Profiles of Game Development Programs & Schools

Top 50 Game Design and Development Schools

In preparing our inaugural list of the top schools in the US for aspiring gaming professionals, we considered over 100 schools in the US that offered programs geared towards game design and/or development. Our goal with this list is to give students access to ample information so they can make informed decisions about the schools they choose to attend and the programs they pursue. 

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Norco College

Norco College’s Game Development program may be relatively new to the scene but it’s quickly flexing its muscles and earning attention with a rigorous A.S. of Game Art program. By leveraging the savvy insight of working faculty and industry advisors, the curriculum doesn’t lose track of the fundamentals of game development nor does it overlook the trends on the horizon.  It’s also not averse to incorporating a little fun into the tough business of creating games (as is evident by the faculty-created Boom Ninja! Project). These are exciting times for the program which is currently expanding to offer three additional A.S. degrees (Game Design, Game Programming and Game Audio) thanks to a $2.8 million Title V grant.

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Norco College

In the southern California county of Riverside sits a 2-year Game Development program like few others, earning considerable attention from industry and universities alike. Norco College’s Game Development department offers an A.S. of Game Art which doesn’t miss a beat, focusing on techniques seldom explored in 2-year programs elsewhere. The high caliber of work produced by students is testament to the program’s emphasis on fundamentals and its close collaboration with industry advisors and working faculty to develop and iterate the curriculum. Though capable of breaking into their careers immediately, many graduates choose to further their studies at premier 4-year institutions.

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Wisconsin

Wisconsin is home to nationally ranked schools such as Carroll University, Lawrence University, Marquette University, Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE), and University of Wisconsin Madison. These schools make it to the top of the list each year based on factors such as financial aid and career opportunites, types of organizations and clubs, convenience, social organizations, recreation, cost, and more.

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Wisconsin

Wisconsin is home to 84 Title IV degree-granting institutions. To become a Title IV school, an institution must (1) have accreditation recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, (2) sign a participation agreement with the Department, (3) grant an associate's degree or higher, (4) offer a program of at least 300 clock hours in length, and (5) be in business for at least 2 years at the time of application. Once the school has met the requirements established by the U.S. Department of Education, they become eligible for federal financial aid programs.

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Wisconsin

Millions of people play them. They earn billions each year. And the industry is growing at a rapid pace. Of course we’re talking about the gaming industry and the staggering statistics behind it. First, the video game industry is expected to generate more than $68 billion in sales by the end of 2012 and $112 billion+ by 2015. In 2010 alone, gaming companies sold 257 million video and computer games. The industry is expected to continue growing at a rapid pace thanks to the rise of mobile and online gaming.

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Wisconsin

If you want to find out which schools are the best, look no further than popular college ranking organizations such as Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report. These organizations evaluate schools based on quality of the curriculum, faculty, facilities and infrastructure, scholarships, financial aid, and career opportunites. They may also consider number of program offerings, graduation and retention rates, peer assessment, faculty resources (student-teacher ratio), and student selectivity. A number of Wisconsin schools made the cut.

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University of Wisconsin – Whitewater

Degrees Offered: B. A., B. F. A. Art with Graphic Design Emphasis, B. A., B. S. Media Arts and Game Development

Tuition Information:  Undergraduate residents $6,519, nonresidents $14,092 for the 2012 – 2013 school year.  Tuition does not include fees of $1,009 per year.

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University of Wisconsin - Stout

Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Entertainment Design, Graphic Design and Interactive Media, B. S. Game Design and Development; M. F. A. Design

Tuition Information:  Undergraduate residents $5,611, nonresidents $11,808; graduate residents $15,600, nonresidents $31,200 for the 2012 – 2013 school year.  Tuition does not include undergraduate fees of $1,544 or graduate fees of $1,222 per year.

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2K Sports

I interviewed Jerson Sapida a producer at 2K Sports who has been working on the NBA 2K series since its early years on Xbox and PS2. I asked him his thoughts on making it as a producer for a sports development studio and his career experiences.

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