What are the top AR/VR schools and colleges in the US for 2023?

Top 50 Augmented/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) Colleges in the U.S. – 2023 Rankings
1Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyMassachusetts
2Stanford UniversityCalifornia
3University of Southern CaliforniaCalifornia
4University of WashingtonWashington
5New York UniversityNew York
6Carnegie Mellon UniversityPennsylvania
7Georgia Institute of TechnologyGeorgia
8Rochester Institute of TechnologyNew York
9University of California, BerkeleyCalifornia
10Texas A&M UniversityTexas
11Savannah College of Art and DesignGeorgia
12University of Texas at AustinTexas
13University of Central FloridaFlorida
14University of North Carolina at Chapel HillNorth Carolina
15University of MichiganMichigan
16University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignIllinois
17Drexel UniversityPennsylvania
18Arizona State UniversityArizona
19University of California, San DiegoCalifornia
20Purdue UniversityIndiana
21Cornell UniversityNew York
22University of MarylandMaryland
23Iowa State UniversityIowa
24University of PennsylvaniaPennsylvania
25University of ArizonaArizona
26University of UtahUtah
27Northwestern UniversityIllinois
28The Ohio State UniversityOhio
29University of FloridaFlorida
30University of Illinois ChicagoIllinois
31Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteNew York
32Northeastern UniversityMassachusetts
33Harvard UniversityMassachusetts
34University of Colorado BoulderColorado
35Duke UniversityNorth Carolina
36DePaul UniversityIllinois
37Full Sail UniversityFlorida
38North Carolina State UniversityNorth Carolina
39Ohio UniversityOhio
40The New School – Parsons School of DesignNew York
41Columbia College ChicagoIllinois
42Ringling College of Art + DesignFlorida
43California Institute of TechnologyCalifornia
44University of California, Santa CruzCalifornia
45University at BuffaloNew York
46University of RochesterNew York
47University of ChicagoIllinois
48University of Nebraska-LincolnNebraska
49University of Colorado, DenverColorado
50Southern Methodist UniversityTexas

Our 2023 rankings -our third annual- of the Top 50 AR/VR School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) houses a large number of academic units, departments, centers, and labs that provide numerous programs designed to support AR/VR education, projects, innovation, and research. For a foundational understanding of AR/VR, students can enroll in a certificate program through MIT’s Professional Development Division—MIT xPRO.

Course examples include Evaluating XR (Extended Reality) Systems, Producing VR and AR Experiences I-II, Game Development, XR Apps Development, and Broader Implications of XR. This fully online AR/VR Program is delivered in collaboration with Emeritus and it takes eight weeks to complete. 

Schwarzman College of Computing at MIT houses the Center for Computational Science & Engineering (CCSE), and the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS). CCSE is home to the Master of Science Program in Computational Science and Engineering SM Program (CSE SM). This interdisciplinary program provides the opportunity to choose electives that focus on particular applications—including AR/VR.  

Hands on projects and access to MITs many centers and labs are major components of the CSE SM program. Course examples include Optimization for Machine Learning, Advances in Computer Vision, Architecting & Engineering Software Systems, Atomistic Modeling & Simulations of Materials & Structures, and Computational Cognitive Science.

The CCSE also has a Doctoral Program in Computational Science and Engineering (CSE PhD). Provided jointly across eight participating departments, the CSE PhD provides the opportunity to focus in a computation-related field, such as AR/VR, through coursework and the doctoral thesis.

The EECS Department at MIT is composed of three overlapping sub-units including artificial intelligence (AI) and decision-making (AI+D), electrical engineering (EE), and computer science (CS). The curriculum is a joint venture between the Schwarzman College of Computing and the School of Engineering. AR/VR related programs include a BS in Computation and Cognition (also provide in collaboration with the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences), a Minor in Computer Science (72 units), and PhD’s in Computer Science, and CS and Engineering. The PhD degree is awarded interchangeably with the Doctor of Science (ScD).

The largest undergraduate program at MIT, EECS provides intensive hands-on coursework and opportunities to engage in independent study or research for academic credit. Students in the BS program will take courses such as Perception, Robotics: Science and Systems, Advances in Computer Vision, Machine-Motivated Human Vision, AI, and Digital Systems Laboratory.

MIT labs and centers include the MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality, MIT Media Lab, and MIT.nano Immersion Lab.

The MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality brings together experts, students, and resources in a studio/laboratory environment to support research and creative projects. The Center focuses on innovation across technologies and platforms such as virtuality (XR, VR, AR, MR, etc.), videogames, social media, and others.

Founded in 1985, the MIT Media Lab is an interdisciplinary research organization that allows students, faculty, and researchers to work together on hundreds of projects across disciplines such as social robotics, physical and cognitive prostheses, new models and tools for learning, community bioengineering, models for sustainable cities, and more. The Lab also houses the graduate degree program in Media Arts and Sciences (MAS).

The MIT.nano Immersion Lab highlights activities such as developing new software and hardware concepts for immersive experiences, prototyping advanced tools for augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), and visualizing data. The Immersion Lab connects engineers and scientists with musicians, artists, and performers through creative projects across multiple disciplines.

The Lab also produces the monthly seminar series IMMERSED, which consists of lectures, demonstrations, and tutorials that explore immersive technology and how it shapes advances across art, science, and engineering.

Graduates of the Certificate, Computer Science, and Engineering Programs at MIT are prepared to pursue positions in AR/VR, AI, Information and Technology, and many others. Some of the top employers of MIT graduates include Amazon, Google, IBM, Boeing, Apple, Microsoft, the U.S. Air Force, Meta Platforms, Inc. (Meta), and Aurora Flight Sciences.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was incorporated on April 10, 1861, just two days before the start of the Civil War. The school serves approximately 11,860 students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and 135 foreign countries. MIT provides more than 100 programs across one college (MIT Schwarzman College of Computing), Sloan School of Management, and the Schools of Architecture and Planning; Science; Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences; and Engineering.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). Engineering at MIT is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

2. Stanford University, Stanford, California
Stanford University

Stanford University is home to School of Engineering, which houses the Computer Science (CS) Department. Established in 1965, CS provides a BS and a Minor in Computer Science, a MSCS, a CS PhD, 10 specified undergraduate tracks, the option to design your own major, and nine graduate specializations. Track examples include Artificial Intelligence (AI), Computer Engineering, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Systems, and Visual Computing. Specialization examples include Aim HCI, Real-World Computing, Biocomputation, and Theoretical Computer Science.

Across all tracks and specializations, students have access to a wide variety of AR/VR courses. Examples include Virtual Reality; Emerging Technology Studio; Intro to Virtual Reality and Avatars; Character Animation: Modeling, Simulation, and Control of Human Motion; Coding for Social Good (VR component); Interactive Simulation for Robot Learning; Introduction to Automata and Complexity Theory; Computer Graphics: Animation and Simulation; How to Make VR: Introduction to Virtual Reality Design and Development; Topics in Computer Graphics: Agile Hardware Design; and Physically Based Animation and Sound.

Graduate CS programs feature nine predefined specialization options. Examples include AI, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Real-World Computing, and Systems.

In addition to providing a variety of specializations and AR/VR coursework, the CS Department houses research groups in the areas of AI, Computer Graphics/HCI, Robotics, Foundations of Computer Science, and Scientific Computing. CS students focusing in AR/VR have opportunities to collaborate on projects and enhance their skills through two centers and labs as well. Options include the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) Virtual + Augmented Reality Design Lab and the Virtual Human Interaction Lab (VHIL).

The CCRMA Virtual + Augmented Reality Design Lab conducts VR, AR, and XR research for music. The lab also supports collaborations with Computer Science, Art and Art History, and Communication at Stanford, as well as research projects within the CCRMA community.

Founded in 2003, the VHIL studies the psychological and behavioral effects of AR/VR. Examples of past projects include Psychology of Augmented Reality, Virtual Becomes Reality – Immersion and Presence, Empathy and Perspective Talking, Integrating VR into Classrooms and Curricula, Telepresence, and Design Thinking.

Graduates of the School of Engineering at Stanford University are prepared to pursue positions at a wide range of major companies and organizations. Stanford graduates are routinely recruited by Apple, the U.S. Army, Tesla, Microsoft, Google, Walt Disney World, Amazon, LinkedIn, the U.S. Navy, Meta, Snapchat, Oracle, and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

Stanford University was established in 1885 by former California Governor Leland Stanford, and his wife, Jane. The school opened its doors on October 1, 1891 with 555 students. Today, Stanford University serves approximately 17,325 students served by just over 2,300 faculty members. Nearly 300 programs are provided across seven schools, supplemented by dozens of centers, institutes, and labs. Schools include Engineering; Humanities and Sciences; Sustainability; Business; Education; Law; and Medicine.

Stanford University accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

3. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
University of Southern California

In May of this year, University of Southern California (USC) President Carol L. Folt announced a $1 billion-plus initiative that will integrate computing throughout education and research to enhance digital literacy for all students. Known as Frontiers of Computing, the initiative will be the single largest comprehensive academic initiative in the USC’s history. While the initiative will benefit students, faculty, and more across disciplines, the focus will be on AR/VR, gaming, robotics, AI, machine learning, data science, and block chain.

Frontiers in Computing will also include the USC School of Advanced Computing, which will be headquartered in a seven-story, 116,000 square-foot facility—the  Dr. Allen and Charlotte Ginsburg Human-Centered Computation Hall. Currently under construction, the building will formally open in fall 2024. In the meantime, students who would like to study AR/VR can enroll in a variety of programs at USC, beginning with options housed in the Thomas Lord Department of Computer Science within Viterbi School of Engineering. Programs include a BS, MS, and PhD. in Computer Science (CS), with access to courses such as Augmented, Virtual & Mixed Reality; Intermediate 3D Modeling and Procedural Asset Pipelines; Professional C++; Object-Oriented Programming; Digital Infrastructure; Programming in Python; Computational Thinking Through Programming; Mobile Game Development; Technical Character Animation for Games; and Programming Graphical User Interfaces.

The School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) at USC also has a number of options for students interested in studying AR/VR.  Founded in collaboration with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1929, and one of USC’s most recognized schools, Cinematic Arts houses the Interactive Media and Games Division, which has an Interactive Entertainment BA, Immersive Media Minor, and Interactive Media MFA.

The interdisciplinary Immersive Media Minor is open to all undergraduate students at USC. The program explores virtual reality and how to create content effectively. Students have the opportunity choose elective courses within the same area to fit their goals or they can enhance the curriculum by choosing elective courses from two separate areas. BA students may also study AR/VR through the USC Institute for Creative Technologies (USC ICT), which houses the Mixed Reality Lab (MxR) and the ICT Virtual Humans Group.

The MxR Lab works with the Interactive Media and Games Division in areas such as Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and immersive systems for education and training simulations using AR/VR.

The ICT Virtual Humans Group conducts research in areas such as Integrated Virtual Humans, Character Animation and Simulation, MultiModal Communication, Natural Language Processing, Cognitive Architecture, and Emotion.

Elective examples for the Interactive Entertainment BA Program include Storytelling for Virtual and Augmented Reality, Alternative Control Workshop, Video Game Programming, Visual Effects, Computer Graphics, Interactive Entertainment, Science, and Healthcare, and Audio Expression. Examples of required courses include Creative Production in Virtual Reality, Experiments in Immersive Design, C++ Programming, and 3D Computer Animation.

The Interactive Entertainment BA Program at USC School of Cinematic Arts explores AAA (triple-A) game development processes and experimental and indie genres from virtual and alternate realities to meaningful and expressive games. Course examples include Reality Starts Here, Producing Interactive Projects, Interface Design for Games, Alternative Control Workshop, Experimental Game Topics, Programming in Python, Interactive Entertainment, and Game Design Workshop.

The Interactive Media MFA is a competitive program that admits just 15 students in the Fall semester only. Program features include the opportunity to take twelve 500-level elective units, access to state-of-the-art computer and digital production facilities, and a mandatory internship or summer job in a professional environment.

MFA students will take courses such as Experiments in Interactivity I & II, Foundations of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Interactive Design Production, Motion Capture Fundamentals, and Tangible and Spatial Computing. To enhance this coursework, like undergraduate students, MFA students can study AR/VR through USC ICT.

A final option for students interested in pursuing a career in AR/VR is the Extended Reality (XR) Design and Development Minor. Provided through the USC Iovine and Young Academy, the Minor can be added to Academy programs such as the BS in Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation or the Integrated Design, Business Technology MS. Course examples for the Minor include Extended Reality Design, Digital Toolbox: Motion Graphics, Designing Live Experiences, Narrative Technology and the Human Experience, and Designing Digital Experiences.

USC recently launched the USC Working Group on Scholarly VR, AR, and 3D Modeling. The Group is sponsored by the Humanities in a Digital World Program at USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences (the largest and oldest of the USC schools), and the Ahmanson Lab at the USC Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study. Students in all USC programs benefit from participation in WG’s workshops, lectures, projects, and discussions. Past workshops have explored Mobile Augmented Reality, Immersive 3D Setting Design, and utilizing AR toolkits and platforms such as Niantic (Pokémon Go), Snap (Snapchat lenses), and others.

Graduates of the Computer Science, Interactive, Immersive Media, and  Iovine and Young Programs at University of Southern California have been hired at companies and organizations such as Boeing, Oracle, Lockheed Martin, Google, DreamWorks Animation, the U.S. Army and Navy, Tesla, Department of Homeland Security, Amazon, Sony, Microsoft, Discovery+, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Walt Disney Company, Branded Entertainment Network,  Gilead Sciences, VIZIO, Yahoo, Vayu Technology, Disneyland Parks, Disneyland Resorts, United Airlines, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, FORD, AT&T, Meta, and the Federal Aviation Administration.

Established in 1880, University of Southern California is the largest private sector employer in Los Angeles. Serving 49,500 students, USC houses 23 schools and divisions. More than 600 graduate and professional programs are provided. The University of Southern California is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

4. University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
University of Washington

The College of Arts and Sciences at University of Washington (UW) houses the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, which introduced the world’s first augmented reality capstone course in 2016. Serving more than 2,000 students, the school also houses several computer science programs for individuals interested in studying AR/VR. Options include the Computer Science (CS) BS, a Combined BS/MS in CS also known as the Fifth Year Master’s Program, a Professional Master’s (PMP) in CS, and CS PhD. The BS/MS enables current and recent Allen School undergraduate majors to earn both degrees in approximately five years, instead of 6.5.

Course examples across programs include Advanced Topics in HCI (Graphics & Virtual Reality), Interaction Programming, Computer Vision, Special Topics: Ubiquitous Computing, Human-Computer Interaction, Computational Fabrication, Software Engineering, Advanced Topics in Digital Animation, Applications of AI, Computational Complexity, Interactive Learning, Advanced Digital Sound Synthesis and Processing  Machine Learning, and Neural Control of Movement: A Computational Perspective.

Students in all programs have the opportunity to work with an interdisciplinary team of faculty and peers in the UW Reality Lab. Launched in 2018 and housed in the Allen School, the Lab includes the Reality Studio, Reality Lab Incubator, and classes. In addition to advancing AR/VR research, Lab participants will work on projects in 3D computer vision and perception, graphics, game science and education, distributed computing, databases and computer architecture, stream processing, privacy and security, and object recognition.

Graduates of the Computer Science & Engineering Programs at University of Washington go on to establish careers at some of the world’s top companies, studios, and organizations. Examples Microsoft, Amazon, Oracle, Google, Epic Software, Adobe, Disney, HBO, Pixar Animation Studios, Dell, Apple, Riot Games, Samsung, Unity Technologies, and Hulu.

Established in 1861, University of Washington serves approximately 59,725 students across campuses in Seattle (main), Bothell, and Tacoma, Washington. UW offers more than 300 programs and 570+ degree options across in 18 colleges and schools. Engineering at University of Washington is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). University of Washington is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) and is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU).

5. New York University, New York, New York
New York University

The Tandon School of Engineering at New York University is a Polytechnic Institute that houses the Integrated Design & Media (IDM) Program. Degree options for this research-active program include the BS and MS. Other options include an IDM Minor, an Accelerated BS/MS Program, and Professional Certificates in AR/VR Development and 3D Graphics, and UX Design for AR/VR.

The AR/VR Development and 3D Graphics Certificate is a seven-month program that teaches students how to develop XR experiences within Unity. Examples of areas explored include C# programming, virtual environments, 3D graphics, mathematical foundations, game engine development, and XR applications. Upon completion of the program, graduates will have the skills needed to pursue positions at companies such as Apple, Google, and Verizon.

