What are the top ranked game design schools in the South?

Top 20 Game Design Schools in the South – 2022 College Rankings
1University of Central Florida Florida
2Savannah College of Art and DesignGeorgia
3Full Sail UniversityFlorida
4Georgia Institute of TechnologyGeorgia
5Ringling College of Art and DesignFlorida
6North Carolina State UniversityNorth Carolina
7University of FloridaFlorida
8Clemson UniversitySouth Carolina
9University of North Carolina—CharlotteNorth Carolina
10Louisiana State UniversityLouisiana
11Eastern Kentucky UniversityKentucky
12University of South CarolinaSouth Carolina
13University of Louisiana at LafayetteLouisiana
14Kennesaw State UniversityGeorgia
15Georgia State UniversityGeorgia
16East Tennessee State UniversityTennessee
17The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School Florida
18Loyola University New OrleansLouisiana
19University of Alabama in HuntsvilleAlabama
20Georgia Southern UniversityGeorgia

Our 2022 rankings of the top 20 game design 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. University of Central Florida + Florida Interactive Academy, Orlando, Florida
University of Central Florida

The Game Design Programs at University of Central Florida (UCF) are housed in Nicholson School of Communication and Media (Games and Interactive Media Department) and the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA). Degree pathways lead to a BA, MA or Minor in in Digital Media or an MS in Interactive Entertainment. The Digital Media Program has a Game Design Track and the MS in Interactive Entertainment has specializations in Programming, Modeling, Tech Art, Animation, Level Design, Tech Design, and Project Management.

All students have access to state-of-the-art production facilities, such as the 3,300 square feet MOCAP studio, where they have the opportunity to develop their own games (in teams) from start to finish. Internships and career development resources are also available. To date, more than 300 companies have hired UCF Games/Interactive Media and FIEA graduates. Examples include Marvel, Sony, Gameloft, Blizzard, Nintendo, Cartoon Network, Epic Games, Electronic Arts (EA), Google, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Blur Studio, Walt Disney Imagineering, Zynga, Unity Technologies, and Lockheed Martin.

University of Central Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1963, the school opened as Florida Technological University with just under 2,000 students. Today, UCF serves more than 70,000 students enrolled in nearly 240 degree programs, making it Florida’s largest university by enrollment, and one of the largest universities in the U.S.

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

The Interactive Design and Game Development Program at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) offers degree programs at all levels for game designers. Housed in the SCAD School of Digital Media, undergraduate options include a BA in Digital Media with Game Development and Interactive Design Tracks, a BFA in Interactive Design and Game Development (IDGD), and Minors in Concept Design for Animation and Games, Game UX, Interactive Design and Game Development, Concept Art for Games, and Mobile and Interactive Design. Options for graduate students include MA and MFA degrees in IDGD. Programs are offered online via SCADnow, and at the Atlanta and Savannah campuses.

The School of Digital Media at SCAD provides opportunities for game design students gain hands-on experience through internships with local and national studios. Students will also work individually and in teams to complete projects in state-of-the art facilities such as the labs and SCAD Digital Media Center. And each quarter, students have the opportunity to interview and present their portfolios to professionals in the industry.

Past visitors have been affiliated with studios such as Electronic Arts (EA), Zynga, and Activision Blizzard. Graduates of the Interactive Design and Game Development Programs at Savannah College of Art and Design are routinely hired by these and other studios such as Epic Games, Sucker Punch Productions, and Firaxis Games, among others.

Savannah College of Art and Design is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). With more than 100 degree programs and 75+ minors and certificate options, SCAD has more degree programs and specializations than any other art and design college in the country. Founded in 1978, Savannah College of Art and Design serves more than 15,000 students across campuses in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia, and Lacoste, France.

3. Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Full Sail University

The Game School at Full Sail University features production studios and classrooms that look and feel like major production studios. Game School programs include a Game Design MS and BS degrees in Game Art, Game Development, Game Design, and Simulation & Visualization. Undergraduate Certificates in 3-D Arts and Game Design are also available. With the exception of the BS in Simulation and Visualization, all programs are offered on campus and online.

