What are the top game design programs in New York for 2022?

Top 5 New York Game Design Schools - 2022 College Rankings
1New York University New York
2Rochester Institute of TechnologyRochester
3Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroy
4The New School's Parsons School of DesignNew York
5Cornell UniversityIthaca

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

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

New York University’s (NYU) Tisch School of the Arts houses the Department of Game Design, home to The NYU Game Center and NYU Game Center Incubator. Founded in 2008, The NYU Game Center hosts events and programs such as the NYU Game Center Lecture Series, No Quarter Exhibition (est. 2010), and the professional game conference known as PRACTICE: Game Design in Detail. The Center also hosts workshops and tournaments.

NYU Tisch Game Center programs include BFA and MFA degrees in Game Design, and Minor in Games. The minor consists of 18 credit hours of study and it explores foundation game studies and other areas through elective coursework. Graduate students will complete a thesis project to be presented at the NYU Game Center Spring Show.

All programs at the NYU Game Center consist of immersive academic seminars and hands-on experiences in the Center’s development studios and play labs. Students may focus on programming, design, or visual design for games, game criticism, game art, or other areas.

A major component of the NYU Game Center is the internship program. Students have completed internships at Disney, Ubisoft, TreSensa, and Arkadium. NYU Game Center graduates will leave the program with a resume and several finished games.

New York University alumni are game artists, designers, and developers, entrepreneurs, AI engineers, and software publishers. They work at companies and studios such as Blizzard Entertainment, Riot Games, Amazon, Tencent, Take-Two Interactive, ESPN, Nickelodeon, and IGDA Japan, among others.

New York University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Serving nearly 55,000 students, the school is one of the nation’s largest private universities. Founded in 1831 and offering an estimated 400+ programs, NYU has additional campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai, and 11 global academic centers in Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, and South America. Tisch School of Arts was founded in 1956 as a school within New York University.

2. Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York
Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) has a number of paths to study game design. Housed in the College of Art and Design is the School of Design, which offers a BFA in 3D Digital Design. Course examples for the program include Game Development and Algorithmic Problem Solving, Computer Science, Environment Design, Layers and Effects, and Modeling and Motion Strategies courses.

Within RIT’s B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences (GCCIS) is the School of Interactive Games & Media (IGM), which offers BS and MS degrees in Game Design and Development. An Accelerated BS/MS is also available. All programs explore animation, math and science, interactive media, modeling, user interaction, and of course, game design and development.

Course examples across programs include Games for Change, Physical Computing & Alternative Interfaces, Casual Game Development, Systems Concepts for Games and Media, Game Engine Design and Development, Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Gameplay, Console Development, Level Design, Game Design and Development for Casual and Mobile Platforms, and Gameplay and Prototyping.

Seminars, game development and research studios, and independent study are also part of the programs. RIT IGM Game Design and Development students will also have the rare opportunity to complete two paid blocks of cooperative education, which will allow them to gain experience in the games industry through a full-time employment at a studio. Google, Cartoon Network, Electronic Arts (EA), Sony Interactive Entertainment, Epic Games, and Microsoft are just a few recent co-op companies. Students will also have the opportunity to develop and commodify their own games at RIT’s MAGIC Spell Studios.

Rochester Institute of Technology is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Dating back to 1829, the school has campuses in China, Croatia, Dubai, and Kosovo. RIT serves more than 19,000 students, making it one of the nation’s largest private universities. More than 200 programs are offered in 11 colleges and institutes.

3. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) is a designated New York State Center of Excellence (NYSTAR) in Digital Game Development. Housed in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS) is the Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences (GSAS) Department, which offers a BS in Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences, and MS and PhD degrees in Critical Game Design.

The GSAS Department emphasis interdisciplinary study. This allows students in all programs to explore 3D animation, music and audio for games, programming, software engineering, digital arts, and experimental game design. RPI GSAS students will also take courses in management and leadership, and they will work in teams to build games. Students will graduate from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute GSAS Programs with a professional portfolio of their creative works.

RPI GSAS alumni go on to establish careers in a variety of fields such as game design and development, animation, artificial intelligence (AI), visualization, interactive simulation, computer science, and fine arts, among others.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA-CESS). Established in 1824, RPI is the oldest technological research university in the U.S. Serving more than 7,600 students, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute offers 100+ degree programs in five schools.

4. The New School's Parsons School of Design, New York, New York
The New School Parsons

The School of Art, Media, and Technology (AMT) at The New School's Parsons School of Design (Parsons) houses a Design and Technology (DT) Program with options leading to a BFA or MFA in DT. Programs in the School of AMT are STEM-designated and provide networking opportunities and collaborations with external partners, studios and lab courses led by working artists and designers who are experts in their fields, and internship opportunities with local and national companies.

The DT BFA offers informal pathways made up of Game Design Pathway that consists of electives, Core Studio and Core Lab courses. Like all undergraduate programs at Parsons, the first year of the BFA will cover the liberal arts, and art and design concepts such as drawing, digital design, and 2D and 3D processes. All first-year students at Parsons, regardless of major, will take their required courses together. 

The studio-based MFA in DT consists of Collaboration Studio and Thesis Studio courses. In Collaboration Studio courses, students will work with partner companies on real-world projects. Examples of past partners include Apple, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Samsung, NASA, Intel, Red Bull, and Mozilla.

The New School's Parsons School of Design is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Founded in 1896, the school serves more than 10,000 students enrolled 100+ degree and diploma programs. The New School Parsons has campuses in New York City, Paris, Shanghai, and Mumbai.

5. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
Cornell University

The College of Computing and Information and Science (Cornell CIS) at Cornell University houses the Department of Computer Science, which has a unique program for students who would like to pair game design with a related or other major. The Cornell CIS Minor in Game Design allows any undergraduate in any college at Cornell to pursue the Game Design Minor. Any given combination is considered a formal program and will be added to the student’s transcript.

Course examples for the program include Introduction to Computer Game Development, Advanced Projects in Computer Game Development, Interactive Computer Graphics, Digital Video and Sound, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Design, Physically Based Animation, and Analytics-Driven Game Design.

Also part of the Game Design Initiative at Cornell (GDIAC) (est. 2001), the interdisciplinary Game Design Minor provides independent study and research opportunities, participation in the GDIAC Showcase, and access to the co-op program, which provides the opportunity for students to gain work experience with cooperating partners in the U.S. and around the world.

Cornell University GDIAC graduates continue on to graduate study in computer science, engineering or other area or they go on to establish careers in game design and development, game programming, game production, entertainment, graphics and media, and software engineering, among others. 

Cornell University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Founded in 1865, the school is the federal land-grant institution of New York State. Cornell University serves 23,620 students enrolled in 80 undergraduate majors, more than 120 minors, and 102 fields of study. Programs are offered through 15 colleges and schools and 100 academic departments.