Profiles of Game Management Programs & Schools

Our 2016 list of the Top 50 Game Design School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California (top 1% of schools considered)

University of Southern California (USC) was established in 1880 and it is home to 43,000 students enrolled in more than 500 graduate and undergraduate programs, and over 150 minors across 18 colleges and schools. Program offerings for aspiring game designers are offered through several colleges and schools including the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences - Interactive Media & Games Division (in conjunction with the School of Cinematic Arts) and the Viterbi School of Engineering, Department of Computer Science. 

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Our 2016 rankings of the Top 25 Game Design School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Established in 1880, University of Southern California (USC) is home to 43,000 students enrolled in more than 500 undergraduate and graduate programs, and over 150 minors across 18 colleges and schools. Program offerings for aspiring game designers are offered through several colleges and schools including the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences - Interactive Media & Games Division (in conjunction with the School of Cinematic Arts) and the Viterbi School of Engineering, Department of Computer Science.

The Interactive Media & Games Division offers a BA in Interactive Entertainment, an intensive three-year MFA in Interactive Media, and Minors in Game Design and Game Entrepreneurism. According to USC, the MFA program “draws on the strengths of the School of Cinematic Arts, including Game Design, Animation, Sound Production, Screenwriting, Producing and Critical Studies, bringing these resources together in a vibrant community of innovative digital media practice.” 

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Our 2016 list of the Top 25 public Game Design School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah

The University of Utah (The U) is home more than 31,000 students. Founded in 1850, the school offers nearly 100 undergraduate programs and more than 90 graduate programs across 17 colleges and schools. The College of Engineering and the College of Fine Arts are home to the Entertainment Arts and Engineering Master Games Studio (EAE:MGS).  Students may choose from four tracks including Arts, Engineering, Technical Arts, and Production. According to the Studio, “all students in each of the tracks have a series of common classes including Game Design, Rapid Prototyping, Pre-Production, and Final Project.” In addition, students will “develop and enhance a professional game portfolio” and they will have the opportunity to complete an internship in the game industry.

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Our 2015 list of the Top 50 Private Game Design School Programs in the US. 

For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.


11. University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles, California

Established in 1880, the University of Southern California is home to 43,000 students enrolled in more than 200 undergraduate programs, 300-plus graduate programs, and more than 150 minors across 18 colleges and schools. USC Games offers four degree programs and four minors for aspiring game designers. School of Cinematic Arts degrees include a BA in Interactive Entertainment and an MFA in Interactive Media. Viterbi School of Engineering degrees include a BS in Computer Science (Games) and an MS in Computer Science with a Specialization in Game Development. Minors include Game Animation, Game Audio, Game Design, and Game Entrepreneurism.

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Our 2015 list of the Top 25 Public College Game Design/Development Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here. 

1. University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah

The University of Utah was founded in 1850. It is home to 31,000 students enrolled in nearly 100 undergraduate programs and more than 90 graduate programs. The school houses 17 colleges and schools and close to 100 departments. The College of Engineering and the College of Fine Arts offer the Entertainment Arts and Engineering Master Games Studio (EAE:MGS). Tracks include Arts, Engineering, Technical Arts, and Production. According to the Studio, “all students in each of the tracks have a series of common classes including Game Design, Rapid Prototyping, Pre-Production, and Final Project.” In addition, students will “develop and enhance a professional game portfolio” and they will have the opportunity to complete an internship in the game industry.

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Our 2014 list of the Top 75 Game Design/Development School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
The University of Southern California (USC) is home to USC Games. Created by the School of Cinematic Arts’ (SCA) Interactive Media & Games Division in collaboration with the Viterbi School of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science, USC Games offers several renowned graduate level game design programs and several undergraduate programs. Options include an MFA in Interactive Media, an MS in Computer Science with a Specialization in Game Development, a BA in Interactive Entertainment, and a BS in Computer Science (Games).

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Game designers have a variety of duties ranging from designing characters, levels, and puzzles to creating art and animation. While some game designers may write code, it is usually up to the game developer to take the overall design of the game and turn it into an actual game.

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The commercial games industry is growing faster than the U.S. economy as a whole. For the 2009-2012 period, growth in the industry was 9.7%, while growth for the U.S. economy was just 2.4%. Further, direct employment in the games industry grew at an annual rate of 9%, while total U.S. employment increased at an annual rate of just 0.724%.

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Degrees Offered: Animation & Game Arts (BFA); Graphic Design major (BFA)

Tuition Information:  BFA Tuition & Fees 2015-2016
Tuition: $35,608; General College Fees: $1,220; Room & Board: $13,836; Total: $50,664; Financial Aid:Extensive financial aid and scholarship opportunities

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Our 2016 rankings of the top programs on the East Coast for game design. 

We define the East Coast as Virginia, Rhode Island, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Founded in 1900, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is home nearly 13,650 students enrolled in more than 100 programs across seven colleges and schools. The College of Fine Arts-Integrative Design, Arts and Technology Network (IDeATe), in collaboration with the School of Computer Science-Computer Science Department, offers a Bachelor of Computer Science and Arts (BCSA) with a Concentration in Game Design. IDeATe Collaborative Studios include Game Engine Programming offered by the Robotics Institute, Research Issues in Game Development offered by the Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) at CMU, and Programming for Game Designers—also offered by the ETC.  

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