What are the top game design schools in the Midwest for 2022?
|Michigan State University
|The Ohio State University
|Columbia College Chicago
|University of Wisconsin – Stout
|Ferris State University
|Cleveland Institute of Art
|Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis
|College for Creative Studies
|Columbus College of Art & Design
|University of Wisconsin – Whitewater
|Eastern Michigan University
|Kent State University
|Case Western Reserve University
|Dakota State University
|Wichita State University
Our 2022 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
The Game Design Program at DePaul University (DePaul) provides a number of options that allow students to study game design at all levels. Undergraduate pathways include BS degrees in Game Design, Game Programming, and Computer Science with a Game Systems Concentration. Graduate programs include an MFA in Game Design and an MS in Game Programming. The Game Design Program is housed in DePaul’s College of Computing and Digital Media (CDM).
Game Design at DePaul University emphasizes collaboration and interdisciplinary learning. Design students will have opportunities to work with fine art, audio, programming, and writing students. The curriculum includes coursework that helps students navigate the game production process from inception to the testing phase. Course examples include Game Development, Practical Scripting for Games, Animation, Game Sound Design, and 3-D Design and Modeling.
Students in all programs have access to the Virtual and Augmented Design Lab, game studio known as DePaul Originals, and CDM facilities such as gameplay, playtest and usability, and game development and research labs. Other program benefits include participation in a variety of exhibitions, internship opportunities at local and national studios, and the biennial Japan Study Abroad Program. Students will leave the DePaul Game Design Program with a portfolio of their best work.
Some of the top careers for DePaul Game Design graduates include game development, software engineering, computer graphics, animation, commercial production, and project management. Program alumni have been hired at companies and studios such as Epic Games, Leo Burnett, iiRcade, Fast Radius, Speegs Media, and TCS.
DePaul University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). The school serves 21,670 students, making it the largest Catholic university in the U.S. Founded in 1898, DePaul University offers more than 300 programs across two campuses and 10 academic colleges.
2. Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan
Michigan State University (MSU) houses the College of Communication Arts and Sciences (ComArtSci) and the College of Engineering. Both offer pathways to study game design.
Serving more than 3,500 students, the College of ComArtSci houses the Department of Media and Information (MI)—home to the Game Design Program. Established in 2005, the program offers a BA in Games and Interactive Media, and an 18 credit hour Minor in Game Design and Development that can be added to the BA program or any other major at MSU. An MA in MI with a Games Studies and Design Focus is also available.
The BA program is project-based and explores topics such as the game design process, emerging interactive media, and production. Focus areas include Game Design, Games Graphics and Animation, and Game Development.
Sample courses for the program include Compositing and Special Effects, Building Virtual Worlds, Serious Game Design, Game Writing, and Media Sketching and Graphics. Students will leave the BA program with a professional portfolio of projects.
The Michigan State University MA in MI with Games Studies includes courses such as Game and Film Design Studio I-II, Interaction Design, Foundations of Serious Games, Interactive Usability and Accessibility: Design and Evaluation, and Theories of Games and Interaction Design. To graduate, MA in MI students must complete Master’s Thesis Research (4-6 credits) and the Master’s Project (4-6 credits). Graduates of the MA in MI Program are prepared for careers in 3D game design, UI/UX, and 3D technology, among others.
Michigan State University Games and MI alumni work for major studios such as Rockstar Games, Activision Blizzard and Blizzard Entertainment, Bungie, Insomniac Games, Electronic Arts (EA), and Ubisoft, among others.
The College of Engineering at MSU houses the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, which offers BS, MS, and PhD degrees in Computer Science. All programs offer a Specialization in Media and Information Studies with the option to take games-related courses offered in other departments. Students in all programs will also take courses in Systems Design and Analysis, Data Analysis and Applications, and Theory and Algorithms.
Michigan State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). Founded in 1855, the school began as the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan. Today, MSU is a land-grant research university that serves 49,695 students enrolled in more than 200 programs in 17 colleges and schools.
3. The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
The College of Engineering and the College of Arts and Sciences at The Ohio State University (OSU) offer several programs that provide opportunities to study games.
In the OSU College of Engineering, options include BS, MS and PhD degrees in Computer Science (CS). A Computer Graphics and Game Design Concentration is available. In the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Art has BA and BFA Programs in Art with a Specialization in Art & Technology. The specialization explores art games, moving images, 3D modeling and animation, sound, emerging forms, and more.
