Middle Tennessee State University’s Animation Program is ranked top in Tennessee for 2024 by Animation Career Review, an online national and international ranking resource for animation schools.
Housed in the Department of Media Arts within the College of Media and Entertainment, MTSU’s Animation Program is among department offerings that also include Interactive Media, Media Management, Photography, and Video and Film Production.
Students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in animation learn “traditional art and animation techniques and progress through advanced digital tools and techniques, and theory used by major animation studios for films, television, and video games,” equipping them with skills in character animation, 3D animation, 2D animation, motion graphics, and more.
“We are very pleased. Animation faculty have been working very hard over the last several years improving every aspect of our program, and our students have worked even harder,” said Kevin McNulty, associate professor, and animation program coordinator. “We are constantly assessing our curriculum and adapting based on technology and industry changes.”
The ACR rankings are based on information collected from the college/university websites, surveys, LinkedIn, and theU.S. Department of Education College Scorecard, along with analysis of the following criteria:
- Academic reputation.
- Admission selectivity.
- Employment data.
- Depth and breadth of the program faculty.
- Value as it relates to tuition and indebtedness.
- Graduation rate.
- Retention rate.
MTSU also ranked No. 8 for the Top 25 Animation B.S. Programs in the U.S., No. 9 in the top 25 Animation Schools and Colleges in the South, and No. 22 for the Top 40 Public Animation Schools and Colleges in the U.S. in categories comparing animation programs of 199 schools across the U.S.
ACR rankings for top Animation Programs in Tennessee include Lipscomb University in Nashville ranked as No. 2, and East Tennessee State University in Johnson City as No. 3.
Skills beyond the classroom
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, many employers prefer hiring animators with a bachelor’s degree who can provide a portfolio of projects they have developed to demonstrate their skills.
“We feel we excel at offering students additional opportunities outside the classroom, like working on faculty-led short films and games. We are also very proud of our new MT IMAGINE Animation Studio, spearheaded by animation associate professor Rodrigo Gomez, where students get hired and paid to work on projects with real-world clients,” said McNulty.
“It’s a lot of time and effort on our part, but we want our students to have the skills, knowledge, and experience to kickstart their future careers. They deserve nothing less.”
Student organizations like the MTSU ACM SIGGRAPH Student Chapter have helped develop a solid community among animation students, strengthening relationships and growing their network for the workplace.
— Johari Hamilton (Johari.HamiltonGA@mtsu.edu)