What are the top private game design schools in the U.S. for 2024?

Top 25 Private Game Design Schools and Colleges in the U.S. – 2024 College Rankings
RankingSchool% of Schools Considered
1University of Southern CaliforniaTop 2%
2New York UniversityTop 3%
3Carnegie Mellon UniversityTop 4%
4Rochester Institute of TechnologyTop 6%
5Savannah College of Art and DesignTop 7%
6DigiPen Institute of TechnologyTop 8%
7Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyTop 9%
8DePaul UniversityTop 11%
9Full Sail UniversityTop 12%
10Southern Methodist UniversityTop 13%
11GnomonTop 15%
12Drexel UniversityTop 20%
13Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTop 20%
14Ringling College of Art and DesignTop 20%
15Northeastern UniversityTop 20%
16Worcester Polytechnic InstituteTop 25%
17Champlain CollegeTop 25%
18The New School’s Parsons School of DesignTop 25%
19Academy of Art UniversityTop 25%
20University of PennsylvaniaTop 30%
21Cornell UniversityTop 30%
22Laguna College of Art and DesignTop 30%
23American UniversityTop 30%
24ArtCenter College of DesignTop 35%
25University of DenverTop 35%

Our 2024 rankings of the Top 25 Private Game Design School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California (Top 2% of schools considered)
University of Southern California

University of Southern California (USC) Los Angeles has many paths to study game design, beginning with the Game Art BFA and the Technical Game Art (TGA) minor. Housed in the School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) the Game Art BFA provides the opportunity to concentrate in areas such as Character Animation, Visual Effects (VFX), Interactive Animation, Environmental Design, and 3D Pipelines.

This cross-disciplinary program requires 52 units in the major and five workshop courses. Examples of required courses include Character Rigging for Games; Game Design Workshop; Intermediate Game Design and Production; Digital Media Workshop; and 2D Art Workshop. Students will also take movement and theory courses such as Improvisation and Theatre Games, Transmedia Entertainment, and Movement for Actors. 

To enhance the degree, SCA Game Art students may select six elective credits. Elective course examples include Pipelines for Games and Interactives; Programming in Python; and Digital Effects Animation. Students will complete an Advanced Game Project (AGP) in teams across two courses. The project culminates with a functional digital game suitable for distribution via the web and/or submission into independent games festivals. 

Housed in Viterbi School of Engineering, the TGA minor is part of the Information Technology program (ITP) and USC Games (more on this later). TGA students will complete 16 units of study and several projects. Required courses include 3D Character Modeling for Games; Introduction to 3D Modeling, Animation, and Visual Effects; Character Rigging for Games; and Technical Character Animation for Games. Elective examples include Accelerated Programming in Python; Visual Effects; and 3D Computer Animation. 

USC Games is a multidisciplinary hub that consists of a collection of minors and multiple degree programs leading to a BA, BFA, BS, MFA or MS. Programs are part of SCA’s Interactive Media and Games Division and the Department of Computer Science in Viterbi School of Engineering. 

USC Games combines the study of art, design, engineering, and production. Classes are collaborative, hands-on, and immersive, allowing students to develop team-building skills and expertise in every area of game design and development. All courses for USC Games are led by working professionals in the field. 

Specific degree options include the Interactive Entertainment BA; Game Development and Interactive Design BFA; Computer Science BS (Games); Themed Entertainment BFA (Interactive Arts specialization); Cinematic Arts (Media Arts, Games and Health) MA; Interactive Media (custom specialization) MFA; Interactive Media and Games MFA; Interactive Media MFA with an emphasis in Games and Health; Game Design and Development MS; and the Computer Science MS with a Game Development emphasis. The Cinematic Art MA (Media Arts, Games and Health) is provided in conjunction with SCA, the Graduate School, and the Creative Media & Behavioral Health Center.

Minors within USC Games are designed for students who would like to develop entry-level game design and development skills that can be utilized in interactive media, animation, games, film/television, and other areas. In addition to the TGA minor, USC games provides minors in Game Design, Game Animation, Game Audio, Game Entrepreneurism, Video Game Programming, Game User Research, Video Game Production, Computer Science, and Themed Entertainment. 

Graduates of the Game programs at USC have developed and sold their own games, launched their own studios, or landed positions at major studios such as Disney, CBS Interactive, Riot Games, ESPN, Apple, and Epic Games. 

University of Southern California, Los Angeles opened in 1880 with 53 students and 10 teachers. Today, USC serves 47,000 students and employs approximately 4,770 full-time faculty. This makes University of Southern California Los Angeles the largest private sector employer in LA and the largest school by enrollment in the state of California. 

Students at USC have access to more than 600 graduate and professional programs across 23 schools and divisions. University of Southern California, Los Angeles is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

2. New York University, New York, New York (Top 3% of schools considered)
New York University

New York University (NYU) is home to Tisch School of the Arts (est. 1965), which houses the Department of Game Design. Founded in 2008 and known as NYU Game Center, the department hosts events and programs such as the No Quarter Exhibition (est. 2010); NYU Game Center Lecture Series; and the professional game conference PRACTICE: Game Design in Detail. The Center also hosts workshops, playtests, and tournaments. 

NYU Game Center programs include the Game Design BFA, MFA, and minor. Single courses are also available for students in any major at NYU. Examples include 3D Game Studio: Unity; Game Development: Team Studio; Game Design I and II; and Code Lab.

All NYU Game Center programs consist of immersive academic seminars, and hands-on experiences in the Center’s development studios and play labs. In addition, a major component of the NYU Game Center is the internship program. Students have completed coveted internships with Disney, Ubisoft, Arkadium, and TreSensa.

With a strong foundation in the liberal arts, the Game Design BFA consists of primary areas (game design, game studies, and game development), production areas (programming, audio design, visual design, and the business of games), and the Senior Capstone. Students in this 128 credit-hour program have the option to specialize in any of the four production areas and complete up to 34 open credits in the Game Center or any other area. 

The Senior Capstone for the Game Design BFA may consist of a group game, exhibition, or game-related research paper. 

The NYU Game Center MFA is a two-year program that consists of coursework in game history, game design, game studies, game production, studio, and play labs. Students will also take a number of electives that explore areas such as the psychology of game play and games journalism. Course examples for the program include American Computer Games of the 1980s; 3D Game Studio: Unity; Game Design I and II; Horror Games; Intermediate Programming for Games; Prototype Studio; UI/UX for Games; Mobile Game Studio; Shader Lab; Tech Art Studio; and Tackling Representation in Games. 

The Game Design MFA program culminates with a thesis, completed across two courses (12 credit hours). Thesis projects may consist of digital games, card games or a sport, smartphone games, or a series of small games, among others. Thesis programs may also be individually directed or completed in teams. Thesis projects are presented at the NYU Game Center Spring Show. 

The Game Design minor at NYU Game Center explores design, production, and the study of games. Consisting of 16 credit hours, the program requires Games 101 and any other Game Center courses. Minor graduates are prepared to work in the game industry. Some graduates go on to become critics or scholars. 

NYU Game Center BFA and MFA graduates will enter the job market with a resume, several finished games or related works, and the assistance of NYU’s extensive Wasserman Career Center. As part of Tisch School of the Arts, NYU Game Center graduates also have access to school’s own Office of Career Development, which helps students launch their creative careers.

The Game Center Incubator is yet another resource for graduating students. Launched in 2014, the incubator provides expertise, funding, and space for projects with commercial potential. Incubator leaders help select students see projects through to a public launch. 

Graduates of the NYU Game Center are Game Artists, Game Designers, Software Publishers, Game Developers, AI Engineers, Game Programmers, and Entrepreneurs. Program alumni have gone on to work for companies and studios such as Blizzard Entertainment, Riot Games, Amazon, Tencent, Take-Two Interactive, ESPN, Nickelodeon, IGDA Japan, Arkadium, and Avalanche Studios.   

New York University is the largest private university in the U.S. Founded in 1831, the school serves approximately 61,950 students across degree-granting campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai. NYU also operates 12 global academic centers and research programs in more than 25 countries. With more than 19,000 employees, New York University is one of the largest employers in New York City. These professionals manage an estimated 400+ programs. NYU is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

3. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Top 4% of schools considered)
Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is home to the Entertainment Technology Center (ETC). Established in 1998, ETC is a partnership between CMU’s School of Computer Science (CS) and the College of Fine Arts. Within the ETC is a Master of Entertainment Technology (MET) and a Game Design minor. This program is provided in collaboration with CMU’s Integrative Design, Arts, and Technology Network (IDeATe). 

The IDeATe curriculum is delivered across 15 different academic departments at CMU. IDeATe programs are housed in a collaborative making facility in Hunt Library. 