Also housed in the College of Arts and Sciences is the Department of Design, which offers a Digital Animation and Interactive Media (DAIM) Track within the MFA Program. The Track requires 12 studio elective credits and six credits of interdisciplinary electives, allowing plenty of opportunities to create a focus in games. A Design Research and Development (DRD) Track, also within OSU’s Department of Design MFA Program, is a collaborative, interdisciplinary program that encourages study across departments, research areas, and themes. Open electives provide additional opportunities to explore games.
Examples of possible elective courses across programs and departments include Computer Game Art and Design, Video Games and Society, Computational Thinking in Context: Game Development or Images, Animation, and Games Virtual Modeling, Game Design I-II, Video Game Music, Esports and Game Studies, Philosophy and Videogames, Computer Vision for Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Art and Technology, Screenwriting, and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Graduates of The Ohio State University Art, Design, and CS Programs are prepared to pursue positions in everything from art and entertainment to technology and engineering. Possible job titles include Game Designer, Software Programmer, Virtual Reality Designer, Design Strategist, CG Specialist, Motion Graphic Designer, Interaction Designer, User Interface/User Experience Designer (UI/UX), and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Designer, among others.
The Ohio State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). Established in 1870 as Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College, the school serves more than 61,000 students enrolled 200+ majors, minors, and specializations in 18 colleges and schools.
4. Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
Purdue University houses Purdue Polytechnic Institute, home to the Department of Computer Graphics Technology (CGT) and the Game Design Program. Degree options include a BS in CGT with a Game Development and Design Major, an MS in CGT, and a PhD in Technology.
The CGT BS highlights immersive, collaborative projects with peers and professors, a STEM-based curriculum, and coursework that covers game design, programming, rendering, animation, and visualization. Past final projects have focused on games utilization in entertainment, for sustainable energy, medicine, and therapy, and for information visualization, to name a few. CGT BS graduates are game designers, technical artists, and animators. They work at Electronic Arts (EA), Volition, Inc., Zynga, and Riot Games, among others.
The Purdue Polytechnic MS in CGT has four specialization areas: Games, Animation, Information Visualization, and UX Design. Graduate students may also customize a plan of study to meet their professional goals. The program offers small class sizes, research opportunities, the chance to work on real-world projects. Graduates are game developers, UX designers, and technical directors, at places such as DreamWorks, Google, Deloitte, and Salesforce.
The PhD in Technology Program allows a minimum of 30 credit hours to be taken in a custom specialization, and 27 credit hours from any Purdue college or school other than Purdue Polytechnic. Courses may come from art and design, computer science, engineering, instructional technology, quality, and other areas. PhD students must complete a Thesis to graduate. Program alumni are educators, researchers, entrepreneurs, artists, and designers.
Purdue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). Established in 1869, the school serves nearly 50,000 students, enrolled in more than 400 programs in 10 colleges and schools—including Purdue Polytechnic Institute. Founded in 1964 as Purdue University’s School of Technology, the Institute serves around 6,000 enrolled in dozens of technology-centered programs across seven departments and schools.
5. Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
The School of Media Arts at Columbia College Chicago (CCC) houses the Interactive Arts & Media (IAM) Department, which provides cross-disciplinary training in game development, animation, virtual reality (VR), programming, visual effects, user experience design, and app development. Students in all programs will work with traditional and emerging technologies to create games, animations, and immersive experiences.
IAM facilities include The Game Lab, Motion Capture Studio, Equipment Cave (assets: game consoles, equipment, digital cameras, and more), Sound Studio, Open Lab, and Animation Production Spaces.
Columbia College Chicago, School of Media Art IAM programs include BA degrees in Game Art and Game Design with Concentrations in Game Development and Game Sound Design, BA/BS degrees in Programming/Concentration Game Programming or Application Programming, and Minors in Game Art and Game Design.
Students in all programs will start developing games on the first day of class. The Games Studio Capstone provides opportunities for students to work in teams in an environment that mirrors a small, independent studio or a large studio. Final games are eligible to be presented at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, CA, South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, TX, Industry Night at Columbia College Chicago, and the Chicago Toy and Game Fair.
CCC School of Media Arts, IAM graduates are game designers, sound effects designers, quality assurance testers, game programmers and coders, simulation designers, and serious game designers. Program alumni have established careers at companies and studios such as Pixar, Sony, Weta Digital, Bungie, NetherRealm Studios, Iron Galaxy, Jellyvision, High Voltage Software, Incredible Technologies, John Deere, and Walmart.
Columbia College Chicago is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission () of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). Founded in 1890, Columbia, is a private, non-profit college that serves 7,000 students enrolled in more than 150 majors, minors, and graduate programs. Academic pathways at Columbia College Chicago are offered in the creative and media arts, liberal arts, and business.
