Did you know? At Academy of Art University, students studying Game Programming develop strong problem-solving skills, learn to write efficient code, and collaborate with artists and designers to provided optimized solutions for game design. Learn more.
|2||Michigan State University||Michigan|
|3||Columbia College Chicago||Illinois|
|4||The Ohio State University||Ohio|
|5||University of Wisconsin – Stout||Wisconsin|
|8||University of Wisconsin – Whitewater||Wisconsin|
|10||Ferris State University||Michigan|
|11||Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis||Indiana|
|12||Case Western Reserve University||Ohio|
|13||College for Creative Studies||Michigan|
|14||Eastern Michigan University||Michigan|
|15||Cleveland Institute of Art||Ohio|
|16||Lawrence Technological University||Michigan|
|17||University of Idaho||Idaho|
|20||Shawnee State University||Ohio|
Our 2019 rankings of the Top 20 game design schools and colleges in the Midwest. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.
1. DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois
DePaul University (est. 1898) offers 300 programs of study across 10 colleges and schools and two campuses in Chicago. The school serves nearly 22,500 students from across the U.S. and about 70 countries. One of the first universities to offer a game development course for smartphones, DePaul offers game design programs at all levels through the College of Computing and Digital Media (CDM).
CDM is organized into three schools including the School of Cinematic Arts (SCA), the School of Computing (SoC), and the School of Design (SoD). Degree options include a BS and a Minor in Game Design and Game Programming, a BS in Computer Science with a Game Systems Concentration, an MS in Game Programming, and an MFA in Game Design. The Minors are jointly offered by CDM SoD and SoC.
DePaul University also offers a Game, Cinema, and Animation Summer Academy and the DePaul Game Experience (DGE). The Summer Academy is a weeklong program that features “hands-on instruction using the latest equipment and technology.” Participants may focus on Computer Game Development, 3D Computer Modeling and Animation for Games and Cinema or Digital Cinema Production.
The DePaul Game Experience (DGE) allows a select group of students to work on a game to submit to the Student IGF Competition. Past DGE teams have made entries that were finalists in the IGDA student competition.
Students in all Game Design programs have access to the Deep Games Laboratory and all CDM labs, including several that intersect with the program specifically, including game development and research, gameplay, virtual reality, and playtest and usability labs. The Deep Games Laboratory is a cross-disciplinary design, research, development, and assessment game lab housed in CDM that focuses on games exploring the human experience.
Recent DePaul Game Program graduates have gone on to work at Disney Interactive Studios, NeatherRealm Studios, Owlchemy Labs, Firaxis, Wargaming, Phosphor Games, Carbine Studios, Scientific Games, and many others. Several grads have gone on to form their own gaming companies, including Young Horses, whose indie hit Octodad was developed at DePaul.
2. Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan
Founded in 1855, Michigan State University (MSU) serves around 50,350 students from 142 countries, every state in the United States and every county in Michigan. MSU students have access to more than 200 programs across 17 degree-granting colleges. The College of Communication Arts and Sciences houses the Media and Information (MI) Department, home of the Game Design and Development Program.
Founded in 2005, the program offers BA and BS degrees in Media and Information with a Game and Interactive Media Design Specialization, a BS in Computer Science with a Game Design and Development Specialization, and a BA or BFA in Studio Art with a Game Design and Development Specialization. The Specialization is also available to other majors “on a case-by-case basis, particularly those in the Honors College.” An interdisciplinary Game Design and Development Minor is also available.
Per the school, “the minor brings together students in Media and Information, Computer Science, and Studio Art. For most majors outside of MI, the Minor often nearly fulfills the student's cognate requirements.” The College of Engineering, College of Arts & Letters, and College of Communication Arts and Sciences administer the Minor jointly. The College of Communication Arts and Sciences is the lead administrative unit.
Graduate game offerings include an MA in Media and Information with a Focus in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) + Serious Game Design & Research Certificate and a PhD in Information and Media. The PhD program offers several research areas including Human-Computer Interaction, Games, and Meaningful Play.
Besides offering a variety of programs for game designers, the College of Communication Arts and Sciences houses the Games for Entertainment and Learning (GEL) Lab. According to the College, the mission of the GEL Lab is to “design innovative prototypes, techniques, and complete games for entertainment and learning and to advance state of the art knowledge about social and individual effects of digital games.”
3. Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Established in 1890, Columbia College serves around 6,825 students from nearly every state and more than 60 countries. The school offers more than 100 academic majors or programs across several schools and more than 20 departments. Schools include the School of Media Arts, the School of Fine and Performing Arts, and the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Programs for aspiring game designers are offered through the Interactive Arts & Media (IAM) Department, which is housed within the School of Media Arts. Options include a BA in Game Art, a BA in Game Design with Concentrations in Game Development and Game Sound Design, and BA and BS degrees in Programming with a Concentration in Game Programming. A BS in Music Technology and Game Art and Game Design Minors are also available.
Game Design students will have the opportunity to create games right away in their first semester and create many more throughout their time at Columbia. The software tools used in class are the same tools students will use as professional game artists. Per the school, the curriculum “mirrors the collaborative environment of the game industry.” Students will work in collaborative teams formed from seniors in Game Art, Game Design, Game Programming, and Game Sound.
The Senior Capstone provides the opportunity to work in small (Indie Game Studio) or large (Large Team Game Studio) groups to develop a game. Students will also have the opportunity to show their work at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, the Chicago Toy and Game Fair, South by Southwest (SXSW), and Industry Night at Columbia College.
Students in all programs have access to The Game Lab. Per the school, “this center for student-led game research includes PC- and console-gaming hardware, including both current generation consoles as well as an archived collection, a high-definition AV system, and a library of several hundred video game titles.”
Graduates of the Game Programs at Columbia College have landed positions at Pixar, Weta Digital, NetherRealm Studios, Raw Thrills, Iron Galaxy, Raven Software, Sony, Incredible Technologies, High Voltage Software, and many others.
4. The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
Established in 1870 as Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College, The Ohio State University (OSU) serves 68,100 students enrolled in over 200 majors, minors and specializations through hundreds of departments, colleges, and schools and campuses. The school’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) offers BS, MS and PhD degrees in Computer Science with a Specialization in Computer Graphics and Game Design. Ohio State also introduced an interdisciplinary BA program in Moving Image Production in Autumn, 2017.
OSU's Department of Art offers a BFA in Art and Technology that allows students to “focus on the creative use, misuse, and investigation of technology in an art-making practice,” says the school. Students in the program will “engage the meaning and material of science and technology through the production of interactive installations, electronic objects and interfaces, moving images, 3D modeling and animation, art games, tactical media, bio-art, performance, digital imaging, rapid prototyping, holography, Internet art, sound, and emerging forms.”
The Department of Design offers an MFA with a Digital Animation and Interactive Media (DAIM) Track. The program requires 60 credit hours of study including core design courses (18 credits), thesis project and writing development (15 credits), and open electives in the themes of studio/lab (12 credits), history/theory/criticism (9 credits), and collaborative/interdisciplinary studio (6 credits). “Students work closely with a three-person thesis committee to develop their thesis topics and the vehicles best used for their development.” Most students complete the program within a period of six semesters.
Course highlights include Digital Image Manipulation, Podcasting, Internet Art, 3D Modeling, Holography I and Holography II, Moving Image Art, New Media Art, Computer Animation, and Video Art I and Video Art II.
Students in all programs utilize state of the art facilities, equipment, and interdisciplinary expertise in the school’s many special labs, including the world class Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD).
5. University of Wisconsin – Stout, Menomonie, Wisconsin
Established in 1891 as The Stout Manual Training School, University of Wisconsin – Stout (UW-Stout) is a Polytechnic University that serves nearly 8,750 students from the U.S. and 47 countries. The school offers 45+ undergraduate majors and 20+ graduate programs through three colleges and six schools. The College of Arts, Communication, Humanities and Social Sciences (CACHSS) houses the School of Art and Design, which serves more than 1,000 students.
Program offerings here include BFAs in Game Design and Development and Entertainment Design, and an MFA in Design.
The school says that the BFA is the first and only BFA in Game Design in Wisconsin, Minnesota, & Iowa. Students in the program gain core skills in art and design such as drawing, 3D modeling, and animation. Program highlights include collaboration with computer science students, courses covering two- and three-dimensional models, animation and visual effects for video games, television, movies, and access to three labs with industry-standard hardware and software, AAA development kits, Intuos Cintiq Displays, HD and 3D projectors, and virtual reality headsets.
