What are the top Game Design BA programs for 2022?
|1||University of Southern California||California|
|2||University of Central Florida||Florida|
|3||University of California, Santa Cruz||California|
|4||Savannah College of Art and Design||Georgia|
|5||DigiPen Institute of Technology||Washington|
|7||Michigan State University||Michigan|
|8||University of California, Los Angeles||California|
|9||University of Texas at Dallas||Texas|
|10||Worcester Polytechnic Institute||Massachusetts|
|11||Columbia College Chicago||Illinois|
|12||University of Florida||Florida|
|14||University of Denver||Colorado|
|15||University of Advancing Technology||Arizona|
|16||Otis College of Art and Design||California|
|17||Ferris State University||Michigan|
|19||University of Silicon Valley||California|
|20||University of Wisconsin – Whitewater||Wisconsin|
For our undergraduate degree rankings, we have evaluated game design schools and programs with the best Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), and Bachelor of Science (BS) options. To determine which degree matches your career goals, it is important to understand how each qualification differs.
The Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree is the principal liberal arts degree. Most BA programs require 30-some or 40-some credits, which leaves plenty of flexibility in the form of free electives. BA students can use the free electives to sample widely from other course offerings or to earn an additional credential (a second major, a minor, or some combination of additional credentials).
The Bachelor of Science (BS) degree is offered in areas such as Computer Science, Mathematics, Psychology, Statistics, and each of the natural sciences. The BS is best suited to the student who wants to focus more on courses in the major and on 'collateral' courses (like chemistry or mathematics for a major in Geological Sciences) and is willing to give up some of the flexibility of the BA in return for the greater focus.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree is considered the most prestigious bachelor's degree that you can receive in the visual arts. This option is for students who wish to gain as much experience and skill in the arts as possible.
Below are the Top 20 Schools and Colleges with Game Design BA Programs for 2022.
The University of Southern California (USC) is home to USC Games, which offers a BA in Interactive Entertainment. Housed in the School of Cinematic Arts’ (SCA) Interactive Media & Games Division, the BA combines the study of art, design, engineering, and production. Classes are collaborative, immersive, and hands on, allowing students to develop team-building skills and expertise in every area of game design and development. Courses are taught by working professionals in the field.
Graduates of the USC Games BA in Interactive Entertainment have developed and sold their own games, launched their own studios, or landed positions at major studios such as Riot Games, Disney, Epic Games, Apple, ESPN, and CBS interactive, among others.
The Game Design Program at University of Central Florida (UCF) is housed in Nicholson School of Communication and Media (Games and Interactive Media Department) and the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA). Designers interested in a bachelor’s degree can earn a BA in Digital Media with a Game Design Track.
The program provides access to state-of-the-art production facilities, such as the 3,300 square feet MOCAP studio, where students 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 California, Santa Cruz (UC Santa Cruz or UCSC) was the first institution in the University of California System to launch an undergraduate game major. Housed in the Jack Baskin School of Engineering (BSOE), and known as Games @ UC Santa Cruz, this intensive program has expanded to include options at all degree levels.
Programs are offered at the UC Santa Cruz and Silicon Valley campuses. For students seeking a BA, Games @ UC Santa Cruz offers a BA in Art & Design: Games and Playable Media.
All Games @ UC Santa Cruz students have access to BSOE facilities and centers such as The Center for Computational Experience, Advanced Visualization and Interactive Systems, Ludo Lab, Critical Realities Studio, Software Introspection Laboratory, Expressive Intelligence Studio, ADL (Augmented Design Laboratory), Social Emotional Technology Lab, and The Other Lab.
Other program benefits include participation in the Annual Games Showcase, game design internships, and frequent studio tours. Undergraduates will complete a Capstone Project during the final year of their program and graduate students will complete a Thesis Project, Research Project, or both.
Graduates of the UC Santa Cruz Game Design Programs have gone on to establish careers in the industry at companies and studios such as Electronic Arts (EA), Tencent, Amazon, Universal, Google, TicToc Games, Method Studios, Ubisoft, TopGolf, and Hi-Rez Studios, among others.
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, the BA in Digital Media has Game Development and Interactive Design Tracks.
The School of Digital Media at SCAD provides opportunities for game design students to 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.
