What are the top east coast game design schools for 2023?

Top 25 East Coast Game Design Schools – 2023 College Rankings
1Carnegie Mellon UniversityPennsylvania
2New York University New York
3Rochester Institute of TechnologyNew York
4Massachusetts Institute of Technology Massachusetts
5Drexel UniversityPennsylvania
6Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteNew York
7Champlain CollegeVermont
8Worcester Polytechnic InstituteMassachusetts
9The New School's Parsons School of DesignNew York
10Northeastern UniversityMassachusetts
11University of PennsylvaniaPennsylvania
12Cornell UniversityNew York
13American UniversityDistrict of Columbia
14George Mason UniversityVirginia
15University of the ArtsPennsylvania
16Stony Brook UniversityNew York
17New Jersey Institute of TechnologyNew Jersey
18Maryland Institute College of ArtMaryland
19Rutgers UniversityNew Jersey
20University of ConnecticutConnecticut
21Marist CollegeNew York
22University at BuffaloNew York
23University of Maryland, Baltimore CountyMaryland
24Hampshire CollegeMassachusetts
25Maine College of Art & DesignMaine

Our 2023 rankings of the top game design programs on the East Coast. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Carnegie Mellon University

The Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) was established in 1998. A partnership between CMU’s College of Fine Arts and the School of Computer Science (CS), the ETC houses the Master’s in Entertainment Technology (MET) and the Game Design Minor in collaboration with the Integrative Design, Arts, and Technology Network (IDeATe).

The MET is a terminal degree that takes two years to complete. The program explores Building Virtual Worlds, Improvisational Acting, Fundamentals of Entertainment Technology, and Visual Story. Students will have the opportunity to select electives from the following areas: Game Design, Interactive Storytelling, Themed Entertainment, Leadership & Innovation, and General. Possible elective options include Game Design, Game Design, Prototyping and Production, Understanding Game Engines, Dynamic Motion and Game Experience, Advanced Pipeline Topics for Film and Game Art, IDeATe: Little Games/Big Stories: Indie Roleplaying Game, Story Development and Previsualization in AI, and Advanced Game Studio.

The ETC IDeATe Game Design Minor at Carnegie Mellon University is open to all majors (the school has more than 7,000 major/minor combo options). Popular combo options for game designers include the Art BFA/Game Design Minor, CS BS/Game Design Minor, the Bachelor of Computer Science and Arts (BCSA)/Game Design Minor, and the Music and Technology BS/Game Design Minor. The CMU ETC also allows students across all departments to enroll in individual courses to enhance their program of study.

The ETC IDeATe Game Design Minor consists of courses that cover topics such as game programming, game systems and mechanics design, Interactive narrative and character development, user testing, computing, interface design, visual and audio design, the design process, and teamwork. The ETC IDeATe Game Design Minor requires a minimum of 45 units of study to complete the program.

Carnegie Mellon University graduates are routinely hired by companies and studios such as Amazon, Epic Systems, Apple, Google, Microsoft, ESPN, IBM, Meta, 2K Games, and 31st Street Studios.

Founded in 1900 by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, Carnegie Mellon University began as Carnegie Technical Schools. Today, the school serves around 15,800 students enrolled in more than 200 programs across seven colleges and schools. CMU also has more than a dozen degree-granting locations, and over 20 research partnerships in Silicon Valley, Australia, Africa, and Qatar. A private, global research university, Carnegie Mellon University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

2. New York University (NYU), New York, New York
New York University

The Game Center is the Department of Game Design at New York University’s (NYU) Tisch School of the Arts. 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, which also hosts workshops, playtests, and tournaments, has two degree options—the Game Design BFA and MFA. A Games Minor is also available as well as a wide variety of courses for NYU students who might be interested in games.

The Game 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 with Disney, Ubisoft, Arkadium, and TreSensa.  NYU Game Center graduates will leave the program with a resume and several finished games.

New York University Game Center alumni are Game Artists, Game Designers and Developers, Software Publishers, AI Engineers, and Entrepreneurs. They work at companies and studios such as Blizzard Entertainment, Riot Games, Amazon, Tencent, Take-Two Interactive, ESPN, Nickelodeon, and IGDA Japan. 

New York University was founded in 1831. Serving nearly 55,000 students, NYU is one of the nation’s largest private universities. In addition to the New York campus, NYU has campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai, along with 11 global academic centers in Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, and South America. With an estimated 400+ programs, New York University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

Founded in 1965, Tisch School of Arts at New York University serves more than 4,000 students from 48 states and 39 countries. Programs are offered at all degree levels through Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film & Television, the Institute of Performing Arts, and the Institute of Emerging Media.

3. Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York
Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) has several paths to study game design. Within RIT’s B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences (GCCIS) is the School of Interactive Games & Media (IGM), which has both BS and MS programs 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 Balance, IGM Production Studio, Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Gameplay, Gameplay and Prototyping, Casual Game Development, Systems Concepts for Games and Media, Game Engine Design and Development, Console Development, Game Design and Development for Casual and Mobile Platforms, Game Development Processes, Level Design, and Physical Computing & Alternative Interfaces. 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.

Housed in the College of Art and Design is the School of Design, which has an additional option for students interested in studying games. The 3D Digital Design BFA includes courses such as Game Development and Algorithmic Problem Solving, Computer Science, Environment Design, Layers and Effects, and Modeling and Motion Strategies.

Rochester Institute of Technology is a top research university that dates back to 1829. With global campuses in China, Croatia, Dubai, and Kosovo, the school serves more than 19,000 students, making it one of the largest private universities in the U.S. RIT offers more than 200 academic programs across 11 colleges and institutes. Rochester Institute of Technology is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, Massachusetts
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) houses the MIT Game Lab, which helps students customize a plan of study to match their goals. The Lab is also a research and development hub that designs games for research.

