Animation and Visual Effects

Major: Animation and Visual Effects
Degree Awarded: Bachelor of Science (BS)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Total Credit Hours: 187.0
Co-op Options: One Co-op (Four years); Three Co-op (Five years)

Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code: 10.0304
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code: 27-1014

About the Program

The Animation & Visual Effects major provides students with the artistic, technological, story-telling, and design skills necessary to succeed as 3D animators and visual effects artists in the highly competitive entertainment, design, and communications industries.

Animation and Visual Effects has grown beyond its traditional applications in the entertainment industry. Beyond film, television, and internet based programming, these production techniques are also widely used in medical research, engineering, virtual and augmented reality systems, immersive media, web content, the performing arts, interactive game systems, corporate communications, and higher education. The depth and complexity of this field necessitates a rigorous course of study.

To best prepare students for the demands of careers in these cutting-edge disciplines, the program provides a foundational understanding of design and technology with core courses in digital media, the option to choose between a six or eighteen month co-op plan, and a curriculum of rigorous coursework covering specialized aspects of digital animation, visual effects, and immersive media. Students will learn the underlying principles of animation, along with advanced, industry-standard software and hardware technologies. The entire creative pipeline, from storyboarding to modeling and animation to rendering and compositing, is covered in depth, allowing students to experience all aspects of a production.  

 Additional Information

To find out more about this major, visit the Westphal College’s Animation & Visual Effects Major webpage.

Degree Requirements 

General Education Requirements
CIVC 101Introduction to Civic Engagement1.0
COM 230Techniques of Speaking3.0
COOP 101Career Management and Professional Development1.0
ENGL 101Composition and Rhetoric I: Inquiry and Exploratory Research3.0
or ENGL 111 English Composition I
ENGL 102Composition and Rhetoric II: Advanced Research and Evidence-Based Writing3.0
or ENGL 112 English Composition II
ENGL 103Composition and Rhetoric III: Themes and Genres3.0
or ENGL 113 English Composition III
MATH 101Introduction to Analysis I4.0
PHYS 170Electricity and Motion3.0
PHYS 171Computational Lab for Electricity and Motion1.0
PHYS 175Light and Sound3.0
PHYS 176Computational Lab for Light and Sound1.0
UNIV A101The Drexel Experience2.0
Required Arts and Humanities-students elect a minimum of 9 credits9.0
Required Social Science-students elect a minimum of 9.0 credits9.0
Free electives24.0
Art and Art History Requirements
Required Art History (ARTH) students elect a minimum of 6.0 credits6.0
ARTH 300 [WI] History of Modern Design3.0
VSST 108Design I for Media3.0
VSST 109Design II for Media3.0
VSST 110Introductory Drawing3.0
VSST 111Figure Drawing I3.0
VSST 210Painting Basics3.0
Media and Computer Science Requirements
ANIM 231Scripting for Animation and Visual Effects3.0
CS 171Computer Programming I3.0
FMVD 206Audio Production and Post3.0
SCRP 270 [WI] Screenwriting I3.0
Digital Media Core Requirements
ANIM 140Computer Graphics Imagery I3.0
ANIM 141Computer Graphics Imagery II3.0
ANIM 211Animation I3.0
DIGM 105Overview of Digital Media3.0
DIGM 350 [WI] Digital Storytelling3.0
DIGM 451 [WI] Explorations in New Media3.0
DIGM 475 [WI] Seminar: The Future of Digital Media3.0
DIGM 490Digital Media Senior Project9.0
DIGM 491Digital Media Senior Project Studio3.0
GMAP 260Overview of Computer Gaming3.0
IDM 100Introduction to Web Development3.0
Animation Requirements
ANIM 100Foundational Tools for Animation & VFX3.0
ANIM 110Digital Imaging for Animation & VFX3.0
ANIM 155Previsualization for Animated Production3.0
ANIM 212Animation II3.0
ANIM 214Digital Character Creation3.0
ANIM 215History of Animation3.0
ANIM 220Digital Compositing I3.0
ANIM 221Digital Compositing II3.0
ANIM 250Professional Practices for Animation & VFX3.0
Animation Electives
Select five of the following:15.0
Realtime Visualization
Lighting & Surfacing
Organic Modeling I
Advanced Lighting
Character Animation I
Character Animation II
Organic Modeling II
Experimental Animation Lab
Spatial Data Capture
Advanced Compositing
Advanced Animation
Advanced Visual Effects
Technical Directing for Animation
Special Topics in Animation
Special Topics in Animation
Special Topics in Animation
Special Topics in Animation
Independent Study in Animation
Independent Study in Animation
Independent Study in Animation
Independent Study in Animation
Digital Cultural Heritage
Overview of Immersive Media
Game Development Foundations
Character Animation for Gaming
Total Credits187.0

