Our 2017 rankings of the top 5 gaming programs in New York. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.
1. Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York
Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) dates back to 1885. The school is home to more than 18,600 students majoring in everything from 3D Digital Design to Web and Mobile Computing. The B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences (GCCIS) at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) has several programs for aspiring game designers. Options include BS and MS degrees in Game Design and Development, and a BS in New Media Interactive Development. The Game Design and Development program emphasizes game programming and cooperative education (co-op). These full-time paid work experiences provide students with an opportunity to learn on the job in real-world industry settings.
Students in the BS in New Media Interactive Development program can explore casual games, physical computing, production, web, mobile, and more. All GCCIS students have the opportunity to minor in Game Design or Game Design and Development or enroll in a double major.
2. New York University Tisch School of the Arts, New York, New York
Founded in 1965, Tisch School of the Arts (Tisch, TSOA) is part of New York University (NYU). The school is home to more than 3,000 students enrolled in dozens of programs in all subject creative areas. The school houses the famous NYU Game Center, Department of Game Design, which offers several programs for aspiring game designers. Options include a Game Design BFA, MFA, and a Minor.
The BFA program is organized in three primary areas including Game Studies, Game Design, Game Development, and four production areas including Programming, Visual Design, Audio Design, and Game Business. Students may specialize in Game Programming, Visual or Audio Design, or Game Development.
The Game Center MFA is a two-year degree that includes classes in Game Design, Game Production, Game Studies, and Game History. Students will gain hands-on experience by taking studio courses and participating in play labs, and electives will allow students to “explore everything from Game Journalism to Games and Players (a class on the psychology and emotions of game play).”
Classes and events for all Game Center programs take place at the Media and Games Network (MAGNET) at the NYU Brooklyn campus. MAGNET also houses the Game Center Open Library, which is "the largest collection of games held by any university in the world."
3. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York
Established in 1824 and home to a population of 7,000-plus students, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) houses the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS). The school offers a BS in Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences, better known as “BS GSAS.” Students may choose a concentration or dual BS degree from the following options: Arts (Electronic Arts), Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Computer Science, Management/Entrepreneurship, Cognitive Science, or Writing for Games.
RPI also offers several advanced degree programs for game designers. Graduate offerings include MFA and PhD degrees in Electronic Arts (EART). Offered through the Department of Arts, both degree programs allow students to explore everything from Gaming and Animation to Communication Technologies.
4. Parsons The New School for Design, New York, New York
Parsons The New School for Design (Parsons School of Design) was founded in 1896. The school is home to nearly 5,000 students enrolled in a variety of graduate and undergraduate programs through five schools. The School of Art, Media, and Technology (AMT) offers several game design programs that lead to a BFA or MFA. Options include BFA and MFA degrees in Design and Technology.
BFA pathways include Game Design and Creative Technology. A related program, the BFA in Art, Media, and Technology, is offered at the Parsons Paris campus. The MFA program consists of major studios, collaborative studios, and the thesis studios. Students have many elective options to choose from and may create their own “coherent” study plan.
5. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
Founded in 1865, Cornell University has a student population of nearly 22,000 students enrolled in more than 80 formal majors, 70 minors, and dozens of graduate programs across 14 colleges and schools. The program for aspiring game designers is offered through the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering, Computing and Information Science Department (Cornell CIS). Known as the Game Design Initiative at Cornell University (GDIAC), the program was formed in 2001.
It offers an undergraduate program in game design, as well as informal support to graduate students and faculty interested in pursuing game-related research. Here’s how the GDIAC works: students pick a major in a core area (e.g., Computer Science, Information Science, Art, Music, Writing, etc.). They may take as many game courses as they can, and build a portfolio of games through independent studies. A few course options include Computer Game Development and Advanced Projects in Computer Game Development.
GDIAC students will work in interdisciplinary teams of four to six to create a game. Students may present their projects at the GDIAC showcase, which is open to the public. Per the school, “any undergraduate student in any college at Cornell University can pursue the Game Design Minor and have it added to their transcript.”