What are the top game design schools in the East for 2022?
|Carnegie Mellon University
|New York University
|Rochester Institute of Technology
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology
|Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
|Worcester Polytechnic Institute
|The New School's Parsons School of Design
|University of Pennsylvania
|George Mason University
|District of Columbia
|Maryland Institute College of Art
|University of the Arts
|Stony Brook University
|University of Connecticut
|New Jersey Institute of Technology
|University at Buffalo
|Fitchburg State University
|University of Baltimore
Our 2022 rankings of the top game design programs in the East. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.
1. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
The Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU or Carnegie Mellon) houses a master’s program for game designers and a minor in collaboration with the Integrative Design, Arts, and Technology Network (IDeATe). Founded in 1998, the ETC is a partnership between Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Fine Arts and the School of Computer Science.
The ETC Master’s in Entertainment Technology (MET) is a terminal degree that takes two years to complete. The program explores everything from acting to worldbuilding. Specific required courses include Fundamentals of Entertainment Technology, Visual Story, and Improvisational Acting, Building Virtual Worlds. ETC MET students will also take electives from the following areas: Leadership & Innovation, Interactive Storytelling, Themed Entertainment, Game Design, and General. Possible elective options include Game Design, Prototyping and Production, Experience Design, Role Playing Game Writing Workshop, Entrepreneurship in ETC, and Advanced Pipeline Topics for Film and Game Art.
The ETC IDeATe Minor in Game Design is open to all majors at CMU. Note that the school has more than 7,000 major/minor combo options. Popular options for game designers include the BFA in Art/Game Design Minor, BS in Computer Science (CS)/Game Design Minor, the Bachelor of Computer Science and Arts (BCSA)/Game Design Minor, and the BS in Music and Technology/Game Design Minor. ETC also allows students across departments to enroll in individual courses to enhance their program of study.
Students in the ETC IDeATe Minor in Game Design will take courses that cover topics such as game programming, Interactive narrative and character development, user testing, computing, interface design, game systems and mechanics design, visual and audio design, teamwork, and the design process. The ETC IDeATe Minor in Game Design requires a minimum of 45 units of study.
Graduates of the Game Design Programs at Carnegie Mellon University are routinely hired by top companies such as Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Meta (formerly Facebook). Other employers include 2K Games, A3 by Airbus, and 31st Street Studios.
Carnegie Mellon University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Founded in 1900, CMU serves more than 14,500 students enrolled in 200+ programs in seven colleges and schools. Carnegie Mellon University also has more than 20 research partnerships in Silicon Valley, Australia, Africa, and Qatar.
2. New York University (NYU), New York, New York
New York University’s (NYU) Tisch School of the Arts houses the Department of Game Design, home to The NYU Game Center and NYU Game Center Incubator. Founded in 2008, The NYU Game Center hosts events and programs such as the NYU Game Center Lecture Series, No Quarter Exhibition (est. 2010), and the professional game conference known as PRACTICE: Game Design in Detail. The Center also hosts workshops and tournaments.
NYU Tisch Game Center programs include BFA and MFA degrees in Game Design, and Minor in Games. The minor consists of 18 credit hours of study and it explores foundation game studies and other areas through elective coursework. Graduate students will complete a thesis project to be presented at the NYU Game Center Spring Show.
All programs at the NYU Game Center consist of immersive academic seminars and hands-on experiences in the Center’s development studios and play labs. Students may focus on programming, design, or visual design for games, game criticism, game art, or other areas.
A major component of the NYU Game Center is the internship program. Students have completed internships at Disney, Ubisoft, TreSensa, and Arkadium. NYU Game Center graduates will leave the program with a resume and several finished games
New York University alumni are game artists, designers, and developers, entrepreneurs, AI engineers, and software publishers. They work at companies and studios such as Blizzard Entertainment, Riot Games, Amazon, Tencent, Take-Two Interactive, ESPN, Nickelodeon, and IGDA Japan, among others.
New York University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Serving nearly 55,000 students, the school is one of the nation’s largest private universities. Founded in 1831 and offering an estimated 400+ programs, NYU has additional campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai, and 11 global academic centers in Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, and South America. Tisch School of Arts was founded in 1956 as a school within New York University.
3. Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York
Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) has a number of paths to study game design. Housed in the College of Art and Design is the School of Design, which offers a BFA in 3D Digital Design. Course examples for the program include Game Development and Algorithmic Problem Solving, Computer Science, Environment Design, Layers and Effects, and Modeling and Motion Strategies courses.
Within RIT’s B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences (GCCIS) is the School of Interactive Games & Media (IGM), which offers BS and MS degrees in Game Design and Development. An Accelerated BS/MS is also available. All 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.
Rochester Institute of Technology is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Dating back to 1829, the school has campuses in China, Croatia, Dubai, and Kosovo. RIT serves more than 19,000 students, making it one of the nation’s largest private universities. More than 200 programs are offered in 11 colleges and institutes.
4. Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design (The Westphal College) at Drexel University (Drexel) has majors, minors, and accelerated programs for game designers. Options include Game Design and Production (BS), Game Design and Production/Digital Media (BS/MS), Interactive Digital Media/Digital Media (BS/MS), and Interactive Digital Media (Minor).
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.
The College of Computing & Informatics at Drexel University offers additional options for designers looking for a program that combines game development with computer science. Available pathways include BA and BS degrees in Computer Science (BAC, BSCS) and a 24 credit hour Computer Science Minor. The degree programs offer a Concentration in Game Programming and Development. Like The Westphal College programs, the Computer Science programs provide a hands-on curriculum combined with valuable co-op experiences. The programs end with a full-year capstone project.
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.
Drexel University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). The Digital Media Programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Arts & Design (NASAD). Established in 1891 as Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry, Drexel University serves nearly 23,600 students, enrolled in more than 200 degree programs in 15 colleges and schools.
5. 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 School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS), the Department of Comparative Media Studies (CMS) offers programs leading to a BS or 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 BS and MS degrees in Computer Science and Engineering. Programs are highly interdisciplinary and emphasize lab work, research, on-campus team and independent projects, and off-campus internships with MIT partner companies. Programs explore 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.
The MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences (BCS) offers an additional program for designers looking to specialize in unique areas such as psychological games and behavioral change. The BS in Brain & Cognitive Science is offered in partnership with the EECS Department. And finally, students who are interested in the business side of game development or who would like to launch their own studios, can enroll in the BS in Business Program, housed in the MIT Sloan School of Management. The same rules apply. For both options, students may work with the MIT Game Lab to customize a focus area that aligns with their goals.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). The school was founded on April 10, 1861, just two days before the start of the Civil War. MIT serves nearly 12,000 students enrolled in more than 100 programs in five schools.
6. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) is a designated New York State Center of Excellence (NYSTAR) in Digital Game Development. Housed in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS) is the Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences (GSAS) Department, which offers a BS in Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences, and MS and PhD degrees in Critical Game Design.
The GSAS Department emphasis interdisciplinary study. This allows students in all programs to explore 3D animation, music and audio for games, programming, software engineering, digital arts, and experimental game design. RPI GSAS students will also take courses in management and leadership, and they will work in teams to build games. Students will graduate from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute GSAS Programs with a professional portfolio of their creative works.
RPI GSAS alumni go on to establish careers in a variety of fields such as game design and development, animation, artificial intelligence (AI), visualization, interactive simulation, computer science, and fine arts, among others.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA-CESS). Established in 1824, RPI is the oldest technological research university in the U.S. Serving more than 7,600 students, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute offers 100+ degree programs in five schools.
7. 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). Degree options for game designers include a BA, BS, Minor, and MFA in IMGD. A BS/MS in IMGD allows students to complete both degrees at an accelerated pace. Students can complete the program in four to five years.
The IMGD BA has Concentrations in Animation, 3D Sculpting, Design, Writing, and Technical Artistry. The BS allows students to begin working on everything from games and virtual environments to interactive fiction from the very first day of the program. The WPI MFA is an interdisciplinary, studio-based program that has three focus areas: Serious Games, Production and Management, and Technical. Students will leave the MFA program with a solo thesis project or a group project. In the WPI IMGD Minor, students may design a focus area consisting of six courses in game studies, animation, social impact of games, game design, and others.
