What are the top game design BFA programs for 2024?

Top 25 Game Design Bachelor's of Fine Arts (BFA) Programs – 2024 College Rankings
1New York University New York
2Carnegie Mellon UniversityPennsylvania
3Savannah College of Art and DesignGeorgia
5Ringling College of Art and DesignFlorida
6Northeastern UniversityMassachusetts
7The New School's Parsons School of DesignNew York
8The Ohio State UniversityOhio
9Academy of Art UniversityCalifornia
10Laguna College of Art and DesignCalifornia
11George Mason UniversityVirginia
12University of Wisconsin – StoutWisconsin
13University of the ArtsPennsylvania
14Cleveland Institute of ArtOhio
15Otis College of Art and DesignCalifornia
16Columbus College of Art & DesignOhio
17University of ConnecticutConnecticut
18New York Film Academy Los AngelesCalifornia
19Rocky Mountain College of Art and DesignColorado
20College for Creative StudiesMichigan
21Maine College of Art & DesignMaine
22California State University, East BayCalifornia
23Maryland Institute College of ArtMaryland
24Woodbury UniversityCalifornia
25Shawnee State UniversityOhio

Below are the Top 25 Game Design schools and colleges in the US offering Bachelor of Arts (BFA) degree programs for 2024. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

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

New York University (NYU) houses Tisch School of the Arts (est. 1965), home to 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. 

For undergraduates, NYU Game Center has a BFA program with a strong foundation in the liberal arts. Primary areas for the program include game design, game studies, and game development; production (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. 

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. 

NYU Game Center 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 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.  

2. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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. Programs are also 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. 

For students seeking an undergraduate degree the ETC IDeATe has a Game Design minor that can be added to any BFA program. CMU has more than 7,000 major/minor combo options. The most popular BFA combo option for game designers is the Art BFA/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.

3. Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia
Savannah College of Art and Design

The School of Creative Technology at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has an Interactive Design and Game Development (IDGD) BFA that provides 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 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.

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.

4. Gnomon, Hollywood, California

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. BFA options for game designers include the Digital Production BFA. This program 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). Students can complete the program in as few as three years. 

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.

5. Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida
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.

6. Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts
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 BFA options include the Game Design BFA and the Game Art & Animation BFA. 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. 

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 University'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. 

7. The New School's Parsons School of Design, New York, New York
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 a DT BFA that 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.  

8. The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
The Ohio State University

The Ohio State University (OSU) has several paths to study game design. In the College of Engineering, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, options include a BS, MS, and PhD in Computer Science and Engineering (CSE). Students can also earn a BS in Computer and Information Science (BS CIS). Although the CIS program is listed in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, the College of Arts and Sciences awards the degree.

Students in the BS and MS programs may add the Computer Graphics and Game Design (CGGD) specialization, housed in the College of Engineering. Course examples for the CGDD include Computer Game and Animation Techniques; Virtual Reality; Advanced Computer Graphics; Geometric Modeling; Real-Time Rendering; and Project: Design, Development, and Documentation of Interactive Systems. Many of these courses are offered as electives for the PhD program. 

The culminating experience for the CGGD specialization is the Capstone in Game Design and Development or Computer Animation, student’s choice. PhD students may also select either Capstone as an elective. 

The Ohio State University houses the College of Arts and Sciences, home to the Department of Art. Within the department is a Studio Art BFA. To study games, students may select the emphasis in Art & Technology. Areas explored include art games, 3D modeling and animation, digital imaging, moving images, sound, interactive installations, and emerging forms. Course examples include Special Topics in Art Games; Sound and Image: Aspects of Art and Technology; 3D Modeling; New Media Robotics; Computer Animation; and Digital Imaging. 

Possible elective options include Game Design I-II; Games Virtual Modeling; Computational Thinking in Context: Game Development or Image; Video Game Music; Philosophy and Videogames; Esports and Game Studies; Artificial Intelligence (AI); Computer Game Art and Design; Animation; Video Games and Society; Screenwriting, Art, and Technology; and Computer Vision for Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). 

