Best Online Bachelor’s in Animation Programs of 2021

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August 27, 2021

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Animators create the artwork, models, and visual effects (VFX) in film, television, and video games. As the demand for many traditional art and design occupations declines, new technologies and an ever-growing reliance on mobile devices has increased the need for new, talented animators.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 4% growth for animators between 2019 and 2029, which is on par with the average growth rate across all occupations. Most professionals complete a bachelor's degree in animation to enter the field, but prospective animators can pursue various program and career pathways. To help aspiring professionals choose the right route, this page provides animation program information and career outlook.

2021 Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Animation Programs

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Southern New Hampshire University View School Profile Manchester, NH

SNHU offers an online graphic design degree with a 3D modeling and animation concentration. Students learn to develop and design professional work while gaining the interdisciplinary skills needed to compete in this growing field.

The program's core courses cover typography, advanced digital imaging, and desktop publishing. Additionally, animation concentration coursework covers designing wireframe 3D models, animating character functions, and rendering photorealistic effects.

SNHU accepts applications on a rolling basis year-round and does not require application fees or ACT or SAT scores. Incoming students can bring up to 90 transfer credits with them when they enroll.

SNHU is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

George Mason University View School Profile Fairfax, VA

Based in Fairfax, Virginia, Mason offers a bachelor's degree in art and visual technology with a concentration in new media art.

Alongside general education requirements, students in the program tackle an art and visual technology core that includes classes in digital design, figure drawing, and new media in the creative arts. The new media art concentration requires 12 credits in video art, live movies, and 3D experimental animation.

Applicants must submit high school transcripts, letters of recommendation, and standardized test scores. Prospective students also submit a personal essay and a list of extracurricular activities.

Mason is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Baker College View School Profile Owosso, MI

Based in Flint, Michigan, Baker offers a fully online BS in game software development. Taught by instructors with professional experience in video game design, students gain the skills they need to launch their careers in a competitive field.

In addition to general education requirements, degree-seekers gain practical and widely applicable computer-based skills through classes like introduction to programming, Java programming, and computer operating systems and maintenance. Animation and design training includes courses in game development and artificial intelligence and a design capstone project.

The program requires 120 credits and takes four years to complete. Nearly 90% of admitted learners receive scholarships, financial aid, or grants.

Baker is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

National University View School Profile La Jolla, CA

Located in San Diego, California, NU maintains a global network of 180,000 alumni and is the largest private nonprofit university in the San Diego area. The university offers an online bachelor's in animation that teaches learners the latest developments in the field.

Degree-seekers tackle a variety of digital media classes. In addition to practical courses like digital project management and emerging technologies, students dive headfirst into animation courses, including 3D modeling for game art, video game design, and motion graphics. Before graduation, students complete a capstone multimedia arts portfolio project.

NU accepts applications year-round, with four-week classes starting monthly. Recognized as a Yellow Ribbon institution, NU offers tuition discounts to veterans and current service members.

NU is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission.

Wilmington University View School Profile New Castle, DE

Based in New Castle, Delaware, WilmU offers a BS in 3D animation. This accessible, 100% online bachelor's in animation focuses on critical professional skills, including hand-drawn animation, 3D sculpting, and 3D animation.

The program's curriculum consists of three parts: 39 credits of general education requirements, 63 credits of animation coursework, and 18 credits of electives. The animation core covers the history of animation, 3D modeling techniques, and fundamentals of motion graphics. Before graduation, students either complete a senior capstone project or an animation-related internship.

WilmU is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Related Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Animation Program?

An online bachelor's in animation usually requires 120 credits and takes full-time students four years to complete. Prospective students should possess some artistic talent, along with communication and computer skills.

As animation students progress through their degree, they often build a portfolio to highlight their artistic breadth and technical capabilities. In addition to coursework, a bachelor's in animation usually features extensive collaboration opportunities and lab work.

Animation students may encounter various degree and program types, including a BA, BS, and bachelor of fine arts (BFA). While these options can lead to similar careers, they may differ in course offerings. For example, BA degrees may provide more comprehensive or interdisciplinary training, BS degrees may offer more technical training, and BFA degrees may emphasize creation processes and portfolios.

Prospective students might want to focus more on available concentrations. Choosing a specialization in animation, such as 3D computer animation, visual effects, or game design, can help learners hone in on their ideal careers.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Animation Program?

Courses will vary according to your school and program. However, common courses frequently taught in online bachelor's in animation programs include the following.

Digital Character Design
This course teaches students the design process for digital characters using various applications and styles, such as 2D and 3D models. Learners examine visual and narrative methods for bringing characters to life.
Storyboarding
In this course, students learn to create storyboards for different types of projects, including film and games. Covered topics include animation elements and techniques, narrative components, and other related pre-production stages.
Story Development
Story development courses teach students different methods for story creation within various production types. Learners examine how to develop a premise, structure, and narrative.
Stop Motion
This course teaches students how to create animation using stop motion techniques and technologies. Degree-seekers learn how to storyboard for stop motion and puppet animation, along with ways of manipulating and filming action.
Advanced Figure Drawing
This course builds on beginner and intermediate figure and animation coursework, teaching students how to combine their skills with color, movement, and character motion to animate more lifelike creations. They may recreate various forms from nature, incorporating concepts like dynamics, shading, and the environment.

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What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Animation Degree?

Graduates with an online bachelor's in animation can pursue different careers in various industries depending on their choices and interests. The BLS projects the addition of nearly 3,000 new animator positions between 2019 and 2029. While most animators are self-employed, 14% work in motion pictures, 7% work in software publishing, and 5% work in computer systems design services.

Discover the possibilities of an online bachelor's in animation. Learn more about animation careers.

Animators
Animators create animations and VFX using different computer programs for various applications and formats. They may specialize in creating certain forms or in a specific medium.
Art Directors
Art directors develop and manage the overall concept and themes of a campaign or project. They may work with animators, graphic designers, and advertising professionals, reviewing work and ensuring various elements and collaborations come together as a cohesive unit.
Graphic Designers
Graphic designers help clients communicate through visual concepts, illustrations, websites, and other artistic creations. They can work with different texts and images and within various mediums.
Producers and Directors
Producers and directors work in film, TV, and other productions. Producers handle budgeting and project planning, and directors supervise casting, filming, and design.
Computer Programmers
Computer programmers create and test the code for various programs and applications. They may work closely with designers to ensure that their intended creations transfer seamlessly into computer applications.

Animation Not for You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Animation Programs

Is a bachelor's in animation worth it? true

A bachelor's in animation can lead to some of the most exciting careers in film and television. Graduates can apply their degrees to the creative and business sides of the field, along with various other industries. According to the BLS, special effects artists and animators earned a median annual salary of $77,700 in 2020.

What can I do with a bachelor's in animation? true

With a bachelor's in animation, graduates can pursue careers as animators, directors, and designers in motion pictures, software publishing, and computer systems design services. They can also continue their studies into master's programs.

Are animation majors in demand? true

The BLS projects 4% job growth for animators between 2019 and 2029, equal to the average growth rate for all occupations.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's in animation?

Salaries depend on numerous factors, including location and experience. According to the BLS, animators made a median annual salary of $77,700 in 2020, nearly twice the median annual salary for all occupations. The top 10% of earners made over $142,750 in 2020.

What are the highest-paying jobs with a bachelor's in animation?

According to the BLS, art directors made a median annual salary of $97,270 in 2020, with the top 10% making more than $199,250 annually.

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