All programs blend 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.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). Established in 1865, WPI is a top 25 STEM college, with more than 50 global project centers on six continents. Serving 7,230 students, Worcester Polytechnic Institute offers 70+ degree programs across four schools: Arts & Sciences, Business, Engineering, and The Global School.
8. Champlain College, Burlington, Vermont
The Champlain College Division of Communication & Creative Media houses a game design program that offers pathways to careers in all areas of the games industry. Known as The Game Studio at Champlain College, the program offers a BFA in Creative Media with a Game Media Concentration and BS degrees in Game Business and Publishing, Game Design, Game Programming, Game Art, Game Sound Design, and Game Production Management. An 18-credit Minor in Game Programming is also available.
Students in all programs benefit from small class sizes, courses taught by game industry experts, interdisciplinary, career-focused curriculums, and collaboration in a studio-like setting that mirrors today’s game studio environment. Study abroad experiences in Montreal, Canada, with internship opportunities at the Montreal Game Summit and the Montreal International Game Developers Association, are also part of the program, and students may also have opportunities to intern at places such as Xbox Game Studios and Wired Magazine.
During the final years of The Game Studio at Champlain College, students will develop a number of games that may be presented to recruiters from Gameloft, Activision, and Warner Bros., among others. BFA and BS students will also have opportunities to network with representatives from other major studios such as Sony, Insomniac, Rockstar, ArenaNet, Survios, Ubisoft, and Crystal Dynamics.
Champlain College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). Established in 1878, the school serves 2,100 students enrolled in 111 subject areas including undergraduate majors, minors, concentrations, and design-your-own-major. In addition to Champlain College’s main campus in Burlington, Vermont, the school has campuses in Montreal, Canada and Dublin, Ireland.
9. The New School's Parsons School of Design, New York, New York
The School of Art, Media, and Technology (AMT) at The New School's Parsons School of Design (Parsons) houses a Design and Technology (DT) Program with options leading to a BFA or MFA in DT. Programs in the School of AMT are STEM-designated and provide networking opportunities and collaborations with external partners, studios and lab courses led by working artists and designers who are experts in their fields, and internship opportunities with local and national companies.
The DT BFA offers informal pathways made up of Game Design Pathway that consists of electives, Core Studio and Core Lab courses. Like all undergraduate programs at Parsons, the first year of the BFA will cover the liberal arts, and art and design concepts such as drawing, digital design, and 2D and 3D processes. All first-year students at Parsons, regardless of major, will take their required courses together.
The studio-based MFA in DT consists of Collaboration Studio and Thesis Studio courses. In Collaboration Studio courses, students will work with partner companies on real-world projects. Examples of past partners include Apple, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Samsung, NASA, Intel, Red Bull, and Mozilla.
The New School's Parsons School of Design is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Founded in 1896, the school serves more than 10,000 students enrolled 100+ degree and diploma programs. The New School Parsons has campuses in New York City, Paris, Shanghai, and Mumbai.
10. Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts
Northeastern University (Northeastern) offers several programs for game designers in the College of Arts, Media and Design (CAMD) and Khoury College of Computer Sciences. Undergraduate options include BFAs in Game Design and Game Art & Animation, BS degrees in Computer Science and Game Development, and Game Design and Music with a Concentration in Music Technology. Game Art and Game Design Minors are also available.
Graduate programs include an MS in Game Science and Design and Certificates in Game Design and Game Analytics. The MS is jointly offered through CAMD and Khoury, and all programs at all levels are multidisciplinary.
Students in the game design programs at Northeastern will participate in the school’s distinctive co-op program. This experiential learning program allows undergraduate students to gain up to 18 months of hands-on, professional experience in game design. A graduate co-op program is available for 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, students in all programs enjoy 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.
Northeastern University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). Founded in 1898, the school serves around 33,700 students enrolled in 270 undergraduate majors, over 170 combined majors, and 150+ master's degree and certificate programs. Northeastern University degree programs are offered in nine colleges and schools.
11. 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.