Graduates of the games-related programs at The Ohio State University are prepared to pursue careers in fields such as entertainment, technology, art, and engineering. Potential job titles include Game Designer, CG Specialist, Software Programmer, Virtual Reality Designer, Motion Graphic Designer, Interaction Designer, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Designer, Design Strategist, and User Interface/User Experience Designer (UI/UX).

9. Academy of Art University, San Francisco, California
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. For students seeking a BFA, the Academy has BFA degrees in Game Art and Game Design. Programs 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, course examples include 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.

10. Laguna College of Art and Design, Laguna Beach, California
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 that requires 122 credit hours to graduate. Course 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. 

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.

11. George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia
George Mason University

The College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) at George Mason University was established in 2001. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the CVPA has a BFA in Computer Game Design that consists of 120 credit hours of study including 10 in the Mason Core, and 51-52 in the major. Non-specific core requirements, along with digital media, visual arts, and general electives make up the remaining credits. The Mason core consists of courses such as New Media in the Creative Arts and Physics and Everyday Phenomena. 

Major course examples include Digital Game Design; Applied Coding for Game Designers; RS: Story Design for Computer Games; Gameplay Scripting Implementation; Computer Game Platform Analysis and Lab; and Advanced Game Design Studio. Elective examples include Digital Painting for Games; Advanced Game Animation; Drawing I and II; Video Art; and 2D and 3D Experimental Animation. 

All Computer Game Design BFA students will complete an internship totaling 180 hours, including 135 on-site. A Portfolio course is also required. This one credit course consists of creating and refining a web portfolio for class projects and presentations, and to aid in internship applications and professional development. 

The Computer Game Design BFA at George Mason University culminates with the Senior Game Design Capstone, which consists of a case study and public lecture. 

All Computer Game Design students at George Mason University have access to the Virginia Serious Game Institute (VSGI). Housed at GMU’s Science and Technology Campus, VSGI focuses on job creation, start-ups, and research. In collaboration with companies, government agencies, and non-profit organizations, VSGI develops research projects in areas such as Cyber-Game education, mobile and wearable game technologies, EdTech Game platform development, AR/VR diagnostic and training solutions, and MedSim. 

Also part of GSU’s VSGI, is the Mason Game and Technology Academy (MGTA). Founded in 2013, MGTA provides the opportunity to develop skills in game design and programming, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI).

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

12. University of Wisconsin – Stout, Menomonie, Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin – Stout

University of Wisconsin-Stout (UW-Stout) is home to the College of Arts, Communication, and Social Sciences (CACHSS). The CACHSS houses the School of Art and Design, which serves more than 1,000 students served by 60 faculty members. The largest school of its kind in the entire upper Midwest, CACHSS Art and Design houses the Design Department, which has a Game Design and Development (GDD) BFA. 

The GDD BFA is the first and only Game Design BFA in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa. The program is also accredited by the National Association for Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Students in the GDD BFA benefit from collaborative studios and hands-on experience gained at UW-Stout labs, studios, and other facilities. Students also gain field experience through internships in San Francisco and LA internships; industry projects with the Jim Henson Company and National Park Service; and faculty-led study abroad courses in San Francisco and LA. 

The culminating experience for the GDD BFA is the Game Design and Development Capstone and final portfolio presentation at the Stout Game Expo (SGX). 

Graduates of the Game Design and Development program at University of Wisconsin-Stout are Game Designers, 3D Artists, Animators, and Modelers. They have been hired at local studios and firms such as Big John Games, Finn Daniels Architects, and Pixel Spill Games.

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

The School of Film at University of the Arts (UArts) has a Game Art BFA that provides access to the Center for Immersive Media (CIM). Launched in 2019, the CIM consists of a 5,600 square feet space dedicated to emerging technologies such as human-computer interaction (HCI), performance motion capture, and augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR).  