DigiPen Institute of Technology (DigiPen) launched the world’s first bachelor’s degree in Video Game Technology and Development. The program has evolved and expanded to include BS degrees in Computer Science (CS) & Game Design, and Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation, and BA in Game Design.
The DigiPen Game Design BA Program explores interactive systems and game design, communications, user experience, and psychology. Students will work in multidisciplinary teams in a studio environment to create software and a series of video games.
DigiPen Institute of Technology graduates enjoy a high job placement rate. To date, more than 600 companies have hired DigiPen graduates. A few examples include Epic Games, DreamWorks Interactive, Google, Amazon, Walt Disney Imagineering, SpaceX, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Microsoft, Electronic Arts (EA), ArenaNet, Bungie, Activision, Insomniac Games, Zynga, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Booz Allen Hamilton, Intel Corporation, Ubisoft Shanghai, and Take-Two Interactive.
The College of Computing & Informatics at Drexel University offers a BA in Computer Science (BAC) with a Concentration in Game Programming and Development. Small, classes allow for individual instruction and the cooperative (co-op) education program enables students to gain work and world experience prior to graduation. Co-op experiences are local, national, and in places such as Hong Kong, London, Spain, Ghana, and Greece, among others.
A full-year capstone project is also part of the program and BA students have unlimited access to the Center for Games, Artificial Intelligence, and Media Systems (GAIMS Center), Drexel Game Design and the RePlay Lab, and the Entrepreneurial Game Studio (EGS).
Graduates of the Game Design Program at Drexel University are prepared to pursue positions in pc, mobile and console game design, game art, simulation, education, training, and more.
Michigan State University (MSU) houses the College of Communication Arts and Sciences (ComArtSci), home to the Department of Media and Information (MI), which offers a BA in Games and Interactive Media.
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 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.
Michigan State University Games and Interactive Media 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 School of the Arts and Architecture (UCLA Arts) at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) is home to the Department of Design Media Arts (DMA). The department offers a BA in DMA (BA DMA) that explores everything from interactivity and motion to video and game design. Courses for the program are taught as studios of up to 22 students. Sample courses include 3D Modeling and Motion, Game Design, Tangible Media, Word + Image, and Video. DMA BFA students will complete a final project—the Senior Project—in Interactivity and Games, Video and Animation, or Visual Communication and Image.
In addition to the DMA BA Program, the University of California Los Angeles houses UCLA Extension and the UCLA Game Lab. UCLA Extension offers game design courses such as Developing Video Game Narratives, Unity: 3D Game Design and Game Engines, Composing Music for Video Games, Producing Commercials for Games, and 3D Real-Time Animation.
The UCLA Game Lab is a research center supported by the School of Theater, Film and Television, and UCLA Arts. All DMA and UCLA Extension students may participate in the lab, which hosts visiting artists and researchers, guest speaker events, and workshops.
The School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication (ATEC) at the University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) is a research school that offers multidisciplinary STEAM (science, technology, art, engineering, and management) programs. Serving more than 1,800 students today, ATEC launched in 2015 after the merging of two departments: Arts and Technology and Emerging Media and Communication. Programs lead to degrees at all levels—including the BA.
All ATEC Programs offer opportunities to study game design and development. For example, the ATEC BA has an Animation & Games (A&G) Concentration. Students may also create a specialization through electives and other courses.
Other ATEC Program highlights include access to the following studios and facilities: Game Lab, Motion Capture Studio, Games Research Lab, Surround Studio, The Studio for Mediating Play, Animation Lab, ATEC Lecture Hall, CG Animation Lab, 3D Studio, experimenta.l., Render Farm, Mixed Media Lab, Games and Media Library, Render Farm, Surround Studio, and the Narrative Systems Research Lab. The ATEC Lecture Hall has hosted speakers from Disney, Pixar, and DreamWorks.
Graduates of the ATEC Program at University of Texas at Dallas have been recruited by major studios and companies such as Pixar, Google, Capital One, DreamWorks, Apple, Toyota, and Disney.
The School of Arts and Sciences at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) houses one of the nation’s first gaming programs—Interactive Media & Game Development (IMGD). The BA in IMGD has Concentrations in Animation, 3D Sculpting, Design, Writing, and Technical Artistry.
