Did you know? Ramapo College of New Jersey's Visual Communication Design program prepares students for professional careers and post-graduate studies in print design, advertising design, motion graphics, interaction design, animation, game design, user experience/user interface (UX/UI) design, information architecture and front-end coding. Learn more.
What are the top ranked game design schools for 2023?
|Ranking||School||% of Schools Considered|
|1||University of Southern California||Top 1%|
|2||Carnegie Mellon University||Top 1%|
|3||New York University||Top 2%|
|4||University of Utah||Top 3%|
|5||Rochester Institute of Technology||Top 3%|
|6||University of California, Santa Cruz||Top 4%|
|7||University of Central Florida||Top 5%|
|8||Full Sail University||Top 5%|
|9||Savannah College of Art and Design||Top 6%|
|10||DigiPen Institute of Technology||Top 7%|
|11||DePaul University||Top 7%|
|12||Massachusetts Institute of Technology||Top 8%|
|13||Michigan State University||Top 9%|
|14||Southern Methodist University||Top 9%|
|15||Georgia Institute of Technology||Top 10%|
|16||Drexel University||Top 15%|
|17||Gnomon School of Visual Effects||Top 15%|
|18||University of Texas at Austin||Top 15%|
|19||University of California, Los Angeles||Top 15%|
|20||Ringling College of Art and Design||Top 15%|
|21||Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute||Top 15%|
|22||Texas A&M University, College Station||Top 15%|
|23||University of California, Irvine||Top 15%|
|24||University of Washington||Top 20%|
|25||Champlain College||Top 20%|
|26||Purdue University||Top 20%|
|27||University of Texas at Dallas||Top 20%|
|28||Worcester Polytechnic Institute||Top 20%|
|29||North Carolina State University||Top 20%|
|30||The Ohio State University||Top 20%|
|31||The New School's Parsons School of Design||Top 25%|
|32||Northeastern University||Top 25%|
|33||University of Florida||Top 25%|
|34||Indiana University, Bloomington||Top 25%|
|35||Laguna College of Art and Design||Top 25%|
|36||Academy of Art University||Top 25%|
|37||Miami University||Top 25%|
|38||Columbia College Chicago||Top 30%|
|39||University of Pennsylvania||Top 30%|
|40||Clemson University||Top 30%|
|41||Cornell University||Top 30%|
|42||University of Wisconsin – Stout||Top 30%|
|43||California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo||Top 30%|
|44||American University||Top 30%|
|45||University of North Carolina at Charlotte||Top 30%|
|46||University of Denver||Top 35%|
|47||Georgia State University||Top 35%|
|48||George Mason University||Top 35%|
|49||University of Arizona||Top 35%|
|50||Cleveland Institute of Art||Top 35%|
Our 2023 rankings of the Top 50 Game Design School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.
University of Southern California (USC) has launched two new programs for the 2022-2023 school year. Housed in the School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) is the new Game Art BFA, which provides the opportunity to specialize in areas such as Character Animation, Visual Effects (VFX), Interactive Animation, 3D Pipelines, or Environmental Design.
Consisting of 128 units, the new cross-disciplinary Game Art BFA features 52 units in the major, five workshop courses, the opportunity to select six elective credits in areas from character rigging to Python, and an Advanced Game Project (AGP). Completed in teams across two courses, the AGP culminates with a functional digital game suitable for distribution via the web and/or submission into independent games festivals.
Housed in Viterbi School of Engineering, the new Technical Game Art (TGA) Minor is part of the Information Technology Program (ITP). Students in the program will complete 16 units of study, several projects, and courses such as 3D Character Modeling for Games, Technical Character Animation for Games, and 3D Modeling, Animation, and Visual Effects (VFX). Elective examples include Accelerated Programming in Python, and 3D Computer Animation.
In addition to two new programs for students interested in pursuing game studies, University of Southern California houses USC Games—a collection of minors and multiple degree programs leading to a BA, BFA, BS, MFA or MS. Programs are part of SCA’s Interactive Media and Games Division and the Department of Computer Science at Viterbi School of Engineering.
The USC Games Program combines the study of art, design, engineering, and production. Classes are collaborative, immersive, and hands on, allowing students to develop team-building skills and expertise in every area of game design and development. Courses are taught by working professionals in the field.
Specific degrees include an Interactive Entertainment BA, a Game Development and Interactive Design BFA, a Computer Science BS (Games), MFAs in Interactive Media (Games and Interactive Entertainment) and Interactive Media (Games and Health), a Game Design and Development MS, and a Computer Science MS with a Game Development Specialization. A Cinematic Art MA (Media Arts, Games and Health) is offered in conjunction with SCA, the Graduate School, and the Creative Media & Behavioral Health Center.
Minors within the USC Games Program are designed for students who would like to develop entry-level game design and development skills that can be utilized in interactive media, animation, games, film/television, and other areas. Course examples across Minors include Game Design, Game Animation, Game Studies, Video Game Design and Management, Game Audio, Game Entrepreneurism, Video Game Programming, Game User Research, Video Game Production, 3D Computer Modeling and Graphics, Computer Science, and Themed Entertainment.
Graduates of USC Games have developed and sold their own games, launched their own studios, or landed positions at major studios such as Riot Games, Disney, Epic Games, Apple, ESPN, and CBS interactive.
Established in 1880, University of Southern California (USC) employs more than 28,100 people making it the largest private sector employer in Los Angeles. Serving 49,500 students across 23 schools and divisions, USC is also one of the largest research universities in the U.S. More than 600 graduate and professional programs are offered, including one of the best film programs in the nation. USC is the only university to have an alum nominated for an Oscar every year since the Academy Awards’ inception in 1929.
The University of Southern California is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
The Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) was established in 1998. A partnership between CMU’s College of Fine Arts and the School of Computer Science (CS), the ETC houses the Master’s in Entertainment Technology (MET) and the Game Design Minor in collaboration with the Integrative Design, Arts, and Technology Network (IDeATe).
The MET is a terminal degree that takes two years to complete. The program explores Building Virtual Worlds, Improvisational Acting, Fundamentals of Entertainment Technology, and Visual Story. Students will have the opportunity to select electives from the following areas: Game Design, Interactive Storytelling, Themed Entertainment, Leadership & Innovation, and General. Possible elective options include Game Design, Game Design, Prototyping and Production, Understanding Game Engines, Dynamic Motion and Game Experience, Advanced Pipeline Topics for Film and Game Art, IDeATe: Little Games/Big Stories: Indie Roleplaying Game, Story Development and Previsualization in AI, and Advanced Game Studio.
The ETC IDeATe Game Design Minor at Carnegie Mellon University is open to all majors (the school has more than 7,000 major/minor combo options). Popular combo options for game designers include the Art BFA/Game Design Minor, CS BS/Game Design Minor, the Bachelor of Computer Science and Arts (BCSA)/Game Design Minor, and the Music and Technology BS/Game Design Minor. The CMU ETC also allows students across all departments to enroll in individual courses to enhance their program of study.
The ETC IDeATe Game Design Minor consists of courses that cover topics such as game programming, game systems and mechanics design, Interactive narrative and character development, user testing, computing, interface design, visual and audio design, the design process, and teamwork. The ETC IDeATe Game Design Minor requires a minimum of 45 units of study to complete the program.
Carnegie Mellon University graduates are routinely hired by companies and studios such as Amazon, Epic Systems, Apple, Google, Microsoft, ESPN, IBM, Meta, 2K Games, and 31st Street Studios.
Founded in 1900 by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, Carnegie Mellon University began as Carnegie Technical Schools. Today, the school serves around 15,800 students enrolled in more than 200 programs across seven colleges and schools. CMU also has more than a dozen degree-granting locations, and over 20 research partnerships in Silicon Valley, Australia, Africa, and Qatar. A private, global research university, Carnegie Mellon University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
The Game Center is the Department of Game Design at New York University’s (NYU) Tisch School of the Arts. Founded in 2008, The NYU Game Center hosts events and programs such as the NYU Game Center Lecture Series, No Quarter Exhibition (est. 2010), and the professional game conference known as PRACTICE: Game Design in Detail. The Center, which also hosts workshops, playtests, and tournaments, has two degree options—the Game Design BFA and MFA. A Games Minor is also available as well as a wide variety of courses for NYU students who might be interested in games.
The Game Minor consists of 18 credit hours of study and it explores foundation game studies and other areas through elective coursework. Graduate students will complete a thesis project to be presented at the NYU Game Center Spring Show.
All programs at the NYU Game Center consist of immersive academic seminars and hands-on experiences in the Center’s development studios and play labs. Students may focus on programming, design, or visual design for games, game criticism, game art, or other areas.
A major component of the NYU Game Center is the internship program. Students have completed internships with Disney, Ubisoft, Arkadium, and TreSensa. NYU Game Center graduates will leave the program with a resume and several finished games
New York University Game Center alumni are Game Artists, Game Designers and Developers, Software Publishers, AI Engineers, and Entrepreneurs. They work at companies and studios such as Blizzard Entertainment, Riot Games, Amazon, Tencent, Take-Two Interactive, ESPN, Nickelodeon, and IGDA Japan.
New York University was founded in 1831. Serving nearly 55,000 students, NYU is one of the nation’s largest private universities. 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. With an estimated 400+ programs, New York University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
Founded in 1965, Tisch School of Arts at New York University serves more than 4,000 students from 48 states and 39 countries. Programs are offered at all degree levels through Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film & Television, the Institute of Performing Arts, and the Institute of Emerging Media.
The Colleges of Engineering and Fine Arts at University of Utah (The U) houses the Entertainment Arts & Engineering (EAE) Program. Formed more than a decade ago by faculty from the School of Computing and the Division of Film Studies, the EAE Program has several pathways to study game design. Options include BS degrees in Games (BSG) and Computer Science (CS) with an EAE Emphasis, a Master of Entertainment Arts and Engineering (MEAE), a dual MBA/MEAE and a 24 credit hour Game Minor.
The EAE Programs at The U are interdisciplinary and immersive with a focus on computational research, art, and social science. Course examples across EAE Programs include Alternative Game Development, Ethics in Games, Game Engineering and Production, Assets Pipeline, Survey of Games, Traditional Game Development, Serious Game Development, Digital Content Creation, Programming, Scientific Computing, Machinima, Algorithms, and Competitive Strategies.
Students in all EAE Programs at University of Utah will work through every level of game creation. Graduates will enter the job market with one or more completed games. Depending on the program, EAE graduates will be prepared to pursue positions in Game Art, Game Design and Development, Game Engineering, Simulation, Business (Games), and Visualization, among others.
University of Utah is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Founded in 1850, The U is Utah’s public flagship institution and a top-tier research university. University of Utah serves approximately 34,425 students, enrolled in more than 200 programs across 18 colleges and school, and nearly 100 departments.
Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) has several paths to study game design. Within RIT’s B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences (GCCIS) is the School of Interactive Games & Media (IGM), which has both BS and MS programs in Game Design and Development. An Accelerated BS/MS is also available. All programs explore animation, math and science, interactive media, modeling, user interaction, and of course, game design and development.
Course examples across programs include Games Balance, IGM Production Studio, Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Gameplay, Gameplay and Prototyping, Casual Game Development, Systems Concepts for Games and Media, Game Engine Design and Development, Console Development, Game Design and Development for Casual and Mobile Platforms, Game Development Processes, Level Design, and Physical Computing & Alternative Interfaces. Seminars, game development and research studios, and independent study are also part of the programs.
RIT IGM Game Design and Development students will also have the rare opportunity to complete two paid blocks of cooperative education, which will allow them to gain experience in the games industry through a full-time employment at a studio. Google, Cartoon Network, Electronic Arts (EA), Sony Interactive Entertainment, Epic Games, and Microsoft are just a few recent co-op companies. Students will also have the opportunity to develop and commodify their own games at RIT’s MAGIC Spell Studios.
Housed in the College of Art and Design is the School of Design, which has an additional option for students interested in studying games. The 3D Digital Design BFA includes courses such as Game Development and Algorithmic Problem Solving, Computer Science, Environment Design, Layers and Effects, and Modeling and Motion Strategies.
Rochester Institute of Technology is a top research university that dates back to 1829. With global campuses in China, Croatia, Dubai, and Kosovo, the school serves more than 19,000 students, making it one of the largest private universities in the U.S. RIT offers more than 200 academic programs across 11 colleges and institutes. Rochester Institute of Technology is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
University of California, Santa Cruz (UC Santa Cruz or UCSC) was the first institution in the University of California System to launch an undergraduate game major. Housed in the Jack Baskin School of Engineering (BSOE), and known as Games @ UC Santa Cruz, this intensive program has expanded to include three advanced degree programs including the MFA, MS, and PhD.
