2018
Top 25 Public Game Design Schools and Colleges - 2018 Rankings
RankingSchool% of Schools Considered
1University of Utahtop 2%
2University of Californiatop 4%
3Georgia Institute of Technologytop 6%
4University of Central Florida top 8%
5Michigan State Universitytop 9%
6University of California, Irvinetop 10%
7Texas A&M Universitytop 15%
8University of California Los Angelestop 15%
9University of Texas at Austintop 20%
10University of Texas at Dallastop 20%
11Purdue University top 20%
12North Carolina State University at Raleightop 25%
13University of Washingtontop 25%
14The Ohio State Universitytop 25%
15University of Denvertop 30%
16University of North Carolina at Charlotte,top 30%
17Ferris State Universitytop 35%
18Miami Universitytop 35%
19Indiana Universitytop 35%
20University of Wisconsin – Whitewatertop 40%
21University of Wisconsin – Stouttop 40%
22Indiana University-Purdue Universitytop 40%
23Eastern Michigan Universitytop 45%
24Rutgers Universitytop 45%
25Ohio Universitytop 45%

Our 2018 list of the Top 25 public Game Design School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah (top 2% of schools considered)
University of Utah

Founded in 1850, the University of Utah (The U) serves more than 31,000 students from across the U.S. and around the world. The school offers 100 undergraduate programs and more than 90 graduate programs across 17 colleges and schools, and nearly 100 departments. The College of Engineering and the College of Fine Arts house the Entertainment Arts and Engineering Master Games Studio (EAE:MGS).

The Studio offers a Master of Entertainment Arts and Engineering (MEAE). Tracks include Game Arts, Game Engineering, Game Production, and Technical Art. According to the Studio, “all students in each of the tracks have a series of common classes including Game Design, Rapid Prototyping, Pre-Production, and Final Project.” In addition, students will “develop and enhance a professional game portfolio” and they will have the opportunity to complete an internship in the game industry.

The David Eccles School of Business and the Entertainment Arts & Engineering Program also offer a dual degree program “designed to take advantage of the complementary elements in the Masters of Business Administration (MBA) and the Masters of Entertainment Arts & Engineering.” The MBA/MEAE, which aims to bridge the ‘suits’ vs. the ‘dev’ divide, takes three years to complete.

Other offerings include a BS, five-year BS/MS, and Minor in Computer Science and a BA in Film and Media Arts. The BS in Computer Science and the BA in Film and Media Arts offer an Emphasis in Entertainment Arts and Engineering (EAE). The BA is available through the School of Computing and Department of Film and Media Arts, and the BS is offered through the School of Computing.

2. University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California (top 4% of schools considered)
University of California

The University of California - Santa Cruz (UCSC) opened in 1965. The school is home to more than 18,000 students enrolled in more than 100 degree programs across 10 colleges. The Jack Baskin School of Engineering (BSOE), Department of Computer Science (CS) and Computational Media (CMPM) Department, offers several programs for aspiring game designers. Options include a BS in Computer Science: Computer Game Design, an MS in Games & Playable Media, and MS and PhD degrees in Computational Media or Computer Science with a Research Focus in Computer Games.

The UCSC Art Department houses the Arts Division, which offers an MFA in Digital Arts and New Media (DANM) with a Playable Media Research Option. UCSC is also home to The Center for Games and Playable Media. Established in 2010, the Center houses the schools “five games-related research labs including the Expressive Intelligence Studio — one of the largest technical game research groups in the world.”

3. Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia (top 6% of schools considered)
Georgia Institute of Technology

Founded in 1885, Georgia Institute of Technology (GeorgiaTech) opened for classes with just 129 students enrolled in a BS in Mechanical Engineering program. Today, GeorgiaTech is home to more than 25,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in over 80 degree programs and 50-plus minors. Offerings for aspiring game designers are available through GeorgiaTech’s College of Computing.

