What are the top game design MS/MA programs in the U.S. for 2022?
|1||University of Southern California||California|
|2||University of Utah||Utah|
|3||Rochester Institute of Technology||New York|
|4||University of Central Florida||Florida|
|5||University of California, Santa Cruz||California|
|6||Savannah College of Art and Design||Georgia|
|7||Full Sail University||Florida|
|8||Georgia Institute of Technology||Georgia|
|9||Southern Methodist University||Texas|
|12||Massachusetts Institute of Technology||Massachusetts|
|13||Michigan State University||Michigan|
|14||Texas A&M University||Texas|
|15||University of Texas at Dallas||Texas|
|16||Worcester Polytechnic Institute||Massachusetts|
|17||University of Florida||Florida|
|19||Clemson University||South Carolina|
|20||Academy of Art University||California|
|21||University of Pennsylvania||Pennsylvania|
|22||George Mason University||Virginia|
|23||University of Advancing Technology||Arizona|
|24||American University||District of Columbia|
|25||Louisiana State University||Louisiana|
For our graduate degree rankings, we have evaluated animation schools and programs with the best Master of Arts (MA), Master of Fine Arts (MFA) and Master of Science (MS) options. To determine which degree matches your career goals, it is important to understand how each qualification differs.
The Master of Arts (MA) is an advanced degree that focuses on areas such as the humanities. MA degrees are typically available in the areas of communications, English, teaching, literature, linguistics, art, and languages. Seminars are the main method of learning for MA programs and most programs do not require a thesis.
The Master of Science (MS) degree option typically focuses on science, technology, engineering, and math. This advanced degree often includes immersive lab work, scientific research, analysis, and evaluation. Unlike MA programs, most MS programs require a thesis.
The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) is academically recognized as a terminal degree and it is typically awarded in the visual, fine and performing arts. The MFA degree demands the highest level of professional competency in these areas and practicing artists must exhibit the highest level of accomplishment through the generation of a body of work.
Below are the Top 25 Game Design Schools and Colleges with MS-MA Programs for 2022.
1. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
The University of Southern California (USC) is home to USC Games—a collection of 10 minors and four degree programs leading to a BA, BS, MFA or MS. Programs are housed in the School of Cinematic Arts’ (SCA) Interactive Media & Games Division or the Viterbi School of Engineering, Department of Computer Science. The MA in Cinematic Art (Media Arts, Games and Health) is offered in conjunction with SCA, the Graduate School and the Creative Media & Behavioral Health Center.
The USC Games Program 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 USC Games 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.
2. University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
The Entertainment Arts & Engineering (EAE) Program at the University of Utah (The U) a Master of Entertainment Arts and Engineering (MEAE) and an 84 credit hour, dual MBA/MEAE.
The EAE Programs at The U are interdisciplinary and immersive with a focus on computational research, art, social science, and art. Course examples across EAE include Alternative Game Development, Ethics in Games, Assets Pipeline, Digital Content Creation, Traditional Game Development, Survey of Games, Programming, Scientific Computing, Machinima, Serious Game Development, Algorithms, Game Engineering and Production, and Competitive Strategies.
Students in the programs will work through every level of game creation and they will graduate with one or more completed games. Depending on the program, EAE graduates will be prepared to pursue positions in game art, design, development or engineering, simulation or edutainment, business (games), and visualization, among others.
3. Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York
Rochester Institute of Technology’s (RIT) B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences (GCCIS) houses the School of Interactive Games & Media (IGM), which offers an MS degree in Game Design and Development, and an Accelerated BS/MS. IGM programs explore animation, math and science, interactive media, modeling, user interaction, and of course, game design and development.
Course examples across programs include Games for Change, Physical Computing & Alternative Interfaces, Casual Game Development, Systems Concepts for Games and Media, Game Engine Design and Development, Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Gameplay, Console Development, Level Design, Game Design and Development for Casual and Mobile Platforms, and Gameplay and Prototyping.
Seminars, game development and research studios, and independent study are also part of the programs. RIT IGM Game Design and Development students will also have the rare opportunity to complete two paid blocks of cooperative education, which will allow them to gain experience in the games industry through a full-time employment at a studio.
