Animation (BFA)

Animation Major

In the University of the Arts’ Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program in Animation, you’ll be pushed past your comfort zone by participating in projects in which you’ll collaborate with musicians, dancers, actors and other artists. Whether you create traditional, stop-motion or computer-generated animation, you will work in a dynamic medium to tell the stories you feel passionate about and express your personal vision.

Learning from Exceptional Faculty

Working closely with an accomplished faculty of professional filmmakers and animators—whose work has aired on networks and channels such as Cartoon Network, HBO, Netflix and Nickelodeon—you’ll take animation classes that are a mixture of hands-on instruction, lectures, screenings and critiques. You can also take advantage of internships and opportunities to study away. When you graduate, you’ll do so with the skills to confidently pursue a career in animation. 

Varied Animation Techniques

Students will explore the variety of techniques available to the current animator, hone traditional skills, learn how to tell engaging stories, create memorable characters and bring ideas to life that have never existed before. As an undergraduate student, you’ll get to make both a junior animated film and a senior animated thesis. The skills learned as an Animation major will help you adapt and create quality content as ideas become even more valuable to audiences than the techniques needed to present them.

Awards and Accolades

UArts programs measure up. In 2021, the Animation program at UArts was named in the top five animation schools in Pennsylvania, the top animation schools on the East Coast and the top animation schools in the U.S. by Animation Career Review.

Resources Available to Animation Students

Collaborative by design, our Animation program allows you to work with peers from different programs. You’ll get instruction across disciplines by taking courses in film and illustration alongside your major courses. You’ll also be able to use UArts’ production and technology spaces, like the 5,600-square-foot Center for Immersive Media (CIM), animation and film studios, computer labs, and two stop-motion studios, among other cutting-edge spaces. Media Resources provides students with cameras, tripods, lights and other technology needed to succeed in coursework and beyond. 

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About the Curriculum

Sample Courses in the Animation Major

UArts’ Animation degree program supports traditional hand-drawn, 3-D computer, stop-motion and any animation techniques you can imagine.

After completing the Animation program, students will be able to 

  •  Develop the ability to verbalize and bring to life a strong personal artistic vision, combining informed meaningful content creation with unique visual approaches to produce engaging sound/image work.
  • Master both traditional and digital animation skills and concepts; using motion and time understanding with drawn, stop-motion and computer-generated creative practices.
  • Demonstrate critical and analytical thought based in art history, and be able to communicate this using written, visual, oral, web or hybrid means.
  • Learn to collaborate with artists, peers and professionals to effectively manage time in a working relationship. 

The Animation degree now offers emphases in 
●    traditional 2-D drawn/digital animation,
●    3-D computer animation and 
●    stop-motion or experimental animation.

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First Year

Fall: 15 credits 
Image/Time (3 credits)
Puppet/Stop-Motion Animation (1.5 credits)
Drawing: Objects & Space (3 credits)
Principles of Animation (1.5 credits)
Art History Survey I or II (3 credits)
Written Composition I or Written Composition II (3 credits) 

Spring: 15 credits 
Introduction to 2D Animation (3 credits)
Color (3 credits) 
Thinking Through Science (3 credits) 
General Elective (3 credits)

Second Year

Fall: 15 credits
Visual Development for Animation (3 credits)
Video Production (3 credits)
Drawing for Animators (3 credits)
Critical Studies (6 credits)

Spring: 15 credits
Course in 2-D, 3-D or stop-motion animation (3 credits)
Sound Design (3 credits)
Sophomore Animation Piece (1.5 credits)
General Elective (3 credits)
Critical Studies (4.5 credits)

Third Year

Fall: 15 credits
Intro to 3-D Computer Animation (3 credits)
Storyboarding (3 credits)
Writing for Film (3 credits)
Critical Studies (3 credits)
General Elective (3 credits)

Spring: 15 credits
Junior Animation Piece (3 credits)
Course in 2-D, 3-D, or stop-motion animation (3 credits)
Critical Studies (3 credits)
General Elective (3 credits)
History of Narrative Cinema (3 credits)

Fourth Year

<p>Fall: 15 credits<br />
Animation Thesis I (3 credits)<br />
Client Animation Project or Internship (1.5 credits)<br />
Critical Studies (6 credits)<br />
General Elective (3 credits)</p>