Known as [email protected], this “institute-wide initiative” was “designed to advance the game community through interdisciplinary research, funding opportunities, tech transfer and expansion of industry collaborations.” Degree options include a BS in Computational Media (BSCM) with a Games or Interaction Focus, an MS degree in Digital Media (formerly Information Design and Technology), an MS in Digital Media – HCI, and a PhD in Digital Media. A BS/MS in Computational Media/Digital Media and an Accelerated 5-Year Bachelor's/Master's are also available.

The BS in Computational Media (BSCM) with a Game Studies Focus is also supported by the School of Literature Communication and Culture within the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts. All [email protected] students have access to resources offered by the GVU Center at Georgia Tech and the Institute for People and Technology.

4. University of Central Florida + Florida Interactive Academy, Orlando, Florida (top 8% of schools considered)
University of Central Florida

Established in 1963 and home to more than 66,000 students across four campuses, the University of Central Florida (UCF) is the nation’s second-largest university. One of the nation’s youngest universities, UCF offers around 230 degree programs across 13 colleges. One of the school’s largest programs is game design.

The Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA) is UCF’s graduate video game design school. The Academy opened its doors to “a select group of future game developers and creators” in August of 2005. Today, FIEA is home to dozens of students enrolled in the MS in Interactive Entertainment program with three Tracks. Track options include Art, Production, and Programming.

FIEA and the School of Visual Arts & Design (SVAD) also offer a BA in Digital Media with a Specialization in Game Design, an MFA in Emerging Media with a Track in Digital Media, and an MA in Digital Media - Visual Language and Interactive Media. A Minor in Digital Media is also available. 

5. Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan (top 9% of schools considered)
Michigan State University

Michigan State University (MSU) was founded in 1855. The school serves more than 50,000 students from all 82 counties in Michigan, all 50 states, and more than 133 other countries. MSU students have access to more than 200 programs across 17 degree-granting colleges. The College of Communication Arts and Sciences houses the Media and Information (MI) Department—home of the game design program.

Undergraduate degree options include BA and BS degrees in Media and Information with a Game and Interactive Media Design Specialization, a BS in Computer Science with a Game Design and Development Specialization, and a BA or BFA in Studio Art with a Game Design and Development Specialization. The Specialization is also available to other majors “on a case-by-case basis, particularly those in the Honors College.” An interdisciplinary Game Design and Development Minor is also available.

According to the school, “the minor brings together students in Media and Information, Computer Science, and Studio Art. For most majors outside of MI, the Minor often nearly fulfills the student's cognate requirements.” The College of Engineering, College of Arts & Letters, and College of Communication Arts and Sciences administer the Minor jointly. The College of Communication Arts and Sciences is the lead administrative unit.

Graduate game offerings include an MA in Media and Information with a Focus in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) + Serious Game Design & Research Certificate.

Besides offering a variety of programs for game designers, the College of Communication Arts and Sciences houses the Games for Entertainment and Learning (GEL) Lab. According to the College, the mission of the GEL Lab is to “design innovative prototypes, techniques, and complete games for entertainment and learning and to advance state of the art knowledge about social and individual effects of digital games.”

6. University of California, Irvine, Irvine, California (top 10% of schools considered)
University of California, Irvine

Established in 1965, the University of California - Irvine (UC Irvine) is home to nearly 36,000 students enrolled over 100 programs across more than a dozen schools. The Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences offers a BS in Computer Game Science (CGS). According to the School, throughout the major CGS students will “gain hands-on experience in creating a variety of digital games, for entertainment purposes, but also for education, training and engendering social change.”

Working in teams, students “will employ a variety of different programming languages, game platforms and hardware.” Overall, the program “strongly emphasizes the technical aspects of creating games, as well as working in teams to design and implement them.”

7. Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas (top 15% of schools considered)
Texas A&M University

Established in 1876, Texas A&M University is the state’s first public institution of higher learning. The school serves 68,625 students enrolled in nearly 400 degree programs across 16 colleges and schools. The College of Architecture founded the Visualization program in 1989. It features gaming-oriented study options in the MS and MFA degrees as well as enhanced game design curricula at the undergraduate level. Degree options include BS, MS, and MFA degrees in Visualization. A Minor in Game Design and Development is also available.

Visualization students have access to the Department of Visualization’s Learning Interactive Visualization Experience Lab. Established in 2014, the Lab “provides space for graduate and undergraduate students to create game prototypes while learning about game theory, the art and science of the visual image and game history. In the lab, through research and rigorous scientific process, students collaborate with specialists from visualization, educational psychology, computer science and engineering to create innovative, interactive software.”

8. University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California (top 15% of schools considered)
University of California Los Angeles

University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) was founded in 1919 as the Southern Branch of the University of California. The school is home to nearly 45,500 students from all 50 states and more than 100 foreign countries. UCLA offers 125+ undergraduate majors across 109 academic departments and more than 40 graduate programs.

The School of Arts and Architecture is home to the Department of Design Media Arts (DMA), which offers both BA and MFA degrees in Design Media Arts (BA DMA and MFA DMA). The DMA program highlights game design study, interactivity and games, video and animation, visual communication, and more. With support from the School of Theater, Film, and Television, DMA also houses the UCLA Game Lab.

The primary function of the Lab is as “a research and production space for collaborative teams to pursue focused work on gaming projects.” It supports exploration of Game Aesthetics, Game Context, and Game Genres, while emphasizing the “conceptual risk-taking and development of new modes of expression and form through gaming.” In addition to producing games and research, the lab “functions as a center that develops public programming around critical issues in gaming, including: public lectures, workshops, exhibitions, a visiting artist program, and an annual public festival at the Hammer Museum.”

9. University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas (top 20% of schools considered)
University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas - Austin (UT Austin) was founded in 1883. The school serves more than 51,300 students enrolled in over 300 academic programs across 13 colleges and schools. A unique program for aspiring game designers is available through a collaboration between the College of Fine Arts (CoFA), the Computer Science Department (CS), the Radio-Television-Film Department (RTF), and the Center for Arts and Entertainment Technologies (CAET). The interdisciplinary program is known as Game and Mobile Media Applications (GAMMA).

The program allows students from a variety of different degree programs to “collaboratively develop 2D and 3D games for mobile, online, and social technology platforms in the program’s culminating experience: The Capstone Course.” GAMMA students also have the opportunity to work “alongside organizations such as UT’s EGaDS! and IGDA Austin,” and with local game and mobile studios, and industry professionals.

GAMMA students may earn a certificate in CS Game Development, CS Mobile Computing, CoFA Digital Art Production, CoFA Digital Audio Composition & Production, CoFA Digital World Designer or RTF Visual Effects & Animation. Certificates are awarded in addition to the undergraduate degree in any given program outside of GAMMA.

Other program offerings include a BS in Computer Science with a Concentration in Game Development (BS CS), an MS in Computer Science (MS CS), and a Five-Year BS/MS Integrated Program in Computer Science.

10. University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, Texas (top 20% of schools considered)
University of Texas at Dallas

Established as a member of the University of Texas System in 1969, the University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) serves 37,650 students enrolled in more than 130 academic programs across seven schools. The School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication (ATEC) was created in 2015. It merged two long-running programs at UT Dallas: the program in Arts and Technology and the program in Emerging Media and Communication. ATEC serves more than 1,500 students, including 100 MA and MFA students and 40 doctoral students.

Undergraduate offerings include a BA in Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication (BA ATEC), an MA in ATEC, an MFA in ATEC with Gaming Studies, and a PhD in ATEC. Undergraduates may choose between several pathways such as Game Design or Animation. BA ATEC students may also choose electives in more than one area. Examples include User Experience Design for Games, Game Design, Interaction Design, Level Design, Modeling and Texturing, Virtual Environments, Rigging, Game Production Lab, Game Pipeline Methodologies, Serious Games, Game Production Lab, Interactive Narrative, and Educational Games.