Course examples for the program include Game Concepts; Advanced 3D Animation; Game Play; 3D Simulation & Effects; Writing for Games; Virtual Environments; Computer Art Studio; Interface Design; Sound Design; Digital Studio; and Professional Practice. Free electives allow students to take additional courses in an area of interest, pursue other areas in the arts, or select a minor from more than 20 options. Examples include Animation; Film; Screenwriting; Music Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology; Figurative Illustration; Music Technology; Graphic Design; Film and Media Studies; and  Creative Writing. 

Other features for the Game Art BFA include guest artists; the opportunity to work on real-world projects through the Digital Studio and Professional Practice courses; workshops and studios; frequent visits by recruiters from studios such as Bethesda Softworks and Sony; participation in the Global Game Jam; and internships with local or regional companies. Examples include Comcast, Perfect Prototype, PHL Collective, and Analytical Graphics Inc. 

The culminating experience for the Game Art BFA program at University of the Arts is the final project, which will be presented at the Game Art Senior Thesis Exhibition. 

UArts BFA graduates have worked on major games such as the World of Warcraft and the God of War series. Program alumni have also been hired at major studios such as Blizzard Entertainment and Sony, and many other studios across the U.S. and around world.

14. Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland Institute of Art

Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) is home to a Game Design BFA program that combines coursework and immersive studios with opportunities to work on real-world projects with partners such as NASA and 360 Alley. Housed in the CIA Game Design Department, the BFA program is also collaborative, so students will have opportunities to work in teams to complete console games, mobile apps, and AR/VR content--from idea to implementation to finished product. Team members may come from the CIA Game Design Department or Computer Gaming at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). 

Students in the Game Design BFA program will explore areas such as animation, 3D modeling, interactive storytelling, programming, visual design, virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR), audio and, of course, game production. All students will master game engines such as Unreal and Unity through coursework and projects. Course examples for the program include Game Media Production I-IV; Game Testing + Level Design; Serious Game Design: Theory + Applications; Special VFX/Simulation + Virtual Reality; 3D Texture, Mapping, and Digital Lighting; Sound Design Fundamentals; and Advanced Digital Sculpting & Modeling. 

The BFA program dedicates two three-credit courses to the Game Design BFA Thesis + Exhibition. This solo project will represent the student’s best work at the CIA Game Design Show. Instead of the Engaged Practice component of the program, which provides the opportunity to work with CIA partners, students may complete an internship with a game production studio, animation studio, or other company. 

Several courses help students prepare for careers in the games industry or to launch their own studios or freelance businesses. Examples include Professional Practices: Industry; Professional Practices: Studio to Gallery; and Professional Practices: Entrepreneurial Ventures. 

Graduates of Game Design BFA program at Cleveland Institute of Art Game are prepared to pursue positions such as Game Designer, Visual Effects (VFX) Developer, Game Programmer, Animator; Senior Game Developer; Storyboard Artist; Game Art Lead; Modeler; Art Director; Game Production Lead, Layout Artist, and Virtual Reality (VR) Designer. 

15. Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, California
Otis College of Art and Design

Otis College of Art and Design (Otis) has a Game and Entertainment Design BFA. Coursework for the program is hands-on, allowing students to develop skills in  concept art, modeling, texturing and lighting, and Pipeline Game Engine integration. Students will also develop advanced skills in industry software such as Houdini, Unreal Engine, Maya, Blender, Zbrush, and Adobe Suite. 

The Otis Game and Entertainment Design BFA features three projects: Game Engine Explorations, Game Studio Project I & II, and Game Senior Project I & II. Upon completion of the program, graduates are prepared to pursue careers in the games industry and other industries that value game design and development skills. 

Examples of potential job titles include Game Engine Artist, Game Art Developer, Visual Effects (VFX) Artist, Character Animator, Unreal Engine Animator, CG Texture Artist, Real-Time Development Artist, Character Modeler, 2D/3D CG Artist, Concept Artist, and CG Modeler/Sculptor. 

Graduates of the Game and Entertainment Design Program at Otis College of Art and Design have been hired at major companies and studios such as Apple, Nickelodeon, Mattel, Pixar, DreamWorks, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), and Disney. 