The cross-disciplinary MFA program consists of study in the areas of Entertainment Design, Studio Art, Game Design, Interactive Media, Graphic Design, and more. Courses for the program are delivered through a variety of methods including on-site courses, online, evening, weekend and intensive summer courses. Graduates of the program will be prepared to pursue roles in the academic community and as design professionals and leaders.
The College of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Management (CSTEMM), Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science offers a BS in Computer Science with Game Design and Development (GDD) and Mobile Applications (MA) Concentrations, and a Computer Science Minor with nine hours of electives.
A charter member of the Higher Education Video Game Alliance, the Game Design and Development Concentration prepares students to design and develop software programs that use digital imagery and physics to create games, simulations or other applications. The school says, these programs can improve healthcare delivery, transform education, strengthen national security, shape public policy and continue to create social networks.
Graduates of the game programs at UW-Stout have landed positions at companies such as Big John Games, Finn Daniels Architects, Design Ready Controls, Wink Frozen Desserts, Find-It-Faster Online, Len Busch Roses, Pixel Spill Games, and many others.
6. Purdue University – Purdue Polytechnic Institute, West Lafayette, Indiana
Established in 1869, Purdue University serves more than 43,400 students from all 50 states and nearly 130 countries. One of the 10 academic colleges of Purdue University, Purdue Polytechnic Institute was founded in 1964 as Purdue University College of Technology. Around 12% of Purdue’s students are enrolled in the Polytechnic Institute, which houses six academic departments and schools offering 68 academic options in six subject areas. The Department of Computer Graphics Technology (CGT) offers game design programs at all degree levels.
Undergraduate offerings include a BS in CGT with a Game Development and Design Major. The CGT program provides STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and math) and games. Studies include trigonometry, calculus, and physics, as well classes in video game design and development, animation, visualization, rendering and programming. Students will also have the opportunity to complete a unique research project.
Projects open to undergraduate students have focused on the use of games for sustainable energy, therapy and medicine, entertainment, information visualization and more.
Graduate offerings include an MS in CGT and a PhD in Technology offered through the Department of Computer and Information Technology (CIT). The MS offers several focus areas including Game Studies, Virtual and Augmented Reality, Computer Graphics Programming, and Computational Art. The PhD Program offers a CGT Specialization that covers Game Studies, Human Centered Design and Development, Virtual Product Integration, Animation, and Web Programming and Design.
Students may also earn a BS CGT/MS Technology with a Specialization in CGT, which may be completed in just five years instead of six years or more if pursued separately. Graduates of the game design programs at Purdue Polytechnic Institute have gone on to work for EA Games, Riot Games, Volition, Zynga, and many others.
7. Indiana University, Bloomington, Bloomington, Indiana
Indiana University Bloomington (IU Bloomington) was founded in 1820 as “State Seminary.” The Seminary became Indiana College in 1828 and Indiana University in 1838. Today, Indiana University is the largest and oldest Indiana University campus, serving nearly 42,950 students (of the systems 91,515 students) enrolled in 577,209 credit hours. The school has more than 550 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 a Specialization in Game Art, Game Audio, or Game Production; a BA in Media with a Concentration in Interactive and Digital Media: Specialization Game Art, Game Audio, or Game Production, or an MS with a Concentration in Design and Production. A Certificate in New Media and Interactive Storytelling is also available.
All game students will study all aspects of programming, art, sound, design and project management. Courses are a mix of hands-on production classes and seminars in theoretical foundations. Game theory and system strategies is highlighted as well as the production and publication of a finished game developed as part of a team. This original game will be produced through three workshops taken three semesters: Prototype, Demo, and Publish.
All students will also have the opportunity to select 15 elective credits to further refine their career path. In addition, BS students may take Human Computer Interaction courses in the School of Informatics and Computing and study abroad courses such as Game Development: Programming and Practice, Rhetoric of Gaming, and Game Development Lab in Copenhagen, Denmark.
8. University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, Whitewater, Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (UW-W) was founded in 1868. The school serves around 11,300 students enrolled in more than 50 undergraduate majors and 119 minors, many areas of emphasis, and dozens of graduate programs through five colleges and schools. The College of Arts and Communication is home to the Department of Art and Design. Program offerings here include BA and BS degrees in Gaming Technology and Communication/Gaming, and a BA in Media Arts.