Google, Cartoon Network, Electronic Arts (EA), Sony Interactive Entertainment, Epic Games, and Microsoft are just a few recent co-op companies. Students will also have the opportunity to develop and commodify their own games at RIT’s MAGIC Spell Studios.
4. University of Central Florida + Florida Interactive Academy, Orlando, 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). Graduate options include the MA in Digital Media and 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.
5. University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California
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 MFA, MS, and PhD degrees. Programs are offered at the UC Santa Cruz and Silicon Valley campuses.
MS degree options include Serious Games, Computational Media, and Games and Playable Media. Students in all programs have access to Games @ UC Santa Cruz 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.
6. Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia
The Interactive Design and Game Development Program (IDGD) at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has an MA IDGD option that is available online via SCADnow, and at the Atlanta and Savannah campuses. Housed in the School of Digital Media, the program provides opportunities 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.
7. Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
The Game School at Full Sail University offers a Game Design MS. In addition to gaining production experience in a real-world studio environment on campus, Full Sail MS 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.
8. Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia
Georgia Institute of Technology (GeorgiaTech) offers an MS in Digital Media and a BS/MS in Computer Science. Students may select courses across departments, which provides plenty of opportunities to study game design. Students also 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.
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. The MS and MS/MS programs are offered in the College of Computing, and the School of Literature, Media, and Communication in the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.
Graduates of the Digital Media and Computer Science 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.
9. Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas
Southern Methodist University (SMU) houses the SMU Guildhall, which launched in 2003 with 32 full-time students. When it opened, the Guildhall became the first graduate-level digital game development program of its kind. Today, the program has partnerships with hundreds of studios and companies across the globe. Some 860+ SMU Guildhall alumni have worked at more than 270 studios worldwide.
A sampling of Guildhall industry partners includes Disney Interactive, Blizzard Entertainment, Gameloft, Insomniac Games, Riot Games, Unity, Bethesda Softworks, Samsung, Epic Games, Microsoft Game Studios, Bungie, and Gearbox Software, to name a few.
Other Guildhall highlights include professional development coursework, career fairs, guest speakers, workshops, lectures, mentorship programs, team game projects, and portfolio reviews.
Program offerings at SMU Guildhall include a Master of Interactive Technology (MIT) in Digital Game Development (thesis required) and a Professional Certificate in Digital Game Development (no thesis). Guildhall specialization options include Art Creation, Level Design, Production, and Software Development. To graduate, students will develop a minimum of three industry-ready 2D and 3D games.
10. Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design (The Westphal College) at Drexel University (Drexel) offers a Game Design and Production/Digital Media (BS/MS) and an Interactive Digital Media/Digital Media (BS/MS).
Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), The Westphal College programs are studio-based and hands-on. Small class sizes 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.
Students in all programs have 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 Programs at Drexel University are prepared to pursue positions in pc, mobile and console game design, game art, simulation, education, training, and more.
11. DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois
The Game Design Program at DePaul University (DePaul) offers an MS in Game Programming. Housed in DePaul’s College of Computing and Digital Media (CDM), the Game Design Program 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.
12. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, Massachusetts
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) houses the MIT Game Lab, which helps students customize a plan of study that matches their goals. The Lab is also a research and development hub that designs games for research.
Besides opportunities to customize the curriculum, individuals interested in studying game design at MIT may do so through several programs that have the option to choose electives from any department or a built-in “cluster.” Examples include the Comparative Media Studies (CMS), and Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) Programs.
Housed in the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS), the Department of Comparative Media Studies (CMS) offers a graduate program leading to the MS in CMS. The Games and Interactive Media Cluster consists of more than 20 game design course options.
The Electrical Engineering & Computer Science Department in the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing (MIT EECS) is the largest department at MIT. EECS offers an MS in CSE. The program is highly interdisciplinary and emphasizes lab work, research, on-campus team and independent projects, and off-campus internships with MIT partner companies. Areas explored include software engineering, programming languages, human-computer interaction (HCI) and graphics, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, algorithms and theory, and computer systems.
Elective requirements allow students to take additional courses that focus on games. Courses may be offered within and outside the department. Examples from the CMS Department include Game Design Methods, Videogame Theory, Interactive Narrative, Imagination, Computation & Expression Studio, Game Design, Advanced Game Design Studio, Designing Interactions, Design and Development for Games and Learning, Games and Culture, Games for Social Change, Fun and Games: Cross-Cultural Perspectives.
13. Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan
Michigan State University (MSU) houses the College of Communication Arts and Sciences (ComArtSci). Serving more than 3,500 students, ComArtSci is home to the Department of Media and Information (MI) and the MSU Game Design Program. Established in 2005, the program offers an MA in MI with a Games Studies and Design Focus.
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 an MS in Computer Science with a Specialization in Media and Information Studies. The program provides the option to take games-related courses offered in other departments. Students will also take courses in Systems Design and Analysis, Data Analysis and Applications, and Theory and Algorithms.
14. Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas
The College of Architecture at Texas A&M University (TAMU) is home to the Visualization Program (VISL or Viz Lab). Established in 1988, VISL offers an MS in Visualization that allows students to study game design through free electives or emphasis areas such as Gaming or Interactive Design. Students may also add a Game Development Minor.
Course options across VISL include Principles of Design, 2D and 3D Visualization Techniques, Visual Studies Studio, and Computing for Visualization. The 16 credit hour Game Development Minor consists of courses such as Computer Graphics, Programming, Communication and Video Games, HCI, and Interactive Virtual Environments.
The VISL MS program has thesis and non-thesis tracks. The thesis option is designed for students interested in games research development or entering a PhD program. The non-thesis track is a popular option for TAMU students who would like to focus on portfolio development in a specific area.
Texas A&M University VISL graduates are often hired at major studios such as Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), DreamWorks Animation, and Pixar.
15. University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, Texas
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 the BA, MA, MFA, or PhD in ATC.
All ATEC Programs, including the MA, offer opportunities to study game design and development by designing their own specialization or through electives. 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.
16. Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Massachusetts
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). IMGD offers an BS/MS in IMGD that allows students to complete both degrees at an accelerated pace. Students can complete the program in four to five years. 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.
17. University of Florida, Gainesville, 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 Masters in Digital Arts and Sciences (MiDAS). Institute highlights 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.
The UF Digital Worlds Institute MiDAS Program also 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 Digital Arts and Sciences 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.
18. Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts
The MS in Game Science and Design at Northeastern University (Northeastern) is jointly offered through the College of Arts, Media and Design (CAMD) and Khoury College of Computer Sciences. This multidisciplinary program provides work experience through the co-op program full-time graduate students. Northeastern University partners with more than 20,000 co-op employers nationwide and in 65+ countries across the globe.
In addition to gaining work experience, MS students benefit from hands-on learning in collaborative classrooms and studios, access to state-ot-the-art production facilities, courses taught by industry professionals, and access to 3,350+ employer partners, including Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and global companies.
Graduates of the Game Design Programs at Northeastern University work in game art, design, development, and sound, art and design, animation, technology, and more. Examples of alumni employer’s include Google, Microsoft Studios, Cognizant, and Zynga.
19. Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina
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. Here, students can enroll in the DPA MS or the 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.
20. Academy of Art University, San Francisco, California
The School of Game Development at Academy of Art University (Academy of Art) offers an MA in Game Development. STEM-certified, the School of Game Development operates under the direction of game design professionals. Programs at the school are all-encompassing, so student designers will explore animation/animation VFX, game, systems, and tools programming, coding, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), user interface/user experience (UI/UX) design, artificial intelligence (AI), coding, programming, rigging, concept art, 3D modeling, technical art, level design, and more.
Thanks to partnerships with studios such as Zynga, Sony Interactive Entertainment, and Riot Games, School of Game Development students have opportunities to gain real-world experience through an internship. In addition to working at a top studio prior to graduation, students will engage in hands-on learning in the Academy of Art Game Development Studio. Facilities include cross-departmental war rooms, esports and AR/VR labs, and more.
Academy of Art, School of Game Development alumni have been recruited by Sledgehammer Games, Naughty Dog, Crystal Dynamics, Riot Games, Zynga, and Sony Interactive Entertainment, among others.
21. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) offers an interdisciplinary program for game designers. It is one of the few programs of its kind offered at a four-year research university. Launched in 2004 by the Center for Human Modeling and Simulation (HMS), the Computer Graphics and Game Technology (CGGT) Program leads to the Master of Engineering (MSE) in CGGT.
