Our 2017 rankings of the top 5 gaming programs in Texas. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.
1. University of Texas - Austin, Austin, Texas
Founded in 1883 and home to more than 50,000 students, the University of Texas - Austin (UT Austin) offers a unique game design program through a collaboration between the College of Fine Arts (CoFA), the Computer Science Department (CS), the Radio-Television-Film Department (RTF), and the Center for Arts and Entertainment Technologies (CAET). The interdisciplinary program is known as “Game and Mobile Media Applications” or “GAMMA.”
GAMMA allows students from a variety of different degree programs to “collaboratively develop 2D and 3D games for mobile, online, and social technology platforms in the program’s culminating experience: the Capstone Course.” GAMMA students also have the opportunity to work “alongside organizations such as UT’s EGaDS! and IGDA Austin,” and with local game and mobile studios, and industry professionals.
GAMMA students may earn one of the following Certificates:
- CS Game Development
- CS Mobile Computing
- CoFA Digital Art Production
- CoFA Digital Audio Composition & Production
- CoFA Digital World Designer
- RTF Visual Effects & Animation
Certificates are awarded in addition to the undergraduate degree in any given program outside of GAMMA.
2. University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, Texas
Established in 1969 and home to nearly 27,000 students, the University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) is home to the School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication (ATEC). ATEC was created in 2015, through a merger of two long-running programs at UT Dallas: the program in Arts and Technology and the program in Emerging Media and Communication. As a School, ATEC serves more than 1,500 students, including 100 MA and MFA students and 40 doctoral students.
Undergraduate offerings include BA in Arts and Technology (BA ATEC), an MA in Arts and Technology (MA ATEC), an MFA in Arts and Technology (MFA ATEC), and a PhD in Arts and Technology (PhD ATEC). Undergraduates may choose between several pathways such as Game Design or Animation. BA ATEC students may also choose electives in more than one area. Examples include User Experience Design for Games, Game Design, Interaction Design, Level Design, Modeling and Texturing, Virtual Environments, Rigging, Game Production Lab, Game Pipeline Methodologies, Serious Games, Game Production Lab, Interactive Narrative, and Educational Games.
Research areas for all graduate students include Game Studies, Game Development, Interaction Design, Computer Animation, and more. The program is a good pathway whether students are interested in teaching arts- and technology-related courses in colleges and universities or working in a professional studio or design practice. Graduate students may choose to pursue additional research opportunities.
3. Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas
Established in 1876 and home to more than 64,000 students, Texas A&M University is home to the College of Architecture, which founded the Visualization Program in 1989. The Program features gaming-oriented study options leading to an MS or MFA, as well as enhanced game design curricula at the undergraduate level. The full list of degree options are the BS, MS, and MFA degree in Visualization.
Visualization students have access to the Department of Visualization’s Learning Interactive Visualization Experience Lab. Established in 2014, the Lab “provides space for graduate and undergraduate students to create game prototypes while learning about game theory, the art and science of the visual image and game history. In the lab, through research and rigorous scientific process, students collaborate with specialists from visualization, educational psychology, computer science and engineering to create innovative, interactive software.”
4. Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas
Founded in 1911 and home to nearly 11,800 students, Southern Methodist University (SMU) houses the Meadows School of the Arts which has several programs for aspiring game designers. Programs include a BFA in Digital Game Development and a BFA/Masters of Interactive Technology (M.I.T) in Digital Game Development. The BFA/M.I.T is also supported by the Guildhall—SMU’s School of Video Game Development. The Guildhall has been producing game developers since 2003.
In addition to the M.I.T in Digital Game Development, the Guildhall offers a Professional Certificate in Digital Game Development with a Specialization in Art Creation, Level Design, Production, or Software Development.
5. University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, Texas
University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) was established in 1881 and it is home to nearly 11,000 students. The UIW School of Media and Design (SMD) offers two programs for aspiring game designers. Options include a BFA in 3D Animation & Game Design with a Game Design Track and a BA in Design, Media, & Technology Studies (DM&TS). The BA program prepares students for careers in the videogame, technology, and television and film sectors.
Many students earn their AAS in Game Production at Northwest Vista College (San Antonio) or other cooperating community college, before transferring into UIW’s BFA Program. Because the BFA is a “professional preparatory” degree with a heightened focus, it typically takes transfer students two to three years to complete the program, which is the same amount of time it takes other students to complete the degree. As a professional preparatory degree, all graduates of the BFA program are ready to enter the workplace upon graduation.