What is the top Virginia game design program for 2024?

Top Virginia Game Design Schools and Colleges - 2024 College Rankings
1George Mason UniversityFairfax

Our 2024 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

George Mason University has several paths to study game design. Programs are housed in the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) and the College of Engineering and Computing (CEC) Established in 2001 and accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the CVPA has BFA, MA, and minor options in Computer Game Design. A Sport and Computer Game Design minor is also available. The CEC School of Computing-Department of Computer Science has an Applied Computer Science BS program with a Computer Game Design concentration.

The Computer Game Design BFA at George Mason University consists of 120 credit hours of study including 10 in the Mason Core, and 51-52 in the major. Non-specific core requirements, along with digital media, visual arts, and general electives make up the remaining credits. The Mason core consists of courses such as New Media in the Creative Arts and Physics and Everyday Phenomena. 

Major course examples include Digital Game Design; Applied Coding for Game Designers; RS: Story Design for Computer Games; Gameplay Scripting Implementation; Computer Game Platform Analysis and Lab; and Advanced Game Design Studio. Elective examples include Digital Painting for Games; Advanced Game Animation; Drawing I and II; Video Art; and 2D and 3D Experimental Animation. 

All Computer Game Design BFA students will complete an internship totaling 180 hours, including 135 on-site. A Portfolio course is also required. This one credit course consists of creating and refining a web portfolio for class projects and presentations, and to aid in internship applications and professional development. 

The Computer Game Design BFA at George Mason University culminates with the Senior Game Design Capstone, which consists of a case study and public lecture. 

The Computer Game Design minor provides courses in game design and development, game animation, and game sound and music. Students in this 15-credit hour program may also select from four emphasis areas including Game Art, Game Audio, Game Scripting, and General Design. 

Provided jointly by the CVPA and the George Mason University School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism, the Sport and Computer Game Design minor provides foundation in sport management, the sports industry, and computer game design. Required courses for this 18-credit hour program include Basic Game Design and Introduction to Sport Management.

Students can select the remaining four courses from electives. Examples include Digital Game Design; Computer Game Platform Analysis; History of Computer Game Design; Online and Mobile Gaming; Psychology of Sport; Three-Dimensional Game Art; and Sport, Culture, and Society. Students in both minor programs have access to the same facilities, labs, and resources provided through the GMU CVPA. 

The Computer Game Design MA program at George Mason University 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 technology sector, and in the commercial, entertainment, serious games, education, and nonprofit arenas. Some program alumni have launched their own studios or freelance businesses, while others have been hired at studios such as Bethesda Softworks, Big Huge Games, CatHill Games, Ready at Dawn Studios, and Citadel Studios. 

Founded in 1949 as a branch of the University of Virginia, George Mason University serves more than 40,000 students, 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).