Top Computer Graphics Schools

Individuals use computer graphics in applications ranging from animated feature films to website design. These schools offer program options that could lead to design, technical or research careers. Schools offering 3D Animation degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are Some Characteristics of Top Computer Graphics Schools?

A college or university may have a large department dedicated to multiple fields of study for computer science and information technology. You should choose one of these schools with state-of-the-art equipment in its studios and computer labs. Faculty and students should focus on research projects that complement your studies in areas such as upcoming software developments or media trends. You may want to seek out the chance to combine graphics and technical subjects in interdisciplinary programs that can prepare you for a wider array of career opportunities.

What Are Three Top Computer Graphics Schools?

Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA

CMU was ranked the No. 1 school for graduate multimedia and visual communications programs and No. 4 for graphic design programs in 2012, according to U.S. News & World Report; in addition, it ties for 23rd place among all national universities in 2016. The schools of engineering, computer science and design are each affiliated with the Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII) hosted by the School of Computer Science. HCII conducts multidisciplinary research in computer graphics and visual interface design. The intercollegiate BCSA program combines fine arts and computer science disciplines and offers customized foreign study options. Prior students have interned in organizations ranging from network news stations to the Center for Digital Storytelling in California. They conduct independent research projects and often receive small undergraduate research grants.

The School of Design offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs in design. The graduate program, with projects sponsored by companies such as Microsoft, the Carnegie Museum of Art and Motorola, may address traditional and new media, including interactive media and Internet communication. Facilities include a 3-D modeling lab, darkrooms and studios including the John Reese Memorial Electronic Studio. The following programs are available:

  • Bachelor of Design
  • Master of Design
  • Master of Arts in Design
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Design
  • Doctorate of Design

Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN

As of 2016, U.S. News & World Report ranked Purdue ninth-best for its undergraduate engineering programs and 61st among national universities. The school was ranked as the 12th-best for graduate computer engineering programs in 2015. Its College of Technology (CoT) offers a major in computer graphics technology at its flagship and New Albany campuses. Students learn creative design, programming and management skills. CoT study-abroad programs are available in Germany and Switzerland, and Purdue offers programs in nearly 40 other locations. A 5-year combined bachelor's and master's degree program is available.

Master-level students might pursue virtual reality, interactive media research, educational technology or life-cycle management topics for careers in multimedia development, animation or production management. Doctoral candidates choose a major based on a CoT department, such as computer graphics technology or applied computer graphics. The Envision Center for Data Perceptualization supports research in visualization, and the Center for Serious Games and Learning in Virtual Environments partners Purdue researchers with K-12 schools. These programs are available:

  • Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Computer Graphics Technology
  • B.S./Master of Science (M.S.) in Computer Graphics Technology
  • M.S. in Computer Graphics Technology
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Technology

School of Visual Arts in New York, NY

SVA was ninth-best among the graphic design schools ranked by U.S. News & World Report in 2012. The same source ranked it tenth-best for multimedia and visual communications. The school offers a production-oriented, multidisciplinary program for 3-D computer animation. The undergraduate major can lead to careers in broadcast or video game design, compositing or computer programming. The Computer Art, Computer Animation and Visual Effects Department specializes in digital applications used in the film industry. Graduates of the MFA Computer Art Department hold positions with Disney, Pixar, Sony Pictures Imageworks and MTV.

Computer art students have won Student Academy Awards and Webbys, as well as awards from YouTube and Adobe. Their work has been shown at the Cannes, Tribeca and Sundance film festivals. Three galleries present more than 50 exhibitions per year. SVA publishes the Visual Arts Journal, a print and online magazine. The Visual Arts Press design studio offers internships that can lead to broad exposure for participants. These programs are available:

  • BFA in Computer Arts, Computer Animation and Visual Effects
  • MFA in Computer Art
  • MFA in Interaction Design

Ten Top Computer Graphics Schools

College/UniversityInstitution TypeLocation
Rhode Island School of Design 4-year, Private Providence, RI
Yale University 4-year, Private New Haven, CT
Maryland Institute College of Art 4-year, Private Baltimore, MD
Virginia Commonwealth University 4-year, Public Richmond, VA
Art Center College of Design 4-year, Private Pasadena, CA
California Institute of the Arts 4-year, Private Valencia, CA
New School--Parsons School of Design 4-year, Private New York, NY
California College of the Arts 4-year, Private San Francisco, CA
School of the Art Institute of Chicago 4-year, Private Chicago, IL
Minneapolis College of Art and Design 4-year, Private Minneapolis, MN

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:

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