Research areas for all graduate students include Game Studies, Game Development, Interaction Design, Computer Animation, and more. The program is a good pathway whether students are interested in teaching arts- and technology-related courses in colleges and universities or working in a professional studio or design practice. Graduate students may choose to pursue additional research opportunities.

11. Purdue University – Purdue Polytechnic Institute, West Lafayette, Indiana (top 20% of schools considered)
Purdue University

Established in 1869, Purdue University is home to more than 41,500 students from all 50 states and nearly 130 countries. Part of Purdue University, Purdue Polytechnic Institute was founded in 1964 as Purdue University College of Technology. Around 12% of Purdue’s students are enrolled in the Polytechnic Institute, which houses eight departments and schools that offer 68 academic options in six subject areas. The Department of Computer Graphics Technology (CGT) offers game design programs at all degree levels.

Undergraduate offerings include a BS in CGT with a Game Development and Design Major. The CGT program provides STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and math) and games. Studies will include trigonometry, calculus, and physics, as well classes in video game design and development, animation, visualization, rendering and programming.

Graduate offerings include an MS in CGT and a PhD in Technology offered through the Department of Computer and Information Technology (CIT). The MS offers several focus areas including Game Studies, Virtual and Augmented Reality, Computer Graphics Programming, and Computational Art. The PhD Program offers a CGT Specialization that covers Game Studies, Human Centered Design and Development, Virtual Product Integration, Animation, and Web Programming and Design.

Students may also earn a BS CGT/MS Technology with a Specialization in CGT, which may be completed in just five years instead of six years or more if pursued separately. Graduates of the game design programs at Purdue Polytechnic Institute have gone on to work for EA Games, Riot Games, and more.

12. North Carolina State University at Raleigh, Raleigh, North Carolina (top 25% of schools considered)
North Carolina State University at Raleigh

Founded in 1887, North Carolina State University (NC State) serves 33,755 students across 12 colleges representing all major academic fields. The College of Engineering, Department of Computer Science houses the game program. Degree options include a BS in Computer Science with a Game Development Concentration and an Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s (ABM) degree.

The BS program “produces skilled computer scientists with deep knowledge in the algorithms, processes and technologies used to make games.” Highlighted courses include Game Design and Development, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Building Game AI, Computer Models of Interactive Narrative, Human-Computer Interaction, Computer Graphics, Advanced Graphics Projects, and Advanced Game Development Projects. Electives run the gamut from Game Studies and Fantasy to Film and Science Fiction.

The ABM program allows students to complete the requirements for a Bachelor’s degree and a non-thesis Master’s in the same field within 18 months of completing the Bachelor’s degree.

13. University of Washington, Seattle, Washington (top 25% of schools considered)
University of Washington

University of Washington (UW) was established in 1861. The school serves more than 56,000 students across three campuses located in Seattle, Bothell, and Tacoma. The school offers more than 570 degree options across 300+ programs and 16 colleges and schools. The Paul G. Allen School Computer Science & Engineering offers a BS in Computer Science, a BS in Computer Engineering, a Combined BS/MS, and a PhD or Professional Master’s Program (PMP) in Computer Science & Engineering (CSE). Students may choose the Graphics, Vision, Games, and Animation Pathway for all programs.

In the BS degree programs, students can work with faculty and graduate students on research; collaborate with industry partners; tackle complex design and implementation projects in capstone courses; and tailor their degree to meet their interests and goals. Sample courses include Computer Animation, Computer Graphics, Advanced Digital Design, Digital Sound, Data Visualization, and Artificial Intelligence. In addition, students can earn a Certificate in Game Design.

