What is the top Tennessee game design program for 2023?

Top Tennessee Game Design Schools - 2023 College Rankings
1East Tennessee State UniversityJohnson City

Our 2023 ranking of the top game design school program in Tennessee. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

1. East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee
East Tennessee State University

The College of Business and Technology at East Tennessee State University (ETSU) is home to the Digital Media Department, which has a Digital Media Major and Minor for students interested in studying games. Leading to a BS, the Digital Media Major has four concentration options: Digital Game Design, Digital Visual Effects, Digital Animation, and Digital Visualization. The Digital Media Minor provides the opportunity to develop skills in all four areas. 

Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the Digital Media Department at East Tennessee University provides courses taught by industry professionals, immersive, hands-on studio work, and access to state-of-the-art labs, production facilities, and equipment. The Department has around 300 students who work together through four years of study to create productions, games, or other works. This includes the final Portfolio Development for Digital Media course.

For students seeking an advanced degree, ETSU’s Digital Media Department has a Digital Media MFA designed for students with bachelor’s degrees in game design, animation, visual effects (VFX), and other related areas. The program allows students to select their own specialization and work in teams on digital media projects for internal and external clients. Six credit hours are dedicated to experimenting with new technologies (Experimental Media I & II), and twelve credit hours are dedicated to the Culminating Experience (DIGM 5970) where students will work solo to further develop and finalize a professional body of work for peer and faculty review.

Graduates of the Digital Media Programs at East Tennessee University are Game Developers, Game Level Designers, Game Animators, Visual Effects (VFX) Artists, Cinematographers, Visualization Artists, and Entertainment Modelers at studios and for software developers such as Luma Pictures, CBS, Red Storm Entertainment (a Ubisoft studio), Idol Minds, Vicious Cycle, Deep Silver Volition, and RTT Detroit.

Digital Media Program alumni have been credited on films and games such as Thor, World of Warcraft The Walking Dead, Halo 5, Kung Fu Panda III, The Last Jedi, The Peanuts Movie, Guitar Hero, Avatar, The Incredible Hulk, The Avengers, TMNT II, Lord of the Rings, and Ice Age: Continental Drift.


East Tennessee State University was established in 1911 as East Tennessee State Normal School. The school serves approximately 13,740 students enrolled in more than 140 academic programs leading to degrees at all levels. ETSU programs are housed across eleven colleges and schools, and two campuses. East Tennessee State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).