6. Indiana University, Bloomington, Bloomington, Indiana
The Game Design Programs at Indiana University Bloomington (IU Bloomington) are offered in the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering and The Media School, housed within the College of Arts and Sciences. In the Luddy School, students can earn a BS in Computer Science (CSCIBS) with a Game Development Specialization. The school also offers a distinctive Minor in Animal-Computer Interaction, which includes course options such as Game Development, Game Programming, and Game Art and Sound. A BA in CS is also conferred from IU's College of Arts and Sciences.
The Media School at IU Bloomington is a multidisciplinary division that appeals to students seeking careers in game programming, animation, sound production, music composition, or graphic design for multimedia. The school allows students to select elective courses from the Luddy School, Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture and Design, and the Jacobs School of Music. The Media School offers a BS and a Minor in Game Design, a BA in Media, and a Certificate in New Media and Interactive Storytelling.
BA students may pursue a specialization such as Game Production, Game Audio, or Game Art. Elective areas are available for BS students who would like to form an area of expertise. Areas include Art, Games and Mind, Game Design Theory, Programming, Sound, Management, and Advertising and Public Relations.
During the last two years of study, game design students will work their way through the Game Workshop Sequence, which includes three workshops: Prototype, Demo, and Publish. Modeled after game studios, the sequence ends with an industry-ready published game.
Students in all degree programs, minors, and specializations have access to GameDev@IU. This student-run organization provides hands-on experience for student game designers. Highlights include the opportunity to collaborate on game design projects, workshops, and participation in game jams. Game design students can also gain valuable hands-on experience through the Indiana University Bloomington Internship Program. Students have interned everywhere from Google to General Motors.
Graduates of the Game Design and Media Programs at IU Bloomington are prepared to pursue positions such as game designer, game artist, world designer, game developer, creative director, software developer, and animator, among others. Potential employer’s include Electronic Arts (EA), Blizzard, Zynga, and Ubisoft.
Indiana University Bloomington is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Established in 1820, IU Bloomington is the flagship campus of India University’s seven campus system. The school serves more than 43,000 students enrolled in more than 550 academic programs across 16 degree-granting colleges and schools.
7. Miami University, Oxford, Ohio
The College of Creative Arts at Miami University (Miami Oh or Miami) houses the College of Creative Arts, home to the Department of Emerging Technology in Business + Design (ETBD)—formerly AIMS. Program options for game designers include a BA in Interactive Media Studies (IMS), and a BS and a Minor in Games + Simulation. Focus areas for the BS include Game Studies, Game Art, and Game Development.
The BA in IMS is a collaborative, interdisciplinary program that explores game design and development, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), user experience design (UX), and web app and development. Students may choose the between the Digital and Applied Concentrations. Both options require 64 credit hours in the IMS Major. Course examples include Introduction to Game Studies, Game Design, and Game Programming, Software Engineering for User Interface and User Experience Design, Advanced Interaction Design and Development, Highwire Brand Studio, Software Construction, and Art and Digital Tools.
IMS BA students will also complete three Collaborative Laboratory courses, the Interactive Media Studies Practicum, and the Senior Degree Project.
The Minor in Games + Simulation consists of 19 total credit hours, with collaborative courses between ETBD and the Computer Science and Art Departments. Electives within the program allow students to focus in a specific area such as Indie Game Development, Games and Learning, or Game programming.
Concentrations for the BS in Games + Simulation require 21 credit hours of study. The major consists of 76 credit hours. Course examples include Design Thinking & Principles, Game Studies, Game Usability & Human Factors, Advanced Game Design, Game Engine Scripting, and 3D Design. The program ends with the 12 credit-hour Capstone Studio, consisting of Game Pipeline and Production (three credits), Game Pre-production (three credits) and Game Production (six credit hours). In the Studio, game designers will produce an industry-ready game.
To gain valuable work experience in the industry, all students at Miami University may complete an internship at a local or national company. More than 20 local options are available for ETBD students. Examples include Wraith Games, Max Gaming Technologies, Funky Visions, Ganbaru Games, Multivarious Games, Green Door Games, and SGM Games.
Program graduates have continued on to graduate study or careers in game art, design or development, 3D modeling, writing for games, multimedia design, AR/VR, and UI/UX, among others.
