Top Multimedia Schools in Arizona for Aspiring Creatives

Are you searching for the best multimedia schools in Arizona? You’ve come to the right place. Our guide covers leading institutions in Arizona that offer top-notch programs in media arts, film, animation, and more. Whether you’re aiming for a career in filmmaking or digital design, we’ve got you covered.

  • Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts and Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication provide top-tier multimedia programs with hands-on learning experiences and extensive global education opportunities.
  • Phoenix College and Mesa Community College offer comprehensive Associate degrees and certifications in digital media arts and animation, emphasizing critical skills like graphic design, animation, and media production.
  • Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona emphasize hands-on learning, real-world projects, and career development, ensuring graduates are well-prepared for the multimedia industry with practical experience and strong professional networks.

Launch Your Multimedia Career at Arizona Schools

Arizona is a renowned hub for multimedia education, boasting a myriad of programs tailored to different interests and career aspirations. At Arizona State University, the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts offers a BA in Media Arts and Sciences, which focuses on reimagining digital technology through a human-centric lens. This program includes a film concentration in partnership with The Sidney Poitier New American Film School, providing students with hands-on filmmaking practice and industry knowledge.

ASU’s Media Arts and Sciences program equips its graduates with the skills needed to excel in a variety of careers, including:

  • Communications
  • Computing
  • Gaming
  • Media arts

With over 300 Global Education programs in 65 different countries, ASU students have the opportunity to gain international experience, enriching their academic journey and broadening their career prospects. The interdisciplinary approach encouraged by the School of Arts, Media and Engineering at ASU allows students to work on projects that combine arts, humanities, and engineering foundations, making it a fertile ground for innovation and creativity.

Apart from ASU, Arizona is home to numerous other institutions providing comprehensive multimedia programs. Whether you are interested in journalism, digital photography, or animation, Arizona schools provide the resources and environment needed to turn your passion into a thriving career. Here’s an insight into some of these premier institutions and their offerings.

Arizona State University – Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication

The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University stands out as one of the premier journalism schools in the United States. Ranked number one in overall programs, news, and sports programs by the Broadcast Education Association (BEA), the Cronkite School offers a comprehensive media arts program that is widely recognized for its excellence.

Students here benefit from:

  • Hands-on learning experiences from day one
  • Access to professional programs
  • Competitive internships that set the stage for successful careers in journalism and mass communication.

The school’s newsrooms immerse Cronkite students in an authentic environment, producing daily TV news that reaches over a million Arizonans. This practical experience is complemented by the opportunity to create real campaigns for actual clients, specializing in areas like public relations, digital marketing, and media innovation. The Cronkite School’s commitment to excellence is further exemplified by its students capturing three national Society of Professional Journalists 2023 Mark of Excellence Awards, showcasing the high caliber of talent nurtured within this program.

Phoenix College – Digital Media Arts Program

Phoenix College offers a dynamic Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree in Digital Media Arts, focusing on developing critical skills in:

  • Graphic design
  • Animation
  • Imaging
  • Photography
  • Media production

This program is designed to foster a personal design method, production workflow, and conceptual aesthetic, preparing students for various career paths in the multimedia field.

Graduates can look forward to opportunities in graphic design, web design, video production, and more, with the program emphasizing critical thinking, written communication, and teamwork.


To complete the Digital Media Arts AAS program at Phoenix College, students must earn between 66 and 74 credits. To successfully complete the program, students must earn a grade of C or better in all courses, ensuring a solid grasp of the necessary skills.

The curriculum covers a wide range of topics, including:

  • audio and video special effects
  • media production
  • photography
  • animation
  • interactivity

This equips students with a broad skill set for the multimedia industry.

Course Sequence by Term

To streamline their academic journey, full-time students in the Digital Media Arts program can adhere to a suggested term-by-term course sequence. In the first term, for example, students take the following foundational courses:

  • First-Year Composition
  • Mathematics
  • Social-Behavioral Sciences
  • Introduction to Digital Arts
  • 2D Media Design
  • Digital Photographic Imaging I
  • Introduction to College, Career and Personal Success course

The second term continues to build on these skills with courses in Human Communication, Critical Reading and Thinking, Drawing, Digital Photography, Graphic Design, and Animation.

Restricted Electives

Phoenix College students, aiming to customize their education to match their career objectives, can select from a broad array of restricted electives. Options include advanced courses such as:

  • Graphic Design II
  • 3D Modeling and Animation I
  • Design Tools for Imagery
  • Cinematography and Directing for 2D/3D Animation
  • Internet/Web Development Level I

These electives allow students to deepen their expertise in specific areas of interest, enhancing their readiness for the workforce.

University of Arizona – School of Theatre, Film & Television

Offering an integrated approach to theatre, film, and television, the University of Arizona’s School of Theatre, Film & Television provides a unique media arts program. Students receive comprehensive training in storytelling across various media platforms, including stage, screens, and emerging digital mediums. This holistic approach ensures that graduates are versatile and well-equipped to navigate the diverse landscape of the entertainment industry.

Student films from the University of Arizona have garnered recognition at prestigious film festivals such as the Berlin International Film Festival and Sundance. Showcases like The Magic Hour and I Dream in Widescreen provide platforms for students to present their fiction films, while documentary films are featured at events such as What’s up, Docs at The Loft Cinema. These opportunities not only highlight the students’ talents but also open doors to professional networks and career advancement.