Programs are available at the UC Santa Cruz and Silicon Valley campuses and include Computer Science: Computer Game Design (BS), Art & Design: Games and Playable Media (BA AGPM), Digital Arts and New Media (MFA), Serious Games, Computational Media, and Games and Playable Media (MS degrees), and Computational Media (PhD).
Students in all programs have access to Games @ UC Santa Cruz facilities and centers such as The Center for Computational Experience, Advanced Visualization and Interactive Systems, Ludo Lab, Critical Realities Studio, Software Introspection Laboratory, Expressive Intelligence Studio, ADL (Augmented Design Laboratory), Social Emotional Technology Lab, and The Other Lab.
Other program benefits include game design internships, frequent studio tours, and participation in the Annual Games Showcase. Undergraduates will complete a Capstone Project during the final year of the program and graduate students will complete a Thesis Project, Research Project, or both.
Graduates of the UC Santa Cruz Game Design Programs are prepared to pursue positions such as Game Designer, Game Writer, Digital Artist, Board Game Designer, Producer, VR/AR Artist, and 2D/3D Artist. Program alumni have been hired at companies and studios such as Electronic Arts (EA), Tic Toc Games, Method Studios, Ubisoft, Tencent, Amazon, Universal, Google, TopGolf, and Hi-Rez Studios.
University of California, Santa Cruz is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). Established in 1965, University of California, Santa Cruz serves approximately 18,980 students, enrolled in more than 130 programs across 10 colleges and the Graduate Division.
The College of Sciences at University of Central Florida (UCF) houses Nicholson School of Communication and Media (NSCM), which has a Digital Media BA Program with a Game Design Track, an Interactive Entertainment MS, a Digital Media MA, and a Digital Media Minor. Also part of Florida Interactive Academy (FIEA), the MS has Specializations in Programming, Animation, Technical Art, Level Design, 3D Modeling, and Project Management. Specializations are sub-tracks within the FIEA Production/Design, Art, and Programming Tracks.
Students in all FIEA and NSCM Programs at University of Central Florida have access to state-of-the-art production facilities, such as the 3,300 square feet MOCAP studio, where they have the opportunity to develop games and interactive projects from start to finish. Internships and career development resources are also available, and many FIEA students publish their games through avenues such as Xbox or Steam, resulting in their first published title.
Graduates of the UCF Games/Interactive Media and FIEA Programs have been hired by more than 300 companies. Examples include Epic Games, Walt Disney Imagineering, Zynga, Unity Technologies, Lockheed Martin, Marvel, Sony, Gameloft, Blizzard Entertainment, Nintendo, Cartoon Network, Electronic Arts (EA), Google, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), and Blur Studio.
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 offers 535 degree programs across 13 colleges. University of Central Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Full Sail University is home to The Gaming School which houses production studios and classrooms that look and feel like major production studios. Degree options here include the Game Design BS and MS and BS degrees in Game Art, Game Development, Simulation & Visualization, and Game Business & Esports. Undergraduate Certificates in 3-D Arts, Game Design, and Game Business & Esports are also available. The Simulation & Visualization BS is offered on campus and all other programs are offered both on campus and online.
In addition to gaining production experience in a real-world studio environment on the Full Sail University campus, gaming students have opportunities to work off campus at local and national studios through the internship program. Courses in The Gaming School are also immersive. Course examples across all programs include Motion Capture, Game Mechanics, Game Production Tools, Engine Development, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Data Visualization & Modeling. Students will master all roles in the production pipeline, video game development for computers, networks and consoles, test simulation, game effects, narrative design, and animation.
Full Sail University’s Career Development Department provides 24/7 access to job opportunities, along with workshops and presentations that cover branding, networking, research strategies, and interviewing techniques. The department also coordinates local hiring events and events in other major markets such as Los Angeles and New York.
Full Sail University graduates have worked on many popular games, films, and ad campaigns. Games include Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, Overwatch 2, Horizon Forbidden West, Apex Legends, Destiny 2, and Fortnite. More than 200 graduates from Games, Art & Design, Music & Recording, Business, and Media & Communications areas were credited on over 25 projects nominated in 21 categories at The 2022 Game Awards.
Graduates from Game Design, Film, and Entertainment Business also contributed to winners in categories including Best Adaptation (Arcane: League of Legends), Best Esports Game (Valorant), Best VR/AR (Moss: Book II), Best Fighting (MultiVersus), and Games for Impact (As Dusk Falls).
Companies and studios that have hired Full Sail University graduates include Disney, Rockstar Games, Blizzard Entertainment, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Nickelodeon, Bunim Murray, Pixar, MTV, ESPN, Universal Studios, Miramax, DreamWorks, and HBO.
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).
The School of Digital Media at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has a number of pathways to study game design. Undergraduate options include a Digital Media BA with Game Development and Interactive Design Tracks, an Interactive Design and Game Development (IDGD) BFA, and Minors in Concept Design for Animation and Games, Game UX, Interactive Design and Game Development, Concept Art for Games, and Mobile and Interactive Design. At the graduate level, SCAD’s School of Digital Media has MA and MFA degrees in IDGD. Programs are offered at the Atlanta and Savannah campuses, as well online via SCADnow.
The School of Digital Media at SCAD provides opportunities for game design students to gain hands-on experience through internships with local and national studios. Students will also work individually and in teams to complete projects while utilizing state-of-the-art customized facilities at Montgomery Hall—a 130,000 square feet space consisting of studio classrooms, more than 800 computers, stop-motion sets, a green-screen stage, motion-capture technology, and AR/VR resources. The SCAD Digital Media Center in Atlanta provides an in-house theater, green screen lab, and a real-world studio environment.
Each quarter, students have the opportunity to interview and present their portfolios to professionals in the industry. Past visitors have been affiliated with studios such as Electronic Arts (EA), Zynga, and Activision Blizzard. Graduates of the IDGD Programs at Savannah College of Art and Design are routinely hired by these and other studios such as Epic Games, Firaxis Games, and Sucker Punch Productions.
Savannah College of Art and Design opened in the renovated Savannah Volunteer Guards Armory in September 1979. The school launched 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. 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.
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).
DigiPen Institute of Technology (DigiPen) was the first college in the world to offer a Bachelor’s degree in Video Game Technology and Development. The program has expanded to include BS degrees in Computer Science (CS) & Game Design and CS in Real-Time Interactive Simulation, and a Game Design BA.
A Digital Art MFA that allows students to customize a specialization is also available. The MFA requires a Final Thesis Project, consisting of a Professional Portfolio. MFA graduates are prepared to pursue careers in both Games and Animation.
Students in the DigiPen Game Design BA Program will explore interactive systems and game design, communications, user experience, and psychology. BS in Computer Science & Game Design students will study artificial intelligence (AI), system, level and technical design, user interface design, and programming languages.
CS/Real-Time Interactive Simulation BS students will master programming languages, game engine software, graphics rendering, artificial intelligence (AI), 2D and 3D simulation, graphical user interfaces (GUIs), and software engineering.
For exceptional students, DigiPen offers an accelerated BS/MS Program that can be completed in just five years. The BS in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation degree program is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET.
Students in all programs will work in multidisciplinary teams in a studio environment to create software and a series of video games.
Graduates of all programs at DigiPen Institute of Technology enjoy a high job placement rate. To date, more than 600 companies have hired DigiPen graduates. A few examples include Epic Games, Electronic Arts (EA), Sony Interactive Entertainment, DreamWorks Interactive, Google, Amazon, Walt Disney Imagineering, SpaceX, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Microsoft, Activision, Insomniac Games, Zynga, Booz Allen Hamilton, Intel Corporation, Ubisoft Shanghai, Take-Two Interactive, ArenaNet, and Bungie, Inc.
DigiPen Institute of Technology was established in 1988 as a Vancouver, British Columbia-based computer simulation and animation company. The school serves around 1,200 students enrolled in 10 degree programs in Computer Science, Digital Art and Animation, Engineering, Game Design and Development, and Music and Audio.
DigiPen has international campuses in Singapore and Spain, and educational partnerships with Princess Nourah bint Abdul Rahman University in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Keimyung University in South Korea, The One Academy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Thammasat University in Thailand.
DigiPen Institute of Technology is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
The Game Design Program at DePaul University (DePaul) is housed in the Jarvis College of Computing and Digital Media (CDM). Undergraduate pathways here include BS degrees in Game Design, Game Programming, and Computer Science (CS)/Game Systems. Graduate programs include a Game Design MFA and a Game Programming MS.
Game Design at DePaul University emphasizes collaboration and interdisciplinary learning. Design students will have opportunities to work with fine art, audio, programming, and writing students. The curriculum includes coursework that helps students navigate the game production process from inception to the testing phase. Course examples include Game Development, Practical Scripting for Games, Game Sound Design, 3D Design and Modeling, and Animation.
Students in all programs have access to the Virtual and Augmented Design Lab, the game studio known as DePaul Originals, and CDM facilities such as the gameplay, playtest and usability, XR, and game development and research labs. Other program benefits include participation in a variety of exhibitions, internship opportunities at local and national studios, and the biennial Japan Study Abroad Program. Students will graduate from the DePaul Game Design Program with a portfolio of their best work.
Some of the top careers for DePaul Game Design graduates include Game Design and Development, Animation, Computer Graphics, Software Engineering, Commercial Production, and Project Management. Program alumni have been hired at companies and studios such as Epic Games, Leo Burnett Worldwide, Fast Radius, iiRcade, and Speegs Media.
DePaul University provides exceptional academics and real-world experiences to prepare students for a changing world. With nearly 21,000 students across more than 300 academic programs, DePaul has two campus locations in Chicago. Students richly benefit from the city’s many opportunities. In turn, DePaul is one of the forces that shapes Chicago’s future. The university was founded in 1898 by the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians), a Roman Catholic religious community dedicated to following the ideals of St. Vincent de Paul. DePaul is among the nation’s top universities for diversity because of its long tradition of providing a high-quality education to students from a broad range of backgrounds. DePaul is one of the largest private, nonprofit universities in the Midwest and one of the largest Catholic universities in the nation.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) houses the MIT Game Lab, which helps students customize a plan of study to match their goals. The Lab is also a research and development hub that designs games for research.
Besides opportunities to customize their curriculum, students at MIT may study game design through several programs that allow students to choose a built-in “cluster” or electives from any department. Examples of programs that allow this much flexibility include Comparative Media Studies (CMS) and Computer Science and Engineering (CSE).
Housed in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS), the Department of Comparative Media Studies (CMS) provides programs leading to a BS or MS in CMS. The CMS Games and Interactive Media Cluster consists of more than 20 game design course options.
The Electrical Engineering & Computer Science Department in the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing (MIT EECS) is the largest department at MIT. EECS provides BS and MS degrees CSE. Programs are highly interdisciplinary and emphasize on-campus team and independent projects, lab work, research, and off-campus internships with MIT partner companies. Programs explore human-computer interaction (HCI) and graphics, artificial intelligence (AI), software engineering, programming languages, machine learning, algorithms and theory, and computer systems.
Elective requirements allow students to take additional courses that focus on games. Courses may be offered within and outside the department. Examples from the CMS Department include Game Design Methods, Videogame Theory, Interactive Narrative, Imagination, Computation & Expression Studio, Game Design, Advanced Game Design Studio, Designing Interactions, Design and Development for Games and Learning, Games and Culture, Games for Social Change, and Fun and Games: Cross-Cultural Perspectives.
The Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences (BCS) at Massachusetts Institute of Technology has an additional pathway for designers looking to specialize in unique areas such as psychological games and behavioral change. The Brain & Cognitive Science BS is provided in partnership with the EECS Department. Finally, students who are interested in the business side of game development, or those looking to launch their own studios, can enroll in the Business BS Program, housed in the MIT Sloan School of Management. For both options, students may work with the MIT Game Lab to customize a focus area that aligns with their goals.
Graduates of the Computer Science and Engineering Programs/MIT Game Lab have been hired at major studios such as Blizzard Entertainment, Harmonix Music Systems, Bungie Studios, Muzzy Lane (educational game studio), Learning Games Network (LGN), Moonshot Games, and Fire Hose Games (founded by MIT alumni in 2008).
Massachusetts Institute of Technology was founded on April 10, 1861, just two days before the start of the Civil War. The school serves approximately 4,640 undergraduate students and approximately 7,300 graduate students from all 50 states, DC, two territories, and 130 foreign countries. Providing more than 100 programs across five schools, Massachusetts Institute of Technology is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
Michigan State University (MSU) houses the College of Communication Arts and Sciences (ComArtSci) and the College of Engineering. Both offer pathways to study game design.
Serving more than 3,500 students, the College of ComArtSci houses the Department of Media and Information (MI)—home to the Game Design and Development Program. Established in 2005, the program consists of a Games and Interactive Media BA and an 18 credit hour Game Design and Development Minor that can be added to the BA Program or any other major at MSU. A Media and Information MA with a Games Studies and Design Focus is also available.
