2024-2025 Undergraduate Course Catalog 
    Jul 16, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate Course Catalog

Computer Art and Animation, BFA

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Rebecca Ruige Xu, Program Coordinator
102 Shaffer Art Building, 315-443-1033, rxu@syr.edu


Heath Hanlin, Rebecca Rugie Xu, Sarah Long, Su Hyun Nam


The Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degree program in Computer Art and Animation is dedicated to exploring the possibilities of digital media within a fine art, exploratory, and culturally aware setting. Through instruction in 3D computer animation, electronic object creation, code-based art, sound design, and sonic art, students are mentored to become highly skilled critical thinkers producing art in individual and collaborative contexts.

In your first year, you build a strong foundation for working within the digital realm while developing an artistic voice engaged in the language of the medium. During the second year we investigate the diverse possibilities of computer art, the intensity of which is oriented by the inclination of the student and tailored through mentorship. In the third and fourth years, we bring these skills into creative focus, demanding a professional art practice that is both technically sophisticated and critically engaged.

Within the Department of Film and Media Arts, computer art is integrated with film, art video, and art photography, allowing for a practice that is tightly focused but free to traverse a network of related disciplines. This network expands into the rest of Syracuse University, challenging you to further develop the intellectual resources needed to inform your work. Through this process you synthesize a perspective that is shaped within a web of mutual influence and discourse.

Celebrating its 30th year, the computer art program boasts alumni who are placed at some of the most prestigious animation and visual effects companies in the world-Pixar, Rhythm and Hues, Industrial Light and Magic, Lucasarts, Blizzard, Tippett Studios, Motion Picture Company, and Sony Pictures Imageworks-along with creative representation at galleries and media art festivals internationally. The program’s alumni and faculty have consistently pushed the edge publicly as to what it means to be a computer artist and continue to maintain that intensity today.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Technical Skills: Demonstrate a subset of technical skills in Computer Art and Animation

2. Conceptual Skills: Demonstrate a broad set of conceptual skills in Computer Art and Animation sub-disciplines

3. Critical Thinking: Articulate thoughts and concepts clearly and effectively through Computer Art and Animation projects

4. Integration of Skills: Conceptualize and realize computer art and animation projects/artworks

5. Collaboration Skills: Realize projects in computer art and animation as part of creative teams

University Requirement

Program Requirements

Studio Electives: 33 credits

Required Studio Electives: 12 credits

Free Studio Electives: 9 credits

Studio electives are courses usually offered in VPA through Art, Design, or Film and Media Arts.  The course content includes, but is not limited to, conceptualization, process, product, and critique of creative work in studio practice. These courses meet for a minimum of four hours per week for the duration of the semester. Usual meeting patterns are: the class meets once per week for four+ hours, or the class meets twice per week, usually for two or more hours each. You can find a comprehensive list of courses that count as studio electives here.

Studies in Culture: 21 credits

  • Required Studies in Culture: 12 credits

  • 9 credits should be Liberal Arts & Sciences


    Free Studies in Culture: 9 credits

    6 credits should be Liberal Arts & Sciences

  • Courses classified as Studies in Culture are, in general, classes related to art history and cultural studies but also include Foreign Languages, Anthropology and World Literature. You can find a comprehensive list of approved studies in culture electives here.

Academic Electives: 18 credits

Academic electives are most courses offered outside of Art, Design, or Film and Media Arts (for example, courses offered in CRS, Arts and Sciences, Whitman, and other colleges outside of SU:VPA). These academic courses usually have non-art-related content, such as math, natural sciences, art history, anthropology, religion, gender studies, and writing, among others. Most importantly, they meet for a total of 150 to 160 minutes each week for the duration of the semester (usually on two- or three-day patterns, such as MW, TTH, or MWF, with classes ranging from 50 to 80 minutes each.)

Total Credits Required: 121

Degree Awarded: BFA in Computer Art and Animation

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