Students in all programs have access to three main labs at UW CSE. All are engaged in research spanning the areas of animation, computer game science, graphics, vision, and visualization. Labs include the Graphics and Imaging Lab (GRAIL), the Center for Game Science, and the Animation Research Labs. Per UW, The GRAIL group is known for “groundbreaking” research in computational photography, games for science and education, 3-D reconstruction, Internet photo collections, object recognition, human shape and motion analysis, information visualization, and animation, while researchers at the Center for Game Science use gaming to solve grand challenges, crowdsource human problem-solving to aid scientific discovery, and improve student interest and achievement in mathematics.

The Animation Research Labs is a multi-disciplinary effort that brings together faculty and students from UW CSE, the Department of Architecture, and the Schools of Art, DXARTS, Drama, and Music. The ARL is focused on advancing the state-of-the-art in animation through teaching, research, and computer-animated production in collaboration with experts from Disney Animation Studios, Bungie, Industrial Light & Magic, Microsoft Game Studios, Pixar, and many others.

In addition to the Computer Science and Engineering Programs, University of Washington offers a BFA with a Major in Digital Arts and Experimental Arts (BFA DXARTS) and a PhD in DXARTS. Students in both programs have the opportunity to focus their work in a particular area of experimental arts (computer animation, digital video, digital media art, computer music and sound art, design computing, mechatronics, and so on). Whatever the chosen area, “artists and scholars working at DXARTS engage in teaching, learning, and research within the synergistic, multidisciplinary setting of the center's labs, studios, and classrooms.”

Additional programs include a Certificate in Game Design and nine-week Game Studio Roles & Development and Game Mechanics & Systems Design courses.

14. The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio (top 25% of schools considered)
The Ohio State University

Established in 1870 as Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College, The Ohio State University offers over 200 majors, minors and specializations. The school’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) offers BS, MS and PhD degrees in Computer Science with a specialization in Computer Graphics and Game Design. Ohio State also introduced an interdisciplinary BA program in Moving Image Production in Autumn, 2017.

Students utilize state of the art facilities, equipment, and interdisciplinary expertise in the school’s many special labs, including the world class Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD).

15. University of Denver, Denver, Colorado (top 30% of schools considered)
University of Denver

University of Denver (DU) was founded in 1864. The school serves more than 11,400 students enrolled in more than 200 programs across eight undergraduate schools and colleges and 14 graduate schools and colleges. Just a few include the Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science, University College, the Division of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Daniels College of Business, and Josef Korbel School of International Studies.

The Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science offers a BA or BS in Game Development. The program, which is a joint effort between Computer Science, Emergent Digital Practices, and Art, requires specific minors for each degree. The BS requires a Minor in Mathematics, and a second Minor of the students’ choice. A cognate of five approved classes from Art and Emergent Digital Practices is also required.

The BA requires a major in Game Development and a Minor in Emergent Digital Practices. The program also requires “more courses in the allied art fields than the BS and is balanced by having fewer required Math and Computer Science courses.” Graduates of this program will be able to study and work as a developer, game designer and artist. Graduates of the BS program will be able to “help in the programming and development of games, while understanding and being able to communicate effectively with the artists and designers who are part of any game development project.”

16. University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina (top 30% of schools considered)
University of North Carolina at Charlotte

On September 23, 1946, University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC Charlotte) opened as an evening college center for returning veterans. When it opened, the school was home to just 278 students. Today, UNC Charlotte serves 29,317 students enrolled in 170 degree programs across seven professional colleges. The College of Computing and Informatics houses the Department of Computer Science, which has a number of programs for aspiring game designers.

Options include BA and BS degrees in Computer Science with a Concentration in AI, Robotics, and Gaming, an MS in Computer Science, and a PhD in Computing and Information Systems, with a Computer Science Track. Sample courses for the undergraduate programs include AI for Computer Games, Game Design and Development, Advanced 3D Computer Graphics, Interactive Computer Graphics, and Intelligent Robotics. The Capstone requirement highlights Game Design and Development Studio or Intelligent and Interactive System Studio.