The MSU Games and Interactive Media BA is a project-based program that explores topics such as the game design process, emerging interactive media, and production. Focus areas include Game Design, Game Development, and Games Graphics and Animation. Course examples across focus areas include Building Virtual Worlds, Serious Game Design, Game Writing, Compositing and Special Effects, and Media Sketching and Graphics. Students will graduate from the MSU Games and Interactive Media BA Program with a professional portfolio of their best work.
The Michigan State University MI MA with Games Studies includes courses such as Foundations of Serious Games, Game and Film Design Studio I-II, Theories of Games and Interaction Design, Interaction Design, and Interactive Usability and Accessibility: Design and Evaluation. To graduate, students must complete two final courses: Master’s Thesis Research (4-6 credits) and the Master’s Project (4-6 credits). Graduates of the MI MA Program are prepared for careers in 3D Game Design, UI/UX, and 3D Technology, among others.
Michigan State University Games and MI alumni work for major studios such as Insomniac Games, Rockstar Games, Blizzard Entertainment, Electronic Arts (EA), Ubisoft, and Bungie.
The College of Engineering at Michigan State University houses the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, home to the Computer Science Program. Available pathways for game designers include BS, MS, and PhD degrees in Computer Science. All programs offer a Specialization in Media and Information Studies with the option to take games-related courses offered in other departments. Students in all programs will also take courses in Systems Design and Analysis, Theory and Algorithms, and Data Analysis and Applications.
Founded in 1855, Michigan State University began as the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan. On the first day of classes on May 14, 1857, the College welcomed five faculty members and 63 students into three buildings: College Hall, Saints’ Rest, and a brick horse barn. When it opened, the school became the first institution of higher learning in the U.S. to teach scientific agriculture. Today, MSU is one of the nation’s premier land-grant research universities and it serves nearly 50,000 students enrolled in more than 200 programs across 17 degree-granting colleges. Michigan State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
SMU Guildhall at Southern Methodist University (SMU) launched in 2003 with 32 full-time students. When it opened, the Guildhall became the first graduate-level digital game development program of its kind. Today, SMU Guildhall is the only video game education program with specializations in the four key areas of game development.
SMU Guildhall has partnerships with hundreds of studios and companies across the globe. Some 860+ SMU Guildhall alumni have worked at more than 270 studios worldwide. Examples of Guildhall industry partners include Epic Games, Microsoft Game Studios, Disney Interactive, Riot Games, Blizzard Entertainment, Gameloft, Insomniac Games, Bungie, Samsung, Gearbox Software, Unity, Bethesda, and Softworks.
Other Guildhall highlights include workshops, lectures, professional development coursework, career fairs, guest speakers, mentorship programs, team game projects, and portfolio reviews.
SMU Guildhall at Southern Methodist University has two pathways to study game design—the Master of Interactive Technology (MIT) in Digital Game Development (thesis required) and a Professional Certificate in Digital Game Development (no thesis). Guildhall specialization options include Production, Software Development, Level Design, and Art Creation. Students will develop a minimum of three industry-ready 2D and 3D games to graduate.
Southern Methodist University has several additional program options for game designers. Meadows School of Art houses the Division of Art, home to the Art BFA Program. In collaboration with the Guildhall, the BFA Program allows students to add the Art Creation or Level Design Specialization offered in the MIT Digital Game Development Program.
Lyle School of Engineering houses the Computer Science Department, home to the Computer Science BS Program. Core requirements for the program include Programming Languages, Graphical User Interface Design and Implementation, Digital Computer Design, Software Engineering Principles, and Assembly Language Programming and Machine Organization.
SMU CS students may add the 10 credit-hour Game Development Track, which consists of Programming for Commercial Game Engines, Software Development for Games, Team Game Production, Math and Physics, and the culminating Gaming Design Project.
Graduates of the Game Design Programs at Southern Methodist University have worked at more than 270 game studios and tech companies around the world. They have worked on games such as Game of Thrones, Call of Duty, Fortnite, Assassins Creed, Grant Theft Auto, League of Legends, Atlas, Batman, Days Gone, Doom, God of War, Diablo, Marvel Avengers, Disney Infinity, Elite Force, and Guitar Hero.
Examples of companies of companies and studios that have hired SMU graduates include Epic Games, Blizzard Entertainment, Electronic Arts (EA), Google, Oculus VR, Insomniac Games, Microsoft, Disney Interactive, Bioware, Samsung, Zenimax Online Studios, Bungie, Sony, Gearbox, Ubisoft, Bethesda Softworks, and Obsidian Entertainment.
Founded in 1911, Southern Methodist University enrolls more than 12,000 students from all 50 states, DC, and 90 foreign countries. SMU offers 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). The school is also an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) provides a number of pathways to study game design across several colleges and schools. The College of Computing and the School of Literature, Media, and Communication in the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts offer a Computational Media BS (BSCM), MS and PhD degrees in Digital Media and a Computing & Media Minor. A dual Computer Science BS/MS is available as well as a unique undergraduate Certificate in Scenarios, Models, and Military Games. This program explores the use of scenarios, models, and gaming in the analysis of national security issues. Course examples include Modeling, Simulation, and Military gaming, Simulation and Military Gaming, and Scenario Writing and Pathgaming.
The BSCM Program at Georgia Tech launched in 2004 with just one student. Today, the program serves more than 300 students, making it one of Georgia Tech’s fastest growing programs. The BSCM Program provides the opportunity to focus in areas such as Games, Interaction, and Narrative. Course examples include Game Studio, Game Design as a Cultural Practice, Game AI, Video Game Design and Programming, Digital Video Special Effects, Constructing the Moving Image, Computer Animation, and Principles and Applications of Computer Audio.
Georgia Tech’s Computing & Media Minor requires 19 credit hours of study, with elective course options such as Video Game Design and Programming, Digital Video Special Effects, and Information Visualization. Just a few required courses include Media Device Architectures, Objects and Design, Computer Graphics, and Computer Organization and Programming
Across all graduate level programs, courses may include Special Topics in Game Design, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Interactive Fiction, Experimental Media, Principles of Interactive Design, Pro-Seminar, and Project Studio. Graduate students will also complete an 8-10 week, full-time non-credit internship and a Thesis Project.
All students have access to the GVU Center Game Studio at Georgia Tech, the Institute for People and Technology (IPaT), and international campuses in the world’s largest games industry—China.
Graduates of the Digital and Computational Media Programs at Georgia Institute of Technology have established successful careers in fields such as Game Design and Development, Interactive Design and Game Simulation, Animation, Special Effects, AI and Robotics, Visual Effects (VFX) and 3D Modeling.
Georgia Institute of Technology was established in 1885. When it opened, the school had just 129 students enrolled in one degree program—the Mechanical Engineering BS. Today, Georgia Tech serves more than 40,000 students enrolled in more than 180 degree programs and minors across six distinct colleges and 28 schools. Georgia Institute of Technology is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
The Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design (The Westphal College) at Drexel University (Drexel) has a number of paths to study game design including undergraduate majors, minors, accelerated, and dual degree programs. Options include the Game Design and Production BS, Game Design and Production/Digital Media BS/MS, Interactive Digital Media/Digital Media BS/MS, and the Interactive Digital Media Minor.
Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), Westphal College programs are hands-on and studio-based, with small class sizes that allow for individual instruction. Mandatory participation in the Drexel University Cooperative (co-op) Education Program enables students to gain work and world experience prior to graduation. Co-op experiences take place at both local and national companies, and in places such as Ghana, Hong Kong, Greece, London, and Spain.
The College of Computing & Informatics at Drexel University has several additional options for designers looking for programs that combine game development and computer science. Available pathways include BA and BS degrees in Computer Science (BAC, BSCS), and a 24 credit hour CS Minor. The BA and BS Programs provide an optional Game Programming and Development (GMPD) Concentration. Like all Westphal College programs, the Computer Science programs provide a hands-on curriculum combined with valuable co-op experiences. All programs end with a full-year capstone project.
Other program highlights across all pathways include access to the Drexel Game Design and RePlay Lab, the Entrepreneurial Game Studio (EGS), and the Center for Games, Artificial Intelligence, and Media Systems (GAIMS Center). Graduates of the Game Design Programs at Drexel University are prepared to pursue positions in PC Game Design, Game Art, Simulation, Mobile Game Design, Job Training, and Console Game Design, and Serious Games, among other areas.
More than 80% of Drexel gaming graduates and nearly 90% of dual degree graduates are working in an area directly related to game development. Examples of companies that employ Drexel alumni include Xbox Game Studios, Microsoft Studios, Pixar, DreamWorks Animation, Zynga, Blizzard Entertainment, Rockstar Games, Electronic Arts (EA), Disney Interactive, Digital Domain, BioWare, Disney Imagineering, Lockheed, Volition Inc., NCSoft Carbine Studios, Comcast Corporation, Razorfish, and Gameloft.
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 Animation & Visual Effects (VFX) and Digital Media Programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Arts & Design (NASAD).
Gnomon School of Visual Effects (Gnomon) emphasizes hands-on production. Learning takes place in classrooms that replicate real production studios. Consisting of a 30,000 square foot facility, Gnomon also houses nine state-of-the-art computer labs, drawing studios, lecture spaces, cycloramas, dedicated sculpture labs, a green screen stage, and the Gnomon Gallery.
Program options include the 180-unit Digital Production BFA and the 147-unit Digital Production Certificate. More than 35 ten-week courses for game designers are also available. Examples include Game Creation, Props and Weapons for Games, Dynamic Effects, Maya Modules, Character Rigging for Production, and Creature Animation.
The Gnomon Digital Production BFA focuses on the 3D production pipeline for visual effects, games, and film. Students will also master industry software and tools such as Nuke, After Effects, Maya, V-Ray, ZBrush, and Photoshop. A wide variety of elective options allows BFA students to create a specialization in any area of entertainment or production. Gnomon BFA students may also choose from three concentrations including 3D Generalist, Game Art, and Visual Effects.
The Digital Production BFA at Gnomon School of Visual Effects takes four years to complete (full-time), with or without a concentration. Students will graduate with a professional demo reel.
The Digital Production Certificate Program has five areas of study including Game Art, Visual Effects Animation, Modeling & Texturing, 3D Generalist, and Character and Creature Animation. The Gnomon Digital Production Certificate Program culminates in the creation of a professional demo reel. Students can complete the program in two years, full-time.
Gnomon School of Visual Effects alumni work at some of the world’s top studios. Examples include Blizzard Entertainment, Amazon Games, Framestore, WetaFX, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixomondo (PXO), Marvel, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Disney Imagineering, DreamWorks, Electronic Arts (EA), and Riot Games.
Located in Hollywood, California, Gnomon School of Visual Effects sits on a 35,000 square foot lot within the historic Television Center Studio lot. Established in 1997, Gnomon offers degree and vocational certificate programs, as well as over 100 individual 10-week courses. Gnomon School of Visual Effects is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
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. Also within the BS CS Program is a Game and Mobile Media Applications (GAMMA) Concentration. Graduate students may also study game design through the MS in CS (MS CS), and the Five-Year BS/MS Integrated Program in Computer Science. In all options, students will study game technology and computer graphics. A project-based capstone is also part of the programs, as well as opportunities to complete an internship with both local and national companies. Many internships lead to job offers.
UT Austin launched a Game Design and Development Program in 2020. The program is jointly provided by the Department of Arts and Entertainment Technologies (AET) in the College of Fine Arts’ School of Design and Creative Technologies, the CS Department, and Moody College of Communication’s Department of Radio-Television-Film (RTF). AET offers courses focused solely on gaming, the CS Department covers visualization and coding for games, and the RTF Department provides coursework that explores cinematic arts, emergent media, and narrative design. Students may also focus in games through minor programs and concentrations offered across all three departments.
Graduates of the Game Design and Development Programs at UT Austin enjoy a 93% employment rate within six months of graduation, regardless of concentration area. UT Austin Games and Computer Science alumni have been hired at Zynga, EA Games, Google, Scientific Games, GameStop, Apple, HP, Amazon, IBM, Diamond Entertainment, Cloud Imperium, Aspyr Media, Inc., and Everi Digital.
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).
University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) is home to UCLA Game Lab and UCLA Extension. Supported by the School of the Arts and Architecture (UCLA Arts) and the School of Theater, Film and Television, UCLA Game Lab hosts visiting artists and researchers, guest speaker events, and workshops. The Lab is also supported by sponsors such as Unity, HP, Zbrush, Oculus, Nvidia, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
While UCLA Extension does not have a formal Game Design Program, it offers a number of game design courses such as Developing Video Game Narratives, Unity: 3D Game Design and Game Engines, Composing Music for Video Games, Producing Commercials for Games, and 3D Real-Time Animation.