<p>Spring: 15 credits<br />
Animation Thesis II (1.5 credits)<br />
Special Effects Compositing (3 credits)<br />
Critical Studies (7.5 credits)<br />
Discipline History (3 credits)</p>

Explore the Full Curriculum

“I took Introduction to Computers for Object Makers with Rod McCormick. As an animation student, I found the class uniquely useful, as 3-D printing and laser cutting become more readily available for stop motion in the industry. Learning how to take a 2-D computer animation and convert each frame to physical objects in one day versus several was incredible. All of the techniques and skills I learned in that class changed my way of attacking future projects.”
— Neil Andruski ’20

Student Spotlight

headshot of Jamir Smith against a blue sky
Jamir Smith


Animation (BFA)
Animator who has danced for the Philadelphia 76ers
Neil Andruski


Animation (BFA)
Animator who studied abroad in Angoulême, France
Nia Veal Headshot
Nia Veal


Animation (BFA)
Animator who's exploring animation for TV and game sprites

Faculty Spotlight

Chris McDonnell Headshot Animation Faculty
Chris McDonnell

Animation (BFA)
Program director; animator, director and author/designer whose work has aired on Comedy Central, HBO, and Netflix
Lowell Boston standing in front of a green backdrop.
Lowell Boston

BFA '88

Animator, filmmaker and college professor whose work has aired on ABC, ESPN and Fox
A closeup of Dairys Escoto De León in a black leather jacket
Dairys Escoto De León

Animation (BFA)
An animator who aims to disrupt the static, Western film gaze with fun, experimental concepts that are socially conscious
Erik Van Horn
Erik Van Horn

Game Art (BFA)
Artist, animator and writer whose clients include Wizards of the Coast and Disney Animation Studios
Jameela Wahlgren in a denim button down shirt with a gray cat on her shoulder that she is pointing to while looking at the camera
Jameela Wahlgren

Animation (BFA)
An illustrator and educator who has worked with Disney Hyperion, Vox Media, Norton Young Readers, Tundra Books, National Geographic Kids and other organizations

Alumni Spotlight

Our alumni work on blockbuster special-effects films, animated TV series, commercials, video games and more in a variety of roles, from director to storyboard artist.

Nichola Latzgo head shot
Nichola Latzgo

BFA '18

Animation (BFA)
Freelance animator who has worked on project for Netflix, Pitchfork and TEd ED
Drew Applegate in front of a statue
Drew Applegate

BFA '15

Animation (BFA)
Storyboard artist for Walt Disney Animation Studios
Jacqueline Bauwens
Jacqueline Bauwens

BFA '15

Animation (BFA)
Animator who has worked with companies like Nike and Callaway Golf
Tracey LaGuerre
Tracey LaGuerre

BFA '14

Animation (BFA)
Animator who has worked for companies like Buzzfeed, DreamWorks and Google
Headshot of Edmond Hawkins drawing on glass with marker
Edmond Hawkins

BFA '05

Animation (BFA)
Comedy writer, director and animator who has worked on projects for HBO and SNL
Jonathan Skabla
Jonathan Skabla

BFA '05

Animation (BFA)
Digital compositor who has worked on TV shows such as The Americans and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Mike Mayfield
Mike Mayfield

BFA '03

Animation (BFA)
Director for the Netflix original series Big Mouth
Mehdi Yssef
Mehdi Yssef

BFA '00

Animation (BFA)
Game animator for Sony Computer Entertainment America
Suzanne Twining
Suzanne Twining

BFA '97

Animation (BFA)
Stop-motion animator who worked on Coraline, ParaNorman and The Boxtrolls
Head shot of Adam Burton, also known as Maxwell Atoms
Adam Maxwell Burton "Maxwell Atoms"

BFA '96

Animation (BFA)
Creator of the Emmy Award winning series “The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy”


Animation students put together their initial portfolio reel at the end of the fall semester of their freshman year and then add to that reel throughout their academic career. As a part of the Professional Practices class in the spring of their senior year, Animation students post their final portfolio reels online.

Professional Practices also visits studios in New York City and Philadelphia to give students the opportunity to meet professionals and tour facilities. Guest speakers and alumni visit on a regular basis to give lectures, advice, and mock interviews give students the confidence to enter the workforce after graduation. Also covered are personal branding, social media/website strategies, business card design and resume optimization.

Students will also have the opportunity to intern at a professional studio. Organizations that have hosted interns include Augenblick Studios, Sesame Workshop and Stretch Films Inc.

