"The program seems to work incredibly well for graduates, many of whom can be found working for some of the biggest CG and game studios around."
For Animation Career Review, Bonnie Boglioli-Randall writes:
From sea to shining sea, there are excellent animation programs to be found in every corner of the nation and we’ve been on the hunt for them. Today, we find ourselves smack in the middle of the nation for our fourth and final installment of our Best Animation Programs Top 20 list: the Midwest."
The following 20 Midwestern schools are worthy of your attention not because they fall into any singular methodology of teaching but because of various attributes that appeal to a variety of aspiring animators. We create our list series by first consulting animators, executives and studio recruiters when we interview them for our ongoing Interview Series. We also take into account university-wide reviews by major surveyors who do this stuff for a living (like US News Best Colleges and The Princeton Review). We then do further research that takes into account additional criteria including curriculum, faculty, internship possibilities, location (as it pertains to industry hubs), campus life, accolades, tuition and more.
1. Minneapolis College of Art and Design
The idea is simple enough: artists with a strong foundation in traditional, hand-drawn techniques make for better animators—even in a CG environment. Yet finding a school that devotes so much attention to the 2D arts is not easy to come by everywhere. At a time when many animation programs decided to focus more on the latest (and ever-changing) tools and technologies of the trade, MCAD and a few others have held steady to the belief that a good artist is a good artist, no matter what their medium of choice.
To start, applicants are carefully screened for their artistic capabilities. Then, the school utilizes a foundational studies curriculum that graduates to more nuanced art and design concepts through each of the four years of the BFA program. The Animation program is all-encompassing and general—meaning that students take both 2D and 3D courses from storyboard and sound to life drawing and stop motion. Internships and professional practice coursework (i.e. getting your reel up to date and learning how to market your assets) add the final element to MCAD’s well-rounded approach to animation education. The program seems to work incredibly well for graduates, many of whom can be found working for some of the biggest CG and game studios around.