What are the top Indiana game design programs for 2023?

Top Indiana Game Design Schools - 2023 College Rankings
1Purdue UniversityWest Lafayette
2Indiana University, BloomingtonBloomington
3Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis Indianapolis

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

1. Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
Purdue University

Purdue University is home to Purdue Polytechnic Institute (formerly the College of Technology), which houses the Department of Computer Graphics Technology (CGT) and the Game Design Programs. Degree options include a CGT BS with a Game Development and Design Major, a CGT MS, and a Technology PhD T.

The CGT BS provides a STEM-based curriculum, coursework that covers game design, programming, rendering, animation, and visualization, and immersive, collaborative projects with peers and professors. Past final projects have focused on games utilization in entertainment; sustainable energy, medicine, and therapy; and information visualization, among others. CGT BS graduates are Game Designers, Animators, and Technical artists at major studios such as Electronic Arts (EA), Riot Games, Zynga, and Volition, Inc.

The CGT MS at Purdue Polytechnic has four specialization areas including Games, Animation, Information Visualization, and UX Design. Graduate students may also customize a plan of study to meet their professional goals. The program offers small class sizes, research opportunities, and the chance to work on real-world projects. Graduates are Game Developers, UX Designers, and Technical Directors at places such as Google, DreamWorks, Salesforce, and Deloitte.

The Technology PhD Program at Purdue University allows a minimum of 30 credit hours to be taken in a custom specialization, along with 27 credit hours from any Purdue college or school other than Purdue Polytechnic. Courses may come from computer science, engineering, art and design, instructional technology, quality, and many other areas. PhD students must complete a Thesis to graduate. Program alumni are Designers, Educators, Researchers, Entrepreneurs, and Artists.

Founded in 1869, Purdue University began classes in 1874 with six instructors and just 39 students. Today, the school serves approximately 50,885 students, with around 5,600 enrolled in Purdue Polytechnic Institute. Founded in 1964 as Purdue University’s School of Technology, Purdue Polytechnic houses seven departments and schools offering dozens of technology-centered programs. Purdue University offers more than 400 programs across 10 colleges and schools. Purdue is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

2. Indiana University Bloomington, Bloomington, Indiana
Indiana University

Indiana University Bloomington (IU Bloomington) provides several pathways to study game design. Programs are housed in Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering (Department of Computer Science), and The Media School, which is part of the College of Arts and Sciences.

The Luddy School Department of Computer Science serves 950 students enrolled in 11 programs at all degree levels. Students seeking an undergraduate degree can earn a BS in Computer Science (CSCIBS) with a Game Development Specialization. The School also houses a distinctive Minor in Animal-Computer Interaction, which includes courses such as Game Art and Sound, Game Development, and  Game Programming. A CS BA is also conferred from IU Bloomington’s College of Arts and Sciences.

The Media School at Indiana University Bloomington is a multidisciplinary division that attracts students seeking careers in game programming, animation, sound production, music composition, or graphic design for multimedia. Students in all Media School programs have the opportunity to select elective courses from the Luddy School, Architecture and Design, Jacobs School of Music, and Eskenazi School of Art. Specific program options suitable for game designers include the Game Design BS and Minor, the Media BA, and a New Media and Interactive Storytelling Certificate.

Media BA students may pursue a Concentration such as Media Technologies, Games and Culture; Interactive and Digital Media; or Media Science. Students may also pursue a Media Specialization such as Game Art, Game Production, or Game Audio. Concentrations consist of five courses. Specializations consist of at least three courses.

Course examples across concentrations include Game Technology, Digital Media, Game Production, Cultures, Games, Culture, and Society, Media Technology and Difference, Game Experience Design, Media Technologies and Culture I-II, Game Art and Sound, Narrative Design, Story Lab, and Animation for Digital Media. Course examples across specializations include Game Art and Sound, Game Character Art, Game Environment Art, Game Design, Game Analytics, The Videogame Industry: Systems and Management, Sound for Games and Playable Media, Game Experience Design, Game Production, Introduction to Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) and Computer Music, and Sound Design.