Per the school, Gaming Technology students “will develop the programming skills and software development expertise required for cross-platform real-time interactive graphics and game development. Students focus on building a solid base of programming skills necessary to take on real-world challenges related to developing games, mobile apps, websites and more.” Course highlights for the program include C++ Sequence, Artificial Intelligence, Game Engine/Modding, and Graphics Programming. An Internship, Special Topics and Independent Study are also part of the program as well as a required Team Project.
Communication/Gaming course highlights include Video Production, Sound and Image, Game Development, Social Media Optimization, and Advanced Audio Techniques. Students in the program will “focus on the role of games in developing culture and communicating messages, intersections and interactions between audio and video, and approaches for the optimization of social media.” Practicum courses provide “real-world opportunities for students to hone their skills in a variety of areas, including web video production, motion graphics, composition/scoring, advanced web development and marketing.”
Media Arts (formerly Visual Media Design) “develops aesthetic sensibility and artistic design skills important in the production of original, creative, digital media content for interactive and time-based computer games, animation, websites, video, special effects, the 3D and motion graphic industry, and artistic productions.”
Course highlights include Graphic Media Imaging as a Web/Interactive Media, Raster/Vector & 3-D Modeling, Graphics and Animation, and Digital Video/Motion Graphics. Students in the Media Arts program may also choose additional elective courses from the Gaming Technology or Communication/Gaming programs.
Two team-based projects courses provide a capstone for the degree programs. In addition, all students may participate in the MAGD Expo—a juried show of interactive entertainment, 3D, 2D, aural, virtual and animated creative work held annually at the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater.
9. Miami University, Oxford, Ohio
Miami University was founded in 1809. The school serves around 24,500 students across one main campus (Oxford, Ohio), three regional campuses in Hamilton, Middletown, and West Chester, Ohio, and the European Center in Luxembourg. Miami offers bachelor's degrees in over 120 areas of study and graduate students choose from more than 60 master's and doctoral degree programs. Several associate's degrees as well as bachelor's degrees are offered through study at the regional locations.
The school consists of seven colleges, including the College of Creative Arts, which houses the Armstrong Institute for Interactive Media Studies (AIMS). Per the school, 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 for aspiring game designers include a BS in Games + Simulation, a BA in Interactive Media Studies (IMS), and a Game Minor.
The BS in Games + Simulation offers three concentrations: Game Art, Game Development, and Game Studies. The program “provides students with an interdisciplinary plan of study covering all aspects of creating and interpreting games. With a focus on making and praxis, the BS in Games + Simulation prepares students for a career or graduate study in game design, development, 3D modeling, creative development, writing or designing, esports, and games in other industries, all while encouraging students to take creative risks, to build things, and to think critically about audiences, narratives, and aesthetics.”
The interdisciplinary BA in IMS “sits at the intersection of Design, Technology, and Business.” The program “exposes students to each of these three foundational areas, which provide a foundation for students to customize an advanced concentration, to focus their experience on a particular area of interactive media.”
The program requires 124 credit hours of study to graduate, including 64 in the IMS major. Course highlights for game designers include Game Programming, Game Studies, Game Development, Game Usability & Human Factors, The Business of Games, Research Methods in Games, Game Engine Scripting, Indie Game Development, and Game Prototyping, Pipeline, & Production. Students will also complete a Senior Degree Project and an internship.
The internship component of both programs allow students to gain hands-on experience at a local game design studio or other company. Miami University’s location offers access to a number of studios such as Wraith Games, SGM Games, Max Gaming Technologies, Green Door Games, and many others.
10. Ferris State University, Big Rapids, Michigan
Ferris State University was founded in 1884 as Big Rapids Industrial School. The school began its 2017-2018 academic year with a total enrollment of 13,798 students across all campuses, including 9,860 on the main campus in Big Rapids. Ferris offers more than 190 educational programs through the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Education and Human Services, Engineering Technology, Health Professions, Pharmacy, Kendall College of Art and Design (KCAD), and Michigan College of Optometry.
Programs for aspiring game designers are offered through both the School of Digital Media in the College of Education and Human Services and Kendall College of Art and Design. School of Digital Media programs include a BS in Digital Media Software Engineering (DMSE) and a BAS in Digital Animation and Game Design (DAGD). A Digital Media AS is also available. Per the school, the BS in DMSE is designed as an engineering degree focused on the technologies, procedures, and methodologies involved in the software development process. The program offers students the opportunity to actively compete in many growing industries such as Video Game Development, Information Technology, and Entertainment.