The ETC MET 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. CMU has more than 7,000 major/minor combo options. Popular combo options for game designers include the CS BS/Game Design minor, Art BFA/Game Design minor, 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 any program of study. 

The ETC IDeATe Game Design minor requires 45 units of study. Courses for the program cover topics such as game programming; character development; game systems and mechanics design; interactive narrative; the iterative design process; visual and audio asset creation; interface design; user testing; and collaboration. Course examples include Little Games/Big Stories: Indie Roleplaying Game Studio; Intermediate Studio: Creative Coding; Game Design, Prototyping, and Production; Experimental Game Design; Dynamic Motion and Game Experience; and Distributed Game Studio: Game Art Pipeline. 

All ETC students have access to labs and studios such as the Physical Computing Lab; Soft Technologies Studio; Media Lab; and Studios A and B. Other program features include internships; workshops; guest speakers; and study abroad experiences in places such as Hong Kong, the UK, France, New Zealand, and South Korea.  

Graduates of the creative and technology programs at Carnegie Mellon University are prepared for careers across industries. CMU graduates are routinely hired by companies and studios such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, ESPN, Google, IBM, Meta, Epic Systems, 31st Street Studios, and 2K Games. 

Founded on November 15, 1900 by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, Carnegie Mellon University opened its doors as Carnegie Technical Schools. Today, this private global research university provides more than 200 programs to approximately 16,780 students from 126 countries. In addition to the main campus in Pennsylvania, CMU has campuses in Silicon Valley and Doha, Qatar. Housed across seven colleges and schools, Carnegie’s academic programs are also provided in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, Mexico, and Portugal. Carnegie Mellon University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

4. Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York (Top 6% of schools considered)
Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) was the first university to publish to the Xbox One platform. RIT also houses the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences (GCCIS)—home to the School of Interactive Games & Media (IGM). Within the school are several paths to study game design. Options include BS and MS degrees in Game Design and Development (GDD), an accelerated BS/MS that takes five years to complete, and minors in Game Design and GDD.   

The College of Art and Design at RIT houses the School of Design, which has an additional option for students interested in studying games. The 3D Digital Design BFA is a STEM designated program that provides both Game Arts and 3D Visualization specializations. Consisting of 120 credit hours, bot options allow students to study games. Course examples include Game Design & Development I and II; IGM Production Studio; Layers and Effects; Scripting; Game Development and Algorithmic Problem Solving; Modeling and Motion Strategies; Contemporary Practices: Environment Design; Character Design and Rigging; Simulating Natural Phenomena; Technology in Game Arts; and Game Arts Seminar.

Graduates of this program are prepared to pursue titles such as Game Designer, CG Artist, AR/VR Designer, Visualization Artist, Game Developer, Level Designer, Special Effects Artist, Environment Designer, Lighting Technical Director, Rigger, Character Designer, and Digital Asset Designer. Program alumni have been hired by major studios such as Insomniac Games and Sony Interactive Entertainment. 

Students in both the RIT School of Design and the School of Interactive Games & Media benefit from seminars, lectures, discussions, and demos by industry professionals; game development and research studios; independent study; access to the Digital Games Hub, which provides mentoring and resources for students and independent developers to create new games, launch start-ups, and enter the games industry; and Creative Industry Days. 

Creative Industry Days is a series of events that allow students to network with major companies and studios, and participate in panels and portfolio reviews. Examples of past companies include Walt Disney, Epic Games, NetherRealm Studios, Adobe, Iron Galaxy Studios, Ogilvy, DraftKings, Enduring Games, CGI Digital, MahiGaming, and Zash Global Media & Entertainment. 

RIT IGM Game Design and Development students also have the opportunity to develop and commodify their own games at RIT’s MAGIC Spell Studios. In addition, students have the rare opportunity to complete two paid blocks of cooperative education. This allows them to gain valuable experience in the games industry through full-time employment at a studio. Epic Games, Electronic Arts (EA), Sony Interactive Entertainment, Microsoft, Cartoon Network, and Google are examples of recent co-op companies. 

The Game Design and GDD minors at Rochester Institute of Technology are require 15 credit hours. Students in both options will complete Game Design & Development I and II. Other course examples include New Media Interactive Design and Algorithmic Problem Solving I and II; 2D Animation and Asset Production; Data Structures for Games & Simulations I and II; and Interactive Media Development. 

The Game Design and Development degree programs at RIT GCCIS explore game design and development, animation, interactive media, modeling, user interaction, math, and science. The BS consists of 121 credit hours, the MS requires 33 credits, and the BS/MS is 145 total credit hours. 

Students in the BS have opportunities to specialize in areas such as narrative, engines, audio, or graphics through electives across the entire university. Course examples for the program include Interaction, Immersion, & the Media Interface; Game Design & Development I and II; Introduction to Web Technology for Game Developers; and Data Structures & Algorithms for Games & Simulation I and II.

RIT GDD BS students have the opportunity to complete approximately 40 credit hours of open, advanced, and general education electives throughout the program. Examples of advanced electives include Casual Game Development; Geographic Visualization; Digital Video for the Web; Games for Change; Maps, Mapping and Geospatial Technologies; and International Game Industry. 

Graduates are prepared to work in a variety of industries such as entertainment industry, aerospace, internet and software, defense, media and publishing, computer hardware, and health care. 

The Game Design and Development MS is a cohort-based program designed for students seeking careers in the games industry, visualization, simulation, or edutainment. Course examples include Game Development Process; Gameplay and Prototyping; Colloquium in Game Design and Development; Game Design; and Game Industry Themes and Perspectives. Advanced electives allow students to develop additional skills in a variety of areas. 

Elective examples include Artificial Intelligence for Gameplay; Game Graphics Programming; Game Design and Development for Casual and Mobile Platforms; Console Development; Applied Perception in Graphics and Visualization; IGM Production Studio; and Board and Card Game Design and Development. 

The MS program culminates with the group Design and Development Capstone completed across two courses. Graduates are prepared to pursue titles such as Game Developer, Software Engineer, Full Stack UI Developer, Game Designer, Associate Engine/Graphics Automation Engineer, Junior C++ Developer, and Systems Design Engineer. 

Rochester Institute of Technology was founded in 1829 as the Rochester Athenaeum. With global campuses in China, Croatia, Dubai, and Kosovo, this research university serves more than 20,000 students, making it one of the largest private universities in the U.S. RIT provides 200+ academic programs across 10 colleges and institutes, and the School of Individualized Study. Rochester Institute of Technology is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

5. Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia (Top 7% of schools considered)
Savannah College of Art and Design

The School of Creative Technology at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has a number of pathways to study game design and development. Undergraduate options include a Digital Media BA with a Game Development track, and an Interactive Design and Game Development (IDGD) BFA. Minors include Concept Design for Animation and Games, Game UX, Visual Effects (VFX), Concept Art for Games, Character Technical Direction, Themed Entertainment Design, and IDGD. Each minor consists of 25 credit hours. 

At the graduate level, students can earn an MA or MFA in IDGD. Programs are provided at the Atlanta and Savannah campuses, and online via SCADnow.

All School of Creative Technology programs provide opportunities to gain hands-on experience through internships with local and national studios. Students also have opportunities to work individually and in teams to complete projects across state-of-the-art customized facilities within the SCAD Digital Media Center (est. 2009) and Mongomery Hall. More than 130,000 square feet of space includes studio classrooms; 800 computers+; stop-motion sets; a green-screen stage; motion-capture technology; and AR/VR labs. 

Housed in the former home of the Atlanta TV Station WXIA, the SCAD Digital Media Center provides an in-house theater, green screen lab, and a real-world studio environment. Savannah College of Art and Design also houses six galleries in Savannah, and two in Atlanta. 

Each quarter, SCAD School of Digital Media invites professionals in the industry to meet with students on campus. During these meetings, students have the opportunity to interview and present their portfolios. Past visitors have been affiliated with studios such as Electronic Arts (EA), Zynga, and Activision Blizzard.

The Digital Media BA program consists of 45 credit hours in the concentration, 25 in free electives, 20 hours in foundation studies, and 90 in general education for a total of 180 credit hours. Based on their interests, Game Development students have the opportunity to select from nine courses, a 500-level elective, a business-focused elective, the undergraduate internship, and 15 other pre-selected electives. Course examples for the program include Applied Principles: Game Design; Core Principles: Programming; and Applied Principles: Game Art. 