Students in NYU’s UX Design for AR/VR Certificate Program will learn to design immersive experiences using the latest industry tools such as Marvel, SparkAR, Reaper, and Figma. This six-month program is hands-on; it explores all areas of XR (augmented, virtual, and mixed reality); and students will have opportunities to research through case studies by Google, Amazon, and Apple.

The UX Design for AR/VR Program at New York University culminates with a final Capstone, which will be presented during the final week of the program.

The IDM BS Program at NYU consists of media studies courses taken in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication (MCC), the Tandon Engineering core, and additional courses in humanities, science, math, and social sciences. Coursework focus on the four areas of Image, Sound, Narrative, and Interactivity, and are combined with upper-level electives ranging from augmented reality and motion capture to user experience design. Course examples include Creative Coding, Interactive Narrative, Programming, Contemporary Techniques in Sound Art, 3D for Interactive Applications, and Motion and Sound.

The IDM MS Program at NYU consists of research areas such as Augmented Reality, Human-Computer Interaction, User Experience, Assistive Technology, and Real-Time Performance. Graduate students participate in research initiatives through partnerships with NYC Media Lab, the Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP), other programs and schools at NYU Tandon, and other NYC institutions. Examples include The Mobile Augmented Reality Lab and the ABILITY Project.

Across IDM programs, other features include internship opportunities with companies such as Apple, Google, and Sony Music; study abroad at NYU Shanghai (IMA - Interactive Media Arts); and direction by instructors who are engaged a range of projects from developing novel uses of virtual/augmented reality for health and wellness to using motion capture technology to reimagine theatrical performance.

Students in all programs, including NYU certificates, may participate in the Future Reality Lab and NYC Media Lab.

In the Future Reality Lab, participants collaborate in the manipulation of objects (real and virtual), in a shared mixed reality. NYC Media Lab (research and development) is a consortium colleges and universities including NYU, Columbia University, The New School, CUNY, School of Visual Arts, Manhattan College, and Pratt Institute.

NYU IDM students and graduates have worked with companies such as Apple, the New York Stock Exchange, HTC China, ABC Network, Google, Verizon, EMI Music, American Express, Wunderman/Y&R Advertising, Instagram, Facebook, Sony Music Entertainment, LG Electronics, Simon & Schuster, Major League Gaming, and Etsty.

New York University was founded in 1831. Serving nearly 55,000 students, NYU is one of the nation’s largest private universities and one of the state’s largest employers. In addition to the New York campus, NYU has campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai, along with 11 global academic centers in Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, and South America. The school has an estimated 400+ programs housed across dozens of colleges, centers, institutes, and schools. New York University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

6. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) recently launched a $27.5 million Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) Initiative to build more intelligence into computer networks. The SRC focuses on interactive mixed reality, smart and connected communities, and enhanced situational awareness. In addition, CMU is home to the Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII), which houses labs and studios such as the Augmented Design Capability Studio and the Augmented Perception Lab. Students in all programs benefit from access to the HCII and the SRC.

For students interested in studying AR/VR, Carnegie Mellon University provides programs across the School of Computer Science, Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Tepper School of Business, the College of Fine Arts, the College of Engineering, The Robotics Institute, and the Software Engineering Institute. Examples include a BS in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), an MS in Robotics Systems Development (MRSD) with AR/VR internship opportunities, a professional Master of HCI (MHCI), and an HCI PhD.

The PhD has Emphasis areas such as Games and Play (VT Games, Game Streaming), Human-AI Interaction, and Learning Sciences and Learning Technologies. Research examples for this Emphasis include AI-Infused Mixed Reality, Machine Learning, and Digital Learning Games.

CMU has an HCI concentration that is available and open to all students in the School of Computer Science, along with Minors in Interdisciplinary HCI, AI, and Machine Learning. A BS in AI is also available.

Carnegie Mellon University has a variety of Intercollege Degree Programs (BXA) that are suitable for students who would like to study AR/VR. Examples include the Bachelor of Science and Arts (BSA), jointly offered by the College of Fine Arts and Mellon College of Science; the Bachelor of Computer Science and Arts (BCSA), developed by the College of Fine Arts and the School of Computer Science; and the Bachelor of Engineering Studies and Arts (BESA), sponsored by the College of Fine Arts and the College of Engineering.

Across programs, students have access to courses such as Reality Computing Studio I-II, IDeAte: Making Things Interactive, Programming, Applications of Cognitive Science, Making Things Interactive, Advanced ETB: Experimental Game Design, IDeAte: Introduction to the Unity Game Engine, Interaction Design Studio, Human Computer Interaction & User Experience, Advanced Computer Vision Apps, Mobile Robot Algorithms Laboratory, Embedded Systems, Hands: Design and Control for Dexterous Manipulation, Human Robot Interaction, VMD Systems Studio, IDeAte: Art of Robotic Special Effects, Mechanics of Manipulation, and Programming Usable Interfaces.

Graduates of the HCI and Computer Science programs at CMU are prepared to pursue careers in AR/VR and many other areas. Recent employers include Adobe, Google, Riot Games, Amazon, Cartoon Network, Pixar, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Meta, Apple, NVIDIA, and Samsung.

Carnegie Mellon University was founded on November 15, 1900 by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. The school opened as Carnegie Technical Schools. Today, this private global research university serves approximately 16,780 students enrolled in more than 200 programs across seven colleges and schools. In addition to the main campus in Pennsylvania, CMU has campuses in California's Silicon Valley and Doha, Qatar. Academic programs are also provided in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, Mexico, and Portugal. Carnegie Mellon University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

7. Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia
Georgia Institute of Technology

Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) provides a number of programs for students who would like to study AR/VR. Options are housed across several colleges and schools including Ivan College of Liberal Arts; the College of Computing, which houses the Schools of Computer Science, Computational Science & Engineering, and Interactive Computing; and the School of Literature, Media, and Communication.

Specific degree programs for students interested in AR/VR include the BS in Computational Media, BS, MS and PhD degrees in Computer Science, and Minors in Computing & Devices, Computing & Intelligence, and Computing & People. The Computer Science programs provide opportunities for students to select from research areas such Virtual & Augmented Environments, Ubicomp & Wearable Computing, AI and Machine Learning, Robotics and Perception, and Geometry, Graphics, and Animation.

With approximately 300 students, the Computational Media BS is one of Georgia Tech’s fastest growing programs and a top choice for students interested in AR/VR. Students in this program have opportunities to focus in areas such as Interactive Design, Games, and Music Technology - Intelligence. Course examples include Constructing the Moving Image; Science, Technology and Performance; Video Game Design and Programming; Interaction Design; Computer Animation; and Experimental Media.

Students in all Georgia Tech programs have access to the school’s GVU Center, which supports AR/VR, AI, Robotics, HCI, Wearable Computing, and other research. Within the GVU Center is the Augmented Environments Lab, which focuses on building interactive computing environments that directly augment the users senses with computer-generated material.

Also located in the GVU Center is the Prototyping eNarrative Lab. Also known as PeN Lab, the Lab focuses on emerging platforms such as AR/VR, experimental television, and the intersection of storytelling with simulation and game design.

Examples of Lab projects include The Lights of St. Etienne: An AR/MR (Mixed-Reality) Experience in the Cathedral in Metz, France, Bringing Interactivity to Static Data Visualizations through Augmented Reality, Escape Room VR, WebXR: Experiences in AR and VR for the Web, Pipping: Exploring Passive Haptics in Virtual Reality, and Interaction Techniques for Children's AR Education, Invisible Cities: Multi-User AR Public Monuments.

Georgia Tech graduates are prepared to pursue careers in Virtual and Augmented Reality, Special Effects Creation, Interactive Game Design and Simulation, Robotics, and Animation, among others. Graduates work in leadership positions in areas such as consulting, engineering, financial services, healthcare, law, manufacturing, retail, transportation, and humanitarian logistics.

Georgia Tech alumni have been hired by companies such as Microsoft, Boeing, Apple, Disney, Tesla, Google, IBM, Delta Airlines, Intel, and Cisco Systems.

Georgia Institute of Technology was founded on October 13, 1885. When the school opened in 1888, it welcomed 129 students enrolled in one degree program—the Mechanical Engineering BS. Today, Georgia Tech serves approximately 45,300 students enrolled in more than 180 degree programs and minors across six distinct colleges and 28 schools. The school also has three campuses including the main campus in Atlanta, Georgia; Georgia Tech-Lorraine in Metz, France; and Georgia Tech-Shenzhen in China.

Georgia Institute of Technology is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

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

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) delivered its first fully online program years before any other post-secondary institution entered the online arena. RIT was also the first university to offer an undergraduate degree in software engineering. And in 2008, the school launched the world’s very first doctoral program focusing on sustainable production systems. Rochester Institute of Technology is also among a small but growing number of schools to provide programs related to AR/VR.

The Golisano College of Computing and Information at RIT houses the School of Interactive Games and Media, and the Department of Computing and Information Sciences. Within the School of Interactive Games and Media is a New Media Interactive Development BS Program. The Department of Computing and Information Sciences houses the Computing and Information Sciences PhD.

Coursework for the BS Program focuses on adapting digital technologies for AR/VR, touch interfaces, social software, the internet, wearable devices, and other new and emerging systems. Other program features include the New Media Design Capstone (I & II), which provides the opportunity to work on a project for a corporate client; collaboration with students in RITs New Media Design major; and required participation in the cooperative education (co-op) program. Co-ops are full-time, paid career experiences working in the industry.

The Computing and Information Sciences PhD explores infrastructure, interaction, informatics, and interaction between computing and non-computing disciplines in the arts, science, engineering, medicine, business, and humanities. Research areas for the PhD include but are not limited to AI and Machine Learning, Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI, Game Design, Graphics and Visualization, and Programming Languages.

Students in the BS, PhD, and other programs have access to RIT’s AR/VR Lab and Frameless Labs. Located at the RIT MAGIC Center, the AR/VR Lab is designed for the exploration of and experimentation with AR/VR platforms, technologies, and hardware.  Also located at the MAGIC Center, Frameless Labs provides a space for the extended reality (XR) community to collaborate. The goal is to raise awareness about research, innovation, and artistic creation in the fields of AR and VR.

Current projects and experiences include Development and Assessment of Virtual Reality Paradigms for Gaze Contingent Visual Rehabilitation, Color and Material Appearance in AR, Mixed Reality Theatre (funded by Epic Games), Digital Docents: Historical NY Stories in Virtual and Augmented Reality, and the VR Cary Collection.

Graduates of the BS and PhD Programs at Rochester Institute of Technology are prepared to pursue careers in industries from Entertainment to Aerospace. AR/VR Developer, Interactive Developer, UX Engineer, Technical Lead, Application Developer, and Digital Technician are just a few potential job titles.

Rochester Institute of Technology was founded in 1829 as the Rochester Athenaeum. With global campuses in China, Croatia, Dubai, and Kosovo, this research university serves more than 19,000 students, making it one of the largest private universities in the U.S. RIT provides 200+ academic programs across 11 colleges and institutes. Rochester Institute of Technology is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

9. University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California
University of California, Berkeley

University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) sends more graduates to Silicon Valley than just about any other college in the U.S. The schools engineering and computer science programs rank among the best in the U.S., with learning that takes place in state-of-the-art classrooms, labs, and research centers.

The Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences (EECS) Department at UC Berkeley manages two undergraduate degrees through two different colleges: the BS in EECS in the College of Engineering (CoE), and the BA in Computer Science (CS) in the College of Letters & Science (L&S).

Both programs have the same technical requirements, with differing breadth requirements and admissions processes. Course examples for both programs include The Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, Designing Information Devices and Systems, Machine Structures, and Data Structures and Programming Methodology.

All EECS and CS students have access to the XR Lab@Berkeley—a Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Reality Laboratory (AR/VR/MR), the student-run Extended Reality@Berkeley (est. 2015), and the FHL Vive Center for Enhanced Reality, which sponsors research and applications in AR/VR and AI.

Collectively, the Labs and Centers at UC Berkeley train Computer Scientists and Engineers in all areas of AR/VR. The Labs also advance the field of AR/VR through development plans, actions, and state-of-art research, while bringing attention to the unlimited possibilities associated with advancements in technology.

Graduates of the CS and EECS Programs at UC Berkeley work AR/VR, AI and Machine Learning, Software Development, Computer Systems Design, Computer Vision and Robotics, Defense, Engineering, Aerospace, Production, Design, Entertainment, and Healthcare, among others. Some of the top hiring companies for UC Berkeley graduates include Apple, Tesla, Google, and Meta.

Chartered in 1868, University of California, Berkeley was named after 18th-century philosopher George Berkeley. The school serves approximately 45,310 students enrolled in more than 350 degree programs across 15 colleges and schools and dozens of academic departments. UC Berkeley has been fully accredited since 1949 and had its accreditation reaffirmed in 2015 under the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

10. Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas
Texas A&M University

Texas A&M University (TAMU or Texas A&M) houses the School of Performance, Visualization and Fine Arts (TAMU PVFA), home to the Visualization Program. Ideal pathways for students interested in AR/VR include the Visualization BS, MS, and MFA degrees. The Game Design and Development Minor is also suitable.

Students in all programs have access to HCI@VIZ, which is housed in the School of Architecture’s Department of Visualization, and the MAESTRO Lab, located in College of Engineering’s Department of Aerospace Engineering. The recently launched organization—Texas A&M University Virtual and Augmented Reality (TAMUVR)—is also accessible to all students.  

HCI@VIZ is lab that conducts research in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Human-Centered Computing, and Interactive Systems. The Lab consists of five research groups: TEILab, The StoryLab, McNamara Lab, INDIE Lab, and the Soft Interaction Lab. Depending on the group, topics explored include AR/VR, Child-Computer Interaction, Data Visualization, Embodied Interaction, Interactive Storytelling, Soft Materials Interaction, and many others. AR/VR students may be drawn to the INDIE Lab and the Soft Interaction Lab, among others.

The INDIE Lab (Interactive Data and Immersive Environments) engages in human-centered research of interactive visualizations. The group actively collaborates with multiple departments and faculty across the university. Research areas include Virtual Reality, 3D Interaction, Visual Analytics, Information Visualization, and Educational Games.

The Soft Interaction Lab fosters experimentation with physical and virtual experiences, organic materials, and interaction technology.

MAESTRO Lab houses the MAESTRO VR Studio—an Immersive Mechanics Visualization Lab dedicated Immersive and Intuitive Data Environments projects. Focus areas include AR/VR and 3D Displays.

TAMUVR is an organization that focuses on AR/VR development, research activities, educational opportunities, discussion, and practical experience.

The TEILab and McNamara Lab conduct Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Computer Graphics research to advance and enhance Visualization, Animation, and Computer Graphics.

Graduates of the Visualization Programs at Texas A&M University are prepared to pursue roles in AR/VR, UI/UX Development, Environment Modeling, HCI, Entertainment, and Game Asset Development, among others. TAMU alumni are routinely hired at companies and studios such as Google, Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Amazon, Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), Oracle, DreamWorks Animation, Microsoft, Electronic Arts (EA), IBM, Reel FX, Samsung, Lockheed Martin, Tektronix, General Motors, and Texas Instruments.

With more than 73,000 students, Texas A&M University the largest university in the state and one the largest in the nation. Established in 1876, TAMU is also the state’s first public institution of higher learning. The school houses 17 colleges and schools located across two campuses, the Health Science Center, and the Quatar campus. More than 400 degree programs are available. Texas A&M University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

11. Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia
Savannah College of Art and Design

Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is home to the SCAD Digital Media Center. Within the Center are the School of Digital Media and the School of Entertainment Arts. The School of Digital Media houses an Immersive Reality BFA that launched in 2018. This 180 credit hour program allows students to explore related fields such as User Experience (UX) Design, Visual Effects, Film and Television, and Interactive Design. Students may add an additional major or minor in any of these areas.

Program features include collaboration with students and faculty across disciplines; access to panels and presentations by gaming giants such as EA Sports, Ubisoft, and Cartoon Network Games; and study abroad opportunities at SCAD Lacoste, France. Immersive Reality students also have access to Montgomery Hall, which houses AR/VR resources, more than 800 computers networked to decrease render times, a green screen, and a motion media lab.

In The Shed at SCAD, immersive reality labs and classrooms house the latest technology for creating innovative visual experiences.

To begin the program, students will take Foundation Studies courses such as Design I: Elements and Organization, Design II: 3D Form and Space, Design III: Time, Creative Thinking Strategies, and Storyboarding Essentials. Mathematics or Computer Science, Digital Communication, and Speaking of Ideas are just a few required General Education courses.

