Top 5 Pennsylvania Game Design Schools - 2018 Rankings
1Carnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburgh
2Drexel UniversityPhiladelphia
3University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia
4Moore College of Art and DesignPhiladelphia,
5Edinboro UniversityEdinboro

Our 2018 rankings of the top 5 gaming programs in Pennsylvania. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) was founded in 1900 and it serves nearly 14,000 students representing 109 countries. The school has more than 100 programs across seven colleges. 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 Game Design Minor is also available.

Head over to CMU’s Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) where you will find another game design option. Founded in 1998, ETC offers a Masters of Entertainment Technology (MET), which 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
Drexel University

Established in 1891, Drexel University serves nearly 29,000 students enrolled in over 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) and the school lists Game Development and Design and Artificial Intelligence Concentrations. A Minor in Interactive Digital Media is also available.

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 game design. 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
University of Pennsylvania

Founded in 1740, the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) is home to 25,367 students enrolled in more than 400 programs across 16 schools. Programs for aspiring animators are offered through both the School of Design-Department of Fine Arts and the School of Engineering and Applied Science. The School of Design-DFA offers a BFA in Fine Arts with an Animation or 3D Modeling Studio. The program combines studio practices, seminar courses, and interactions with visiting artists and professionals in order to provide an open intellectual framework to foster critical awareness and independent methods of artistic research and learning.

The School of Engineering and Applied Science is home to the Digital Media Design Program, which leads to a Bachelor’s in Engineering and Science (BSE) with a Digital Media Design Major (DMD). The School also houses the Center for Human Modeling and Simulation (HMS), which offers a Computer Graphics and Game Technology Program (CGGT), which leads to an MS in CGGT. 

Created in 1998, the interdisciplinary BSE DMD program was designed for students who have an interest in computer graphics, animation, games, and the design of virtual reality environments and interactive technologies. A Digital Media Design (DMD) Minor, and a PhD in Human Modeling and Simulation (HMS PhD) are also available. BSE DMD students go on the work at major studios such as Walt Disney Animation, DreamWorks Animation, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Pixar, and Zynga Games. These are the largest employers of UPenn DMD graduates.

The Center for HMS established the CGGT program in 2004 with a goal to expose recent graduates, as well as individuals returning from industry, to state-of-the-art graphics and animation technologies, as well as interactive media design principles, product development methodologies and engineering entrepreneurship.

The CGGT program prepares students for positions requiring multidisciplinary skills such as designers, technical animators, technical directors and game programmers. Students in the CGGT program use the equipment and resources available through the SIG Center for Computer Graphics. Opportunities for specialization are provided in such areas as art and animation, creative design, animation and simulation technology, human/computer interfaces and production management.

4. Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Moore College of Art and Design

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 and a Minor in Animation & Game Arts. Certificates in Animation + Motion Graphics and Web & Interactive Design are also available.

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.

5. Edinboro University, Edinboro, Pennsylvania
Edinboro University

Founded in 1857 Edinboro University serves more than 6,000 students enrolled in 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. This program can be coordinated with virtually any academic discipline.

The BS in Computer Science is designed around national curriculum models and national employment trends. The program consists of general education courses and courses in computer science, mathematics, physics and art.  The program prepares students for a variety of positions in the game development field, including game programmer, game developer, game engineer, and modeling and simulation developer.