Miami University Ohio is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). Established in 1809, Miami Oh is an original Public Ivy that serves more than 23,000 students across campuses in Oxford (main), Hamilton, Middletown and West Chester, Ohio, and Luxembourg (Western Europe). The main campus offers bachelor’s degrees in more than 120 areas of study and over 70 master’s and doctoral degree programs. Regional campuses also offer associate degree programs.
8. University of Wisconsin – Stout, Menomonie, Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin – Stout (UW-Stout) has several programs for game designers. The College of Arts, Communication, and Social Sciences (CACHSS) houses the School of Art and Design. Serving more than 1,000 students led by 60+ faculty members, the CACHSS School of Art and Design is the largest school of its kind in the entire upper Midwest. The school is also home to the Design Department and the BFA in Game Design and Development (GDD), and a cross-disciplinary MFA in Design.
The MFA that allows students to create their own focus area. Examples include Game Design, Animation and Digital Media, Interactive Media & UX, and Digital Cinema, Photography and Video. MFA graduates have been hired at Apple, DreamWorks Animation, Shutterfly, and World Architects, among others.
The GDD BFA consists of collaborative studios and hands-on experience gained at UW-Stout labs, studios, and other facilities. Students also gain field experience through study abroad courses in LA and San Francisco, internships, and industry projects with the Jim Henson Company, among others. GDD BFA students will complete a Game Design and Development Capstone and present a final portfolio of their best work at a public exhibition presented by the School of Art and Design.
BFA graduates have been hired at local studios and firms such as Pixel Spill Games, Big John Games, and Finn Daniels Architects. They are 3D artists, game designers, animators, building and environment modelers, and more. The GDD BFA at University of Wisconsin Stout is accredited by the National Association for Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
The College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics house the Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science Department. Here, game design students can earn a BS in Computer Science (BS) with a GDD Concentration. The BS in CS is consists of a full computer science major, a Minor in Mathematics, and the concentration area. A 21 credit hour CS Minor that explores game design, programming languages, web programming, algorithms, and systems architecture is also available. The Minor provides opportunities to engage in Field Experience, Independent Study, or Cooperative (co-op) Education.
The BS in CS/GDD is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET. With a 100% job placement rate, the CS program is the only program of its kind in the world to be accredited by the agency. Serving 2,700 students led by 200 faculty members, the CS program requires co-op industry experience as part of the curriculum. Co-op students earn an average of $16/hour. Other program highlights include graduate research, the opportunity to publish in peer-reviewed papers, and participation in exhibitions, game conferences, film festivals, and game competitions.
Graduates of the UW Stout Computer Science Program hold titles such as Game Programmer, Game Software Engineer, Mobile Software Engineer, and Software Developer, among others. Companies and Studios who have hired Stout CS graduates include Big John Games (developer for Nintendo), HB studios (develops console games for Electronic Arts (EA)), Degica Japan (publisher of RPG Maker), Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Concrete Software (mobile Games).
University of Wisconsin – Stout is accredited Higher Learning Commission () of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). Founded in 1891, the school opened as The Stout Manual Training School. Today, UW Stout is one of just 125 polytechnic universities in the U.S. and the only one in the State Wisconsin. Serving nearly 8,000 students, University of Wisconsin-Stout offers 45 undergraduate and 20 graduate programs. Many of these programs are not offered anywhere else in the Midwest.
9. Ferris State University, Big Rapids, Michigan
Ferris State University (Ferris State) offers programs for game designers across several colleges and schools. The College of Business houses the School of Digital Media (SDGM), which has a Digital Animation and Game Design (DAGD) Program that leads to a BAS, and a Digital Media Software Engineering (DMSE) Program that leads to a BS. Kendall College of Art and Design (KCAD) of Ferris State University offers a BFA in Digital Art and Design.
The SDGM DAGD BAS consists of coursework that explores 3D animation, game design, business, and programming. DAGD students have the opportunity to focus in a specific area through electives. Examples include Digital Effects, Programming, and 3D Animation. A mandatory internship is also part of the program.
The DMSE BS requires 125-126 credit hours of study. Twelve hours are dedicated to Application Domain Electives offered in four-course sequences. The Game Design and Development sequence consists of 3D Modeling and Animation OR Introduction to Game Design and Development, Game Programming 1-2, and Level Design. The DMSE BS also consists of coursework in mathematics, engineering fundamentals, business and management, and professional development.
During the final year of the program, Ferris DMSE BS students will complete the mandatory Software Development Industry Certification, Capstone in Software Engineering, and Software Engineering Applied Internship. Consisting of nine credit hours, these required courses are part of the professional development component of the program.