Also housed in the School of the Arts and Architecture at UCLA is the Department of Design Media Arts (DMA), which has several multidisciplinary programs suitable for students interested in game design. Options include BA and MFA degrees in DMA (BA DMA, MFA DMA). The undergraduate program explores everything from interactivity and motion to video and game design. Courses for the program are taught as studios of up to 22 students. Course examples for the program include 3D Modeling and Motion, Game Design, Tangible Media, Word + Image, and Video.
DMA BFA students will complete a final project (the Senior Project) in Interactivity and Games, Video and Animation, or Visual Communication and Image.
The two-year UCLA Digital Media Arts MFA requires a full year of thesis work. Students will work and learn through seminar and studio courses. All MFA students will have the opportunity to collaborate with instructors on research projects or work as teaching assistants. The MFA DMA culminates in an MFA Exhibition.
Graduates of the Game Design Programs at UCLA work in all areas of game design and development at local, national, and global game design studios, software companies, production studios, and more.
Established in 1919, University of California Los Angeles has played a pivotal role in the formation of nearly 200 startup companies. Serving 45,900 students from 118 countries, UCLA offers more than 250 programs across 12 professional schools and UCLA College. University of California Los Angeles is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
Ringling College of Art and Design (RCAD) has a Game Art BFA Program that attracts recruiters from major studios such as Blizzard Entertainment, Epic Games, and Riot Games. The program explores topics such as environmental design, professional practices, methods and technologies, and concept and creative problem-solving. Students also work on projects in teams to develop collaboration and communication skills.
Following the studio model of teaching, which emphasizes learning by doing, the Game Art BFA at Ringling College of Art and Design also highlights visiting artists, industry internships, and other experiences that provide the opportunity to work on real projects with local businesses and studios.
The RCAD Game Art BFA requires 48 credit hours in the major. This accounts for 40% of the coursework. Course examples for the program include 3D for Games I-IV, Game Design I-II, Programming for Artists, and Visual Development for Games. BFA students will also take four courses leading to the development of a Game Thesis Project.
Graduates of the Game Art BFA Program at Ringling College of Art and Design have been hired at Blizzard Entertainment, Rockstar Games, 343 Industries, Bungie, Bethesda Game Studios, and Naughty Dog, among others.
Ringling College of Art and Design is a private, not-for-profit college that has been in existence for more than 90 years. Co-founded by circus baron John Ringling, RCAD serves more than 1,600 students enrolled in eleven majors leading to a BFA degree, two majors leading to a BA degree, and minor options in 10 areas. Ringling College of Art and Design 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).
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) is a designated New York State Center of Excellence (NYSTAR) in Digital Game Development. Programs for game designers are housed in the Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences (GSAS) Department, which is part of RPI’s School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS). Pathways to study game design include the GSAS BS, the Critical Game Design MS, and the Critical Game Design Co-Terminal MS Program.
The GSAS Department emphasizes interdisciplinary study, allowing students in all degree programs to explore experimental game design, music and audio for games, programming, software engineering, digital arts, and 3D animation. RPI GSAS students will also take courses in leadership and management, complete an internship, and participate in optional study abroad programs such as the semester abroad in Singapore at Nanyang Technological University.
A major component of the program is the opportunity to build a number of professional games in teams. Students will graduate from the GSAS Programs at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a professional portfolio of their best works.
RPI GSAS alumni go on to establish careers in a variety of fields such as Game Design and Development, Animation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Visualization, Interactive Simulation, Computer Science, and Fine Arts, among others.
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).
The School of Performance, Visualization & Fine Arts at Texas A&M University (TAMU) houses the Visualization Department, which has several pathways to study game design including the Visualization BS, MS, and MFA. All options provide opportunities to complete a paid internship, participate in the Visualization Industry Fair, and show creative works at local exhibitions and the Viz Fall Show. The Visualization Program also has a Game Design & Development Minor that can be completed alone or in combination with any Visualization degree.
The 16 credit hour Game Design & Development Minor explores video game production, design, programming, art and media literacy. Course examples for the program include Game Development, Computer Graphics, Game Design, Communication and Video Games, Computer-Human Interaction, Programming, Multimedia Design and Development, and Interactive Virtual Environments.
The Visualization BS Program at TAMU provides a number of emphasis areas such as Game Creation, Interactive Design, Visual Computing, Animation and Virtual Production. The MFA and MS provide emphasis areas such as Gaming, Interactive Art, Computer Animation, Visual Effects (VFX), Computer Graphics, User Experience Design, and Virtual/Augmented Reality.
The Visualization Programs at Texas A&M University feature project-based studios, supported by courses that cover production pipeline, programming, art theory, and many other technical skills. Course and elective examples across programs include Digital Compositing, Time-Based Media, 2D Visualization Techniques, Rendering and Shading, Digital Media, Advanced Animation, Physical Computing for Art and Design, 3D Modeling and Animation, and The Digital Image.
BS students will complete a Capstone to graduate, while MFA students will conduct a Final Presentation and Written Document to complete the program. The MS has both Thesis and a Non-Thesis Options. Thesis students will complete a Thesis on a focused topic, while Non-Thesis students will develop a Professional Portfolio and complete a Capstone Project.
Graduates of the Visualization Programs and Game Design & Development Minor at Texas A&M University are prepared for careers in Game Design, Game Level Design, Game Asset Development, Production Management, Technical Art, UI/UX Development, and Visual Development. TAMU alumni are often hired at major studios such as Pixar, DreamWorks Animation, and Industrial Light and Magic (ILM).
With more than 73,000 students, Texas A&M University is the largest university in the state of Texas, and one of the largest universities in the nation. Texas A&M houses 17 colleges and schools that provide more than 400 degree programs. Texas A&M University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
The Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences at University of California, Irvine (UC Irvine or UCI) has several paths to study game design. The Department of Informatics houses the Game Design and Interactive Media (GDIM) Program, which leads to a BS. The Department of Computer Sciences has a Computer Game Science BS, and BS, MS, and PhD degrees in Computer Science.
The GDIM BS consists of hands-on courses that explore areas such game programming, game design and development, game studies, interactive storytelling, visual design, and data science, as well as emerging technologies such as tabletop and mobile games, and AR/VR. During the junior and senior years of the program, students will have the opportunity to build a professional portfolio through advanced electives that explore game design, development, and programming, game culture, storytelling, and games entrepreneurship. UCI GDIM BS culminates with a two-quarter capstone project. Students will complete the capstone under the guidance of industry mentors.
Graduates of the UC Irvine GDIM Program are Game Designers, Game Programmers, Game Developers, Game Artists, Project Managers, and Interactive Media Designers, among others. Some program alumni have busy freelance careers, while others have launched their own studios. Potential employers include industry partners such as Electronic Arts (EA), Blizzard Entertainment, Riot games, Obsidian Entertainment, Disney, Cartoon Network, and Tencent.
The Computer Game Science BS (CGS BS)explores games (game engines, games and society, multiplayer games, and game design), computer science (graphics, artificial intelligence, programming, and data structures), and math (linear algebra, statistics, and logic). Students in this program have the opportunity to specialize in just about any area through thirty required elective credits. They will also have the chance to work in teams to build games for entertainment, education, training, healthcare, and more.
Graduates of the UC Irvine Computer Game Science BS are employed in the games industry (for entertainment) as well as serious games in areas such as healthcare, education, and training. Some CGS BS graduates go on to enroll in advanced study in game design, interactive media, and other related areas at top graduate schools.
The Computer Science BS at UCI has a Specialization in Algorithms that focus on techniques in computer games, graphics, computer vision, artificial intelligence (AI), and other areas. The graduate Computer Science Programs feature multimedia and gaming, programming languages and compilers, scientific computing, and AI and machine learning research areas, among others.
Across programs, students have access to courses such as Game Engine Lab, Modeling and Worldbuilding, Game Design, Mobile and Ubiquitous Games, Python, Advanced 3D Computer Graphics, Virtual Reality, Internet of Things (IoT) Software and Systems, Visual Computing, Programming Languages, and Multimedia Systems and Applications.
Graduates of the Computer Science Programs at UC Irvine are prepared to pursue positions in virtually every area of science, technology, and business. Examples include Games, Entertainment, Software Engineering, Aerospace, Business Information Management, Biomedical, Finance, National Defense, Cybersecurity, Data Science, and Engineering.
University of California, Irvine is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). With more than 1,200 faculty members and 10,000 staff, UC Irvine is the largest employer in Orange County California. Established in 1965, the school serves approximately 37,245 students enrolled in more than 220 programs across 18 colleges, schools, and divisions.
The College of Professional & Continuing Education (PCE) at University of Washington (UW) has a Game Design Certificate Program developed for artists with at least two years of college experience who are interested in launching a career in game design or working designers and developers seeking advancement opportunities in the games industry. This three-quarter intensive program covers game design, game mechanics and systems design, and game studio roles and development.
The UW PCE Game Design Certificate was developed in partnership with the UW Bothell Digital Future Lab. The program is approved by UW’s School of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics.
For students seeking a degree, the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering (CSE) at University of Washington has several options that are suitable for game designers. Degree programs include the BS in CS or Computer Engineering, the combined BS/MS in CS or Engineering, the Professional Master’s Program (PMP), and a CSE PhD. All programs provide access to four main labs in the Allen School including the Graphics and Imaging Lab (GRAIL), Center for Game Science, Animation Research Labs (ARL), and the Reality Lab.
GRAIL provides opportunities to work with researchers from Adobe, Google, Intel, and Microsoft. The researchers at the CSE Center for Game Science create projects designed to solve problems through games. The multidisciplinary Animation Research Labs is a collaboration between CSE, the Department of Architecture, and the Schools of Art, Drama, Music, and the Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS). Students have opportunities to interact with industry experts from Disney Animation Studios, Pixar, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Xbox Game Studios, and Bungie, among others.
In the UW Reality Lab, designers have opportunities to work on research projects in a variety of areas. Computer vision, lighting rendering, character animation, and 3D reconstruction are a few areas. Established in 2018, the UW Reality Lab houses ongoing programs including The Reality Studio and The Reality Lab, courses, lectures, and the idea incubator.
Graduates of the Game Design and Computer Science Programs at University of Washington are prepared for careers in all areas of game design and development, technology, entertainment, and more. UW graduates are hired by hundreds of different employers each year. Examples include Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Boeing, and Meta.
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. 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). Engineering at the University is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).
Champlain College is home to The Game Studio, which consists of six collaborative majors with courses taught by game industry experts. Studio highlights include small class sizes, interdisciplinary, career-focused curriculums, and collaboration in a studio setting that mirrors today’s professional studio environments. Game Studio Majors include Game Art, Game Design, Game Programming, Game Production Management, Game Business & Publishing, and Game Sound Design. All majors lead to a BS and a Game Programming Minor consisting of 18 credit hours is also available.
Students in all Champlain Game Studio Majors will develop a number of games that may be presented to recruiters from major studios such as Activision, Warner Bros., and Gameloft. BS students will also have opportunities to network with representatives from other major studios such as Sony, Insomniac, Rockstar, ArenaNet, Survios, Ubisoft, and Crystal Dynamics. Champlain College alumni have enjoyed a 93% employment (or graduate school) rate within six months of graduation for the past six years.
The Division of Communication & Creative Media (CCM) at Champlain College has an additional option for game designers—the Creative Media BFA. This unique program features a Game Media Concentration and an “Upside-Down Curriculum” that allows students to begin taking Creative Media courses in their first semester. Game Media students will explore game engine creation, the game production pipeline, and game industry software.
Course examples for the program include Game technology, Level Design, Game Systems & Experience: Design, Interactive Storytelling, Computer Theory, and Advanced Seminar. All students are encouraged to participate in the Champlain Study Abroad Program, which highlights experiences in Montreal, Canada, with internship opportunities at the Montreal Game Summit and the Montreal International Game Developers Association. Game Studio students also have opportunities to intern at places such as Xbox Game Studios and Wired Magazine.
Champlain also provides access to faculty-led travel courses lasting one-two weeks, and study abroad experiences in Argentina, China, Italy, New Zealand, and Scotland. Through approved third-party programs, CCM students have also studied abroad in Australia, Brazil, England, France, Portugal, and South Africa.
Graduates of the CCM Program at Champlain College enjoy a 92% employment (or graduate school) rate within six months after graduation. Recent graduates have been hired at places such as Micropup Games, Gabb Global, and Louisiana Children’s Museum.
Established in 1878, Champlain College serves 2,100 students from 40 states and 18 countries. Students have access to 111 subject areas including undergraduate majors, minors, concentrations, and design-your-own-major. In addition to Champlain’s main campus in Burlington, Vermont, the school has campuses in Montreal, Canada and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
Purdue University is home to Purdue Polytechnic Institute (formerly the College of Technology), which houses the Department of Computer Graphics Technology (CGT) and the Game Design Programs. Degree options include a CGT BS with a Game Development and Design Major, a CGT MS, and a Technology PhD T.