In the Immersive Reality BFA major, students will take courses such as Augmented Reality Lab, Virtual Reality for Motion Media, Immersive Revolution: Augmented to Virtual Reality, Visual Storytelling: Virtual Reality to Interactive, Immersive Innovation Lab, Visual Effects for Immersive Environments, Integration of Immersive Realities, Immersive Innovation Lab, Advanced Application Scripting, and Game Engine Applications for Immersive Computing. Fifteen credit hours of additional electives allow students to enhance the degree by exploring related or other areas.  

All students have access to the expanded Savannah Film Studios, which is the largest and most comprehensive university film studio complex in the nation. The  10.9-acre facility includes a next-generation XR stage for virtual productions, new soundstages, and a Hollywood-caliber film backlot.

Launched in 2014, the original Savannah Film Studios building consisted of a 22,000-square-foot facility with three soundstages, green rooms, lighting grids, postproduction suites, a multi-purpose recording booth for ADR and Foley recordings, screening rooms, and production offices for SCAD’s film and television program.

Graduates of the Immersive Reality BFA Program at SCAD are prepared for graduate study and/or careers such as AR/VR Developer, AR Designer, Virtual Production Technical Director, VR Content Producer, Mixed Reality Artist, Game Designer, Realtime Artist, Technical Artist, and Environmental Artist.

Approximately 99% of Savannah College of Art and Design graduates are employed, enrolled in a graduate program, or both within 10 months of graduation. Immersive Reality alumni have been hired by companies and studios such as Microsoft, Adobe, Epic Games, Google, Autodesk, Blizzard Entertainment, Facebook, ZeniMax Online Studios, and Magic Leap.

With more than 100 degree programs and over 75 minors and certificate programs, Savannah College of Art and Design has more degree programs and specializations than any other art and design college in the U.S. Founded in 1978, SCAD opened in the renovated Savannah Volunteer Guards Armory in September 1979. The school began with just one classroom, an administration building, and 71 students. Today, SCAD serves more than 15,000 students across campuses in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia, and Lacoste, France.

Savannah College of Art and Design is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA), and the National Architecture Accrediting Board (NAAB).

12. University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas
University of Texas at Austin

University of Texas at Austin houses the College of Liberal Arts, home to the Center for Perceptual Systems. Within the Center are state-of-the-art labs such as the Virtual Reality Laboratory and the Vision, Cognition, and Action Virtual Reality Lab. The labs focus on research in Virtual Reality Systems, Neural Mechanisms, Computation, and more.

Equipment includes HiBall high precision head tracking systems, a SensAble Technologies Phantom Force Feedback System with a large workspace, Oculus Rift DKII, several Polhemus Fastrack Systems, Motion Capture Systems, and an Immersion Cyberglove hand posture sensor with vibrotactile stimulators. An additional laboratory houses a driving simulator mounted on a motion platform, and a PhaseSpace 3D body tracking system using 40 LED Markers and 16 Impulse Cameras. The virtual environments are displayed using three Virtual Research V8 Head Mounted Displays and two N-Vis wide field of view helmets with binocular eye tracking.

The College of Natural Sciences at University of Texas Austin (UT Austin) houses the Computer Science (CS) Department, which has several pathways to study game design. The Computer Science BS (BS CS) has an optional Concentration in Game Development. Course examples for the program include Game Technology, Object-Oriented Programming, Computer Graphics, Software Engineering, and Generic Programming & STL.

For students interested in studying AR/VR, University of Texas at Austin has several program options that provide access to the Virtual Reality Labs and other related facilities.

Housed in the College of Fine Arts’ School of Design and Creative Technologies is the Department of Arts and Entertainment Technologies (AET). Within the AET Department is a Professional BS in AET with heavy AR/VR coursework. A Game Design and Development curriculum was launched in 2020 for undergraduates with career interests in the Interactive/Immersive, Gaming, and Creative industries.

This program is jointly offered by the Department of Arts and Entertainment Technologies (AET), the Department of Computer Science (CS), and the Department of Radio-Television-Film (RTF).

Across programs, course examples include AR/VR: Intro to the Metaverse, Mixed Reality for the Masses, Design for Artificial Intelligence, Advanced Creative Coding, Interactive Environments, DxD Studio, Design & Interactivity, IBM Studio, User Interfaces, Integrated Design, Storytelling in Design, Immersive Audio, Video Game Prototyping, AET Studio, 3D Previz in Live Environment, and Video Game Scripting.

Note that students in Computer Science Programs in the College of Natural Science may take AR/VR courses as electives. This is especially true for the BSA in Computer Science (CS), which allows students to explore other areas to suit their goals. In addition to a BSA, CS students can earn a BS, BA, MS, or five-year BS/MS.

Graduates of the AET, Game Design, and CS Programs at UT Austin enjoy a 93% employment rate within six months of graduation. Program alumni have been hired at places such as Apple, HP, Amazon, IBM, Zynga, EA Games, Google, Scientific Games, GameStop, Diamond Entertainment, Everi Digital, Cloud Imperium, and Aspyr Media, Inc.

Founded in 1883, University of Texas at Austin serves approximately 52,385 students, making it one of the largest universities in Texas. UT Austin provides more than 155 undergraduate degree programs with 170+ fields of study, 139 graduate degree programs, and nearly 100 doctoral programs across 18 colleges and schools. University of Texas at Austin is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

13. University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida
University of Central Florida

The College of Engineering and Computer Science at University of Central Florida (UCF) houses the Department of Computer Science, which has several pathways to study AR/VR. Degree options include the Computer Science (CS) BS, an Accelerated BS/MS in CS, and MS and PhD degrees in Modeling and Simulation. For students seeking a shorter program, the Department has a Mixed Reality Engineering Graduate Certificate. This program requires nine credit hours of coursework including Virtual Reality Engineering, Augmented Reality Engineering, and the Mixed Reality Project. The culminating project consists of the development of a mixed reality system or software application. 

The Department of Computer Science at University of Central Florida also houses several labs that allow students in the Certificate and Degree programs to collaborate, create AR/VR systems and applications, and conduct research related to AR/VR.

The Synthetic Reality Lab known as SREAL is part of several larger UCF entities, most notably the Institute for Simulation & Training (IST), which houses it. SREAL (pronounced Surreal) is a center for researchers, software developers, artists (modelers/animators), interactors (digital puppeteers), PhD students, and affiliated faculty members. With 7,000 square feet of experimental and office space, SREAL houses areas for the development of AR/VR, mixed reality experiences, the delivery of interactive training using digital avatar technology, human surrogate and robotics research, and developing cultural heritage and STEM experiences.

The Interactive Systems and User Experience Lab focuses on the development of innovative applications, techniques, and tools that enhance the overall experience between humans and machines.

The Computer Science BS at UCF consists of courses such as Algorithms for Machine Learning, Robot Vision, Game Programming, Software Engineering, Computer Graphics, Advanced AI, Computer Architecture, and AI for Game Programming.

Graduates of the Computer BS Program are prepared for careers in AR/VR, Computer Architecture, Computer Gaming, Computer Vision, Evolutionary Computing, Media Convergence, Robotics, and many others.

The Computer Science MS at UCF allows students to specialize in a research area. This includes options such as VR, Mixed and Virtual Reality Mobile Computing, Modeling and Simulation, Machine Learning, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Pairing (combining two research areas) is also an option. In addition to their chosen specialization, CS MS students will study programming systems and languages, computer science theory, and computer architecture.

Graduates of the Computer Science MS Program at University of Central Florida are prepared to pursue careers in AR/VR, Software Development, Computer Science, Aerospace, Computer Systems, Software Engineering, Cyber/Information Security, and Defense. UCF CS alumni are routinely hired by major companies such as NASA, Lockheed Martin, IBM, Google, Apple, Oracle, Intel, Amazon, Siemens, Cisco, YouTube, and Accenture.

University of Central Florida opened in 1968 as Florida Technological University. On the first day of classes, the school had less than 2,000 students. Today, UCF serves around 70,400 students, making it the largest university by enrollment in the state of Florida, and one of the nation’s largest universities. The school provides 240 bachelor’s degrees, 214 master’s degrees, and 81 doctorate degrees across 13 colleges. University of Central Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

14. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill) the College of Arts and Sciences, home to the Department of Computer Science (CS). Established in 1964, the CS Department was one of the first independent computer science departments in the U.S. Within the Department are several options for students who would like to study AR/VR.

Pathways include BS and MS degrees in Computer Science with a Computer Graphics or Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Research Area. Computer Graphics sub-areas include Animation & Simulation, Virtual Environments, and Visualization. HCI offers a Virtual Environments subarea. A PhD in Computer Science is also available.

Course examples across programs include 2D Computer Graphics, Connecting Language to Vision and Robotics, Digital Culture, Digital Logic and Computer Design, Human Robot Interaction, Machine Learning, Models of Languages & Computation, Scientific Programming, and Software Engineering Laboratory.

In addition to a variety of AR/VR related courses, SCS students have access to a number of organizations and labs to support their goals. The Carolina Augmented and Virtual Reality Club (CARVR) provides the opportunity to work on extended reality (XR) projects with real clients. Students may also participate in the UNC Augmented and Virtual Reality Interest Group (UNC AR/VR), which consists of more than 250 people from across campus. The Group focuses on training, research, learning, and more through the use of immersive technologies. UNC AR/VR plans to launch two additional groups soon (a Faculty Group and Student Group), that focus on AR/VR.

Students interested in AR/VR at UNC-Chapel Hill have access to the Graphics, Imaging, and Robotics Lab and the Graphics and 3D Vision Laboratory. The Graphics, Imaging, and Robotics Lab is a 3,500 sq. ft. space located in J. Carlyle Sitterson Hall. Most of the Lab is dedicated to work in effective virtual environments. The remaining area, which houses a variety of robots, focuses on robotics research.

Housed in the Frederick P. Brooks Jr. Computer Science Building and Sitterson Hall, the new Graphics and 3D Vision Laboratory is situated in a noise-controlled, 2,500 sq. ft. space divided into three research zones by floor-to-ceiling blackout curtains for light and sound suppression. Zones include Projective Display Research, Computer Vision and Optical Tracking Research, and Physical Simulation and Audio Synthesis Research with a focus on GPU processing. The space has 11-foot ceilings and a Unistrut mounting grid.

Across facilities and labs, projects and groups have included the Effective Virtual Environments Project; Geometric Algorithms for Modeling, Motion, and Animation Group (GAMMA) Project; and the Walkthrough Group, (simulated walkthroughs of architectural models).

UNC-Chapel Hill graduates have gone on to establish careers at some of the world’s top corporations. Examples include Microsoft, Amazon, Cisco, Capital One, SAS – Analytics Software & Solutions, Red Ventures, and Accenture.

Founded in 1789, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill welcomed its first students in 1795, becoming the first and only public university in the U.S. to award degrees in the 18th century. Today, UNC-Chapel Hill serves more than 31,500 students enrolled in over 250 bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD programs across 14 colleges and schools. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

15. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
University of Michigan

University of Michigan (U-M) houses one of the world’s largest and oldest programs in Computation. Consisting of several departments and divisions and serving more than 11,000 students, the program provides access to a variety of degree and certificate options, coursework, studios, and initiatives that explore AR/VR.

Specific pathways for students interested in AR/VR are provided across the College of Engineering, the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA), and the School of Information. Options include the Computer Science BS, Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) MS, the CSE PhD, the CS Minor, and a Graduate Certificate in Extended Reality (XR).

Course examples across programs include Human-Centered Software Design & Development, Computer Game Design and Development, VLSI Design, Autonomous Robotics, Interactive Computer Graphics, Advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI), Software Engineering, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Digital Integrated Technology, Programming Languages, and Machine Learning.

To enhance the MS degree, graduate students may add the Graduate Certificate in XR. Open to all graduate students regardless of degree program, the XR program requires 12 credit hours of study. Students will learn about the design, construction, and evaluation of XR experiences. Course examples include AR/VR for Sustainability, Augmented Tectonics, Developing AR/VR Experiences, Educational Applications for Augmented and Virtual Reality, Immersive Media, Sci-Fi Prototyping, and Virtual Engagement in Digital Technologies.

Students in all programs have access to the XR Initiative - Center for Academic Innovation and the studios of the James and Anne Duderstadt Center (DC). Founded in 2019, the XR Initiative works across all U-M colleges, divisions, and schools to develop new XR related educational technology designed to enhance the learning experience for students. The Initiative also focuses on making XR technology more accessible on campus and encouraging its use in higher education.

Past XR Initiative projects include Cross-platform XR Tools for Supporting Student Creativity in Immersive Audio Design, Comparison of Student Learning of Head and Neck Anatomy and Diagnosis of Pathology Using XR, and XR Studio.

Launched in 1996 as the Media Union, the DC houses the Fabrication Studio, the DC Visualization Studio, M.I.D.E.N (Michigan Immersive Digital Experience Nexus), and VizHubs. All studios are equipped with state-of-the art equipment and individual workstations, advanced software, collaborative workstations, the Vicon Motion Capture System, Leap Motion System for hand tracking in VR environments, and the Perception Neuron Full Body Tracking Suit, and more.

Graduates of the Computer Science and XR Programs at University of Michigan are prepared for all roles across areas such as AR/VR, Software Engineering, Digital Arts and Entertainment, Simulation Engineering, and Applications Development.

Established in 1817 in Detroit, Michigan, University of Michigan is one of the first public universities in the nation. Consisting of three distinct, but aligned institutions in Ann Arbor, Dearborn, and Flint, Michigan, U-M serves 51,225 students enrolled in more than 275 degree programs across 19 colleges and schools. University of Michigan is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

16. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Illinois
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

University of Illinois Urbana Champaign (UIUC) houses Grainger College of Engineering, home to the Thomas M. Siebel Center for Computer Science. Within the Center is a Computer Science (CS) program that’s suitable for students interested in studying AR/VR. Specific degrees options include the BS, MS, and Minor in Computer Science (CS). The Minor consists of 12 credit hours.

Students in the CS BS have the opportunity to take up to 18 credit hours of technical electives and six hours of CS advanced electives. This allows students focus in a specific area of interest. The Media, Intelligence and Big Data, and Human and Social Impact areas include course options such as Virtual Reality, AI for Computer Games, Applied Machine Learning, Mobile Interactive Design, and Audio Computing Lab.

The CS MS is a research-oriented degree that requires 28 credit hours of coursework and a four credit hour thesis. The program consists of 10 core areas. Examples include Interactive Computing, Programming Languages, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Scientific Computing.  

Students in both the BS and MS programs have access to the VR@Illinois Lab (VR LAB). Supported by the Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning (CITL) and University Library’s IDEA Lab and Media Commons, the VR Lab is a collaborative initiative that supports AR/VR and extended reality research, exploration, and teaching at UIUC.

The Lab houses studio spaces for VR creation and exploration, mobile virtual reality classrooms, loanable headsets and cameras for viewing and capturing 360 media, and the VR Club, which hosts weekly club meetings. Lab experts provide consultations on implementing VR in the classroom and assistance with VR research projects.

Adjacent to the VR Lab is the Innovation Studio—an active, experimental and emerging technology studio with VR headsets, a video wall, gaming computers, and a range of innovative technologies.

Graduates of the Computer Science and other related programs at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign are routinely hired by some of the world’s top companies. Examples include Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Tesla, Meta, Apple, IBM, Caterpillar, ADM, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, and JPMorgan Chase.

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign was established in 1867 as Illinois Industrial University. The second oldest public school in the state, UIUC serves 55,000 students from 50 U.S. states and 126 countries. More than 150 undergraduate programs and more than 100 graduate and professional programs are offered across 16 colleges and instructional units. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

17. Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Drexel University

The Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design at Drexel University is one of the top colleges at Drexel University. In addition to providing primarily studio-based programs in the Performing Arts, Media, and Design, the College houses its own record label (MAD Dragon Records), a student-run Graphic Design firm, and lifestyle publication D&M Magazine.

Westphal College of Media Arts & Design also houses Drexel’s Digital Media & Virtual Production BS—one of the first accredited programs of its kind. The College also has a Virtual Reality (VR) & Immersive Media Minor, which explores the principles and techniques used in AR/VR design and other types of immersive media. The 24 credit hour Minor also explores Animation & VFX, Game Development, Cinematography, and Animation for Gaming.

Course examples for the program include, Computer Graphics Imagery, Animation and Visual Effects, Digital Tools for Immersive Media, Realtime Visualization, Motion Capture, Digital Imaging for Immersive Media, and Game Development Foundations. Students from Animation & Visual Effects to Computer Science and User Experience Design may add the VR and Immersive Media Minor to enhance their degree program.  