Students in the BAS DAGD program will learn how to create and manipulate 2D textures and images, model, rig, light, animate and render 3D characters and scenes, build content in industry leading game engines, author interactive applications and games, and design and create 3D game level mods. In addition to game design and asset creation, the program prepares students to pursue careers in medical visualization, legal simulation, film, and more.
The AS program combines existing courses within the DAGD, DMSE, and Television and Digital Media Production (TDMP) programs into an introductory and exploratory degree within the School. It allows students to complete their general education requirements while enrolling in courses from across the digital media curriculum.
Founded in 1928 and located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Kendall College of Art and Design serves more than 1,000 students enrolled in around 24 BFA, BS, MA, MFA, and Certificate programs. KCAD offers a BFA in Digital Art and Design. The program allows students to work in one of two focus areas including Entertainment Art (animation, digital 3D, visual development for games and animation, and sequential arts like comics and storyboards) and Multimedia Design (interaction design for the web, apps, virtual reality, the internet of things, and video and motion design animation).
Students in the program will gain knowledge and hands-on experience via high-end equipment and on-campus facilities such as Cintiq Studios and a wide range of cameras, microphones, and lighting equipment, and via access to The Dow Center FlexLab, and KCAD Library. Graduates will leave the program with the skills and experience needed to pursue career paths in areas such as 2D animation, 3D game art, visual development, interaction design, and motion design.
11. Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, Indiana
Established in 1969, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) serves 28,710 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). Degree 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. A Game Design and Development Minor is also available.
Per the school, 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.
12. Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio
Established in 1826, Case Western Reserve University (Case) serves more than 11,800 students from the U.S. and 81 other countries. The university consists of nine colleges and schools that offer nearly 95 undergraduate degree choices, about 135 graduate and professional options, and almost 140 dual-degree programs. In addition, Case has 100 interdisciplinary academic and research centers and institutes.
The school houses the Case School of Engineering, which has a number of degree options for aspiring game designers. Offerings are part of the Computer Science Program and include BA, BS, BA/MS, and BS/MS degrees in Computer Science. The programs require five technical electives, so there are opportunities to take a variety of game courses. Course highlights include Introduction to Computer Game Design and Implementation, Programming in Java, and Software Engineering. An Advanced Game Development project is part of the program and students can also add a Minor in Computer Gaming or Artificial Intelligence.
13. College for Creative Studies, Detroit, Michigan
Founded in 1906, the College for Creative Studies serves more than 1,400 students enrolled in over a dozen degree programs across 14 academic departments. Serving 285 students, Entertainment Arts is the school’s largest department. The Department offers a BFA in Entertainment Arts with a Focus in Games, Animation, Concept Design or Digital Film.
Games teaches students how to produce 2-D and 3-D images and concepts for video games. As a complement to the program, students may choose coursework from other areas or a Minor in Animation & Digital Media, Illustration, Fine Arts, or Visual Culture. All BFA students will take 126 credit hours including 84 in studio areas and 42 in general studies courses.
The school says that in addition to coursework in their chosen major, first-year students take courses in the Foundation Department, where they study drawing, color theory and basic design. Students in all majors also take courses in the Liberal Arts Department, which the school says is designed to provide them with an understanding of the larger social and cultural context in which they live.
Graduates of the program are prepared to seek positions such as Character Artist, Environment and Vehicle Designer, Technical and VFX Artist, Creative Director, and AR/VR Developer.
14. Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan
Founded in 1849, Eastern Michigan University (EMU) offers more than 200 undergraduate majors, minors and certificates, plus more than 150 graduate programs to nearly 18,850 students. CMU has seven colleges and schools, as well as seven centers and institutes. The School of Visual & Built Environments is part of the College of Technology. Here students can earn a BS with a Focus in Simulation, Animation, and Gaming (SAG) or they can take a 21 credit hour Minor in SAG.
