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From feature films to gaming to publishing, professional animators work in a variety of exciting positions. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that positions for multimedia artists and animators will grow 8% from 2016 to 2026. This 10–year increase translates to around 6,200 additional jobs. Most online animation programs take four years to complete, and graduates will leave school prepared for work in the field.

Choosing an Online Animation Program

Online animation degree programs cover the animation techniques used today and in the past. Courses cover visual artistry and other aspects of the storytelling process. A computer animation degree online program educates you on animation for film, gaming, and the digital space. Through core classes, you’ll review topics like figure and animal drawing, character gesture, cutout design, color theory, and developing a narrative. In most programs, the first two years focus on the principles of art and the different ways to use content, medium, and form to tell a story prepares you to choose a specialization like game design, character animation, or computer graphics.

Through electives, you can tailor your online animation degree to match your career goals. A future storyboard artist, for example, may take advanced courses in screenwriting. A future character designer, meanwhile, may focus on character ideation and creation. As part of the curriculum in most online animation degree programs, you also periodically submit work for review, and your studies culminate with a "thesis film" or a final creative project that demonstrates your mastery of program competencies.

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Featured Bachelors in Animation Degree Programs

Online Bachelor’s in Animation Degree Program Ranking Guidelines

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We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%
Affordability - 15%
Online Enrollment - 10%

In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.

If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

We thank you for your readership and trust.

The Best Online Bachelor’s in Animation Degree Programs

University of Colorado Denver View School Profile $$ Denver, CO 45% University of Colorado Denver is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

The online animation degree at CU Denver prepares graduates for a variety of careers in digital media. Students receive a fine arts education over the course of four years, delivered through CU Denver’s state–of–the–art Digital Animation Center (DAC). The BFA in visual arts with an emphasis in digital animation is an illustrative online program that provides students with the theoretical background and technical proficiency to work in various industries.

Through asynchronous learning, this computer animation degree online program requires students to complete 13 sequenced courses centered on 3D graphics and animation. The program primarily uses the teaching application MAYA from Autodesk. Core and foundational courses in the BFA cover 2– and 3–dimensional design, color theory, and art history. Note that the DAC accepts students for the BFA in visual arts in the fall semester only.

National University View School Profile $$$$ La Jolla, CA 23% National University is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

National University offers more than 100 programs in an accelerated one–course–per–month format, including an online BA in digital media design. In 180 quarter units, this program helps students learn the essentials of transmedia design theory, production, and management. A hands–on program, the digital media design BA prepares students for industry work straight out of their undergrad program. The program requires students earn at least 45 units in residency.

Students take 72 units in the digital media design major. Core classes cover convergence media, 3D modeling, and game scripting. NU offers classes in a four–week format, where students can take up to 12 courses per year. For the capstone, students must submit a final portfolio project.

Southern New Hampshire University View School Profile $$$$ Manchester, NH 59% Southern New Hampshire University is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Higher Education (NEASC-CIHE).

The 120–credit BA in graphic design with an emphasis in 3D modeling and animation blends form and function, teaching students the latest concepts, techniques, and applications used in the industry today. The roadmap for this online animation degree begins with an examination of design, and culminates with courses relevant to work in film, advertising, and the lucrative game industry. In addition to 3D modeling, students learn anatomy illustration, digital painting, and rigging.

At the end of this computer animation degree online program, students create a portfolio that demonstrates their mastery of the discipline. Through this online animation degree, students develop proficient skills in Adobe Creative Suite, Maya, and Mudbox. SNHU delivers more than 100 online bachelor’s degrees, and offers a generous transfer policy to prospective students.

Baker College View School Profile $$ Flint, MI 10% Baker College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Through Baker College’s BS in game software development, students gain skills in software engineering and animation. As with other online animation degree programs, this bachelor’s of science explores leading technologies and the entire creative process from conception to final production. While the program’s focus is on game development and programming, the skills are applicable to all types of animation, platforms, and industries. The major itself is 90 units and includes such courses as visual BASIC, programming in C++ and Java, and game design and analysis.

In their final year, students in Baker’s computer animation degree online program complete a senior design project that they can eventually use as part of their portfolio. Though the online animation degree program enforces deadlines and start and end dates to terms, participation is asynchronous; students log in, study, and collaborate at their convenience.

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

Details of online animation degree programs may vary depending on the school and program chosen. Given the importance of specialization in animation, programs tend to feature different concentrations. All strong computer animation degree online programs combine the in–demand skills needed to compete in the industry while also teaching a solid foundation in traditional and contemporary art.

Curriculum for an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Animation

Art in Animation
This introductory course provides an overview of the principles and types of animation. Students explore traditional and contemporary techniques, the media from the past and present, and the various media you may work in, like pixelization, cutouts, and clay for stop–motion.
3D Animation
In this course, students learn how to build a 3D character from scratch. Topics cover what it takes to work in 3D modeling and render a three–dimensional figure for VFX, from aesthetics to the technical side.
History of Animation
This survey course explores changes in animation over the decades. Students study the origins of animation forms, plus the theory and criticism of styles, movements, and techniques that animators may or may not still use today.
Computer Graphics
Students learn the terminology and basic concepts of computer graphics. Through this introduction, students gain a better understanding of 2D and 3D animation and how film, games, and the publishing industry use computer graphics to tell stories.
Editing for Animation
This course explores how to use editing for animation, which differs from cinematic film. Students become proficient in using today’s editing software, including synching, editing digital video, and adding, removing, or editing audio files.
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Careers with a Bachelor’s in Animation

With an online animation degree, you can pursue creative roles in various industries, including film, advertising, and gaming. According to the BLS, the biggest employer for multimedia artists and animators is the motion picture and video industry, followed by computer systems design. The third biggest industry is software publishing. By developing multiple skills and honing your craft in a specialization, you can prepare yourself well to compete for a variety of positions.

Art Director
Art directors work in a supervisory role on art projects. They develop the visual style and vision for a project and then allow staff to turn concept into reality. In the animation field, they may storyboard an entire film, game, or campaign before turning it over to the animators and actors once a project enters the production phase.
  • Median Annual Salary: $92,500
  • Projected Growth Rate: 5%
Game Designer
Animators will find ample opportunity to work in the gaming industry, with BLS identifying this industry as the second-largest employer of animators today. In terms of their daily tasks, game designers create all aspects of a visual story, including the scenery, backgrounds, icons, and characters. Game designers conceive the look, feel, and layout of a studio's games.
  • Median Annual Salary: $70,530
  • Projected Growth Rate: 8%
Computer Graphic Designer
With a background in animation, you can work as a computer graphic designer. Computer graphic designers use the same approach as animators for conceptualizing and creating characters, layouts, or settings. Computer graphic designers work in various industries, and their animation and design skills complement projects in film, advertising, media, and websites.
  • Median Annual Salary: $48,700
  • Projected Growth Rate: 4%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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