Officially launched in 2018 as Virtual Reality & Immersive Media (VRIM), the Digital Media & Virtual Production BS Program provides the opportunity for students to master the latest hardware and software for AR/VR, immersive projection, motion capture, and other technologies utilized in the immersive media industry. The program also explores virtual production, interactive game engines, 3D modeling, animation, design, and storytelling.

Course examples include History of Immersive Media, Digital Tools for Immersive Media, Computer Graphics Imagery, Immersive Production Lab I-II, Realtime Visualization, Digital Imaging for Immersive Media, Animation I-II, Motion Capture, Computer Gaming, Immersive Media Workshop I-II, Previsualization for Animation, Professional Practices for Immersive Media, and Computer Programming.

All students will participate in the Drexel Co-op Program, which provides opportunities to work for companies such as YouTube VR, Franklin Institute Science Museum, Night Kitchen, Toll Brothers, and History Making Productions.

In addition to the BS Program, Drexel Westphal houses two labs: the Animation Capture & Effects Lab (ACE-Lab) and the Immersive Research Lab (IRL).

The ACE-Lab houses Westphal’s Digital Animation, Visual Effects, and Immersive Media Programs as well as VR, AR, and other interactive experiences. The Lab includes the latest industry-standard software and hardware technologies for VR, AR, Motion Capture, Projection and other technologies. Within the Lab, students have access to funded grant research opportunities. They also have the opportunity to participate in industry-sponsored projects, and independent, and student-generated projects.

Launched in 2018, the IRL allows students to develop AR/VR and immersive media technologies. The 550-square-foot, glass-enclosed lab features equipment such as HP-ZVR Backpack Workstations, virtual and augmented reality devices from Oculus Go, HTC VIVE and Microsoft HoloLens headsets, Leap Motion hand-tracking and iClone Facial motion capture systems, and a full motion capture studio equipped with OptiTrak and Vicon motion capture devices. Other technologies include 360-degree virtual reality cameras, a custom virtual reality cycle platform, and an x-wing fighter cockpit platform.

Drexel Westphal graduates work in Entertainment, Education, the Sciences, Historical Recreation, and many other areas. Alumni have been hired at DreamWorks, Moving Picture Company, Digital Domain, Pixar, and Disney. Graduates also work at major video game development companies and others that utilize AR/VR, Animation, and Visual Effects.

Drexel University was established in 1891 as Drexel Institute of Art, Science, & Industry. The school serves approximately 23,215 students enrolled in more than 200 degree programs across 15 colleges and schools. Drexel University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). The Digital Media Programs at Drexel are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Arts and Design (NASAD).

18. Arizona State University, Mesa, Arizona & Los Angeles, California
Arizona State University

Arizona State University (ASU) recently launched several centers and programs for students seeking careers in AR/VR. Launched in Fall 2022, the Media and Immersive eXperience (MIX) Center is a state-of-the-art facility for emerging media technologies and related academic programs. The Center houses screening rooms, immersion studios, soundstages, ideation studios,  fabrication labs, community rooms, and exhibition spaces. MIX students have opportunities to design new virtual worlds and video games, create other immersive medic experiences, and produce films at the Center.

Part of the ASU at Mesa City Center Complex, which also houses The Studios at Mesa City Center and the three-acre Plaza at Mesa City Center, MIX is a collaboration between ASU and the City of Mesa.

Specific program options for students interested in AR/VR include the MS in Media Arts and Sciences (Extended Reality Technologies) and the MSD in Design (Experience Design). Both programs are administered through ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. The MS focus on extended reality and immersive technologies, including human-computer interaction (HCI), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, simulation, interaction, computer vision, experience design, and visualization.

Course examples include Designing Extended-Reality Experiences, Digital Workflow in the Graphics Industry, Movement and Computing, Creative Interactive Media, and Prototyping Futures.

The MSD is cross-disciplinary, and explores extended and virtual reality, interactive environments, games, themed entertainment, and immersive storytelling. Course examples include Prototyping Futures, Emerging Media Colloquium, and Immersive Experience Design. Both the MS and MSD require an Internship, Practicum, Applied Project, and Thesis to graduate.

Graduates are prepared careers in a wide range of industries and areas. Examples include Gaming, Software Development, Film and Video, Graphic Design, Web Development, Mobile Development, Architecture, Healthcare, Education, Advertising, 3D Modeling and Visualization, Workforce Development and Research, Urban Planning, and Experience Design.

ASU has another option for AR/VR students—the Center for Narrative and Emerging Media (NEM). Also launched in Fall 2022, NEM is a partnership between The Sidney Poitier New American Film School/Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Housed in the ASU California Center in Downtown Los Angeles, NEM provides an MA Program (MA-NEM) that focuses on emerging storytelling and immersive experience content creation in AR/VR/XR, virtual production, streaming, 360 video, animated graphics, and short-form digital video.

Course examples for this program include AR/VR/XR for Storytelling, Emerging Media Project Management, Emerging Media Production, Virtual Production for Storytelling, Short Form and 360 Video Production, and Narrative Development and Pre-Production. The MA-NEM Program at ASU culminates with the Applied Project, worth three credits. Graduates will leave the program with a professional portfolio of their best work.

Potential careers include AR/VR/XR Producer, Immersive Storyteller, Journalist, Documentary Film Producer, Media Project Manager, and Independent Filmmaker.

Arizona State University serves approximately 140,635 students, making it one of the largest universities in the U.S. Founded in 1885 as the Arizona Territorial Normal School, ASU has four campuses and a digital division that provide more than 900 fully accredited degree programs and majors. ASU programs are housed across 16 colleges and schools. Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

19. University of California, San Diego, San Diego, California
University of California, San Diego

University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego) houses the CSE Virtual Reality Lab (VR Lab). Launched in 2017, the Lab is designed for students interested in developing content for virtual environments. The Lab features workshops, research opportunities in the field of AR/VR, projects, and networking opportunities. The VR Lab also houses the 300+ member VR Club at UCSD. 

For students seeking a, AR/VR-related degree, UC San Diego has several degree pathways, a Minor, and Virtual Reality App Development Certificate. Provided by UCSanDiegoX, the Certificate program can be added to any degree program or taken alone. Courses include How Virtual Reality Works, Computer Graphics, and Creating Virtual Reality Apps.

Degree options are housed in Jacobs School of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science & Engineering (CSE). Pathways include the BS, MS, BS/MS, and PhD in Computer Science (CS). Required electives allow students to craft a focus, such as AR/VR. Undergraduates may choose seven electives worth four units each.

Graduate students may choose 16 units of electives and research, along with 12 units in a Depth Area such as Graphics and Vision, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Robotics, or AI. Programming Languages, Compilers, and Software Engineering are other options.

The MS Program also allows students to choose from three pathways: MS Plan I: Thesis; MS Plan II: Comprehensive Exam, Standard Option; and MS Plan II: Comprehensive Exam, Interdisciplinary Option. The Interdisciplinary Option provides additional opportunities to focus on a customized or available area of interest. 

CSE Department focus areas include AI, HCI, Robotics, Programming Systems, Software Engineering, and Visual Computing (Computer Graphics and Computer Vision), among others.

Across programs, other features include internship opportunities, study abroad experiences, participation in the VR Club at UC San Diego and events such the Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality Hackathon sponsored by companies such as Google, Sony, HTC, and Oculus. 

Graduates of the CS and Certificate Programs at University of California, San Diego are prepared to pursue positions such as AR/VR Developer, AR/VR Technician, XR Gameplay and Tools Engineer, Design/Graphics Engineer, Software Developer, AR/VR Maintenance and Support, and Graphics Engineer.

With a campus dating back to the late 1800s, University of California, San Diego was founded on November 18, 1960. The school enrolled its first undergraduates in 1964. Today, UC San Diego serves approximately 43,000 student enrolled in hundreds of programs across eight colleges. University of California San Diego is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

20. Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
Purdue University

Purdue University is home to Purdue Polytechnic Institute. Within the Institute is a Computer Graphics Technology (CGT) Program that allows students to customize their plan of study by selecting courses from areas such as Information Visualization, Animation, Games, and UX Design. As such, students in this flexible program have access to a range of AR/VR courses. Examples include Augmented Reality, Collaborative Virtual and Augmented Environments, Product Development Using Virtual Environments, Computer Graphics Programming, Cognition & Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Geometric Modeling For Visualization And Communication, Game Development I-II, Visual Intelligence and Perception, Special Topics In Human-Centered Design And Development, and Advanced Real-Time Computer Graphics.

Leading to an MS in CGT (MS CGT), the program provides access to the IDEAS Research Group, which focuses on Metaverse/AR/VR, and the state-of-the-art Purdue HRD Virtual Lab. Equipment here includes Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Headsets to deliver virtual reality simulations; Microsoft HoloLens for augmented reality training simulations; GoPro Omni and GoPro Hero to create 360-degree training simulation content; and iMotions software to collect biometric data on facial expression analysis (FEA), eye tracking (ET), electrocardiography (ECG), galvanic skin responses (GSR), and facial electromyography (fEMG).

To graduate, Purdue MS CGT students will complete several projects including the Computer Graphics Project, Directed MS Capstone, and Directed MS Project. Graduates of the MS CGT Program at Purdue University are prepared to seek careers in all industries that utilize AR/VR. Graduates have been hired at places such as Google, DreamWorks, Salesforce, and Deloitte.

Established in 1869, Purdue University serves approximately 50,885 students from all 50 states and 130 countries. The school provides more than 400 programs across 11 colleges and schools. Purdue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The Art, Design, and Performance Programs at Purdue are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST).

21. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
Cornell University

The Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science (CIS) at Cornell University is home to the Computer Science (CS) Department. When it launched in 1965, the Department was the first of its kind. Consisting of two campuses—one in Ithaca, the other in New York City—the CS Department has a full-time faculty of 62 members that serve 1,340 students at the undergraduate, master’s, and PhD levels.

For students interested in studying, the CS Department at Cornell has BS, MS, and PhD Programs in Computer Science. A CS Minor is also available. Course examples across programs include Virtual and Augmented Reality, Topics in Mixed Reality, Mobile Human Robot Interaction Design, C++ Programming, Developing and Designing Interactive Devices, Interactive Computer Graphics, Python, Great Works in Programming Languages, Visual Imaging in the Electronic Age, Computer Vision, Advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI), Applied Machine Learning, and Robotics Seminar.

In addition to a variety of AR/VR-related courses, students in all CS programs have access to Cornell University’s Virtual Embodiment Lab (VEL) and the XR Collaboratory (XRC).

Established in 2016, VEL explores virtual reality and how it affects the people who use it. A number of devices are utilized to research virtual reality including full virtual reality systems that allow a user to pick up objects and interact with others, and 360 degree videos.

The mission of XRC at Cornell Tech is to advance education and research AR/VR and Mixed Reality through collaborations, research, and hands-on mentoring. XRC partners include Meta, Verizon Media, and Magic Leap.

In addition to Computer Science, graduates of the CS and other programs at Cornell University have found success in fields such as Entertainment, the Military, Engineering, Technology, Communications, Fine Arts, Medicine, and Mathematics. Program alumni have been hired at places such as Lockheed Martin, NBC, Amazon, ABC, Microsoft, CBS, the U.S. Navy, and IBM.

Cornell University was founded in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White. In 1868, the school opened in Morrill Hall—the first building constructed on campus. Today, the Cornell campus houses 608 buildings across more than 2,000 acres. Cornell also has campuses throughout the State of New York, and in DC, Doha, Qatar, and Rome, Italy. Around 10,830 faculty and staff serve approximately 25,900 students enrolled in more than 300 majors, minors, and graduate programs across 16 colleges and schools. Cornell University has been continuously accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) since 1921.

22. University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland
University of Maryland

University of Maryland (UMD) houses the College of Arts and Humanities (ARHU) and the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences (CMNS). ARHU serves approximately 3,070 students across 11 academic departments and three schools. Thirty-one academic majors and 37 minors are available.

The College of CMNS, which houses the Department of Computer Science (CS , is part of Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Engineering. The CS Department alone serves more than 3,400 students with interests ranging from algorithms and design to VR to Robotics. Department features include research opportunities in Graphics, Visualization, and VR/AR; internships; participation in the honors program; and study abroad experiences.

Across the ARHU and CMNS Programs, students can earn a BA or BS in Immersive Media Design (IMD) or a BS, MS, BS/MS, or PhD in Computer Science with an AR/VR focus. All students learn to create, code, and collaborate using the most current digital technologies and tools. Students have the opportunity to focus in Art or Computer Science to graduate with a BA from the College of ARHU or a BS from the College of CMNS.

Students in all programs have access to the UMD Graphics and Visual Informatics Laboratory (GVIL), and the Mixed/Augmented/Virtual Reality Innovation Center (MAVRIC).

Established in 2000 by the Department of Computer Science, the GVIL explores computer graphics, scientific visualization, and virtual environments through research and education.

Current projects include applications for next-generation AR/VR, including immersive education, augmented navigation, virtual manufacturing, and medical training.

MAVRIC was created to support the future of XR, foster XR talent, and connect developers, entrepreneurs, innovators, and researchers through workshops, events, and programs.

UMD also houses the Maryland Blended Reality Center (MBRC)—a multidisciplinary partnership initially funded by the University of Maryland Strategic Partnership: MPowering the State. Launched in 2017, The Center also partners with the federal government, industry leaders, and other academic institutions to explore and develop AR/VR, MR, and other visual computing tools and applications  based in immersive technologies.

Graduates of the Computer Science, IMD, and other programs at University of Maryland have established careers in the tech industry, federal laboratories, medicine, teaching, and law. Notable alumni include Naresh Gupta, Senior Vice President of Adobe’s Print and Publishing Business Unit; Brendan Iribe, Oculus Co-Founder; Sergey Brin, Co-founder of Google; and Gary Flake, a Microsoft Distinguished Engineer and founder of Yahoo! Research Labs.

University of Maryland in College Park was founded in 1856. The flagship campus of the University System of Maryland and the original land-grant institution in the state, UMD is one of only 62 members of the Association of American Universities. The school serves approximately 40,710 students enrolled in more than 300 undergraduate majors, master’s degrees, and doctoral programs across 12 colleges. University of Maryland, College Park is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

23. Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa
Iowa State University

Iowa State University (Iowa State) house the Graduate College, which has several programs that are suitable for students interested in studying AR/VR. Options include MS and PhD degrees in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), a Master of Human-Computer Interaction (MHCI) and a 12 credit hour HCI Graduate Certificate. The MS and PhD are interdisciplinary, and the MHCI is delivered entirely online.

Across programs, students will take courses such as Virtual Worlds and Applications, Visual Design for HCI, Computer Graphics and Geometric Modeling, Learn to Speak AI, Design and Evaluation of Human Computer Interaction, Python Application Development in HCI, Computational Implementation and Prototyping, Developmental Robotics, Computational Perception, Emerging Practices in Human Computer Interaction, and Foundations in Game-Based Learning.

Students in all programs have access to the Virtual Reality Applications Center (VRAC), which leads the HCI Program. This interdisciplinary research center supports the research of students and faculty from Iowa State’s seven colleges, as well as a number of industry partners and collaborators from several federal agencies.

VRAC participants have skills and interests in virtual, augmented, and mixed reality (AR/VR/MR) user experience (UX), developmental robotics, haptics interaction, HCI, and mobile computing.

Graduates of the HCI Programs at Iowa State University are prepared for careers in both the private and public sectors. Master’s degree graduates are also prepared to pursue a PhD in any related area.

Founded in 1858, Iowa State University is the nation’s first designated land-grant institution. The school serves approximately 29,970 students enrolled in more than 100 undergraduate majors and over 200 fields of study leading a graduate or professional degree. Programs at Iowa State are housed across eight colleges, two schools, and around 150 academic departments. Iowa State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

24. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania (UPenn or Penn) houses the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS), home to the Digital Media Design Program. Created in 1998, this interdisciplinary program leads to a Bachelor of Science (BSE) in DMD. SEAS also has an eight-course, immersive DMD Minor that explores Interactive Computer Graphics. Course examples for the program include Programming Languages and Techniques I-II, Advanced Rendering, Computer Animation, Interactive Computer Graphics, and Software Design/Engineering. The DMD Minor culminates with a Senior Capstone Project.

The DMD BSE at UPenn is designed for students interested in the math, design, and computer programming needed to produce virtual reality environments, games, animations, interactive technologies, and computer graphics. The program combines coursework in Computer Graphics (from the Computer & Information Science Department), Fine Arts courses from Penn's School of Design, and Communication Theory courses from the Annenberg School of Communication.