Besides opportunities to customize their curriculum, students at MIT may study game design through several programs that allow students to choose a built-in “cluster” or electives from any department. Examples of programs that allow this much flexibility include Comparative Media Studies (CMS) and Computer Science and Engineering (CSE).

Housed in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS), the Department of Comparative Media Studies (CMS) provides programs leading to a BS or MS in CMS. The CMS 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 provides BS and MS degrees CSE. Programs are highly interdisciplinary and emphasize on-campus team and independent projects, lab work, research, and off-campus internships with MIT partner companies. Programs explore human-computer interaction (HCI) and graphics, artificial intelligence (AI), software engineering, programming languages, 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, and Fun and Games: Cross-Cultural Perspectives.

The Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences (BCS) at Massachusetts Institute of Technology has an additional pathway for designers looking to specialize in unique areas such as psychological games and behavioral change. The Brain & Cognitive Science BS is provided in partnership with the EECS Department. Finally, students who are interested in the business side of game development, or those looking to launch their own studios, can enroll in the Business BS Program, housed in the MIT Sloan School of Management. For both options, students may work with the MIT Game Lab to customize a focus area that aligns with their goals.

Graduates of the Computer Science and Engineering Programs/MIT Game Lab have been hired at major studios such as Blizzard Entertainment, Harmonix Music Systems, Bungie Studios, Muzzy Lane (educational game studio), Learning Games Network (LGN), Moonshot Games, and Fire Hose Games (founded by MIT alumni in 2008).

Massachusetts Institute of Technology was founded on April 10, 1861, just two days before the start of the Civil War. The school serves approximately 4,640 undergraduate students and approximately 7,300 graduate students from all 50 states, DC, two territories, and 130 foreign countries. Providing more than 100 programs across five schools, Massachusetts Institute of Technology is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

5. Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Drexel University

The Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design (The Westphal College) at Drexel University (Drexel) has a number of paths to study game design including undergraduate majors, minors, accelerated, and dual degree programs. Options include the Game Design and Production BS, Game Design and Production/Digital Media BS/MS, Interactive Digital Media/Digital Media BS/MS, and the Interactive Digital Media Minor.

Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), Westphal College programs are hands-on and studio-based, with small class sizes that allow for individual instruction. Mandatory participation in the Drexel University Cooperative (co-op) Education Program enables students to gain work and world experience prior to graduation. Co-op experiences take place at both local and national companies, and in places such as Ghana, Hong Kong, Greece, London, and Spain.

The College of Computing & Informatics at Drexel University has several additional options for designers looking for programs that combine game development and computer science. Available pathways include BA and BS degrees in Computer Science (BAC, BSCS), and a 24 credit hour CS Minor. The BA and BS Programs provide an optional Game Programming and Development (GMPD) Concentration. Like all Westphal College programs, the Computer Science programs provide a hands-on curriculum combined with valuable co-op experiences. All programs end with a full-year capstone project.

Other program highlights across all pathways include access to the Drexel Game Design and RePlay Lab, the Entrepreneurial Game Studio (EGS), and the Center for Games, Artificial Intelligence, and Media Systems (GAIMS Center). Graduates of the Game Design Programs at Drexel University are prepared to pursue positions in PC Game Design, Game Art, Simulation, Mobile Game Design, Job Training, and Console Game Design, and Serious Games, among other areas.

More than 80% of Drexel gaming graduates and nearly 90% of dual degree graduates are working in an area directly related to game development. Examples of companies that employ Drexel alumni include Xbox Game Studios, Microsoft Studios, Pixar, DreamWorks Animation, Zynga, Blizzard Entertainment, Rockstar Games, Electronic Arts (EA), Disney Interactive, Digital Domain, BioWare, Disney Imagineering, Lockheed, Volition Inc., NCSoft Carbine Studios, Comcast Corporation, Razorfish, and Gameloft.

Drexel University was established in 1891 as Drexel Institute of Art, Science, & Industry. The school serves approximately 23,215 students enrolled in more than 200 degree programs across 15 colleges and schools. Drexel University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). The Animation & Visual Effects (VFX) and Digital Media Programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Arts & Design (NASAD).

6. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) is a designated New York State Center of Excellence (NYSTAR) in Digital Game Development. Programs for game designers are housed in the Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences (GSAS) Department, which is part of RPI’s School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS). Pathways to study game design include the GSAS BS, the Critical Game Design MS, and the Critical Game Design Co-Terminal MS Program.

The GSAS Department emphasizes interdisciplinary study, allowing students in all degree programs to explore experimental game design, music and audio for games, programming, software engineering, digital arts, and 3D animation. RPI GSAS students will also take courses in leadership and management, complete an internship, and participate in optional study abroad programs such as the semester abroad in Singapore at Nanyang Technological University.

A major component of the program is the opportunity to build a number of professional games in teams. Students will graduate from the GSAS Programs at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a professional portfolio of their best 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.

Established in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the nation’s first technological research university. Serving approximately 6,910 students, RPI offers more than 50 degree programs across five schools. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSACS). 

7. Champlain College, Burlington, Vermont
Champlain College

Champlain College is home to The Game Studio, which consists of six collaborative majors with courses taught by game industry experts. Studio highlights include small class sizes, interdisciplinary, career-focused curriculums, and collaboration in a studio setting that mirrors today’s professional studio environments. Game Studio Majors include Game Art, Game Design, Game Programming, Game Production Management, Game Business & Publishing, and Game Sound Design. All majors lead to a BS, and a Game Programming Minor consisting of 18 credit hours is also available.