In addition to gaining production experience in a real-world studio environment on campus, Full Sail students have opportunities to work off-campus at local and national studios through the internship program. Courses in The Game School are also immersive. Course examples across all programs include Motion Capture, Game Mechanics, Game Production Tools, Engine Development, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Data Visualization & Modeling. Students will master all roles in the production pipeline, video game development for computers, networks and consoles, test simulation, game effects, narrative design, and animation.

Full Sail University’s Career Development Department provides 24/7 access to job opportunities, along with workshops and presentations that cover branding, networking, research strategies, and interviewing techniques. The department also coordinates local hiring events and events in other major markets such as Los Angeles and New York.

Full Sail University graduates have worked on popular games, films, and ad campaigns. More than 150 graduates were credited on numerous nominated games at the 2021 Game Awards.

Companies and studios that have hired Full Sail graduates include Disney, Rockstar Games, Blizzard Entertainment, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Nickelodeon, Bunim Murray, Pixar, MTV, ESPN, Universal Studios, Miramax, DreamWorks, and HBO.

Full Sail University is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). Full Sail serves approximately 21,000 students. The school offers certificates and degrees at the associate's, bachelor's, and master's levels in entertainment, technology, art, and media. Launched in 1979, Full Sail University is located just 35 minutes from downtown Orlando and Universal Studios.

4. Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia
Georgia Institute of Technology

Georgia Institute of Technology (GeorgiaTech) offers programs for game designers in several colleges and schools. These academic units work together to advance the game community. In addition to the opportunity to select courses across departments, design students have access to the GVU Center Game Studio at GeorgiaTech, the Institute for People and Technology (IPaT), and international campuses in the world’s largest games industry—China.

The College of Computing and the School of Literature, Media, and Communication in the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts offer a BS in Computational Media (BSCM), MS and PhD degrees in Digital Media and a Minor in Computing & Media. A BS/MS in Computer Science is also available.

The Computational Media Program at GeorgiaTech launched in 2004 with just one student. Today, the program serves more than 300 students, making it one of the school’s fastest growing programs.

The BSCM Program offers focus areas such as Games, Interaction, and Narrative. Sample courses include Game Design as a Cultural Practice, Computer Animation, Principles of Interaction Design, and Constructing the Moving Image.

The Computing & Media Minor requires 19 credit hours of study, with elective course options such as Video Game Design and Programming, Digital Video Special Effects, and Information Visualization. Just a few required courses include Objects and Design, Computer Graphics, and Computer Organization and Programming

Across all graduate level programs, courses may include Special Topics in Game Design, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Interactive Fiction, Experimental Media, Principles of Interactive Design, Pro-Seminar, and Project Studio. Graduate students will also complete an 8-10 week, full-time non-credit internship and a Thesis Project.

Graduates of the Digital and Computational Media Programs at Georgia Institute of Technology go on to establish successful careers in interactive design and game simulation, animation, special effects, robotics, and 3D modeling, among others.

Georgia Institute of Technology is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1885, the school opened with just 129 students and one degree program—a BS in Mechanical Engineering. Today, GeorgiaTech serves nearly 40,000 students enrolled in more than 180 degree programs and minors in six distinct colleges and 28 schools.

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

Following the studio model of teaching, Ringling College of Art and Design (RCAD) emphasizes learning by doing. Students in all programs at the school also benefit from visiting artists, industry internships, and other experiences that allow students to work on real projects with local businesses and studios.

For students seeking careers in the game design industry, RCAD offers a BFA In Game Art that attracts major recruiters from Epic Games, Blizzard Entertainment, and Riot Games. The program explores topics such as environmental design, professional practices, methods and technologies, and concept and creative problem-solving. Students will also work on projects in teams to develop collaboration and communication skills.