The Interactive Design and Game Development BFA at SCAD requires 180 credit hours. Students may select a concentration from two options: Game Development or Interactive Design and Physical Computing. Game Development course examples include Core Principles: Game Tech; Applied Principles: Game Design; and Core Principles: Game Art. Course examples for the Interactive Design and Physical Computing concentration include Core Principles: Visual Design for Interactive Media; Applied Principles: Interactive Web Design; and Core Principles: Interactive Design. 

The Interactive Design and Game Development MA at SCAD requires 45 credit hours of study. The MFA requires 90. Both programs provide two concentration options: Game Development or Interactive Design. Game Development students will take courses such as Game Tech: Real-Time Materials and Shaders; Game Art: Art Direction and Look Development; Game Art: Virtual World Building; Game Design: Immersive Level Design; and Game Design: Professional Production Pipeline. Students also have the option to take one 700-level course from Animation, Games, VFX or other area. 

Interactive Design students will take courses such as Human-Centered Interactive Design; Physical Computing for Immersive Environments; User Interface Design for Virtual Communities; Human Experience Prototyping; and Innovative Systems for Digital Convergence. Students also have the option to complete a 700-level course in Game Design or other listed area. 

All MFA students will complete Evidence-Based Design Interactivity and Gaming, and three Thesis courses including Thesis Studio I: Research and Ideation; Thesis Studio II: Production and Prototyping; and Thesis Studio III: Validation and Documentation. This is the culminating experience for the program. 

All MA students will complete the Interactive Design and Game Development MA Final Project. This culminating experience consists of the production of an industry-level project from research and conceptualization to implementation. 

Graduates of the Game Design and Development programs at Savannah College of Art and Design are routinely hired by EA, Epic Games, Zynga, Activision Blizzard, Riot Games, Gearbox Software, Microsoft, Adobe, Apple, Bethesda, Firaxis Games, and Sucker Punch Productions. 

Savannah College of Art and Design has more degree programs and specializations than any other art and design college in the U.S. In 1979, the school opened in the renovated Savannah Volunteer Guards Armory with just one classroom, an administration building, and 71 students. Today, SCAD serves more than 17,500 students across campuses in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia; Lacoste, France; and SCADNow. Programs include 100+ degrees and more than 75 minors and certificates. 

Savannah College of Art and Design is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA), and the National Architecture Accrediting Board (NAAB).

6. DigiPen Institute of Technology, Redmond, Washington (Top 8% of schools considered)
DigiPen Institute of Technology

DigiPen Institute of Technology (DigiPen) was the first college in the world to offer a bachelor’s degree in Video Game Technology and Development. Since then, this Houdini Certified School has accumulated 57 IGF awards—more than any other school in the world, and students have won close to 315 awards for game projects and academic papers. In addition, DigiPen graduates are credited on more than 2,000 commercial video games. 

The Video Game Technology and Development program has expanded to include a BS in Computer Science (CS) & Game Design; BS in CS in Real-Time Interactive Simulation; and a Game Design BA. 

A Digital Art MFA is also available. This program allows students to customize a specialization from courses across any area at DigiPen. Students have access to courses such as Game Design, Development and Production; Scripting for Games; Lighting and Rendering; Character Rigging; Organic and Hard Surface Modeling; Storyboarding; Advanced Character Creation; and Hair and Clothing Simulation. 

The Digital Art MFA requires a Final Thesis Project completed across three courses: Thesis Pre-Production, and Thesis I and II. MFA students will leave the program with a Professional Portfolio. Graduates are prepared to pursue careers in both Games and Animation. 

The DigiPen Game Design BA is an interdisciplinary degree that explores design theory, games, applications, and interactive media. The Computer Science & Game Design BS explores artificial intelligence (AI); system, level, and technical design; user interface design; programming languages; and game design.   

The BS in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation program is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET. Students in this option will master programming languages; 2D and 3D simulation; graphical user interfaces (GUIs); game engine software; artificial intelligence (AI); graphics rendering; and software engineering. 

For exceptional students, DigiPen offers an accelerated BS/MS program that can be completed in just five years. 

Students in all programs will work in multidisciplinary teams in a studio environment to create software and a series of original video games. 

Graduates of all programs at DigiPen Institute of Technology enjoy a high job placement rate. To date, more than 1,500 companies have hired DigiPen graduates. Examples include Epic Games, Electronic Arts (EA), Sony Interactive Entertainment, Nintendo, DreamWorks Interactive, Google, Amazon, Walt Disney Imagineering, SpaceX, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Microsoft, Activision, Insomniac Games, Zynga, Booz Allen Hamilton, Intel Corporation, Ubisoft Shanghai, Bungie, Take-Two Interactive, and ArenaNet. 

Established in 1988 as a Vancouver, British Columbia-based computer simulation and animation company, DigiPen Institute of Technology serves 1,200 students enrolled in 10 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in Computer Science, Digital Art and Animation, Engineering, Game Design and Development, and Music and Audio. In addition to the Redmond, Washington campus, DigiPen has international campuses in Singapore and Bilbao, Spain. 

DigiPen also has educational partnerships with Princess Nourah bint Abdul Rahman University in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; Keimyung University in South Korea; The One Academy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Thammasat University in Thailand. DigiPen Institute of Technology is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).

7. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts (Top 9% of schools considered)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is home to the MIT Game Lab. This research and development hub helps students customize a plan of study that matches their goals. Students may study game design through programs with built-in “clusters” or through electives across MIT departments. Popular departments for game design include Computer Science and Engineering (CSE), and Comparative Media Studies (CMS).   

Part of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS), the Department of Comparative Media Studies (CMS) provides programs leading to a BS or MS. The CMS Games and Interactive Media Cluster here consists of more than 20 game design course options.

The Electrical Engineering & Computer Science Department (EECS) is part of the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing. EECS is the largest department at MIT. Degree options include the BS and MS in Computational Science and Engineering (CSE). Programs are highly interdisciplinary and emphasize on-campus team and independent projects; lab work and research; and internships with MIT partner companies. 

MIT CSE students will explore areas such as human-computer interaction (HCI) and graphics; programming languages; artificial intelligence (AI); software engineering; algorithms and theory; machine learning; and computer systems. 

Elective requirements allow students to take additional courses that focus on games. Courses are available within and outside the department. Examples from the CMS Department include Game Design Methods; Games for Social Change; Advanced Game Design Studio; Game Design; Design and Development for Games and Learning; Fun and Games: Cross-Cultural Perspectives; Designing Interactions; Videogame Theory, Computation & Expression Studio; Games and Culture; and Interactive Narrative. 

The Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences (BCS) at Massachusetts Institute of Technology has an additional pathway for designers looking to specialize in emerging areas such as psychological games and behavioral change. The Brain & Cognitive Science BS is provided in partnership with the EECS Department.

Finally, students who would like to explore the business side of game development, or those looking to launch their own studios, can enroll in the Business BS program. This program is provided by MIT Sloan School of Management. For both the BCS BS and the Business BS, students have the opportunity to work with the MIT Game Lab to customize a focus area that aligns with their goals. 

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

Massachusetts Institute of Technology was founded on April 10, 1861—just two days before the start of the Civil War. The school serves 11,920 students from all 50 states, DC, two territories, and 130 foreign countries. MIT provides more than 115 undergraduate majors and minors, with 50 departments and programs offering graduate degrees. Massachusetts Institute of Technology is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

8. DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois (Top 11% of schools considered)
DePaul University

Jarvis College of Computing and Digital Media (CDM) at DePaul University (DePaul) has a Game Design program with five degree options. At the undergraduate level, students can earn a BS in Game Design, Computer Science (CS)/Game Systems, or Game Programming. At the graduate level, options include a Game Programming MS and Game Design MFA. 

Game Design at DePaul University emphasizes collaboration and interdisciplinary learning. As such, students have opportunities to work with peers across the audio, programming, fine art, and writing disciplines. The curriculum includes coursework that helps students navigate the game production process from inception to the testing phase. 

Course examples across programs include Game Development; Game Engine Programming; Playtesting; Unity Workshop; 3D Animation; Advanced Game Design; Practical Scripting for Games; Physics for Game Developers; Game Sound Design; Rendering and Graphics Programming; Real-Time Software Development; 3D Design and Modeling; Tool Programming for Game Development; Game Modification Workshop; and Game Development Studio. Electives allow students to explore areas such as AI, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), and animation. 

Across programs, students have access to the game development studio DePaul Originals; the Deep Games Laboratory; and CDM facilities such as the gameplay, playtest and usability, virtual reality, and game development and research labs. Other program features include participation in a variety of exhibitions; internships with local and national studios; and the biennial Japan Study Abroad Program. 

