Media Arts and Animation Bachelor's Degree

In a media arts and animation bachelor's degree program, you'll be exposed to the history of media arts, and you'll learn about modern technology. Find out about the courses you'll take, and learn about career options, employment outlook and salary information. Schools offering Multimedia Design & Development degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are Media Arts and Animation Bachelor's Degree Programs Like?

Offered by many colleges, universities and for-profit schools around the country, media arts and animation bachelor's degree programs incorporate modern technology, film, design and visual art. Media arts-focused programs are heavier in design and arts concepts, while animation-based programs include more courses in film. Both programs teach you about new and traditional technologies, often allowing you access to state-of-the-art labs and studios for class and extracurricular projects.

Programs that teach you about media arts and animation are sometimes housed in different departments, typically the art, design or film departments. However, computer or informatics departments may offer media arts and animations programs. Online options aren't common, but some for-profit schools allow you to learn through the Internet.

Degree Overview Programs available in art departments, film departments, or computer or informatics departments
Common Courses History of animation, computer animation, animation for the Web, 2-D and 3-D graphics, color theory
Job Outlook (2016-26) 8% growth (for multimedia artists and animators)*
Median Annual Wage (2018) $72,520 (for multimedia artists and animators)*

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Kind of Courses Will I Take?

Although some programs focus more on film-related aspects of animation, many media arts and animation programs cover a broad range of visual communication forms. You take courses in the history of animation, which incorporate traditional techniques and modern technology. Computer animation is typically covered, and you learn about animating for the Web. Audio and sound theories and applications are discussed, as well as 2-D and 3-D graphics. Art courses cover drawing, color theory, typography and storyboarding.

Most programs include extensive studio time allowing you the opportunity to use technology, collaborate with classmates and complete animated projects. You might make short animated films, design video games, create a website or work on other visual communication projects. Often, you get hands-on learning experience from the start with introductory classes that allow you to examine animations and learn about computer programs.

What Kind of Jobs Can I Get?

With a bachelor's degree in media arts and animation, you can find work in many types of companies. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that the most common industry for animators and media artists are film, computer design and advertising ( You might go to work at an office or loft, but some animators are freelancers or self-employed, the BLS reported. Many media artists and animators work full- or part-time jobs while taking freelance projects to build their portfolio, which is often necessary for advancement.

While job prospects for media artists are projected to grow at a rate of 8% from 2016-2026, the BLS reported, competition is often fierce for both salaried and freelance work. Median annual wages for multimedia artists and animators were $72,520 in May 2018, stated the BLS.

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