The 2021 Best 2D Animation Schools and Colleges in the World rankings is something we take very seriously and no external influences or payments are entered into at any point. Our rankings focus on the quality of students portfolios that are submitted to our judging panel which best reflect the recruitment interview process.

We feel that traditional school rankings that include peer and employer reviews, faculty to student ratio, citations and other data are not adequate when ranking the best creative schools. For a complete breakdown of how we rank the best schools for 2018 please read how we rank the best schools and how we analyse the data in the sections located at the bottom of this page.

The Rookies World School Rankings® are not like other education based ranking systems. They are driven and judged by industry professionals without the interference of paid advertising dollars that cloud the judgement of other ranking sites.

Scott Thompson, founder of Think Tank Training Centre.

What is 2D Animation

2D, or two-dimensional animation, is a combination of artistic technique and media design that creates the illusion of movement in a two-dimensional environment. By sequencing individual drawings together over time, characters, backgrounds, objects, and effects look as if they are moving. This is commonly done for animated movies and television, but it is also seen in video games, websites, mobile apps, and advertisements. It can be useful to draw images by hand before using 2D animation, also known as vector-based animation. Computer software such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe After Effects, and Toon Boom Harmony are just a few of the industry standard programs for 2D animation. Therefore, it can be beneficial to seek higher education in order to learn the technical skills needed.

School of the Year Trophies

Top 2D Animation Schools and Colleges in 2021

The official rankings for 2021 have been calculated based on the performance of students work submitted to our industry panel. Full details can be found further down the page about how we calculate and rank schools.

Learn more about how we rank schools.

Rank School Location Score
1 School of Visual Arts United States 82.64
2 University of Hertfordshire United Kingdom, Online 69.26
3 Savannah College of Art and Design United States, France, Online 60.26
4 Cleveland Institute of Art United States 58.06
5 The One Academy of Communication Design Malaysia 57.64
6 Ringling College of Art and Design United States 55.43
7 Flinders University / CDW Studios Australia, Online 47.59

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Top entries submitted by 2D Animation students from these schools and colleges

Follow these links below to view some of the incredible entries that our judging panel were tasked with reviewing. These entries showcase the quality of work created by students which helped rank their schools.

Mathilde Cotillon

J'ai réalisé très jeune que je souhaitais travailler dans le milieu créatif. Petite, je répétais à mes parents : "Quand je serais grande, je ne veux pas aller tous les jours dans un bureau derrière u...

Marie Almine Jangmark

Animated media has always been what captivated me most of all, and I used to draw a lot of fanart of my favorite movies and series as a kid. In 10th grade I attended a school with a creative line. ...

Ella Cesari

As a kid, I loved watching all the behind-the-scenes features that showed the people and the process behind the animated films and shows I enjoyed. Seeing the inner workings of animation made me reali...

Lyn J Wang

I always liked 2D frame by frame animation as a kid, and also grew into indie comics and storytelling. There wasn't a specific point that I realised I wanted to, I always did as soon as I knew how to ...

Matthew Corsillo

One of my earliest memories is of my older brother showing me an episode of Spongebob Squarepants, which hooked me into an obsession with all things related to entertainment. When I was around 12 or 1...

Kevin Leal

I first realized I wanted to work in the creative media and entertainment industry when I decided to go to SCAD. I knew that I needed to make a living drawing and wouldn’t settle for anything less. Af...

Yuki Wu

Growing up as the “quiet kid” in a small town, I found my peace in animation and comic books. I enjoy these fantasy worlds that contain my dreams. When I first saw the process behind making a Pixar f...

Mia Incantalupo

I've always been academically focused and originally intended to pursue biology, but when I allowed myself a break cartoons were my solace. Watching them, learning about how they were made, and drawin...

Eryn Suchara

When I was in 1st grade I had an activity ask what I wanted to do when I grow up and I wrote down I want to make cartoons and games. I was always infatuated with children’s educational media. Things l...

Jack Lien

I love drawing and doodling all the time. When I was a high school student. I aim to work in this amazing industry. Because I realize this is the place that can use my work to spread happiness to peop...

Amanda Berry

Ever since I was a child I always have dreampt about inspiring other people to experience emotions through visual media. I have always loved drawing and creating fun universes and relatable characters...

Ziyi Wang

The things that inspire me to choose animation are fantastic films and cartoons. I had seen many cartoon movies and TV shows in my childhood. Those cartoons gave me unforgettable memories and made my ...

Yashuai Liu

I have been learning to paint since I was three years old. Talent and passion made me decide to work in the creative media and entertainment industry.

Jiamu Tao

I've always enjoyed drawing since I was a kid, but I didn't make up my mind to pursue animation until I saw Frozen in my 9th grade. It struck me that animation is a media with which you can literally ...


Detailed information about the top schools and colleges for 2D Animation

The following schools are the top 2D Animation educational facilities for 2021 and offer great courses and curriculum that produces students that are ready for the challenges faced by professional artists working in 2D Animation. Follow the links below to find out more about these schools, their facilities, team, success stories, student artwork and more.

School of Visual Arts

1. School of Visual Arts

School of Visual Arts has been a leader in the education of artists, designers and creative professionals for nearly seven decades. With a faculty of distinguished working professionals, dynamic curriculum and an emphasis on critical thinking, SVA is a catalyst for innovation and social responsibility. Comprised of more than 6,000 students at its Manhattan campus and nearly 37,000 alumni in 75 countries, SVA also represents one of the most influential artistic communities in the world....