The program blends art, technology, and real-world experience through a co-op or internship. As part of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, IMGD graduates enjoy frequent on-campus recruiting events and a 92.7% success rate. Examples of companies that have hired WPI IMGD graduates include Kaon Interactive, Zudy, Centers Technology, NexGen Interactions, and NuVu.
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.
Specific degrees for students seeking a BA include BAs in Game Art and Game Design with Concentrations in Game Development and Game Sound Design. Students in all options will begin 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.
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). This program may be completed in campus or fully online. 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 BADAS requires 120 credit hours of study and successful completion of a final DAS project.
Graduates of the BADAS Program 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.
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. ETBD offers a BA in Interactive Media Studies (IMS). This collaborative, interdisciplinary program 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.
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 open to 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.
Game Design at the University of Denver (DU) takes place in the Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science. Specific degree programs are part of the Ritchie School’s Computer Science (CS) Department. CS students may specialize in just about any area. Other department highlights include small class sizes, coursework in modern software engineering with classes taught by faculty members who are active in research, and access to student-run, synergetic clubs such as the DU Game Developers Society, DU Esports, Women in Technology, and DU Computer Science.
The BA in Applied Computing and Game Development includes a Game Capstone where students will work in teams to conceptualize, design, test, and debug an industry-ready game. In addition to learning about the game design process from start to finish, DU CS students will develop group collaboration and researching skills.
BA students will also have opportunities to participate in experiential learning opportunities, the study abroad and internship programs, and cooperative education. Recent University of Denver internship employers include The Walt Disney Company, NBC Universal, Oracle, Ball Aerospace, and Charter Communications.
University of Denver CS alumni work in all 50 states and across 145 countries. They are game designers and developers, software engineers, multimedia artists, game programmers, and entrepreneurs.
University of Advancing Technology (UAT) established UAT Game Design in 1995. BAs in Game Art and Animation, Game Design, and Virtual Reality are available.
The Game Art and Animation BA trains students to create 2D and 3D art and animation for mobile, PC, console, and virtual reality platforms, and online. Students in the 120 credit hour Game Design BA will work their way through the entire game production pipeline to create an original game. In addition, students will complete a professional portfolio and the Student Innovation Project.
BA graduates are prepared to pursue positions such as game designer, game developer, game programmer, mechanical mesh animator, game artist, animator, designer, interface designer, modeler, rigger, or texture artist, character animator or texture artist, and environment artist.
UAT Game Design graduates work for major studios and organizations such as Nickelodeon, the Department of Defense, Intel, Electronic Arts (EA), Microsoft, Blizzard Entertainment, and Google, among others.
Otis College of Art and Design (Otis) offers a BA in Digital Media with a Game and Entertainment Design Emphasis. The program explores game and concept art, visual development, and business. Course examples include CG for Digital Artists, Creative Action Studio, Practicum in Games and Entertainment, Concept Development and Creativity, Storytelling for Digital Artists, Drawing Studio – Expanded Practices, and Connections through Color and Design.
During the last two years of the program, Digital Media BA students will complete Business Seminar I-II, Practicum in Games I-II, Senior Project I-II, and the Liberal Arts Capstone.
Otis College of Art and Design alumni work at major studios and technology companies such as Apple, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Disney, Nickelodeon, Pixar, DreamWorks, and Mattel, among others.
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.
The program 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 Game Design Program at Bradley University offers BA degrees in Game Design and Game Art. BA 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 polished 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.
University of Silicon Valley (USV), formerly Cogswell College, offers a BA in Game Design Art that provides opportunities to complete an internship at a local studio or other business. Learning environments are immersive and collaborative, and four focus areas are available including Game Writing, 3D Modeling, Entertainment Design, and 3D Animation.
The BA program explores game concepts and techniques, software engineering, collaboration with multidisciplinary teams, game authoring, narrative, and application of gameplay. All students will create an online portfolio that demonstrates techniques, skills, and principles applicable in the industry.
USV alumni go on to establish careers in game design and development, game programming, game art, animation, and entertainment design, among others. Graduates have been recruited by studios such as Electronic Arts (EA), Blizzard Entertainment, Zynga, Atari, and 2K Games.
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.