Course examples include Interactive Computer Graphics, Automata, Computability, and Complexity, Computer Programming, Advanced Rendering, Mechanics Lab, 3D Computer Modeling, Art of the Web: Interactive Concepts for Art & Design, Programming Languages and Techniques I-II, Software Design, Advanced Computer Graphics, and Computer Animation. The DMD BSE at UPenn culminates with the semester-long DMD Senior Project.  

Students in the BSE DMD, DMD Minor, and other programs may join the student-run club known as VirtualReality@Penn. With several dozen registered members, the Club welcomes anyone who’s interested in VR, whether it’s for games, business, or social development.

Graduates of the DMD Programs at University of Pennsylvania are prepared to pursue careers in all industries that utilize AR/VR. Program alumni have been hired by major companies and studios such Microsoft, Electronic Arts (EA), Pixar, DreamWorks Animation, Google, and Walt Disney Animation.

Founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1740, University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) is one of the nation’s oldest universities. The school serves approximately 28,200 students enrolled in more than 400 programs across 12 schools. University of Pennsylvania is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

25. University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
University of Arizona

University of Arizona (UArizona) houses several labs and studios that support AR/VR research, projects, and training.  Labs include the Extended Reality and Games Lab (XRG Lab) and the 3D Visualization and Imaging Systems Lab. Studios include the Terry Seligman VR Studio—UArizona’s first public virtual reality studio. Equipped with headsets and hand controllers, the VR Studio allows students, faculty, and staff to immerse in virtual spaces and environments, while working on class projects and other AR/VR-related activities.  

In the XRG Lab, researchers and participants focus on the research and development of virtual, augmented, and mixed reality techniques. Ongoing research projects are funded by the National Science Foundation, the University of Arizona Social & Behavioral Sciences Research Institute (SBSRI), and others. Projects include Googly Eyes (VR), Mirrored VR, Bounce: A Mixed Reality Serious Game for Teaching Newtonian Physics Concepts, Grabbable Holograms (mixed reality) and Give Me a Hand? (virtual reality).

The 3D Visualization and Imaging Systems Lab is designed for research in emerging technologies such as mixed- and augmented realities (MR-AR), the Lab focuses on the development of 2D/3D display systems, 3D visualization systems, 3D human computer interaction methods, and image acquisition systems. Researchers are interested in applying these technologies in medicine, scientific visualization, and education.

In addition to the labs and studios and University of Arizona, faculty in the School of Information (iSchool) engage in AR/VR and other extended reality (XR) technology, video game design and development, and human-computer interaction (HCI) in order to advance these interactive technologies for enhanced performance and user experience.

Programs for students interested in AR/VR are also housed in the School of Information, which is a part of the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences. Options include the Information Science and Technology BS and a Games and Simulation Certificate. The BS Program features an Emphasis in Interactive and Immersive Technologies and hands-on learning, including internships with companies such as Hydrant, Octavia Digital Media, and the Enterprise Technology Division of State Farm Insurance.

Course examples for the program include Virtual Reality; Special Topics in Information, Science, Technology & Arts; Artificial Intelligence (AI); Information, Multimedia Design and the Moving Image; Technology of Sound; Digital 3D Modeling, Rendering and Rapid Prototyping; Human Computer Interaction; Game Development; Computing and the Arts; Ethics in a Digital World; Advanced Creative Coding; Computational Thinking and Doing; and Algorithms for Games.

The Information Science BS at University of Arizona has a required Individual Studies Component and the program culminates with the Senior Capstone course.

The Games and Simulation Certificate at UArizona explores the creation of virtual interactive environments for varying devices and platforms. Course examples for the program include Virtual Reality, Game Programming, Computing and the Arts, Technology of Sound, and Advanced Game Development. Students in this 12 credit hour Certificate Program will gain real-world experience through collaboration with peers and the development of several working prototypes.

Graduates of the iSchool at University of Arizona have been hired at places such as Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, Amazon, Intel Corporation, IBM Systems & Technology Group, Texas Instruments (TI), and Raytheon Technologies.

University of Arizona was established in 1885. The school serves approximately 49,400 students enrolled in hundreds of programs leading to a Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, or Professional Degree. Programs at UArizona are housed across 20 colleges and additional specialized schools. University of Arizona has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1917 and is currently pursuing institutional accreditation with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

26. University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
University of Utah

One of the most popular Schools at University of Utah is Kahlert School of Computing (KSoC). Founded in 1965 as the Computer Science Department, the School houses research areas such as Human-Centered Computing/Virtual Reality, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, Visual Computing, High Performance Computing, and Programming Languages/Software Engineering.

Programs for students interested in AR/VR include BS and MS degrees in Computer Science. A Combined BS/MS is also available. This option allows students to complete the BS and MS in five years by taking undergraduate- and graduate-level courses in their senior year.

The BS has an Emphasis in Entertainment Arts & Engineering with multiple Focus areas including Human Centered Computing, AI/Analytics, Infrastructure, and Core Fundamentals. To complete a Focus, students must select two or more courses from any area. Course examples across areas include Virtual Reality, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Designing Human-Centered Experiences, Computer Graphics, and Mobile Application Programming.

Other course examples for the BS program include Programming Language Concepts, Interactive Machinima, Models of Computation, Traditional Game Development, Software Practice I-II, Digital Content Creation, Asset Pipeline, and Alternative Game Development.

Students in all programs have access to the Quantitative Experience Design (QED) Lab, XR Utah, and the XR Classroom.

The QED Lab is an interdisciplinary research group that explores virtual worlds, human-centered artificial intelligence (AI), experience design, and narrative & game discourse (interface) The Lab is affiliated with the School of Computing and the Entertainment Arts & Engineering Program.

XR Utah is an interdisciplinary research partnership led by the Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library (EHSEB) at The U. Artists, computer scientists, educators, and psychologists across more than 16 departments at the University of Utah engage in research that helps develop new ways to learn and discover through the use virtual reality technologies.

The state-of-the art XR Classroom helps support projects that utilize projects using AR/VR. Also led by the EHSEB, the classroom and labs provide spaces where individuals can develop customized experiences involving simulations, interactive displays, and education lessons.

Graduates of the Computer Science Programs at University of Utah work in fields such as AR/VR Technology, TV and Film, Aerospace, Game Design, Engineering, Animation, HCI, Education, Architecture, Medicine, AI, and Marketing.

Founded in 1850, University of Utah is the state’s public flagship institution. A top-tier research university, The U serves approximately 34,900 students enrolled in more than 200 programs across 17 colleges and schools. University of Utah is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

27. Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois
Northwestern University

Northwestern University (Northwestern) houses a number of programs for students interested in studying AR/VR. Students in all programs have access to several centers and labs to conduct research, complete projects, and network. Examples include The Garage—Northwestern’s AR/VR Media Lab—and the Center for Human-Computer Interaction + Design.

The Garage houses an 11,000 square foot space that supports projects, networking, and collaboration between students; programming and resources; and more than 250 mentors and experts. To date The Garage has helped produce more than 500 student-founded startups and projects.

The Center for Human-Computer Interaction + Design (HCI+D) consists of researchers, faculty experts, and students with interests in Human-Centered AI, Interactive Computing, Collaborative Computing, Inclusive Computing, and more. HCI+D members have created software and source code, published articles and books, and they hold a number of patents.

Other labs and groups include Swarm Robotics Lab, Artificial Intelligence Group, Prescience Lab, NuLogiCS Group, Interactive Audio Lab, IDEAS Lab, HABits Lab, Tangible Interaction Design and Learning (TIDAL) Lab, and Cognition, Creativity, and Communication Lab (C3 Lab).

Established in 1909, the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University houses the Computer Science Department. Within the Department are the BA, BS, MS, PhD, and Minor in Computer Science. The BA is available to students in the Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences (est. 1851). The Minor is available to both McCormick and Weinberg students.

Across undergraduate programs, course examples include Artificial Intelligence (AI) Programming, HCI, Machine Learning, Tangible Interaction Design and Learning, HCI, Computer Graphics, Computer Game Design and Development, Machine Perception of Music & Audio, Game Design Studio, Agile Software Development, Software Construction, Resource Virtualization, Designing & Constructing Models with Multi-Agent Language, and Advanced Digital Design.

MS students have the opportunity to customize the curriculum to support their goals. Options include courses and research in AR/VR for Virtual Analytics, Computer Graphics and Human Computer Interfaces for Spatial Applications, AI, Computer Entertainment, Distributed Interactive Systems, HCI, Theoretical Computer Science, and Visualization.

Computer Science PhD students at Northwestern may choose from five Tracks including Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Computer Engineering, Interfaces, Systems Networking, and Theory.

Within each Track, students have the opportunity to explore just about any area of interest. Examples include Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Programming Languages, Vision and Graphics, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and machine Learning, and Computer Engineering.

The HCI area is one of the most popular areas for students interested in AR/VR. HCI explores augmented reality, mobile interaction design, multi-touch interaction, ubiquitous computing, computer-mediated communication, cyberlearning and future learning technologies, interactive audio, mixed-initiative systems, and user-centered design, among others.

Graduates of the Computer Science Programs at Northwestern University are Software Developers, Computer Programmers, Engineers, and Entrepreneurs. They work for companies such as Google, Microsoft, Intel, IBM, and AT&T.

Northwestern University serves approximately 21,000 enrolled in hundreds of programs across 12 colleges and schools. Northwestern has campuses in Chicago and Evanston, IL., and Doha, Qatar, along with sites in San Francisco, New York, Washington, DC, and Miami. Established in 1851, Northwestern is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

28. The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
The Ohio State University

The College of Arts and Sciences at The Ohio State University (OSU) houses the Department of Design. Established in 1968, the Department has a Design MFA program that’s ideal for individuals interested in a career in AR/VR. This interdisciplinary program has a Digital Animation and Interactive Media (DAIM) Track. Students in this Track have the opportunity to take 12 studio elective credits in any area.

The 60 credit hour MFA Program also includes core design courses, open electives in the themes of studio/lab; history/theory/criticism; collaborative/interdisciplinary studio; writing development courses, and a thesis project. Areas covered include Real Time Graphics and Virtual Environments, Responsive and Interactive Media, Performance Animation, Game Art, and Installations.

Students in the program have access to courses such as Designing Immersive Virtual Environments, Virtual Modeling, Computer Vision for Human-Computer Interaction, Mobile Handset Systems and Networking, Programming Concepts and Applications for Artists and Designers, Integrated Tech Lab, Computer Game and Design, Survey of Artificial Intelligence I: Basic Techniques, Aspects of Art and Technology II, VCD Design Media, INT Technology, Devising Experiential Media, Motion Capture Production and Experimentation, Emerging Trends in Data Visualization, Experimental Scripting for Animation in Maya, Interactive Arts Media II: UI/UX, and Design DAIM Seminar.

Also housed in OSU’s College of Arts and Sciences is the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD) and the Emerging Tech Studio (ETS). The ACCAD conducts research that focuses on emerging arts technologies. The Center also houses specialized and flexible studios for interactive design, animation, mediated performance design, motion capture, and media production.

The ETS provides AR/VR experiences that simulate real-world, and otherworldly scenes. VR technology and more include Meta Quest 2, Meta Quest Pro, VIVE XR Elite, and VR apps from Steam, Steam, the Oculus Rift Store, and the Oculus Quest Store.

Graduates of the Design MFA Program at The Ohio State University are prepared to pursue positions in a range of industries. Examples include Augmented Reality Designer, Mixed Reality Designer, Virtual Reality Designer, Human-Computer Interaction Designer, Visualization Specialist,  Motion Graphics Designer, Game Designer, Experiential Designer, Multimedia Designer, and CG Specialist.

The Ohio State University was established in 1870 as Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College. The school serves close to 65,795 students across six regional campuses including Columbus (main), Lima, Mansfield, Marion, Newark, and OSU’s Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster. More than 200 majors, minors, and specializations are offered in 18 colleges and schools. The Ohio State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

29. University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
University of Florida

University of Florida (UF) is home to the College of the Arts. Within the College is the Digital Worlds Institute, which houses the Master’s in Digital Arts & Sciences (MiDAS). This one-year, accelerated program explores emerging technologies—specifically AR/VR—and individuals from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply. 

The MiDAS Program curriculum includes Technical Skills: Game Engines and Development (i.e. Unity 3D) and Software and Hardware Integration; Design and Interactivity: Visual Design Tools/Tech, 3D for AR/VR, UI-UX, Audio, Digital Compositing, and Digital Storytelling; and Professional Skills: Project Proposals, Production Pipelines, Project Management, and Critical Thinking and Analysis.

Other MiDAS Program features include opportunities to work on real-world projects in the industry; personal attention from faculty and content area experts; a collaborative environment; and professional portfolio development. UF MiDAS Students also have access to the UF Reality Lab at the Digital Worlds Institute.

The Lab explores and promotes research and educational endeavors in AR/VR. Examples of Lab courses include Production of Immersive Environments; Movement, Media, and Machines; Digital Storytelling; and Interdisciplinary Research Seminar. Past student projects include Metrolia VR Multiplayer Mech Duel; Space Mail; SpArc: Animate Using Your Hands in Virtual Reality; ScootVR; HoloTouch; and WonderLab.

Graduates of the MiDAS Program and others have been hired at Boeing, Walt Disney, GE Digital-Meridium, Cox Media Group, the U.S. Navy, Glaxo Smith Klein, the U.S. Department of Defense, Aramark, ESPN, 22squared, Reed Exhibitions, and Spirit Airlines.

University of Florida was founded in 1858 as Gainesville Academy. When it opened, the Academy has just a few students. Today, UF serves approximately 61,110 students making it one of the top 10 largest universities in the U.S. and one of the top five largest in Florida. More than 300 programs are available at UF, across 16 colleges and schools. University of Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

30. University of Illinois Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
University of Illinois Chicago

University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) houses the College of Engineering. Within the College is the Department of Computer Science (CS), which is the fastest growing program at UIC. Pathways for students interested in studying AR/VR include the BS in Computer Science and Design (the only such program at a public university), a CS MS, a CS BS/MS, and a CS Minor. A CS PhD is also available for AR/VR students who would also like to pursue research or teaching positions.

Across programs, areas explored include AR/VR Design, Computer Graphics, Creative Coding, Human-Centered Computing, Designing and Developing Digital Interfaces and Applications, and Media Design. Programs consist of a combination of studio courses, electives, and required technical courses that allow students to collaborate in teams on projects and research.

Course and elective examples for the BS and Minor include Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality; Software Design; Artificial Intelligence; Human Augmentics; Programming Language Design and Implementation; Computer Graphics; Digital Media Design; Object-Oriented Languages and Environment; Game Design; Integrative Design Studio I-III; and Visualization.

The CS MS consists of 36 credit hours. Students may also enroll in the BS/MS Program, which takes just five years to complete. The MS has coursework only, project (capstone), and thesis options (research or PhD preparation). Course examples include Virtual Reality; Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Reality; Advanced Machine Learning; Software Engineering; Video Game Design and Development; Applied Artificial Intelligence; Programming Language Design; Wearables and Nearables Technology Laboratory; Creative Coding; Deep Learning for computer Vision; Multimedia Systems; Human-Computer Interaction; and Design of Mobile Apps.

Students in all programs have access to UIC’s Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) and the Human-in-Mind Engineering Research Lab (HiMER).

Established in 1973, EVL is an interdisciplinary research laboratory in the Department of CS. EVL specializes in virtual reality, visual data science, collaborative visualization, and advanced computing and networking infrastructure. The Lab is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Argonne National Laboratory, The Joseph and Bessie Feinberg Foundation, the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, the State of Illinois, and UIC.

The HiMER Lab in the College of Engineering highlights recently funded research including AR/VR, Human Performance Modeling, Human-System Interaction, Data Analytics, and Transportation Safety. Recent AR/VR projects include HiMER Lab Augmented/Virtual Reality Wearable Screen Design; Projection-Based Mixed Reality Platform-Spatial Mixed Reality; Gaze-Based Multimodal Interactions in AR; and Human Perception and Cognition in AR.

Graduates of the Computer Science Programs at University of Illinois Chicago are prepared to pursue a variety of roles in technology, entertainment, architecture, health, education, aerospace, medicine, and more. Program alumni have been hired at places such as Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Apple, Cisco, Meta, Adobe, LG, Blue Cross Blue Shield, HP, Redbox, and Verizon.  

