Animation is both an internationally enjoyed art form and a rapidly booming entertainment sector, making it a great industry to work in for aspiring artists.
Although it is not entirely necessary to earn a degree in animation prior to pursuing a career in this field, there are many benefits to getting a formal education in animation.
For one, getting at least a bachelor’s degree opens up many more employment opportunities for animators since most jobs in the field of animation and special effects require at least a four-year degree.
On top of that, people who work in animation and hold degrees tend to earn more than their professional counterparts who did not go to college.
Studying animation in a formal, academic setting under the instruction of university faculty — most of whom are also thriving, working animators and artists — also provides students with the opportunity to receive invaluable mentorship and guidance from experienced industry professionals.
Tons of major universities offer degrees in animation, so students have many options to choose from.
Of course, it can be difficult for many students to find the best-fit animation school, with the available options varying significantly in terms of program offerings, academic rigor, student body size, and so much more.
Intended for students who are in the process of selecting an animation school to attend, we have compiled the following list of schools with world-class animation programs, as well as some information about each school.
Here are our picks for 10 of the best animation schools in the world.
Teesside University (Middlesborough, EN)
Teesside University is a public university with an enrollment of over 21,000 students.
According to the 2022 edition of Animation Career Review’s annual international animation school rankings, Teesside is ranked #18 out of the 185 colleges considered.
The same year, Teesside also ranked fourth best in the UK out of 194.
The school offers an MA in animation, an intensive program where students study animation theory and history as well as master the industry’s most in-demand technical skills.
There are three different degree paths from which students in the Animation MA can choose: the program can be completed over the course of two years either full- or part-time, one in one year of full-time study.
For undergraduate students, Teesside University also offers a BA in animation.
California Institute of the Arts (Santa Clarita, CA)
Founded by Walt Disney and his brother, Roy, in 1961, the California Institute of the Arts is one of the most widely-known animation schools in the United States.
Also one of the best schools for animation in the world, CalArts has produced a number of highly successful alumni.
These include Tim Burton, director of Corpse Bride, Sweeney Todd, and many other iconic films, and Christ Buck, Academy Award-winning animator for Frozen.
The School of Film and Video at CalArts has a wide array of animation program offerings at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
For one, there is the MFA Experimental Animation, a three-year masters degree program in which students study both animation theory and technique. CalArts also offers a BFA in Experimental Animation, as well as one in Character Animation.
MoPA School of Animation (Arles, FR)
Located in the coastal city of Arles — which famously served as the inspiration for many of Vincent Van Gogh’s works — the MoPA School of Animation is internationally-acclaimed for its stellar 3D animation programs.
Established in 1988, MoPA was the first French art school dedicated strictly to computer-generated animation. In the 20 years since its founding, MoPA has become one of the foremost schools for CG animation in the world.
Through partnerships with many major film festivals and other cultural associations, MoPA ensures that the animated films their students create are shown at more than 200 festivals a year.
MoPA students have received many prestigious awards for their works. For example, the Oscar-nominated animated short film Garden Party was animated by a MoPA alum.
Emily Carr University of Art & Design (Vancouver, BC)
The only university dedicated exclusively to the arts, media, and design in British Columbia, CA, the Emily Carr University of Art and Design is a public art school that offers numerous options for animation students, including undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs.
At the undergraduate level, students can choose between two bachelors of media arts degree programs.
First, there is the BMA in 2D and experimental animation. The program’s innovative curriculum involves in-depth, hands-on training in a variety of traditional animation skills like drawing, as well as digital animation.
The other undergraduate degree program in animation that ECU offers is the BMA in 3D + Computer Animation.
Both the 2D and 3D programs make use of the school’s Animation Studio, a well-equipped studio featuring numerous editing suites, a computer lab, and various other professional animation equipment and software for student use.
The Animation Workshop / VIA University College (Viborg, DK)
A part of the VIA University College School of Business, Technology and Creative Industries, The Animation Workshop is an animation school located in former military barracks in central Denmark.