Northern Arizona University – School of Communication

With an array of undergraduate and graduate programs, Northern Arizona University’s School of Communication aims to steer students towards thriving careers in media arts. The school emphasizes hands-on learning and career development, ensuring that graduates are well-equipped with the skills needed to thrive in the multimedia industry.

Degree Programs

NAU’s School of Communication provides degree programs in various fields, including:

  • Communication Studies
  • Creative Media and Film
  • Journalism
  • Photography
  • Strategic Communication
  • Visual Communication (Graphic Design & Animation)

These programs are designed to equip students with the technical skills and creative insights needed to excel in their chosen careers.

Hands-On Learning

NAU’s School of Communication places a strong emphasis on hands-on learning. Students engage in real-world projects, fieldwork, internships, and club memberships to gain practical experience and apply their classroom knowledge. These opportunities allow students to develop critical thinking, technical skills, and professional networks, all of which are essential for career success.

In addition to earning course credits, students can:

  • Build a strong resume and portfolio through these experiential learning formats
  • Become competitive candidates in the job market
  • Gain hands-on experience and be ready to tackle real-world challenges in the multimedia industry

The school’s commitment to hands-on learning ensures that students are not only knowledgeable but also prepared for their future careers.

Career Development

NAU’s Career Development services empower students to navigate their career paths confidently by providing tools and resources for self-awareness and identity capital. The Career Progression Plan is a structured approach that guides students through their career journeys, helping them set and achieve their career goals.

The university facilitates relationships between students and employers through various on and off-campus interactions, ensuring that students have access to valuable career opportunities. These interactions include:

  • Career fairs
  • Networking events
  • Internship programs
  • Alumni mentorship programs

These opportunities not only help students secure entry-level employment but also provide insights into industry trends and best practices, further enhancing their career readiness.

Mesa Community College – Media Arts and Animation

The Media Arts and Animation program at Mesa Community College provides a comprehensive curriculum, priming students with the requisite skills for a career in media arts. The program includes courses in animation that cover both traditional and digital techniques, providing a solid foundation for aspiring animators.

In addition to animation, students can take courses in audio production, where they learn to create and manipulate audio for various media formats. The program also offers video editing courses, teaching students the technical and creative aspects of film and video post-production. This diverse curriculum ensures that graduates are well-prepared to enter the multimedia industry with a broad skill set.

Grand Canyon University – Digital Film Program

Narrative storytelling and technical prowess in production and screenwriting are the focal points of Grand Canyon University’s Digital Film Program. From the first semester, students engage in hands-on experiences, gaining practical knowledge and skills that are crucial for a successful career in digital film.

The program provides access to state-of-the-art facilities, including a digital film editing lab and a WhisperRoom audio booth. Students can also use professional equipment such as Canon cameras, RED cameras, and various audio recorders and lighting equipment, ensuring they are well-versed in industry-standard tools and techniques.

Maricopa Community Colleges – Various Campuses

Spread across Maricopa County, the Maricopa Community Colleges, a consortium of 10 colleges, deliver a range of multimedia programs to suit different interests and career aspirations. These programs provide students with a strong foundation in digital media, graphic design, and video production, emphasizing critical thinking and teamwork.

Program Offerings

The Media Arts and Animation program at Mesa Community College, part of the Maricopa Community Colleges, offers a Certificate of Completion in Adobe Foundations: Audio and Video Production. This program includes courses such as:

  • Introduction to Adobe Premiere
  • Introduction to Digital Video Editing
  • Adobe After Effects
  • Adobe Audition

These courses equip students with the skills needed to enhance video and sound for online and broadcast delivery.

By nurturing critical thinking, written communication, and teamwork, these courses ensure graduates are ready to meet the rigors of the multimedia industry. The diverse program offerings across Maricopa Community Colleges provide students with ample opportunities to explore their interests and develop their skills.

Transfer Opportunities

Numerous transfer opportunities to premier Arizona universities like Arizona State University, University of Arizona, and Northern Arizona University are available to students at Maricopa Community Colleges. The MyPath2ASU program, for example, helps students transfer smoothly from Maricopa Community Colleges to Arizona State University, ensuring a seamless transition into their bachelor’s degree programs.

Similarly, the 2NAU partnership allows students to complete both associate and bachelor’s degrees through Northern Arizona University, while the Arizona Bridge program supports students transferring to the University of Arizona. These transfer opportunities enable students to pursue further education and achieve their career goals with the support of academic advising and structured transfer programs.

Industry Connections and Networking Opportunities

Establishing industry connections and networking hold paramount importance for career progression and professional development in the field of multimedia. Establishing long-term professional relationships based on trust and mutual support can ensure you are top of mind for job opportunities in your field. Networking can also provide new perspectives and ideas, helping you tackle challenges and stay updated with industry trends.

Institutions such as Grand Canyon University provide extensive internship opportunities, fostering interaction between students and industry professionals. Events such as the GCU Film Festival, intercollegiate 48-Hour Film Festival, and PitchFest provide platforms for students to showcase their work and gain recognition from industry professionals. These opportunities are crucial for building a strong professional network and enhancing career prospects.