The KCAD BFA in Digital Art and Design explores 3D game art, interaction design, motion design, visual development, and 2D animation. Students may focus in Entertainment Art (2D animation, 3D game art, and concept and production art for games and animation) or Multimedia Design (interaction design for the web, apps, virtual reality, the internet of things, and video and motion design animation). Graduates will leave the Digital Art BFA Program with a professional portfolio that reflects their best work in either focus area.
Ferris State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). Founded in 1884, Ferris serves 10,930 students enrolled in more than 190 programs across seven colleges and dozens of departments and schools.
Kendall College of Art and Design (KCAD) of Ferris State University was established in 1928. KCAD serves close to 600 students enrolled in more than 20 BFA, BS, MA, MFA, and Certificate programs. As part of Ferris State University, Kendal College of Art and Design is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).
10. Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois
The Game Design Program at Bradley University offers BA/BS degrees in Game Design and Game Art, a Minor in Game Design, and a Game Design and Development MS. Programs are offered in the Department of Interactive Media, which is housed in Slane College of Communications & Fine Arts.
The 18-21 credit hour Minor is open to all students in the Departments of Interactive Media and Computer Science. Students in the BFA in Studio Art, offered in the Slane College Department of Art and Design, may also add the Game Design Minor.
The MS offers a Game Programming Concentration that includes courses such as Computer Information Systems Analysis, Design and Integration, Algorithms, Game Engine Programming, Software Project Management, and Game Production. Graduate Game Design and Development students work and learn in an environment that simulates an industry production studio. They will form their own corporation inside the Bradley University Interactive Media Department where they will spend a year developing games.
Game Design and Game Art BA/BS students are mentored by faculty who have worked on the popular, team-based game League of Legends, Red Faction (developed by Volition), and Far Cry (published by Ubisoft). Students also benefit from hands-on learning with industry software, participation in game jams, internship experiences, and opportunities to show their work at the annual FUSE exhibit. Course examples across programs include 2D for Game Art, Game Production, Critical Game Studies, Environment Art, and Survey of Games. The Game Capstone allows students in both programs to develop a professional game and portfolio.
Graduates of the Game Design Program at Bradley University have been hired at Warner Bros. Games, Blizzard Entertainment, Oculus VR, and NetherRealm Studios.
Bradley University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). Founded Lydia Moss Bradley in 1897, the school serves approximately 4,600 undergraduate and 1,300 graduate students. More than 215 programs are offered across eight colleges and schools.
11. Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, Ohio
The Game Design BFA Program at Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) combines coursework and immersive studios with opportunities to work on real-world projects with partners such as 360 Alley and NASA. Housed in the Game Design Department, the program is collaborative, so students will work in teams to complete console games, mobile apps, and AR/VR content from start to finish. Team members may come from the CIA Game Design Department or the Computer Gaming Minor Program at Case Western Reserve University.
Through coursework and practice, CIA Game Design Majors will master game engines such as Unreal and Unity. Course examples for the program include Game Media Production, Game Testing + Level Design, 3D Texture, Mapping, Digital Lighting, Serious Game Design: Theory + Applications, Advanced Digital Sculpting & Modeling, Special VFX/Simulation + Virtual Reality, and Sound Design Fundamentals.
Two three-credit courses are dedicated to the BFA Thesis + Exhibition. This solo project will represent the student’s best work. Instead of the Engaged Practice component of the program, which provides the opportunity to work with CIA partners, students may complete an internship with a game production studio, animation studio, or other company.
Graduates of the Cleveland Institute of Art Game Design Program are prepared to compete for positions such as Game Designer, Senior Game Developer, Game Art Director Lead, Animator, Visual effects (VFX) Developer, Technical, Storyboard, or Layout Artist, Modeler, Game Production Lead, Programmer, and Virtual Reality (VR) Artist, among others.
Cleveland Institute of Art is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA), and the Ohio Department of Education. The school was founded in 1882 as the Western Reserve School of Design for Women. Today, CIA serves a coed population of 600 students from across the country and around the world. Cleveland Institute of Art offers 13 majors in art, design, craft, and entertainment arts.
12. Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Indianapolis, Indiana
The School of Informatics and Computing (SoIC) at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) offers several programs that allow students to study games: a BS in Media Arts and Science (MAS), the five-year BS+MS in MAS, and Minors in 3D Graphics and Animation, and Game Design and Development. Students in both minor programs will complete 15-16 credit hours of study.