16. Columbus College of Art & Design, Columbus, Ohio
Columbus College of Art & Design

Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD) has two paths to study game design: the Game Art & Design BFA and an Animation/Game concentration that can be added to any major. CCAD concentrations require nine credit hours of coursework. The BFA consists of 120 credit hours including 60 hours of program requirements, 21 in CORE Studio, and 39 in CORE Liberal Arts. 

All students have access to the Cloyd Family Animation Center's Stop Motion Lab, editing suites, play-testing areas, Mac and PC compute labs outfitted with industry-standard software, sound rooms, and more. All CCAD degree-seeking students may also participate in the internship program, which provides the opportunity to gain valuable experience in the industry before graduation. 

During the first three years of the CCAD Game Art & Design BFA program, students will take courses such as Game Theory and Design; Programming for Play; Game Art Production 3D; New Realities AR and VR Production; Advanced Drawing Entertainment Design; 3D Animation Models & Surfacing; Digital Sculpture Illustration; Acting for Animators; and SODA Professional Practice. In the senior year of the program, students will have access to courses such as Table Top Prototype Play and Level Design for Games. 

The culminating courses/experiences for the program include: Game Pipeline Capstone, Game Projects Capstone, and the Game Collaboration Practicum.

Graduates of the Game Design programs at Columbus College of Art & Design can pursue positions with regional employers such as Pixel Park, Game-U, and Multivarious Games. Graduates may also compete for positions at major studios such as Riot Games, BioWare, and Insomniac Games.

17. University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut
University of Connecticut

University of Connecticut (UConn) is home to the School of Fine Arts. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD), the SFA houses the Department of Digital Media Design (DMD). Serving more than 375 students, the DMD features a collaborative learning environment; hands-on projects; and workshops and mentoring by visiting artists.

The department also provides access to state-of-the-art production facilities and studios such as the Cintiq Lab, Motion Capture Studio, and the VR/Gaming Studio; participation in clubs such as League of Legends Club, the Gaming Club, and the Game Development Club; and 100+ internship opportunities each year at companies in Connecticut and across the U.S. DMD students have interned at major studios and companies such as Pixar, Disney, HBO, ESPN, and Adobe. 

For students seeking a BFA, the UConn Department of Digital Media Design has a DMD BFA with a generalist path or a concentration in one of seven areas. Examples include Game Design, 3D Animation, Motion Design & Animation, Web/Interactive Media Design, and Digital Film/Video Production.  

The Game Design concentration explores game development for entertainment, science, education, and other areas. This may include digital games, geocaching, card games, amusement park experiences, casino games, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), or board games. 

Courses for the program are led by full-time instructors who are professionals in the industry. Course examples include Fundamentals of Programming for Game & Web; 3D Virtual World & Simulations; Game Scripting; Digital Game Design; Critical Perspectives on Digital Media; and History of Computer Graphics. The DMD BFA culminates with the Portfolio and Professional Development courses, and a Senior Project. 

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

18. New York Film Academy Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
New York Film Academy Los Angeles

The Game Design School (GDS) at New York Film Academy Los Angeles (NYFA LA) has a Game Studio course that provides the opportunity for students to run their own game studio in collaboration with peers. This semester-long course highlights guidance and support from professional game designers, developers, and programmers. The course is repeated throughout the Game Design Programs at NYFA LA, which allows students to complete multiple games and build a substantial portfolio of their best work. 

For students seeking a bachelor’s degree, NYFA LA has an accelerated Game Design BFA that takes three years to complete, full-time. While this program is offered exclusively at the NYFA Los Angeles campus, eligible students may complete coursework at NYFA New York in the one-year non-degree program, then apply the coursework to the Game Design BFA Program. Students may be accepted with advanced standing. 

The NYFA LA Game Design BFA features hands-on, project-based learning combined with lectures, in-class exercises, and exclusive guest speaker events with industry experts such as Game Designers, 3D Animators, and Filmmakers. Course examples for the program include 3D Game Design; Art Direction for Game Designers; Game Coding with Unity and C#; Level Design; Multiplayer Game Design; Game Design Studio I-IV; Playcentric Design; Publishing Video Games; Mobile Game Design; Business of Video Games; and Sound Design for Games. 