The Department also offers certificates and a minor for game designers. Options include a Game Design (GDD) Certificate, Graduate Game Design (GDD) Certificate, and a Minor in Software and Information Systems. Sample courses for these non-degree programs include Game Engine Construction, Audio Processing for Entertainment Computing, and AI for Computer Games.

17. Ferris State University, Big Rapids, Michigan (top 35% of schools considered)
Ferris State University

Founded in 1884, Ferris State University is serves 13,798 students enrolled in more than 190 educational programs through eight academic colleges. Programs for aspiring game designers are offered through two of these colleges including the College of Education and Human Services (School of Digital Media) and Kendall College of Art and Design (KCAD).  

The School of Digital Media offers a BS in Digital Media Software Engineering (DMSE) and a BAS in Digital Animation and Game Design (DAGD). A Digital Media AS is also available. According to the school, the BS in DMSE is designed as an engineering degree focused on the technologies, procedures, and methodologies involved in the software development process. Per the school, the program offers students the opportunity to actively compete in many growing industries such as Video Game Development, Information Technology, and Entertainment.

Students in the BAS in DAGD program will learn how to create and manipulate 2D textures and images, model, rig, light, animate and render 3D characters and scenes, build content in industry leading game engines, author interactive applications and games, and design and create 3D game level mods. In addition to game design and asset creation, the program prepares students to pursue careers in medical visualization, legal simulation, film, and more.

The AS program combines existing courses within the DAGD, DMSE, and Television and Digital Media Production (TDMP) programs into an introductory and exploratory degree within the School. It allows students to complete their general education requirements while enrolling in courses from across the digital media curriculum.

Founded in 1928 and located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Kendall College of Art and Design serves more than 1,000 students enrolled in around 24 programs. Among them is a BFA in Digital Art and Design, which allows students to work in one of two focus areas: Entertainment Art (animation, digital 3D, visual development for games and animation, and sequential arts like comics and storyboards) and Multimedia Design (interaction design for the web, apps, virtual reality, the internet of things, and video and motion design animation).  

Students in the program will gain knowledge and hands-on experience via high-end equipment and on-campus facilities such as Cintiq Studios and a wide range of cameras, microphones, and lighting equipment, and via access to The Dow Center FlexLab, and KCAD Library. Graduates will leave the program with the skills and experience needed to pursue career paths in areas such as 2D animation, 3D game art, visual development, interaction design, and motion design.

18. Miami University, Oxford, Ohio (top 35% of schools considered)
Miami University

Founded in 1809, Miami University serves around 24,500 students across one main campus (Oxford, Ohio), three regional campuses in Hamilton, Middletown, and West Chester, Ohio, and the European Center in Luxembourg. Miami offers bachelor's degrees in over 120 areas of study and graduate students choose from more than 60 master's and doctoral degree programs. Several associate's degrees as well as bachelor's degrees are offered through study at the regional locations.

The school consists of seven colleges, including the College of Creative Arts, which houses the Armstrong Institute for Interactive Media Studies (AIMS). This cross-disciplinary institute “works with students and faculty from across Miami University offering undergraduate, graduate certificate and graduate programs exploring the intersection of technology, design business and how digital technology is transforming traditional areas of inquiry.” Program options include a BA, Certificate and a Minor in Interactive Media Studies (IMS), a Game Minor, and an Experience Design MFA with a Concentration in Studio Art (xdMFA). The xdMFA is offered jointly by Graphic Design and AIMS.

19. Indiana University, Bloomington, Bloomington, Indiana (top 35% of schools considered)
Indiana University

Indiana University Bloomington (IU Bloomington) was founded in 1820 as “State Seminary.” The Seminary became Indiana College in 1828 and Indiana University in 1838. Today, Indiana University is the largest and oldest Indiana University campus, serving 43,710 students with a record 583,745 credit hours. The school has more than 550 academic programs across 16 degree-granting colleges and schools, plus the Hutton Honors College.