In the Game Design and Development Minor, students will learn to create 2D and 3D games using Unity and Unreal 4. The 3D Graphics and Animation Minor prepares students for careers in game design and development and 3D simulation through coursework in rendering, animation, and computer graphics (CG). Upon completion of the Game Design and Development Minor, students are prepared for careers such as video game designer, unity 3D game developer, unreal 4 game developer, level designer, world and designer. 3D Graphics and Animation Minors are medical animators, 3D animators, motion graphics artists, creative directors, and 2D/3D design artists, among others.
The IUPUI SoIC MAS BS offers Game Design and Development, and 3D Graphics and Animation Specializations. The BS+MS offers a Specialization in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). All programs provide access to an endless amount of game design courses. Examples include Serious Games and Simulations, Game On! A History of Video Games, Game Design Psychology, Game Testing and Evaluation, Creature and Character Design for Videogames, Comics, Film, and Animation, Virtual Worlds Design and Development, Composting and Visual Effects, Game Design and Development, Augmented Reality Design and Development, Advanced 3D Character Design, Stop-Motion Animation, Human-Computer Interaction Design Theory, and Game Production.
Graduates of the MAS Programs at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis have been recruited by major studios and companies across the U.S. and around the world. Examples include Blizzard Entertainment, Pixar, Moving Picture Company (MPC), Google-owned Owlchemy Labs, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Treyarch (owned by Activision), Digital Domain, and HTC Corporation.
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). Established in 1969, IUPUI serves 27,690 students enrolled in more than 550 degree and certificate programs in 17 degree-granting colleges and schools. With more than 14,000 employees, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis is the 18th largest employer in Indiana.
13. College for Creative Studies, Detroit, Michigan
The BFA degree at College for Creative Studies (CCS) requires 126 credit hours to graduate. Studio areas account for 84 credits and 42 are in general studies. All first-year students, regardless of major, will take courses in the Foundation Department. Areas explored include basic design, drawing, and color theory. In the Entertainment Arts Department, students can earn a BFA in Entertainment Design with a Game Design, Animation, Concept Design, or Digital Film Emphasis. All emphasis areas are currently STEM-designated programs.
Entertainment Design Program features include small class sizes, internship opportunities, courses taught by industry professionals, and access industry-standard, state-of the art labs and equipment such as the Gaming Lab, AR/VR Lab, software and hardware, and editing suites. Course examples for the program include Creative Visualization, 3D Computer Graphics, Game: Concept and Technology, Experimental Animation, Stop Motion, Environments and Characters, Game Art, and Lighting and Rendering.
Graduates of the College for Creative Studies Entertainment Design Program have worked on more than 15 Marvel movies, they designed one third of the six Batmobiles, and have created game environments for World of Warcraft at Blizzard Entertainment. Other studios where CCS alumni work include Pixomondo, Disney Animation Studios, Nickelodeon, Paramount, and Disney Television Animation, among others.
The College for Creative Studies is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). Founded in 1906 as the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts, CCS serves more than 1,400 students enrolled in BFA, MA, and MFA programs ranging from Art Education to Transportation Design.
14. Columbus College of Art & Design, Columbus, Ohio
Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD) offers a Game Art & Design BFA. The school also offers a Concentration in Animation/Game that can be added to any major. Concentrations at CCAD require nine credit hours of coursework. The BFA consists of 120 credit hours including 60 hours of program requirements, 21 in CORE Studio, and 39 in CORE Liberal Arts.
During years the freshman, sophomore, and junior years of the CCAD Game Art & Design Program, students will take courses such as Drawing for Entertainment Design, Game Theory and Design, New Realities AR and VR Production, Programming for Play, Game Art Production 3D, 3D Animation Models & Surfacing, and Acting for Animators. Students will spend the senior year in the Game Pipeline Capstone, Game Projects Capstone, and the Game Collaboration Practicum. An internship is available as well as courses such as Level Design for Games and Table Top Prototype Play.
Game Art & Design students will have access to CCAD facilities and equipment such as editing suites, Mac and PC labs, a sound room, and play-testing area.
Graduates of the Columbus College of Art & Design Game Program will have the skills and experience needed to compete for positions at regional employers such as Game-U, Multivarious Games, and Pixel Park, as well as national studios such as RIOT Games, Insomniac Games, and BioWare.
Columbus College of Art & Design is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD), and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). Founded in 1879, CCAD serves just over 1,000 students enrolled in 11 undergraduate majors leading to a BFA, 18 minors, and two graduate programs leading to the MFA or Master of Professional Studies.
