Our 2017 rankings of the top 5 gaming school programs in Michigan. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.
1. Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan
Founded in 1855 and home to more than 50,000 students, Michigan State University (MSU) offers 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 Design and Development 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 HCI with a Games and Meaningful Play Focus, a PhD in Media and Information Studies (Research Area: Games and Meaningful Play), and a Graduate Certificate in Serious Games. Besides offering a wide variety of program offerings for game designers, the College of Communication Arts and Sciences is home to 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.”
2. College for Creative Studies, Detroit, Michigan
Established in 1906 as The Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts, the College for Creative Studies (CCS) is home to more than 1,400 students pursuing BFA degrees in Advertising: Copywriting, Advertising: Design, Art Education, Crafts, Entertainment Arts, Fashion Accessories Design, Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Illustration, Interior Design, Photography, Product Design and Transportation Design. MFA programs include Color and Materials Design, Interaction Design, Integrated Design and Transportation Design.
The Entertainment Arts Department at CCS has an enrollment of 285 students, making it the largest academic unit at the school. The Department of Illustration, which enrolls more than 200 students, is the second largest. The Entertainment Arts Department offers several programs for aspiring game designers. Options include a BFA in Entertainment Arts with a Focus in Games, Animation, or Digital Film. As a complement to the BFA program, students may choose coursework from other areas or a Minor in Animation & Digital Media, Illustration, Fine Arts, or Visual Culture.
3. Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan
Established in 1849 and home to more than 21,100 students, Eastern Michigan University offers more than 200 majors, minors and concentrations in undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees. Programs are delivered through five colleges including the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business, the College of Education, the College of Technology, and the College of Health and Human Services.
The College of Technology (COT) houses the School of Visual & Built Environments—home of the Simulation, Animation, & Gaming (SAG) program. Degree options include a BS in SAG. Per COT, this multidisciplinary program combines “traditional art mediums, creative writing, and story development with coursework focusing on modeling, rigging, animation, lighting, and camera work in 3D.” Sample course titles include SAG Rigging, Graphics for Simulation, Simulation and Animation Dynamics, Texturing and Mapping, Story Development, Illustrator, Environment Design, and Lighting and Camera Techniques.
4. Ferris State University, Big Rapids, Michigan
Ferris State University was established in 1884. The school is home to more than 14,000 students enrolled in its main campus in Big Rapids, 21 off-campus sites throughout Michigan and at Ferris’ Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids. The College of Education and Human Services at the schools main campus houses the School of Digital Media. Offerings here include a Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Digital Animation and Game Design (DAGD). This multidisciplinary degree covers 3D animation, programming, design, and business.
Graduates of the DAGD program are prepared to actively compete in growing industries such as game design and asset creation, film and television, medical visualization, legal simulation, architectural flythroughs, web development, educational software, product design, and independent game and animation development.
5. Lawrence Technological University, Southfield, Michigan
Lawrence Technological University (LTU) was founded in 1932. The school is home to 4,500 students enrolled in dozens of programs across the Colleges of Architecture and Design, Engineering, Arts and Sciences, and Management. Programs for aspiring game designers are offered through the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Architecture and Design.
Options include a BS in Computer Science with a Concentration in Game Software Development, and a BFA in Game Art. Per the College of Arts and Sciences, “in hands-on interactive studios,” BS students “explore animation, interactive computer graphics, two- and three-dimensional representation and transformation, modeling, game genres, and graphics programming. They also create their own completely envisioned computer games.” A Minor in Computer Science is also available.
Delivered through the College of Architecture and Design, the BFA is a project-focused, multidisciplinary program that highlights courses such as 3D Animation, Integrated Game Studio, Game Mechanics, Scripting for Game Design, Computer Games and Animation, New Media, Electronic Methods for Imaging, and Life Drawing. A Minor in Game Art is also available.