The CGT BS provides a STEM-based curriculum, coursework that covers game design, programming, rendering, animation, and visualization, and immersive, collaborative projects with peers and professors. Past final projects have focused on games utilization in entertainment; sustainable energy, medicine, and therapy; and information visualization, among others. CGT BS graduates are Game Designers, Animators, and Technical artists at major studios such as Electronic Arts (EA), Riot Games, Zynga, and Volition, Inc.
The CGT MS at Purdue Polytechnic has four specialization areas including Games, Animation, Information Visualization, and UX Design. Graduate students may also customize a plan of study to meet their professional goals. The program offers small class sizes, research opportunities, and the chance to work on real-world projects. Graduates are Game Developers, UX Designers, and Technical Directors at places such as Google, DreamWorks, Salesforce, and Deloitte.
The Technology PhD Program at Purdue University allows a minimum of 30 credit hours to be taken in a custom specialization, along with 27 credit hours from any Purdue college or school other than Purdue Polytechnic. Courses may come from computer science, engineering, art and design, instructional technology, quality, and many other areas. PhD students must complete a Thesis to graduate. Program alumni are Designers, Educators, Researchers, Entrepreneurs, and Artists.
Founded in 1869, Purdue University began classes in 1874 with six instructors and just 39 students. Today, the school serves approximately 50,885 students, with around 5,600 enrolled in Purdue Polytechnic Institute. Founded in 1964 as Purdue University’s School of Technology, Purdue Polytechnic houses seven departments and schools offering dozens of technology-centered programs. Purdue University offers more than 400 programs across 10 colleges and schools. Purdue is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) is home to the School of Arts, Humanities, and Technology (AHT), which launched in August 2022 after the consolidation of the School of Arts & Humanities (est. 1975), and the School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication (ATEC), established in 2002 as Texas’s first arts and technology degree.
The ATEC BA, MA, MFA, and PhD Programs are still in force and provide opportunities to study game design and development. For example, the ATEC BA has an Animation & Games (A&G) Concentration, and the MFA has a Game Development Concentration. Students may also create their own area of specialization through electives and other courses.
Students in all ATEC Programs have access to a variety of state-of-the-art studios and facilities including the Game Lab, Motion Capture Studio, Games Research Lab, Surround Studio, The Studio for Mediating Play, Animation Lab, ATEC Lecture Hall, CG Animation Lab, 3D Studio, experimenta.l., Render Farm, Mixed Media Lab, Games and Media Library, Render Farm, Surround Studio, and the Narrative Systems Research Lab. The ATEC Lecture Hall has hosted speakers from Disney, Pixar, and DreamWorks.
Graduates of the ATEC Programs at University of Texas at Dallas have been recruited by major studios and companies such as DreamWorks, Disney, Pixar, Apple, Google, Capital One, and Toyota.
University of Texas at Dallas opened in the 1960s as the Graduate Research Center of the Southwest. Established by the owners of Texas Instruments, UT Dallas is an official member of the University of Texas System. The school serves 31,570 students enrolled in more than 140 degree programs across eight schools. University of Texas at Dallas is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
The School of Arts and Sciences at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) is home to the Interactive Media & Game Development (IMGD) Program. One of the earliest gaming programs in the U.S. IMGD houses several degree pathways including the BA, BS, MFA, MS, and BS/MS in IMGD. The dual IMGD BS/MS allows students to complete both degrees at an accelerated pace. Students can complete the program in four to five years instead of six or more.
The IMGD BA has Concentrations in Animation, 3D Sculpting, Design, Writing, and Technical Artistry. The BS allows students to begin working on everything from games and virtual environments to interactive fiction from the very first day of the program. The WPI MFA is an interdisciplinary, studio-based program that has three focus areas: Serious Games, Production and Management, and Technical. Students will leave the MFA program with a solo thesis project or a group project.
The interdisciplinary IMGD MS is a two-year program designed for students interested in careers in interactive media or game design and development. Students may specialize in one of three focus areas: Serious Games, Production and Management, or Technical. The IMGD MS culminates with a Thesis or Group Project.
For students who would like to major in a related area and minor in games, WPI has an IMGD Minor that provides the opportunity to design a focus area consisting of six courses that explore game studies, animation, social impact of games, game design, and others.
All IMGD programs provide access to state-of-the-art facilities such a dedicated IMGD Lab equipped with industry-standard software and hardware tools, a Digital Art Studio, an Artificial Intelligence & Intelligent Tutoring Lab, and a Sound Recording Studio. In addition, all programs blend art, technology, and real-world experience through a co-op or professional internship.
As part of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, IMGD graduates enjoy frequent on-campus recruiting events and a 92.7% success rate. Examples of companies that have hired WPI IMGD graduates include Kaon Interactive, NextGen Interactions, Zudy, and Centre Technology.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute was established in 1865. A top 25 STEM college, WPI has more than 50 global project centers on six continents. The school provides 70+ degree programs to 7,230 students. Academic offerings are housed across four schools including Arts & Sciences, Business, Engineering, and The Global School. Worcester Polytechnic Institute is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
North Carolina State University (NC State) is home to the College of Engineering, which houses the Department of Computer Science (CSC). Within the Department is the CSC BS Program with a Game Development Track, and an Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s (ABM) degree in CSC. The ABM allows BS students to complete the CSC MS Program in within 12 months of completing their BS (non-thesis) or within 18 months for the thesis-based MS.
The CSC BS program begins with computing, mathematics, chemistry, physics, and humanities. Next, students will dive into coursework that explores programming languages, computer architectures, software engineering, data structures, and teaming and communication, among other areas.
Once core requirements are complete, students may advance to the Game Development Concentration, which consists of 21 credit hours of games-focused courses and electives. Examples include Foundations of Interactive Game Design, Computer Graphics, Game Engine Foundations, Computational Visual Narrative, Building Game AI, Game Studies, Special Topics in Film Styles and Genres, Computer Models of Interactive Narrative, and Fantasy.
All CSC BS students must complete a team project in Senior Design. Projects are supported by the Senior Design Center and industrial sponsors, so student teams will gain experience working industry representatives.
Students in all NC State CSC programs have access to The Digital Games Research center (DGRc). Launched in May 2007, The DGRc engages in education and research in games and games technologies. In a collaborative environment, students can work on projects with game developers and games studio teams that focus on everything from mobile games to artificial intelligence (AI). Thanks to partnerships and licensing agreements with engine providers and game studios, NC State graduates are often hired by local game companies.
Other DGRc highlights include access to the new Games and Visual Narrative Suite, the Visual Narrative Initiative (VNI)— a research cluster established in 2015, and participation in the Game Developers Conference and Games and Visual Narratives Showcase.
Graduates of the CSC Programs at North Carolina State University are prepares to pursue positions at high-tech companies, game design studios, and entertainment companies, among others.
North Carolina State University employs more than 9,000 faculty and staff members serving 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).
The College of Engineering and the College of Arts and Sciences at The Ohio State University (OSU) provide several pathways to study games.
In the OSU College of Engineering, options include BS, MS, and PhD degrees in Computer Science (CS). A Computer Graphics and Game Design Concentration is available. In the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Art has BA and BFA Programs in Art with a Specialization in Art & Technology. The specialization explores art games, 3D modeling and animation, emerging forms, moving images, sound, and more.
Also housed in the College of Arts and Sciences is the Department of Design, which has an MFA Program with a Digital Animation and Interactive Media (DAIM) Track and a Design Research and Development (DRD) Track. The DAIM Track requires 12 studio elective credits and six credits of interdisciplinary electives, allowing plenty of opportunities to create a focus in games. The DRD Track is a collaborative, interdisciplinary program that encourages study across departments, research areas, and themes. Open electives provide additional opportunities to explore games. The Department of Design also offers a 15 credit hour minor in Game Studies which introduces students to an interdisciplinary approach to understanding what games are, how they are made, how to interpret games as critical narratives, and how to understand the roles they play in society.
Examples of possible elective courses across all programs and departments include Games Virtual Modeling, Game Design I-II, Video Game Music, Esports and Game Studies, Computer Game Art and Design, Video Games and Society, Computational Thinking in Context: Game Development or Images, Animation, Screenwriting, Art and Technology, Philosophy and Videogames, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Computer Vision for Human-Computer Interaction (HCI).
Graduates of the Art, Design, and CS Programs at The Ohio State University are prepared to pursue positions in entertainment, technology, art, and engineering, among others. Potential job titles include Game Designer, CG Specialist, Motion Graphic Designer, Interaction Designer, Software Programmer, Virtual Reality Designer, Design Strategist, User Interface/User Experience Designer (UI/UX), and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Designer.
The Ohio State University was established in 1870 as Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College. The school serves close to 67,800 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).
The School of Art, Media, and Technology (AMT) at The New School's Parsons School of Design (Parsons) houses a Design and Technology (DT) Program with options leading to a BFA or MFA in DT. Programs in the School of AMT are STEM-designated and provide networking opportunities and collaborations with external partners; studios and lab courses led by experts in the field; industry-oriented internships; and study abroad experiences in places such as London, Paris, and Florence.
The DT BFA at Parsons requires 120 credit hours taken over four years. Like all undergraduate programs at Parsons, the first year of the BFA covers the liberal arts, along with art and design concepts such as drawing, digital design, and 2D and 3D processes. All first-year students at Parsons, regardless of major, will take their required courses together.
The DT BFA has two pathway options including Game Design and Creative Technology. Students in the Game Design Pathway will work on projects that explore wearable technology, digital art, and socially conscious video games. Creative Technology students will work on projects with major companies and studios such as Nickelodeon, Apple, Atari, MTV, UNESCO, Rockwell Interaction Lab, Eyebeam Art & Technology Center, and Siemens.
AMT course examples include Time, Game Design as Play Design, Objects as History, Concept and Illustration for Games, Core Studio Systems, Design Studies, Game Craft, Communication Design Studio: Experience in Space, The New Arcade, Digital Development, Experimental Animation, Storytelling, Motion Graphics, Narrative and Dynamic Systems, and Visual Design Concepts.
The DT MFA at The New School Parsons is studio-based and consists of Collaboration Studio and Thesis Studio courses. In Collaboration Studio courses, students will work with partner companies on real-world projects. Examples of past partners include Apple, Samsung, NASA, Intel, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Mozilla, and Red Bull. Projects explore areas such as game design, web and mobile apps, visualization, new media art, interaction design, digital fabrication, and critical design.
Graduates of the Design and Technology Programs at The New School Parsons are prepared for careers in Game Design, 2D and 3D Animation, Digital Filmmaking, New Media Art, Motion Graphics, Wearable Technology, Mobile and Application Design, Software Design, Advertising, Virtual Reality and Immersion Experience Design, Hardware Engineering, Physical Computing, Graphic Arts, WEB/UI/UX Design, and Data Visualization.
The New School Parsons was established in 1896 as The Chase School. The school serves approximately 10,815 students enrolled more than 120 degree and diploma programs across six colleges and schools, including Parsons Paris. The New School Parsons is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
The College of Arts, Media and Design (CAMD) and Khoury College of Computer Sciences at Northeastern University (Northeasters) provide several pathways to study game design. CAMD undergraduate options include Game Design and Game Art & Animation BFAs, a Game Design and Music BS with a Concentration in Music Technology, and Game Art and Game Design Minors. Graduate programs include a Game Science and Design MS jointly offered through CAMD and the Khoury College, and Certificates in Game Experience Design and Game Science. Khoury College also has a Computer Science & Game Development BS.
All programs are interdisciplinary and include courses such as Game Design and Analysis, Mixed Research Methods for Games, Prototyping for Experience Design, Advanced Topics in Game Design, Generative Game Design, Spatial and Temporal Design, Level Design and Game Architecture, Exploratory Concept Design, Player Experience, Business Models in the Game Industry, Building of Game Engines, Psychology of Play, Game Artificial Intelligence, Generative Game Design, Games and Society, Game Studio, Data-Driven Player Modeling, Advanced Topics in Game Science, Game Concept Development, and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI).
In addition to a variety of courses, the Game Design Programs at Northeastern University provide the opportunity to participate in the school’s distinctive co-op program. This paid experiential learning program allows undergraduate students to gain up to 18 months of hands-on, professional experience in game design. A graduate co-op program is also available for full-time graduate students. Northeastern University partners with more than 20,000 co-op employers nationwide and in 65+ countries around the world. Examples include Hasbro, Mass DiGi, Greenbrier Games, Splash Damage Games, Harmonix, Jamspot, Live Nation, and Demiurge Studios.
In addition to gaining work experience through the co-op program, students in all programs enjoy hands-on learning in collaborative classrooms and studios, access to state-ot-the-art production facilities, courses taught by industry professionals, and access to 3,350+ employer partners, including Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and global companies.