Also housed within the School of Engineering and Applied Science is the Digital Media Design Program. Created in 1998, this interdisciplinary program combines coursework from UPenn School of Design and the CIS Department. Leading to a Bachelor’s in Engineering and Science (BSE) with a Digital Media Design Major (DMD), the program explores animation, interactive technologies, games, computer graphics, and virtual reality design. A programming-intensive Digital Media Design (DMD) Minor is also available.
UPenn DMD graduates are routinely hired at DreamWorks Animation, Disney Animation, Electronic Arts (EA), Microsoft, Pixar, and Google.
University of Pennsylvania is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Established in 1740, UPenn is one of the nation’s oldest universities. Offering more than 400 programs, the school houses 189 research centers and institutes, and 16 colleges and schools. UPenn serves more than 28,000 students from across the U.S. and every other country.
12. 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: Computer Game Design, Arts Management, Film and Video Studies, and Art and Visual Technology: Dance, Music, and Theater. Game design options include a Minor and BFA and MA degrees in Computer Game Design. An 18 credit-hour Minor in Sport and Computer Game Design is offered jointly by CVPA and the School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism.
All 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 Mason Computer Game Design Program are prepared to seek employment in the commercial, entertainment, serious games, education, and nonprofit sectors.
George Mason University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1949 as a branch of the University of Virginia, GMU enrolls more than 38,000 students from all 50 states and 130 countries, making it the largest public university in the Commonwealth of Virginia. George Mason University offers 200 degree programs in 11 colleges and schools.
13. American University, Washington, DC
American University (AU) is a unique institution that allows students to create individualized interdisciplinary programs at the bachelor’s level. The school also offers more than 20 online master’s degrees and graduate certificates. For game designers seeking an advanced degree, AU offers an MFA in Games and Interactive Media, an MA in Game Design, and an MS in Computer Science.
First-year MFA students are must attend the Film & Media Arts Boot Camp in August before their first semester. The Boot Camp focuses on the production process. The MFA in Games and Interactive Media is offered in the School of Communication.
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 MFA, 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.
American University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and recognized by the University Senate of the United Methodist Church. Founded in 1893 and serving more than 14,000 students, American University offers more than 170 programs in eight colleges and schools. Programs lead to a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree.
14. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
The College of Computing and Information and Science (Cornell CIS) at Cornell University houses the Department of Computer Science, which has a unique program for students who would like to pair game design with a related or other major. The Cornell CIS Minor in Game Design allows any undergraduate in any college at Cornell to pursue the Game Design Minor. Any given combination is considered a formal program and will be added to the student’s transcript.
Course examples for the program include Introduction to Computer Game Development, Advanced Projects in Computer Game Development, Interactive Computer Graphics, Digital Video and Sound, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Design, Physically Based Animation, and Analytics-Driven Game Design.
Also part of the Game Design Initiative at Cornell (GDIAC) (est. 2001), the interdisciplinary Game Design Minor provides independent study and research opportunities, participation in the GDIAC Showcase, and access to the co-op program, which provides the opportunity for students to gain work experience with cooperating partners in the U.S. and around the world.
Cornell University GDIAC graduates continue on to graduate study in computer science, engineering or other area or they go on to establish careers in game design and development, game programming, game production, entertainment, graphics and media, and software engineering, among others.
Cornell University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Founded in 1865, the school is the federal land-grant institution of New York State. Cornell University serves 23,620 students enrolled in 80 undergraduate majors, more than 120 minors, and 102 fields of study. Programs are offered through 15 colleges and schools and 100 academic departments.
15. Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Maryland
The Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) game design program has BFA and Studio Minor options in Game Design and Interactive Arts. The Dolphin Design Center houses both programs and the Game Center, where students use state-of-the-art facilities and equipment to design games, animations, interactive art, and more. Course examples across programs include Game/Play, Level Design, Advanced 2D and 3D Game Design, Haptics and Optics, Narrative Design, Immersive Experience Lab, The Soundscape, Virtual Reality for Artists, and Immersive/Interactive Studio.
The Game Design and Interactive Arts BFA Programs require 120 credit hours of study. The MICA Minors require 15 credit hours. The Game Design Program includes 21 credit hours of studio electives, and the option to complete an internship or undergraduate teaching assistantship. In Senior Studio I-II, students will complete a professional game. Interactive Arts students will complete the Interactive Arts Thesis, several core studios, and nine hours of degree-enhancing studio electives. Students in all programs may add a Concentration in 3D Animation, Graphic Design, Illustration, or Sound Design.