The school says the SAG degree is a multidisciplinary area of study, combining traditional art mediums, programming, creative writing and story development with coursework focusing on modeling, rigging, animation, lighting, and camera work in 3D. The program gives students a wide variety of experiences in their course of study, which includes courses such as Game Development and Planning, Game Engines, Advanced Modeling, SAG Rigging, and Environment Design, to name a few. Graduates of the program go on to become Game Designers, Character Designer, Effects Artists, Modeler and Storyboard Assistants, Graphic Designers, Computer Animators, Concept Artists, and more.
Graduates of the program are prepared to seek careers such as Graphic Designer, Computer Animator, Concept Artist, Character Designer, Effects Artists, Modeler and Storyboard Assistant.
Head over to the College of Arts and Sciences' School of Communication, Media & Theater Arts where you will find a BA in Entertainment Design and Technology. The multidisciplinary program allows students to choose a Minor in SAG or other area and up to nine elective hours. Sample electives include Texturing and Mapping, Environment Design, Story Development, Graphics for Simulation, and Introduction to Simulation, Animation and Gaming.
Other program highlights include a hands-on work environment and collaboration with faculty and other students, an internship, and connections with corporate affiliates who regularly provide support for productions and offer employment opportunities for students.
15. Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, Ohio
Established in 1882, Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) is an independent college of art and design that serves 670 students from around the globe. The school offers 15 majors in Art, Craft, Design, and Interactive Media. Per the school, programs for aspiring game designers include a BFA in Game Design that focuses on collaboration and “mentoring by accomplished experts in digital media and game design, who will help students build connections and network with other professionals in the field.”
Game students at CIA work with “innovative production processes” including game production, 3D modeling, animation, programming, visual design, interactive storytelling, and audio, as well as theory, criticism, and context of video game culture and digital media. “While creating interesting and usable content, students build character development skills through coursework that analyzes and synthesizes physical, cognitive, cultural, and political aspects of human interaction.”
Course highlights include Game Production I-IV, Serious Game Design: Theory + Applications, Special VFX/Simulation + Virtual Reality, Game Testing + Level Design, and 3D Texture, Mapping, Digital Lighting. Students will also complete the BFA Research + Preparation course, the BFA Thesis + Exhibition, and the Game Design Internship course worth three elective credits upon approval by the Department Chair.
Graduates of the CIA Game Design Program are prepared to seek positions such as Game Designer, Storyboard Artist, Animator, Layout Artist, Visual Effects Supervisor, and many others.
16. Lawrence Technological University, Southfield, Michigan
Founded in 1932, Lawrence Technological University (LTU) serves approximately 4,500 students representing 25 states and 50 countries. The school, which also has learning centers in southeastern and northern Michigan, Canada, China, Germany, India, Mexico, and Taiwan, offers nearly 100 associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs in the Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management.
Programs for aspiring game designers are offered through the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Architecture and Design (CoAD). Options include a BS in Computer Science with a Concentration in Game Software Development, a BFA in Game Art, and Minors in Game Design or Game Art. A unique Minor in Game Design with a Dual Major in Computer Science & Other Major is also available.
Per the College of Arts and Sciences, “in hands-on interactive studios,” BS students “explore animation, interactive computer graphics, two- and three-dimensional representation and transformation, modeling, game genres, and graphics programming.” Students will also create their own completely envisioned computer games. The Minor in Game Design highlights courses such as Intro to Games & Animation and Game Genre Development.
Delivered through the College of Architecture and Design, the BFA is a project-focused, multidisciplinary program that highlights courses such as 3D Animation, Integrated Game Studio, Game Mechanics, Scripting for Game Design, Computer Games and Animation, New Media, Electronic Methods for Imaging, and Life Drawing.
The CoAD Minor in Game Art allows current students to pursue expertise secondary to their major and to receive recognition for completing the study. Students will take courses such as Integrated Game Studio, 2D and 3D Animation, and Basic Design.
17. University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho serves around 11,840 students enrolled in 93 undergraduate majors 62 graduate majors. Programs are offered through 10 colleges across the Boise, Coeur d'Alene, Moscow, and Idaho Falls campuses. The College of Art and Architecture offers a BS in Virtual Technology and Design that may be completed at the Moscow campus or online.
Per the school, “as a student in this industry-driven program, you will learn to create virtual technologies for gaming, animated films, simulations, business and education, and other applications.” Students will study art and design, computer science, 3D modeling, animation, world building, storytelling, character design, spatial design, four-dimensional design, and more.