15. University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, Whitewater, Wisconsin
The Department of Art and Design at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (UW-Whitewater) has a Media Arts and Game Development Program (MAGD) with three emphasis areas: Gaming Technology, Communication/Gaming, and Media Arts. All emphasis areas are offered as minors as well. Housed in the College of Arts and Communication, MAGD programs lead to a BA or BS.
The Gaming Technology Emphasis covers programming and software development as it relates to game design and development. Communication/Gaming explores video, audio, and writing for digital media, as well as games and emerging technology roles in society. Students in the Media Arts Emphasis will learn to create digital content for computer games, motion graphics, animation, special effects, and 3D.
The MAGD program allows students to choose a minor or second major to enhance the degree. Popular options include Computer Science, Film, Electronic Media, and Graphic Design.
All MAGD students will participate in two team-based projects (The Senior Capstone), and some will have the opportunity to participate in regional game design expos, competitions, and the MAGD Expo held annually at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. In the past, the Expo has welcomed leaders in the industry who have developed games such as God of War, Assassin’s Creed, and Madden NFL.
The MAGD Program hosts a number of student organizations for game designers such as GAMED (Game and Media Entertainment Developers), Gaming Group of Whitewater, Anime, and Smash Bros. All MAGD students have access to facilities such as the Motion Capture Studio and a gaming room that hosts the departments weekend-long game jams.
Also part of the program is the internship program, which provides the opportunity to gain work experience ion the UW-Whitewater Digital Media Lab or off campus for a game or animation studio, film and video production company, or media production firm.
Graduates of the UW-Whitewater MAGD Programs are prepared to pursue positions in game design and development, 3D art, motion graphics, animation, usability engineering, mobile app development, and multimedia production.
Recent graduates have been hired at companies and studios such as Obsidian Entertainment, Filament Games, Raven Software, Bethesda Game Studios, Image 360, and PerBlue.
University of Wisconsin – Whitewater is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). UW-Whitewater opened as Whitewater Normal School in 1868. Serving nearly 11,500 students, University of Wisconsin – Whitewater is the second oldest and third largest campus by enrollment in the University of Wisconsin System.
16. Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan
The College of Arts & Sciences at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) houses the School of Art & Design, home to the multidisciplinary, STEM-designated, Simulation, Animation and Gaming (SAG) Program. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the SAG Program has BS and Minor options.
Students can expect to complete 124 credits to earn the SAG BS and 20 in the Minor. Graphics for Simulation, Web Publishing technology, and Introduction to Game Design are just a few courses for the Minor. The BS consists of 81 credits in the major. Sample courses include Unity I-II, Studio Simulation, Environment Design, Organic Rigging, Vector Illustration for SAG, and Simulation and Animation Dynamics. Students will complete the Senior Project and an internship (optional). Graduates of the Eastern Michigan University SAG Program can pursue titles such as Game Designer, Game Artist, Character Designer, Concept Artist, Modeler, Graphic Designer, Storyboard Artist, Computer Animator, and Special Effects Artist, among others.
Eastern Michigan University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). Founded in 1849, EMU is Michigan’s second oldest university. The school serves more than 15,000 students enrolled in over 300 programs in EMU Graduate School and the Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Engineering and Technology; Business; Health and Human Services; and Education.
17. Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
Kent State University (Kent State or KSU) houses the College of Arts and Sciences-Department of Computer Science, and the College of Applied and Technical Studies. Both offer programs for game designers. A BS in Computer and Science with a Concentration in Game Programming is available in the Department of Computer Science and a BS in Animation Game Design and a Game Deign Minor are offered in the College of Applied and Technical Studies. The Minor consists of 21 credit hours. Course examples include Competitive Gaming, Games for Education, Multimedia and Game Design, and Environmental Game Design.
The BS in Animation Game Design allows students to concentrate in either Animation or Game Design. Students in the Game Design Concentration will develop the skills needed to create games for entertainment, education, simulation, and training. In addition to game design courses, students may take courses in design, film/video, and art. Kent State Animation Game Design graduates will leave the program with a professional portfolio of their best work. The BS in Animation Game Design is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
The Kent State BS in Computer Science (CS) with a Concentration in Game Programming is designed for students seeking a computer science-based, game design program. Courses for the program include Introduction to Game Programming, Computer Graphics, Game Engine Concepts, Software Engineering, Computer Science, Human Interface Computing, and the Game Development Practicum. A Computer Science Capstone is also part of the program.
Graduates of the Kent State University BS CS with Game Programming will be prepared to seek careers in game programming, software development, game development, game design and production, software engineering, and serious game design, among others.