This two-week trip to Tokyo, Kyoto, and Nagoya consists of visits to game and animation companies; galleries and museums; restaurants; and temples, cultural centers, and historic sites. In Nagoya, students will collaborate with Japanese game and animation students at Trident College of Computing. This two-day game/animation jam is the culminating experience for the trip. 

Graduates of the Game Design programs at DePaul University will enter the job market with a portfolio of their best work. 

Some of the top careers for DePaul Game Design graduates include Game Design and Development, Software Engineering, Animation, Project Management, Computer Graphics, and Commercial Production. Program alumni have been hired at companies and studios such as Epic Games, iiRcade, Leo Burnett Worldwide, Fast Radius, and Speegs Media. 

With around 23,800 students, more than 300 programs, two campuses, and 10 academic colleges and schools, DePaul University is the largest Catholic university in the United States. Founded in 1898, DePaul is also America’s 13th-largest private, not-for-profit university, and the largest private, not-for-profit college in the Midwest. DePaul University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

9. Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida (Top 12% of schools considered)
Full Sail University

Full Sail University is home to The Gaming School, which houses classrooms and production studios that function just like most major production studios. The school also houses nine game design programs at all levels. Students seeking a shorter program can earn a 3D Arts undergraduate certificate; a Game Business & Esports undergraduate certificate; or an associate of applied science (AAS) in Game Art. 

Undergraduate degrees include a BS in Game Development; BS in Simulation & Visualization; Interactive Technology BS completion program with a Game Design concentration; BS in Visual Arts completion program with a Game Art concentration; and the Game Business & Esports BS. 

The Simulation & Visualization BS is available on campus only. All other programs can be completed on campus or online. 

At the graduate level, Full Sail University has a Game Design MS that focuses on production, design, and user experience research. Students may craft a track that matches their career goals and chosen area of expertise. Examples include game design, producing, research, and publishing. The MS program can be completed on campus or online.

In addition to gaining production experience in a real-world studio environment on the Full Sail University campus, all Gaming School students have opportunities to work off campus at local and national studios through the internship program. Courses in The Gaming School are also immersive. Course examples across all programs include Motion Capture; Prototyping and the User Experience; Game Mechanics; Data Visualization & Modeling Engine Development; Prototyping and Content Creation; Artificial Intelligence (AI); Game Production Tools. 

All students will explore all roles in the production pipeline; test simulation; video game development for computers, networks, and console; animation; game effects; and narrative design. Graduates are prepared to pursue roles across the games industry, film and animation, advertising, media, simulation for training and development, and many other industries. 

Full Sail University’s Career Development Department provides 24/7 access to job opportunities, with workshops and presentations that cover branding, networking, research strategies, and interviewing techniques. The department also coordinates local hiring events and events in other markets such as Los Angeles and New York. 

Full Sail University graduates have worked on many popular games, films, and ad campaigns. Games include Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, Overwatch 2, Horizon Forbidden West, Apex Legends, Destiny 2, and Fortnite. More than 350 Full Sail graduates were credited on 31 projects nominated in 22 categories at the 2023 Game Awards. 

Thirty-five graduates contributed to nine winning projects in 15 categories including Best Narrative and Best Game Direction for Alan Wake 2; Best Score and Music for Final Fantasy XVI, Best Audio Design, Hi-Fi Rush; Innovation in Accessibility, Forza Motorsport; and Best Ongoing Game and Best Community Support for Cyberpunk 2077

Full Sail University alumni have also been hired by companies and studios such as DreamWorks, Rockstar Games, Blizzard Entertainment, HBO, Pixar, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Disney, Universal Studios, Miramax, Nickelodeon, MTV, Bunim Murray, and ESPN. 

Full Sail University opened in 1979 in Dayton, Ohio. Today, the school is located just 35 minutes from downtown Orlando and Universal Studios. Serving approximately 21,000 students, Full Sail provides graduate certificates and degree programs at all levels in the Arts, Entertainment, Media, and Technology. Full Sail University is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).

10. Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas (Top 13% of schools considered)
Southern Methodist University

Southern Methodist University (SMU) is home to SMU Guildhall. Launched in 2033 with just 32 students, this education initiative was the first digital game development program of its kind. Serving hundreds of students today, SMU Guildhall is still the only graduate program in the country to provide specializations in all four areas of video game development: Design, Production, Art, and Programming. 

SMU Guildhall students also benefit from the program’s partnerships with hundreds of studios and companies across the globe. Some 1,000+ SMU Guildhall alumni work (or have worked) at more than 350 studios worldwide. Examples include Blizzard Entertainment, Insomniac Games, Microsoft Game Studios, Gameloft, Samsung, Disney Interactive, Epic Games, Riot Games, Bungie, Unity, and Bethesda. Other SMU Guildhall highlights include workshops, lectures, and guest speakers; mentorship programs; team game projects; and professional development coursework, portfolio reviews; and career fairs. 

SMU Guildhall at Southern Methodist University has two paths to study game design: the Master of Interactive Technology (MIT) in Digital Game Development (thesis required) and a Professional Certificate in Digital Game Development (no thesis). Guildhall specialization options include Production, Art Creation, Software Development, and Level Design. Guildhall students have the opportunity to develop a minimum of three industry-ready 2D and 3D games. This is a requirement to graduate. 

Southern Methodist University has several additional program options for game designers. Meadows School of Art houses the Division of Art and the Art BFA program. In collaboration with the Guildhall, the Art BFA allows students to add the Art Creation or Level Design specialization through the Guildhall’s Digital Game Development MIT program. 

The Computer Science Department in Lyle School of Engineering has a Computer Science BS (CS BS) that allows students to add a Game Development track. Courses examples include Programming for Commercial Game Engines; Software Development for Games; Math and Physics, and Team Game Production. Core requirements for the CS BS include Programming Languages; Assembly Language Programming and Machine Organization; Digital Computer Design; Graphical User Interface Design and Implementation; and Software Engineering Principles.  

BS CS students may also study games through the program’s required 11 credits of advanced electives. The program culminates with the Game Design Project. 

Graduates of the Game Design programs at Southern Methodist University are prepared to pursue advanced roles in all areas of game design and development. Program alumni have worked on games such as Call of Duty, Fortnite, Guitar Hero, Assassins Creed, Game of Thrones, God of War, Marvel Avengers, Grand Theft Auto, League of Legends, Batman, Disney Infinity, Elite Force, Days Gone, Atlas, Doom, and Diablo. 

In addition to the studios mentioned earlier, SMU graduates have been hired at places such as include Electronic Arts (EA), Google, Microsoft, Sony, Ubisoft, Bioware, Oculus VR, Zenimax Online Studios, Gearbox, Valve, Obsidian Entertainment, Irrational Games, and Crystal Dynamics. 

Founded in 1911, Southern Methodist University serves approximately 11,840 students from all 50 states, DC, and 90 foreign countries. SMU provides 250 programs at all degree levels across seven colleges and schools. Southern Methodist University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The school is also an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

11. Gnomon, Hollywood, California (Top 15% of schools considered)

Gnomon has been educating digital artists for over 25 years. Often called the MIT of Visual Effects, the school houses immersive programs designed to develop studio-ready professionals. Options for game designers include the Digital Production BFA and a Digital Production for Entertainment certificate. The BFA can be completed in as few as three years and the certificate can be completed in two years. 

The Digital Production BFA at Gnomon requires 180 total units, including 135 in career-focused study and 45 in general education. Students may choose from three options including Game Art, 3D Generalist, or Visual Effects. Across options, students will receive intensive training in industry software such as After Effects, Houdini, Nuke, V-Ray, Unreal Engine, Photoshop, ZBrush, and Maya. 

Course examples for the Digital Production program include Game Design; Texturing and Shading for Games; Level Design; Environment Creation for Games; Animation for Games; Props and Weapons for Games; Game Creation 1-4; Character Creation for Games; Hard Surface Modeling; and Character Rigging Fundamentals. 

The Digital Production BFA program at Gnomon concludes with the production of a professional demo reel. This culminating experience takes place across four courses (Demo Reel 1-4). 

The Digital Production for Entertainment certificate at Gnomon is a 147-unit program that provides five areas of focused study. Options include Character & Creature Animation; Visual Effects Animation; 3D Generalist; Game Art; and Modeling & Texturing. Electives allow students to enhance the certificate. The program culminates with the creation of a demo reel to be used as a promotional tool to gain employment in the industry. 

With a near-perfect 97% employment rate, Gnomon has 900+ industry-employed alumni working at studios such as DreamWorks, Electronic Arts (EA), Marvel Entertainment, Nickelodeon Animation, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Riot Games, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Digital Domain, Reel FX, Blizzard Entertainment, Weta FX, Sony Pictures Imageworks, and Naughty Dog. 

