Our 2015 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 (SCAD), Savannah, Georgia
Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is home to more than 11,000 students enrolled in more than 40 majors and 60+ minors. Founded in 1978, SCAD has campuses in Savannah, Atlanta, and Hong Kong. The School of Digital Media at SCAD offers several programs for aspiring game designers. Offerings include BA, BFA, MA, and MFA degrees in Interactive Design and Game Development and a Certificate in Interactive Design. A Minor in Interactive Design and Game Development is also on the menu.
2. Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida
Ringling College of Art and Design (RCAD) was founded in 1931 by John Ringling. The school opened with just 75 students. Today, RCAD is home to nearly 1,300 students enrolled in 14 majors and three minors. The school offers one program for aspiring game designers and several related programs for students interested in enhancing their degree. Offerings include a BFA in Game Art & Design and BFA degrees in Computer Animation, Illustration, and Motion Design. A BA and a Minor in the Business of Art & Design are also on the menu.
3. Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia
Founded in 1885, Georgia Institute of Technology (GeorgiaTech) is home to more than 21,500 students enrolled in more than 80 degree programs through six colleges and more than 25 schools. The College of Computing is home to Games@GT. According to the College, this “institute-wide initiative” is “designed to advance the game community through interdisciplinary research, funding opportunities, tech transfer and expansion of industry collaborations.” In addition to the initiative, the College of Computing offers several programs for aspiring game designers.
Options include a BS in Computational Media (BSCM) with a Game Studies Focus (also supported by the School of Literature Communication and Culture within the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts), MS degrees in Digital Media and Digital Media – HCI, and a PhD in Digital Media. All College of Computing students will have access to resources offered by the GVU Center at Georgia Tech and the Institute for People and Technology.
4. University of Central Florida + Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA), Orlando, Florida
The University of Central Florida (UCF) was founded in 1963. It is home to 61,000 students enrolled in 210 degree programs through 12 colleges. Programs for aspiring game designers are offered through Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA) and The School of Visual Arts & Design (SVAD).
The School of Visual Arts & Design is part of the College of Arts & Humanities. Program offerings include a BA in Digital Media with a Specialization in Game Design, an MFA in Emerging Media with a Track in Digital Media, and an MA in Digital Media - Visual Language and Interactive Media.
Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy is UCF’s graduate video game design school. The Academy opened its doors to “a select group of future game developers and creators” in August of 2005. Today, FIEA is home to around 65 Students enrolled in the MS in Interactive Entertainment program with three Tracks. Track options include Art, Production and Programming. During semesters two and three of the program, all students will work on a “final, large-scale game with fellow producers, programmers and artists.”
5. Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Full Sail University was established in 1979. It is home to than 16,000 students from 50 states and 73 countries. The school awards Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Associate degrees as well as Graduate Certificates in the areas of Entertainment, Media and Arts. 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.
6. North Carolina State University Raleigh, North Carolina
Established in 1887, North Carolina State University (NC State) is home to 33,989 students enrolled in more than 300 degree programs through 12 colleges. 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.
7. The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School (The DAVE School), Orlando, Florida
The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School (The DAVE School) is a 35,000 square foot facility located on the backlot of Universal Studios Florida. The school offers a Diploma in Game Production. This intensive, 15-month program covers Modeling & Sculpting, Game Production, Game Engine Fundamentals, Game Asset Production, and Animation Fundamentals.
8. Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina
Established in 1889, Clemson University is home to 20,768 students enrolled in more than 190 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.
9. Southern Polytechnic State University, Marietta, Georgia
Southern Polytechnic State University (SPSU) was founded in 1948. It is home to 5,500 students enrolled in more than 100 programs through five schools. The School of Computing and Software Engineering (Computing and Software Engineering Department – CSWE) offers several programs for aspiring game designers. Offerings include a BS and a Minor in Computer Game Design and Development. A Professional Certificate in Computer Programming is also on the menu for students looking to enhance their degree.
Southern Polytechnic State University has another offering for aspiring game designers. The school hosts the Center for Applied Gaming and Media Arts (CAGMA). According to the CAGMA website, the Center “provides a venue in which undergraduate and graduate game and media projects can develop into commercially viable products.”
10. Southern Arkansas University, Magnolia, Arkansas
Southern Arkansas University was established in 1909. It is home to 3,400 students with access to 60 degree programs offered through the Colleges of Business, Education, Liberal & Performing Arts, Science & Engineering, the Honors College, and the School of Graduate Studies. The College of Science & Engineering and the College of Liberal & Performing Arts offer several programs for aspiring game designers. Offerings include a BS in Computer Science with an Option in Computer Game and Animation Design (CSE – Department of Mathematics & Computer Science) and a BFA in Art & Design – Game, Animation and Simulation Design (LPA - Department of Art & Design).