What are the top game design programs in Georgia for 2021?
|Savannah College of Art and Design
|Georgia Institute of Technology
|Kennesaw State University
|Georgia State University
|Georgia Southern University
Our 2021 ranking of the top game design school programs in Georgia. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.
1. Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia
Founded in 1978, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) began in a renovated armory, serving as the first classroom and administration building. Since then, the school has grown into a multi-campus art college with locations in Savannah and Atlanta, Georgia, Hong Kong, and Lacoste, France. The school, which serves more than 15,000 students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries, offers 40+ majors and over 75 minors—more degree programs and specializations than any other art and design college.
The School of Digital Media at SCAD offers a BA in Digital Media with a Concentration in Game Development or Interactive Design, and BFA, MA and MFA degrees in Interactive Design and Game Development (IDGD). Minors in Concept Art for Games, Concept Design for Animation and Games, Games UX, Interactive Design and Game Development, and Mobile and Interactive Design are also available.
The 180 credit hour BA is available at the Atlanta, Savannah, and eLearning campuses. This program requires 45 credit hours in the concentration. Game Development course highlights include Applied Principles: Game Art and Game Design, Core Principles: Programming, Digital Communication, Digital Design Aesthetics, and Introduction to Interactive Design and Game Development.
Interactive Design course highlights include Anatomy, Form, and Space, Digital Design Aesthetics, Interactive Design and Game Development, Interactive Web Design, Programming, and Social Media Applications. Students may choose additional game design courses thanks to 20 hours of free electives. Both concentrations offer internship opportunities.
The 180 credit hour BFA is offered in Atlanta and Savannah. The program requires 75 hours in the major including courses such as Interactive Design and Game Development Postproduction, Interactive Design and Game Development Studio I & II, and Programming. Students in the BFA program will choose between two concentrations: Game Development or Interactive Design and Physical Computing. Course highlights include Game Art, Game Tech, User-Centered Design, and Visual Design for Interactive Media.
Offered at the Savannah campus and via eLearning, the MA consists of 45 credit hours of study and the opportunity to select a concentration. Options include Game Development and Interactive Design. Sample Game Development courses include Game Art: Art Direction and Look Development, Game Art: Character Creation and Digital Sculpting, Game Art: Engine Pipeline and Practices, Game Design: Professional Production Pipeline, Game Tech: Real-time Materials and Shaders, and Game Art: Virtual World Building. Students in this program will also complete an Interactive Design and Game Development MA Final Project.
The Interactive Design Concentration includes courses such as Human Experience Prototyping, Human-centered Interactive Design, Physical Computing for Immersive Environments, Physical Computing for Tangible Interfaces, and Visual Hierarchies and Digital Affordances. Note that up to five additional graduate-level intensive courses may be assigned, bringing the student's required course of study to a total of 50 to 70 hours.
The MFA program consists of 45 credit hours of study including courses such as Character Development, Environment for Games, Game Design Documentation, and Scripting for Interactivity. Students will also take Thesis Studio I & II, and complete a Graduate Internship. The MFA program is offered at the Savannah campus and through eLearning.
At SCAD, professionals visit with students every quarter, interviewing for positions and reviewing portfolios. Recent visitors include representatives from Activision, Blizzard Entertainment, Crystal Dynamics, Electronic Arts, and Zynga. Graduates have been recruited by Epic Games, Firaxis Games, Sucker Punch Productions, and many others.
2. Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia
Georgia Institute of Technology (GeorgiaTech) was founded in 1885. The school opened for classes October 8, 1888, with just 129 students enrolled in a BS in Mechanical Engineering program. Today, GeorgiaTech serves more than 25,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in over 80 degree programs and 50-plus minors in six colleges and 28 schools.
Degrees are offered through the colleges of Design, Computing, Engineering, Sciences, the Scheller College of Business, and the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts. Programs for aspiring game designers are available through GeorgiaTech’s College of Computing in collaboration with the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts’ School of Literature, Media, and Communication.
Degree options include a BS in Computational Media (BSCM) with a Games Studies 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 game programs are part of an institute-wide initiative designed to advance the game community through interdisciplinary research, funding opportunities, tech transfer and expansion of industry collaborations. Course highlights include Computer Animation, Constructing the Moving Image, Experimental Media, Game Design as a Cultural Practice, Principles of Interaction Design, and Video Game Design.
Graduates of the Game Programs at GeorgiaTech are prepared to seek careers in 3D Modeling, Animation, Interactive Game Design and Simulation, Robotics, Robotics, Special Effects Creation, Virtual and Augmented Reality, and Web Design. Many have been hired at major video game studios and interactive media firms. Others are now pursuing graduate degrees in digital media, human-computer interaction, and even film studies.
3. Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, Georgia
Founded in 1963, Kennesaw State University (KSU) is a member of the University System of Georgia—the third-largest university in the state, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the U.S. The school serves nearly 41,000 students enrolled in more than 170 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degree programs in 11 colleges on two campuses (Kennesaw and Marietta).
Programs for aspiring game designers are offered through the College of Computing and Software Engineering, Department of Software Engineering and Game Design and Development (SWEGD). Options include a BS and a Minor in Computer Game Design and Development, and an MS in Software Engineering.
The Computer Game Design and Development Program “exposes students to the breadth of the field in the areas of digital media, human-computer interaction, the history and theory of gaming, game design, 2D and 3D graphics, simulation, modeling, software engineering, artificial intelligence, data structures, and algorithms,” says the school. Students in the program are required to select a 17 credit hour upper-level track, “to ensure depth in their program of study.” Options include Creative Content, Computer Science, Educational-Serious, Distributed Mobile, Media-Production, Planning-Management, and Simulation-Informatics. Students also have the option to customize their own track.
The MS in Software Engineering provides the opportunity for students to learn game design and development through required and elective coursework. Course highlights include Game Design and Development, Mobile App Development, Modeling and Simulation, Programming, Software Architecture, Software Engineering and Computational Thinking, and Software Testing and Verification. Students in this program will also complete Independent Study and the Graduate Internship.
KSU’s Department of SWEGD supports student organizations and offers Game Jams throughout the year to encourage development of student knowledge and skills outside the classroom. Graduates will leave the SWEGD programs with the skills and knowledge needed to “apply computing and software engineering techniques to the design and production of digital media for entertainment, research, and education.”
4. Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia
Founded in 1913, Georgia State University (GSU) is a public research institution with six campuses and more than 54,000 students. The school offers over 250 degree programs in 100 fields of study at the Atlanta Campus—the widest variety in the state. Programs are offered in 11 colleges and schools, including the College of Arts and Sciences, which houses the Creative Media Industries Institute (CMII).
The CMII offers several degree options for aspiring game designers including a BA in Game Design, a BS in Game Development, and a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (BIS) with a Concentration in Game Design and Development. The BA in Game Design “trains interested students to integrate game arts with related advanced technology software platforms in which videogames are conceptualized, designed and created” says the school. The program covers game conceptualization, leveling, rendering and storyboarding as well as design platforms such as Blender, Unity and Unreal Engine.
The BS in Game Development is designed for students seeking “deeper training” in game programming or “whose career interests might include work in the wider data sciences.” Career options for graduates of the BS program include animation, game production, motion graphics, postproduction, and wider software development industries, including social media analytics, and web and application development.
Coursework in Game Development “introduces students to programming for games (with a focus on design languages most used in the game industry, including C#/C++, Unity, Unreal Engine, Blender, etc.), the development of sophisticated industry-level game engines and in associated technologies such as animation, virtual and augmented reality applications, and immersive design.”
The BIS is designed for students interested in gaming or related areas in interactive media. In addition to game design and development, the program covers a range of areas including computer and information science, graphic design, film, writing, and music. Lower level courses will include training common coding languages used by game designers such as C++. Upper level courses will include training in artificial intelligence, character development and animation, game design, leveling, preproduction, and visualization.
With more than 110 game development studios headquartered in Georgia, graduates of the CMII Games Programs have access to employment opportunities with companies such as Hi-Rez Studios (designer of Smite and Paladins), KontrolFreek (which designs gam accessories), Turner Studios (home to eLeague), and many others across the country and around the world.
5. Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Georgia
Founded in 1906, Georgia Southern University serves nearly 27,000 students making it the state’s largest center of higher education south of Atlanta. The school offers approximately 140 different degree programs across three campuses and in 10 colleges. The College of Engineering and Computing houses the Computer Science (CS) Department, which offers BS and MS degrees in Computer Science. A Game Programming Certificate is also available.
Active research areas in the CS Department include game programming, data and knowledge systems, broadband networking, computer security, mobile computing, robotics and software engineering. Aspiring game designers have the option to add the Game Programming Certificate or choose electives to create a specialization. Course highlights include Animation, Artificial Intelligence, Computer Graphics, Discrete Simulation, Game Programming, Human Computer Interaction, Object Oriented Design, Programming Principles I&II, and Software Engineering.
The BS in CS consists of 126 credit hours of study and the MS in CS is a 30 credit hour program. Most students compete the MS Program in five semesters, and BS students can expect to complete the program in four to five years, full-time.
The Game Programming Certificate consists of nine credit hours. Students may choose three courses from the following options: Animation, Computer Graphics, Game Programming, and Human Computer Interaction.
All students have the opportunity to complete a final project, portfolio, and internship.