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Program Overview

Program Overview

You've Checked the Boxes, Now Chase the Dream!

Lipscomb University’s Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Film and Creative Media with a focus in Animation helps you learn the foundations and practice of animation, from innovative character design to top-end computer graphics and 3D graphics. Through our world-class MFA Animation program, you'll grow your creative skills in storytelling and pre-production under some of the most prominent animators in the U.S., including five former Disney animators, and advance your career in animation, game, and interactive media as an expert. Through your thesis project, you’ll also have the opportunity to develop your own animated series or film while pursuing your degree.

MFA in Animation Program Outcomes

With our transformative and comprehensive curriculum, you will develop key skills in storytelling and collaboration, and learn how to pitch your ideas and create strong content that disrupts. The Animation master’s degree program also inspires you to explore different artistic topics like production, as well as technical tools and business skills.

Through hands-on animation education, you can build a network of colleagues and experts in the industry, and expand your technical and business skills for the film, television and animation industries. You will also gain a deeper understanding of the VFX workflow and first-hand experience with cinematic virtual reality and other new technologies. 

Learn More about the MFA in Animation Degree

Ready to hone your creative storytelling, technical and artistic skills? Apply to Lipscomb University’s Master of Fine Arts program with a concentration in Animation today, or request information to learn more!

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Twin Disney Animators-the Bancroft Brothers - article

Admissions Requirements

Admissions Requirements

Application Deadline for Fall 2023: April 1, 2023 

Due to high demand enrollment is limited. 

Applicants to the MFA in Animation program must submit the following items:

  • Complete the online application (the application fee can be paid after the portfolio review). 
  • Portfolio of work samples (Please see Portfolio Requirements below.)
    (Attach to the Work Sample/Portfolio Section of the Application)

The following requirements must be sent after the portfolio has been accepted/approved:

  • Pay the $50 application fee if not already paid 
  • Official transcript(s) Undergraduate degrees with cumulative 3.0 GPA will receive priority consideration
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Résumé

The admission process also includes an interview which will be scheduled through the program director. 

MFA Animation Courses

MFA Animation Courses

After being accepted to the animation program, you will meet with the graduate program director to build a customized plan of study that allows for artistic exploration while developing the technical proficiency to undertake your thesis project—a pilot episode or teaser short film and a complete pitch package for the project to take to the world. With shared classes between Film and Animation students, you will have multiple opportunities to collaborate across disciplines.

To earn an MFA degree in Animation, you need to finish at least 62 credit hours of study. Full-time students can typically finish the program in three years.

Thesis Projects

The thesis project enables you to learn from industry experts about how to think like an independent filmmaker using the newest formats, technology and distribution systems, and tell stories that the world needs to hear.

The curriculum includes thesis courses that help students set a timeline for the successful completion of any project they decide to do. Thesis projects can be: 

  • A completed short film plus all pre-production material and pitch deck
  • A completed TV pilot plus all pre-production material and show bible
  • All completed films/pilots must have a screening at the end of the semester before graduation

Each MFA student will also complete a 15-20 page academic paper on a related topic of choice. Academic papers are due during the first term of the last semester.

Note that the program of study decided between you and the program director will be followed as closely as possible for the duration of your program. Some flexibility will be allowed if certain courses are not available when needed or if your areas of interest change as you experience new aspects of content creation.

Tuition & Aid

Tuition & Aid

  • Tuition: $1,048* per credit hour; students can audit for no credit at a rate of 50% of regular tuition
  • Books and Fees: Not included in the tuition
  • Application Fee: $50 
  • Graduation Fee: $195


*Note: Graduate tuition rates may increase annually, effective at the start of the summer term.

With Lipscomb University’s generous financial aid, your cost of attendance can be much lower. Explore your graduate financial aid options.

Types of Aid


Average class size

Why Choose Lipscomb’s MFA in Animation Program?

Esteemed Faculty

Our MFA in Animation program is led by distinguished expert faculty, such as Tony, Bancroft (Pumbaa, Kronk, Iago, Cogsworth), Tom Bancroft (Mushu, Pocahontas, Young Simba), John Pomeroy (Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too, The Rescuers, Pete's Dragon) and Mike Nawrocki (Co-Creator of Veggie Tales, Creator and Voice of Larry the Cucumber). In fact, Lipscomb University is the only school in the world that has five former featured Disney animators as instructors. They will cultivate your strengths and guide you toward your goals, starting with a strong foundation of storytelling.

Multiple Campus Locations

The master’s degree in Animation program is available in a hybrid format in two of the most forward-thinking cities in the U.S.—Nashville, Tennessee and Austin, Texas. Studying at Lipscomb, you can not only receive a world-class education but also immerse yourself in the arts and culture of these two vibrant cities.

Learn more about the Austin Center

Networking & Internship

Both our deeply connected faculty and our experiential learning opportunities offer a myriad of ways for you to form relationships with visionary leaders in the animation and film industry. The MFA program allows you to connect with and learn from experts in Maya software, the industry-standard in computer graphics and CGI effects. You’ll even have the option of taking on opportunities in Los Angeles through our department’s Los Angeles internship program.

Small Class Sizes

The MFA Animation program maintains small class sizes. You’ll have opportunities to engage in meaningful discussion, receive one-on-one faculty mentorship and benefit from personal instruction. In this intimate learning environment, you’ll feel supported by a tight-knit community.

Student Work

Still from "Enlightened"


Watch the short film directed and produced by Caelin Davis (2023).

Still from "The End"

The End

Watch the short film directed by Meghan Urbytes (2023).

The End
Still from "Good Boy Richard"

Good Boy Richard

Watch the short film directed by Daniel Haycox (2021).

Good Boy Richard

Our Faculty

  • Tony Bancroft headshot

    Anthony Bancroft

    Program Director

    Meet Anthony Bancroft
  • Tom Bancroft headshot

    Tom Bancroft

    Artist in Residence

    Tom Bancroft has over thirty years of experience in the animation industry, most of which was for Walt Disney Feature animation where he was an animator for twelve years on...

    Meet Tom Bancroft
  • Mike Nawrocki

    Mike Nawrocki

    Visiting Professor

    As co-creator of "VeggieTales," co-founder of Big Idea Entertainment and the voice of the beloved Larry the Cucumber, Mike Nawrocki has been part of the pulse of the "VeggieTales" brand,...

    Meet Mike Nawrocki
  • Mike Meredith headshot

    Mike Meredith

    Assistant Professor

    Meet Mike Meredith
  • John Pomeroy

    Artist in Residence

    John Pomeroy is an American animator, producer, writer and painter. He attended Art Center College of Design from 1971 to 1973, majoring in illustration. He was hired by the Walt Disney...

    Meet John Pomeroy
  • Eric Stars

    Eric Stars

    Visiting Professor

    With over a decade of experience working as a professional animator and visual effects artist, Eric Stars comes to Lipscomb University from Fivestone Studios. Stars' primary focus is 3D character...

    Meet Eric Stars
  • Jim Elston

    Adjunct Faculty

    Meet Jim Elston

Career Paths

Storyboard Artists

A storyboard artist provides visual illustrations to map out an effective production blueprint for TV shows, film and commercials. The storyboard artist's job is to provide a visual representation prior to the filming of a feature film or television production.

2D Animators

2D animators focus on creating characters, backgrounds and scene transitions, bringing creative ideas and concepts to life. Job duties of 2D animators revolve around designing and producing images.

3D Animators

3D animators create animation and graphics with the aid of computer illustrations and software programs based on ideas from research and a working model of scenes to be animated in movies, television or video games.