Master’s in Animation in the United States

Create Account

Earning your Bachelor’s degree demonstrates that you have basic competency in a specific discipline. This type of diploma shows that you are ready to enter the work force and be a positively contributing member of an organization. However, more employers around the globe are requiring even entry-level employees to have a Master’s degree or higher education. A Master’s often takes one to two years to complete, depending on the area of study. This allows students extra time to hone and master their skills and knowledge to be more competitive for higher positions. Those who enjoy films and artwork might consider pursuing a Master’s in Animation in the United States.

The US is home to many movie production companies, including powerhouse entertainment companies that focus on children’s movies through animation. There is a wide range of schools with state-of-the-art animation and job placement programs to assist students in making their mark in the entertainment industry. Some of the best Master’s in Animation programs are available at universities such as:

  • Pratt Institute – Manhattan
  • Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Ball State University
  • DePaul University
  • Academy of Art University

What Is a Master’s in Animation?

While animation has a lot to do with art, earning a degree in animation involves much more than just drawing. Students must complete projects, often including a capstone project before earning a degree. Common course topics to encounter include:

  • Animation History
  • Character Setup and Basics
  • Computer-Generated Modelling and Design
  • Naturalistic Animation
  • Drawing in Motion
  • 3D Effects
  • Aesthetics and Practice in Animation

Admission into animation programs is often competitive. Students must put together a complete portfolio that includes life drawings, sketchbooks, and previous projects. Faculty review the portfolio and previous academic work to determine the suitability of the student for the program. Some universities might also require scores from a postgraduate examination such as the GRE. The primary language of the US is English, so students whose primary language is not English might need to provide proof of English proficiency. This means sitting an examination such as the TOEFL, IELTS, or other English fluency examination accepted by your chosen university.

One benefit to enrolling in an animation program is the opportunity to learn directly from professional animators. However, some universities might offer online courses. If you require distance learning options, or cannot attend campus for some reason, you might benefit from an online program. You will want to research your program of choice thoroughly to determine whether or not courses are available over the internet.

What Are the Benefits of Getting a Master’s in Animation?

Because so many modern employers require more of their entry-level employees, there are benefits to earning a postgraduate degree. First of all, it makes you stand out over applicants without a postgraduate degree. With your additional experience, you may also qualify for a higher salary over the course of your career. When it comes to animation, the bigger the portfolio you can build up, the more desirable you become to bigger animation companies.

There are also benefits unique to earning your animation degree in the US. Many animation professors at US universities have worked in animation themselves, meaning you get to learn from professionals. There are also many different animation programs all over the USA. With a varied culture, states and territories spreading from one ocean to another, there are plenty of experiences to have. US universities also tend to have excellent students services including internship programs and job placement assistance.

What Kind of Career Can You Expect With a Master’s in Animation?

Many people’s minds automatically turn to animator when they think of studying animation. It’s true that this is a common job, but there are many different roles for animators in the production of a project. An animator is but one of hundreds of jobs involved with making even a short film. Other possible career occupations include:

  • 3D Modeller
  • Art Director
  • Layout Artist
  • Key Artist
  • Clean-up Artist
  • Editor
  • Stop Motion Animator
  • Graphic Designer
  • Background Artist
  • Inbetweener

Many jobs in animation require a bit of experience or projects that university programs help you to complete. There usually aren't additional certifications or licencing requirements to work in animation, but building a solid portfolio is a good idea.

The US has many excellent options for earning your Master’s in Animation. Consider your ultimate career goals and start looking for your ideal program today.