The Game Art BFA requires 48 credit hours in the major. This accounts for 40% of the coursework. Sample courses for the program include 3D for Games I-IV, Game Design I-II, Programming for Artists, and Visual Development for Games. BFA students will also take four courses leading to the development of a Game Thesis Project.

Graduates of the Ringling College of Art and Design Game Art BFA have gone on to establish successful careers at Blizzard Entertainment, Naughty Dog, Bungie, Inc., Rockstar Games, 343 Industries, and Bethesda Game Studios, among others.

Ringling College of Art and Design is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). This private, not-for-profit art and design school dates back to 1931, when it was known as The School of Fine and Applied Art. Ringling College of Art and Design serves more than 1,600 students enrolled in 13 different majors leading to a BA or BFA.

6. North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina
North Carolina State University

The College of Engineering at North Carolina State University (NC State) houses the Department of Computer Science, which has a Game Development Track in the Computer Science (CSC) Program. The undergraduate program leads to a BS. For designers looking to earn a CSC BS and MS in a short amount of time, an accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s (ABM) degree is available.

Students in all CSC programs have access to The Digital Games Research center (DGRc). Launched in May 2007, The DGRc engages in education and research in games and games technologies. In a collaborative environment, students can work on projects with game developers and games studio teams that focus on everything from mobile games to artificial intelligence (AI). Thanks to partnerships and licensing agreements with engine providers and game studios, NC State graduates are often hired by local game companies.

Other DGRc highlights include access to the new Games and Visual Narrative Suite, the Visual Narrative Initiative (VNI)— a research cluster established in 2015, and participation in the Game Developers Conference and Games and Visual Narratives Showcase.

North Carolina State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). With more than 36,000 students and 9,000 faculty and staff members, NC State is the largest university in the University of North Carolina System. Established in 1887, North Carolina State University offers more than 300 degree programs in 11 colleges and over 60 academic departments.

7. University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
University of Florida

University of Florida (UF) houses the UF College of the Arts. Established in 1925, the college is home to the Digital Worlds Institute, which offers a BA in Digital Arts & Sciences (BADAS), a DAS Minor or a Masters in Digital Arts and Sciences (MiDAS). UF Online offers a fully online BADAS Program. Institute features include the DAS Mentorship Program, guest lecturers, access to LUMA at Digital World Studios, and Portfolio Open House events.

All UF Digital Worlds Programs combine arts, engineering, communications, and science. Course examples across pathways include Creating Mobile Games, 3D Animation Techniques, Game Content Creation, Game Systems Development, Game Design and Production, Digital Storytelling, Game Development, and Interaction & Usability. An optional internship is also offered. The undergraduate program requires 120 credit ours of study and successful completion of a final DAS project.

The UF Digital Worlds Institute MiDAS Program explores game engines and development, software and hardware integration, design and interactivity, emerging technologies such as AR/VR, and proposals, project management, and production pipelines. The program is offered in an accelerated format, so it takes just one year to complete.

Graduates of the BADAS and MiDAS Programs at University of Florida are freelance designers, entrepreneurs, game designers, character modelers, production coordinators, level designers, technical animators, visual effects artists, software engineers, motion graphics animators, digital storytellers, UI/UX designers, and more. Program alumni have been hired at major companies and studios such as Microsoft and DreamWorks.

University of Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The school opened as the Gainesville Academy in 1858. Today, UF serves nearly 58,000 students, making it one of the nation’s largest public universities by enrollment. University of Florida offers more than 300 degree programs across 14 colleges and schools.

8. Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina
Clemson University

Clemson University’s College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences houses the School of Computing, home to the Digital Production Arts (DPA) Program and the Division of Visual Computing. Program options across the Division and DPA include Computer Science BA/BS programs, the DPA MFA/MS (MFA DPA/MS DPA), and a fast-track Bachelor’s/Master’s (BS/MS) in Computer Science. Students can add a Minor in DPA for Animation and Game Design. Offered since 2011, the DPA Minor focuses on Games, Visual Effects, and Computer Animation.

