The Top 20 Animation Degree Programs in 2021 - Best Value Schools

The Top 20 Animation Degree Programs in 2021

Staff Writers by: Staff Writers

A career in animation, now more than ever, demands a good education. With the rise of technology and its marriage to animation, this also means that it has never been more important to find the top animation degree programs. To help students seeking a career in the field of animation, we have put together a list of the top programs in the country.

This list is guided by leading considerations such as tuition costs and student to teacher ratios. Our search unsurprisingly led us to many schools from the East and West coasts but represents the best programs in the nation and covers every region of the United States. Good luck in your educational pursuits and career in the unique field of animation.

1. Pratt Institute (92 points)

Our list begins with a couple of East Coast schools, as the Pratt Institute of Brooklyn, New York leads our list of the top animation degree programs. This program needs little introduction to those who work in the animation industry. With competitive tuition costs and strong student-to-teacher ratios, the Pratt Institute should be on every student’s shortlist of animation degree programs.

Tuition: $33,246 per year             

Student / Teacher ratio: 9 to 1        

2. New York University (91 points)

Another Big Apple school, New York University in New York, New York, makes an impressive appearance on our list of the top animation degree programs. With a reputation of being an Arts-friendly institution, students will discover reasonable tuition fees, good student-to-teacher ratios, and a program worth investigating further.

Tuition: $33,408 per year              

Student / Teacher ratio: 9 to 1         

3. Columbus College of Art and Design (90 points)

The Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio is one of a few Midwest programs to make our list. Competitive tuition rates and good student-to-teacher ratios help earn this post-secondary institution a solid showing and should earn a few second looks from students seeking a career in animation.

Tuition: $35,880 per year               

Student / Teacher ratio: 9 to 1           

3. DePaul University (90 points)

It shouldn’t be a surprise that many smaller institutions and universities are on our list of the top animation degree programs, as this is more of a niche career and industry, but not all of those programs are of the technical or small school variety. DePaul University in Chicago and one of the leading universities in Illinois is one such example. Very manageable tuition rates help to offset larger student-to-teacher ratios and to earn this program a place on our list.

Tuition: $19,584 per year             

Student / Teacher ratio: 16 to 1      

3. Academy of Art University (90 points)

For students looking for the top animation degree programs, the Acadamy of Art University in San Francisco, California is worth a look. This esteemed program comes with competitive tuition rates which counterbalance somewhat larger class numbers. In the mecca of entertainment, students at the Academy of Art University can get the education they need to succeed in a career in animation.

Tuition: $25,992 per year              

Student / Teacher ratio: 14 to 1       

6. Carnegie Mellon University (89 points)

Another one of those institutions of higher learning that needs no introduction is the Carnegie Mellon University, renowned for its excellence in education this program affords students one of the top animation degree programs. Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, this program has a best on our list, five to one student-to-teacher ratio.

Tuition: $45,037 per year           

Student / Teacher ratio: 5 to 1     

7. Full Sail University (88 points)

Unlike many of the other more recognized schools on the list, Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida doesn’t come with a nationally recognized name. What this institution does deliver, however, is one of the top animation degree programs and the most affordable tuition rates of any of the programs on our list.

Tuition: $14,498 per year          

Student / Teacher ratio: 27 to 1

7. San Jose State University (88 points)

Another one of those top animation degree programs on the West Coast is the San Jose State University in San Jose, California. This program offers more affordable tuition rates which help to offset a less than ideal student-to-teacher ratio and to earn this program a spot on our list of the top schools for students pursuing an animation degree program.

Tuition: $16,680 per year           

Student / Teacher ratio: 25 to 1     

9. University of California (87 points)

Among the many great animation degree programs out west, students shouldn’t overlook the University of California in Los Angeles. This program doesn’t have the greatest student-to-teacher ratio but does have competitive tuition costs.

Tuition: $26,544 per year

Student / Teacher ratio: 18 to 1 

9. Laguna College of Art and Design (87 points)

Students looking for proven art and design schools and who want to enroll in the top animation degree programs can find both at the Laguna College of Art and Design in Laguna Beach, California. Good student-to-teacher ratios also help this program earn a place among our list of the leading animation degree programs. 