Established in 1997 by Alex Alvarez, Gnomon opened in a modest classroom location in Hollywood, California. Today, Gnomon sits on a 35,000 square foot lot within the historic Television Center Studio Lot. The school provides degree programs, vocational certificate programs, and 100+ individual courses for professional enrichment or portfolio development. Gnomon is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).

12. Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Top 20% of schools considered)
Drexel University

The Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design (The Westphal College) at Drexel University (Drexel) has undergraduate majors, minors, accelerated, and dual degree programs that are ideal choices for game designers. The College of Computing & Informatics at Drexel has several additional options for designers seeking programs that combine the full computer science curriculum with game design courses. 

All programs provide access to the state-of-the-art Animation Capture & Effects Lab (ACE-Lab); the URBN Center, which features an open floorplan, shared making spaces, and innovative labs and studios; advanced graphics workstations; the Immersive Research Lab for virtual reality, augmented reality, and immersive media projects; and a theme-park quality motion simulation platform.

Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), options within The Westphal College include the Game Design and Production BS; Digital Media MS; Digital Media PhD; Game Design and Production BS/Digital Media MS; Digital Media BS/Virtual Production MS; and the Digital Media minor (graduate). 

All Westphal College programs are hands-on and studio-based, with small class sizes that allow for individual instruction. Students will develop skills in computer graphics; real-time visualization (virtual reality, augmented reality, and immersive media); animation; scripting and storytelling; computer programming; and Motion Capture. 

Mandatory participation in the Drexel University Cooperative (co-op) Education Program enables all students to gain work and world experience prior to graduation. Co-op experiences take place at local and national companies, and overseas in places such as Greece, London, Ghana, Hong Kong, and Spain. 

In the College of Computing & Informatics, students can earn a BA or BS in Computer Science (BAC, BSCS), or a 24-credit hour CS minor. The BA/BS programs provide optional tracks in Game Development and Design; Artificial Intelligence; and Numeric and Symbolic Computation. All tracks explore games, with topics that cover 2D and 3D Games (Game Development and Design); Game Playing and Logic Programming (Artificial Intelligence); and Creating Virtual Worlds (Numeric & Symbolic Computation). 

Like all Westphal College programs, programs in the College of Computing & Informatics provide a hands-on curriculum combined with valuable co-op experiences. All programs end with a full-year capstone project. 

Across all programs, students have access to the Drexel Game Design and the 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 advanced roles in PC Game Design, Serious Games, Console Game Design, Game Art, Mobile Game Design, and Simulation and Job Training. 

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

Drexel University was established in 1891 as Drexel Institute of Art, Science, & Industry. The school serves approximately 22,345 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).

13. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York (Top 20% of schools considered)
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) is home to the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS). Within the school is the Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences (GSAS) Department and Program. The GSAS leads the Center of Excellence in Digital Game Development, which is funded by the Division of Science, Technology, and Innovation (NYSTAR) within New York’s department of economic development known as Empire State Development. 

The RPI Center of Excellence provides lectures and technical workshops; participation in trade shows and conferences such as the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco; and it houses ongoing programs such as GameFest, an annual student games showcase and research symposium; Ripcord, a joint blog-and-podcast series that focuses on games; and an intensive, yearlong games incubator known as the Level Upstate Mentorship Program. 

The Center also hosts game jams and hackathons; STEAM educational programs; research in games-related fields such as game AI, wargaming, historical simulations, and virtual reality; and training activities for gaming startups. 

Students in all RPI GSAS programs have access to everything the RPI Center of Excellence in Digital Game Development has to offer. GSAS programs are available at all degree levels. Options include a BS in GSAS; an MS Critical Game Design; and a PhD in Critical Game Design.

The GSAS Department at RPI emphasizes interdisciplinary study, allowing students in all degree programs to explore experimental game design, 3D animation, music and audio for games, digital arts, software engineering, and programming. RPI GSAS students will also take courses in leadership and management. 

A major component of the program is the opportunity to build a number of professional games in teams. Students will also complete an internship, and they have the opportunity to participate in study abroad programs such as the semester abroad in Singapore at Nanyang Technological University. 

Graduates of the GSAS program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will enter the job market with a professional portfolio of their best work. 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. 

Some of the top hiring companies for RPI graduates include Walt Disney, Hasbro, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Lockheed Martin, Amazon, Pratt & Whitney, Boeing, IBM, Dell, Facebook, LG, Cruise, and Boston Scientific. 

Established in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the nation’s first technological research university. Serving approximately 7,065 students, RPI houses 32 research centers; 746 labs, studios, and technology spaces; five schools; and more than 145 programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MCSHE) and the Accreditation Board for Engineering and technology (ABET).

14. Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida (Top 20% of schools considered)
Ringling College of Art and Design

Ringling College of Art and Design (RCAD) is the only institution in Florida dedicated exclusively to teaching art and design. For students interested in careers in the game design industry, the school has two options: the Game Art BFA and the Virtual Reality Development BFA. Both programs attract recruiters from major studios such as Blizzard Entertainment, Epic Games, Riot Games, and Bungie. 

The Game Art BFA at RCAD follows the studio model of teaching, which emphasizes learning by doing. Students in this 120-credit hour program will work on projects in teams to develop technical, collaboration, and communication skills. Students will create works in state-of-the-art facilities equipped with the latest software used by AAA and indie studios. Game Art facilities feature Houdini, Unreal Engine, Zbrush, Maya, and Adobe Substance Suite, among others. 

Other program benefits include participation in the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco; industry critiques by successful visiting artists; and access to RCAD’s experiential learning initiative—INDEX. This program provides opportunities to gain hands-on industry experience working on real world projects with real world clients. INDEX activities take place in the classroom, the Design Center, Studio Labs, ART Network, the Maker Space, and through client competitions, immersive experiences, internships, elective courses, and volunteering. 

Of the 120 credit hours required to complete the Game Art BFA, 48 are in the major. Course examples include 2D and 3D Design; Programming for Artists; Visual Development for Games I-II; 3D for Games I-IV; Game Design I-III; Digital Painting for Game Art; and Color and Perspective Drawing. 

The Game Art BFA culminates with the Game Thesis Project completed across four courses including Game Thesis Preproduction; Game Thesis Project 1A; Game Thesis Project 1B; and Game Thesis Project II. The Thesis totals 15 credit hours. 

The Virtual Reality Development BFA at Ringling College of Art and Design provides the same access and benefits as the Game Art BFA. This 120-credit hour program focuses on the design, creation, and analyzing of immersive experiences. This includes utilizing game engine technology in the creation of immersive experiences; navigating the production pipeline for 3D VR; utilizing specific software for creating 3D databases; mastering story structures; and innovating VR ideas. 

Students will also develop collaboration and communication skills, as well as advanced knowledge of professional practices. Of the 120 credit hours for the Virtual Reality Development program, 51 credits are dedicated to the major. Course examples include 2D and 3D Design; Concept Development for Virtual Worlds; Immersive Media Design I-IV; 3D Technical Art; Visual Scripting; and Programming for Immersive Media. 

General electives, Art and Design History electives, and open electives allow students to enhance the degree by specializing in an area of interest. Students may select six credit hours of general electives; 12 in Art and Design History; and 12 credit hours of open electives. 

The Virtual Reality Development program at RCAD culminates with the VR Thesis/Capstone, completed across three courses including VR Thesis Preproduction; VR Capstone Project I; and VR Capstone Project II. This culminating experience totals 15 credit hours. 

Graduates of the Game Art and Virtual Reality Development programs at Ringling College of Art and Design are prepared for careers in game art, design, development, and programming; virtual reality design, development, and programming; and user interface/user experience (UI/UX) design; architecture; military and law enforcement; education and training; advertising and marketing; art and design; healthcare and fitness; sports; tourism and travel; wellness; and automotive. 

RCAD Game Art graduates have been hired at major companies and studios such as Electronic Arts (EA), Blizzard Entertainment, Rockstar Games, Microsoft, Riot Games, Hasbro, Epic Games, Netflix, Bethesda, Naughty Dog, and Meta. 

Virtual Reality Development graduates have the opportunity to work at places such as Epic Games, Microsoft, General Motors, Kinetic Vision, 3D Forensic, Meta, Halon Entertainment, Vu Studios, Immersive Health Group, AECOM, Boabab Studios; ILMxLAB; Mote Marine Labs; and Funomena. 

Ringling College of Art and Design is a private, not-for-profit college accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1931 by Dr. Ludd M. Spivey (then president of Southern College) and circus baron John Ringling, RCAD serves approximately 1,700 students enrolled in 11 different majors leading to a BFA degree, two majors leading to a BA, and minor options in 10 areas.

15. Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts (Top 20% of schools considered)
Northeastern University

The College of Arts, Media, and Design (CAMD) and Khoury College of Computer Sciences at Northeastern University (Northeastern) provide several pathways to study game design. CAMD undergraduate options include a Game Design BFA; Game Art & Animation BFA; Game Design and Music BS with a Concentration in Music Technology; and minors in Game Art and Game Design. 

Graduate programs include a Game Science and Design MS, jointly provided 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 that focuses on developing and building games and playable media experiences. 

All programs are interdisciplinary, with courses led by industry professionals. Across options, course examples include Building of Game Engines; Game Design and Analysis; Level Design and Game Architecture; Prototyping for Experience Design; Mixed Research Methods for Games Generative Game Design; Advanced Topics in Game Design; Business Models in the Game Industry; Game Studio; Spatial and Temporal Design; Game Concept Design; Psychology of Play; Human-Computer Interaction; Game Artificial Intelligence; Player Experience; Games and Society; and Data-Driven Player Modeling. 

In addition to a wide range of in-demand courses taught by faculty experts, 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, Live Nation, Harmonix, Jamspot, Greenbrier Games, Splash Damage Games, and Demiurge Studios. 

In addition to gaining work experience through Northeastern’s co-op program, students in all programs enjoy hands-on learning in collaborative classrooms and studios; access to state-ot-the-art production facilities; and access to more than 3,350 employer partners, including Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and global companies.  

Graduates of the Game Design programs at Northeastern University are prepared to pursue positions in Game Design, Development, and Programming. Program alumni have been hired at major companies and studios such as Xbox Game Studios (a division of Microsoft), Zynga, Google, and Cognizant.  

Northeastern University began as the Evening Institute of the Boston Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in 1898. The school serves approximately 36,630 full-time students enrolled in more than 500 programs across nine colleges and schools. Northeastern has campuses in Boston, Massachusetts; Portland, Maine; the Massachusetts communities of Nahant and Burlington; Charlotte, North Carolina; Silicon Valley; San Francisco, California; Seattle, Washington; Toronto, Ontario Canada; Vancouver, BC Canada; and London, UK. Northeastern University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

16. Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Massachusetts (Top 25% of schools considered)
Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) houses the School of Arts and Sciences, home to the Interactive Media & Game Development (IMGD) program. One of the earliest gaming programs in the U.S. IMGD provides BA, BS, MFA, MS, and BS/MS degrees in IMGD. In addition, the program recently launched an interdisciplinary Computational Media PhD that focuses on play and art. While the program requires 15 credit hours in the computational media core, the PhD allows students to create an individual path such as Games and Game Engines; Visual and Sonic Media; Human-Computer Interfaces; or Narratives. 

The dual IMGD BS/MS at Worcester polytechnic Institute allows students to complete two degrees at an accelerated pace. This means students can complete two degrees in four to five years instead of six or more. 

The IMGD BA has concentrations in Visual Art, Design, Technical Art, and Writing. In the Visual Art concentration, students will explore games, concept art, 2D and 3D animation, environmental modeling, and 3D character design. 

The IMGD BS has a Technology major with a strong emphasis on software engineering and programming. Students in this program will complete projects and specialized courses in game engine programming, creative coding, computer graphics, artificial intelligence, procedural content generation, networking, and live coding performance. 

The WPI IMGD MFA is an interdisciplinary, art- and studio-based program that has three focus areas: Serious Games; Production and Management; and Technical. Students will leave the IMGD MFA program with a group or solo thesis project, and a professional portfolio.

The interdisciplinary IMGD MS is a two-year program designed for students interested in careers in game design, game development, and interactive media. Like MFA students, MS students may specialize in Serious Game; Production and Management; or Technical. The IMGD MS culminates with a thesis or group project. 

For students who would like to major in a different area, WPI has an IMGD minor that provides the opportunity to design a focus. This 18-credit hour option allows students to select from courses that explore game design, animation, game studies, audio arts, social impact of games, visual art, technical development, and creative writing. 

All IMGD programs at Worcester Polytechnic Institute provide access to state-of-the-art labs and studios such the dedicated IMGD Lab equipped with industry-standard software and hardware tools; an Artificial Intelligence & Intelligent Tutoring Lab; a Sound Recording Studio; and a Digital Art 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% employment success rate. Examples of companies that have hired WPI IMGD graduates include NextGen Interactions, Centre Technology, Kaon Interactive, and Zudy. 

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 approximately 7,230 students across the schools of Arts & Sciences; Engineering; and Business, and The Global School. Worcester Polytechnic Institute is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

17. Champlain College, Burlington, Vermont (Top 25% of schools considered)
Champlain College

Champlain College is home to the Game Studio. Led by industry-expert professors, this collection of seven majors features an interdisciplinary, career-focused curriculums; small class sizes; collaborative projects; and an environment that functions like today’s professional game design studios. Game Studio majors include Game Design; Game Programming; Interactive Narrative for Games & Digital Media; Game Art; Game Production Management; Game Business & Publishing; and Game Sound Design. The Game Art major leads to a BFA. All other Game Studio majors lead to a BS. 

For students seeking a minor, the Game Studio has two options: Game Programming and Interactive Narrative. The Game Programming minor requires 18 credit hours. Course examples include Advanced Programming, Game Architecture, and Introduction to Modern Graphics Programming. The Interactive Narrative minor consists of 15 credit hours. With courses such as Transmedia Storytelling; Introduction to Game Writing; and Screenwriting, this program is ideal for Game Design majors looking to gain experience in digital storytelling for games. 

Students in all Champlain Game Studio majors will develop a number of games that can be presented to recruiters from major studios such as Gameloft, Activision, and Warner Bros. BS students also have opportunities to network with representatives from other major studios such as Rockstar Games, Sony, Ubisoft, Insomniac, ArenaNet, Survios, and Crystal Dynamics. 

Champlain College graduates have enjoyed a 91% employment (or graduate school) rate within six months of graduation for the past six years. Game Studio alumni are often hired by AAA companies and independent studios. Examples include Electronic Arts, Insomniac Games, Sega, Ubisoft, and Bend Studio. 

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

Course examples for the program include Game Systems & Experience: Design; Game Technology; Interactive Storytelling; Level Design; Introduction to 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, Wired Magazine, and the Digital Media Academy. 

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

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

Established in 1878, Champlain College serves more than 2,000 full-time students from 41 states and 10 countries. Students have access to 117 subject areas as undergraduate majors, minors, and concentrations. Students also have the option to design their 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).

18. The New School’s Parsons School of Design, New York, New York (Top 25% of schools considered)
The New School’s Parsons School of Design

The New School’s Parsons School of Design (Parsons) is home to the School of Art, Media, and Technology (AMT). Within the AMT is a Design and Technology (DT) program with BFA and MFA options. These STEM-designated, interdisciplinary programs feature collaborations between artists and designers across The New School; studios and lab courses led by experts in the field; networking opportunities and sponsored projects with external partners; industry internships; and study abroad experiences in places such as Florence, Paris, and London. 

The Parsons DT BFA explores interaction technologies, emerging art and design practices, and media storytelling. The first year of this 120-credit hour program explores the liberal arts, as well as art and design concepts such as 2D and 3D processes, digital design, and drawing. All first-year students at Parsons, regardless of major, will complete their required courses as a cohort.  

The DT BFA has two paths: Game Design and Creative Technology. Game Design students will work on original projects that explore socially conscious video games, digital art, and wearable technology. Creative Technology students will visit and+ work on projects with major companies and studios such as Apple, Nickelodeon, Atari, Siemens, MTV, UNESCO, Eyebeam Art & Technology Center, and Rockwell Interaction Lab. 

Examples of available courses within the AMT include Game Design as Play Design; Creative Coding; Digital Asset Creation 2D and 3D; Core Studio: Environments; Anatomy and Perspective for Visual Storytellers; CG 1 and 2; Interaction Studio; Communication Design Studio: Motion Graphics; Introduction to Animation; Experimental Animation; Drawing/Imaging; Communication Design Studio: JavaScript; Physical Computing; Communication Design Foundations: Interaction; Data Visualization and Information Aesthetics; Web Design; Light and Image; and Critical Computation Lab. 

In the fourth year of the DT BFA at The New School’s Parsons School of Design, students will complete a thesis project. A new course called Pro Launch Studio, prepares students for careers in the industry.   

The DT MFA at Parsons School of Design is a studio-based program consisting 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, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met), NASA, Intel, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Ralph Lauren, Mozilla, One Plus, and Red Bull. Projects explore areas such as game design, web and mobile apps, film and video, and audiovisual performance.  