Students in all Champlain Game Studio Majors will develop a number of games that may be presented to recruiters from major studios such as Activision, Warner Bros., and Gameloft. 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 alumni have enjoyed a 93% employment (or graduate school) rate within six months of graduation for the past six years.

The Division of Communication & Creative Media (CCM) at Champlain College has an additional option for game designers—the Creative Media BFA. This unique program features a Game Media Concentration and an “Upside-Down Curriculum” that allows students to begin taking Creative Media courses in their first semester. Game Media students will explore game engine creation, the game production pipeline, and game industry software.

Course examples for the program include Game technology, Level Design, Game Systems & Experience: Design, Interactive Storytelling, Computer Theory, and Advanced Seminar. All students are encouraged to participate in the Champlain Study Abroad Program, which highlights experiences in Montreal, Canada, with internship opportunities at the Montreal Game Summit and the Montreal International Game Developers Association. Game Studio students also have opportunities to intern at places such as Xbox Game Studios and Wired Magazine.

Champlain also provides access to faculty-led travel courses lasting one-two weeks, and study abroad experiences in Argentina, China, Italy, New Zealand, and Scotland. Through approved third-party programs, CCM students have also studied abroad in Australia, Brazil, England, France, Portugal, and South Africa.

Graduates of the CCM Program at Champlain College enjoy a 92% employment (or graduate school) rate within six months after graduation. Recent graduates have been hired at places such as Micropup Games, Gabb Global, and Louisiana Children’s Museum.

Established in 1878, Champlain College serves 2,100 students from 40 states and 18 countries. Students have access to 111 subject areas including undergraduate majors, minors, concentrations, and design-your-own-major. In addition to Champlain’s main campus in Burlington, Vermont, the school has campuses in Montreal, Canada and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

8. Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Massachusetts
Worcester Polytechnic Institute

The School of Arts and Sciences at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) is home to the Interactive Media & Game Development (IMGD) Program. One of the earliest gaming programs in the U.S. IMGD houses several degree pathways including the BA, BS, MFA, MS, and BS/MS in IMGD. The dual IMGD BS/MS allows students to complete both degrees at an accelerated pace. Students can complete the program in four to five years instead of six or more.

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.

The interdisciplinary IMGD MS is a two-year program designed for students interested in careers in interactive media or game design and development. Students may specialize in one of three focus areas: Serious Games, Production and Management, or Technical. The IMGD MS culminates with a Thesis or Group Project.

For students who would like to major in a related area and minor in games, WPI has an IMGD Minor that provides the opportunity to design a focus area consisting of six courses that explore game studies, animation, social impact of games, game design, and others.

All IMGD programs provide access to state-of-the-art facilities such a dedicated IMGD Lab equipped with industry-standard software and hardware tools, a Digital Art Studio, an Artificial Intelligence & Intelligent Tutoring Lab, and a Sound Recording Studio. In addition, all programs blend art, technology, and real-world experience through a co-op or professional 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, NextGen Interactions, Zudy, and Centre Technology.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute was established in 1865. A top 25 STEM college, WPI has more than 50 global project centers on six continents. The school provides 70+ degree programs to 7,230 students. Academic offerings are housed across four schools including Arts & Sciences, Business, Engineering, and The Global School. Worcester Polytechnic Institute is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

9. The New School's Parsons School of Design, New York, New York
The New School Parsons

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 experts in the field; industry-oriented internships; and study abroad experiences in places such as London, Paris, and Florence.

The DT BFA at Parsons requires 120 credit hours taken over four years. Like all undergraduate programs at Parsons, the first year of the BFA covers the liberal arts, along with 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 DT BFA has two pathway options including Game Design and Creative Technology. Students in the Game Design Pathway will work on projects that explore wearable technology, digital art, and socially conscious video games. Creative Technology students will work on projects with major companies and studios such as Nickelodeon, Apple, Atari, MTV,  UNESCO, Rockwell Interaction Lab, Eyebeam Art & Technology Center, and Siemens.

AMT course examples include Time, Game Design as Play Design, Objects as History, Concept and Illustration for Games, Core Studio Systems, Design Studies, Game Craft, Communication Design Studio: Experience in Space, The New Arcade, Digital Development, Experimental Animation, Storytelling, Motion Graphics, Narrative and Dynamic Systems, and Visual Design Concepts.

The DT MFA at The New School Parsons is studio-based and 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, Samsung, NASA, Intel, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Mozilla, and Red Bull. Projects explore areas such as game design, web and mobile apps, visualization, new media art, interaction design, digital fabrication, and critical design. 

Graduates of the Design and Technology Programs at The New School Parsons are prepared for careers in Game Design, 2D and 3D Animation, Digital Filmmaking, New Media Art, Motion Graphics, Wearable Technology, Mobile and Application Design, Software Design, Advertising, Virtual Reality and Immersion Experience Design, Hardware Engineering, Physical Computing, Graphic Arts, WEB/UI/UX Design, and Data Visualization.

The New School Parsons was established in 1896 as The Chase School. The school serves approximately 10,815 students enrolled more than 120 degree and diploma programs across six colleges and schools, including Parsons Paris. The New School Parsons is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

10. Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts
Northeastern University

The College of Arts, Media and Design (CAMD) and Khoury College of Computer Sciences at Northeastern University (Northeasters) provide several pathways to study game design. CAMD undergraduate options include Game Design and Game Art & Animation BFAs, a Game Design and Music BS with a Concentration in Music Technology, and Game Art and Game Design Minors. Graduate programs include a Game Science and Design MS jointly offered through CAMD and the Khoury College, and Certificates in Game Experience Design and Game Science. Khoury College also has a Computer Science & Game Development BS.