MICA alumni go on to pursue graduate study, to positions at game design studios, or to launch their own companies. They work at Big Huge Games, Firaxis Games, and Sparkypants and in positions such as Art Director, Game Designer, Mobile App Designer, Interactive Designer, Exhibit Designer, among others.
Maryland Institute College of Art is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Founded in 1826, MICA is the nation’s oldest independent, continuously degree-granting college of art and design. The school serves 2,090 students enrolled in art and design programs that lead to a BFA, MA, MFA, or MPS degree.
16. University of the Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
University of the Arts (UArts) launched The Center for Immersive Media in 2019. Totaling around 5,600 square feet, The Center is dedicated to emerging technologies such as augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), human-computer interaction (HCI), and performance motion capture. UArts design students have access to The Center as well as opportunities to participate in game jams, exhibitions, internships, workshops, studios, and more.
Specific programs for students interested in games include the BFA in Game Art and 15 credit hour Minor in Game Design. Offered in the School of Film, the programs consist of courses such as Game Concepts, Virtual Environments, Writing for Games, Advanced 3D Animation, Digital Studio, 3D Simulation & Effects, Sound Design, Computer Art Studio, Professional Practice, Game Play, and Interface Design. Free electives allow students to take additional courses in an area of interest, pursue other areas in the arts, or take on a minor in one of 23 programs. Examples include Business, Illustration, and Photography.
Other BFA benefits include the opportunity to work on real-world projects through the Digital Studio and Professional Practice courses, frequent visits by recruiters, and an optional internship with a local or regional company. Students have completed internships with companies such as Perfect Prototype, Comcast, PHL Collective, and Analytical Graphics Inc. Recruiters that have visited UArts include Bethesda Softworks, Sony, and many others.
UArts alumni have worked on the World of Warcraft series and God of War series Blizzard Entertainment and Sony. They can also be found in a variety of positions at other studios across the country and around world.
Founded in 1876 as part of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, University of the Arts serves nearly 1,500 students enrolled in more than 40 degree programs in fine arts, design, media arts, dance, music, theater, and crafts. More than 20 minors are available and open to all students. UArts programs are offered in the Schools of Art, Dance, Design, Film, Music, Theater Arts, and Graduate and Professional Studies. University of the Arts is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
17. Marist College, Poughkeepsie, New York
Marist College offers a program for game designers that allows them to customize the curriculum or combine programs that will prepare them for unique careers such as Game Linguist/Translator (Games and Emerging Media Major + Language Minor), Game Studio Marketing Manager (Games and Emerging Media Major + Business Major + Marketing Concentration), or Game Therapist (Psychology Major + Games Minor).
The program—the BS in Games and Emerging Media—is interdisciplinary and explores game writing/storytelling, UI/UX, art, business of games, programming, and game design. Students may also take courses in artificial intelligence (AI), ethics of games, online culture, and storytelling across media. All BS students will complete The Game Studio course, where they will produce a game in an environment that mirrors an actual game design studio.
Housed in the School of Computer Science and Mathematics’ Department of Computer Technology, the BS has two optional concentrations: Technical Development and Programming and Design, Writing, and Culture. Other program components include access to state-of-the-art game prototyping and computer labs, the Play Innovation Lab, Cloud Computing initiatives, and a partnership with IBM. Internship opportunities, and workshops, lectures and Q&As presented by industry professionals are also part of the program.
Marist College also offers a Games and Emerging Media Minor that consists of 22 credit hours of study. Students in the minor will take Introduction to Programming, Introduction to Games, and Digital Toolbox. Students will then choose 12 credits from courses such as Game Design & Programming, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Ethics and Gaming, and 3D Animation.
Graduates of the Marist College Games and Emerging Media Programs are prepared to pursue positions in game development and programming, game writing, software development, game and media production, game design, game art and animation, and user experience design.
Marist College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). The school offered its first college-level courses in 1929. Today, Marist offers more than 90 programs of study in seven schools. Marist College serves 5,000 traditional-age undergraduate students and 1,400 adult and graduate students across campuses in New York and Florence, Italy.
18. Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York
Stony Brook University (SBU) houses the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences—home to the Department of Computer Science (CS). Here, design students can earn a CS-based BS degree with a Specialization in Game Programming or an accelerated BS/MS that can be completed in just five years.
BS and BS/MS students will work in teams to create original games and presentations throughout the program. Both programs allow students to choose between three options for the Final Project: Research in Computer Science, Internship in Computer Science, or Senior Honors Project/Topics in Game Programming. Course examples across pathways include Advanced Programming in UNIX/C, Machine Learning, Advanced Game Programming, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Computer Game Programming, Operating Systems, and Advanced Multimedia Techniques.
Graduates of the Stony Broo University BS in CS with Game Programming are prepared for careers in games research, game programming, game design and development, software development, multimedia systems design, among others.
Stony Brook University (SBU) is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Part of the State University of New York System (SUNY), SBU was established in 1957. With nearly 28,000 students, Stony Brook University offers more than 350 undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate programs in 12 colleges and schools. SBU employs nearly 14,000 people, making it the largest single-site employer in Long Island.
19. University of Connecticut, School of Fine Arts, Storrs, Connecticut (School of Fine Arts)
The School of Fine Arts at University of Connecticut (UConn) is home to the Department of Digital Media Design (DMD), which serves more than 300 students across seven concentrations. Department features include classes led by full-time instructors who are professionals in the industry, hands-on projects and a collaborative learning environment, more than 25 visiting experts each year who present workshops and mentor students, access to state-of-the-art production studios gaming clubs, and over 100 internships secured annually at companies in Connecticut and across the U.S. DMD students have interned with Disney, Pixar Animation Studios, HBO, Adobe, and ESPN, among others.
University of Connecticut DMD degree options include the BA, BFA, MA, and MFA in Digital Media and Design. An Online DMD Graduate Certificate is also available. Students in all programs may take the Generalist Path or Specialize in Game Design. The UConn DMD Program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD).
Nearly 90% of UConn DMD alumni are employed in the industry within one year of graduation. University of Connecticut DMD graduates are prepared to pursue career paths such as game designer, serious games designer, gameplay programmer, video game artist, producer, esports manager, and more. UConn DMD alumni have been hired at Blur Studio, Epic Games, Disney, Adobe, The Game Agency, ESPN, HBO, Viacom, NBC Universal, World Walker, NBC Sports, and many others.
University of Connecticut is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). University of Connecticut began as Storrs Agricultural School in 1881 with just three faculty members and 13 male students. Today, UConn’s more than 18,000 faculty and staff members serve a coed population of nearly 32,700 students across the main campus at Storrs, and four regional campuses. Programs at UConn are administered across 14 colleges and schools. Offerings include eight undergraduate degrees in 119 majors, 17 graduate degrees in 88 fields of study, and six professional degree programs.
20. New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, New Jersey
New Jersey Institute of Technology offers a multidisciplinary game development program combined between the Hillier College of Architecture & Design (HCAD) and the Ying Wu College of Computing (YWCC) that blends digital design, virtual and augmented reality and applications in artificial intelligence. In this cross-college initiative, students have their choice of several tracks and degree programs.
Options include the BA, MA, and MFA in Digital Design, a BA in Computer Science, and BS degrees in Information Technology and Computer Science. An online MS and Graduate Certificate in Computer Science are also available. Across programs, students can expect to take immersive courses such as 3D Character Development, Game Architecture and Design, Advanced game Production, Simulated Environments, 3D Game Engine Programming, Modification Programing, Virtual Reality Design, Educational Game Design, and WebGL Programming.
Graduates of the Game Development Program at New Jersey Institute of Technology have work in game design, development, and programming, animation, graphic design, architectural and environment visualization, web design, and storyboard art, among other areas. NJIT students have interned or worked full-time at studios such as Tripwire Interactive, SWDTech Games, NTropic, SUSPECT vfx+design, 1st Avenue Machine, KWD – Kim Wendell Design, CSALAS & Co Labs, and Miskowski Design,
New Jersey Institute of Technology is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Established in 1881 as Newark Technical School, New Jersey Institute of Technology serves more than 11,400 students. This polytechnic university offers 126 degree programs in six colleges and schools.
