Online Master's Degree Programs in Computer Animation

Online master's degree programs in computer animation exist, but aren't common. They can teach you the skills and knowledge required to become a 3D animator, technical director, modeler or character animator. Learn more about on-campus degree programs, admission requirements, topics of study, job growth projections and salary expectations for the field of computer animation. Schools offering Animation degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Master's Degrees are Available in Animation?

Master's degrees in animation are most commonly available as Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degrees. You'll likely study both 2D and 3D animation and the creation of visual effects in those formats. Many programs focus on overall artistic development, teaching students to tell stories, create tones, send messages and manifest moods through the art of animation.

Prerequisites Bachelor's degree in any field, related field preferable; portfolio
Common Courses 3D modeling, storyboarding, character animation, stop motion, aesthetics and theory
Online Options Yes, but rare
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 6% growth for animators and multimedia artists*
Median Salary (2014) $63,630*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Educational Prerequisites?

You must have at least a bachelor's degree to be considered for admission, and many programs ask that you have a degree in a related field, like art, design, visual effects or computer science. In addition to letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose and standardized test scores, you should also expect to submit a creative portfolio.

What Classes Will I Take?

Courses in MFA programs in animation combine didactic and hands-on learning. Many times, classes take place in a computer lab or a studio. Classes likely to appear in the curriculum include:

  • Aesthetics and theory
  • 3D modeling
  • Concept and character
  • Storyboarding
  • Character animation
  • Stop motion
  • Digital video
  • Digital audio

In addition to technical skills, many programs will equip you with professional skills, which can include:

  • Creating and presenting a demo reel
  • Knowledge of the animation, film and game production process
  • Understanding a production pipeline
  • History of game and film industries
  • Focusing on a target market

Most programs allow you to choose a specialization, such as modeling, storyboard and visual development, layout, background painting, compositing or VFX TD. This degree can be completed in 2-3 years and typically culminates in a creative thesis and a substantial portfolio of original work.

Can This Degree Be Earned Online?

Online programs are available, though on-campus programs may be more beneficial for some students. Distance learners will have to purchase animation and design software, which can be expensive and may require upgrades in hardware.

Will I Be Able to Get a Job? How Much Will I Make?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that the employment rate for artists and related professions, which includes animators, would increase by 6% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). As of 2014, multimedia artists and animators made a median annual salary of $63,630.

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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