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Animation, Video Graphics, and Special Effects


Programs in animation, video graphics, and special effects teach people to edit images and sounds in film, video, photographs, and soundtracks.

This program includes topics such as:

With a degree and training in animation, video graphics, and special effects, students can go on to:


At many schools animation, video graphics, and special effects programs are part of a larger computer graphics or computer science program.

Many community colleges and independent art schools offer certificates or associate degree programs in animation, video graphics, and special effects. A certificate program usually takes a year of full-time study. An associate degree program usually takes two years of full-time study to complete.

Many independent art schools, colleges, and universities offer the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in animation, video graphics, and special effects programs. A BFA usually takes about four to five years of full-time study.

Several universities offer Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degrees in animation, video graphics, and special effects. A master's degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor's degree.

A few schools offer a doctoral (PhD) degree in animation, video graphics, and special effects. Doctoral degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master's degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Careers Directly Related to this Program of Study

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

For this program, schools recommend that you know how to use a computer and the Internet.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree, good grades, and good test scores.

Additional requirements at some schools include:

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

This program typically includes courses in the following subjects:

Graduate Program Courses

Graduate programs that lead to a master's or doctoral degree typically include:

Things to Know

When undergraduate programs require you to submit a portfolio, you can include various types of creative work from high school, hobbies, clubs, volunteer work, and community projects.

Animators and computer artists begin to develop their professional portfolios during college. You can include examples of work you've done independently or as part of a team. Computer techniques in visual arts are essential to a developing portfolio of creative work in this program.

Internships are available in animation and special effects. Many are in California near the movie industry. Projects you complete during your internship become an important part of your portfolio.

Advanced degrees are needed to teach and often to specialize in highly technical work.


King-Snohomish Area

Academy of Interactive Entertainment

Bellevue College

Cornish College of the Arts

DigiPen Institute of Technology

Edmonds Community College

Highline College

Lake Washington Institute of Technology

Seattle Pacific University

Shoreline Community College

University of Washington - Bothell

Tacoma Area

Bates Technical College (Central/Mohler Campus)

Clover Park Technical College

Northwest College of Art & Design

Pierce College Fort Steilacoom