Tuition: $36,600 per year           

Student / Teacher ratio: 12 to 1      

11. School of the Art Institute of Chicago (86 points)

Offering one of the best animation degree courses in the Midwest the School of the Art Insititute of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois is a highly-sought-after program. This program offers solid student-to-teacher ratios and only stiffer tuition rates prevent it from ranking higher.

Tuition: $42,904 per year             

Student / Teacher ratio: 11 to 1    

12. Otis College of Art and Design (85 points)

Sometimes being a smaller or lesser-known institution has its benefits. For the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, California, that may be part of the reason why this great program also offers very good student-to-teacher ratios. The only drawback here is sizeable tuition rates that will typically require financial assistance for most students.

Tuition: $45,200 per year              

Student / Teacher ratio: 9 to 1         

13. University of Southern California (84 points)

One of the largest schools, not only on our list but in the country, the University of Southern California, is another school that needs no introduction. That also means that USC students also get some of the best tools, facilities, and instruction, and this storied program has surprisingly good student-to-teacher ratios too.

Tuition: $46,272 per year               

Student / Teacher ratio: 9 to 1          

13. ArtCenter College of Design Pasadena (84 points)

The tuition rate for this wonderful program is considerable, but the education students get at the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California, can’t be argued. In addition to specialized animation courses, this top animation degree program also offers more personalized instruction with excellent student-to-teacher ratios.

Tuition: $46,788 per year           

Student / Teacher ratio: 8 to 1      

13. School of Visual Arts (84 points)

One of New York’s premier schools for art and design, the School of Visual Arts in New York, New York, offers students the opportunity to earn a degree from one of the top animation degree programs in the country. This animation degree program also offers ideal student-to-teacher ratios which help to counterbalance stout tuition fees at this acclaimed school. 

Tuition: $46,940 per year               

Student / Teacher ratio: 7 to 1          

16. California Institute of the Arts (82 points)

One of the smaller programs on our list, the California Institute of the Arts is no stranger to recognition and awards. Well known as a leader in art and design instruction, students enjoy a great student-to-teacher ratio. Only larger tuition costs keep this institution from a better showing. 

Tuition: $50,850 per year              

Student / Teacher ratio: 7 to 1          

17. Savannah College of Art and Design (81 points)

Like several of the smaller art and design schools on our list of the top animation degree programs, for the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia, that hasn’t meant less recognition. This esteemed and respected school is worth a second look for students who are looking for the top animation degree programs.

Tuition: $38,475 per year              

Student / Teacher ratio: 20 to 1        

18. Rhode Island School of Design (79 points) 

For those familiar with the animation industry, the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island is recognized as a top animation degree program. Good student-to-teacher ratios help thls school to find a place on our list of the top programs although financial assistance will often be required by most students to handle stout tuition rates at this respected school of design.

Tuition: $51,800 per year     

Student / Teacher ratio: 9 to 1 

18. California College of the Arts (79 points)

The last of our West Coast programs to make the list, the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, California, offers students great student-to-teacher ratios and the opportunity to earn a degree from one of the top animation programs. Only larger tuition rates prevent this college from climbing the list.

Tuition: $53,250 per year            

Student / Teacher ratio: 8 to 1    

20. Rochester Institute of Technology (78 points)

Closing out our list of the top animation degree programs, we end where we began, on the East Coast. The Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York may be the last school on our list of the top programs, but it is worth a place and a look for students seeking one of the top animation degrees in the country. 

Tuition: $47,522 per year               

Student / Teacher ratio: 13 to 1         

The Method Used for Ranking the Schools

Using a simple point scoring system, each school was assigned point values in two categories, with each category accounting for one-half of the total scores. The total points were then used to rank the schools in order from highest to lowest.

While we work to continually provide the most recent and useful information we can, it is important for readers to be aware that the information used for each school is an approximation as this data is constantly changing. If you notice outdated information or note an error, please let our team know so we can continue to keep this information relevant and accurate. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you also have any questions about a program or school, and thank you for reaching out with any of your questions, concerns, or comments.

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