Kent State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). Founded as a teacher-training school in 1910, Kent State serves more than 25,000 students across eight Ohio campuses, six locations across the U.S., and four worldwide centers. More than 300 majors, minors, certificate, and graduate programs are offered at KSU. Programs are housed in more than 20 colleges, schools, and divisions.
18. Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio
Case Western Reserve University (CWRU or Case) houses the Case School of Engineering, which offers a Computer Gaming Minor that can be added to any major. The most common options include the BA, BS, BA/MS, BS/MS and PhD in Computer Science (CS). Established in 1987, the CS Program is part of the Department of Computer and Data Sciences (CDS). While the College of Arts and Sciences awards the BA, required courses are part of the Department of CDS.
The Case Computer Gaming Minor explores game design and Unity 3D game engine development. Course examples may include Introduction to Computer Game Design and Implementation, and Advanced Game Development Project. Advanced courses are co-taught with the Cleveland Institute of Art’s Game Design Department. Students from both schools will also work in teams to develop and publish an original game.
All CWRU students have access the Kevin Kranzusch Gaming, Simulation and Visualization Lab, which houses conference and iOS and Android mobile App development rooms, 20 Alienware PCs with Nvidia 1080GTX GPUs, and an Oculus Rift and HoloLens development room. The Visualization Lab is also a gathering place for the Case Esports Club.
Graduates of the Case Western Reserve University Computer Science and Computer Gaming Minor Programs have been recruited by major companies and studios such as Epic Games, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Boeing, among others.
Case Western Reserve University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). Established in 1826, CWRU serves more than 12,000 students enrolled in nearly 95 undergraduate degree programs, 135 graduate and professional options, and nearly 140 dual-degree programs. Programs at Case Western Reserve University are housed in nine colleges and schools + more than 100 interdisciplinary academic and research centers and institutes.
19. Dakota State University, Madison, South Dakota
The Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences at Dakota State University (DSU) offers a competitive, interdisciplinary BS in Computer Game Design in collaboration with the College of Arts and Sciences. This immersive, project-based program has three emphasis areas: Game Art, Narrative Design, and Software Development. The core explores 2D graphics, programming languages, 3D modeling, game engines, and storytelling.
Course examples for the DSU Computer Game Design Program include Game Programming Tools, Structure Analysis & Design, Level Design, Web programming, and Computer Game Design. A Game Project is also part of the curriculum, and it takes place over two courses in the final year of the program.
DSU Computer Game Design graduates are prepared for careers within the games industry (entertainment), and others such as multimedia, architecture, software design, and education and training. Possible job titles include Game Developer, AI Programmer, Web Developer, Software Developer, Technical Artist, Narrative Designer, and App Developer, among others.
Dakota State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). Founded in 1881 the school serves just over 3,200 students enrolled in more than 75 majors, associate degree, certificate, and graduate programs. In addition to the Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences, the programs at Dakota State University are housed in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business and Information Systems; and Education.
20. Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas
The College of Fine Arts at Wichita State University (WSU) is home to the School of Digital Arts, which offers a Bachelor of Applied Arts (BAA) in Media Arts with a Concentration in Game Design. Students in the program will work and learn in the newly launched Shocker Studios—a state-of-the-art production space that houses classrooms, computer labs, and film, recording, motion capture, and design studios.
Students in this 120 credit hour program will complete 54 credit hours in the concentration and an applied learning or research experience to graduate from the program. Course examples include Game Design I-II, Game Technology and Coding I-II, Digital Animation I-II, Props and Character Design, Computer Modeling, Storyboarding, Rigging, Clay Modeling, and Scriptwriting.
Wichita State University has an additional option for designers seeking a computer science degree. The Certificate in Game Design is a 15 credit hour program that can be added to the BS in Computer Science offered in the College of Engineering’s School of Computing. Required courses include Game Design I, Game Technology and Coding I, Computer Modeling, and Game Design Concepts. Students can choose Game Design II or Game Technology and Coding II to develop advanced skills in either area. Other course options include Digital Animation I, Figure Drawing for Animators, and Introduction to Life Drawing.
Wichita State University houses the largest cooperative education and internship program in the State of Kansas. Through the program, known as Shocker Career Accelerator, BAA and other WSU students can secure a paid position that will allow them to obtain work experience while earning college credit. After graduation, WSU alumni can participate in workshops, attend career fairs, and meet with job counselors to do mock interviews and assist with their job search.
Wichita State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). Founded in 1895, WSU is one of six state universities governed by the Kansas Board of Regents. With its affiliate, WSU TECH, Wichita State University serves 19,000 students enrolled in more than 200 areas of study in nine colleges and schools.