Top 5 Game Design Schools and Colleges in Michigan - 2022 College Rankings

What are the top game design programs in Michigan for 2022?

Top 5 Michigan Game Design Schools - 2022 College Rankings
1Michigan State UniversityEast Lansing
2Ferris State UniversityBig Rapids
3College for Creative StudiesDetroit
4Eastern Michigan UniversityYpsilanti
5Baker CollegeOwosso

Our 2022 ranking of the top game design school programs in Michigan. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

1. Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan
Michigan State University

Michigan State University (MSU) houses the College of Communication Arts and Sciences (ComArtSci) and the College of Engineering. Both offer pathways to study game design.

Serving more than 3,500 students, the College of ComArtSci houses the Department of Media and Information (MI)—home to the Game Design Program. Established in 2005, the program offers a BA in Games and Interactive Media, and an 18 credit hour Minor in Game Design and Development that can be added to the BA program or any other major at MSU. An MA in MI with a Games Studies and Design Focus is also available. 

The BA program is project-based and explores topics such as the game design process, emerging interactive media, and production. Focus areas include Game Design, Games Graphics and Animation, and Game Development.

Sample courses for the program include Compositing and Special Effects, Building Virtual Worlds, Serious Game Design, Game Writing, and Media Sketching and Graphics. Students will leave the BA program with a professional portfolio of projects.

The Michigan State University MA in MI with Games Studies includes courses such as Game and Film Design Studio I-II, Interaction Design, Foundations of Serious Games, Interactive Usability and Accessibility: Design and Evaluation, and Theories of Games and Interaction Design. To graduate, MA in MI students must complete Master’s Thesis Research (4-6 credits) and the Master’s Project (4-6 credits). Graduates of the MA in MI Program are prepared for careers in 3D game design, UI/UX, and 3D technology, among others.

Michigan State University Games and MI alumni work for major studios such as Rockstar Games, Activision Blizzard and Blizzard Entertainment, Bungie, Insomniac Games, Electronic Arts (EA), and Ubisoft, among others.

The College of Engineering at MSU houses the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, which offers BS, MS, and PhD degrees in Computer Science. All programs offer a Specialization in Media and Information Studies with the option to take games-related courses offered in other departments. Students in all programs will also take courses in Systems Design and Analysis, Data Analysis and Applications, and Theory and Algorithms.

Michigan State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). Founded in 1855, the school began as the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan. Today, MSU is a land-grant research university that serves 49,695 students enrolled in more than 200 programs in 17 colleges and schools.

2. Ferris State University, Big Rapids, Michigan
Ferris State University

Ferris State University (Ferris State) offers programs for game designers across several colleges and schools. The College of Business houses the School of Digital Media (SDGM), which has a Digital Animation and Game Design (DAGD) Program that leads to a BAS, and a Digital Media Software Engineering (DMSE) Program that leads to a BS. Kendall College of Art and Design (KCAD) of Ferris State University offers a BFA in Digital Art and Design.

The SDGM DAGD BAS consists of coursework that explores 3D animation, game design, business, and programming. DAGD students have the opportunity to focus in a specific area through electives. Examples include Digital Effects, Programming, and 3D Animation. A mandatory internship is also part of the program.

The DMSE BS requires 125-126 credit hours of study. Twelve hours are dedicated to Application Domain Electives offered in four-course sequences. The Game Design and Development sequence consists of 3D Modeling and Animation OR Introduction to Game Design and Development, Game Programming 1-2, and Level Design. The DMSE BS also consists of coursework in mathematics, engineering fundamentals, business and management, and professional development.

During the final year of the program, Ferris DMSE BS students will complete the mandatory Software Development Industry Certification, Capstone in Software Engineering, and Software Engineering Applied Internship. Consisting of nine credit hours, these required courses are part of the professional development component of the program.

The KCAD BFA in Digital Art and Design explores 3D game art, interaction design, motion design, visual development, and 2D animation. Students may focus in Entertainment Art (2D animation, 3D game art, and concept and production art for games and animation) or Multimedia Design (interaction design for the web, apps, virtual reality, the internet of things, and video and motion design animation). Graduates will leave the Digital Art BFA Program with a professional portfolio that reflects their best work in either focus area.