University of Illinois Chicago formed in 1982 when two University of Illinois campuses—the Medical Center campus and the Chicago Circle campus—consolidated. Today, with close to 34,000 students enrolled, UIC is the largest university in the Chicago area. The school provides 260 degree programs and more than 60 certificate programs across 14 colleges and the School of Law. University of Illinois  Chicago is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

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

The School of Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI or Rensselaer) is housed in the Jonsson-Rowland Science Center. Within the School is a Computer Science (CS) program with several paths to study AR/VR. Options include BS, MS, and PhD degrees in Computer Science (CS), a CS MS with Robotics, a CS Minor, and Dual Degrees including a CS BS/MS and Accelerated CS BS/PhD.

The CS Program features a studio-like environment, state-of-the-art technology such as graphics workstations and optical analysis equipment, courses that highlight real-life scenarios, and the opportunity to choose a concentration such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Games, Robotics, Vision, or Graphics.

The curriculum for the RPI CS program explores application, design, analysis, communication, and implementation of computational processes. Course examples across programs include Intelligent Virtual Agents, Learning and Advanced Game AI, Computer Graphics, Modeling & Simulation for Cyber-Physical Systems, Cognitive Computing, Cognitive Modeling, Interactive Visualization, Computer Vision for Visual Effects, Robot Dynamics and Control, and Parallel Programming.

Students in all CS Programs at RPI have access to the Rensselaer Augmented and Virtual Environment (RAVE) Lab. Established in 2019 and housed in the J. Erik Jonsson Engineering Center, the Lab supports experimentation with different types of AR/VR. Students and researchers in the Lab have access to state-of-the-art equipment and a flexible physical space.

Students and graduates of the Computer Science Programs at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have opportunities to work with Lockheed Martin, Amazon Robotics, and ExxonMobil, among others.

Established in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the nation’s first technological research university. Serving approximately 6,910 students, RPI offers more than 50 degree programs across five schools. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSACS). 

32. Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts
Northeastern University

Northeastern University (Northeastern) is an R1 Research University that houses 10 research institutes. Examples include the Experiential AI Institute, the Experiential Robotics Institute, and the Institute for the Wireless Internet of Things. Northeastern is also one of the top cooperative (co-op) education programs in the U.S. Established more than a century ago, the program recorded more than 9,000 placements with 2,900 employers around the world between 2019 and 2020 alone. The school also integrates global experiences into learning at all degree levels.

Students in all programs at Northeastern University have access to its institutes, co-op program, and global experiences.

The College of Arts, Media, and Design (CAMD) at Northeastern has two paths to study AR/VR including the combined major leading to a BS in Design and Mechanical Engineering (BSME), and the Immersive Media Minor. CAMD Programs are available at most Northeastern campuses.

The Immersive Media Minor is an interdisciplinary program for students who are interested in Augmented Virtuality, Extended Reality, Cross Reality, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), and Enhanced Realities. Course examples for the program include Virtual Environment Design, Immersive Media, Physical and Digital Fabrication, Programming, Animation for Games, Design Analysis and Innovation, and Game Studio.

The BSME Program is divided into seven areas: Engineering, Design, Supporting Courses, Writing, Integrative Courses, Professional Development, and General Electives. Course examples include Experience and Interaction, Interaction Design, Design Process Context and Systems, Mechanical Engineering Computation and Design, Fluid Mechanics, Movement and Time, Professional Issues in Engineering, and Physics for Engineering. BSME students have the option to add the Immersive Media Minor. The program culminates with the Senior Capstone in Design.

Students in both the BSME and Immersive Media Minor Program have access to three CAMD labs that support AR/VR learning, projects, and research.

The Immersive Media Labs Suite includes technologies for design, development, and exploration of AR/VR/XR, 360 video, and virtual worlds. Students have access to individual workstations and a collaboration and teaching area. Current work in the Lab includes design, development, and exploration of immersive data visualization, immersive games to study and build problem solving and collaboration skills, exploration and integration of digital drawing, painting, and sculpting tools, storytelling, media advocacy, and healthcare delivery.

In the Experiential Technologies Lab and User Testing Environment students develop software, and engage in interface development, game testing, and integration of biometrics tools including eye-tracking and wearable sensors. Lab resources include a one-way mirror, camera setups, and high-end computing.

MedVR is produced in partnership with Grassroots Developer Education, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit, and the College of Arts, Media, and Design. Clinicians, engineers, and creatives collaborate in the lab to talk and learn about the latest AR/VR developments in healthcare and life sciences, invent translational AR/VR solutions, and solve healthcare problems by creating new experiences with AR/VR.

Graduates of the CAMD Programs and others at Northeastern University have been hired by a wide variety of companies, studios, and organizations. Examples include NASA's Johnson Space Center, Walt Disney Imagineering, U.S. Air Force, Lockheed Martin, Amazon, Tesla, Textron, Apple, Walt Disney World, Microsoft, Google, Nokia, Oracle, Nickelodeon, AMC Networks, NBC, Abbott, ABC, United Technologies Aerospace Systems, ATYX Gaming, Alpha Defense, Peloton, Photo Diagnostic Systems, Inc., 20th Digital Studio (formerly Fox Digital Studio), and UBTCH Robotics.

Northeastern University began as the Evening Institute of the Boston Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in 1898. The school serves approximately 41,850 students enrolled in more than 500 programs across nine colleges and schools. Northeastern has campuses in Boston, Massachusetts; Charlotte, North Carolina; Seattle, Washington; Silicon Valley; San Francisco, California; Toronto, Ontario Canada; Vancouver, BC Canada; London, UK; Portland, Maine, and the Massachusetts communities of Nahant and Burlington. Northeastern University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

33. Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Harvard University

Virtual Reality (VR) and the related fields of Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR) has its roots at Harvard University. From 1965 to 1968, Ivan Sutherland, an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at Harvard, helped create the first virtual reality and augmented reality head-mounted display system known as The Sword of Damocles. Today, full-time, degree-seeking students at Harvard have access to Harvard Innovation (Hi) Labs, which houses a state-of-the-art AR/VR Studio.

The AR/VR Studio is a dedicated space designed for the exploration of immersive technologies. The Studio is equipped with workstations, a range of design and software platforms, multiple headset configurations, and filming resources. In the Studio, students can also experience the latest AR/VR equipment in an open session, learn about the technology with a dedicated team of experienced TAs, and understand how to apply the technology to a specific field.

Students in the AR/VR Studio can build MVPs and prototypes through workshops, and attend guest speaker symposiums. Available workshops include Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Storytelling in AR/VR.

Students who would like to earn a formal degree that includes AR/VR studies have several options. Harvard College—the undergraduate community within Harvard University—has a Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) with a Concentration in Computer Science. Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences has a Concurrent Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree (A.B. & S.M.) in Computer Science and a Computer Science PhD.

Course examples across programs include Computer Science (C, Python, and SQL plus HTML, CSS, and JavaScript), Design of Useful and Usable Interactive Systems, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Operating Systems, Research Topics in Human-Computer Interaction, Systems Programming and Machine Organization, Visualization, Engineering Usable Interactive Systems, Computer Graphics, Machine Learning, Advanced Computer Vision, and Computing at Scale.

Harvard University graduates have established successful careers in just about every field. They can be found in top positions at Walt Disney, Amazon, Sun Microsystems, Google, DreamWorks Animation, Intel Corporation, Pixar Animation Studios, Goldman Sachs, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, CTB/McGraw-Hill, Hyperion Solutions, Hasbro, Inc., Lonely Planet, and Meta.

Founded in 1636, Harvard University is the oldest institution of higher education in the U.S. The school serves approximately 25,265 students enrolled in hundreds of programs across 13 degree-granting Schools and the Harvard Radcliffe Institute. Harvard University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

34. University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado
University of Colorado Boulder

University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) is home to the Alliance for Technology, Learning and Society (ATLAS) Institute. Founded in 1998, ATLAS houses number of labs and centers designed to support student work on independent projects. Current labs and centers include ACME Lab, Living Matter Lab, Center for Media, Arts & Performance, THING Lab, Unstable Design Lab, Laboratory for Emergent Nanomaterials, BTU Lab, and Whaaat!? Lab.

Examples of past projects include Augmented Reality and Autonomous Systems (ARIAS), Haptic VR Wizard, Augmented Reality Informs Human-Robot Interaction, Biolage Reactor, Augmented Reality Remote Assistance (ARRA), AR Drum Circle, and Jam Station.

ATLAS also manages the Creative Technology and Design (CTD) Program, with core courses taught in the Roser ATLAS Center, and degrees granted through the College of Engineering and Applied Science. Pathways for students interested in AR/VR include the BS-CTD, CTD MS, and the CTD Minor.

The BS-CTD at CU Boulder requires 128-130 credit hours of study, the CTD MS requires 33 credit hours, and the Minor requires 21 credits, including electives.

BS-CTD students may choose a focus area through elective offerings. Focus area examples include Augmented and Virtual Reality, Interactive Computing, Game Design, Robotics, Physical Computing, User Interface and User Experience (UI/UX) and Sound Design. Other program features include creative projects, regular professional development opportunities, workshops and guest speakers, internships with industry partners, employment in the CTD research and student labs, and portfolio development. 

To complete the major, BS-CDT students will take a two-semester Capstone sequence, which includes the production of one major culminating project.

The CTD MS has a Creative Industries Track. The project-based curriculum for this program allows students to build their own focus area. Some popular options include Virtual and Augmented Reality, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Interactive Product Design and Development, Game Design and Development, Arts and Media Production, UI/UX, and Learning and Education.

Classes, visiting speakers, studios, and workshops provide the opportunity to work directly with industry professionals on real-world issues. Workshops are free and may include topics such as Programming in Python and R, Motion Graphics, Adobe Creative Suite, UI/UX, Figma, and Project Management.

Graduates of the CDT Programs at University of Colorado Boulder work in areas such as Art and Entertainment, Technology, Education, Healthcare, and Sciences. MS graduates also work in research in all industries and in many departments and agencies of the U.S. government. CU Boulder graduates have been hired by companies and studios such as Lockheed Martin, Google, Hitachi, Starz Entertainment, IBM, Walt Disney, Ball Aerospace, CBS Studio Center, Panavision, and Medtronic.

Founded in 1876, University of Colorado Boulder is the flagship university of the four-campus University of Colorado System. The school serves 36,000 students, making it the largest in the CU System. More than 90 degree programs and 3,600+ courses are provided across eight colleges and schools, Continuing Education and Professional Studies, and several Centers. University of Colorado Boulder is one of just 35 public research institutions in the U.S. in the Association of American Universities (AAU) and the school has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 1913.

35. Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
Duke University

Duke University (Duke) houses the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, home to the Department of Computational Media, Arts & Cultures and the Department of Computer Science. Within the Departments are several degree pathways, studios, and labs for students looking to learn about, develop, and experience AR/VR.

Duke University’s most popular undergraduate program is Computer Science. This is also the most popular paths for students interested in studying AR/VR. Leading to a BA, BS, MS, or PhD, the Program provides access to all of the schools labs and studios. Students may also enroll in an Interdepartmental Major (IDMs), which combines two academic disciplines in Trinity College, with seven courses from each to create a major.

Labs include the Institute for Virtual and Augmented Reality for the Digital Humanities (VARDHI), which focuses on the application of VR and AR to humanities research, outreach, and teaching; Duke Immersive Virtual Environment (DiVE) in the Pratt School of Engineering—a large-scale virtual reality facility established in 2005; the Innovation Co-Lab, which explores VR technology; TEC VR at the Technology Engagement Center/Co-Lab, where students can experience VR; and Bolt VR—a space equipped with a state-of-the-art, custom gaming PC, 4K display for remote, and the Vive immersive VR system.

Studios include the Multimedia Project Studio (MPS) at Duke, which offers resources for students and developers to begin their VR projects. In addition, the Dig@Lab within the Department of Computational Media, Arts & Cultures conducts AR/VR research and develops apps, virtual environments, and VR applications.

Graduates of the Computer Science Programs at Duke University are prepared to pursue careers in all areas of Computer Science, AR/VR, Aerospace, Entertainment, Defense, and Education, among others.

Although Duke University was established in 1924, the School of Law and Trinity College of Arts & Sciences here were established in 1904 and 1859, respectively. Duke’s other eight colleges and schools were established between 1926 and 2009. Today, the school serves 17,155 students enrolled in more than 200 programs. Duke University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

36. DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois
DePaul University

DePaul University is home to the Eugene P. Jarvis College of Computing and Digital Media (CDM) and the College of Communication. Across colleges, several Labs support AR/VR collaboration, learning, research, development, and projects on all emerging platforms.

Launched in 2022, Jarvis Student Center for Innovation and Collaboration​ houses a creative extended reality (XR) studio space for students to conceive and collaborate on projects for VR, AR and mixed reality (MR).

Also part of Jarvis CDM, the Virtual and Augmented Design (VAD) Lab is located on the concourse level of the DePaul Center. Equipment here includes AR headsets/visors, VR headsets with hand and foot trackers, iPhones for augmented reality development, Oculus Rifts, iPhones for augmented reality development, Microsoft HoloLenses, HTC Vives, and Macs and PCs.

The College of Communication houses the Virtual and Augmented Reality Communication Lab (VARC). The goal of the VARC is to advance ethical communication in AR and VR. Equipped with the latest AR/VR equipment, the Lab allows students and faculty to experience AR/VR technology and explore how these tools impact society. The VARC Lab also provides classes and workshops, and supports courses at DePaul that utilize AR/VR in the classroom.

DePaul students also have the opportunity to join the DePaul Virtual Reality Society. Benefits include events and activities, exclusive AR/VR resources, and networking opportunities with students and professionals. All members will learn about the skills required to create virtual reality content.

In addition to the Labs and Clubs at DePaul University, students who would like to pursue careers in AR/VR have access to several related degree programs. Options in the School of Computing within the Jarvis College of CDM include a BS in Computer Science (CS), and MS degrees in Computer Science and Software Engineering. The BS has two concentrations: Software Development and Game Systems.

The CS MS requires 28 credit hours from electives from areas such as Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Game and Real-Time Systems, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Software Engineering, and Software and Systems Development. Software Engineering students may concentrate in Real Time Game Systems, Software Architecture, Software Development, or Entrepreneurship & Technology Leadership.

Across programs and concentrations, course examples include Optimized C++, Visualization, Computer Graphics Development, Prototyping and Implementation, Programming Machine Learning Applications, Systems I-II, Object-Oriented Software Development, 3D Design and Modeling, Tool Programming for Game Development, Real-Time Graphics Techniques, Concepts of Programming Languages, Rendering and Graphics Programming, Cyber-Physical System Engineering I-III, and Game Engine Programming I-II.

Graduates of the Computer Science and Software Engineering Programs at DePaul University have been hired at a variety of major companies, studios, and organizations such as Amazon, Microsoft, Lockheed Martin, Abbott Laboratories, Disney Interactive, Twitter, Allstate, Federal Reserve bank, Meta, Vivid Seats, CME Group, State Farm, Argonne National Laboratory, JP Morgan Chase, and GitHub.

With around 23,800 students, more than 300 programs, two campuses, and 10 academic colleges and schools, DePaul University is the largest Catholic university in the United States. Founded in 1898, DePaul is also America’s 13th-largest private, not-for-profit university, and the largest private, not-for-profit college in the Midwest. DePaul University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

37. Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Full Sail University

Full Sail University (Full Sail) joined the Orlando/Central Florida Chapter of the VR/AR Association (VRARA) in November 2021 to help advance the VR/AR community through education. The school also provides a variety of degree programs that focus on Emerging Technologies including Simulation & Visualization, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Computer Science, Game Development, IT, Mobile Development, and Cybersecurity.

Recommended degree options for students interested in AR/VR at Full Sail include the Simulation and Visualization BS and the Computer Science BS with a Concentration in Artificial Intelligence (AI). Course examples for the Simulation and Visualization Program include Virtual and Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Programming I & II, Simulation and Visualization Software, Simulation Production, Computer Graphics, and Technology in the Entertainment and Media Industries.

Students in the Computer Science BS/AI will take courses such as Computer Vision, Data Visualization and Modeling, Human-AI Interaction, Machine Intelligence Systems, Software Integration, Natural Language Processing, and Artificial Intelligence Architecture.

Simulation and Visualization students will complete a project and build a portfolio through the Project and Portfolio I-VII: Simulation and Visualization courses. Students in the Computer Science BS will complete the same through Project and Portfolio I-VII: Computer Science.

Students in all programs will work on projects and portfolios in Full Sail’s AR/VR Lab and FabLab.

The AR/VR Lab houses state-of-the-art equipment such as headsets from Oculus, Magic Leap, Microsoft, and HTC, a green screen, and other tools/equipment to develop AR/VR projects.

