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Top 75 Schools for Game Design/Development in the US - 2014
Written by ACR StaffApril 29, 2014
Did you know.... In 2013 every movie nominated for an Oscar Award in the Best Visual Effects category had graduates from The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School (DAVE School at Universal Studios Orlando) in the credits. This year (2014), four of the five nominated films - The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Iron Man 3, The Lone Ranger, and Star Trek Into Darkness- included DAVE School graduates. Those 4 films alone employed nearly 70 DAVE School graduates last year.
41. University of Maryland-Baltimore County, Baltimore, Maryland
The University of Maryland-Baltimore County (UMBC) is home to the College of Engineering and Information Technology (COEIT), Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering (CSEE). The top-rated College offers several competitive programs for aspiring game designers and developers. Offerings include a BS in Computer Science (CS) with a Game Development Track, an MS in Computer Science, a PhD in CS and a Minor in CS.
According to the UMBC Games, Animation and Interactive Media official website, UMBC has been the Baltimore host site for Global Game Jam for 6 years in a row. The Jam, which takes place at more than 300 host sites around the world in the same 48 hours, brings designers together to create a video game, network, learn, compete, and more.
Students interested in enhancing their education and career opportunities might consider several programs offered through UMBC’s College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Visual Arts (VArts). Offerings include a BA/BFA in Visual Arts with a Concentration in Animation/Interactive Media, and a BFA in Visual Arts with a Concentration in Cinematic Arts or Intermedia.
In addition, students in both Departments have the opportunity to Study Abroad in places such as China, Iceland, Japan, Norway, and Ghana as well as Polytechnic University of Spain in Valencia and the University of Applied Sciences in Germany (VArts).
Established in 1966, the University of Maryland-Baltimore County sits on a 500-acre campus just 30 minutes from Washington, D.C. This Honors University is home to nearly 14,000 students and it offers 44 undergraduate majors, 36 master’s degree programs, 24 doctoral degree programs, and 17 graduate certificate programs across 6 colleges and schools. UMBC also offers 41 undergraduate minors and 20 certificate programs.
42. Bloomfield College, Bloomfield, New Jersey
Bloomfield College is home to the Creative Arts & Technology Department, which houses several popular programs for aspiring game designers. Offerings include a BA in Game Development, a BA in Interactive Multimedia/Worldwide Web, a BA in Digital Video, Certificates in Game Design, Game Programming, and Digital Media, and a Minor in Game Development Programming. A BA in Animation is also on the menu for students interested in enhancing their education and career opportunities.
Founded in 1868, Bloomfield College sits on an 11-acre campus just 15 miles from New York City and it is home to 2,100 students enrolled in 60+ majors/degree programs. Accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Bloomfield College is also a stone’s throw away from the PNC Bank Arts Center, Meadowlands Sports Complex, and Liberty Science Center.
43. Woodbury University, Burbank, California
The School of Media, Culture & Design (MCD) at Woodbury University is home to the school’s popular Games Program. The School features a BFA in Game Art & Design that combines the study of Art, Game Design, Computer Technology, Animation, Storytelling, and Animation. Students may choose between a Game Art Emphasis and a Game Design Emphasis. The program is accredited by National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
Woodbury University was established in 1884 as Woodbury's Business College. The school, which began in a one-room storefront in the oldest section of Los Angeles, now sits on a 22.5-acre campus in Burbank near Disney, DreamWorks, NBC, Universal, Warner Bros. and more. The school also has a campus in San Diego and it is home to more than 1,500 students enrolled in 4 schools.
44. Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois
Bradley University’s Slane College of Communications and Fine Arts is home to the school’s Department of Interactive Media. The Department offers several programs for aspiring game designers. Options include a BA/BS in Interactive Media with a Game Design Concentration or an Animation and Visual Effects Concentration and Minors in Interactive Media and Game Design.
Game design students have participated in the Global Game Jam (Bradly has been a Game Jam Site), as well as the Game Developers Conference, and more. In addition, the program helps develop students’ business skills, which can come in handy for those interested in designing their own games or running their own studios.
Established in 1897, Bradley University is home to 5,700 graduate and undergraduate students. The school sits on an 84-acre campus just one mile from Downtown Peoria. The school is “one of only a small percentage of institutions offering Internet2 access, which provides learning opportunities in collaboration with students and faculty at other institutions,” and it is accredited by 22 national accrediting agencies. Bradley University houses 5 colleges and a graduate school that offer more than 100 undergraduate programs and 30 graduate programs.
45. University of Houston-Victoria, Victoria, Texas
The University of Houston-Victoria (UHV) was established in 1973 and it is one of 4 universities in the University of Houston System. The school, which sits on a 20-acre campus, is home to 4,491 students enrolled in more than 60 degree programs and concentrations across 4 schools including the School of Business Administration, the School of Nursing, the School of Education and Human Development, and the School of Arts & Sciences—home of the Game Program.
Offerings include a BAAS in Digital Gaming and Simulation, a BS in Computer Science with a Digital Gaming and Simulation Concentration, a B.S. in Computer Science, and the BA in Communication Design which includes the study of Technology, Drawing, Time-Based and Interactive Media (Computer Multimedia, Film, and Video), and more.
The School of Arts & Sciences also offers a Minor in Computer Science and Digital Gaming, and an MS in Computer Science. UHV’s Digital Gaming and Simulation programs are offered at both the Victoria and Sugar Land campuses.
