Do you find yourself in awe of digital and visual effects used in movies, computer games, and more? If so, a degree in animation may be perfect for you! You’ll be able to tap into your creative brain each and every day. With the rise of technology and people’s continued love of film, games, and TV, the need for animators is steadily growing.
What kind of Animation degree should you get?
Graphic design and animation are areas that are gaining popularity, with more and more programs to choose from. So, what kind of degree you should get? Should you attend online? Or on-campus? Should you choose a concentration? Now that you’ve made the decision to earn a bachelor’s degree in animation, plenty of other decisions will follow. Luckily, we’re here to help!
If you’re just starting out in animation, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading for our ranking of the Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Animation Degrees. If you’re undecided but want to explore the flexible world of online education, check out College Choice’s picks for Most Affordable Online Colleges.
How much money do people make with a Bachelor’s in Animation?
Multimedia artists and animators can make upwards of $65,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of course, your salary will only rise based on your level of education and years of experience, as well as your skill level. You’ll need to create a stellar portfolio of work if you’re looking to get hired by the likes of Pixar or Dreamworks. Luckily, jobs in this industry are projected to grow 8 percent from now until 2026.
What can you do with a Bachelor’s in Animation?
Earning a bachelor’s degree in animation will open up many creative doors for graduates. With this degree, you’ll be qualified for careers as a games developer, graphic designer, illustrator, web designer, and more. You can work in television and film, or you can even freelance and work for yourself! The options are endless.
Interested in creating cool animation and visual effects for a living but unsure of where to start? Luckily, College Choice is here to help! We’ve ranked the Best Animation Degrees for you to take the stress out of searching for the perfect school. Read on to find the program that’s best for you.
See our rankings methodology page.
Art Institute of Pittsburgh
Average Net Price: $19,475
Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Art Institute of Pittsburgh is home to just over 2,500 creative students. The Institute offers both on-campus and online programs, making it easy to complete your degree on your own time. Popular areas of study include film & production, gaming & technology, fashion, and culinary. Now, interested students can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Media Arts & Animation.
Graduates of this program will be able to demonstrate a practical understanding and application of animation, acting and movement, and cinematic storytelling as it relates to 2D and 3D animation. Required courses may include:
- 3D Modeling
- 2D Animation
- Motion Graphics
- Storyboarding & Animatics
- Hard Surface & Organic Modeling
- Emerging Technologies for Animation
Students must complete at least 180 quarter credits to earn their Media & Arts Animation Bachelor of Science degree. Depending on your schedule, you can complete this program in as little as 12 quarters.
The Media Arts & Animation degree program at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh will prepare you for a life in a creative and supportive environment. You’ll develop the skills and imagination to work everywhere from film and TV to medicine and law. The faculty and professors at the Art Institute have industry experience and are always available to answer your questions along the way.
Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design
Average Net Price: $23,693
Located in Denver, Colorado, the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design is a small, for-profit art and design school that was founded in 1963. Home to just over 1,000 artistic students, RMCAD offers both on-campus and online programs. Choose this school if you want to be surrounded by a community of creatives in a beautiful campus setting. Learn more about RMCAD’s online Bachelor of Fine Arts in 3D Animation below.
Do you have artistic abilities and an imagination that runs wild? Want to bring your crazy ideas to life? RMCAD’s 3D Animation program can help you do so through storyboarding, stop motion, modeling, and more! Students must complete 123 credits and required courses may include:
- 3D Computer Fundamentals
- Experimental Computer Animation
- 3D Computer Lighting and Materials
- Introduction to Dynamics and Effects
- 3D Computer Animation Motion Studies
All animation students will also be required to complete a thesis to earn their degree.
The student-to-faculty ratio at RMCAD is 7:1, and the average class size is just eight students. Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design is approved for Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, and U.S government tuition assistance through the Department of Defense.
Full Sail University
Average Net Price: $27,840
Located in Winter Park, Florida, Full Sail University is home to 15,500 students. With a variety of degrees offered, Full Sail now draws in students with a strong demonstrated interest in design and animation. In fact, the school now offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Animation. Students will learn everything from storyboarding, sketching, and visual development to modeling, character animation, and final compositing.
This program can be completed in 20 months on-campus and in approximately 29 months online. Required courses may include:
- 3D Animation
- Model Creation
- Shading and Lighting
- Compositing and Scene Finishing
- Technology in the Entertainment and Media Industries
All students will also have to complete a final project and build a comprehensive portfolio along the way. Qualified online students can receive up to $20,000 with the university’s Momentum Scholarship.
Full Sail has partnered with Apple to create Project LaunchBox. All students will receive a heavily-discounted current-generation Apple MacBook Pro. With this program, students can complete their coursework and projects with ease. There is an exception, though! If you pursue a degree in Game Development, Software Development, or Simulation & Visualization, you’ll receive an HP laptop.
Academy of Art University
Average Net Price: $29,301
Founded in 1929, the Academy of Art University is located in San Francisco, California. With students from over 112 countries, this art academy is thriving with new and innovative ideas. From design and fine art, to entertainment and liberal arts, there is something for every student. Now, the university offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Animation and Visual Effects.
The School of Animation and Visual Effects BFA program provides students with the skills to create a world of their own through animation. Students may choose one of the following primary areas of emphasis: visual effects, 3D modeling, 3D animation, 2D animation and stop motion, and storyboarding. All students must complete 132 credits. Required courses may include:
- History of Animation
- Computer Animation Production
- 3D Modeling and Animation
- Fundamentals of Texturing and Lighting
Students can take these courses either on-campus or online. All students must also complete a collaborative studio experience project to earn their degree.
Graduates of the Academy of Art University have gone on to work for prestigious companies, including: Sony, Riot Games, Zynga, EA, and Crystal Dynamics. Whether you wish to be a character concept artist or a 3D environment modeler, the Academy of Art will help you to succeed.
Southern New Hampshire University
Average Net Price: $34,984
Southern New Hampshire University is a private school located in Hooksett, New Hampshire. While the university only has an on-campus population of roughly 3,000 students, it boasts an incredible 60,000 distance learners! Its innovative online learning platform has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report and continues to grow. Southern New Hampshire University now offers an online Bachelor of Arts degree in Graphic Design with a concentration in 3D Modeling and Animation.
In this program, you’ll learn how to use the same software that professionals use, including Adobe Creative Suite and Autodesk’s Maya and Mudbox. Required courses may include:
- History of Design
- Desktop Publishing
- 3D Modeling and Animation
- Language and Practice of Media Arts
- Advanced Digital Graphic Design for the Web
The fee per credit hour is $320, while the fee is $225 for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.
Southern New Hampshire University was ranked the #1 Most Innovative School by U.S. News & World Report in 2018. The university has also been ranked among the Best Colleges for Veterans and Best Value Schools in the United States.