The Center for HMS is part of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences’ Computer and Information Science Department (CIS), so MSE in CGGT students will take at least four computer science and engineering courses along with technical, graphics, and free electives. Course examples for the program include Applied Machine Learning, GPU Programming and Architecture, Machine Perception, Engineering Entrepreneurship, Game Design and Development, and Computer Animation.
CGGT students may specialize in areas such as Creative Design, Animation and Simulation Technology, Human/Computer Interfaces and Production Management, and Art and Animation. Other program high points include collaboration with students from other departments such as Digital Media Design (DMD), and access the SIG Center for Computer Graphics, which features a state-of-the-art motion capture studio, ViDi Center for Digital Visualization Center, AR/VR systems (Vive, Oculus, and HoloLens), and high-performance NVidia GPU processors.
The MSE CGGT program prepares students for a variety of positions in game design and animation. Graduates of the University of Pennsylvania MSE in CGGT Program have established careers at major studios such as Disney, Electronic Arts (EA), and DreamWorks Animation.
22. George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia
Founded in 2001, the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) at George Mason University (GMU) offers more than 1,400 majors across four disciplines including Computer Game Design, Arts Management, Film and Video Studies, and Art and Visual Technology: Dance, Music, and Theater. Graduate game design options include an MA in Computer Game Design.
CVPA Computer Game Design students have access to the Virginia Serious Game Institute (VSGI). Housed in GMU’s Science and Technology Campus, VSGI focuses on job creation, start-ups, and research. In collaboration with government agencies, companies, and non-profit organizations, VSGI develops research projects in areas such as Cyber-Game education, mobile and wearable game technologies, EdTech Game platform development, AR/VR diagnostic and training solutions, and MedSim.
Also part of the VSGI is the Mason Game and Technology Academy (MGTA). Founded in 2013, MGTA operates in partnership with Mason Computer Game Design Program. MGTA provides the opportunity for students to develop skills in game design and programming, artificial intelligence (AI), and Machine learning.
Graduates of the GMU Computer Game Design Program are prepared to seek employment in the commercial, entertainment, serious games, education, and nonprofit sectors.
23. University of Advancing Technology, Tempe, Arizona
University of Advancing Technology (UAT) established UAT Game Design in 1995. At the graduate level, the program offers an MS that allows students to combine four skills-based learning modules to complete their degree. Modules can also be taken independently or as a certificate. Students may create a specialization from electives as well. Sample modules include Game Development, Game Production, Digital Maker, App Development, Technology Startup, and Technology Leadership.
Like all UAT programs, the MS consists of live simulation, mentors, the opportunity to work on tech and community projects solo or with a team, and a mandatory industry internship. Graduate programs are offered on campus and online.
Graduates of UAT Games work for major studios and organizations such as Nickelodeon, the Department of Defense, Intel, Electronic Arts (EA), Microsoft, Blizzard Entertainment, and Google, among others.
24. American University, Washington, DC
American University (AU) offers an MA in Game Design and an MS in Computer Science. The MA in Game Design is administered jointly by the School of Communication and the Department of Computer Science, College of Arts and Sciences (CAS). Students in the MA program may choose courses across schools and departments. Examples include Political Communication, Web and Mobile Development, Dynamic Content, and Business. The MA requires 21 credits in game design and six in the Master’s Portfolio Capstone. Game Prototyping, Making Meaningful Games, and Game Development are just a few required courses.
The MS in Computer Science is offered in the Department of Computer Science. Students may add the Game and Computational Media Track, which explores games, simulation and modeling, media, software engineering, entertainment, artificial intelligence (AI), environments, programming languages, and computer architecture. Internship and research opportunities are also part of the program.
AU MA and MS students have access to the AU Game Center, which explores the use of games in recreation, the media, health, education, the community, politics, policy, and more. The Center also offers workshops. Students will also obtain real-world experience by working on projects with the Game Studio, and with clients such as local studios, government agencies, and non-profit organizations.
AU Game students will also have opportunities to network at DC-area events such as the Global Game Jam, MAGfest, Games+, and Indie Arcade at SAAM.
25. Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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 required 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.