Writing-Intensive Course Requirements

In order to graduate, all students must pass three writing-intensive courses after their freshman year. Two writing-intensive courses must be in a student's major. The third can be in any discipline. Students are advised to take one writing-intensive class each year, beginning with the sophomore year, and to avoid “clustering” these courses near the end of their matriculation. Transfer students need to meet with an academic advisor to review the number of writing-intensive courses required to graduate.

A "WI" next to a course in this catalog may indicate that this course can fulfill a writing-intensive requirement. For the most up-to-date list of writing-intensive courses being offered, students should check the Writing Intensive Course List at the University Writing Program. Students scheduling their courses can also conduct a search for courses with the attribute "WI" to bring up a list of all writing-intensive courses available that term.

Sample Plan of Study

5 Year, 3 co-ops

First Year
ANIM 1003.0ANIM 1103.0ANIM 1413.0VACATION
DIGM 1053.0ANIM 1403.0ANIM 2203.0 
ENGL 101 or 1113.0COOP 1011.0CIVC 1011.0 
PHYS 1703.0ENGL 102 or 1123.0ENGL 103 or 1133.0 
PHYS 1711.0PHYS 1753.0MATH 1014.0 
UNIV A1011.0PHYS 1761.0VSST 1093.0 
VSST 1103.0UNIV A1011.0  
 VSST 1083.0  
 17 18 17 0
Second Year
  ANIM 2113.0ANIM 2153.0
  GMAP 2603.0IDM 1003.0
  SCRP 2703.0VSST 1113.0
  VSST 2103.0Art History Elective3.0
 0 0 15 15
Third Year
  ANIM 2213.0ANIM 2503.0
  CS 1713.0COM 2303.0
  Art History Elective3.0DIGM 3503.0
  Free Elective3.0FMVD 2063.0
 0 0 15 15
Fourth Year
  Animation Elective6.0Animation Elective3.0
  Free Elective6.0Arts & Humanities Elective3.0
   Social Science Elective3.0
   Free Elective3.0
 0 0 15 15
Fifth Year
DIGM 4903.0DIGM 4903.0DIGM 4753.0 
DIGM 4911.0DIGM 4911.0DIGM 4903.0 
Animation Elective*3.0Animation Elective*3.0DIGM 4911.0 
Arts and Humanities Elective3.0Social Science Elective3.0Arts and Humanities Elective3.0 
Social Science Elective 3.0Free Elective3.0Free Elective6.0 
Free Elective3.0   
 16 13 16 
Total Credits 187