All programs are interdisciplinary and include courses such as Game Design and Analysis, Mixed Research Methods for Games, Prototyping for Experience Design, Advanced Topics in Game Design, Generative Game Design, Spatial and Temporal Design, Level Design and Game Architecture, Exploratory Concept Design, Player Experience, Business Models in the Game Industry, Building of Game Engines, Psychology of Play, Game Artificial Intelligence, Generative Game Design, Games and Society, Game Studio, Data-Driven Player Modeling, Advanced Topics in Game Science, Game Concept Development, and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI).

In addition to a variety of courses, the Game Design Programs at Northeastern University provide the opportunity to participate in the school’s distinctive co-op program. This paid 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 also available for full-time graduate students. Northeastern University partners with more than 20,000 co-op employers nationwide and in 65+ countries around the world. Examples include Hasbro, Mass DiGi, Greenbrier Games, Splash Damage Games, Harmonix, Jamspot, Live Nation, and Demiurge Studios.

In addition to gaining work experience through the co-op program, 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, Game Design and Development, Game Programming, Sound for Games, Animation, and many other areas. Program alumni have been hired at major companies and studios such as Google, Zynga, Xbox Game Studios (a division of Microsoft), and Cognizant. 

Northeastern University began as the Evening Institute of the Boston Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in 1898. According to the most recent enrollment figures, the school serves approximately 41,850 students enrolled in more than 400 programs in eight colleges. Northeastern University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

11. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) has several paths to study game design. At the graduate level, UPenn has an interdisciplinary option that’s one of the few programs of its kind offered at a four-year research university. Launched in 2004 by the UPenn Center for Human Modeling and Simulation (HMS), the unique Computer Graphics and Game Technology (CGGT) Program leads to the Master of Engineering (MSE) in CGGT.

The Center for HMS is housed in the Computer and Information Science Department (CIS) within the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. CGGT MSE students here will take at least four computer science and engineering courses along with technical, graphics, and free electives. Course examples for the program include Game Design and Development, Computer Animation, Machine Perception, Engineering Entrepreneurship, Applied Machine Learning, and GPU Programming and Architecture.

UPenn CGGT MSE 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 highlights 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. 

Graduates of the University of Pennsylvania CGGT MSE Program are prepared for a variety of roles in game design and animation. Program alumni have established careers at major studios such as Electronic Arts (EA), DreamWorks Animation, and Disney Animation Studios.

Also housed in the School of Engineering and Applied Science is the Digital Media Design (DMD) Program. Launched 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 DMD Major, the program explores games, animation, interactive technologies, virtual reality design, and computer graphics. A programming-intensive Digital Media Design (DMD) Minor is also available.

Graduates of the UPenn DMD BSE are frequently hired at major companies and studios such as DreamWorks Animation, Electronic Arts (EA), Google, Microsoft, Disney Animation, and Pixar.

Established in 1740, University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) is one of the nation’s oldest universities. The school, which houses 189 research centers and institutes, provides more than 400 programs to approximately 28,040 students from across the U.S. and just about every continent. Programs at UPenn are housed across 16 colleges and schools. The University of Pennsylvania is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

12. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
Cornell University

The Cornell Bowers College of Computing and Information Science (CIS) at Cornell University is home to the Computer Science Department, which houses the Computer Science (CS) BS Program. Students in this program have the opportunity to study game design by adding the Game Design Minor. Consisting of a minimum of 18 credit hours, the Minor requires the following courses: Introduction to Computer Game Architecture/Design and Advanced Topics in Computer Game Architecture/Design or Analytics-Driven Game Design.

For the remaining courses, students may choose titles from areas such as Art, Information Science, Psychology, Performing and Media Arts, Music, and Computer Science. Course examples across areas include Screenwriting, Advanced Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Design, Sound Design, Creative Character Design, Interactive computer Graphics, Game Studies and Japan, Communication and Technology, and Novel Interaction Techniques.

CS Majors at Cornell University will explore modeling, programming, and system design, they will learn about applications in computer science and engineering, and perform research in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), computer graphics, computer architecture, machine learning, computer vision, scientific computing, programming languages and compilation, robotics, computational logic, computing systems, and natural language processing. In addition, all CS students have the opportunity  to complete an internship and participate in the study abroad program. 

Ninety-nine percent of Cornell University CS alumni were either employed (66%) or attending graduate school (33%) shortly after graduating. Some top employers for graduates include Amazon, Google, Tencent, IBM, Meta, Apple, Epic Systems, Microsoft, Snapchat, and Twitter.

Cornell University is a private research university founded in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White. The school opened in 1868 Morrill Hall—the first building constructed on the campus—Morrill Hall. Today, the Cornell University Campus encompasses 608 buildings and more than 2,300 acres. Cornell also has additional campuses in Geneva, NY, New York City, DC, Doha, Qatar, and Rome, Italy. Roughly 10,500 faculty and staff serve more than 25,500 students enrolled in 300+ majors, minors, and graduate fields of study across 16 colleges and schools. Cornell University has been accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) since 1921.

13. American University, Washington, DC
American University

Students at American University (AU) have the rare opportunity to create their own individualized interdisciplinary programs leading to a bachelor’s degree. AU also provides more than 20 online master’s degree and graduate certificate programs. For game designers seeking an advanced degree, AU has a Games and Interactive Media MFA, a Game Design MA, and a Computer Science MS.

The 54 credit hour Games and Interactive Media MFA is housed in the School of Communication. First-year MFA students will attend the Film & Media Arts Boot Camp in August before their first semester. The Boot Camp focuses on the production process.