Launched in 2016, FabLab is set up like a workshop. The space includes 3D printers, laser scanners, injection molding machines, and more. Students in the lab can work on projects, collaborate, and network.

While graduates of the Emerging Technology Programs at Full Sail University are prepared to pursue positions in all industries, many graduates have been hired by major studios and productions around the world. Examples include Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Cirque du Soleil, Nickelodeon, Blizzard Entertainment, DreamWorks Animation, Rockstar Games, Pixar, Universal Studios, MTV, Disney, Bunim Murray Productions, Miramax, HBO Studios, and NFL Films.

Full Sail University offers graduate certificates and programs at all degree levels in the Arts, Entertainment, Media, and Technology. The school, which opened in 1979 in Dayton, Ohio, is located just 35 minutes from downtown Orlando and Universal Studios. Serving approximately 21,000 students, Full Sail is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).

38. North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina
North Carolina State University

North Carolina State University (NC State) is home to the College of Design, which recently celebrated its 75th year in existence. Within the College are several labs including Experience Design (IX) and Mixed Reality (MxR). The IX Lab is a cross-disciplinary community of artists, designers, humanists, scientists, and engineers that focus on expanding worlds through AR/VR and other new and emerging technologies.

The MxR Lab consists of designers, engineers, and individuals interested in experimentation. The Lab focuses on AR/VR and MR technologies. Projects have included Axe One, Morphaces, and Pop’n’Play.

The College of Engineering at NC State is home to the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, which houses an additional lab—the Virtual and Augmented Reality Lab (VR).

In the VR Lab researchers study the interaction between humans and AR/VR. Projects have included User Performance Training and Patient Motor Learning. Current projects include Scale Cognition through Advanced Learning Environments in Virtual Reality (SCALE-VR); Virtual Instructor Application using Augmented Reality for Worker Posture Training; and Investigation of Virtual Reality Guided Upper Limb Exercises.

Accessible equipment includes four-sided (C4) Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE) with full-body tracking capability, several head-mounted displays (HMDs), and a head-up display (HUD). In addition, a variety of peripheral devices that support movement tracking are available.

The College of Design at North Carolina State University has several programs for students interested in studying AR/VR. Options include BA and MA degrees in Art + Design (A + D) and a 16 credit hour A + D Minor with a customizable curriculum. All programs provide access to the schools AR/VR labs.

The interdisciplinary, studio-based  A + D BA program provides the opportunity to learn about and develop creative portfolios in areas such as AR/VR, Interactive and Computational Media, Motion Graphics, Visual Effects (VFX), Graphic and Interactive Narratives, Game Design, 3D Modeling, and others. In addition, three Concentrations are available: Gaming + Interaction Design, Animation (2D + 3D), and Fibers + Soft Construction.

Students may also create a focus through required free electives totaling 12 credit hours. Elective examples include Advanced Digital Techniques, Digital Representation, and Art + Design Laboratory.  Course examples for the program include Visualization, Art + Design Laboratory, Creative Technology, Digital Imaging, Advanced Digital Techniques, Digital Motion, and Animation.  Studios include Creative technology, Art and Design International, and Design, Context, and Experience.

The A + D MA (M.A.D) focuses on Experimental Media Arts. Depending on the student’s academic background and experience, they may enroll in the 30-, 48- or 72-credit Track. Course examples include Sequential Imaging, Visualizing Narratives, Graduate Studio: Immersive and Experimental narratives, Digital Motion, Special Effects, Animation, Dynamic Data, Digital Modeling, and Coding for Designers. Final projects for the M.A.D. Program may explore AR/VR, VFX, Interactive and Computational Media, Graphic and Interactive Narratives, Visual Composition, and Motion Graphics, among others.  

Graduates of the A + D programs at North Carolina State University work in fields such as Software Design, Multimedia, Illustration, Textile Design, Fashion Design, Art and Design Education, Photography, Filmmaking, SFX and VFX, Set Design, Exhibition Design, Museum Education, and Public Art. Some graduates have launched their own businesses and studios.

North Carolina State University employs 9,000+ faculty and staff that serve more than 36,000 students, making it the largest university in the University of North Carolina System. Established in 1887 as a land-grant institution focusing in agriculture and engineering, NC State offers more than 300 degree programs across 11 colleges, 68 departments, and The Graduate School. North Carolina State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

39. Ohio University, Athens, Ohio
Ohio University

Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University houses the J. Warren McClure School of Emerging Communication Technologies (ECT), home to the Information and Telecommunication Systems BS (ITS ECT BS). Within the program is an AR/VR Track. In partnership with the School of Media Arts & Studies, McClure also has a VR and Game Development Emphasis within the Games and Animation Major.

The AR/VR Track focuses on emerging communication technologies production, including AR/VR, and information networking and telecommunication systems. Students in the program will learn about the application, management, design, management, and regulation or information network technology; the use, production, and  implementation of AR/VR; and how businesses acquire and sell AR/VR products and services.

The VR and Game Development program begins with an Animation or Game Design pathway, with opportunities to enhance either area. This includes taking courses in AR/VR offered in the McClure School. The VR and Game Development Emphasis leads to a BS in Media Arts and Studies: Games and Animation.

Students in both programs at Ohio University have access to Game Research and Immersive Design (GRID) Lab. Established in 2005, the GRID Lab is an initiative of Scripps College. Developed by the School of Media Arts and Studies, the Lab focuses on the research and development of virtual reality, serious and educational games, simulations, and computer animation.

The McClure School at Ohio University has the highest job placement rate in the Scripps College of Communication. Graduates of the ITS ECT Program (AR/VR Track), have been recruited by major studios and companies such as Microsoft, Sony, Unity, Warner Brothers, Disney, and Bethesda. ITS graduates are also employed in branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, with consulting companies such as Deloitte, Accenture, Capgemini, Booz Allen Hamilton, and PwC, and with state and federal government offices.

Graduates of the Game and Animation Program with a VR and Game Development Emphasis have been hired at places such as Blizzard, Sony PlayStation, Google, Riot Games, Disney/Disney Imagineering, Electronic Arts (EA), and Unity.

Established in 1804, Ohio University is the state’s first public university. The school opened with one building, three students, and one professor. Today Ohio University’s 1,700+ faculty members serve more than 28,000 students across six campuses, and OHIO Online. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), Ohio University offers more than 250 academic programs housed in 11 colleges, 16 schools, and dozens of departments.

40. The New School – Parsons School of Design, New York, New York
The New School – Parsons School of Design

Parsons School of Design is part of The New School. Within Parsons are three paths to study AR/VR including BFA and MFA degrees in Design and Technology, and a Minor in Immersive Storytelling. Students at The New School also have the opportunity to complete e five-year dual degree (BA/BFA) where they will earn a BA from the Eugene Lange College of Liberal Arts and a BFA from Parsons.

The Parsons Immersive Storytelling Minor is open to all undergraduate students at Parsons. Students in this program have the opportunity to explore experiential and immersive storytelling in AR/VR, mixed reality (MR), interactive theater, data visualization, and 360 spherical film. Students in the program are exposed to design strategies and production pipelines such as systems and new technologies of interaction, digital asset creation and implementation, and narrative design.

All New School BFA students will complete the first-year experience, which covers the tools, critical thinking, and skills needed to complete the program. The experience highlights integrated seminars and studios. After completing the first year, students will advance into their programs, which feature internships, study abroad, and industry engagement.

The Design and Technology BFA Program explores interaction technologies, emerging art and design practices, and media storytelling. Program features include projects with (and visits to) companies such as Apple, Atari, MTV, Nickelodeon, Siemens, UNESCO, Rockwell Interaction Lab, and Eyebeam Art & Technology Center; the opportunity to select a focused pathway in Creative Technology or Game Design; and internship opportunities with major companies and studios.

The Design and Technology MFA at Parsons School of Design explores the interactive, visual, and narrative aspects of design technology. The program focuses on software programming and computation. Typical MFA projects involve interaction design, game design, new media art, digital fabrication, web and mobile apps, critical design, and data visualization.

Students in all Parsons programs have access to The New School XReality Center—home to the XR Reality Lab and XR-related events. The Lab supports research, student projects, and immersive learning, and it hosts a variety of workshops and meetups.

Graduates of the Design and Technology Programs at The New School - Parsons School of Design are prepared for careers in areas such as AR/VR, Virtual Reality and Immersion Experience Design, Interaction Design, Game Design, Computer Software and Hardware Design, Motion Graphics, Mobile and Application Design, Web/UI/UX Design, 2D and 3D Animation, Film and Television, and Digital Filmmaking.

The New School was founded in 1919. Serving approximately 10,815 students, the school provides more than 120 degree and diploma programs across six colleges and schools, including Parsons Paris. The New School is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

41. Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Columbia College Chicago

Columbia College Chicago (Columbia) is home to the Interactive Arts and Media (IAM) Department. An Unreal Academic Partner, the IAM has an Immersive Media (IM) BA program that allows students to develop skills in multiple areas through a required minor. Examples include Programming, Motion Graphics, Game Design, User Experience, and Web Development.

For students seeking a shorter program, Columbia has an 18 credit hour IM Minor. Course examples include Immersive Environments I-II, Sound for Interaction, and Wearable Interfaces. The IM Minor is open to students in other degree programs such as the Game Design BA,  the BA/BS in Programming, and the User Experience and Interaction Design BA/MA.

The Immersive Media BA at Columbia College Chicago explores the path from prototyping to deployment. Students in the 48 credit hour major will develop the skills needed to produce augmented, mixed, and virtual reality experiences for games, entertainment, healthcare, engineering, and the sciences. Course examples include Immersive Environments I-IV, Programming I-II, Experience Design, Algorithms, Story Development for Interactive Media, Interface Design, AI Programming, Studio Collaboration, and Advanced Game Scripting and Environments.

Other IM program features include a collaborative environment, portfolio development, and the opportunity to participate in or present at events such as the Augmented World Expo (AWE), the VRAR Association of Chicago (career fairs and events), the Game Developers Conference (GDC), the Chicago Toy and Game Fair (required), and Industry Night and Manifest.

Nearly 90% of Columbia College graduates report being employed within a year of earning their degrees. Immersive Media graduates are Augmented Reality Designers and Developers, Immersive Media Artists, Simulation Designers and Developers, Virtual Reality Designers and Developers, User Experience Designers for Immersive Media, Immersive Storytellers, and Immersive Information Visualization Specialists.

Columbia College graduates have been hired at a variety of major studios, companies, and publications. Examples include Microsoft, CNN, Riot Games, NY Times, Google, Meta, TIME Studios, Adobe, and Snapchat. Columbia alumni have also been hired at places such as Midwest Immersive, Within, 8i Virtual Reality Studio (8i), Moxie, Edelman, and Steam.

Columbia College Chicago was established in 1890 as the Columbia School of Oratory. The school serves nearly 6,700 students enrolled in more than 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. In addition to programs in creative areas such as communication and writing, media and digital, and music and sound, Columbia offers business management programs. Columbia College Chicago is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

42. Ringling College of Art + Design, Sarasota, Florida
Ringling College of Art + Design

In 2018, Ringling College of Art + Design launched the world’s first degree program dedicated solely to Virtual Reality Development. Housed in the Virtual Reality Department and leading to a BFA, the Program helps students develop skills in designing, creating, and analyzing immersive experiences. The program also explores communication, collaboration, and professional practices.

Course examples for this 120 credit hour program Introduction to Virtual Reality, Concept Development for Virtual Worlds, Immersive Media Design I-IV, Programming for Immersive Media, Iterative Design, Visual Scripting, 3D Technical Art, 2D Design, Visual Development: UI/UX, and History of Immersive Media. Open electives allow students to develop skills in other areas. These courses may be selected within the Virtual Reality Development Department or other departments at Ringling.

In the final year of the Virtual Reality Development BFA, students will complete VR Thesis Production, VR Capstone I, and VR Capstone II worth 12 credits. Students will leave the program with a portfolio, body of work, and job application packet.

Graduates of the Virtual Reality Development Program at Ringling are prepared for careers in all industries that require AR/VR skills. Examples include entertainment, education, aerospace, engineering, architecture, healthcare, advertising, game design, eCommerce, law enforcement training, defense, aviation, corporate training, and disaster management.

Companies that have hired graduates of the Virtual Reality Development Program at Ringling include Google VR, Insomniac Games, Disney VR, Framestore, Oculus VR, Flight School, Epic Games, Rewind Studios, Magic Leap, D3 Creative Studios, Ready at Dawn, BAOBAB Studios, Sharecare, Kite & Lightning, and Hoyt Architects.

Ringling College of Art and Design is a private, not-for-profit college that serves more than 1,600 students enrolled in eleven majors leading to a BFA degree, two majors leading to a BA, and minor options in 10 areas. Founded more than 130 years ago by circus magnate John Ringling, RCAD is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

43. California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California
California Institute of Technology

California Institute of Technology (Caltech) owns and operates large-scale research facilities and labs such as the Seismological Laboratory, along with a global network of astronomical observatories, including the W. M. Keck and Palomar Observatories. The school manages the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for NASA as well.

One of the most technologically advanced universities in the U.S., Caltech also provides several programs for students who would like to pursue a career in AR/VR. Housed in the Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences’ Computing and Mathematical Sciences Department, options include the BS, MS, and Minor in Computer Science (CS).

Course examples across programs include Advanced Digital Systems Design, Computer Graphics (including Animation, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), and Modeling), Computer Language Shop, Digital Logic and Embedded Systems, GPU Programming, Machine Learning, Making Data Visual (including Virtual/Technological Media), Nonlinear Control, and Operating Systems.

Students in all CS programs have access to Caltech’s Virtual Reality Lab, which provides opportunities to create projects, conduct research, and collaborate with peers. The Lab also houses Virtech—an experimental platform for online education. Part of the Center for Data-Driven Discovery at Caltech, Virtech allows students to collaborate, network, and create their own 3D content. Caltech faculty utilize the Lab for experiments with other online technologies and learning modalities, online lectures, group meetings, discussions, and seminars.

Graduates of the Computer Science Programs at California Institute of Technology work in areas such as Technology, Aerospace, Science, Medicine, Government, Entertainment and Business. Caltech alumni have been hired at places such as Meta, SpaceX, and the National Science Foundation.

Founded as Throop University in 1891, California Institute of Technology employs 300 faculty and staff that serve approximately 2,400 students. The school, which sits on a 124-acre campus in Pasadena, California, is divided into six academic divisions including Biology and Biological Engineering; Chemistry and Chemical Engineering; Engineering and Applied Science; Geological and Planetary Sciences; Humanities and Social Sciences; and Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy. California Institute of Technology is accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

44. University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California
University of California, Santa Cruz

University of California, Santa Cruz (UC Santa Cruz or UCSC) has a number of paths to study AR/VR. The Baskin School of Engineering at UCSC houses the Computational Media Department (CM), which has BS and MS Programs in Computer Science (CS), as well as Computational Media MS and PhD programs. Students in all pathways may focus in AR/VR by selecting courses such as Introduction to Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, Programming Abstractions: Python, Advanced Computer Graphics and Animation Laboratory, Artificial Intelligence (AI), User Experience for Interactive Media, Applied Machine Learning, Game AI, Software Engineering, Computational Media Methods, Computer Systems, C Programming, and Data Programming for Visualization.

Across all programs, students will complete a variety of projects, both assigned and in their area of choice. Graduate students will complete a thesis OR additional project with written report.

All Baskin students have the opportunity to work and learn in the VizLab. Dedicated to AR/VR, VizLab provides access to high-end VR equipment that can be used to develop virtual or augmented reality content and interact with imagined worlds. Students can check out equipment such as a VIVE headset, Gear VR, Google Cardboard, 360 cameras, GoPros, DSLR cameras, video cameras, and other media capture devices. The VizLab also hosts class sessions, workshops, and project development meetings.

Another space—the Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE) Lab—provides the opportunity to create 3D virtual environments that allow multiple users to interact at the same time. The facility houses a room-sized, advanced visualization system (also called the CAVE), which combines high-resolution, stereoscopic projection and 3D computer graphics to create and fully immerse in virtual environments.

The CAVE Lab is also outfitted with Mechdyne CAVE and FLEX technology and adjustable walls that allow environments to be modified for different applications. The Unity development platform is used to create 3D interactive environments.

For students in other programs across UC Santa Cruz or professionals looking to develop skills in AR/VR skills may enroll in a Certificate Program through UCSC Silicon Valley Extension. Options include Software Engineering and Quality, User Experience and Web Design, and Mobile Application Development. Across options, students have access to courses such as Designing User Experience for AR, Smart Things, Virtual Reality, and Wearable Technology; Mobile Interface Design; and Data Structures and Algorithms Using Python.