4 Year, 1 co-op

First Year
ANIM 1003.0ANIM 1103.0ANIM 1413.0VACATION
DIGM 1053.0ANIM 1403.0ANIM 2203.0 
ENGL 1013.0ENGL 1023.0CIVC 1011.0 
PHYS 1703.0PHYS 1753.0ENGL 1033.0 
PHYS 1711.0PHYS 1761.0MATH 1014.0 
UNIV A1011.0UNIV A1011.0VSST 1093.0 
VSST 1103.0VSST 1083.0  
 17 17 17 0
Second Year
ANIM 1553.0ANIM 2123.0ANIM 2143.0ANIM 2313.0
ANIM 2113.0ANIM 2153.0ANIM 2213.0ANIM 2503.0
GMAP 2603.0IDM 1003.0CS 1713.0COM 2303.0
SCRP 2703.0VSST 1113.0Art History Elective3.0COOP 1011.0
VSST 2103.0Art History Elective3.0Free elective3.0DIGM 3503.0
   FMVD 2063.0
 15 15 15 16
Third Year
Animation Electives6.0Animation Elective3.0  
Free Electives6.0Arts & Humanities Elective3.0  
 Social Science Elective3.0  
 Free Elective3.0  
 15 15 0 0
Fourth Year
DIGM 4903.0DIGM 4903.0DIGM 4753.0 
DIGM 4911.0DIGM 4911.0DIGM 4903.0 
Arts & Humanities Elective3.0Animation Elective3.0DIGM 4911.0 
Animation Elective3.0Free Elective3.0Arts & Humanities Elective3.0 
Free Elective3.0Social Science Elective3.0Free Electives6.0 
Social Science Elective3.0   
 16 13 16 
Total Credits 187

Dual/Accelerated Degrees

The accelerated degree program enables academically qualified students to earn both their bachelor's degree and a master's degree in digital media, graduating sooner than they would in traditional programs.

Current Drexel Animation and Visual Effects students may apply for the accelerated BS/MS degree through the Graduate College of Drexel University after completing 90.0 credits, but no more than 120.0 credits. Contact the Graduate College of Drexel University for further information.


This major is based in the Westphal College's Digital Media Department, located in the Westphal College's URBN Center.

The central creative space for the department is the Animation Capture & Effects Lab (ACE-Lab), featuring a 1200-square-foot open studio space dedicated to digital media production. The studio features include a 25-foot by 17-foot green screen cyclorama, studio lighting and modifiers, HD/2k/4k camera systems, camera dolly, Vicon Vantage motion capture system, stereo-360 “VR Video” capture systems, room-scale VR tracking systems, and a full 360° Immersive Projection Dome among other resources.

Additional spaces surrounding the main studio include screening rooms, classrooms and computer labs featuring advanced graphics work stations, VR labs, research labs, meeting rooms, and faculty offices.

Animation and Visual Effects Faculty

Milady S. Bridges, BA (Rutgers University) Program Director, Animation and Visual Effects. Assistant Teaching Professor. Animation and visual effects technical artist.
Paul Diefenbach, PhD (University of Pennsylvania). Associate Professor. Game development, real-time rendering.
Nick Jushchyshyn, MFA (Academy of Art University) Program Director, VR & Immersive Media. Associate Professor. Visual effects, digital media and animation.
Frank J. Lee, PhD (Carnegie Mellon University). Professor. Human-computer interaction; cognitive engineering and science; intelligent software agents for games and education.
Robert Lloyd, MFA (Temple University) Program Director, Game Design & Production. Associate Teaching Professor. Game development, themed entertainment and motion simulation.
David Mauriello, BA (Lafayette College). Assistant Professor. 3D modeling and animation.
Glen Muschio, PhD (Temple University). Associate Professor. Digital media, society, communication.
Emil Polyak, MDCArtDes (University of New South Wales). Assistant Professor. Cross-disciplinary art and design
Stefan Rank, PhD (Vienna University of Technology). Associate Professor. Artificial intelligence, game design and human-computer interaction.
Daniel Rose, BS (Purdue University). Assistant Teaching Professor. AAA and freelance game developer and environmental artist
Jervis Thompson, BS (Drexel University). Teaching Professor. Digital media, interactive multimedia.
Michael Wagner, PhD (Vienna University of Technology) Program Director, Digital Media. Associate Professor. Educational use of digital media and computer games.
Jichen Zhu, PhD (Georgia Institute of Technology). Associate Professor. Developing humanistic and interpretive framework of computational technology, particularly artificial intelligence (AI), and constructing AI-based cultural artifacts; interactive storytelling, games and software studies.

Emeritus Faculty

Theo Artz, BFA (Tyler School of Art, Temple University). Associate Professor. Digital media.
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