The Game Design MA is provided jointly by the School of Communication and the Department of Computer Science in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS). Students in the MA program have the opportunity to select 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.

Housed in the Department of Computer Science, the MS provides the opportunity to 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.

Students in all graduate and interdisciplinary games programs at American University have access to the AU Game Center which explores the use of games in recreation, the media, health, education, the community, politics, and policy. The Game Center also hosts workshops. Students will also obtain real-world experience by working on projects with the AU Game Studio, and with clients such as local studios, non-profit organizations, and government agencies.

Game students at American University also have opportunities to network at DC-area events such as the Global Game Jam, Games+, Indie Arcade at SAAM, and MAGfest.

Founded in 1893, American University provides more than 170 programs across eight colleges and schools to approximately 14,000. AU programs lead to a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree. American University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and it is recognized by the University Senate of the United Methodist Church.

14. George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia
George Mason University

The College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) at George Mason University (GMU) was established in 2001. Today, the CVPA provides more than 1,400 majors across four disciplines including Computer Game Design, Film and Video Studies, Art and Visual Technology: Dance, Music, and Theater, and Arts Management. Specific degree programs for game designers include the Computer Game Design BFA and MA. Students can also earn a Computer Game Design Minor, consisting of 15-16 credit hours, or the 18 credit hour Minor in Sport and Computer Game Design, provided jointly by the CVPA and the George Mason University School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism.

The Computer Game Design BFA consists of 120 credit hours of study and a required 180-hour internship, including 135 hours on-site. Course examples for the program include Applied Coding for Game Designers, History of Computer Game Design, Three-Dimensional Game Art, Consumer Gaming Platform Analysis Lab, and Story Design for computer Games. BFA students will complete a Portfolio course, which consists of creating and refining a web portfolio to present to faculty and peers, to supplement internship applications, and for professional development.

The Computer Game Design BFA at George Mason University culminates with the Senior Game Design Capstone completed over two courses.

The GMU Computer Game Design MA Program is designed for students who have earned an undergraduate degree in game design or related areas such as technology, arts, or humanities. Students in this program will take courses such as Research Methodologies in Game Design, Game Production, Game Business, Entrepreneurship and Practice, and the Game Design Graduate Seminar. An internship is part of this 36 credit hour program, as well as the opportunity to enhance the degree through electives. Just a few elective options include Game Studio Management, Advanced Music and Sound for Games, Advanced Game Animation, and Interactive Game Systems Design.

All Computer Game Design students at George Mason University have access to the Virginia Serious Game Institute (VSGI). Housed at GMU’s Science and Technology Campus, VSGI focuses on job creation, start-ups, and research. In collaboration with companies, government agencies, 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 GSU’s VSGI is the Mason Game and Technology Academy (MGTA). Founded in 2013, MGTA provides the opportunity to develop skills in game design and programming, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI).

Graduates of the Computer Game Design Programs at George Mason University are prepared to pursue careers in the commercial, entertainment, serious games, education, and the nonprofit sectors. Some Game Design alumni have launched their own studios or freelance businesses, while others have been hired at studios such as Bethesda Softworks, Citadel Studios, Big Huge Games, Ready at Dawn Studios, and Catlilli Games. 

Founded in 1949 as a branch of the University of Virginia, George Mason University enrolls 39,510 students from 50 all states and 130 countries, making it the largest public university in the Commonwealth of Virginia. More than 200 degree programs are provided across 11 colleges and schools. George Mason University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

15. University of the Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
University of the Arts

University of the Arts (UArts) launched The Center for Immersive Media (CIM) in 2019. Housed in a 5,600 square feet space, The CIM is dedicated to emerging technologies such as augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), performance motion capture, and human-computer interaction (HCI). The CIM is open to all UArts design students.

Specific programs students interested in games include the Game Art BFA and the 15 credit hour Game Design Minor. Housed in the School of Film, the programs consist of courses such as Game Play, Writing for Games, Virtual Environments, 3D Simulation & Effects, Game Concepts, Sound Design, Computer Art Studio, Advanced 3D Animation, Interface Design, Digital Studio, and Professional Practice. 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 Program benefits include the opportunity to work on real-world projects through the Digital Studio and Professional Practice courses, frequent visits by recruiters, opportunities to participate in the Global Game Jam, workshops and studios, and the Game Art Senior Thesis Exhibition, and participation in an internship with a local or regional company. UArts BFA students have completed internships with companies such as Comcast, Analytical Graphics Inc., PHL Collective, and Perfect Prototype. Recruiters that have visited UArts include Bethesda Softworks and Sony, among others.

Graduates of the Game Art and Game Design Programs at University of the Arts UArts have worked on major games such as the World of Warcraft and God of War series, and with studios such as Blizzard Entertainment and Sony. UArts alumni also work 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 approximately 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).

16. Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York
Stony Brook University

The Game Programming Specialization at Stony Brook University (SBU) prepares students for a career in game development or games research. Housed in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences’ Department of Computer Science (CS), this computer-science based degree explores game graphics, multiplayer network programming techniques, game development, game design methodology, and original game development. Throughout the program, students will work on a number of team projects and presentations, with opportunities to compete in the Stony Brook University Game Programming Competition.

Each year, the Competition attracts alumni judges who work at companies and studios such as Rockstar Games, Apple, Twitch, Riot Games, Hi-Rez Studios, Nickelodeon Games, Microsoft, and Amazon. Students in the Competition have been hired to work on industry projects such as The Sims, Neverwinter Nights, Skylanders, and Geometry Wars. Some students have gone on to start their own game development companies, such as BitOGenius Inc. Others have been accepted into PhD programs at renowned institutions such as Stanford University.