During the final semester of the NYFA Los Angeles Game Design BFA program, students will complete the Collaborative Thesis Project II, which culminates with a playable, portfolio ready game per semester industry best practices, including Scrum and Agile. 

Graduates of the Game Design School at New York Film Academy Los Angeles have worked on games and productions such as HALO, Star Wars: The Clone War, Pokemon, Lords of the Fallen, ToonTown, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Clash of Clans, Tron Evolution, and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon.

19. Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, Denver, Colorado
Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design

Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design (RMCAD) is an Unreal Engine Academic Partner and home to a Game Art BFA program led by industry professionals. Consisting of 123 credit hours, the program includes highlights courses taught by industry professionals; learning that takes place in a collaborative environment allowing students to interact with artists from different RMCAD programs; a Liberal Arts curriculum that helps students develop critical thinking skills; and participation in Game Art Events. 

The Game Art BFA at RMCAD also features small class sizes, access to state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, and courses taught by industry professionals. Students can expect to take courses Lighting; Animation, Character Rigging; Observational Drawing; Texture Mapping; 3D Modeling; Visual Storytelling; and Environment Design. While students can choose to complete the program on-campus or on ground 

All Game Art students have the opportunity to complete the program online or on campus. However, all on campus students are required to take part in online learning. 

The Game Art BFA at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design culminates with a design project. Graduates are prepared for careers in the game design industry, animation, film, and advertising, among others. Examples of potential career paths include Game Artist, 3D Modeler, Animator, Texture Artist, Environment Designer, and Lighting Artist.

20. College for Creative Studies, Detroit, Michigan
College for Creative Studies

The College for Creative Studies (CCS) houses the Entertainment Arts (EA) Department, which provides a STEM-designated BFA with a Game Design major. All first-year students, regardless of major, will take courses in the Foundation Department. Areas explored include drawing, color theory, and basic design. 

EA Game Design students will complete a total of 126-127 credits that explore environment design for game, animation, and film; traditional drawing and CGI tools; immersive gameplay; 2D and 3D; augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR); and mobile platforms. All students benefit from sponsored projects with major companies and studios such as Epic Games, GM, and Unity 3D.  

Other program benefits include access to state-of the art labs and equipment such as the Gaming Lab, AR/VR Lab, software and hardware, and editing suites; small class sizes; internship opportunities; and courses taught by industry professionals. Course examples for the program include Advanced Computer Generated Environments;  History of Video Games; Game Projects I-II; Game Ideation; Modeling and Texturing; Digital Techniques; Process and Making; Game Trend; and Game Professional Futures. 

The culminating experience for the EA Game Design program is Game Senior Studio, completed across two courses totaling six credit hours. Graduates are prepared to pursue roles such as Character Artist, Game Designer, VFX Artist, AR/VR Developer, Environment Designer, Technical Artist, and Vehicle Designer. EA Game Design alumni have created game environments for World of Warcraft at Blizzard Entertainment; they have worked on more than 15 Marvel movies; and they designed one third of the six Batmobiles. 

CCS Game Design graduates have also landed positions at Nickelodeon, Epic Games, Disney Animation Studios, Paramount, Disney Television Animation, Pixomondo, Turn 10 Studios, Outloud Media, Wedoo, Certain Affinity, General Motors, Funcom, ustwo Games, and Monomi Park.

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

Maine College of Art & Design (MECA&D) has one path to study games--the Animation and Game Art (AG) program. Leading to a BFA, the program provides 24/7 access to private studios and state-of-the-art production facilities and equipment such VR workstations; audio production and mastering studios; stop-motion animation workspaces; and the FabLab collaborative studio space. 

The computer labs are MECA&D are outfitted with workstations and industry-level programs such as Unity Real-Time Development Platform, Adobe CC Premium Suite (Illustrator, Animate, Photoshop, After Effects, Muse, Audition), ToonBoom Harmony, MAYA and Mudbox, Dragon Stop Motion, and Stencyl. 

