14. Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Drexel University is home to 26,359 students, making it the 14th largest private university in the U.S. Established in 1891, the school offers 200 degree programs across 15 colleges and schools. The College of Computing & Informatics offers several programs for aspiring game designers including a BS in Computer Science (BSCS) and a BA in Computer Science (BACS). Both programs offer a Concentration in Game Programming and Development (GMPD).
The Westphal College of Media Arts & Design also offers several programs for aspiring game designers. Programs include a BS in Game Art and Production and an MS in Digital Media. The two-year MS program features comprehensive studies in Gaming and Digital Media History, Theory and Methods, 3D Modeling, Interactivity, and Animation.
15. Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Columbia College was founded in 1890. It is home to more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in more than 100 academic majors or programs. The School of Media Arts, Department of Interactive Arts & Media (IAM) offers a variety of programs for aspiring game designers. Programs include a BA in Game Design with Concentrations in Game Art, Game Development, or Game Sound Design for Games, a BA or BS in Game Programming, a BA in Interactive Arts and Media, a BA in Game Art, and a BA in Interaction Design. Minor options include Game Art, Game Design, and Game Programming.
16. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Founded in 1740, the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) is home to nearly 25,000 students enrolled in more than 400 programs across 16 schools. The School of Engineering and Applied Science offers several programs for aspiring game designers. Offerings include a BS in Engineering (BSE) with a Digital Media Design (DMD) Major, an MS in Computer Graphics and Game Technology (CGGT), and a PhD in Human Modeling and Simulation (HMS). A DMD Minor is also on the menu.
17. Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts
Northeastern University was founded in 1898 and it is home to more than 20,000 students enrolled in 150-plus majors, dozens of combined majors in new and emerging fields, and 24 programs that allow students to earn a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in five years. Programs are offered through seven colleges and schools. Among them are two schools that offer several programs for aspiring game designers.
The College of Arts, Media and Design offers five programs for game designers at all degree levels. Offerings include a BFA in Digital Art and Game Design, a BFA in Games, an MS in Game Science and Design, a Graduate Certificate in Game Analytics, and a Minor in Game Design. The College of Computer and Information Science offers a BS in Computer Science and Game Design. Students in the BS program may choose to concentrate in areas ranging from Game Design to Interactive Media and Video.
18. Champlain College, Burlington, Vermont
Champlain College was founded in 1878 and it is home to 2,100 students from 47 states and 18 countries. The school offers more than 80 programs through several academic divisions and one school. The Robert P. Stiller School of Business, the Division of Communication & Creative Media, and the Division of Information Technology & Sciences offer several programs for aspiring game designers.
The School of Business offers a BS in Management of Creative Media with a Specialization in Game Production Management. The Division of Communication and Creative Media offers a BFA in Creative Media with Specializations in Game Media and Interactive Design, a BS in Game Design with an optional Specialization in Sonic Arts, and a BS in Game Art & Animation. The Division of Information Technology & Sciences offers a BS in Computer Science & Innovation with a Specialization in Mobile Application Development or Software Engineering.
The school also offers a BS in Game Programming. Considered one of the first bachelor’s degrees of its kind in the nation, the program features a collaborative Game Studio where Game Programming majors “work with their counterparts in Game Art & Animation and Game Design as well as Management of Creative Media majors specializing in Game Management to build games from start to finish. The Game Studio replicates a professional game development setting,” which gives students a “firsthand understanding of how creative teams collaborate to develop individual game assets and coordinate them into a functional product.”
Another major benefit of the program is the study abroad experience in Montreal, Canada, which is one of the world’s largest game development centers. Students have also had the opportunity to intern at Bigpoint Inc., Microsoft Game Studios, and Wired Magazine. With a 92 percent placement rate, Game Programming graduates have landed positions at Microsoft Entertainment Studios, Sledgehammer Games, Warner Bros./Turbine, Subatomic Games, Ubisoft, and Square Enix.
19. Laguna College of Art and Design, Laguna Beach, California
Established in 1961 as the “Laguna Beach School of Art,” Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) is home to just under 500 students. The school offers five undergraduate majors and three graduate programs. Programs for aspiring game designers include a BFA with an Emphasis in Game Art, 3D Character, or 3D Environment.
