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Animation. Graphic Design. Game Art.

Top 25 Public Game Design Schools and Colleges – 2017

Written by ACR StaffApril 20, 2017
Did You Know.....Full Sail University offers online degree programs in computer animation, game art, and game design? Learn more about Full Sail University's online programs.
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14. George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia (top 30% of schools considered) 

George Mason University (GMU) started in a single building with an enrollment of 17 students in 1957. Today, the school is home to more than 34,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. The school has three campuses in Fairfax, Arlington, and Prince William Counties in Virginia, and an international campus in Songdo, Korea. Hundreds of programs are offered across 10 schools and colleges and in all subject areas. The College of Visual and Performing Arts is home to the Computer Game Design Program. 

Degree options include a BFA and a graduate MA in Computer Game Design. Program highlights include several minors with sports management and business, and multiple international exchange partnerships. The College also hosts the only U.S. Serious Game Institute (in partnership with the University of Coventry U.K.), that concentrates on game-related applied research and new innovative game company cultivation. 

15. Ohio University, Athens, Ohio (top 30% of schools considered) 

Established in 1804, Ohio University is home to more than 23,000 students enrolled in 250-plus programs across 11 colleges and 15 schools. The School of Media Arts & Studies is home to the game program, along with more than 650 undergraduate students. Options include a BSC in Media Arts & Studies with an Emphasis in Games & Animation (G&A). Highlighted courses include Digital Game Design, 3D Modeling & Animation, Visual Storytelling, Game Development, Narrative Animation, Sound for Moving Images, Compositing, and Motion Graphics. 

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Another program highlight is the Game Research and Immersive Design (GRID) Lab. “An initiative of Ohio University's Scripps College of Communication, GRID was developed by the School of Media Arts and Studies faculty and staff to provide the Appalachian Ohio region with training, education, and an opportunity to develop technical and creative skills with digital game technology. The GRID Lab serves as an innovative and creative center for undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff research and project development.” 

16. University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina (top 35% of schools considered) 

On September 23, 1946, University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC Charlotte) opened as an evening college center for returning veterans. When it opened, the school was home to 278 students. Today, UNC Charlotte is home to 28,721 students enrolled in 170 degree programs across seven professional colleges. The College of Computing and Informatics houses the Department of Computer Science, which has two programs for aspiring game designers. 

Options include a BS in Computer Science with a Concentration in AI, Robotics, and Gaming, and a Graduate Certificate in Game Design and Development. Highlighted courses for the BS program include AI for Computer Games, Game Design and Development, Advanced 3D Computer Graphics, Interactive Computer Graphics, and Intelligent Robotics. The Capstone requirement highlights Game Design and Development Studio or Intelligent and Interactive System Studio. 

The Certificate program highlights courses such as Game Engine Construction, Audio Processing for Entertainment Computing, AI for Computer Games, and Interactive Computer Graphics. 

17. University of Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland (top 35% of schools considered) 

Founded in 1925, the University of Baltimore (UB) is home to 5,627 students enrolled in undergraduate, graduate and professional degree and certificate programs through four colleges and schools, and more than a dozen departments and divisions. Established in 1937, the Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences houses the Division of Science, Information Arts and Technologies. Programs options include a BS in Simulation and Digital Entertainment, an MS Interaction Design and Information Architecture, a Doctor of Science (DS) in Information and Interaction Design, and a Certificate in Digital Media Production. 

Students have the opportunity to “work on high-impact digital technology projects through cutting-edge research with such tools as a Tobii T60 eye tracker in the UB User Research Lab and the immersive visualization technologies in the UB Gamelab.” 

18. Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina (top 35% of schools considered) 

Established in 1889 as Clemson Agricultural College, Clemson University is home to more than 20,000 students enrolled in 190-plus programs through five colleges and the graduate school. The College of Engineering and Science offers several programs for aspiring game designers. Options include a BA or BS in Computer Science with a Minor in Digital Production Arts (DPA), an MFA in Digital Production Arts (MFA DPA), and a combined Bachelor’s/Master’s Plan (BS) in Computer Science. All students have the opportunity to Minor in DPA, which emphasizes Games, Visual Effects, and Computer Animation. 

19. Shawnee State University, Portsmouth, Ohio (top 40% of schools considered) 

Shawnee State University was established in 1986. The school is home to more than 4,400 students enrolled in 80 degree programs. The Fine, Digital and Performing Arts Department has several for aspiring game designers. Options include a BS in Digital Simulation and Gaming Engineering Technology, a BFA in Game and Simulation, an AA in Art with a Game Design Concentration, a Minor in Gaming Arts, and a BFA in Visualist Design and Interactive Media with a 3D Design or Interactive Media Track. 

Students in all programs have access to the Motion Capture Studio Lab and they may participate in the Annual Art & Technology Game Conference. Hosted by Shawnee State, this interactive digital technology conference attracts game developers, students, and industry leaders from all over the country. 