21. University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York
The programs in the Department of Media Studies (DMS) at University at Buffalo (UB) explore games, film and documentary production, sound, among other types of media. Pathways to study game design include a BA in Media Study with a Production Concentration, a Minor in Media Study, and the Undergraduate Certificate in Game Studies.
Programs are interdisciplinary and connect students with the Departments of Computer Science, Theatre, Architecture, English. And Anthropology, among others. Other DMS benefits include small class sizes, courses taught by industry professionals, participation in the UB DMS Student Showcase, and access to state-of-the-art computer labs, a large production studio, smart classrooms, and a 200 a seat venue with hi-def projection and sound. Students also have access to more than 400 overseas academic program options, along with many summer and semester-long internship opportunities.
UB DMS has partnerships with many local companies and studios. UB DMS students have interned at MTV, NYC-TV, TriCoast Studios, Human Code, and Fireant Studio, among others.
The BA in Media Studies allow students to focus in one or more areas in coursework offered at the intermediate and advanced levels. Sample course offerings include Game Design, Virtual Worlds, Sound Design, Electronic Literature, Physical Computing, and Programming for Digital Art. The Minor in Media Studies consists of six classes (24 credits). Students may focus in games through electives and production courses.
The 36 credit hour Game Studies Certificate requires courses such as Games, Gender, and Society, and Game Design. Students will have the option to take Designed Play, Performative Action, Electronic Literature, or Locative Media. Electives provide the opportunity to focus in an area of interest. Elective examples include Game and Animation Workshop, Programming Graphics I-II, Interactive Fiction, Virtual Worlds I-II, Advanced Modeling, and Interactive Computer Art. The Game Studies Capstone Project allows students to create an original game or research paper.
All Games Studies Certificate students benefit from the program’s partnership with the off-campus Buffalo Game Space (BGS), which provides training workshops, co-working spaces, and game jams. On-campus, Games Studies students may join the Strategists and Role Players Association, which hosts the more than 30-year-old annual UBCon.
University at Buffalo is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), and it is a member of the Association of American Universities. Founded in 1846, University at Buffalo is a flagship institution in the State University of New York System (SUNY). The school serves nearly 32,500 students, making it the largest and most comprehensive campus in the 64-campus SUNY System. University at Buffalo offers more than 500 programs in 13 colleges and schools. With more than 1,000 study abroad opportunities across seven continents, UB has one of the largest overseas education programs in the U.S.
22. Fitchburg State University, Fitchburg, Massachusetts
The School of Health and Natural Sciences at Fitchburg State University (Fitchburg State) offers BS and MS degrees in Computer Science (CS). A CS Minor is also available. The School of Arts and Sciences houses the Communications Media Department, which offers a Minor in Game Design. The program explores the planning stages and design of games. Sample courses for this 18 credit-hour program include Game Narrative Design, Game Level Design, Serious Games, 3D Game Development, and the Games Studies Seminar.
As part of the Communications Media Department, students in the minor may participate in the Communications Media Showcase and they have access to the campus game library/lounge, the game workshop room, and game design and development lab.
The BS in CS program offers a Game Programming Concentration. The CS program also features a dual-track curriculum that combines software and hardware education with business courses, internship opportunities, and access to an extensive study abroad program. BS in CS students also benefit from small class sizes, mentoring, and hands-on learning. Course examples for the program include Elements of Game Design, Introduction to Game Art, Game Programming, Digital Electronics, and Game Design Workshop.
The Fitchburg State CS Program is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Over the last five years, graduates of the program have enjoy a 95% job placement rate. Fitchburg CS alumni hold titles such as Game Programmer, Software Engineer, Systems Programmer, and Quality Assurance Engineer. Some CS graduates go on to enroll in graduate programs at Fitchburg State University and other top schools.
Fitchburg State University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). Established in 1894, the school serves nearly 4,700 students enrolled in more than 30 undergraduate and 22 graduate programs across 16 academic departments. Fitchburg State University consists of 48 buildings on 60 acres. Six of the school’s buildings are more than a century old.