Also housed in the CS Department at Stony Brook University is the accelerated BS/MS Program. Students in this dual degree program will also work in teams to create original games and presentations. Course examples across both programs include 2D and 3D Game Programming, Advanced Multimedia Techniques, Operating Systems, Advanced Programming in UNIX/C, Machine Learning, Advanced Game Programming, Multimedia Systems, and Artificial Intelligence (AI).  

The BS and BS/MS Programs at Stony Brook University allow students to choose between three options for their Final Project including Research in Computer Science, Internship in Computer Science, or Senior Honors Project/Topics in Game Programming. The BS can be completed in four years, and the BS/MS can be completed in just five years, full-time.

Established in 1957, Stony Brook University (SBU) employs nearly 14,000 people, making it the largest single-site employer in Long Island. Part of the State University of New York System (SUNY), SBU provides  more than 350 programs to approximately 25,710 students across 12 colleges and schools. Stony Brook University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

17. New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, New Jersey
New Jersey Institute of Technology

New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) has several paths to study game design across several schools, colleges, and departments. The J. Robert and Barbara A. Hillier College of Architecture & Design (CoAD or Hillier College) at NJIT comprises the School of Art and Design and Ying Wu College of Computing (YWCC). Within YWCC are the Computer Science Department and the Information Technology Division. Collectively, these schools and departments manage the Game Development Program.

This multidisciplinary initiative allows students to study game design, game programming, and game production through tracks offered within several degree programs. Options include the Digital Design BA, MA, and MFA (Game Design Track), and BS degrees in Information Technology and Computer Science (Game Programming Track, Game Production Track). A Computer Science BA is also available and allows students to focus in a games through electives.

Across programs, students will take immersive courses such as Advanced Game Production, Simulated Environments, 3D Game Engine Programming, 2D Game Programming, 3D Character Development, Game Architecture and Design, 3D Game Programming, Virtual Reality Design, Game Artificial Intelligence (AI), WebGL Programming, Game Modification Programing, and Educational Game Design.

Hillier College at New Jersey Institute of Technology has two graduate options for students seeking an advanced degree. The College’s Online CS MS provides opportunities to study games through 15 required elective credits and the Game Design and Interactivity Graduate Certificate features courses that explore areas such as storytelling, design, computing, and storyboarding. Courses include Environment Design, History of Game Play and Interactivity, Physical Computing – Interaction Design, Visual Storytelling and Storyboarding, and Digital Audio.

Graduates of the Game Design and Development Programs at New Jersey Institute of Technology work in all areas of game design, development, and programming, animation, graphic design, architectural and environment visualization, web design, and storyboard art, among others. NJIT students have interned with or held positions at studios such as SUSPECT vfx + design, 1stAveMachine, Tripwire Interactive, and Miskowski Design, Ntropic San Francisco, and KWD - Kim.Wendell Design.

Established in 1881 as Newark Technical School, New Jersey Institute of Technology is a public, polytechnic university that serves more than 11,500 students. More than 125 undergraduate and graduate degree programs are available across six specialized schools. The programs at New Jersey Institute of Technology are accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA), the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), he Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), and the  National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB).

18. Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Maryland
Maryland Institute College of Art

The Game Design Program at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) has several paths to study game design including a BFA degree and Studio Minor in both Game Design and Interactive Arts. The Dolphin Design Center at MICA houses all programs along with the Game Center, where students use state-of-the-art facilities and equipment to design games, interactive art, animations, and more.

Course examples across programs include Game/Play, Level Design, Body/World/Machine, Advanced 2D and 3D Game Design, Haptics and Optics, Narrative Design, Immersive Experience Lab, Creative Coding, The Soundscape, Virtual Reality for Artists, Robotics Arts, Immersive/Interactive Studio, Sound Art, Remix as Performance, and Drawing: Tradition and Innovation.  

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.

Graduates of the Art and Design Programs at Maryland Institute College of Art go on to pursue graduate study, positions at major game design studios, or launch their own studios and freelance businesses. MICA alumni work at places such as Google, Big Huge Games, Cooper-Hewit National Design Museum, Firaxis Games, and Sparkypants in positions such as Game Designer, Art Director, Interactive Designer, Mobile App Designer, and Exhibit Designer, among others.

Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art is the nation’s oldest independent, continuously degree-granting college of art and design. The school serves nearly 3,500 students from 49 states and 52 countries. Programs at MICA lead to a BFA, MA, MFA, MBA, MPS degree, or post-baccalaureate certificate.

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).

19. Rutgers University-Camden, Camden, New Jersey
Rutgers University

The School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University-Camden (Rutgers-Camden) has an Information Technology and Informatics (ITI) Program that provides the opportunity to study games through 21 credit hours of required electives. Examples include Digital Game Creation (Game Design), Game Design Methodology, and Social Impacts of Video Games.

Other course examples for the program include Information Visualization, Object-Oriented Programming, Topics in Information Technology, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Advanced Web Technology, Digital Hardware Basics, and Information Technology and Learning. Senior Thesis, Independent Study, and Experiential-Learning courses are also part of the program.

Other Rutgers-Camden ITI highlights 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 ITI Program at Rutgers University-Camden are prepared to pursue positions such as Game Designer, Game Developer, and Game Programmer, Web Designer, Software Developer, HCI Designer, Game Production Artist, and Software Designer.

Rutgers University-Camden is part of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Founded in 1766, Rutgers is the 8th oldest university in the U.S. New Jersey’s land-grant university, Rutgers has locations in all 21 New Jersey counties. Camden was founded in 1926 as South Jersey Law School and the College of South Jersey. SJLS & the CSJ merged with Rutgers University in 1950, and became Rutgers University Camden.

Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and serving approximately 6,075 students, Rutgers University-Camden offers nearly 70 degree programs across four colleges and schools.

20. University of Connecticut, School of Fine Arts, Storrs & Stamford, Connecticut (School of Fine Arts)
University of Connecticut

The School of Fine Arts at University of Connecticut (UConn) is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD). Within the School is the Department of Digital Media Design (DMD). Serving more than 375 students across seven concentrations, the DMD emphasizes a collaborative learning environment, hands-on projects, and visiting experts who present workshops and mentor students. The Department also provides access to state-of-the-art production studios, gaming clubs, and more than 100 internships annually at companies in Connecticut and across the U.S. DMD students have interned at major studios and companies such as HBO, Pixar Animation Studios, Disney, Adobe, and ESPN.

UConn DMD degree options include the Digital Media and Design BA, BFA, and MFA. An Online DMD Graduate Certificate is also available. Students in all programs may take the Generalist Path or Specialize in Game Design. Courses for the programs are led by full-time instructors who are professionals in the industry and may include 3D Virtual World & Simulations, Digital Game Design, Game Scripting, History of Computer Graphics, Critical Perspectives on Digital Media, and Fundamentals of Programming for Game & Web.

Undergraduates will complete the Portfolio and Professional Development courses and a Senior Project. Graduate students will complete the MFA Thesis Project consisting of six credits, and they will participate in the MFA Degree Exhibition, worth three credits.

Approximately 90% of University of Connecticut DMD alumni are employed in the industry within one year of graduation. UConn DMD graduates are prepared to pursue careers such as Game Designer, Video Game Artist, Producer, Serious Games Designer, Gameplay Programmer, and Esports Manager. UConn DMD alumni have been hired at companies and studios such as Blur Studio, Epic Games, Disney, Adobe, The Game Agency, ESPN, HBO, Viacom, NBC Universal, Owlchemy Labs, NBC Sports, Deck Nine Games, and World Walker Games.

Founded in 1881, University of Connecticut began as Storrs Agricultural School with just three faculty members and 13 male students. Today, UConn’s more than 18,000 faculty and staff members serve approximately 32,150 students across the main campus at Storrs, and four regional campuses. Programs at UConn are provided across 14 colleges and schools. Offerings include eight undergraduate degrees with 120 majors, 17 graduate degrees in 92 fields of study, and six professional degree programs. University of Connecticut is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).

21. Marist College, Poughkeepsie, New York
Marist College

Marist College has a unique program for individuals interested in studying games or combining games with other disciplines. Part of the School of Communication & the Arts and the School of Computer Science & Mathematics, the Games and Emerging Media Program allows students to customize the curriculum or combine programs that will prepare them for specialized careers such as Game Studio Marketing Manager (Games and Emerging Media Major + Business Major + Marketing Concentration), Game Therapist (Psychology Major + Games Minor), or Game Linguist/Translator (Games and Emerging Media Major + Language Minor).

Leading to a BS in Games and Emerging Media, this interdisciplinary program explores game design, programming, UI/UX, game writing/storytelling, business of games, and art. Students may also take courses that explore ethics of games, artificial intelligence (AI), storytelling across media, and online culture. All Games and Emerging Media students at Marist College will complete The Game Studio course, which provides the opportunity to produce a game in an environment that functions like a real game design studio.

The Games and Emerging Media BS has two optional concentrations including Design, Writing, and Culture, and Technical Development and Programming. Other program components include access to state-of-the-art computer and game prototyping labs, the Play Innovation Lab, Cloud Computing initiatives, and a partnership with IBM. Internship opportunities, workshops, lectures, and Q&As presented by industry professionals are also part of the program.

For students who would like to pair a shorter program with a degree in a related or other field, Marist College has a Games and Emerging Media Minor that consists of 22 credit hours of study. Students in the Minor will take Introduction to Games, Digital Toolbox, and Introduction to Programming. Students will then choose 12 credits from course options such as 3D Animation, Game Design & Programming, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), and Ethics and Gaming.

Graduates of the Games and Emerging Media Programs at Marist College are prepared to pursue positions in areas such as game design, development, and programming, game art and animation, game writing, user experience design, game and media production, and software development.

Marist College offered its first college-level courses in 1929. Today, the school offers more than 90 programs of study across seven schools. Marist serves 5,000 traditional-age undergraduate students and 1,400 adult and graduate students across campuses in New York and Florence, Italy. Marist College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

22. University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York
University at Buffalo

The Department of Media Studies (DMS) at University at Buffalo (UB) provides opportunities to explore games, sound, and film and documentary production, among other types of media. Pathways to study game design include a Media Study BA with a Production Concentration, a Media Study Minor, and an Undergraduate Game Studies Certificate.

All UB DMS Programs are interdisciplinary and connect students with the Departments of Computer Science, English, Architecture, and Theatre, among others. Other DMS benefits include courses taught by industry professionals, participation in the UB DMS Student Showcase, small class sizes, and access to state-of-the-art computer labs, smart classrooms, a large production studio, and a 200-seat venue with hi-def projection and sound. Students also have access to more than 400 overseas academic program options, and a number of summer and semester-long internship opportunities.

The Department of Media Studies at UB has partnerships with many local companies and studios. University at Buffalo DMS students have interned at places such as MTV, NYC-TV, TriCoast Studios, and Fireant Studio.

The Media Studies BA allow students to focus in one or more areas through coursework at the intermediate and advanced levels. Course examples include Game Design, Virtual Worlds, Programming for Digital Art, Physical Computing, Sound Design, and Electronic Literature. The Media Studies Minor consists of 24 credit hours of study. 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. Certificate students 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, Virtual Worlds I-II, Interactive Computer Art, Advanced Modeling, Programming Graphics I-II, and Interactive Fiction. 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 Buffalo Game Space (BGS). This non-profit organization 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 school’s annual gaming and anime convention—UBCon.