This “project-based and highly collaborative” program features graduate and undergraduate partnerships, such as with USC’s graduate program, GamePipe. The BFA program has a placement rate above 94 percent and graduates have landed positions at Blizzard Entertainment, Obsidian, Crystal Dynamics, Visceral Games, and many others.
An Art of Game MFA is also on the menu. This unique program allows students to complete their first year by taking evening and weekend online classes ending in a six-week intensive at the LCAD campus in Laguna Beach, CA. The program takes two years to complete.
20. Academy of Art University, San Francisco, California
Academy of Art University was established in 1929. It had a Fall 2015 enrollment of 8,813 students enrolled in dozens of Art, Design, Fashion, and Architecture programs through several schools. The School of Game Development offers a variety of degree programs for aspiring game designers. Offerings include AA, BFA, BS, and MFA degrees in Game Development.
According to the school, these multidisciplinary programs provide a “well-rounded education in the arts with an emphasis on understanding and applying techniques including 3D modeling, animation and lighting in video game production.”
21. Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Massachusetts
Worcester Polytechnic Institute was established in 1865. It is home to more than 6,000 students enrolled in 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs through several divisions and schools. The Division of Arts & Sciences offers several programs for aspiring game designers. Undergraduate offerings include a BS in Interactive Media & Game Development (BS IMGD) and a Minor in IMGD. Graduate offerings include an MS in IMGD.
22. Hampshire College, Amherst, Massachusetts
Hampshire College is home to 1,400 students enrolled in more than 50 areas of study. Founded in 1965, the school is a member of the Five College Consortium, so students have access to an additional 5,300 courses offered through nearby University of Massachusetts (UMass) and at Amherst, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges. Hampshire Collee offers an undergraduate degree in Game Design and Development that gives students the opportunity to “grow and strengthen their skills in teamwork, communication, iterative development, playtesting and user testing, storytelling, game programming, 2D and 3D art and animation, game design, audio design, entrepreneurship, and project management.”
Just a few unique sample courses include Pixelbending, Designing Treasure Hunts, Women in Game Programming, Analog Game Design, and Radical Innovation in Digital Arts. Students will also become skilled in animation and complete a game development workshop. Other program highlights include access to the Game Lab and Library, the Hampshire College Cluster Computing Facility, and The Liebling Center for Film, Photography, and Video and the Johnson Library Center, which house facilities for Computer Animation; Film and Video Editing; and Digital Design.
23. The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School, Orlando, Florida
The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School (The DAVE School) is a 35,000 square foot facility located on the backlot of Universal Studios Florida, Soundstage 25. The school offers intensive and “comprehensive training” in Game Production, 3D Modeling, 3D Animation, and 3D Visual Effects. The school’s intensive, 15-month Game Production Diploma covers Modeling & Sculpting, Game Production, Game Engine Fundamentals, Game Asset Production, and Animation Fundamentals. Launched in 2014, the Game Production Diploma is designed for those interested in working on the artistic side of game production.
24. Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California
The Art Center College of Design spans two campuses and four structures in the U.S. and Berlin. Established in 1930, the school offers 11 undergraduate and seven graduate degrees in the areas of Industrial Design and Visual and Applied Arts. Art Center also offers a joint MS/MBA program with the Drucker School of Management. Programs for aspiring game designers include a BS in Entertainment Design with a Track in Concept Design or Character Animation. The BS program prepares students for a career in both Game Design and Animation.
25. Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, California
Founded in 1918 by General Harrison Gray Otis—the founder and publisher of the Los Angeles Times, Otis College of Art and Design (OTIS) is home to 1,140 students enrolled in more than a dozen interdisciplinary art and design programs from Animation and Motion Design to Illustration, Sculpture/New Genres, and Toy Design. Offerings for aspiring game designers include a BA in Digital Media with a Game & Entertainment Design Major and a Minor in Digital Media.
According to the school, “in Game & Entertainment Design, students learn to create the visual elements for games, apps, feature films, and other entertainment platforms. Students also develop the skills to design the gameplay, environment, storyline, and characters of interactive games, apps, and websites.” Digital Media graduates have landed positions at Electronic Arts, Blizzard Entertainment, Sony Online Entertainment, Pixar, Disney, DreamWorks, Sony Imageworks, and many others.