Course examples across programs include 2D Game Engine Construction, 3D Game Programming: Algorithms and Techniques, Game Theory, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Advanced 3D Modeling, Studio Methods for Digital Production, Physical Modeling and Animation, Audio Practicum, and Visual Foundations of Digital Production.

Other Computer Science and DPA highlights include visits from representatives of major studios such as DreamWorks, participation in the SIGGRAPH Conference, access to state-of-the art production studios and facilities, internship opportunities, and study abroad experiences.

Graduates of the Computer Science and DPA Programs at Clemson have gone on to become game designers, animators, technical directors, art directors, 3D graphics programmers, AR/VR designers, and software engineers, among others.

Program alumni have secured positions with companies such as Google, Disney Animation, Electronic Arts (EA), Blur Studio, Sledgehammer Games, IBM, and Crowdstrike.

Clemson University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The school opened as Clemson Agricultural College in 1893 with 446 students. Today, Clemson is a public research university that serves nearly 27,350 students enrolled in more than 210 degree programs and 90+ minors.

9. University of North Carolina—Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina
University of North Carolina—Charlotte

The Department of Computer Science (CS) at the University of North Carolina—Charlotte (UNC Charlotte) has several options for individuals seeking a CS-based game design program. Housed in the College of Computing and Informatics, programs include a BS in CS, AI, Robotics, and Gaming, an MS in CS with an optional AI, Robotics, and Gaming Concentration, and Game Design and Development (GDD) Certificates at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Coursework for the certificate programs may be used towards the BS or MS in CS programs.

Course examples across programs include Computer Science, AI for Computer Games, Virtual and Augmented Reality, Applied Machine Learning, Game Engine Construction, Game Design and Development Studio, Advanced Game Design and Development, Audio Processing for Entertainment Computing, Real-Time Rendering Engines, Individual Study in AI, Robotics, and Gaming, Computer Graphics, and Advanced Algorithms. 

The College of Arts and Architecture has another option for designers seeking a digital media-based game design program. Offered in the college’s Department of Art and Art History, the BFA in Art with a Digital Media Concentration requires advanced studio coursework, which allows students to craft a focus from electives such as Game Design and Graphics, 3D Modeling and Animation, Interactive Art and Design, and Advanced 3D Modeling and Digital Fabrication. The BFA also requires successful completion of the Senior Experience. Totaling nine credit hours, the Experience includes Senior Seminar, Senior Thesis I: Creative Research, and Senior Thesis II: Advanced Creative Practice.

Graduates of the design programs at University of North Carolina—Charlotte are prepared to pursue position in art and design, games and entertainment, animation, computer science, programming, software development, advertising, education, multimedia, and many other areas.

University of North Carolina—Charlotte is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Established in 1946 as college for returning veterans, the school had just 278 students when it opened. Today, UNC Charlotte serves around 30,150 students more than 250 programs in seven colleges.

10. Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Louisiana State University

The Master’s in Digital Media Arts & Engineering (MDMAE) at Louisiana State University (LSU) is part of the Division of Computer Science & Engineering in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Course examples for the program include Interactive Design, Rapid Prototyping, and Innovation, Digital Media Production & Management, and Advanced Programming & Digital Art. Halfway through the MDMAE program, students will complete a Digital Media Internship. During the final two semesters, students will work in teams to complete a Capstone Project. The MDMAE at LSU takes 22 months to complete, full-time.

LSU offers several complementary, interdisciplinary minors for students who are enrolled in other degree programs. The Digital Media Arts & Engineering Minor in Art (DMART) has Video Game Design, Interface Design Technology, Programming, Creative Coding, and Applied Interactive Graphics course options. The Digital Media Arts & Engineering Minor in Technology (DMAET). Course offerings are same as those offered in the DMART Program. Both minor programs require a minimum of 15 credit hours of study and successful completion of the Capstone Project.

Louisiana State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1860, the school opened as the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy. Today LSU serves nearly 36,000 students and it is in the elite 1% of U.S. universities having land-, sea-, and space-grant designations. Louisiana State University offers more than 330 programs in 15 colleges and schools.

11. Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, Kentucky
Eastern Kentucky University

Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) is home to the state’s first bachelor’s degree specializing in games and the Eastern Kentucky University Gaming Institute. The program operates within the College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics’ Department of Computer Science and Information Technology. A BS in Computer Science (CS) is offered, as well as a Minor in Game Content Design, and a Certificate in Game Design.

The BS in CS has a Concentration in Interactive Multimedia (Game Design) and the 12 credit hour, accelerated certificate program is offered 100% online. Launched in 2017, the Game Content Design Minor consists of 20 credit hours of study. The program explores 2D animation, visual storytelling, music for film, game design, and screenwriting. 

Accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), the EKU BS in CS requires core and supporting courses such as Ethics & Software Engineering, Digital Electronics, Mobile App Development for iOS, Software Testing, and Object-Oriented Programming. The Interactive Multimedia Concentration explores game design, graphics programming, 3D modeling and animation, and multimedia systems. Course examples include Film Scoring, Game Level Design, Exploring Virtual Worlds, University Physics, and Drawing.

A Computer Science Career Preparation course is part of the program as well as the option to complete one of the following: Innovative Problem Solving, Independent Work, or Senior Seminar. Students in all programs may participate in the Global Game Jam and other events, and the internship program, which matches students with Kentucky-based game developers.  

Graduates of the Game Programs at Eastern Kentucky University have been recruited by local, independent studios and global companies such as Google.

Eastern Kentucky University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Established in 1906 as Eastern Kentucky State Normal School, EKU serves around 14,000 students enrolled in more than 100 degree programs in six academic colleges.

12. University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina
University of South Carolina

The College of Arts and Sciences at University of South Carolina (UofSC) is the school’s largest college. It houses the School of Visual Art and Design (SVAD), which offers BA and MA degrees in Media Arts, and an 18 credit hour Media Arts Minor. The UofSC College of Engineering and Computing is home to the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, which offers BS, MS, and PhD degrees in Computer Science (CS) and Computer Engineering, and Minor options in Applied Computing and Computer Science.

The SVAD BA and MA degree programs are multidisciplinary, so they appeal to students interested in games design, filmmaking, and animation, among other areas. Course examples across programs include New Media Advanced: Video Game Design, Moving Image Advanced: Animation, Narrative Production, Media Writing Advanced; Manga and Anime, Digital Imaging, Sound Design, and Media Management and Distribution.

SVAD classes are held in an 85,000-square-foot facility known as McMaster College. The facility was designed specifically for the learning and production in the visual arts. Other SVAD features include internship opportunities and the creation of a marketable final project and professional portfolio.

Graduates of the SVAD Media Arts have been hired at Blizzard Entertainment, Nickelodeon, Netflix, HBO Films, and Marvel, among others.

Students in the University of South Carolina CS Programs may add the Minor in Media Arts or select three courses from CS electives and three from another major. Requirements across CS programs include Software Engineering, UNIX/Linux Fundamentals, Digital Logic Design, Computer Architecture, and Programming Languages Structures.  

Computer Science and Computer Engineering students will complete an internship and create a professional portfolio of their work. University of South Carolina CS alumni work in areas such as game design and development, game programming, software design and development, and software engineering.

University of South Carolina is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Established in 1801 UofSC is the state’s flagship university and one of the nation’s oldest public universities. The school offers more than 300 areas of study to a population of nearly 35,400 students. Programs at University of South Carolina are housed in 16 colleges and schools.

13. University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, Louisiana
University of Louisiana at Lafayette

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette (UL Lafayette or UL) houses the Ray P. Authement College of Sciences. Here, within the college’s School of Computing & Informatics is an undergraduate Computer Science (CS) Program that provides a path to study game design. The ABET-accredited BS in CS with a Concentration in Video Game Design and Development features a curriculum designed for success. 