It offers a variety of bachelor’s degree programs relating to animation, as well as two foundation programs: classical and classical and visual storytelling.
Open to any students interested in learning the fundamental artistic skills that are required in order to get into a good art school or secure a job in the animation field.
Major programs for students pursuing a bachelor in animation at TAW include character animation, computer graphic arts, and graphic storytelling.
In addition, TAW offers a wide range of 12-week professional training programs. These include 3D character animation, an animation production manager course, and several others.
University of Hertfordshire (Hertfordshire, UK)
Located in England, the University of Hertfordshire is a public university with a total enrollment of over 30,000 students.
The school is widely recognized for its excellence in the area of digital animation.
The University of Hertfordshire’s Digital Animation program curriculum covers a range of subjects relating to 2D animation, 3D animation, visual effects, and video game design.
In 2021, the university was ranked 12th in the world among colleges with the best game design and development programs.
The same year, Hertfordshire was named #22 in the world and #1 in the UK in terms of creative media and entertainment studies.
There are a few significant options from which students in the digital animation program can choose. One of these is the BA in comics and concept art.
Sheridan College (Oakville, ON)
Established in 1967, Sheridan College is an award-winning public community college that is made up of five faculties.
One of Sheridan’s constituent faculties is the Faculty of Animation, Arts, and Design, also called FAAD for short.
The largest school for the arts and media in Canada offers six different programs relating to animation.
At the undergraduate level, there is the honors bachelor of animation, a four-year degree program covering a vast range of subjects relating to animation.
During the third year of the animation BMA, students get the chance to gain real professional experience during a three-month work placement.
FAAD also offers a BMA in game design, a four-year honors bachelor’s degree program in which students learn all the skills needed to create games from scratch.
Other animation offerings include one-year graduate certificate programs in visual effects, game level design, digital creature animation, and computer animation.
Gobelins, l’école de l’image (Paris, FR)
Located in Paris’ quaint Latin Quarter — the city’s oldest district — Gobelins, l’école de l’image is a prestigious school for the visual arts and communication.
According to a 2021 ranked list of the top 25 animation schools in the world by Animation Careers Review, Gobelins is the single best animation school overall.
The school has a number of animation offerings, from the year-long animation preparatory program at the pre-collegiate level all the way up to the graduate level.
For undergraduate students, Gobelins offers a bachelor of arts in character animation and animated filmmaking.
Gobelins also offers a number of its courses online, making it possible for students all across the world to take classes from this top-tier animation school.
On top of that, each year, Gobelins hosts its International Summer Schools in Paris.
Ringling College of Art and Design (Sarasota, FL)
Established in 1931, the Ringling College of Art and Design — also called RCAD — is a private school for design and the arts.
On top of two BA major programs, the College of Art and Design offers eleven different major options for students in their BFA programs.
One of these is the BFA in computer animation, which has been named the #1 program of its kind in all of North America.
Students in this program are taught each and every step of how to bring a virtual character to life, from creating original characters to storytelling, texturing, lighting, editing, and so much more.
Ringling’s computer animation BFA alumni have won a number of prestigious awards for their work, including Academy Awards.
Other BFA majors Ringling offers include game art, graphic design, and virtual reality development.
RMIT University (Melbourne, AU)
Originally founded in 1887 as a night school for the arts, sciences, and technology, RMIT University — formally the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology — is a public research university specializing in tech and design.
RMIT is widely acknowledged for its excellent animation program offerings, ranking first in Australia and New Zealand collectively, as well as eighth in the world.
There are several animation programs to choose from at RMIT, such as the bachelor of design in animation and interactive media.
There is also the bachelor of media and communication, an interdisciplinary option that blends studio-based learning and laboratory-style study.
Graduate degree programs at RMIT include the master of design, a research-based program intended to prepare students for innovative careers in the design industry. The school also offers a master of animation, games and interactivity.