What is the top game design program in Washington DC for 2024?

Top Washington DC Game Design Schools and College - 2024 College Rankings
1American UniversityDC

Our 2024 ranking of the top game design school program in the District of Columbia. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

1. American University, Washington, D.C.
American University

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. 

For students seeking a non-degree program, American University has a Game Design Certificate. Housed in the School of Communication, this 15-credit hour program combines game design and game development studies. Required courses include Game Prototyping; Games, History, and Society; Game Development I; and Game Research Methods. Students will select the remaining three credits from 10 carefully curated elective courses. Examples include Game Development II; Making Meaningful Games; 3D Modeling for Games; Training Program Design; 3D Animation; and Digital Art Tools and Techniques. 

The Games and Interactive Media MFA is also 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. Course examples for this 54-credit hour program include Game Research Methods; Game Prototyping; Writing for Interactivity; and Game Development I and II. MFA students will also compete a six-credit hour Internship in Game Design and a six credit Master’s Portfolio Capstone. 

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 has a specialization in Game and Computational Media. In the specialization, students will explore games, simulation and modeling, media, software engineering, entertainment, artificial intelligence (AI), environments, programming languages, and computer architecture. Course examples include Game Programming; Game Prototyping; User Interface Analysis and Design; Game Development II; and Computer Vision. 

All students in the Computer Science MS program at American University have the opportunity to complete an internship and participate in collaborative research projects.  

Across all programs, students 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, and all participating students will obtain real-world experience by working on projects with the AU Game Studio, and clients including 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. 

As part of AU, graduates of the Computer Science and Games programs enjoy a 90% success rate (working, graduate school, or both). American University graduates have been hired at places such as Amazon Studios, Disney, Google, NBC Universal, EPIC, Ogilvy, CNN, Zenith Media, BlueShark Digital, ESPN, Foursquare, FOX, IBM, Meta, 4media Group, A+G Digital, SBD Digital, and Acronym Media. 

American University was established on February 24, 1893. Serving approximately 14,000 students, AU provides more than 170 programs across eight colleges and schools. 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.