Course examples include Game Engine Algorithms and Architecture, Video Game Design and Development, Programming Languages, Human-Computer Interface Design, Scientific Computing, Computer Graphics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the Senior Project.  The program also offers coursework in areas such as storytelling and visual arts and design.

UL Lafayette BS in CS students will complete the Senior Project, which the design and development of an original game. Students will also have the opportunity to complete an industry internship and work on independent projects under faculty supervision in areas such as human-computer interaction (HCI), computer Graphics, and AI.

Graduates of the CS Program at University of Louisiana at Lafayette have career options such as game designer, programmer or developer, software developer, software engineer, and AI designer, among others.

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Established in 1898 as the Southwestern Louisiana Industrial Institute, UL Lafayette serves more than 19,000 students, making it the second largest university in Louisiana. University of Louisiana at Lafayette offers more than 110 programs in 14 colleges and schools.

14. Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, Georgia
Kennesaw State University

Kennesaw State University (KSU) offers a BS and a Minor in Computer Game Design and Development, an MS in Software Engineering, and Graduate Certificates in Software Foundations, and Software Engineering. Housed in the College of Computing and Software Engineering’s (CCSE) Department of Software Engineering and Game Design and Development (SWEGD), the programs are accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET.

Department highlights include computing internship and co-op education opportunities, research assistantships, guest speakers, participation in Game Jams, and networking events featuring major companies and other entities. KSU has welcomed recent companies such as Microsoft, Infor, and Cox Communications.

The SWEGD Programs explore emerging areas such as massively multiplayer games (MMOG) and online games, human-computer interaction (HCI), modeling, simulation, artificial intelligence (AI), software engineering, 2D and 3D graphics, game theory, and digital media. Students may select a track within any concentration area. Options include Creative Content, Educational-Serious, Computer Science, Media-Production, Simulations-Informatics, and Planning-Management. A Custom Track allows students to choose nine credit hours of upper-level coursework from any area.

Course examples across majors and tracks include Fundamentals of Game Design and Game Design Lab, Computer Graphics and Multimedia, Digital Media and Interaction, Educational and Serious Game Design, Mobile and Casual Game Development, Professional Practices and Ethics, Application Extension and Scripting, 3D Modeling and Animation, Entertainment Media Production, Audio Production and Technology, and Production Pipeline and Asset Management.

For exceptional students, Kennesaw State University SWEGD offers a Double Owl Pathway that provides the opportunity to earn the BS and MS at an accelerated pace.

Graduates of the Kennesaw State University SWEGD Programs work in areas such as entertainment, education, and research. They hold titles such as Software Engineer, Game Designer, Game Developer, Software Designer, and Game Programmer, among others. 

Kennesaw State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1963 as a junior college, KSU serves nearly 43,000 students enrolled in over 170 degree programs in 11 colleges and KSU Journey Honors College. Kennesaw State University is one of the 50 largest public colleges in the U.S.

15. Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia
Georgia State University

The Georgia State University (GSU) College of Arts and Sciences houses the Creative Media Industries Institute (CMII), which offers a BA in Game Design, a BS in Game Development, and a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (BIS) with a Concentration in Game Design and Development.

The BA combines the study of art with the development of software platforms for games. The BS covers programming, coding, and software design for students interested in game development or other areas such as animation, app development, and motion graphics. The BIS has two sequences: one designed for students who are interested in game development and the other for individuals interested in coding games.

Students in all GSU CMII programs have access to an advanced motion capture system, workshops, the Innovative Media Club, and the Georgia Game Developers Association; opportunities to collaborate with partners such as the Georgia Film Academy; and participation in the weekly Playtest—an immersive, hourlong gathering that explores game concepts, mechanics, and experiences. Internship opportunities with potential studios such as Turner Studios, Hi-Rez Studios, and KontrolFreek – Atlanta are also part of the program.

Georgia State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1913, GSU houses six campuses, 12 colleges and schools, and more than 52,000 students from close to 130 nations and territories. The school offers more than 250 degree programs in 100 fields of study at the Downtown Atlanta Campus alone—the widest variety in the entire state.