The four-year AG BFA program begins with two years of preparation coursework. Course examples include Intermediate Advanced 3D Game Art; Game & Concept Art; 2D Game Design; 3D Modeling & Animation; Character Design; Stop Motion and FX; 3D Rigging & Animation; and Cinematic Storytelling. 

During the third year of the program, students will spend most of their time in the Major Production Studio and the Collaborative Productions courses. The final year of the MECA&D AG program consists of elective coursework and the Professional Studio and Capstone Production courses. Students will leave the Maine College of Art & Design AG BFA program with a professional portfolio of their best work. 

Graduates of the AG BFA program at Maine College of Art and Design are prepared to pursue roles across the games and entertainment industries, among others. Some alumni have also launched their own studios or freelance businesses. Program alumni have been hired at places such as Walt Disney Animation Studios, Hasbro, Laika, Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDigi) at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), Chickadee Games, Lone Wolf Media, Fort House Studios, Shoestring Theater, P3 Studios, White Dog Arts: Film and Media Production, Big Room Studios, Calypso Communications, and Digital Mill Production Studio.

22. California State University, East Bay, Hayward, California
California State University, East Bay

California State University, East Bay (Cal State East Bay) houses the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences (CLASS) home to the School of Arts & Media. Within the school is the Department of Art, which has an ART BFA program with a 70-unit Interaction and Game Design concentration that explores both commercial and experimental approaches to game design. 

Course examples for the program include 2D, 3D, and 4D Processes; Interaction Design Studio; History of Play; Games and Interactivity; Game Design I-II; Usability Theory & Experience Design; Interaction Design Studio I-II; and Game Development Team Project. Students will also complete Senior Project and an Internship. ART BFA/Interaction and Game Design students will leave the program with a professional game and portfolio of their best work. 

Graduates of the Art BFA Program at Cal State East Bay are prepared to pursue titles such as Game Designer, Interaction Designer, 3D Character Rigger, Stop Motion Animator, Matte Painter (Film and Game Industry), Effects Animator, Art Director, User Experience/User Interface Designer (UX/UI), and Storyboard Artist.

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

Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is home to the Game Lab, which hosts events and assists students with making games. The MICA Game Lab also houses the Game Design program. For students seeking a degree, the Lab runs the Game Design BFA. For students in other majors, the Lab has a Game Design minor that requires 15 credit hours. 

Students in the minor will take Game/Play and Introduction to Unity Engine: 2D Game Design. To reach 15 credits, students will select three courses from a list of eight. Examples include Advanced 3D Game Design; Level & Player Experience Design; Sound for Games; Narrative Design; and Installation Games. 

The Game Design BFA at MICA requires 120 credit hours of study, including 21 credit hours of studio electives, and the option to complete an internship or undergraduate teaching assistantship. In Senior Studio I-II, students will complete a professional game. Other course examples for the program include New Media 4D; Game Design Special Topics; Unity Engine 2: Advanced 2D Game Design; Ways of Seeing; Level & Player Experience Design; Game/Play; Fabrication (3D); and Narrative Design. 

Across programs, students benefit from potential partners such as regional game companies, including Big Huge Games and Firaxis; the Computer Science Department at Johns Hopkins University's Whiting School of Engineering; Come Out and Play, an annual international festival for big and experimental games; the Institute of Play, a New York City-based organization for the research and development of games as teaching tools; and MICA's Center for Design Practice. 

Other program benefits include access to state-of-the-art labs, studios, and equipment; visiting artists and lecturers; and participation in semester and summer study abroad programs. Graduates are prepared to pursue positions in all fields such as digital and traditional game design, science and medicine, museums, education, healthcare, architecture, and advertising. 

Maryland Institute College of Art alumni also go on to pursue graduate study or launch their own studios and freelance businesses. MICA alumni work at places such as Google, Big Huge Games, Firaxis Games, Sparkypants, and Cooper-Hewit National Design Museum. 