Game Design BS students at Indiana University Bloomington will work their way through a mix of seminars, hands-on production classes, and a three-semester workshop modeled after professional game studios. Across Game Workshop I, II and III, students will work in teams to develop a game prototype, produce a demo, and publish an original game.

Elective areas are available for students who would like to design an area of expertise. Areas include Design: Games and Mind, Programming, Art, Sound, Design: Game Design Theory, and Management, Advertising, and Public Relations.

Upper division Game Design students will work their way through the Game Workshop Sequence, which includes three workshops: Prototype, Demo, and Publish. Modeled after game studios, the sequence ends with an industry-ready published game.

Students in all IU Bloomington Game Design and Media Programs have access to [email protected]. This student-run organization provides hands-on experience for student game designers. Highlights include the opportunity to collaborate on game design projects, workshops, and participation in game jams. Game design students can also gain valuable hands-on experience through the Indiana University Bloomington Internship Program. Students have interned everywhere from General Motors to Google.

Graduates of the Game Design and Media Programs at Indiana University Bloomington are prepared to compete for positions such as Game Designer, Game Artist, World Designer, Game Developer, Creative Director, Software Developer, and Animator. Potential employer’s include Blizzard Entertainment, Zynga, Electronic Arts (EA), and Ubisoft.

Established in 1820, Indiana University Bloomington was one of the first public universities west of the Allegheny Mountains and one of the first universities to admit women. The school serves more than 71,000 students enrolled in 930+ academic programs across seven campuses and two regional centers. Indiana University Bloomington is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

3. Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis (IUPUI), Indianapolis, Indiana
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

Luddy School of Informatics, Computing & Engineering at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) has several pathways to study games. Options include the Media Arts and Science (MAS) BS with a Game Design & Development Specialization, a Game Design and Development Minor, and a five-year MAS BS/Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) MS Program.

The IUPUI MAS BS with a Specialization in Game Design & Development provides access to the Media Arts and Science Research and Learning Arcade (MARLA), where students have the opportunity to work in teams to complete hands-on game development projects that explore game testing, digital animation and sound, concept art, experience technology, scriptwriting, and more. The program also features an endless number of game design courses. Examples include Creature and Character Design for Videogames, Comics, Film, and Animation, Serious Games and Simulations, Digital Storytelling, Game Production, Game Testing and Evaluation, Virtual World Design and Development, and Game On! A History of Video Games.

The HCI Program at Luddy IUPUI provides opportunities for students to develop skills that are in high demand in information technology, the Internet of Things, and Voice Recognition. MAS BS/HCI MS students will also develop skills in areas such as 3D simulations, gaming, video, and web design. In addition to the MAS BS courses listed earlier, course examples include Interaction Design Methods, Programming for Interaction Designers, Experience Design for Ubiquitous Computing, Visualization Design and Analysis, Prototyping for Interactive Systems, UX Design Ethics, and Tangible and Embodied Interaction. Open electives allow students to focus in an additional area of interest.

In the Luddy IUPUI Game Design and Development Minor, students will learn to create 2D and 3D games using Unity and Unreal 4. Consisting of 15-16 credit hours, the program features courses such as Game Design Psychology: Theory and Prototyping, Game Design and Development, Virtual World Design and Development, Serious Games and Simulations, and Game Production.  

Upon completion of the IUPUI Game Design and Development Minor, students are prepared to pursue positions such as Video Game Designer, Level Designer, Unity 3D Game Developer, Creative Director, Unreal 4 Game Developer, World Designer, and Sound Designer for Games. Graduates will have the skills required to compete for jobs at major studios and companies around the world.

Graduates of the MAS and HCI Programs at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis have been recruited by Rockstar Games, Gearbox Software, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Blizzard Entertainment, Pixar, Digital Domain, Moving Picture Company (MPC), Google-owned Owlchemy Labs, Pipeworks Studios, HTC Corporation, 4A Games, and Treyarch (owned by Activision), among others.

Indiana University (est. 1820) and Purdue University (est. 1869) merged in 1969 to create what is known today as Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). The school serves approximately 27,690 students enrolled in more than 550 degrees and majors across 17 degree-granting schools. Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).