Graduates of the Game Design Programs at Northeastern University work in Game Art, Game Design and Development, Game Programming, Sound for Games, Animation, and many other areas. Program alumni have been hired at major companies and studios such as Google, Zynga, Xbox Game Studios (a division of Microsoft), and Cognizant.
Northeastern University began as the Evening Institute of the Boston Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in 1898. According to the most recent enrollment figures, the school serves approximately 41,850 students enrolled in more than 400 programs in eight colleges. Northeastern University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
Established in 1925, the College of the Arts at University of Florida (UF) houses the Digital Worlds Institute, home to the Digital Arts & Sciences (DAS) Program. Degree options for game designers include the DAS BA (BADAS), the DAS Minor, and the DAS Masters (MiDAS). The BADAS is offered on campus and fully online through UF Online.
Digital Worlds Institute highlights include the DAS Mentorship Program, guest lecturers, access to LUMA at Digital World Studios, Portfolio Open House events, and participation in the internship program. In addition, all UF Digital Worlds Programs are interdisciplinary and combine arts, engineering, communications, and science. Course examples across pathways include Creating Mobile Games, 3D Animation Techniques, Game Content Creation, Game Systems Development, Game Design and Production, Digital Storytelling, Game Development, and Interaction & Usability. An optional internship is also part of the program.
The BADAS Program requires 120 credit hours of study and successful completion of the final DAS project. The UF MiDAS Program explores game engines and development, software and hardware integration, design and interactivity, emerging technologies such as AR/VR, and proposals, project management, and production pipelines. The MiDAS program is offered in an accelerated format, so it takes just one year to complete.
Graduates of the BADAS and MiDAS Programs at University of Florida are Game Designers, Level Designers, Game Artists, Character Modelers, Visual Effects (VFX) Artists, Software Engineers, Technical Animators, Digital Storytellers, Motion Graphics Animators, UI/UX Designers, Production Coordinators, Entrepreneurs, and Freelance Designers. Program alumni have been hired at major companies and studios such as Microsoft and DreamWorks.
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 enrolled in more than 300 undergraduate and graduate programs across 16 colleges and schools. The University of Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Indiana University Bloomington (IU Bloomington) provides several pathways to study game design. Programs are housed in Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering (Department of Computer Science), and The Media School, which is part of the College of Arts and Sciences.
The Luddy School Department of Computer Science serves 950 students enrolled in 11 programs at all degree levels. Students seeking an undergraduate degree can earn a BS in Computer Science (CSCIBS) with a Game Development Specialization. The School also houses a distinctive Minor in Animal-Computer Interaction, which includes courses such as Game Art and Sound, Game Development, and Game Programming. A CS BA is also conferred from IU Bloomington’s College of Arts and Sciences.
The Media School at Indiana University Bloomington is a multidisciplinary division that attracts students seeking careers in game programming, animation, sound production, music composition, or graphic design for multimedia. Students in all Media School programs have the opportunity to select elective courses from the Luddy School, Architecture and Design, Jacobs School of Music, and Eskenazi School of Art. Specific program options suitable for game designers include the Game Design BS and Minor, the Media BA, and a New Media and Interactive Storytelling Certificate.
Media BA students may pursue a Concentration such as Media Technologies, Games and Culture; Interactive and Digital Media; or Media Science. Students may also pursue a Media Specialization such as Game Art, Game Production, or Game Audio. Concentrations consist of five courses. Specializations consist of at least three courses.
Course examples across concentrations include Game Technology, Digital Media, Game Production, Cultures, Games, Culture, and Society, Media Technology and Difference, Game Experience Design, Media Technologies and Culture I-II, Game Art and Sound, Narrative Design, Story Lab, and Animation for Digital Media. Course examples across specializations include Game Art and Sound, Game Character Art, Game Environment Art, Game Design, Game Analytics, The Videogame Industry: Systems and Management, Sound for Games and Playable Media, Game Experience Design, Game Production, Introduction to Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) and Computer Music, and Sound Design.
Game Design BS students at Indiana University Bloomington will work their way through a mix of seminars, hands-on production classes, and a three-semester workshop modeled after professional game studios. Across Game Workshop I, II and III, students will work in teams to develop a game prototype, produce a demo, and publish an original game.
Elective areas are available for students who would like to design an area of expertise. Areas include Design: Games and Mind, Programming, Art, Sound, Design: Game Design Theory, and Management, Advertising, and Public Relations.
Upper division Game Design students will work their way through the Game Workshop Sequence, which includes three workshops: Prototype, Demo, and Publish. Modeled after game studios, the sequence ends with an industry-ready published game.
Students in all IU Bloomington Game Design and Media Programs have access to GameDev@IU. This student-run organization provides hands-on experience for student game designers. Highlights include the opportunity to collaborate on game design projects, workshops, and participation in game jams. Game design students can also gain valuable hands-on experience through the Indiana University Bloomington Internship Program. Students have interned everywhere from General Motors to Google.
Graduates of the Game Design and Media Programs at Indiana University Bloomington are prepared to compete for positions such as Game Designer, Game Artist, World Designer, Game Developer, Creative Director, Software Developer, and Animator. Potential employer’s include Blizzard Entertainment, Zynga, Electronic Arts (EA), and Ubisoft.
Established in 1820, Indiana University Bloomington was one of the first public universities west of the Allegheny Mountains and one of the first universities to admit women. The school serves more than 71,000 students enrolled in 930+ academic programs across seven campuses and two regional centers. Indiana University Bloomington is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) has several programs for game designers including a Game Art BFA, a Game Design MFA, and an Entertainment Design Minor that explores topics such as environment, character, prop design, and storyboarding. Entertainment Design students will create several creative works that can be used to begin building a professional portfolio.
In all programs, students will work and learn in a project-based environment that encourages collaboration. Course examples across programs include Advanced Drawing for Games, 3D Environmental Design, UI/UX for Games, Pictorial Design for Illustration, Rigging and Animation for Games, 3D Design (Intro to Zbrush), Scripting for Games, Creatures and Characters, World Development, Concept Design for Entertainment, Storyboarding for Entertainment – Live Action Film, Development Team New Technologies, Fundamentals of Maya, and Visual Storytelling for Entertainment.
Game Art BFA students will work in teams with graduate MFA students to create industry-ready games that could be featured at the Independent Game Festival (IGF). Students will also participate in workshops led by artists and designers such as Bill Perkins, Justin Thavirat, and Chris Bateman.
The Game Design MFA at Laguna College of Art and Design Game Design is a two-year, terminal degree that leads to the creation of a final, marketable game. Courses explore areas such as game prototypes, game mechanics, game narrative, the game production cycle, game design processes, and the business of games.
Graduates of the Game Art and Game Design Programs at LCAD are employed at major companies and studios around the globe. Examples include Riot Games, DreamWorks, The Jim Henson Company, Insomniac Games, Disney Animation Studios, Blizzard Entertainment 20th Century Fox, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Microsoft Studios, Obsidian Entertainment, and Marvel.
Founded in 1961, Laguna College of Art and Design began as Laguna Beach School of Art (LBSA). In addition to the main campus in Laguna Beach, LCAD has educational affiliates locally and around the world including Florence Academy of Arts in Florence, Italy, Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art, and NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences (NHTV), Netherlands.
Laguna College of Art and Design serves around 770 students enrolled in dozens of degree and minor programs. The school is regionally and nationally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
Academy of Art University (Academy of Art) is home to a STEM-certified School of Game Development that operates under the direction of professionals who are active in the game design industry. Program options include AA, BFA, MA, and MFA degrees in Game Development, a BS in Game Programming, and BFA degrees in Game Design, Concept Art, and 3D Art.
Academy of Art programs are multidisciplinary, so student designers will explore games, systems, and tools programming; coding; augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR); rigging; animation/animation VFX; artificial intelligence (AI); concept art; user interface/user experience (UI/UX) design; 3D modeling; technical art; and level design.
Across programs, students will take courses such as Programming for Games, AI, Mobile Game Development, Programming for Game UI and Tools, Game Engines, History of Gaming, Collaborative Game Development, 2D Tools for Game Development, Game Engines, 3D Modeling for Games, Prop & Weapon Design for Games, Level Design for Video Games, Rapid Game Development, Combat Design, and Game Freemium & Monetization.
Partnerships with studios such as Zynga, Sony Interactive Entertainment, and Riot Games allow School of Game Development students to gain real-world experience through professional internships. In addition to working at a top studio prior to graduation, students will engage in hands-on learning in the Academy of Art Game Development Studio. Examples of facilities and technology include cross-departmental war rooms with students from the Schools of Animation, Illustration, and Music, among others, Xbox/PlayStation/Nintendo Game consoles, competitive esports lab, 280+ Alienware High Performance Computers with Dual Monitors, AR/VR labs, and the Game Lounge.
Graduates of the School of Game Development at Academy of Art University have been recruited by major studios such as Riot Games, Zynga, and Sony Interactive Entertainment. Students have also been hired at Sledgehammer Games, Naughty Dog, and Crystal Dynamics.
Academy of Art University is a family-owned private university located in San Francisco—one of the world’s top cities for animation careers. Established in 1929 and serving more than 7,000 students, Academy of Art is one of the nation’s largest private art and design schools. Divided into 22 schools, Academy of Art University offers more than 129 degree programs in 40+ areas of study. Programs lead to the AA, BA, BFA, BS, B. Arch, MAT, MA, MFA and M. Arch degrees.
The Academy is accredited by Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
The College of Creative Arts at Miami University (Miami Oh or Miami) houses the College of Creative Arts, home to the Department of Emerging Technology in Business + Design (ETBD)—formerly AIMS. The ETBD has a Games + Simulation Program with both BS and Minor pathways. The Games + Simulation BS has Concentrations in Game Art, Game Studies, and Game Development.
Students in all concentrations will complete a total of 124 credit hours including 76 in the Games + Simulation Major. Concentration areas are 21 credit hours, with a set of required courses for each. The Games + Simulation Program culminates with the 12 credit-hour Capstone Studio, consisting of Game Pipeline and Production (three credits), Game Pre-production (three credits) and Game Production (six credit hours). In the Studio, game designers will produce an industry-ready game.
The cross-disciplinary Games + Simulation Minor consists of 19 total credit hours, with collaborative courses between ETBD and the Art and Computer Science Departments. Electives within the program allow students to create a specialty area such as Game Development, Writing for Games, or 3D Art and animation.
The Miami Oh ETBD Department has an additional option that attracts game designers interested in the business and marketing side of games. The Emerging Technology in Business and Design BA (ET BA) is a highly competitive program that features four foundational pillars: Design, Technology, Collaboration & Making, and Business. Students in this program will take courses such as Game Studies, Game Design, Game Programming, Art and Digital Tools, Interaction Design and Development, Interactive Business Communication, and Social Media Marketing and Online Community Management. Students may also add the Games + Simulation Minor.
To gain valuable work experience in the industry, all Miami University students have the opportunity to complete an internship at a local or national company. There are more than 20 local game companies. Examples include SGM Games, Ganbaru Games, Green Door Games, Aertherbyte Studios, Wraith Games, Max Gaming Technologies, Few Remain, Funky Visions, Ganbaru Games, Multivarious Games, Green Door Games, and MouseMouse Media, Inc.
Graduates of the Games Programs at Miami University have continued on to graduate study or careers in Game Art, Game Design and Development, Writing for Games, Multimedia Design, AR/VR, 3D Modeling, and UI/UX, among others.
Established in 1809, Miami University Ohio is an original Public Ivy that serves more than 23,000 students across campuses in Oxford (main), Hamilton, Middletown and West Chester, Ohio, and Luxembourg (Western Europe). More than 200 majors and minors in over 120 areas of study and 70+ master’s and doctoral degree programs are offered across seven colleges and schools. Miami Oh’s regional campuses provide a variety of associate degree programs. Miami University Ohio is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
The School of Media Arts at Columbia College Chicago (CCC) is home to the Interactive Arts & Media (IAM) Department, which provides cross-disciplinary training in game development, animation, programming, visual effects, virtual reality (VR), user experience design, and app development. Students in all programs will work with traditional and emerging technologies to create games, animations, and immersive experiences beginning on the first day of class.
All CCC IAM students have access to state-of-the-art facilities and equipment such as The Game Lab, The Equipment Cave (assets: game consoles, equipment, digital cameras, and more), The Motion Capture Studio, The Sound Studio, The Open Lab, and Animation Production Spaces.
Specific IAM Programs for game designers include BA degrees in Game Art and Game Design with Concentrations in Game Development and Game Sound Design, BA/BS degrees in Programming with Concentrations in Game Programming and Application Programming, and Minors in Game Art and Game Design.
The Games Studio Capstone provides opportunities for students to work in teams in an environment that mirrors a small, independent studio or a large studio. Final games are eligible to be presented at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, CA, South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, TX, Industry Night at Columbia College Chicago, and the Chicago Toy and Game Fair.