Companies in and around Philadelphia that have hired BFA in Animation alumni include Alkemy X, Center City Film & Video and unPOP. 

As the industry continues to grow, graduates find themselves in a variety of roles. Common career options for Animation majors include:   

Art Director
Assistant Animator
Background Artist
Broadcast Graphics
Character Designer
Clay/Puppet Animation
Computer Animator
Effects Animation

Forensic Animator
Graphics/Title Animation
Layout Artist
Model and Set Builder
Production Assistant
Scientific Animator
Storyboard Artist

Center for Immersive Media

UArts’ Center for Immersive Media (CIM) is a 5,600-square-foot facility dedicated to exploring the fields of virtual and mixed reality, performance motion-capture, and human-computer interaction.

Learn More

The space includes

  • Optical motion capture system for full body performance capture and location-based VR applications;

  • A four-channel audio system, multiple video projectors and lighting, as well as a control station; 

  • 16-station computing classroom with PCs optimized for real-time graphics rendering; and 

  • Two large project rooms with ceiling grids for development of installations and virtual environments.

How to Apply

UArts offers recommended priority deadlines; students who apply and submit all required materials by the priority deadline will receive first consideration for scholarship aid from UArts. Applications received after the priority deadline will be reviewed on a rolling, space-available basis. 

International students requiring an F-1 visa for study in the U.S. might be subject to earlier deadlines to provide time for completion of the visa process. Contact Admissions for guidance if you are an international student who wishes to apply after the priority deadline.

Spring 2023 priority deadline: Oct. 15, 2022

Fall 2023 priority deadline: Feb. 15, 2023

We cannot accept spring 2023 applications after Jan. 9, 2023, and cannot accept fall 2023 applications after Aug. 11, 2023.

The following materials are required for your application.

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A completed application for admission

Start or resume your application. 

  • The application includes two required short-answer questions: What excites you about UArts? What inspires you?

A nonrefundable $60 application fee
  • If you qualify for a fee waiver from NACAC, CollegeBoard, UArts or another source, indicate that on your application. If the cost of the application fee is a barrier, contact Admissions to request a fee waiver code.

Official high school transcript

  • Official transcripts must be sent directly from your school by mail, email or a secure electronic document-delivery service. 

  • International transcript requirements 

  • Transfer student transcript requirements

    • High school transcripts may be waived for transfer applicants who have completed a minimum of 24 credits of college-level coursework, including a minimum of 18 academic, non-studio credits.

    • Official college transcript(s)

      • Official transcripts must be sent directly from all the colleges you have attended by mail, email or a secure electronic document-delivery service. 

      • If you’ve attended college outside the U.S., you are required to have an official course-by-course evaluation of your college coursework sent to UArts. Additional guidelines for international transcripts are available

Your portfolio

A portfolio is required for all Art, Design, Film and Writing programs. Your portfolio may be uploaded during the application process or via your applicant status portal after submission. You must confirm when your submission is complete via the linked electronic form before your portfolio can be reviewed for admission.

Learn more about portfolio requirements. 

International applicants must submit proof of English proficiency.
Optional letters of recommendation
  • Letters of recommendation from teachers or mentors are optional and may be submitted by the recommender via email to or by your high school through a secure electronic document-delivery service. 

Apply Now

Scholarships & Financial Aid 

UArts recognizes the extraordinary talent of our students through a range of merit-based scholarships. All applicants are automatically considered for such scholarships—no special application is necessary.

Nearly 80 percent of UArts’ undergraduate students enrolled on a full-time basis are eligible for some type of need-based aid. Additionally, some scholarship opportunities take need-based criteria into account. All students who are U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens and are enrolled in a degree program are encouraged to apply by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Learn more about financial aid 

Learn more about tuition & fees 

About the School of Film 

University of the Arts’ School of Film strongly believes in creative collaboration, self-expression and professional preparation through its programs in Animation, Film, Film and Animation, Film Design, Game Art, and Screenwriting.

It also offers minors in

  • Animation,
  • Film,
  • Film and Media Studies,
  • Game Art, and
  • Screenwriting.

The School of Film prepares students for careers in the film and entertainment industries via internships, networking events and an on-campus series with professional alumni. Our graduates become directors, editors, animators, game artists, cinematographers, art directors and screenwriters, working in the region and around the world.

Learn more about the School of Film.

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