“Design studios and hands-on projects provide opportunities to practice building virtual worlds for real clients.” For example, students in the program could help build second-life environments for education and health care, liquid scenery for student plays, interactive virtual realities for first-responder training, and animated films for a university festival.” Other program highlights include internship and study abroad opportunities.
Graduates of the Virtual Technology and Design Program at University of Idaho are prepared to seek positions such as Game Designer, World Builder (entertainment, non-entertainment, education, simulation), Animator, Game Level Designer, and Visualization Specialist.
18. Drury University, Springfield, Missouri
Founded in 1873, Drury University serves around 3,360 students from the U.S. and 57 other countries. The school offers more than 70 majors and programs, 39 minors, and five graduate programs through a number of colleges, schools, and departments. Programs for aspiring game designers is offered through the School of Natural & Mathematical Sciences, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. Options include a BS in Computer Science: Game Development and a Minor in Computer Science.
Per the school, “the program requires a core of computer science courses (23 hours) covering essential elements of the Computer Science Body of Knowledge that all computer science graduates must master. In addition to the core computer science courses, 15 additional hours of computer science coursework in game development is required. An additional 12 hours of supporting coursework from media arts courses is required, along with 11 hours of mathematics.”
Course highlights for the program include AI for Game Development, 3D Game Development, Game Development Practice, Computer Animation, Particles & Dynamics, Multimedia Storytelling, and Web and Mobile Application Development.
Other program highlights include access to Drury University’s “robust study abroad program” at the school’s satellite campus on the Greek island of Aegina” and “partnerships with educational institutions across the world.”
The BS in Computer Science: Game Development program prepares graduates for careers in Game Development and/or graduate work in a related Computer Science or related Digital Media field.
19. Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois
Founded in 1897, Bradley University serves 5,400 students from across the U.S. and 33 countries. Students are enrolled in more than 185 undergraduate programs and 30-plus graduate programs across eight colleges and schools. Slane College of Communications & Fine Arts is home to the Department of Interactive Media, which offers several programs for aspiring game designers. Options include a Game Design or Interactive Media Major leading to a BS or BA, a BFA in Animation & Game Design, and Game Design, Game Production, and Interactive Media Minors.
Course highlights for the programs include Introduction to Scripting Languages, Field Research in Virtual Environments, Game Art, Introduction to the Game Industry, Game Design, Game Production, 3D Animation, Quality Assurance for Games, Critical Game Studies, Game Engine Programming, Computer Game Design, and Advanced Interactive Media Authoring. Depending on the program, students will also complete a practicum, thesis, or capstone. Independent study is also offered.
Other program highlights include guest speakers, internship opportunities, and access to the Interactive Media, Animation Research, and Game Design Research Labs. Students also have access to the InterMedia Center and they have the opportunity to present a project at the department’s year-end show, FUSE.
20. Shawnee State University, Portsmouth, Ohio
Established in 1986, Shawnee State University (SSU) serves 3,800 students enrolled in 80 bachelor’s and associate degree programs as well as several master’s degree programs. The school houses the Fine, Digital and Performing Arts Department, which offers several for aspiring game designers. Options include a BFA in Game & Simulation, a BS in Digital Simulation and Gaming Engineering Technology, and Minors in Digital Simulation and Gaming Engineering Technology.
Per the school, the BFA program focuses on 3D animation, character design, and interface design. “The curriculum enhances the classroom theory behind video game design with two unique value-added resources: a state-of-the-art Motion Capture Studio Lab and the Annual Art & Technology Game Conference.” Students will also “acquire practical experience through participation in a joint senior project in the Game Engineering program,” which the school says will build up their skills in animation, art asset development, game design, and motion capture.
To enhance the degree, students will have the opportunity to choose a Minor in Gaming Arts, Sound Design, Studio Arts, or Art History. Upon completion of the 122 credit hour BFA, graduates will be prepared to seek positions in all areas of game development and design, simulation, and more.
The BS curriculum focuses on computer science, programming, and graphics programming, supplemented by courses in art, design, math and physics. “The degree curriculum also works closely with Shawnee State’s Gaming & Simulation Arts program,” providing the “knowledge and tools for transforming ideas, art, sound, animation and music into actual working games and simulations.”
Students in the BS program also have access to the Motion Capture Studio Lab and the opportunity to 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.