Other program features include access to state-of-the-art facilities and labs; elective options across Parsons and The New School; and the Cloud Salon Series—a webinar series consisting of designers, artists, technologists, and industry professionals. Past speakers have included New Red Order, Zach Lieberman, Yuri Suzuki, Audrey Bennett, and Lauren Lee McCarthy. 

Graduates of the Design and Technology programs at The New School’s Parsons School of Design are prepared to pursue leadership roles and others in areas such as Game Design, 2D and 3D Animation, Digital Filmmaking, New Media Art, Motion Graphics, Graphic Arts, Wearable Technology, Mobile and Application Design, Software Design, UI/UX Design, and Virtual Reality and Immersion Experience Design, Hardware Engineering, Advertising, Physical Computing, Data Visualization, and Web Desigin. 

The New School was founded in 1919. Parsons School of Design was established as The Chase School in 1896 by American Impressionist William Merritt Chase. In 1904 Frank Alvah Parsons joined the school, eventually becoming its sole director. The Chase School became Parsons in 1941, and joined The New School in 1970. Today, The New School serves 10,000 students, with 5,000+ enrolled in Parsons School of Design. 

The New School provides more than 120 degree and diploma programs across six colleges and schools, including Parsons Paris. The New School is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), with Parsons School of Design included within the scope of MSCHE accreditation.

19. Academy of Art University, San Francisco, California (Top 25% of schools considered)
Academy of Art University

Academy of Art University (Academy of Art) houses the School of Game Development. This STEM-certified school operates under the direction of professionals who are active in the game design industry. Program options include AA, BFA, MA, and MFA degrees in Game Art; AA and BFA degrees in Game Design; a BS in Game Programming; and MA and MFA degrees in Game Development. 

All options are multidisciplinary, so students will explore game, systems, and tools programming; animation/animation VFX; augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR); level design and rigging; coding and artificial intelligence (AI); 3D modeling; concept and technical art; and user interface/user experience (UI/UX) design. 

Across programs, students will take courses such as Programming for Games; 3D Modeling for Games; Game Engines; Prop & Weapon Design for Games; Programming for Game UI and Tools; Level Design for Video Games; Scripting for Games; Digital Environment Sketching; Action Adventure and RPG Level Design; Collaborative Game Development; 3D Modeling and Animation (Maya); AAA Game Engine Architecture; Rapid Game Development; 2D Tools for Game Development; Vector, Matrices, and Transformations; Combat Design; Mobile Game Development; Prototype Game Development; Indie Game Programming; Game Freemium & Monetization; Artificial Intelligence; and History of Gaming. 

Other program features include professional internships with partner studios such as Riot Games, Sony Interactive Entertainment, and Zynga; hands-on learning in the Academy of Art Game Development Studio; and access to facilities and technology such as Xbox/PlayStation/Nintendo Game consoles; cross-departmental war rooms with students from the Schools of Animation, Illustration, and Music; AR/VR labs; 280+ Alienware High Performance Computers with Dual Monitors; a competitive esports lab; and the Game Lounge. 

Graduates of the School of Game Development at Academy of Art University are prepared to pursue positions across the games and other industries. Alumni have been hired by major studios, independent studios, leading organizations, and networks NBCUniversal, Riot Games, Zynga, Norman Rockwell Museum, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Double Fine Productions (part of Xbox Game Studios), Naughty Dog, Sledgehammer Games, San Francisco Shock, and Crystal Dynamics. 

Established in 1929, Academy of Art University is a family-owned private university that serves more than 7,000 students enrolled in over 120 degree programs across 40+ areas of study. Programs lead to the AA, BA, BFA, BS, B. Arch, MAT, MA, MFA, and M. Arch degrees. One of the nation’s largest private, accredited art and design schools, Academy of Art houses 22 schools that emphasize internships, study abroad experiences, participation in clubs, and collaborative, civic, and pro bono projects. Academy of Art University is accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

20. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Top 30% of schools considered)
University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) houses a multidisciplinary program that is considered 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 program—a Master of Engineering (MSE) in Computer Graphics and Game Technology (CGGT)—is designed for recent graduates and industry professionals seeking career advancement. 

Established in 1975, the Center for HMS is housed in the Computer and Information Science Department (CIS), which is part the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. This means, CGGT MSE students will take at least four computer science and engineering courses. Other requirements include two creative art and design courses; one product design, development, and production course; one core area course; and one business and entrepreneurship. Course examples for the program include Game Design and Development; GPU Programming and Architecture; Computer Animation; Applied Machine Learning; Machine Perception; and Engineering Entrepreneurship. 

UPenn CGGT MSE students may also specialize in areas such as Animation and Simulation Technology; Human/Computer Interfaces and Production Management; Art and Animation; or Creative Design. Other program features include an accelerated one-year curriculum for students with a computer science or engineering degree; collaboration with students from other creative departments; and access the SIG Center for Computer Graphics, which features a state-of-the-art motion capture studio, high-performance NVidia GPU processors, ViDi Center for Digital Visualization Center, and AR/VR systems (Vive, Oculus, and HoloLens). 

Graduates of the University of Pennsylvania CGGT MSE Program are prepared for a variety of roles in the game design, entertainment, technology, design, and advertising industries, among others. Program alumni have been hired at major companies and studios such as Electronic Arts (EA), DreamWorks Animation, Zynga, Disney Animation Studios, Pixar, Microsoft, Activision, and Crystal Dynamics. 

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 the UPenn School of Design and the CIS Department. Leading to a Bachelor’s in Engineering and Science (BSE) with a DMD major, the program explores games, animation, computer graphics, interactive technologies, and virtual reality design. 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 Pixar, DreamWorks Animation, EA, Microsoft, Disney Animation, and Google.

Established in 1740, University of Pennsylvania is one of the nation’s oldest universities. The school serves approximately 28,710 students making it one of the largest universities in Pennsylvania. UPenn houses more than 170 research centers and institutes and 400 programs across 12 schools. UPenn’s Wharton School (est. 1881) was the world’s first collegiate business school. 

The University of Pennsylvania is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

21. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York (Top 30% of schools considered)
Cornell University

The Cornell Bowers College of Computing and Information Science (CIS) at Cornell University is home to the Game Design Initiative at Cornell (GDIAC). Launched in 2001, the GDIAC was one of the first official computer game programs of its kind, and the first established at an Ivy League School. The Game Design Initiative features a Game Design minor that highlights project-based learning and a curriculum that emphasizes gameplay design, software development, game analytics, and project management.

Consisting of a minimum of 18 credit hours, the minor requires Introduction to Computer Game Architecture/Design; and Advanced Topics in Computer Game Architecture/Design or Analytics-Driven Game Design. Students will choose four courses from Art, Computer Science, Information Science, Performing and Media Arts, Music, and Psychology. 

Across areas, ideal courses for game designers include Psychology of Gaming; Interactive Computer Graphics; Object-Oriented Programming and Data Structures; Machine Learning for Intelligent Systems; Graphics and Art; Natural Language Processing; Advanced Human-Computer Interaction Design; Creative Character Design; Screenwriting; Novel Interaction Techniques; Introduction to Rapid Prototyping and Physical Computing; and Communication and Technology. 

Students may select courses from other departments on a petition basis. Examples include Game Studies and Japan; History and Theory of Digital Art; and Human Factors and Inclusive Design. 

While the Game Designer minor is an ideal complement to the CS BS, it is open to all Cornell students, regardless of major. The CS BS is housed in the Cornell Bowers CIS Department of Computer Science. 

The curriculum for CS BS explores algorithms, programming languages, systems, logic, data structures, and theory. Electives allow students to develop skills in areas such as artificial intelligence, computer graphics, computer vision, scientific computing, cryptography, networks, and databases. Sample courses related to games include Algorithmic Game Theory; Advanced Topics in Computer Game Architecture; Machine Learning; and Cloud Computing. 

All CS students have the opportunity to complete a professional internship and participate in any one of Cornell’s study abroad programs. The school’s portfolio includes Cornell Global Hubs with locations such as China, Ghana, India, and Denmark; short-term study (winter, spring, or summer break) in places such as Paris, Madrid, or the UK; and semester- or year-long study in one of dozens of locations. 

Graduates of the CS/Game Minor program are prepared to pursue careers across the gaming, technology, advertising, science and medicine, architecture, aerospace, legal, education, and business  industries, among others. Ninety-nine percent of Cornell University CS alumni are either employed (66%) or attending graduate school (33%) shortly after graduating. 

Examples of top employers for CS graduates include Epic Systems, Microsoft, Apple, IBM, Amazon, Google, Tencent, Meta, Twitter, and Snapchat. 

