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Bachelor of Science in Animation & Visual Effects Courses and Curriculum


Drexel University’s major in Animation & Visual Effects (VFX), housed in the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, is a full-time undergraduate program that prepares students for exciting careers in entertainment, technology, and communications. With animation courses that combine the art of storytelling with design and technological skills, Drexel Westphal’s Animation & Visual Effects program gives students the tools to succeed in competitive animation careers. Students in the Drexel Animation & VFX major benefit from small class sizes and hands-on experience in our cutting-edge facilities, such as the Animation Capture & Effects Lab and the Immersive Research Lab for virtual reality, augmented reality, and immersive media. The Animation & Visual Effects program at Drexel is offered as a four-year Bachelor of Science program or as a five-year BS/MS degree program in partnership with the graduate program in Digital Media.

Animation & Visual Effects Course Requirements

Drexel Westphal’s undergraduate Animation major is a 187-credit degree program, which can be completed in four years, including a six-month professional co-op experience. Students begin taking Animation & VFX classes during their first year of study, while also fulfilling general education requirements in the humanities and foundational coursework in design and the visual arts.

Animation & Visual Effects majors take required courses in:

  • Digital Imaging for Animation & VFX
  • Digital Compositing
  • Scripting for Animation & Visual Effects
  • Digital Character Creation

Students in the Animation & Visual Effects degree program can expect a balance of theory and practice in their animation coursework, gaining an understanding of the fundamentals and future of digital media while putting that knowledge to the test in an experiential learning environment. Animation majors utilize state-of-the-art facilities and equipment under the guidance of our distinguished faculty who are leaders in the field of animation and visual effects. 

Animation & VFX majors also take required courses in visual studies, computer science, media, and the humanities, such as: 

  • Light & Sound
  • History of Modern Design
  • Computer Programming
  • Audio Production & Post
  • Introductory Drawing

See here for a sample plan of study for Animation & Visual Effects majors.

Animation & VFX Elective Classes

In addition to required animation and digital media courses, students in the Drexel BS in Animation & Visual Effects take 15 credits in Animation electives. The Animation program leverages the expertise of its industry-leading faculty by offering specialized elective classes, such as:

  • Experimental Animation Lab
  • Character Animation
  • Organic Modeling
  • Spatial Data Capture

Students may also select free electives offered by the Westphal College or other colleges and schools to enhance their studies or even pursue a minor. Most minors offered by Drexel University are 24 credits. To see a full list of undergraduate minors, visit the Course Catalog.

Experiential Learning and Employment in the Animation & Visual Effects program

Co-op Experience for Animation & Visual Effects

The Animation & Visual Effects program at the Westphal College is enhanced by Drexel’s cooperative education system (co-op). Students pursuing the Bachelor of Science in Animation spend six months during their junior year in a full-time job in the industry, earning invaluable professional experience prior to graduation. The accelerated BS/MS in Animation & Visual Effects and Digital Media includes three co-op experiences across the second, third, and fourth year of study. 

Animation & VFX co-op students have worked as animators, visual effects interns, 3D generalists, and technical directors for such companies as:

  • Cartoon Network
  • Sony Studios
  • 3FX Medical Animations
  • Threshold Entertainment Group
  • Mediakraft TV
  • FuseFX
  • Pixar Undergraduate Program
  • Ingenuity Studios

The Co-op experience is a requirement for graduation with the Animation & Visual Effects degree. The Steinbright Career Development Center and Digital Media faculty provide resources and assist in job placement, giving Drexel Animation & Visual Effects majors the advantage of industry experience when seeking employment after graduation. 

Through the rigorous, hands-on curriculum and co-op employment, Drexel Animation majors are prepared for dynamic, in-demand animation and visual effects careers, such as:

  • Technical Director
  • Visual Effects Supervisor
  • 3D Modeler
  • Art Director
  • Texture Artist
  • Character Animator

Drexel in L.A.

Students in the Animation & VFX major can participate in Westphal’s Drexel in L.A. program, spending an entire summer term living and working in Los Angeles, the center of the entertainment universe. Alongside students in the Film & Television and Screenwriting & Playwriting programs, Animation students interested in a career in entertainment build a professional network through internships in L.A. while continuing their studies.

Drexel in L.A. students have held internships at the following companies and more:

  • BBC Worldwide Productions
  • College Humor
  • Nerdist Industries
  • Riot Games
  • ImageMovers

Learn more about Drexel in L.A here.

Senior Project in Animation & Visual Effects

Drexel’s degree program in Animation & Visual Effects culminates in a capstone project, which demonstrates control over the entire creative and production pipeline. Under the supervision of Digital Media faculty, Animation majors collaborate with their peers across the College and university to create professional-caliber projects, which they present in a thesis exhibition attended by industry representatives.

See examples of Animation & Visual Effects student work here.

Accelerated BS/MS in Animation & Visual Effects and Digital Media

For students interested in completing both a bachelors and an advanced degree, the Animation & Visual Effects program offers the option to enter an accelerated BS/MS degree in Digital Media. Current students in the undergraduate Animation & Visual Effects major can apply for the accelerated degree through the Graduate College after completing 90 credits, but no more than 120 credits. Acceptance into the accelerated program is open to outstanding students with a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.2 and a successful portfolio review by the Digital Media faculty. The accelerated program offers qualified students to earn a master’s degree in Digital Media in addition to a bachelor’s degree in Animation & Visual Effects within an accelerated period, and can be completed in five years. Students who pursue the BS/MS in Animation & Visual Effects and Digital Media complete three co-op experiences.


If you are interested in learning more about the Drexel degree programs in Animation & Visual Effects, contact the Westphal admissions team at 215.895.1738 or send an email to

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