What are the top game design programs in Colorado for 2020?

Top Colorado Game Design Schools - 2020 College Rankings
1University of DenverDenver
2Rocky Mountain College of Art and DesignDenver
3University of Colorado at Colorado SpringsColorado Springs

Our 2020 ranking of the top game design school programs in Colorado. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

1. University of Denver, Denver, Colorado
University of Denver

Founded in 1864, University of Denver (DU) serves 11,600 students enrolled in more than 200 programs across eight undergraduate schools and colleges and 14 graduate schools and colleges. Just a few include the Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science, University College, the Division of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Daniels College of Business, and Josef Korbel School of International Studies.

The Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science offers a BA or BS in Game Development. The program is a joint effort between Computer Science, Emergent Digital Practices, and Art, each with specific requirements. The BA requires a double major, one in Game Development and one in either Digital Media Studies, Electronic Media Art Design or Studio Art.

Per the school, the program is “designed to allow students to bridge the gap between game programming and art, allowing the broadest range of opportunities throughout the field as developers, designers and artists.” Students receive “intensive instruction in computer science, graphics and programming skills in order to develop the technical know-how to make [their] ideas real.”

The program requires “more courses in the allied art fields than the BS, and is balanced by having fewer required Math and Computer Science courses.” Graduates of this program will be able to study and work as a developer, game designer, and artist.

The BS requires a Minor in Mathematics, and a second art-related Minor. A cognate of five approved classes from Art and Emergent Digital Practices is also required. A heavy focus is placed in on developing computer science and programming skills, while building a strong foundation in the artistic, critical, and design elements of games. Students will have the option to “focus either on the appreciation, understanding and production of art, or on the critical, technical and design elements of digital media.”

Graduates of the BS program will be prepared to seek positions in game development and “effectively collaborate with artists and others throughout the development process.”

Students in both programs have access to study abroad and travel opportunities, as well as internships and cooperative education opportunities.

2. Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, Denver, Colorado
Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design

In 1963, well-known illustrator and educator Philip J. Steele founded Rocky Mountain School of Art, which later became Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design (RMCAD). The school serves 760 students enrolled in 16 degree and certificate programs offered in campus/hybrid and online formats. Programs for aspiring game designers include a BFA in Game Art.

The school says the Game Art curriculum “is a merger of technical and artistic coursework that covers the computer, analytical, and technical skills necessary to understand the mechanics of game design.” Students will also be introduced to everything from the different aspects of graphic design to creative and technical writing.” Requirements for the 123 credit hour program include 16 Art History credits, 30 Liberal Arts credits, 24 Foundations credits, 48 Core credits, and six Studio Elective credits.

Course highlights include Digital Painting for Film + Games, Game Animation + Motion Capture, Game Creation Fundamentals, Game Particles + Effects, 3D Modeling, 3D Computer Animation Motion Studies, Visual Storytelling, Lighting & Texture, Business Ethics & Copyrights, and Character + Level Design.

Other program highlights include small class sizes, a collaborative environment that allows students to interact with students from different programs, and professors working in the field.  

The BFA in Game Art prepares graduates for careers such as Game Designer, Concept Artist, 3D Character Modeler, Motion Graphics Designer, Rigger Animator, and Interactive Media Designer, to name a few.

3. University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs, Colorado
University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS) serves around 17,000 students (unduplicated headcount) enrolled in 45 bachelors, 22 masters, and five doctoral degree programs across seven colleges and schools. In addition to Engineering, schools include Letters, Arts, and Sciences, Business Administration, Education, Public Affairs, Nursing & Health Sciences, and the Graduate School.

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS) is home to the College of Engineering and Applied Science (EAS). The College offers a unique degree program for game designers called the Bachelor of Innovation (BI) in Game Design and Development (GDD). Offered since 2007, the BI in Game Design and Development consists of a 30-credit GDD core that works out to be about 70 percent programming and 30 percent design/prototyping. Students in the program may choose 15 credits of concentration electives tailored to their special interests. Concentration electives typically work out to 60 percent programming and 40 percent design/prototyping.

The College of Engineering and Applied Science also offers an MS in Computer Science with a Games and Media Integration Option and a Minor in Game Design and Development. The Games and Media Integration option is an interdisciplinary degree that gives students a firm foundation in pursuing research and development in the area of games, animation and movie making, VR/HCI, complex systems, and wearable computing.

The Minor is a 21 credit hour program for students with strong programming skills. This means, students often come from EAS. Sample courses for the program include Data Structures and Algorithms, Game Development, Advanced 3D Games and Digital Content Creation, and Object-Oriented Programming Using C++.

Graduates of the Game Programs at UCCS EAS are prepared to form their own companies, join established game development companies or pursue traditional programming employment opportunities. Graduates may also pursue careers in areas such as simulation and training games, educational games, games for healthcare, and more.