Animation students must love to draw, have strong attention to detail, be able to depict movement, create appealing characters and believable environments.

The BFA Animations we chose as our top 5 exceed excellence in educating aspiring Animators, and animation studios are more likely to choose a candidate who has graduated from one of these schools. 

These are what we feel are the top animation programs:

Ringling College of Art and Design, Florida

Ringling College of Art and Design is consistently ranked as the #1 school for their BFA in Animation program 

In this world-renowned program, students learn to do it all. You’ll learn to create characters and tell their stories, as well as design, paint, model, texture, animate, light, composite, and edit original films. You will combine essential technical skills with conceptually original ideas that affect an audience emotionally, visually, and intellectually.

Portfolio Requirements 

Ringling is looking for a portfolio that demonstrates your potential to succeed, what materials you enjoy experimenting with, what topics you like to explore, and how you like to push your work to the next level.

It’s important to include examples of drawing from life and direct observation.  

Your ability to think creatively is important to them, so feel free to include pages from your sketchbook.

CalArts, California

CalArts offers a BFA in Character Animation and Experimental Animation

Character Animation if you’re looking to understand the art of character performance and storytelling in animation.


Experimental Animation if you’re an innovative artist wishing to develop personal visions within the ever-expanding parameters of animation.

Portfolio Requirements 

Experimental Animation

Portfolio Requirements

Submit MP3’s, documents, video and individual images of individual works.

Character Animation

Portfolio Requirements 

Part 1: Observational Artwork (minimum of 15 total) meaning drawings done from the direct study of life. This can be any subject in your environment, human and animal.

You must include examples of the following categories of observational drawing in any number you chose:

A. Observational life drawings of human models:

  • These observational drawings should range from short pose lengths (gesture drawings) to longer pose lengths, and should indicate the models’ faces, hands and feet. Drawings of nude models are preferred, but costume drawings may also be included. Applicants in the Character Animation program must have demonstrated experience working with the live model and ideally have at least one year’s worth of experience studying figure/life drawings.

B. Observational drawings from real life:

  • Drawings and sketches of people (in this case, not models) and animals from real life
  • Drawings of interior and exterior environments
  • Urban sketching, location drawings, café drawings etc.

Keep in mind:

  • Drawings should be from observing real life, exploring elements such as shape, form, contour, contrast, ambiance, and mood.
  • Do not erase all of your construction lines while drawing from life – they are especially helpful to the faculty in understanding your approach to observational drawings.
  • Do not submit traced pictures or copies of work by others.

Part 2: Other Creative Work

Images should be uploaded into the online portfolio and can include any combination of the following:

  • Sequential image storytelling, Digital creative work (animated or still), Other Work (non-digital): Paintings, drawings, illustrations, concept art, character designs, prop designs, cartoons, Plastic Arts: Sculptures, ceramics, installations etc.

School of Visual Arts (SVA) New York

The School of Visual Arts has prepared young artists for the animation industry for over 40 years. Their faculty includes some of the best artists in the industry. You will be immersed in hands-on experience, whether you’re studying traditional, stop-motion or computer animation. 

Portfolio requirements 

15-20 images

Your portfolio should contain samples of your strongest artwork 

Ashcan Animation Portfolio Prep Student Work

New York University (NYU) New York

New York University‘s BFA in Animation curriculum is varied and integrated with both traditional animation and 2D and 3D animation courses, as well as storyboarding, titles, optical and digital effects, life drawing and history and criticism classes.

 Portfolio Requirements

Provide ONE Creative Submission that showcases cinematic/visual storytelling and imaginative expression of thought.


1. Artistic Portfolio of 10-15 images


2. Film/Video of up to 5 minutes (including credits)


3. Writing of up to 6 pages

Option 1: Artistic Portfolio (10-15 images):

  • Provide a portfolio of photos, drawings, paintings, storyboards, sculpture, or set design.
  • You may upload 10-15 images of your work.
  • If you would like to include a gif or short(end) animatic as one of your “still” images, it should be 20 seconds or shorter.

Option 2: Film/Video (up to 5 minutes):

  • You may provide ONE film of: live action, fiction, experimental, documentary, animation, or a combination of any of these.
  • Your submission should be a complete works.
  • You may not submit more than one film.
  • Video footage of plays or theater performances & film excerpts or reels are not acceptable.
  • You must be clear about your specific contributions in the piece you submit.
  • You should be the principal creative force behind your submission and will be asked to describe your role in detail.

Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Georgia

In SCADs BFA Animation program you will be provided every resource to help you develop your signature style in 2D, 3D, and stop-motion animation, digital modeling, rigging, lighting, and look development. 

Portfolio Requirements 

a Visual media Art Portfolio

Applicants may submit 10 to 20 visual art pieces such as drawings, paintings, designs, prints, collages, photography, sculptures, jewelry, fashion designs, fiber art and/or 3-D renderings. 


Time-based media Art Portfolio

Applicants may submit 3 to 5 minutes of time-based media work such as film, animation, game design, and sound design that shows an awareness of strong storytelling and technical skills. Where applicable, portfolios should demonstrate an aesthetic awareness and effective use of software. 


a mix of both Visual and time-based media Art Portfolio

Applicants may submit 2 to 3 minutes of time-based media work, accompanied by eight to 10 visual art pieces. 

Other outstanding BFA Animation Programs

Pratt Institute New York

ArtCenter College of Design California

Rhode Island School of Design Rhode Island

Gnomon School of Visual Effects California 

School of the Art Institute of Chicago Illinois

Rochester Institute of Technology New York

Otis College of Art and Design California

Carnegie Mellon University Pennsylvania

California College of the Arts California

Massachusetts College of Art and Design Massachusetts


Please feel free to contact us to schedule a free consultation or to ask us any questions.

You can sign up for Ashcan Art Portfolio Prep Classes!- Manhattan, Queens, Long Island or Online- ⁠
Intensive, Fine Art, Art Competition & Portfolio, Design, Digital Art & Private Lessons⁠!

Contact Us

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Online: (212)967-8101 | Manhattan (212)967-8101 | Flushing (917)563-7852 Little Neck (718)819-0004 Syosset (516)226-3820

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