23. Hampshire College, Amherst, Massachusetts
Hampshire College offers the opportunity for students to design their own major from one of 50 areas of study. Instead of academic years, students will make their way through their chosen program through a divisional structure consisting of portfolio reviews, projects, community-based learning, courses, and final papers. During the entire final year of the program, students will conceptualize, design, and finalize a solo project.
In the Game Design and Development Area (GDD), students will also work in interdisciplinary teams to develop games to add to their final professional portfolio. Courses for the GDD Area are project-based and explore 2D and 3D art and animation, audio design, game programming, playtesting and user testing, game design, storytelling, project management, and entrepreneurship. Sample courses include Analog Game Design, Pixelbending, Game Development Workshop, Computer Animation I-III, Game Programming, and Game Design.
GDD students have access to the Hampshire College Cluster Computing Facility, and the Game Lab and Library. Both facilities provide state-of-the art production equipment and spaces where students can create games and work on other projects.
Hampshire College is an independent, not-for-profit institution accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). The school serves more than 500 students enrolled self-designed programs in 50 areas of study. Programs lead to a BA degree.
24. Rutgers University – Camden, Camden, New Jersey
Rutgers University – Camden (Rutgers – Camden) houses the School of Communication and Information. The Information Technology and Informatics (ITI) Program here offers an ITI Game Production and Innovation Specialization that trains students to design and develop video games. Areas explored in this Guided Pathway include animation and visual design, game methodology and design, game production, and management of game development teams and projects.
The ITI Major requires 39 credits, including 18 credits of required courses and 21 credits of electives. Course examples include Digital Game Creation (Game Design), Social Impacts of Video Gaming, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), and Game Design Methodology. A Senior Thesis and Experiential-Learning course are also part of the program.
Other Rutgers ITI features include access to internship opportunities after completing 24 credits, independent study options, participation in the ITI Showcase, and the option to enroll in the ITI/Master of Information (MI) dual degree pathway. The ITI/MI allows students to complete the BS and MI degrees in just five years of continuous study.
Graduates of the Rutgers University – Camden ITI Programming are prepared to pursue careers in game design, development, and programming, game production, software design and development, web design, and HCI, among others.
Rutgers University - Camden is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Established in 1926 as South Jersey Law School, Rutgers - Camden serves around 7,230 students enrolled in nearly 70 degree programs in the Schools of Business and Nursing, Rutgers Law School, Camden College of Arts and Sciences, and the Graduate School-Camden.
25. University of Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland
University of Baltimore (UBalt) is home to the GameLab. Founded in 2014 and Funded by The University of Baltimore Foundation, the Lab is an educational research facility that explores the relationships between games and media, and society. The GameLab, which hosts workshops, art exhibitions, and visiting artists, is a complement to the BS in Simulation and Game Design, and other programs.
Established in 2003 and serving 150 students across two campuses, the BS in Simulation and Game Design is the oldest and largest game design program in the State of Maryland. Offered in the Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences, the BS program has two specializations: Coding and Development, and Technical Art. Outside of the specializations, students will study 3D modeling and animation, applied game design theory, design of multiplayer games, computer programming, usability design, and games in education and other fields.
UBalt Game Design BS students may add an additional minor or enroll in the accelerated option that provides the opportunity to take up to nine graduate credits to apply towards the MS in Interaction Design and Information Architecture. The 36 credit hour MS prepares students for leadership positions such as creative director, senior interaction designer, user-experience manager, senior multimedia developer, and user research manager, among others.
Minor examples include Mobile Application and Development, Web Development, Business Management, and Entrepreneurship. The Simulation and Game Design Program concludes with an immersive Capstone Project that allows students to create a professional game or other project.
University of Baltimore BS and MS alumni can be found at companies such as Amazon, Google, Meta, Fastspot, Mindgrub, Instagram, and idFive.
University of Baltimore is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Founded in 1925 as a private night School of Law and College of Business Administration, UBalt joined the University System of Maryland in 1988. Serving 3,710 students from Maryland and across the U.S., UBalt offers more than 70 programs housed in the Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Public Affairs, Merrick School of Business, and the School of Law.