What is the top Virginia game design program for 2023?

Top Virginia Game Design Schools - 2023 College Rankings
1George Mason UniversityFairfax

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

1. George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia
George Mason University

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).