Graduates of the Media Studies and Game Studies Programs at University at Buffalo are Game Designers and Developers, Game Artists, Animators, Game Programmers, QA Testers, Gaming Writers, Experience Designers, Directors, Independent Game Developers, Software Engineers, Production Managers, Digital Media Producers, Graphic Designers, and Media Directors. Employers include Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), NetherRealm Studios, Zynga, Rockstar Games, Pure Imagination (Pi) Studios, and Full Sail University.

Founded in 1846, University at Buffalo is a flagship institution in the State University of New York (SUNY) System. The school serves approximately 32,330 students, making it the largest campus in the 64-campus SUNY System. With more than 1,000 study abroad opportunities across seven continents, UB also has one of the largest overseas education programs in the U.S. University at Buffalo offers more than 500 programs across 13 colleges and schools. UB is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), and it is a member of the Association of American Universities.

23. University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, Maryland
University of Maryland Baltimore County

The College of Engineering and Information Technology at University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) houses the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering (CSEE) Department, home to the Computer Science (CMSC) Program. Within this BS Program is a Game Development Track that prepares students for careers in technical positions in the games industry.

Consisting of 120 credit hours, with 78 in the major the CMSC BS consists of courses such as Game User Interface Programming, Animation, Advanced Computer Graphics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Graphical User Interface Programming, Software Engineering, Numerical Computation, Computer Graphics for Games, Parallel and Distributed Processing, Introduction to Robotics, Animation, and Games Group Project.

Graduates of the BS CMSC/Game Development Track at University of Maryland Baltimore County have gone on to work at major companies and studios such as Epic Games, Bethesda Softworks, Zynga, Firaxis Games, ZeniMax, and AMD. Program alumni also work for other studios and companies such as Breakaway Games, Stardock, Emergent, and Organic Motion.

University of Maryland Baltimore County is part of the University System of Maryland. The school was established as a member in 1966. UMBC serves approximately 13,990 students enrolled in more than 200 degree, minor, and certificate programs across seven colleges and schools. The University of Maryland Baltimore County is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

24. Hampshire College, Amherst, Massachusetts
Hampshire College

Students at Hampshire College have the unique opportunity to design their own major from 50 areas of study and classes in the school’s Five College Consortium. Instead of academic years, Hampshire students work their way through their chosen program through a divisional structure consisting of community-based learning, courses, projects, portfolio reviews, 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. Course examples include Analog Game Design, Game Programming, Pixelbending, The Art and Science of Digital Imaging Game Design, Computer Animation I, II, and III, Women in Game Programming, Designing Treasure Hunts, Radical Innovation in Digital Arts, and Game Development Workshop.  

GDD students have access to the Hampshire College Cluster Computing Facility, the Game Lab and Library, and The Liebling Center for Film, Photography, and Video. All facilities provide state-of-the art production equipment and spaces where students can create games, animations, films, and digital works, and work on other projects.

Graduates of the Game Design and Development Area at Hampshire College are prepared to pursue positions in all areas of game design and development.

Hampshire College is an independent, not-for-profit institution that serves approximately 510 students enrolled in self-designed programs across 50 areas of study. Hampshire is part of The Five College Consortium, which also includes Amherst College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and UMass Amherst. Hampshire College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

25. Maine College of Art & Design, Portland, Maine
Maine College of Art & Design

Maine College of Art & Design (MECA&D) has an Animation and Game Art (AG) Program that provides 24/7 access to private studios and state-of-the-art production facilities and equipment such VR workstations, the FabLab collaborative studio space, stop-motion animation workspaces, audio production and mastering studios, and computer labs outfitted with workstations and industry-level programs such as ToonBoom Harmony, Dragon Stop Motion, MAYA and Mudbox, Stencyl and Unity Game Engines, and Adobe CC Premium Suite, (Illustrator, Animate, Photoshop, After Effects, Muse, Audition).

Leading to a BFA, the four-year AG Program begins with two years of preparation coursework. Course examples include 2D Game Design, Intermediate Game & Concept Art, Advanced 3D Game Art, 3D Rigging & Animation, Cinematic Storytelling, Stop Motion and FX, Character Design, and 3D Modeling & Animation. During the third year of the MECA&D BFA Program, students will spend most of their time in the Major Production course and Collaborative Productions course.

The final year of the AG BFA Program consists of elective coursework and the Professional Studio and Capstone Production courses. Students will leave the Maine College of Art & Design AG Program with a professional portfolio of their finest work.

Graduates of the art and design programs at MECA&D work in a variety of positions across many different industries. Some alumni have also launched their own studios or freelance businesses. Maine College of Art & Design alumni are Game Artists, 3D Game Art Generalists, Lead Environmental Artists, Interaction Developers, Art Directors, Character Design Coordinators, and Production Assistants.

Examples of companies that have hired MECA&D students as interns and graduates include Walt Disney Animation Studios, Hasbro, Laika, Chickadee Games, Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDigi) at WP, Fort House Studios, White Dog Arts: Film and Media Production, Calypso Communications, Digital Mill Production Studio, Lone Wolf Media, Big Room Studios, P3 Studio, and Shoestring Theater.

Founded in 1882 as part of the Portland Society of Art, Maine College of Art & Design serves more than 500 degree-seeking students and 1,500 continuing studies students. Degree programs at MECA&D lead to a BFA, MFA, or MAT. A Graduate Certificate program is also available. Maine College of Art & Design has been accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) since 1973 and the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) since 1978.