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Animation. Graphic Design. Game Art.

Top 50 Game Design Schools and Colleges in the US – 2015

Written by ACR StaffMay 4, 2015
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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2121. Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (top 15% of schools considered)

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Drexel University was established in 1891 and it is home to 26,359 students enrolled in 200 degree programs across 15 colleges and schools. The College of Computing & Informatics offers several programs for aspiring game designers. Offerings include a BS in Computer Science (BSCS) and a BA in Computer Science (BACS). Both programs offer a Concentration in Game Programming and Development (GMPD).

The Westphal College of Media Arts & Design also offers several programs for aspiring game designers. Programs include a BS in Game Art and Production and an MS in Digital Media. The two-year MS program features comprehensive studies in Gaming and Digital Media History, Theory and Methods, 3D Modeling, Interactivity, and Animation.

22. Parsons The New School for Design, New York, New York (top 15% of schools considered)

Parsons The New School for Design was founded in 1896. It is home to nearly 5,000 students enrolled in 27 undergraduate, graduate, and associate degree programs. Parsons houses five schools, including the School of Art and Design History and Theory, the School of Art, Media, and Technology, the School of Constructed Environments, the School of Design Strategies, and the School of Fashion. The School of Art, Media, and Technology, offers several degree programs for aspiring game designers. Offerings include BFA and MFA degrees in Design and Technology.

2323. Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (top 15% of schools considered)

Founded in 1890, Columbia College is home to more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in more than 100 academic majors or programs. The School of Media Arts, Department of Interactive Arts & Media (IAM) offers a variety of programs for aspiring game designers. Programs include a BA in Game Design with Concentrations in Game Art, Game Development, or Game Sound Design, a BA or BS in Game Programming, and a BA in Interactive Arts and Media. Minor options include Game Art, Game Design, and Game Programming. 

2424. Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida (top 15% of schools considered)

Full Sail University was established in 1979. It offers 25 degree programs in the areas of Entertainment, Media and the Arts. Home to more than 16,000 students from 50 states and 73 countries, Full Sail University awards Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Associate degrees as well as Graduate Certificates. The Game School at Full Sail offers several programs for aspiring game designers. Offerings include a BS in Game Art, a BS in Game Development, an MS in Game Design, and an MS in Mobile Gaming.

25. University of California - Irvine, Irvine, California (top 20% of schools considered)

The University of California - Irvine was established in 1965. It is home to more than 29,000 students enrolled 100+ programs across more than a dozen schools. The Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences offers a BS in Computer Game Science (CGS). According to the School, CGS students will “acquire a solid foundation in computer science and software development” and “learn how to create interactive and human-centered computer game designs.” Students will have the opportunity to work in teams to “design and implement new games.”

2626. Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas (top 20% of schools considered)

Founded in 1911, Southern Methodist University (SMU) is home to 11,000 students enrolled in 246 degree programs through seven schools. The Meadows School of the Arts program offers a BFA/Masters of Interactive Technology (M.I.T) in Digital Game Development that is also supported by the Guildhall—SMU’s School of Video Game Development. In addition to the M.I.T in Digital Game Development, the Guildhall offers a Professional Certificate in Digital Game Development with a Specialization in Art Creation, Level Design, Production, or Software Development.

2727. North Carolina State University Raleigh, North Carolina (top 20% of schools considered)

North Carolina State University (NC State) was established in 1887. The school is home to 33,989 students enrolled in more than 300 undergraduate and graduate degree programs across 12 colleges and 65 departments. The College of Engineering is home to the Department of Computer Science. The Department offers one program for aspiring game designers—a BS in Computer Science with a Game Development Concentration. An Accelerated Bachelors/Masters (ABM) Program and a Computer Programming Certificate are also on the menu.

28. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, (top 20% of schools considered)

Cornell University was established in 1865. It is home to 14,000 undergraduates and nearly 5,000 graduates enrolled in well over 100 degree programs through seven undergraduate colleges and schools, a graduate school, and 100 academic departments. The School of Computing and Information Science (CIS) is home to the Game Design Initiative at Cornell University (GDIAC).  According to GDIAC, the Initiative is an “interdisciplinary collaboration of students and faculty dedicated to the academic study of game design.” Program offerings include a Game Design Minor meant to “complement” traditional majors such as Computer Science, Information Science, Art, Music, or New Media Studies.

2929. Academy of Art University, San Francisco, California (top 20% of schools considered)

Established in 1929, Academy of Art University is home to more than 18,000 students enrolled in dozens of Art, Design, Fashion, and Architecture programs through several schools. The School of Game Development offers a variety of degree programs for aspiring game designers. Offerings include AA, BFA, and MFA degrees in Game Development, a BS in Game Programming, and an Online Award of Completion (OAC) in Game Development.

3030. Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California (top 20% of schools considered)

The Art Center College of Design was established in 1930. The school is home to 1,829 students enrolled in more than a dozen programs. The College offers a BS in Entertainment Design with a Track in Concept Design or Character Animation. The program, including both Tracks, can help students prepare for a career in Game Design and Animation.