Full Sail University - Program Info, Interviews, and Rankings

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 rankings of the top 10 game design and development schools in the South. 

We define the South as Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas. 

For an explanation of our ranking criteria, click here

1. Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia

Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is home to the School of Digital Media, which offers four programs for aspiring game designers. Options include a BA, BFA, MA, and MFA in Interactive Design and Game Development. The BA program is offered at the Savannah, Atlanta, eLearning campuses, while the BFA is offered at the Savannah, Atlanta, and Hong Kong campuses. The MA and MFA ate offered at the Savannah, Hong Kong, and eLearning campuses.

A Minor in Interactive Design and Game Development is also available as well as a Certificate in Interactive Design.

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Our 2016 rankings of the top animation schools in the South. 

We define the South as Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas.

For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.


1. Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida

Established in 1931, Ringling College of Art and Design (RCAD) opened with 111 courses and just 75 students. Today, the school is home to 1,300 students with 94% enrolled full-time, and 6% enrolled part-time. The school offers BA and BFA degree programs in 13 majors. Established in 1990, the Computer Animation program is one of RCAD’s most popular majors. Around 20% of the student population is enrolled in the program, which leads to a BFA. RCAD graduates have landed positions at Pixar Animation Studios, LucasFilm, Warner Bros., MTV, and many others.

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This season, we’ve been taking a closer look at Full Sail University’s offerings in our Interview Series. Readers will recall our interview with program director Pete Bandstra that kicked it off last month. Today, we turn a spotlight on Full Sail’s Game Art bachelor’s degree program spearheaded by Chad Kendall. Prospective students of both game art and animation will want to read this one closely.

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Just outside of Orlando sits Full Sail University, a top entertainment media institute that offers an industry-grade campus, compelling list of working alumni, and drool-worthy assortment of higher ed degree options. Among them, a 3D Arts department that reflects the mission of the university.

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

1. California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California (top 1% of schools considered)

Established in 1961 by Walt and Roy Disney, California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) is the nation's first postsecondary institution to offer graduate and undergraduate degrees in both the visual and performing arts. With a population of 1,489 students enrolled in more than 70 programs at all degree levels, CalArts attracts a large population of aspiring filmmakers and animators. Around 26.9% of the student body is enrolled in the School of Film/Video, which offers BFA degrees in Character Animation and Experimental Animation. An MFA in Experimental Animation is also available.

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Our 2016 list of the Top 50 Private Animation School Programs in the US. 

For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California 

California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) is the nation's first postsecondary institution to offer graduate and undergraduate degrees in both the visual and performing arts. Established in 1961 by Walt and Roy Disney, and with a population of 1,489 students, the school offers more than 70 programs at all degree levels. However, CalArts attracts a large population of aspiring filmmakers and animators. In fact, around 26.9% of the student body is enrolled in the School of Film/Video, which offers BFA degrees in Character Animation and Experimental Animation. An MFA in Experimental Animation is also available. 

Called the “Harvard Business School of Animation” by the Los Angeles Times, CalArts has produced hundreds of successful alumni who have generated more than $26 billion in box office grosses since 1985.

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Our inaugural list of the Top 10 Graphic Design School Programs in the South. For an explanation of our ranking criteria, click here.

1. Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida (Top 1% of schools considered)

Established in 1931 by circus baron, real estate developer, and noted art collector John Ringling, Ringling College of Art and Design opened just 75 students enrolled in 111 courses. Today, the school sits on a 35-acre campus that houses nearly 1,300 students enrolled in BA and BFA degree programs in 11 majors. Programs for aspiring graphic designers include a BFA in Graphic Design, which has been in existence 1980.

In existence since 1980, the graphic design teaches students to “create design solutions in print, motion, and interactive media with projects of all varieties.” Students gain real-world experience through internships with major firms and through “The Collaboratory,” which pairs teams of Ringling students with local businesses. Students also have the opportunity to work at RCADs in-house design firm on projects with external clients and for Ringling College events.

RCAD design graduates have landed positions at Google, Leo Burnett, Microsoft, Trader Joe's, Wieden + Kennedy, LinkedIn, Yahoo, American Greetings, and more.

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Degrees Offered:  A. S. Graphic Design; B. S. Computer Animation, Digital Arts and Design, Game Art, Game Design (online only), Game Development (traditional only), Graphic Design (online only), Web Design and Development; M. F. A. Media Design (online only); M. S. Game Design (traditional only)

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