Our 2017 rankings of the top 5 gaming programs in Pennsylvania. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.
1. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Founded in 1900 and home nearly 14,000 students, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) houses more than 100 centers and institutes. CMU students have access to over 100 programs across seven colleges and schools. In collaboration with the School of Computer Science-Computer Science Department, the College of Fine Arts-Integrative Design, Arts and Technology Network (IDeATe) offers a Bachelor of Computer Science and Arts (BCSA) with a Concentration in Game Design. IDeATe Collaborative Studios include Game Engine Programming offered by the Robotics Institute, Research Issues in Game Development offered by the Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) at CMU, and Programming for Game Designers—also offered by the ETC. An IDeATe Minor is also available.
Head over to CMU’s Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) and you will find another game design option. Founded in 1998, ETC offers a Master of Entertainment Technology (MET) that is jointly conferred by CMU’s School of Computer Science and the College of Fine Arts. MET is currently considered a terminal degree.
2. Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Established in 1891 and home to more than 24,000 students, Drexel University offers more than 200 degree programs across 15 colleges and schools. The College of Computing & Informatics offers several programs for aspiring game designers including a BS in Computer Science (BSCS) and a BA in Computer Science (BACS). Both programs offer a Concentration in Game Programming and Development (GMPD).
The Westphal College of Media Arts & Design also offers several programs for aspiring game designers. Programs include BS degrees in Game Art and Production or Game Design & Production, and MS and PhD degrees in Digital Media. The two-year MS program features comprehensive studies in Gaming and Digital Media History, Theory and Methods, 3D Modeling, Interactivity, and Animation.
A final option is for students interested in teaching. The School of Education offers a Graduate Certificate in Learning in Game Based Environments. All students have access to Drexel Game Design and the RePlay Lab. DGD and RePlay are collaborative efforts between the Digital Media program (in the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design) and the Computer Science department (in the College of Computing and Informatics).
3. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Founded in 1740 and home to nearly 25,000 students, the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) offers more than 400 programs across 16 schools. The School of Engineering and Applied Science offers several programs for aspiring game designers. Offerings include a BS in Engineering (BSE) with a Digital Media Design (DMD) Major, an MS in Computer Graphics and Game Technology (CGGT), and a PhD in Human Modeling and Simulation (HMS). A DMD Minor is also on the menu.
Created in 1998, the DMD program “was designed for students who have an interest in the computer programming, mathematics, and design behind computer graphics, animation, games, virtual reality environments, and interactive technologies.” This interdisciplinary major combines major coursework in computer graphics within the Computer & Information Science Department and Fine Arts courses from Penn's School of Design.
4. Edinboro University, Edinboro, Pennsylvania
Founded in 1857 and home to 6,550 students, Edinboro University offers 135 degree programs across five colleges and schools. The College of Science and Health Professions houses the Mathematics and Computer Science Department. Here, aspiring game designers may earn a BS in Computer Science with a Game and Virtual World Development Track. A Minor in Computer Science is also available.
The program, which is “designed around national curriculum models and national employment trends,” consists of general education courses and courses in computer science, mathematics, physics and art.” The program will prepare the students for a variety of positions in the game development field, including game programmer, game developer, game engineer, and modeling and simulation developer.
5. Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Founded in 1848 and home to 400 students, Moore College of Art and Design offers 10 majors leading to a BFA and five programs leading to an MFA. Moore also offers certificate programs and a post-baccalaureate program in Art Education. Per the school, students have the opportunity to “create a customized learning experience,” through “17 tracts leading to one of 11 minors to complement the major courses of study.” Program options for aspiring game designers include a BFA in Animation & Game Arts and Certificates in Motion Graphics and Web & Interactive Design.
The Animation & Game Arts program “teaches a variety of industry-relevant knowledge including hand and digital drawing, animation and storyboarding, development of 2D character design and 3D environments, history, theory, gaming strategies, proficiency in the use of art-making software and critical analysis of interactive culture.” Sample course titles include Game Strategies, 3D Animation, Mobile Media Projects, Game Projects, 3D Environments, Time Based Media Projects, Contemporary Interactive Culture, History of Interactive and Motion Arts, 2D Character Design & Environment Design, and Animation & Storyboarding. An internship and internship prep courses are also part of the program.