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University of Hertfordshire

2. University of Hertfordshire

The School of Creative Arts is the oldest part of the University of Hertfordshire, and its roots date back to 1890 with the formation of St Albans School of Art that later merged with the University in the 20th century. The School prides itself on its devotion to teaching creativity and the skills required to enable students to reach the goals they want from a degree and future career. It combines a wealth of physical resources that cover all aspects of creative arts production from animation, games and film, to fashion, print making, ceramics and architectural design to name a few.

A large base of talented staff with working experience of the industries they teach in allows students to gain knowledge from those who have already worked in t...

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Savannah College of Art and Design

3. Savannah College of Art and Design

Savannah College of Art and Design prepares talented students for creative professions through engaged teaching and learning in a positively oriented university environment. SCAD is continually recognized for educational and professional excellence, affirming our commitment to the highest standards of achievement in art and design in the U.S.

SCAD constantly researches and reimagines programs to instill the critical skills and knowledge students need to succeed in their chosen careers. SCAD consults industry leaders, gathers data on business and design needs and collects student feedback to inform the genesis and evolution of every degree taught at the university. SCAD offers more programs and specializations than any other art and design u...

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Cleveland Institute of Art

4. Cleveland Institute of Art

CIA offers Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in 15 majors across art, design, craft, and integrated media. We extend our programs to the public through gallery exhibitions, artist lectures, a continuing education program for adults and children, and the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque, an art and independent film program. With 655 full-time students and 670 total students, CIA offers a personal educational experience with the benefits of a larger institution. Students choose from 15 majors and live and work in Cleveland’s University Circle, one of the country’s most unique cultural centers – recently named by Forbes Magazine as one of the ten prettiest communities in the country....

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The One Academy of Communication Design

5. The One Academy of Communication Design

For over 25 years of creative education excellence, The One Academy has been renowned as one of the best art and design colleges in Asia with over 2,500 existing students in two of our main campuses. We are committed to our role as a world-class education provider by nurturing creative pioneers who can brace and surpass international standards.To achieve this, we provide comprehensive courses, for instance, Film Visual Effects and Digital Animation with Game Development, in collaboration with industry masters such as Andrew Gordon, Pixar animation director, Eduardo Pena, concept artist of The Hobbit trilogies, and also Ubisoft, to name a few....

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Ringling College of Art and Design

6. Ringling College of Art and Design

Since 1931, Ringling College of Art and Design has cultivated the creative spirit in students from around the globe. The private, not-for-profit, fully-accredited college offers the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in thirteen disciplines and the Bachelor of Arts in two. The College’s rigorous curriculum employs the studio model of teaching and immediately engages students through a comprehensive, program that is both specific to the major of study and focused on the liberal arts. The Ringling College teaching model ultimately shapes students into highly employable and globally aware artists and designers. www.ringling.edu...

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Flinders University / CDW Studios

7. Flinders University / CDW Studios

In partnership Flinders University and CDW Studios have created a very unique study environment where you are being taught by an instructor who currently works as a professional in that industry. Our instructors are world class, and have experience freelancing and working for some of the world’s top entertainment providers and creators, such as Blizzard Entertainment, Rising Sun Pictures, Disney, Warner Brothers and Lego just to name a few. By employing industry professionals CDW Studios and Flinders University ensure that students receive an intensive industry relevant education along with the critical thinking, analysis and structure that a Flinders University degree provides....

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How we calculate the school rankings

Data is based on the quality and performance of student work that is submitted to our judging panel for the Rookie Awards.

We feel that traditional school rankings – that include peer and employer reviews, faculty-to-student ratio, citations and other data – are not adequate when ranking the best creative schools. This might work in industries with more traditional career paths, however, when it comes to technical and creative roles, such as Visual Effects, Feature Animation and Games, it’s a lot more complicated.

Why our rankings are more accurate than others

School Rankings systems used by other websites focus on Incoming Student Skills. schools rank higher based on how selective they are. In other words, schools are rewarded by only accepting students with straight A's. This is like ranking hospitals by how sick their patients are when they arrive!

What we do at The Rookies, is rank school based on Outgoing Student Skills. We focus on how well a school has prepared a student for the job they've been training for. This the real sign of a top school and it can only be achieved by reviewing every single entry multiple times by highly respected people working in the industry.

The Judging Process

Each entrant is reviewed by members of the official Judging Panel which includes over 150 highly influential and respected industry veterans. The Judges were asked to score entries based on criteria including — creative skills, technical skills, presentation, variety of skills, complexity, raw talent, and employment potential.

School Calculations

Based on the results of student submissions we received this year we have released the following in-depth breakdowns about the best schools.

Each school is awarded a final score based on the performance of each student representing their academic facility.

When analysing the average scores of each student per school there are three possible data formulas available to use: mean, median and mode.

The Rookies uses median. The median is the middle point of a number set, in which half the numbers are above the median and half are below. A median is intrinsically understandable. It is the middle number when the values are put in order.

  • Schools with < 5 student entries are excluded from ranking.
  • Incomplete student entries are removed from calculations. No penalties.
  • Each student receives a performance score. Max 100 points.
  • Median students score calculated per school. Max 100 points.
  • Each category finalist receives 10 bonus points toward School Score.
  • Each category runner up receives 15 bonus points toward School Score.
  • Each category winner receives 20 bonus points toward School Score.

Is your school missing from this global ranking?

Over 4,000 international students represented their school by submitting their work to the Rookie Awards 2021 and were reviewed by industry professionals.

To make sure your school is considered for next year's rankings, please email us or chat with us live right now to learn more.

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