16. East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee
East Tennessee State University

East Tennessee State University (ETSU) offers BS in Digital Media for students interested in studying games. Housed in the College of Business and Technology’s Digital Media Department, the BS has four concentration options: Digital Game Design, Visual Effects, Digital Animation, and Digital Visualization. A Digital Media Minor is available for students who would like to gain experience in all four areas.

Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the ETSU Digital Media Department offers courses taught by industry professionals, immersive, hands-on studio work, and access to state-of-the-art labs, production facilities, and equipment. The Department has around 300 students who will work together through four years of study to create productions, games or other works to include in the final Portfolio Development for Digital Media course.

ETSU Digital Media graduates work in a variety of positions at studios and software developers such as Red Storm Entertainment (a Ubisoft studio), Vicious Cycle, Deep Silver Volition, Luma Pictures, RTT Detroit, CBS and Idol Minds. Program alumni have been credited on films and games such as World of Warcraft, Kung Fu Panda, Halo, The Last Jedi, Thor, and the Walking Dead, among others.

East Tennessee State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Established in 1911 as East Tennessee State Normal School, ETSU serves around 13,120 students enrolled in 140 academic programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Programs at East Tennessee State University are housed in eleven colleges and schools.

17. The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School (DAVE School), Orlando, Florida

The Game Production Program at the Digital Animation & Visual Effects School (DAVE School) has two award options: the 12-month Diploma (GPD) and the 32-month Bachelor’s degree. Within the 120 credit hour Bachelor’s program is the Diploma program, so students will receive this credential after completing 60 credits. Among The DAVE School’s flagship programs is a Virtual Production Diploma (VP), which combines the curriculums of the Game Production and VFX Diplomas. The VP Program takes 18 months to complete.

Across all production programs, students will explore areas such as game physics, lighting and production techniques, emerging technologies, concepts and terminology of game production, Unreal Engine, game physics, Unreal for AR/VR, world building, and asset creation. Course examples across programs include Digital Modeling and Sculpting, Fundamentals of Computer Animation, Advanced Asset Creation & Look Development, Real-Time Rendering & Emerging Technologies, and Emerging Real-Time Tech & Pipelines.

The programs at The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School emphasize collaboration, so students will complete a three-month residency in Orlando, Florida where they will work in teams to create games across the entire production pipeline. For the final project, DAVE students will complete an in-house game that will become a major component of their professional demo reel. 

DAVE school graduates are Gameplay Animators, Compositors, Pipeline Supervisors, Lighting Artists, Cinematic Animators, Environmental Artists, and Art Coordinators. DAVE School alumni (and instructors) have worked on productions and games such as Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold, The Mandalorian, Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Deadpool, Green Lantern, Captain America, Dumbo, Conan Exiles, Game of Thrones, Terminator Genisys, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Anthem, The Hunger Games, Jurassic World, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and The Hobbit, among others.

As an academic unit of NUC University, The Digital Animation & Visual Effects (DAVE) School is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MCSHE). The DAVE School campus consists of an 18,000 square foot facility situated on the backlot of Universal Studios Florida, Soundstage 25. The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School has been training game production and visual effects artists since 2000.

18. Loyola University New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana
Loyola University New Orleans

Loyola University New Orleans (Loyno) offers a BS in Computer Science (BS) with Game Programming and a BDes in Interactive Design. Programs are housed in the Math and Computer Science Department in the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Department of Design in the College of Music and Media.

The Game Programming BS provides the opportunity for students to work with game companies to gain valuable skills and experience. Course examples for the program include Doing Things with Videogames, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Making Games, Videogames and Literature, Physics, Game as Art, and Media Play. Students will also take courses such as Computer Graphics, Programming Languages, and Data Structures & Algorithms. An internship is part of the program as well as a final project and portfolio.

In addition to careers in the games and entertainment industry, the Game Programming BS at Loyola University New Orleans prepares student for careers in industries such as Healthcare, the Military, Business, and Education.