20. University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Whitewater, Wisconsin (top 40% of schools considered) 

Founded in 1868, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (UW-W) is home to 12,628 students enrolled in dozens of programs across five colleges and schools. The College of Arts and Communication is home to the Department of Art and Design. Here, students can earn a BA in Media Arts and Game Development (MAGD) with a Visual Media Emphasis or them may declare a Minor in Media Arts and Game Development. 

Students in the MAGD program Students may choose additional elective courses from one of the other MAGD emphases - Communication/Gaming and/or Technology. Two team-based projects courses provide a capstone for the degree program. 

21. Indiana University Bloomington, Bloomington, Indiana (top 45% of schools considered) 

Founded in 1820 as “State Seminary,” Indiana University Bloomington (IU Bloomington) is home to more than 39,000 students enrolled 550-plus academic programs across 16 degree-granting colleges and schools, plus the Hutton Honors College. The College of Arts and Sciences is home to the Media School. Here, students can earn a BS in Game Design with the option to complete up to three Specializations. Thirty options are available. Game related specializations include Game Art, Game Audio, and Game Production. Students might also be interested in Graphic Communication, Art, Aesthetics and Experimental Media, Creative Industry Management, or Web. 

22. University of Washington, Seattle, Washington (top 45% of schools considered) 

Founded in 1861, University of Washington is home to 56,819 students enrolled in 306 programs offering 579 degree options. The school has three campuses—Seattle, Bothell, and Tacoma. Programs for aspiring game designers are available through the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering (CSE) at the Seattle Campus. Options include BS and MS degrees in Computer Science and a Certificate in Game Design. 

All students have access to UW CSE’s three main labs that are “engaged in research spanning the areas of computer graphics, vision, visualization, animation, and game science.” They include the Graphics and Imaging Lab (GRAIL), the Center for Game Science, and the Animation Research Labs (ARL). ARL works in collaboration with “experts from Disney Animation Studios, Bungie, Industrial Light & Magic, Microsoft Game Studios, Pixar, and many others.” 

Researchers at the Center for Game Science use “gaming to solve grand challenges, crowdsource human problem-solving to aid scientific discovery, and improve student interest and achievement in mathematics.” And the Grail Group is “known for ground-breaking research in computational photography, games for science and education, 3-D reconstruction, Internet photo collections, object recognition, human shape and motion analysis, information visualization, and animation.” 

23. University of Wisconsin-Stout, Menomonie, Wisconsin (top 45% of schools considered) 

University of Wisconsin-Stout (UW-Stout) was founded in 1891 as the Stout Manual Training School. This polytechnic university is home to 9,619 students enrolled in 72 academic programs across seven schools. The School of Art and Design is home to the game design program. Degree options include BFAs in Game Design & Development Art, Entertainment Design, and Graphic Design & Interactive Media, and an MFA in Design. The Design Program highlights a “cross-disciplinary setting.” Students in the program will study game design, interactive media, entertainment design, studio art, graphic design, and other areas.  

A BS in Computer Science is also available through the College of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Management. Concentrations include Game Design and Development, and Mobile Applications. 

24. Miami University, Oxford, Ohio (top 50% of schools considered) 

Founded in 1809, Miami University is home to around 24,500 students enrolled in bachelor's degree programs in over 120 areas of study, more than 60 master's degrees, and 13 doctoral degree programs. The school’s main campus is in Oxford, and regional campuses are located in Hamilton, Middletown, and West Chester. Miami University also has a European campus—the John E. Dolibois European Center (MUDEC) in Differdange, Luxembourg. 

The College of Creative Arts is home to the Armstrong Institute for Interactive Media Studies (AIMS). This cross-disciplinary institute “works with students and faculty from across Miami University offering undergraduate, graduate certificate and graduate programs exploring the intersection of technology, design business and how digital technology is transforming traditional areas of inquiry.” Program options include a BA in Interactive Media and an Experience Design MFA with a Concentration in Studio Art (xdMFA). The xdMFA is offered jointly by Graphic Design and AIMS. 

25. Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Indianapolis, Indiana, (top 50% of schools considered) 

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) was established in 1969. It is home to 29,804 students enrolled in more than 250 degree programs across 19 schools. Several programs are available for aspiring game designers through the School of Informatics and Computing (SOIC). Offerings include a BS in Media Arts and Science with a Specialization in Game Design and Development and a five-year BS+MS in Media Arts and Science with a Specialization in Human-Computer Interaction.

Graduates of the Media Arts and Science programs at IUPUI SOIC “design and develop projects that focus on entertainment, serious game design, mobile applications, video and audio production, animation, and innovative web design and technologies.” All students have access to state-of-the-art facilities, including the Media Arts Research and Learning Arcade, the Advanced Visualization Lab, and a virtual reality theater.