Graduates of the IAM Programs at Columbia College Chicago are Game Programmers and Coders, Serious Game Designers, Simulation Designers, Game Designers, Sound Effects Designers, and Quality Assurance Testers. Program alumni have been hired at major companies and studios such as Sony, Pixar, Bungie, Weta Digital, NetherRealm Studios, Iron Galaxy, Jellyvision, High Voltage Software, Incredible Technologies, Inc., Walmart, and John Deere.
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).
University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) has several paths to study game design. At the graduate level, UPenn has an interdisciplinary option that’s one of the few programs of its kind offered at a four-year research university. Launched in 2004 by the UPenn Center for Human Modeling and Simulation (HMS), the unique Computer Graphics and Game Technology (CGGT) Program leads to the Master of Engineering (MSE) in CGGT.
The Center for HMS is housed in the Computer and Information Science Department (CIS) within the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. CGGT MSE students here will take at least four computer science and engineering courses along with technical, graphics, and free electives. Course examples for the program include Game Design and Development, Computer Animation, Machine Perception, Engineering Entrepreneurship, Applied Machine Learning, and GPU Programming and Architecture.
UPenn CGGT MSE students may specialize in areas such as Creative Design, Animation and Simulation Technology, Human/Computer Interfaces and Production Management, and Art and Animation. Other program highlights include collaboration with students from other departments such as Digital Media Design (DMD), and access the SIG Center for Computer Graphics, which features a state-of-the-art motion capture studio, ViDi Center for Digital Visualization Center, AR/VR systems (Vive, Oculus, and HoloLens), and high-performance NVidia GPU processors.
Graduates of the University of Pennsylvania CGGT MSE Program are prepared for a variety of roles in game design and animation. Program alumni have established careers at major studios such as Electronic Arts (EA), DreamWorks Animation, and Disney Animation Studios.
Also housed in the School of Engineering and Applied Science is the Digital Media Design (DMD) Program. Launched in 1998, this interdisciplinary program combines coursework from UPenn School of Design and the CIS Department. Leading to a Bachelor’s in Engineering and Science (BSE) with DMD Major, the program explores games, animation, interactive technologies, virtual reality design, and computer graphics. A programming-intensive Digital Media Design (DMD) Minor is also available.
Graduates of the UPenn DMD BSE are frequently hired at major companies and studios such as DreamWorks Animation, Electronic Arts (EA), Google, Microsoft, Disney Animation, and Pixar.
Established in 1740, University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) is one of the nation’s oldest universities. The school, which houses 189 research centers and institutes, provides more than 400 programs to approximately 28,040 students from across the U.S. and just about every continent. Programs at UPenn are housed across 16 colleges and schools. The University of Pennsylvania is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
The College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences at Clemson University is home to the School of Computing, which houses the Division of Visual Computing. Within the Division is the Digital Production Arts (DPA) Program. This interdisciplinary program collaborates with the Departments of Art and Performing Art, with a significant focus on advanced studios and visualization as a problem-solving tool.
Specific DPA options for game designers include the DPA MFA/MS (MFA DPA/MS DPA) and the DPA Minor. Offered since 2011, the DPA Minor focuses on Games, Visual Effects, and Computer Animation. The Computer Science (CS) BA/BS and a fast-track Computer Science Bachelor’s/Master’s (BS/MS) provide additional opportunities to study game design.
Course examples across programs include Game Theory, Studio Methods for Digital Production 2D Game Engine Construction, Algorithms and Techniques, Visual Foundations of Digital Production, 3D Game Programming: Artificial Intelligence (AI), Physical Modeling and Animation, Advanced 3D Modeling, and Audio Practicum.
Other Computer Science and DPA highlights include visits from representatives of major studios such as DreamWorks, internship opportunities, high-tech classrooms, state-of-the-art production studios and facilities, study abroad experiences, collaboration spaces and participation in the SIGGRAPH Conference. In addition, DPA MFA students have the option to study at the main campus in Clemson or at the Zucker Family Graduate Education Center (ZFGEC) in Charleston, South Carolina. MFA students can attend traditional face-to-face classes or via “real-time” streaming to and from the main campus. DPA MFA students are not required to travel between campuses.
Graduates of the DPA and Computer Science Programs at Clemson University are Game Designers, Animators, Game Programmers, Technical Directors, Software Engineers, 3D Graphics Programmers, Art Directors, and AR/VR designers, among others. Clemson DPA and CS alumni have secured positions with companies such as Google, Disney Animation, Electronic Arts (EA), Blur Studio, Sledgehammer Games, IBM, and CrowdStrike.
Clemson University began as Clemson Agricultural College in 1893. The school serves approximately 27,340 students enrolled in more than 200 degree programs and 90+ minors across seven colleges and a graduate school. Clemson University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
The Cornell Bowers College of Computing and Information Science (CIS) at Cornell University is home to the Computer Science Department, which houses the Computer Science (CS) BS Program. Students in this program have the opportunity to study game design by adding the Game Design Minor. Consisting of a minimum of 18 credit hours, the Minor requires the following courses: Introduction to Computer Game Architecture/Design and Advanced Topics in Computer Game Architecture/Design or Analytics-Driven Game Design.
For the remaining courses, students may choose titles from areas such as Art, Information Science, Psychology, Performing and Media Arts, Music, and Computer Science. Course examples across areas include Screenwriting, Advanced Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Design, Sound Design, Creative Character Design, Interactive computer Graphics, Game Studies and Japan, Communication and Technology, and Novel Interaction Techniques.
CS Majors at Cornell University will explore modeling, programming, and system design, they will learn about applications in computer science and engineering, and perform research in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), computer graphics, computer architecture, machine learning, computer vision, scientific computing, programming languages and compilation, robotics, computational logic, computing systems, and natural language processing. In addition, all CS students have the opportunity to complete an internship and participate in the study abroad program.
Ninety-nine percent of Cornell University CS alumni were either employed (66%) or attending graduate school (33%) shortly after graduating. Some top employers for graduates include Amazon, Google, Tencent, IBM, Meta, Apple, Epic Systems, Microsoft, Snapchat, and Twitter.
Cornell University is a private research university founded in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White. The school opened in 1868 Morrill Hall—the first building constructed on the campus—Morrill Hall. Today, the Cornell University Campus encompasses 608 buildings and more than 2,300 acres. Cornell also has additional campuses in Geneva, NY, New York City, DC, Doha, Qatar, and Rome, Italy. Roughly 10,500 faculty and staff serve more than 25,500 students enrolled in 300+ majors, minors, and graduate fields of study across 16 colleges and schools. Cornell University has been accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) since 1921.
University of Wisconsin – Stout (UW-Stout) has programs for game designers across several colleges, departments, and schools. The College of Arts, Communication, and Social Sciences (CACHSS) houses the School of Art and Design, which serves more than 1,000 students led by 60 faculty members. The largest school of its kind in the entire upper Midwest, CACHSS Art and Design is home to the Design Department, which has a Game Design and Development (GDD) BFA and a cross-disciplinary Design MFA.
The GDD BFA is accredited by the National Association for Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). The Program consists of collaborative studios and hands-on experience gained at UW-Stout labs, studios, and other facilities. Students also gain field experience through study abroad courses in LA and San Francisco, internships, and industry projects with the Jim Henson Company, among others. GDD BFA students will complete a Game Design and Development Capstone and present a final portfolio of their best work at a public exhibition presented by the School of Art and Design.
BFA graduates have been hired at local studios and firms such as Pixel Spill Games, Big John Games, and Finn Daniels Architects. They are Game Designers, 3D Artists, Animators, and Modelers, among others.
The Design MFA in the School of Art and Design allows students to create their own focus area. Examples include Game Design, Interactive Media & UX, Animation and Digital Media, Digital Cinema, Photography, and Video. Graduates of the UW-Stout Design MFA Program have been hired at companies and studios such as DreamWorks Animation, Apple, Shutterfly, and World Architects.
The College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics and Management (CSTEMM) at University of Wisconsin – Stout houses the Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science Department, which has a Computer Science BS with a GDD Concentration. The CS BS consists of a full computer science major, a Mathematics Minor, and the Concentration. A 21 credit hour CS Minor that explores game design, programming languages, web programming, algorithms, and systems architecture is also available. The Minor provides opportunities to engage in Field Experience, Independent Study, or Cooperative (co-op) Education.
The BS in CS/GDD is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET. With a 100% job placement rate, the CS program is the only program of its kind in the world to be accredited by the agency. Serving 2,700 students led by 200 faculty members, the CS program requires co-op industry experience as part of the curriculum. Co-op students earn an average of $16/hour. Other program highlights include graduate research, the opportunity to publish in peer-reviewed papers, and participation in game competitions, exhibitions, film festivals, and game conferences.
Graduates of the UW Stout Computer Science Program are Game Programmers, Game Software Engineers, Mobile Software Engineers, and Software Developers, among others. They work at companies and studios such as HB studios (develops console games for Electronic Arts), Boeing, Degica Japan (publisher of RPG Maker), Lockheed Martin, Concrete Software (mobile games), and Big John Games (developer for Nintendo).
University of Wisconsin – Stout (UW-Stout) was established in 1891 as The Stout Manual Training School. Today, the school one of just 125 polytechnic universities in the U.S. and the only one in the State Wisconsin. Serving approximately 7,700 students, University of Wisconsin-Stout offers 45 undergraduate and 20 graduate programs, many of which are unique to UW-Stout or are not offered anywhere else in the Midwest. University of Wisconsin – Stout is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
The College of Engineering (CENG) at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) is home to the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering, which has several pathways to study game design. All CENG programs provide hands-on learning in a studio-like, collaborative environment that focuses on design- and project-centered coursework.
Degree options include the BS, MS, and Blended BS + MS in Computer Science. Minor options include Computer Science and Computing for Interactive Arts. The CS Minor allows students to specialize in Game Development through electives. The Computing for Interactive Arts Minor is a cross-disciplinary, 40-unit program offered in partnership with the Department of Art and Design in the College of Liberal Arts. MS and Blended BS + MS CS students may specialize in multiple areas or enroll in the Game Development Concentration.
Consisting of 24 credit hours, the Game Development Concentration requires the Video Games & Society, Game Design, Introduction to Mixed Reality, and Interactive Entertainment Engineering courses. Students may choose four credits from Mathematics/Statistics electives and the remaining credits from a variety of areas and to suit their goals. Examples of M/S electives include Game Theory, Introduction to Probability and Simulation, Design and Analysis of Experiments, and Selected Advanced Topics.
Other course options include Artificial Intelligence (AI), Computer Animation, Advanced Rendering Techniques, Real-Time 3D Computer Graphics Software, Media Arts and Technologies: Storytelling, Digital 3D Modeling and Design, Software Engineering, The Art of Mixed Reality, New Media Arts I-II, and Current Topics in Computer Graphics.
The Computer Science Programs at Cal Poly provide access to cooperative education experiences with full- and part-time schedules, internship opportunities, and study abroad programs in 75 countries.
Graduates of the CS Program at California Polytechnic State University have established careers in everything from Game Design and Development to Software Engineering to Animation. Program alumni are frequently recruited by major companies and studios such as DreamWorks, Intel, Electronic Arts (EA), Adobe, Apple, Raytheon, Disney, HP, Google, SUN, IBM, Boeing, Microsoft, Cisco, and Yahoo.
Founded on March 8, 1901, California Polytechnic State University is part of the 23-campus California State University System. With more than 25 centers and institutes, the school sits on 9,000 acres, making it the second largest campus in California and one of the largest in the nation. Cal Poly serves approximately 22,290 students enrolled in more than 150 undergraduate majors and minors as well as 50+ graduate programs across six academic colleges. California Polytechnic State University is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
Students at American University (AU) have the rare opportunity to create their own individualized interdisciplinary programs leading to a bachelor’s degree. AU also provides more than 20 online master’s degree and graduate certificate programs. For game designers seeking an advanced degree, AU has a Games and Interactive Media MFA, a Game Design MA, and a Computer Science MS.
The 54 credit hour Games and Interactive Media MFA is housed in the School of Communication. First-year MFA students will attend the Film & Media Arts Boot Camp in August before their first semester. The Boot Camp focuses on the production process.
The Game Design MA is provided jointly by the School of Communication and the Department of Computer Science in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS). Students in the MA program have the opportunity to select courses across schools and departments. Examples include Political Communication, Web and Mobile Development, Dynamic Content, and Business. The MA requires 21 credits in game design and six in the Master’s Portfolio Capstone. Game Prototyping, Making Meaningful Games, and Game Development are just a few required courses.
Housed in the Department of Computer Science, the MS provides the opportunity to add the Game and Computational Media Track, which explores games, simulation and modeling, media, software engineering, entertainment, artificial intelligence (AI), environments, programming languages, and computer architecture. Internship and research opportunities are also part of the program.