Maryland Institute College of Art has an additional program for students interested in a degree that will allow them to work on creations that integrate art with technology. The BFA in Interactive Arts (IA) explores games, building robots, working with VR/AR, and experience design. Examples of games-related courses for the program include Creative Coding; Experience Design: Concepts and Tools; Network Art; Unity3D For Artists; Interactive Spaces; Immersive Experience Lab; Interactive Fiction; and Immersive/Interactive Studio. Students will also gain professional experience through an internship. Some majors have completed internships at Discovery Communications; The Smithsonian; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Digital Harbor Foundation; and CODE2040 

The culminating experience for MICA Interactive Arts BFA program is Senior Thesis: Visual Development. In this three-credit course, students will prepare a final body of work to be produced through the Game Design, Animation, or Illustration departments. Throughout the course, students will work individually and with peers to create projects; they will interact with visiting artists, critics, and lecturers; and take field trips to places of interest. Final projects will be reviewed in individual and group critiques. 

Graduates of the Interactive Arts BFA program at Maryland Institute College of Art are prepared to pursue careers in the games industry, interactive design, and fine art. Some graduates go on to start their own businesses such as Brinkbit and Friends of the Web. Others go on to establish careers with a  wide range of firms, agencies, and studios. 

24. Woodbury University, Burbank, California
Woodbury University

The School of Media, Culture & Design at Woodbury University has a STEM-designated Game Art and Design BFA that combines game design studies with animation, computer technology, storytelling, art, and sound design. BFA students have the option to focus in either Game Design or Game Art. As a STEM-designated program, both options require many of the same major courses as the Applied Computer Science BS and Animation BFA Programs. 

Through interdisciplinary, hands-on courses, the required BFA Internship, and production work in the Game Art and Design Studio, BFA students will develop skills in game conceptualization, play mechanics, game rules, story, program flow, prototyping, and scoring systems. 

Game Art and Design students have interned at Insomniac Games, Activision Blizzard, Disney, Nickelodeon, Lionsgate, Microsoft, Ripple Effects Studios (an EA studio formerly known as DICE LA), IMAX, Mobile Motion Mocap, Nexon (South Korea), AVR Studios, and the alumni-developed Code Headquarters. 

Graduates of the Game Art and Design BFA at Woodbury University are often hired by the companies they have interned with. Possible job titles for graduates titles include Game Level Designer, Combat Designer, R&D Prototype Developer, Rigger, 3D Character Animator, Environmental Designer, Modeler, Story Developer for Interactive Media, Scenario Designer, and User Interface Designer.

25. Shawnee State University, Portsmouth, Ohio
Shawnee State University

The College of Arts and Sciences at Arts Shawnee State University (SSU or Shawnee State) houses the Department of Fine, Digital, and Performing Arts, which has a Game and Simulation Development Arts BFA that explores game design, art asset development, animation, and the gaming pipeline. The program requires 30 credits in the Art Core, 21 in the Art Studio concentration, 18 in Digital 3D, and 21 credits in gaming and general electives. Students will also complete 33 credits in the General Education Program. 

Course examples include Game Studio; Game Programming; Animation Studio; Game Design; Electronic Music; Organic 3D; Acting; Game Documentation; Digital 3D Foundation Studio; UI Design for Games; World Design and Creation; Hard Surface 3D; Digital Paint 1 and 2; and Game Audio. 

Other Game and Simulation Development Arts highlights include immersive course assignments; access to Shawnee State’s state-of-the-art Motion Capture Studio and the Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Lab; and participation in Game Jams and varsity Esports. 

During the final year of the program, BFA students will collaborate on a joint senior project that will become the centerpiece of their professional portfolio. 

Graduates of the Game and Simulation Development Arts BFA at Shawnee State University have established careers in the entertainment industry and serious games, as well as other emerging industries for game design and development such as technology, government, and health care. 

Examples of potential job titles include Game Designer, Game Artist, Game/Simulation Programmer, Game Animator, Software Engineer, Technical Director, Art Director, and Game/Simulation Engine Developer.