Morrill Hall was the first building constructed on the Cornell University campus. The school was founded in 1865, with Morrill welcoming its first class in 1868. Today, the Cornell University Campus sits on 2,300 acres housing 608 buildings. In addition to the main campus in Ithaca, New York, Cornell has campuses in Geneva, New York; New York, New York; Washington, D.C.; Rome, Italy; and Doha, Qatar. 

Roughly 11,325 faculty and staff members serve approximately 26,285 students enrolled in 300+ majors, minors, and graduate fields of stud. Programs at Cornell are housed across 16 colleges and schools. Cornell University has been accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) since 1921.

22. Laguna College of Art and Design, Laguna Beach, California (Top 30% of schools considered)
Laguna College of Art and Design

Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) provides several paths to study game design. At the undergraduate level, the school has a Game Art BFA and a Game Art minor. At the graduate level, the school has a Game Design MFA. Across all programs, students will learn and work in a project-based environment that encourages collaboration. Students in the Game Art minor will take five courses: Fundamentals of Game Art; Level Design; Rigging + Animation for Games; 2D Development Studio; and Development Team. 

In the 122-credit hour Game Art BFA program, students have access to these courses and more. Examples include Game Design; Drawing + Perspective for Games; Game Industry 101; Visual Storytelling; Advanced Real-Time VFX; Character Design for Games; Environment Design for Games; Scripting for Games; Modeling for Games; Game Design; UI/UX for Games; Advanced Technologies for Games; Robots, Vehicles + Spaceships; 3D Character Design; Special Topics in Games; and Professional Studies for Game Artists. 

Game Art BFA students will work in teams with graduate MFA students to create industry-ready games that could be featured at the Independent Game Festival (IGF). All students will also participate in workshops led by artists and designers such as Chris Bateman, Bill Perkins, and Justin Thavirat. 

The Game Design MFA at Laguna College of Art and Design is a two-year, terminal degree program that requires 60 credit hours to graduate. Courses explore areas such as the game production cycle, game design processes, game prototypes, game narrative, game mechanics, and the business of games. Course examples include Player Centric Design; Specialized Programming; Game Production; Prototyping; Experimental Game Design; and Production Studio 1 and 2. MFA students will also complete a thesis across two courses. 

LCAD Game Design MFA students will complete a thesis across two courses. This culminating experience leads to the creation of a final, marketable game. 

Graduates of the Game Art and Game Design programs at Laguna College of Art and Design are prepared to pursue leadership roles across the entertainment industry and many others. Program alumni have been hired at major companies and studios around the globe. Examples include Riot Games, DreamWorks, The Jim Henson Company, Insomniac Games, Disney Animation Studios, Blizzard Entertainment 20th Century Fox, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Microsoft Studios, Obsidian Entertainment, and Marvel. 

Laguna College of Art and Design opened in 1961 as Laguna Beach School of Art (LBSA). The school has seven sites throughout Laguna Canyon and Laguna Beach, as well as affiliates around the world including Florence Academy of Arts (Italy), Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art, and NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences (NHTV), Netherlands. LCAD serves more than 700 students enrolled 20+ programs leading to a degree or minor. 

Laguna College of Art and Design is regionally and nationally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

23. American University, Washington, DC (Top 30% of schools considered)
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. 

For students seeking a non-degree program, American University has a Game Design Certificate. Housed in the School of Communication, this 15-credit hour program combines game design and game development studies. Required courses include Game Prototyping; Games, History, and Society; Game Development I; and Game Research Methods. Students will select the remaining three credits from 10 carefully curated elective courses. Examples include Game Development II; Making Meaningful Games; 3D Modeling for Games; Training Program Design; 3D Animation; and Digital Art Tools and Techniques. 

The Games and Interactive Media MFA is also 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. Course examples for this 54-credit hour program include Game Research Methods; Game Prototyping; Writing for Interactivity; and Game Development I and II. MFA students will also compete a six-credit hour Internship in Game Design and a six credit Master’s Portfolio Capstone. 

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 has a specialization in Game and Computational Media. In the specialization, students will explore games, simulation and modeling, media, software engineering, entertainment, artificial intelligence (AI), environments, programming languages, and computer architecture. Course examples include Game Programming; Game Prototyping; User Interface Analysis and Design; Game Development II; and Computer Vision. 

All students in the Computer Science MS program at American University have the opportunity to complete an internship and participate in collaborative research projects.  

Across all programs, students 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, and all participating students will obtain real-world experience by working on projects with the AU Game Studio, and clients including 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. 

As part of AU, graduates of the Computer Science and Games programs enjoy a 90% success rate (working, graduate school, or both). American University graduates have been hired at places such as Amazon Studios, Disney, Google, NBC Universal, EPIC, Ogilvy, CNN, Zenith Media, BlueShark Digital, ESPN, Foursquare, FOX, IBM, Meta, 4media Group, A+G Digital, SBD Digital, and Acronym Media. 

American University was established on February 24, 1893. Serving approximately 14,000 students, AU provides more than 170 programs across eight colleges and schools. 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.

24. ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena, California (Top 35% of schools considered)
ArtCenter College of Design

ArtCenter College of Design (ArtCenter) has an Entertainment Design program that leads to a BS. Launched in 2018, the program emphasizes hands-on experience and immersive coursework that focuses on the production process, programming, design languages, and user experience. Within the Entertainment Design BS is a Game Design track that highlights teamwork and collaboration. Key courses for the track include Game Development; Level Design 1 and 2; Games for Themed Entertainment; and Game Concept Development. 

Consisting of 132 credit hours of study, the ArtCenter Entertainment Design BS provides access to more than 30 entertainment-related courses led by professionals from Riot Games, Disney, Marvel, Blizzard Entertainment, Nickelodeon, Insomniac Games, and Sony Pictures Animation, to name a few. Other course examples include World Building; Unreal Engine for Game Designers; System Design for Games; Storytelling for Games; Mathematics, Economics and Games; Transmedia IP Creation; Design for Multiplayer Games; User Experience for Games; Game Design Challenges; and Games as a Service. 

During the last two terms of the Entertainment Design BS students will complete an individual game project, an advanced game project, the Portfolio and Career Preparation course, and Grad Show Preparation.  

Graduates of the Entertainment Design program at ArtCenter College of Design are prepared to pursue positions in video game design, animated television, visual effects, live action films, television, theme parks, and toy design. Program alumni have been hired at major studios such as Activision Blizzard, Marvel, Paramount, and Netflix.  

ArtCenter College of Design serves approximately 2,425 students from more than 50 countries. Founded in 1930, the school has campuses in Pasadena and Los Angeles, California, along with satellite studios in Petersen Automotive Museum (Miracle Mile, Los Angeles) and Berlin, Germany. ArtCenter provides 11 undergraduate programs; 10 graduate degree programs leading to an MFA or MS; a joint MS/MBA program; and undergraduate minors for Business, Creative Writing, and Social Innovation students. 

ArtCenter College of Design is fully accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

25. University of Denver, Denver, Colorado (Top 35% of schools considered)
University of Denver

University of Denver (DU) is home to the Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science. Within the school is a Computer Science Department that provides the opportunity to specialize in just about any area. Other department highlights include small class sizes with courses grounded in modern software engineering; interdisciplinary, experiential, and project-based learning laboratories; participation in student-run clubs such as the DU Game Developers Society, DU Esports, DU Computer Science, and Women in Technology; and faculty members who are active in research.

In addition to custom specializations, DU’s Computer Science Department provides several specific pathways to study game design. This includes BA degrees in Applied Computing and Game Development; BS degrees in Computer Science and Game Development; and MS and PhD degrees in Computer Science. Course examples across programs include Game Programming; 3D Modeling; Game Design; Multimedia Systems; Programming Languages; Machine Learning; and Operating Systems. 

Undergraduates will complete a Game Capstone. During the course of this culminating experience, students will conceptualize, design, test, and debug an industry-ready game. In addition to learning about the game design process from start to finish, students will develop group collaboration and researching skills. 

Both graduate and undergraduate CS students will have opportunities to participate in DU’s study abroad programs, internships, and cooperative education. Recent internship employers include The Walt Disney Company, Charter Communications, Oracle, NBC Universal, and Ball Aerospace. 

Graduates of the Computer Science and Game Development programs at University of Denver work in all 50 states and across 145 countries. Program alumni are Game Designers, Game Developers, Game Programmers, Multimedia Artists, Software Engineers, Freelance Designers, and Entrepreneurs. 

University of Denver was established in 1864 as the Colorado Seminary. Today, the school provides more than 200 different degree programs to approximately 12,000 students. Programs at DU are organized across 10 colleges and schools. University of Denver is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).