46. University of Wisconsin-Stout, Menomonie, Wisconsin
The University of Wisconsin-Stout is home to several excellent programs for aspiring game designers. UW-Stout Game Design and Development students won the 2013 E3 College Game Competition. The College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics offers a BS in Game Design and Development with concentrations in Computer Science and Art. The School of Art and Design offers a BFA in Entertainment Design with concentrations in Comic and Sequential Art, Digital Cinema, and Animation, a BFA in Studio Art with a concentration in Drawing, and a BFA in Graphic Design and Interactive Media with concentrations in Design and Interactive Media.
In addition to a wide range of program offerings for game designers, UW-Stout has a unique National Student Exchange Program that welcomes more than 3,000 students each year. The Program allows design students to choose from more than 200 participating universities across the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and throughout Canada.
Established in 1891, the University of Wisconsin Stout (UW-Stout) is part of the University of Wisconsin System and the state’s polytechnic university. The school, which sits on a 131-acre campus, is home to 9,286 students from 45 states and 47 nations. Accredited by 21 national accrediting agencies, UW Stout houses 4 colleges, 3 schools and a graduate school that offer more than 65 degree programs in all areas of study from Apparel Design to Technology. UW-Stout was the first Malcolm Baldrige Award recipient in higher education.
47. University of Denver, Denver, Colorado
Located just a few miles from Downtown Denver, the University of Denver is situated on a beautiful 125-acre campus that’s home to 11,778 students from across the U.S. and 93 other countries. Established in 1864 (which makes it the oldest independent university in the Rocky Mountain region), the school features 14 academic units ranging from Arts and Humanities to Engineering to the Colorado Women’s College.
The University of Denver offers more than 170 undergraduate programs and 20 graduate and professional programs. Among them are several top-tier programs for aspiring game designers.
Offered through the Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering & Computer Science (Ritchie School) options include a BA and a BS in Game Development, a BA in Applied Computing, and a BS in Computer Science. The BA in Applied Computing offers a number of electives that are also part of the curriculum for many Game Development programs.
The Ritchie School-Department of Computer Science also offers a Master of Science (MS) in Computer Science. In addition to the Game Development, Applied Computing, and Computer Science programs, students should consider the BA in Digital Media Studies. Students have the option to take a Minor or Double Major in Digital Media Studies and Applied Computing or other major. The Digital Media Studies program is offered through the Department of Mass Communication in collaboration with the Department of Art and Art History and the Department of Computer Science.
48. Dakota State University, Madison, South Dakota
Dakota State University’s (DSU) College of Arts and Sciences is home the school’s Digital Arts & Design (DAD) Program. The DAD Program offers a number of excellent programs for aspiring game designers beginning with the BS in Computer Game Design. This is an interdisciplinary program which includes coursework in Game Design, Software Design, and Digital Arts. The program allows students to focus on specific topics such as Narrative Design, Software Design, Technical Art, and others.
Other offerings include a BS in Digital Arts & Design with Concentrations in Digital Storytelling, Computer Graphics, and Production Animation as well as a Certificate in Information Systems Management with a Concentration in Multimedia or Multimedia Design and Production, and Minors in Production Animation (2D), Production Animation (3D), Art, Digital Editing, and Computer Graphic Design.
Dakota State University was established in 1881 and it specializes in computer technology. The school sits on a 20+-acre campus and it is home to more than 3,100 students enrolled in 100+ programs across 5 colleges.
49. Champlain College, Burlington, Vermont
Founded in 1878, Champlain College is home to more than 2,700 students enrolled in more than 50 on-campus and online programs. The school, which sits on a 22-acre campus overlooking Lake Champlain, houses 4 Academic Divisions including the Robert P. Stiller School of Business, Education & Human Studies, Information Technology & Science, and Communication and Creative Media.
Programs for aspiring game designers are housed within the Communication and Creative Division and the Information Technology & Science Division. Offerings include BS in Game Design, a BS in Game Programming, a BS in Art & Animation, a BFA in Creative Media with Options in Game Media, Interaction Design, Moving Image (Film & Video), Visual Art & Design, and Sonic Arts, and a Management of Creative Media BS with an Option in Game Management, Design Management, Film Management, or Streaming Media Management.
To enhance their education and career opportunities, students may also be interested in the BFA in Film, Creative Media, or Graphic Design & Digital Media. In addition to a variety of programs to choose from, all Champlain design students have access to state-of-the-art production facilities and design studios as well as a Study Abroad program that offers experiences in places such as Montreal, Canada (the world’s 2nd largest game development center and just 90 miles from the Burlington campus); Shanghai, China; Ifrane, Morocco; Auckland, New Zealand; and Buenos Aires, Argentina.
50. Southern Polytechnic State University, Marietta, Georgia
Founded in 1948, Southern Polytechnic State University (SPSU) is a member of the University System of Georgia. Also called “Southern Poly,” SPSU sits on a 203-acre campus just 20 minutes from Downtown Atlanta and it is home to 5,500 students from 36 states and 64 countries. Academic offerings run the gamut from Accounting to Aerospace Engineering to Visual Communication. With more than 100 programs across 5 schools, aspiring game designers will find no shortage of programs to match their goals.
Options for game designers are offered through the School of Computing and Software Engineering-Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering (CSWE) and the School of Arts and Sciences-Department of English, Technical Communications and Media Arts (ETCMA). Offerings include a BS in Computer Game Design and Development, a BA, BS, and MS in Computer Science, a BA in New Media Arts (includes Special Effects, Video, Computer Graphics, 2D & 3D Design, Drawing, and more), and an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Visual Communication. Accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission (ABET), Southern Poly CSWE also offers a challenging Minor in Computer Game Design and Development.
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