Ferris State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). Founded in 1884, Ferris serves 10,930 students enrolled in more than 190 programs across seven colleges and dozens of departments and schools.

Kendall College of Art and Design (KCAD) of Ferris State University was established in 1928. KCAD serves close to 600 students enrolled in more than 20 BFA, BS, MA, MFA, and Certificate programs. As part of Ferris State University, Kendal College of Art and Design is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).

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

The BFA degree at College for Creative Studies (CCS) requires 126 credit hours to graduate. Studio areas account for 84 credits and 42 are in general studies. All first-year students, regardless of major, will take courses in the Foundation Department. Areas explored include basic design, drawing, and color theory. In the Entertainment Arts Department, students can earn a BFA in Entertainment Design with a Game Design, Animation, Concept Design, or Digital Film Emphasis. All emphasis areas are currently STEM-designated programs.

Entertainment Design Program features include small class sizes, internship opportunities, courses taught by industry professionals, and access industry-standard, state-of the art labs and equipment such as the Gaming Lab, AR/VR Lab, software and hardware, and editing suites. Course examples for the program include Creative Visualization, 3D Computer Graphics, Game: Concept and Technology, Experimental Animation, Stop Motion, Environments and Characters, Game Art, and Lighting and Rendering.

Graduates of the College for Creative Studies Entertainment Design Program have worked on more than 15 Marvel movies, they designed one third of the six Batmobiles, and have created game environments for World of Warcraft at Blizzard Entertainment. Other studios where CCS alumni work include Pixomondo, Disney Animation Studios, Nickelodeon, Paramount, and Disney Television Animation, among others.

The College for Creative Studies is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). Founded in 1906 as the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts, CCS serves more than 1,400 students enrolled in BFA, MA, and MFA programs ranging from Art Education to Transportation Design.

4. Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan
Eastern Michigan University

The College of Arts & Sciences at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) houses the School of Art & Design, home to the multidisciplinary, STEM-designated, Simulation, Animation and Gaming (SAG) Program. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the SAG Program has BS and Minor options.

Students can expect to complete 124 credits to earn the SAG BS and 20 in the Minor. Graphics for Simulation, Web Publishing technology, and Introduction to Game Design are just a few courses for the Minor. The BS consists of 81 credits in the major. Sample courses include Unity I-II, Studio Simulation, Environment Design, Organic Rigging, Vector Illustration for SAG, and Simulation and Animation Dynamics. Students will complete the Senior Project and an internship (optional).

Graduates of the Eastern Michigan University SAG Program can pursue titles such as Game Designer, Game Artist, Character Designer, Concept Artist, Modeler, Graphic Designer, Storyboard Artist, Computer Animator, and Special Effects Artist, among others.

Eastern Michigan University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). Founded in 1849, EMU is Michigan’s second oldest university. The school serves more than 15,000 students enrolled in over 300 programs in EMU Graduate School and the Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Engineering and Technology; Business; Health and Human Services; and Education.

5. Baker College, Owosso, Michigan
Baker College

Baker College (Baker) offers a BS in Game Software Development. Major courses for this 120 credit hour program are taught exclusively through Baker Online. Students may complete general education and prerequisites on any campus in Michigan, through Baker Online (100% online/log in on your own schedule/eight-week semesters/flexible), or Online Live (100% online/set meeting times/live real-time virtual sessions/eight- to 16-week semesters).

The Baker Game Software Development BS is housed in the College of Information Technology and Engineering. The program includes 90 credit hours in the major. Course examples include Game Design and Analysis, Unreal Game Programming I-II, Advanced Java Programming, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Game Development, C# Programming, Advanced Android Mobile Application Development, and Data Structures and Algorithms I-II. Students will also complete a Project Management course, Senior Design Project in Game Software Development, and the 150-hour Work Experience course.

Besides a professional game and portfolio, graduates will leave the Baker College Game Software Development Program with advanced game development and computer science skills. This means, in addition careers in game design, development, and programming, graduates are prepared to seek positions in software engineering and design, mobile app development, computer programming, systems management, and web development among others.

Baker College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). Founded in 1911 as Baker Business University, the school is an independent, non-profit institution with more than 100 programs offered on campus and online. Baker College serves nearly 16,000 students through campuses and extension centers located across Michigan.