In the Interactive Design BDes, students will explore, video game design, environmental design, app and web design, 3D printing, and object design, however, after the sophomore year, students can tailor the curriculum to match their goals by choosing courses across programs. Examples of required courses include Motion Design + Narrative, Interactive Design + Narrative, Professional Design Practice, and Ethics and Contracts. Students in this program, will complete the Design Internship and Design Capstone.

Graduates of the Game Programming and Interactive Design Programs at Loyola University New Orleans work in game design, development, and programming, game testing, software programming and design, multimedia and animation, web design, education and machine learning, among others.

Loyola University New Orleans is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Established in 1904 by Jesuit priests, the school opened as Loyola college. Today, Loyno is one of the nation’s 28 Jesuit colleges and universities and it is open to students of all faiths. Loyola University New Orleans serves around 4,550 students enrolled in 110 undergraduate programs and 36 graduate and professional programs across five colleges.

19. University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, Alabama
University of Alabama in Huntsville

University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) offers a BS in Computer Science (CS) with an Entertainment Computing Concentration and a Game Design and Development Minor that can be added to just about any program. Options are housed in the Department of Computer Science in the College of Science and the Department of Art, Art History, & Design in the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.

The UAH BS in CS/Entertainment Computing is a 128 credit hour program that consists of core courses such as Principles of Programming Languages, Design/Analysis of Algorithms, and Senior Project: Team Software Design. The concentration consists of 15 credit hours. Course examples include Video Game Design & Programming, Game Engines & Level Development, and Artificial Intelligence & Game Development. Students may choose a number of technical electives and others, which provides opportunities to develop skills in additional areas. 

The multidisciplinary Game Design and Development Minor at University of Alabama in Huntsville exposes students to the full game production pipeline. Consisting of 30 credit hours of study, coursework falls under the following categories: Game Computing, Game Animation, Game Sound, and Game Design. Course examples include C Programming, Animation: Organic Modeling, Music Technology, and Game Design: Scripting & Design. Students will also complete Animation: Team Game Design I-II.

Graduates Game Programs at University of Alabama in Huntsville are prepared to pursue positions in game design and development, game animation, software design and development, game programming, level design, project management, systems design, and animation and film, among others.

University of Alabama in Huntsville is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The school was founded as part of the University of Alabama (UA) in 1950. Serving around 9,640 students, UAH offers 89 degrees in more than 100 areas of study across nine colleges.

20. Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Georgia
Georgia Southern University

Georgia Southern University (GSU) houses the College of Engineering and Computing, home to the Computer Science (CS) Department, which offers BS and MS degrees in Computer Science with a Game Programming Certificate. The nine credit hour certificate includes Animation, Game Programming, Computer Graphics, and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) courses. CS requirements include courses such as Programming, Software Engineering, Operating Systems, and Distributed Web Systems Design. A Computer Science Capstone is also part of the program

The BS and MS Programs at Georgia Southern University provide experiential learning opportunities such as internships and co-ops, the opportunity to enroll in the accelerated Bachelors to Masters (ABM) after completing 75-95 credit hours in the BS, and the option to complete wither program at the Statesboro or Savannah campuses, or both.

Other features within the CS Department include mentorship opportunities, networking events with alumni and the College of Engineering and Computing Dean Mohammad Davoud, workshops, field trips to computing and engineering firms, paid research jobs at GSU, and participation in clubs such as the Aurora Game Development Club or Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

Graduates of the Computer Science Programs at Georgia Southern University hold titles such as Video Game Developer, Computer Programmer, Software Developer, Web Developer, Quality Assurance Analyst/Tester, and Network Architect, among others.

Georgia Southern University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Established in 1906, this Top 10 military-friendly school serves nearly 27,000 students making it Georgia’s largest center of higher education south of Atlanta. Georgia Southern University offers approximately 140 different degree programs across three campuses (Statesboro, Savannah, Hinesville, Georgia) and 10 colleges.