The College of Arts and Sciences is home to The Media School. Here, students can earn a BS in Game Design with a Specialization in Game Art, Game Audio, or Game Production; a BA in Media with a Concentration in Interactive and Digital Media: Specialization Game Art, Game Audio, or Game Production, or an MS with a Concentration in Design and Production. A Certificate in New Media and Interactive Storytelling is also available.

All students also have the opportunity to select 15 elective credits to further refine their career path. In addition, BS students may take Human Computer Interaction courses in the School of Informatics and Computing and study abroad courses such as Game Development: Programming and Practice, Rhetoric of Gaming, and Game Development Lab in Copenhagen, Denmark.

20. University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, Whitewater, Wisconsin (top 40% of schools considered)
University of Wisconsin – Whitewater

Founded in 1868, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (UW-W) serves 12,430 students enrolled in more than 50 undergraduate majors and 119 minors, numerous areas of emphasis, and dozens of graduate programs across five colleges and schools. The College of Arts and Communication is home to the Department of Art and Design. Program offerings here include BA and BS degrees in Gaming Technology, Communication/Gaming, and Visual Media, and a BA with a Major in Media Arts and Game Development (MAGD) - Visual Media Design Emphasis. A Minor MAGD is also available.

The school says that Visual Media Design develops aesthetic sensibility and artistic design skills important in the production of original, creative, digital media content for interactive and time-based computer games, animation, websites, video, special effects, 3D and motion graphic industry and artistic productions.

Students in the MAGD program may choose additional elective courses from one of the other MAGD emphases including Communication/Gaming and/or Technology. Two team-based projects courses provide a capstone for the degree program. In addition, all students may participate in the MAGD Expo—a juried show of interactive entertainment, 3D, 2D, aural, virtual and animated creative work held annually at the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater.

21. University of Wisconsin – Stout, Menomonie, Wisconsin (top 40% of schools considered)
University of Wisconsin – Stout

Established in 1891 as The Stout Manual Training School, University of Wisconsin – Stout (UW-Stout) is a Polytechnic University that serves more than 9,500 students from the U.S. and 47 countries. The school offers 45+ undergraduate majors and 20+ graduate programs across three colleges and six schools. The College of Arts, Communication, Humanities and Social Sciences (CACHSS) houses the School of Art And Design, which serves more than 1,000 students. Program offerings here include BFAs in Game Design and Development and Entertainment Design, and an MFA in Design. The school says that the BFA is the first and only BFA in Game Design in Wisconsin, Minnesota, & Iowa. Students in the program gain core skills in art and design such as drawing, 3D modeling, and animation. As a game artist, students will create the visual elements necessary for games including concept art, characters, level design, and animations.

The cross-disciplinary MFA program consists of study in the areas of Entertainment Design, Studio Art, Game Design, Interactive Media, Graphic Design, and more. Courses for the program are delivered through a variety of methods including on-site courses, online, evening, weekend and intensive summer courses. Graduates of the program will be prepared to pursue roles in the academic community and as design professionals and leaders.

The College of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Management (CSTEMM), Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science offers a BS in Computer Science with Game Design and Development (GDD) and Mobile Applications (MA) Concentrations, and a Computer Science Minor with nine hours of electives.

A charter member of the Higher Education Video Game Alliance, the Game Design and Development Concentration prepares students to design and develop software programs that use digital imagery and physics to create games, simulations or other applications. The school says, these programs can improve healthcare delivery, transform education, strengthen national security, shape public policy and continue to create social networks.

22. Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, Indiana (top 40% of schools considered)
Indiana University-Purdue University

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) was established in 1969. The school serves 29,790 students enrolled in more than 250 degree programs across 19 schools. Several programs are available for aspiring game designers through the School of Informatics and Computing (SoIC). Degree offerings include a BS in Media Arts and Science with a Specialization in Game Design and Development and a five-year BS+MS in Media Arts and Science with a Specialization in Human-Computer Interaction. A Game Design and Development Minor is also available.

