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.

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. 

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.

UArts programs measure up. In 2020, 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 private animation schools in the U.S. by Animation Career Review.

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. 

 

 “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

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

About the Curriculum 
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. 

 Sample Courses in the Animation Major

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

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

Spring: 15 credits
Animation Thesis II (1.5 credits)
Special Effects Compositing (3 credits)
Critical Studies (7.5 credits)
Discipline History (3 credits)

 Explore the full curriculum 

To maintain academic good standing, undergraduate students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0. 

For more information on degree requirements, visit the university catalogue. 

Featured Students

Jamir Smith Headshot
Jamir Smith

'22

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

'20

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

'20

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

Featured Faculty

Chris McDonnell Headshot Animation Faculty
Chris McDonnell

Animation (BFA)
Animator, director and author/designer whose work has aired on Comedy Central, HBO, and Netflix
Boston_Lowell_headshot
Lowell Boston

BFA '88

Animator, filmmaker and college professor whose work has aired on ABC, ESPN and Fox
Erik Van Horn
Erik Van Horn

Game Art (BFA)
Artist, animator and writer whose clients include Wizards of the Coast and Disney Animation Studios

Featured Alumni

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: 
 
Animator
Art Director
Assistant Animator
Background Artist
Broadcast Graphics
Character Designer
Clay/Puppet Animation
Compositor
Computer Animator
Director
Editor
Effects Animation
Forensic Animator
Graphics/Title Animation
Inbetweener
Layout Artist
Lights
Model and Set Builder
Modeler
Production Assistant
Rigger
Scientific Animator
Storyboard Artist
Texturer
 

Center for Immersive Media 

UArts’ new 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. 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.


Learn more about CIM

Admissions Deadline: There is no set deadline for applications. UArts operates on a rolling admissions basis, which means we will receive and process applications throughout the year as space remains available in each program.

The following materials are required for your application. 

  • A completed application for admission
  • A nonrefundable $60 application fee
  • Official high school transcripts 
    • Official transcripts from the high school(s) you have attended are required. For transfer students, transcripts from each college you have attended are required. They must be mailed directly by your school in a sealed envelope to the Office of Admissions, emailed directly from your school, or sent through a secure electronic transcript delivery service. Transcripts sent or emailed by students are not considered official. They should be sent to the Office of Admissions, University of the Arts, 320 S. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19102 or via email to undergradcredentials@uarts.edu.
    • For transcripts from outside the U.S., refer to the instructions for international undergraduate students.
  • A writing sample
    • Your writing sample should address one of the following questions, interpreted as you wish. There is no right or wrong answer.
      1. When and how did you discover your creativity?
      2. How will University of the Arts help you achieve your creative and professional goals?
      3. How do you want your creativity to impact the future?
      4. Submit an existing piece of writing, such as an essay or class assignment, on any topic.
    • Pay attention to grammar, spelling and punctuation. There is no required word count, but we recommend a 250-word statement, which is about one double-spaced page. You can upload your sample with your application for admission, or email it to undergradcredentials@uarts.edu.
  • Your portfolio 
    • All students applying to visual arts programs—those in the schools of Art, Film and Design—are required to submit 15–20 examples of original artwork. You may choose to include work from a variety of media or select one area of focus you want to highlight. Your portfolio should demonstrate your creativity, showcase your skills, represent the art forms you have studied and highlight your ability to communicate ideas. Get more tips about submitting your portfolio.
  • International applicants must submit proof of English proficiency
  • Optional Materials 

Visit our first-year application checklist and transfer checklist for more information. 

Visit our Art, Design & Film Portfolio page to see portfolio requirements. 

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 and fees 

Get Started

Apply to UArts

Begin your application today. Our admissions team will help you throughout the process.

Apply Now

See Uarts for yourself

The best way to get to know UArts is by visiting our campus in person. Come see a show, visit a gallery, and get to know the neighborhood.

Plan Your Visit

Not sure where to start?

We're glad you want to learn more. Our admissions team is happy to send additional information about our school.

Request More Information