Online Options||Online options available, but rare|
|Median Salary (2020)||$77,700 (for multimedia artists and animators)*|
|Job Outlook (2019-29)||4% growth (for all multimedia artists and animators)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Should I Expect From the Program?
The MFA takes approximately three full-time years of study to complete. Most schools require either a thesis project or a senior project in addition to taking classes. Typically, you will start this project during the first semester of your final year of study. Internships and externships with various film and television production companies are often made available.
Topics of study may vary slightly from school to school, but will most likely include:
- Animation production techniques
- Computer-generated modeling and design
- Contemporary art
- The history of animation
- Texturing and lighting
- Layout design
What Can I Do After Graduation?
There are several potential career options after graduation. You may choose to seek employment as a 3D modeler, compositor, technical director, game designer, concept artist, visual developer or animation director. Industries can vary from cinema to television to video games.
Per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, multimedia artists and animators earned a mean annual wage of $88,080 in 2020; those working specifically in the motion picture and video industries earned a mean average of $105,670 annually (www.bls.gov). Salaries vary somewhat depending on geographic location.
Can I Earn This Degree Online?
You can earn a master's degree in animation online - although fully online programs are quite rare, some schools have begun offering them. Providing greater flexibility than a traditional course of study, earning your master's degree online may be easier to fit into your schedule if work or family commitments prevent you from taking classes on campus. While the majority of the curriculum can be completed online, you may still need to fulfill certain requirements in person in order to graduate.
Coursework is delivered online via the school's distance learning website; you can communicate with fellow classmates and instructors via online chat room sessions, e-mail, or message boards. Hardware and software requirements beyond a computer with an Internet connection may be required for certain classes.