Graduates of the Media Arts and Science programs at IUPUI SoIC “design and develop projects that focus on entertainment, serious game design, mobile applications, video and audio production, animation, and innovative web design and technologies.” All students have access to state-of-the-art facilities, including the Media Arts Research and Learning Arcade, the Advanced Visualization Lab, and a virtual reality theater.

23. Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan (top 45% of schools considered)
Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern Michigan University (EMU) offers more than 200 undergraduate majors, minors and certificates, plus more than 150 graduate programs to 21,105 students. CMU has seven colleges and schools, and seven centers and institutes. The School of Visual & Built Environments is part of the College of Technology. Here students can earn a BS with a Focus in Simulation, Animation, and Gaming (SAG) or they can take a Minor in SAG.

The school says the SAG degree is a multidisciplinary area of study, is a multidisciplinary area of study, combining traditional art mediums, programming, creative writing and story development with coursework focusing on modeling, rigging, animation, lighting, and camera work in 3D. The program gives students a wide variety of experiences in their course of study, which includes courses such as Game Development and Planning, Game Engines, Advanced Modeling, SAG Rigging, and Environment Design, to name a few.

Graduates of the program go on to become Game Designers, Character Designer, Effects Artists, Modeler and Storyboard Assistants, Graphic Designers, Computer Animators, Concept Artists, and more.

24. Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey (top 45% of schools considered)
Rutgers University

Chartered in 1766 as all-male Queen's College in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Rutgers University is the eighth oldest higher education institution in the U.S. With nearly 69,200 students from all 50 states and more than 125 countries, Rutgers is also one of the largest universities in the U.S. Thirty schools and colleges serve students seeking an undergraduate education, professional studies, graduate degrees, graduate medical education, and postdoctoral education.

Programs for aspiring game designers are offered through the School of Communication and Information. Options include a Dual BA and MI (Master of Information Degree) Pathway for Information Technology & Informatics (ITI) Majors with Game Production and Innovation Specializations and Certificate Program. The school says that the Game Production and Innovation Specialization benefits those who have an interest in gaming and game studies, as an addition to or instead of coding and developing games. It provides a basic understanding of game informatics and design – which includes the social dimensions of various users (e.g., designers, builders, players, managers, etc.); the technical dimensions with a focus on design; and the organizational and contextual dimensions.

The objective of Game Production and Innovation is to provide students with the capability to plan and design video games to address organizational and societal issues, including recreational gaming. Specific careers in gaming may include game production, game design, writing or screen writing, animation and management.

Students in the program have the opportunity to complete an internship in the game industry, they may complete 150 hours of independent study, and they may participate in the Information Technology and Informatics Program (ITI) Showcase. ITI provides students with experiential learning focused courses such as ITI 210 - Management of Technological Organizations and the Capstone Course. The culmination of both courses is the ITI Showcase, where student teams from the ITI 210 class compete in the Prototype and Pitch Competition while the Capstone class presents their project to a panel of judges before an audience of their peers.  

25. Ohio University, Athens, Ohio (top 45% of schools considered)
Ohio University

Established in 1804, Ohio University is home to more than 23,000 students enrolled in 250-plus programs across 11 colleges and 15 schools. The School of Media Arts & Studies serves more than 650 undergraduate students and it is home to the game program. Degree pathways include a BSC in Media Arts & Studies with an Emphasis in Games & Animation (G&A) and a PhD in Mass Communication with a chosen focus area, such as Games.

BSC program highlights include courses such as Digital Game Design, Visual Storytelling, Game Development, Sound for Moving Images, and Motion Graphics, and the Game Research and Immersive Design (GRID) Lab. GRID is an initiative of Ohio University's Scripps College of Communication. The program was developed by the School of Media Arts and Studies faculty and staff to provide the Appalachian Ohio region with training, education, and an opportunity to develop technical and creative skills with digital game technology. The GRID Lab serves as an innovative and creative center for undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff research and project development.”