Other features include hands-on projects, guest speakers, and topics such as Software Engineering, Augmented Reality - UX Design, Virtual Reality - UX/UI Design (Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR), Artificial intelligence (AI), Designing Glasses for AR, Visual Design, Design Implementation, and Interface Design. Certificate students will have a professional portfolio upon completion of their respective programs.

Graduates of the Computer Science Programs and Certificate Programs at University of California, Santa Cruz are prepared for positions such as AR/VR Developer, XR Gameplay and Tools Engineer, Software Developer, AR/VR Maintenance and Support, Senior Software Engineer, AR/VR Capture Systems Engineer, Design/Graphics Engineer, and AR/VR Researcher.

Established in 1965, University of California, Santa Cruz opened with 652 students. Today, the school serves approximately 18,980 students enrolled in more than 130 programs in the Arts, Engineering, Humanities, Physical and Biological Sciences, and Social Sciences. Programs at UC Santa Cruz are housed across 10 colleges and the Graduate Division. University of California, Santa Cruz is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

45. University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York
University at Buffalo

University at Buffalo (UB) is home to the College of Arts and Sciences, which houses the Department of Media Study (DMS) and the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Both Departments provide several paths to study AR/VR.

DMS options explore games, AR/VR, robotics, experimental film, interactive, fiction, and other areas. Research areas for DMS faculty include Games and Virtual Reality, Emerging Media, Music and Sound, and Film and Video, among others. Games and Virtual Reality researchers study and build virtual worlds, mixed reality experiences, responsive installations, intermedia performances, and games.

Undergraduate DMS programs for students interested in AR/VR include the Media Study BA with a Concentration in Production, and the Game Studies Certificate. Graduate options include the MFA in Media Arts Production MFA (interactive media, computational media, physical computing); the Media Arts and Architecture Program (MAAP) with a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) + Master of Science in Architecture (MS) Track for students with a prior degree in the arts, design, humanities, computer science and engineering or related fields; and the Media Study PhD (including interactive media, physical computing, production, and digital  media).

Most coursework across programs have AR/VR and related components. Examples include Virtual Worlds I-II, Emerging Technologies, Media Robotics, Programming Graphics I-II, Game Design, Interactive Fiction, Computational Media, Sound and Space, Physical Computing, Programming for Digital Art, Green Media, Electronic Literature, Sound Design, Video Workshop, Game Design, Machines, Codes, and Cultures, Game and Animation Workshop, Time-Based Concepts, Performative Action, and Designed Play.

Other DMS features include small class sizes (15-18 students), team projects, internship opportunities, and an active study abroad program.

The Department of Computer Science and Engineering at UB is part of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Program options for students who would like to study AR/VR include the Computer Science BA, Computer Science BS/MBA, Computer Science BS/Computer Science and Engineering MS, the Computer Engineering MS, and the Mechanical Engineering BS. All programs provide access to the UB Virtual Reality Lab, housed in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences’ Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

Course examples across programs include Applied Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Interface Design, Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (AI), Programming in Python, Machine Learning and Society, Coding Theory, Software Engineering, Computer Vision and Image Processing, Robotic Algorithms, Digital Image Processing, Computer Programming I-II, Systems Programming, Digital Systems, and The Learning Environment.

Graduates of the Computer Science and DMA Programs are prepared to pursue careers in all industries that utilize AR/VR. University at Buffalo graduates are routinely recruited by some of world’s top companies. Examples include Lockheed Martin, IBM, Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., Eli Lilly, Google, Fisher-Price, Amazon, and Carleton Technologies.

Founded in 1846, University at Buffalo is the flagship institution of the State University of New York (SUNY) System. The school serves approximately 32,100 students, making it the largest campus in the 64-campus SUNY System. With more than 1,000 study abroad opportunities across seven continents, UB also has one of the largest overseas education programs in the U.S. University at Buffalo provides more than 500 programs across 13 colleges and schools. UB is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), and it is a member of the Association of American Universities.

46. University of Rochester, Rochester, New York
University of Rochester

University of Rochester (U of R or UR) provides the unique opportunity for students to build their own major. Students may also select a traditional program. For students that choose the build-your-own path, there are no general education requirements and no traditional core curriculum. The only required skill is written communication. Build-your-own students may choose from dozens of writing courses on variety of topics such as Comics and Culture, America’s National Parks, and Philosophy in Science Fiction.

Build-your-own majors at University of Rochester fall in one of three broad areas: Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences & Engineering. Undergraduate students can build an AR/VR Program by selecting courses from one or all areas or they can enroll in the BA or BS in Computer Science (CS). Graduate students may enroll in the multi-disciplinary AR/VR PhD Program.

The CS Programs have three Tracks: Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Machine Vision, and Natural Language Understanding. Course examples across Tracks include AR/VR Interaction Design, Video Game Development, Programming Language Design and Implementation, HCI, Recreational Graphics, Design and Analytics of Efficient Algorithms, Machine Learning, Logical Foundations of AI, Mobile Vision Computing, and Machine Vision.

Students in the AR/VR PhD Program at University of Rochester typically have a background in Computer Science, Optics, Biomedical Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering, or Brain and Cognitive Sciences. Housed in the School of Arts & Sciences’ Georgen Institute for Data Science, the program focuses on AR/VR interfaces and applications, AR/VR platforms and computation, perceptual-cognitive aspects of AR/VR design, and machine intelligence for AR/VR systems.

Graduates of the Computer Science and AR/VR Programs at University of Rochester are prepared to pursue positions  in a variety of industries. Sample job titles include VR Developer, User Experience Designer, AR Developer, Mobile Developer, Solution Architect, AI Developer, Firmware Engineer, Quality Assurance manager, HCI Developer, and Research Software Engineer. 

Founded in 1850, University of Rochester is a private research university that serves approximately 12,200 students. More than 150 programs are provided across two schools—the School of Arts & Sciences and Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences. University of Rochester is an accredited institution by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

47. University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
University of Chicago

The College of Arts and Sciences at University of Chicago (UChicago) is home to the Department of Computer Science, which has several paths to study AR/VR. Options include BS and MS Degrees in Computer Science (CS); a CS Minor; and three BA/MS and BS/MS degree options (Bx/MS), including a research-oriented option for CS majors, a professionally oriented option for CS majors, and a professionally oriented option for non-CS majors.

Students in the Department of Computer Science may specialize in areas such as Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Machine Learning, Programming Languages, and Computer Architecture. Students also have the opportunity to focus in an additional field by following an approved course of study in a related area. This provides opportunities to develop additional skills in AR/VR.

Across programs, students will have access to courses such as Emergent Interface Technologies; Planning, Learning, and Estimation for Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI); Scientific Visualization; Programming Languages and Systems; Natural Language Processing; Robotics; Engineering Interactive Electronics onto Printed Circuit Boards; Mobile Computing; Computer Vision; and Software Development.

Other program features include internship and study abroad opportunities at the UChicago Center in Beijing and access to the Weston Game Lab (WGL).

Housed in the Media Arts, Data, and Design Center (MADD Center), the Weston Game Lab launched in in 2019. MADD Center groups focus on virtual reality, GIS, digital fabrication, data visualization, and other new, evolving, and emerging technologies. Through the Lab, faculty, students and staff collaborate on the research and development of games of all kinds. Examples include alternate reality, digital, board, and card.

Lab participants also participate in workshops and collaborate on game-based experiments and development projects in the 3,800-square-foot space, which houses classrooms, studios, and open work areas.

University of Chicago graduates are recruited for a range of positions at more than 400 organizations annually. Over the past three years, UChicago graduates have been hired in over 40 countries across six continents. University of Chicago alumni can be found at leading organizations in a variety of industries, they are enrolled in some of the top graduate programs, and many alumni start their own studios, businesses, and organizations.

Examples of companies that have hired University of Chicago graduates include Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft, AbbVie, Epic Systems, Alibaba, Etsy, IBM, Oracle, and Accenture Analytics.

Established in 1890 by oil magnate John D. Rockefeller, University of Chicago is a private research university that houses hundreds of programs and initiatives. With partnerships in over 48 nations and on every continent, UChicago serves 17,470 students enrolled in more than 150 degree and academic programs across the 13 colleges, graduate divisions, and schools. University of Chicago has been continuously accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1913.

48. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) is home to the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts. Within the Hixson-Lied College is the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts, which has one pathway to study AR/VR. The program—Emerging Media Arts BFA (BFA-EMA)—requires two emphasis areas totaling 24 credit hours; an interdisciplinary concentration; and 27 credit hours of electives. This provides a number of opportunities to study AR/VR.

Popular emphasis options for AR/VR students include Immersive and Interactive Media (games, VR, AR, XR, interactive and immersive environments); Experience Design (designing projects and experiences that synthesize the virtual and the real); Virtual Production (animation, motion graphics, 3D modeling); Sensory Media (physical computing, wearable technologies, human computer interaction-HCI, hardware and software); and Data + Art (generating art with artificial intelligence (AI), data, and the Internet of Things-IoT).

In addition to completing courses such as Creating Augmented Worlds, Principles of Interactivity, Creating Virtual Worlds, Experience Design, and Game Engines for Real-Time Performances, BFA-EMA students will also spend two semesters each in a total of five studio and lab courses including Innovation Studio, Sound Lab, Computation and Media Studio, Visual Expression Studio, and Story Lab. Other program features include the Entrepreneurship course and a yearlong Capstone Project.

Housed in the College of Business, the Entrepreneurship course introduces students to the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and business creation. The Capstone Project allows students to work in teams to from concept and development to prototype and finished product. Completed projects will be ready for distribution.

Graduates of the Emerging Media Arts BFA Program at University of Nebraska-Lincoln have been hired for positions in areas such as Wearables and Physical Computing, AI, Robotics, Sound Design, Game Design, Visual Effects (VFX), Film Production Design, and Animation. Potential job titles include AR/VR Designer, Theme Park Experience Designer, Game Designer, Creative Technologist, AR/VR Developer, Interactive Designer, Innovation Designer, App and Designer, Mobile Media Designer, Technology Interactives Researcher and Developer, UX Design Lead, and Video Game Director.

Founded in 1869 and serving 23,805 students, University of Nebraska – Lincoln is the state's oldest university and the largest institution in the University of Nebraska System. UNL provides more than 70 doctoral programs and over 150 majors, 70+ master's degree programs, and more than 30 graduate certificates. Programs at UNL are housed across nine colleges. University of Nebraska-Lincoln is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

49. University of Colorado Denver, Denver, Colorado
University of Colorado Denver

The College of Engineering, Design and Computing at University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver) houses the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Within the Department is the Computer Graphics and VR Lab (CGVR)—an interdisciplinary research center that focuses on the development of virtual and augmented reality, interactive computer graphics, human-computer interaction, physical simulation, and computer vision techniques.

Additional focused research topics include game design, mobile graphics solutions, general-purpose computing on graphics processing units (GPGPU), motion capture, 3D object reconstruction, physical material property analysis (materials science), and deformable object simulation. Projects in AR/VR and Computer Graphics in the CGVR  Lab are supported through funding from Microsoft, the National Science Foundation, Laser Tech, and other industrial and federal funding agencies.

In addition to research, development, and opportunities to work on projects, the CU Denver Computer Graphics and VR Lab provides AR/VR and other related coursework. Past courses include Virtual and Augmented Reality, Computer Game Design and Programming, Computer Animation, Structures and Program Design, Introduction to Computer Graphics, Shaders and GPU, and Advanced Computer Graphics.

For students seeking a degree program with additional opportunities to explore AR/VR, the Department of Computer Science and Engineering has a Computer Science (CS) Program with BA, BS, MS, PhD, and Minor options. A Software Engineering Certificate consisting of three graduate-level courses is also available.

The BA Program has an option to combine the degree with a Specialization in other academic disciplines. Examples include CS + Human Centered Design and Innovation, CS + Digital Design, CS + Computer Engineering, and CS + Data Science. All undergraduate CS students have the option to tailor the degree to specific goals and interests.

Examples of Research and Emphasis areas across all programs include Computer Graphics & Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cyber-Physical Systems, Computer Graphics, Human-Centric Computing, Computer Graphics and Game Design, Simulation, Machine Learning, Automata Theory, Programming, Software Engineering, Computer Architectures, and High Performance Distributed Computing.

Graduates of the CS Programs at University of Colorado Denver are prepared for careers in all areas of AR/VR and Computer Science. At CU Denver, 100% of computer science graduates seeking a job have been hired. Program alumni work in industries such as Entertainment, Aerospace, Game Design and Development, Law Enforcement Training, Aviation, Architecture, Defense, Government, Education, and Health Care.

University of Colorado Denver opened in 1912 as an extension of the University of Colorado Boulder. The school became CU Denver in 1973, making it an independent campus. Organized into eight colleges and schools, CU Denver serves 15,000 students enrolled in more than 110 academic degrees. University of Colorado Denver is accredited by Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

50. Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas
Southern Methodist University

Southern Methodist University (SMU) is home to Meadows School of the Arts; SMU Guildhall; Simmons School of Education and Human Development; Lyle School of Engineering, which houses the Department of Computer Science and Engineering; and SMU Continuing and Professional Education. Collectively, these SMU Departments and Schools provide a variety of paths to study AR/VR.

In the Lyle School of Engineering, students in the BA, BS, MS and PhD Programs in Computer Science (CS) have the opportunity to choose courses to support Tracks in Game Development, Networks, Research, or Cybersecurity. Most Tracks include a variety of AR/VR related courses. Examples include High Performance Scientific Computing, Game Design, Graphical User Interface Design and Implementation, Digital Computer Design, Fundamentals of Computer Vision, Algorithm Engineering, Programming Languages, and Digital Logic Design.

Meadows School of the Arts houses the Creative Computation Program. Leading to a BA or a Minor, the Creative Computation program is interdisciplinary, combining engineering, computer science, and the arts and humanities. Students in this program will pursue core coursework in both the Meadows School of the Arts and Lyle School of Engineering. The program also features a collection of AR/VR related courses such as Intermediate Digital/Hybrid Media, Digitally Augmented Performance and Installation, Advanced Digital/Hybrid Media, Digital/Hybrid Media Directed Studies, Digital/Hybrid Media Workshop, and Nand to Tetris: Elements of Computing Systems.

Launched in 2003, SMU Guildhall is the Southern Methodist University’s Graduate School for Game Design. Specialization areas include Art, Design, Production, and Programming. Depending on the Specialization, key focus areas may include Artificial Intelligence, Game Engine Design & Architecture, Virtual Sculpting, Environmental Modeling, Animation, Rigging and Weighting, Interface and Systems Design, Player Immersion, Memory Management, Scripting Languages, Real-Time Application Performance Analysis & Optimization, Player Psychology, and User Research.

The Simmons School of Education and Human Development houses the Center for VR Learning Innovation (CVRL). The Center is home to the Olamaie Curtiss Graney VR Design Lab and the Mixed-Reality Simulation Lab. Research and development areas here include Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality for STEM Collaborative Learning, Virtual Reality in Medical Education and VR Surgery Simulations, Mixed Reality for Education, and Game-based Learning Literacy Applications. The Labs include classrooms, practice spaces for mixed reality, and teaching spaces.

The CVRL collaborates with students and faculty across SMU, SMU Guildhall, the Institute for Leadership Impact, and the AT&T Center for Virtualization. The Center also collaborates with other universities such as University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UT Southwestern), University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (UNC Chapel Hill), University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas), and King’s College.

SMU Continuing & Professional Education has a User Experience Design Certificate, which features courses such as Design Principles in Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Holograms; Data Visualization, Infographics and Dashboard Design; Usability Testing; Hands-on Design Thinking Workshop; and Experience Design & Branding on Voice-Enabled Devices.

Graduates of the Certificate, Computer Science, and Creative Computing Programs at Southern Methodist University are prepared to pursue positions in all industries and areas that utilize AR/VR. Examples include Entertainment (Animation, Television, Film, VFX), Art and Design, Military Logistics, Real Estate, Game Design and Development, Manufacturing, Defense, Law Enforcement Training, Advertising, Theme Parks and Museums, Sports, Retail, Logistics, Healthcare, Architecture, Search and Rescue, Automotive, Education, Science and Medicine, Tourism, and News.

Founded in 1911, Southern Methodist University serves approximately 12,050 students from all 50 states, DC, and 88 foreign countries. The school provides 250 programs at all degree levels across seven colleges and schools. Southern Methodist University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). SMU is also an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).