Students in all graduate and interdisciplinary games programs at American University have access to the AU Game Center which explores the use of games in recreation, the media, health, education, the community, politics, and policy. The Game Center also hosts workshops. Students will also obtain real-world experience by working on projects with the AU Game Studio, and with clients such as local studios, non-profit organizations, and government agencies.
Game students at American University also have opportunities to network at DC-area events such as the Global Game Jam, Games+, Indie Arcade at SAAM, and MAGfest.
Founded in 1893, American University provides more than 170 programs across eight colleges and schools to approximately 14,000. AU programs lead to a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree. American University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and it is recognized by the University Senate of the United Methodist Church.
University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC Charlotte) has several options for students seeking a computer science-based game design program. Programs are housed in the College of Computing and Informatics’ Department of Computer Science (CS) and include a Computer Science BS with an AI, Robotics, and Gaming Concentration, a Computer Science with an optional AI, Robotics, and Gaming Concentration, and Game Design and Development (GDD) Certificates at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Coursework for the certificate programs may be used towards the Computer Science BS or MS programs.
Course examples across programs include Game Engine Construction, Advanced Algorithms, Game Design and Development Studio, Advanced Game Design and Development, AI for Computer Games, Individual Study in AI, Robotics, and Gaming, Virtual and Augmented Reality, Applied Machine Learning, Computer Science, Audio Processing for Entertainment Computing, Real-Time Rendering Engines, and Computer Graphics.
The College of Arts and Architecture at UNC Charlotte has an additional option for designers seeking a digital media-based game design program. Housed in the College’s Department of Art and Art History, the Art BFA with a Digital Media Concentration requires advanced studio coursework, which allows students to craft a focus from electives such as Game Design and Graphics, Interactive Art and Design, Advanced 3D Modeling and Digital Fabrication, and 3D Modeling and Animation.
The Art BFA also requires successful completion of the Senior Experience. Totaling nine credit hours, the Experience includes Senior Seminar, Senior Thesis I: Creative Research, and Senior Thesis II: Advanced Creative Practice.
Graduates of the CS/Game Design Programs at University of North Carolina at Charlotte are prepared to pursue positions in fields such as games and entertainment, animation, computer science, art and design, programming, software development, multimedia, advertising, and education.
University of North Carolina at Charlotte is a public research university and the third largest school in the 16-campus University of North Carolina system. Founded in 1946, the school serves approximately 29,550 students enrolled in more than 200 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs across nine colleges. University of North Carolina at Charlotte is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
The Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science at University of Denver (DU) houses the Computer Science Department, which allows students to specialize in just about any area. Other department highlights include small class sizes, coursework in modern software engineering with classes taught by faculty members who are active in research, and access to student-run, synergetic clubs such as the DU Game Developers Society, DU Esports, Women in Technology, and DU Computer Science.
In addition to custom specializations, DU’s Department of Computer Science provides several specific pathways top study game design including BA degrees in Applied Computing and Game Development, BS degrees in Computer Science and Game Development, and both MS and PhD degrees in Computer Science. Course examples across programs include Game Programming, Multimedia Systems, Game Design, Machine Learning, Programming Languages, 3D Modeling, and Operating Systems.
Undergraduate CS programs include a Game Capstone where students work in teams to conceptualize, design, test, and debug an industry-ready game. In addition to learning about the game design process from start to finish, University of Denver CS students will develop group collaboration and researching skills.
Both graduate and undergraduate CS students will have opportunities to participate in experiential learning opportunities, DU’s study abroad and internship programs, and cooperative education. Recent University of Denver internship employers include The Walt Disney Company, Oracle, NBC Universal, Charter Communications, and Ball Aerospace.
Graduates of the Computer Science and Games Programs at University of Denver work in all 50 states and across 145 countries. Program alumni are Game Designers, Game Developers, and Game Programmers, Software Engineers, Multimedia Artists, and Entrepreneurs.
University of Denver was established in 1864 as the Colorado Seminary. Today, the school serves approximately 12,000 graduates and undergraduates enrolled in more than 200 different degree programs across 10 colleges and schools. University of Denver is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Georgia State University (GSU) houses the College of Arts and Sciences, home to the Creative Media Industries Institute (CMII), which has several paths to study game design. Options include a Game Design BA, a Game Development BS, and a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (BIS) with a Concentration in Game Design and Development.
The BA combines the study of art with the development of software platforms for games. The BS explores coding, programming, and software design for students interested in game development or other areas such as app development, animation, and motion graphics. The BIS/Game Design and Development Program has two sequences: one designed for students who are interested in game development and the other for individuals interested in coding games.
Students in all GSU CMII programs have access to the Innovative Media Club, workshops, an advanced motion capture system, and the Georgia Game Developers Association. Students also have opportunities to collaborate with partners such as the Georgia Film Academy and they may participate in the weekly Playtest—an immersive, hourlong gathering that explores game concepts, mechanics, and experiences. Internship opportunities with potential studios such as KontrolFreek – Atlanta and Hi-Rez Studios, are also part of the program.
Graduates of the Georgia State University CMII are prepared to purse positions in Game Design and Development, Game Programming, Game Art, Game Writing, Game Animation, Multimedia, Software Design, Concept Art, Applications Development, Quality Assurance, and Level Design, and other areas fields that require game design and development skills.
Georgia State University was founded in 1913 as the Georgia Institute of Technology's "Evening School of Commerce." Today, GSU consists of six campuses, 12 colleges and schools, and more than 52,000 students from close to 130 nations and territories. GSU provides more than 250 degree programs in 100 fields of study at the school’s Downtown Atlanta Campus alone. The school offers the widest variety of academic programs in the entire state. Georgia State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
The College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) at George Mason University (GMU) was established in 2001. Today, the CVPA provides more than 1,400 majors across four disciplines including Computer Game Design, Film and Video Studies, Art and Visual Technology: Dance, Music, and Theater, and Arts Management. Specific degree programs for game designers include the Computer Game Design BFA and MA. Students can also earn a Computer Game Design Minor, consisting of 15-16 credit hours, or the 18 credit hour Minor in Sport and Computer Game Design, provided jointly by the CVPA and the George Mason University School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism.
The Computer Game Design BFA consists of 120 credit hours of study and a 180-hour internship, including 135 hours on-site. Course examples for the program include Applied Coding for Game Designers, History of Computer Game Design, Three-Dimensional Game Art, Consumer Gaming Platform Analysis Lab, and Story Design for computer Games. BFA students will complete a Portfolio course, which consists of creating and refining a web portfolio to present to faculty and peers, to supplement internship applications, and for professional development.
The Computer Game Design BFA at George Mason University culminates with the Senior Game Design Capstone completed over two courses.
The GMU Computer Game Design MA Program is designed for students who have earned an undergraduate degree in game design or related areas such as technology, arts, or humanities. Students in this program will take courses such as Research Methodologies in Game Design, Game Production, Game Business, Entrepreneurship and Practice, and the Game Design Graduate Seminar. An internship is part of this 36 credit hour program, as well as the opportunity to enhance the degree through electives. Just a few elective options include Game Studio Management, Advanced Music and Sound for Games, Advanced Game Animation, and Interactive Game Systems Design.
All Computer Game Design students at George Mason University have access to the Virginia Serious Game Institute (VSGI). Housed at GMU’s Science and Technology Campus, VSGI focuses on job creation, start-ups, and research. In collaboration with companies, government agencies, and non-profit organizations, VSGI develops research projects in areas such as Cyber-Game education, mobile and wearable game technologies, EdTech Game platform development, AR/VR diagnostic and training solutions, and MedSim.
Also part of GSU’s VSGI is the Mason Game and Technology Academy (MGTA). Founded in 2013, MGTA provides the opportunity to develop skills in game design and programming, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI).
Graduates of the Computer Game Design Programs at George Mason University are prepared to pursue careers in the commercial, entertainment, serious games, education, and the nonprofit sectors. Some Game Design alumni have launched their own studios or freelance businesses, while others have been hired at studios such as Bethesda Softworks, Citadel Studios, Big Huge Games, Ready at Dawn Studios, and Catlilli Games.
Founded in 1949 as a branch of the University of Virginia, George Mason University enrolls 39,510 students from 50 all states and 130 countries, making it the largest public university in the Commonwealth of Virginia. More than 200 degree programs are provided across 11 colleges and schools. George Mason University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
The College of Social & Behavioral Sciences at University of Arizona (UA or UArizona) houses the School of Information (iSchool). Arizona’s only iSchool, the School of Information emphasizes multidisciplinary studies in a collaborative, hands-on learning environment. Program options here include the Game Design & Development BS and a 12 credit hour Games and Simulation Certificate. Course examples across both programs include Game Programming, Machine Learning, Algorithms for Games, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality, Computing and the Arts, and Advanced Game Development.
Students in all iSchool programs have the opportunity to participate in AU’s internship program and/or study abroad in one of more than 60 countries. The internship program provides a connection to local and national companies such as Hydrant, Octavia Digital Media, and the Enterprise Technology Division of State Farm.
Graduates of the iSchool at University of Arizona go on to establish careers in game design and development, digital marketing, and UI/UX design, among others.
University of Arizona has two additional program option for students who would like to establish a career in the emerging field of Games and Behavior or those interested in a humanities-based degree. Programs include the Games and Behavior BA and the BA in Applied Humanities with a Game Studies Emphasis.
In addition to entertainment, the unique Games and Behavior BA program explores game design for health and wellness, education, job training, and social support. Housed in the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences, the Games and Behavior BA explores psychology of play, game design and development, storytelling, audio technologies, and multimedia. Two focus areas allow students to specialize in Art of Games or Game Futures.
Course examples for the Art of Games Focus include Digital Storytelling and Culture, Technology of Sound, and Simulation Design and Development for Complex Problem Solving. Course examples for the Game Futures Focus include Diversity and Bias in Games, Data Mining and Discovery, and Disruptive Technologies. Core courses across both areas include eSports Industries, Gamification in Society, Ethics in a Digital World, and Monetizing Independent Gaming.
Graduates of the University of Arizona Games and Behavior BA Program are prepared to pursue careers in wide variety of fields such as Educational Games, Recreational Games, Digital Marketing, Medical and Simulation Games, and Gamification Design Consulting.
Housed in the College of Humanities, the Applied Studies BA with a Game Studies Emphasis consists of courses such as Introduction to Game Design, Global Video Game Cultures and Their Origins, Video Game Studies: Critical/Cultural Approaches, Introduction to Game Development, Applied Humanities Practice: Techniques and Technologies for Public Enrichment, Video Games as Artifacts: Appreciating Interactive Multimedia Entertainment, and The Video Game Industry: An Introduction to the Business of Making Money with Play. Students will complete an internship, portfolio, and Senior Capstone.
Graduates of the Applied Studies BA with a Game Studies Emphasis are prepared to pursue positions in the Global Game Industry, as well as Game and Media Journalism, Digital Humanities, New Media Policy, Digital Culture Studies, Entrepreneurship, Finance, and Law.
Established in 1885, University of Arizona was the first university in the state. A land-grant institution, UA opened with just a few students. Today, University of Arizona serves approximately 51,135 students, making it one of the state’s largest post-secondary institutions. UArizona offers more than 300 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in 150+ areas of study. Programs are offered across 20 colleges and nearly two dozen specialized schools. University of Arizona is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
The Game Design Department at Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) is home to the Game Design BFA Program, which combines coursework and immersive studios with opportunities to work on real-world projects with partners such as NASA and 360 Alley. The program is also collaborative, so students will have opportunities to work in teams to complete console games, AR/VR content, and mobile apps from start to finish. Team members may come from the CIA Game Design Department or the Computer Gaming Minor Program at Case Western Reserve University.
Through coursework and practice, CIA Game Design students will master game engines such as Unity and Unreal. Course examples for the program include Serious Game Design: Theory + Applications, Game Media Production I-IV, Game Testing + Level Design, Special VFX/Simulation + Virtual Reality, Sound Design Fundamentals, Advanced Digital Sculpting & Modeling, and 3D Texture, Mapping, and Digital Lighting.
Two three-credit courses are dedicated to the Game Design BFA Thesis + Exhibition. This solo project will represent the student’s best work at the CIA Game Design Show. Instead of the Engaged Practice component of the program, which provides the opportunity to work with CIA partners, students may complete an internship with a game production studio, animation studio, or other company.
Graduates of Design BFA Program at Cleveland Institute of Art Game are prepared to pursue positions such as Game Designer, Game Production Lead, Game Programmer, Senior Game Developer, Game Art Director Lead, Visual effects (VFX) Developer, Technical Artist, Animator, Storyboard Artist, Modeler, Layout Artist, and Virtual Reality (VR) Designer.
Cleveland Institute of Art was chartered as the Western Reserve School of Design for Women in 1882. This independent, not-for-profit college serves around 600 students enrolled in 13 entertainment arts, design, fine arts, and craft majors. Cleveland Institute of Art is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).