play button  

Master of Arts Animation

For international students: this is a STEM-designated program, which can qualify you to extend your post-graduation stay in the United States.

The MA in Animation provides a combination of artistic and technical training that prepares students for a future in 3D character animation, traditional animation, storyboarding, computer game art, motion graphics, or visual effects animation. Animation MA students have an opportunity to explore a wide and deep range of animation courses in traditional animation (hand-drawn, stop motion, and hybrid), 3D animation and modeling, character design, storyboarding, game art, motion graphics, VFX animation, as well as courses in screenwriting, editing, sound, directing, and game development. Students have access to the latest in animation software, tools, and technologies including professional-level animation and effects software, Cintiq labs, 3D printing, stop motion stages and fabrication studios, 3D motion capture, motion control, and sophisticated sound studios.

Alumni of our program have been hired in animation roles at a wide variety of companies, including DreamWorks Animation, LAIKA Studios, Warner Bros. Animation, Blizzard Entertainment, Bioware, Iron Galaxy Studios, The Mill, Nickelodeon Animation Studios, ShadowMachine, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Electronic Arts, and Cartoon Network, to name just a few.


Motion Graphics

Motion Graphics, sometimes known as Motion Design, involves putting graphic forms, text, and photographic elements into motion using the principles of animation. These are almost always paired with sound and music for a specific purpose, such as in advertisements, educational and industrial videos, films and television titles, visual effects, and video games. Chicago is a major center for commercial advertising production, and Motion Graphics is a significant part of the commercial production and post-production process.

Motion Graphics curriculum and requirements

Storyboarding and Character Design

Storyboard artists are in demand in the television and feature film animation industries. A storyboard artist can also find work storyboarding live action films, visual effects, and commercials. The skills of the storyboard artist can also be applied to graphic novels and comics. Character design is a much sought-after role in animation, game art, live action film, comics, and children’s literature. Both disciplines share a requirement for strong traditional drawing skills.

Storyboarding and Character Design curriculum and requirements

Technical Artist

The Technical Artist Concentration prepares students for a range of technical roles, from the complex jobs of riggers, next generation modelers and motion capture artists to the hybrid specialization of the Technical Artist. A game industry Technical Artist is an art department member who serves as a bridge between art and engineering. The TA needs to understand the language of both fields and act as a translator between the areas. In the film and television CGI animation and VFX industries the Technical Artist is more commonly referred to as a Technical Director or Technical Animator. The TA in these fields shares many of the core responsibilities (pipeline, troubleshooting) and animation technical skills as the game TA.

Technical Artist curriculum and requirements

Traditional Animation

The Traditional Animator Concentration is for students who are interested in deepening their knowledge of traditional animation, including hand-drawn, stop motion, and hybrid methods, with an eye towards a production career in animation. Students in this concentration will train in the history, critical artistic issues, and fundamental principles that are necessary for animation artists. MA in Animation graduates will be prepared for many varied career options available to animators, including storyboard artists, visual development artists, layout artists, character animators, and commercial animators.

Traditional Animation curriculum and requirements

3D Animation

The 3D Animation concentration is for students interested in 3D animated filmmaking. Students will learn all the 3D tools necessary to realize their cinematic vision, including the most current approaches to 3D animation, modeling, texturing, lighting, rigging, visual effects, compositing, and rendering. Students will complement their 3D studies with a solid foundation in studio art, visual design, art history, and traditional approaches to cinematic filmmaking.

3D Animation curriculum and requirements


Nationally Recognized Programs

  • #15 animation program in the US and #1 in the Midwest according to Animation Career Review (2024)
  • A Variety Top Film School in North America (2022)
  • #14 film school in the US by the Hollywood Reporter (2023)
  • Brian Ferguson

    Brian is a 25-year veteran Walt Disney Feature Animation character animator whose filmography includes Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Aladdin, and Mulan.

  • Heinz Schuller

    Heinz is a 23-year veteran of the games industry, and his credits include F.E.A.R.3, Mechwarrior 4, and several Indie game titles.

  • Meghann Artes

    Meghann is an award-winning filmmaker and her films have played in festivals around the world. Her most recent two films were both selected as Vimeo Staff Picks and have been viewed over half a million times.

Animation Faculty

DePaul has one of the largest full-time Animation faculties in the country. Their filmography includes Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Mulan, The Simpsons, Futurama, and Rugrats. Our instructors come from diverse backgrounds in feature and TV animation, commercial production, game development, motion graphics, CGI, and art exhibition. They have worked at major animation and game studios including: Disney Feature Animation, Fox TV, Fox Kids, JibJab, Will Vinton, Sesame Street, NBC Studios, Nickelodeon, Calabash, Rough Draft, WMS, RoboModo, Wideload, and Day 1, and have exhibited internationally at galleries and film festivals.

students working on Octodad video game  

Game Development Teams

Students interested in game art can take advantage of CDM’s large and active game development program by working with game design and programming students on game projects. These projects take many forms: multi-disciplinary team courses, game development contests run by the student organization DeFRAG, and extra-curricular special projects. Your project may join our many award-winning student games, including the indie game hit Octodad.


LA Quarter

Animation students have the opportunity to study and intern in Los Angeles for three months through DePaul’s innovative LA Quarter program. Students accepted into the program earn degree credit while living in the center of the animation, film and game development industries. LA Quarter students have interned at many studios including DreamWorks Animation, Bix Pix Entertainment, Duck Animation Studios, and Nickelodeon Animation.


Visiting Artists Series

This series brings innovative practitioners and industry leaders to the DePaul campus for film screenings, on-stage conversations, and professional panels. Past visiting artists include legendary Russian animator Yuri Norstein, stop-motion animators The Brothers Quay, Disney features writer/director John Musker, experimental 3D animator David O’Reilly, Pixar director Doug Sweetland, Pixar character designer Chris Sasaki, Disney Feature Animation storyboard artist Lissa Treiman, Pixar Writer/Director Adrian Molina, and many more.


Premiere Film Festival

Our annual Premiere Film Festival showcases the best of student work in cinema and animation with awards covering all facets of filmmaking, from screenwriting to post production. Jury members include industry insiders, festival programmers, and filmmakers from around the country.

student working with clay for character animation 

The Latest Technology

We are constantly researching and testing the latest industry technology for use in our classes, and add new software and equipment annually. In the past year, we’ve built two new stop-motion studios and have become the only animation program in the US with a pro-level Volo Motion Control Crane (used by Laika and Disney) Dragonframe system. We also have two green screen stages and a VR studio, fully equipped animation teaching and student labs, and sound recording studio, to name just a few of our state-of-the-art facility and equipment offerings.

students working on graphics 

Transition to MFA

Students who have been admitted into the MA in Animation can apply for admission into the MFA in Animation program. Students can apply at any time as long as they have not completed more than 24 credit hours while in the MA. If admitted into the MFA, the courses taken during the MA will be applied to the MFA. The MFA clock begins at the time of first enrollment and will not be extended due to a program change.

Application Deadlines

Enrollment QuarterDomestic Student DeadlineInternational Student Deadline
FallJune 1June 1
SpringJanuary 15January 15

Admission Process

The graduate application process involves completing an online application, sending in your transcripts and submitting any supplemental material (e.g., letters of recommendation, certifications, etc.). To learn more about your program specific requirements, visit our Graduate Admission page

Admission Requirements

Contact Graduate Admission

Request Information


Ask a Student Ambassador

Hardi Rameshbhai Patel
MA in Animation