What are the top Maryland game design programs for 2024?

Top Maryland Game Design Schools and Colleges - 2024 College Rankings
1University of Maryland, Baltimore CountyBaltimore
2Maryland Institute College of ArtBaltimore
3University of BaltimoreBaltimore

Our 2024 ranking of the top game design school programs in Maryland. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

1. University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, Maryland
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) is home to the ABET-accredited College of Engineering and Information Technology. Within the college is the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering (CSEE) Department, which houses the Computer Science (CMSC) program. Leading to a BS, the CMSC program has a Game Development track that prepares students for careers in technical positions in the games industry. 

The CMSC BS requires 120 credit hours, with 78 in the major, and multiple group games projects. Course examples for the program include Game User Interface Programming; Software Engineering; Computer Graphics for Games; Parallel Processing; Animation; Graphical User Interface Programming; Introduction to Robotics; Advanced Computer Graphics; and Artificial Intelligence (AI). 

Graduates of UMBC's CMSC/Game Development program are prepared to pursue careers in the game design and development industry; animation, film, and television;  advertising and marketing; simulations, education, and healthcare; and visualization and architecture, among others. 

Program alumni have gone on to work at companies and studios such as Epic Games, Zynga, Bethesda Softworks, Firaxis Games, Zynga, AMD, ZeniMax, Organic Motion, Breakaway Games, Emergent, and Stardock. 

University of Maryland, Baltimore County was established as member of the University System of Maryland in 1966. The school serves 14,000 students enrolled in more than 200 degree, minor, and certificate programs across seven colleges and schools. The University of Maryland Baltimore County is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

2. Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Maryland
Maryland Institute College of Art

Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is home to the Game Lab, which hosts events and assists students with making games. The MICA Game Lab also houses the Game Design program. For students seeking a degree, the Lab runs the Game Design BFA. For students in other majors, the Lab has a Game Design minor that requires 15 credit hours. 

Students in the minor will take Game/Play and Introduction to Unity Engine: 2D Game Design. To reach 15 credits, students will select three courses from a list of eight. Examples include Advanced 3D Game Design; Level & Player Experience Design; Sound for Games; Narrative Design; and Installation Games. 

The Game Design BFA at MICA requires 120 credit hours of study, including 21 credit hours of studio electives, and the option to complete an internship or undergraduate teaching assistantship. In Senior Studio I-II, students will complete a professional game. Other course examples for the program include New Media 4D; Game Design Special Topics; Unity Engine 2: Advanced 2D Game Design; Ways of Seeing; Level & Player Experience Design; Game/Play; Fabrication (3D); and Narrative Design. 

Across programs, students benefit from potential partners such as regional game companies, including Big Huge Games and Firaxis; the Computer Science Department at Johns Hopkins University's Whiting School of Engineering; Come Out and Play, an annual international festival for big and experimental games; the Institute of Play, a New York City-based organization for the research and development of games as teaching tools; and MICA's Center for Design Practice. 

Other program benefits include access to state-of-the-art labs, studios, and equipment; visiting artists and lecturers; and participation in semester and summer study abroad programs. Graduates are prepared to pursue positions in all fields such as digital and traditional game design, science and medicine, museums, education, healthcare, architecture, and advertising. 

Maryland Institute College of Art alumni also go on to pursue graduate study or launch their own studios and freelance businesses. MICA alumni work at places such as Google, Big Huge Games, Firaxis Games, Sparkypants, and Cooper-Hewit National Design Museum. 

Maryland Institute College of Art has an additional program for students interested in a degree that will allow them to work on creations that integrate art with technology. The BFA in Interactive Arts (IA) explores games, building robots, working with VR/AR, and experience design. Examples of games-related courses for the program include Creative Coding; Experience Design: Concepts and Tools; Network Art; Unity3D For Artists; Interactive Spaces; Immersive Experience Lab; Interactive Fiction; and Immersive/Interactive Studio. Students will also gain professional experience through an internship. Some majors have completed internships at Discovery Communications; The Smithsonian; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Digital Harbor Foundation; and CODE2040.

The culminating experience for MICA Interactive Arts BFA program is Senior Thesis: Visual Development. In this three-credit course, students will prepare a final body of work to be produced through the Game Design, Animation, or Illustration departments. Throughout the course, students will work individually and with peers to create projects; they will interact with visiting artists, critics, and lecturers; and take field trips to places of interest. Final projects will be reviewed in individual and group critiques. 

Graduates of the Interactive Arts BFA program at Maryland Institute College of Art are prepared to pursue careers in the games industry, interactive design, and fine art. Some graduates go on to start their own businesses such as Brinkbit and Friends of the Web. Others go on to establish careers with a wide range of firms, agencies, and studios.  

Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art is the nation’s oldest independent, continuously degree-granting college of art and design. The school serves approximately 2,100 students from 45 states and 53 foreign countries. Programs at MICA lead to a BFA, MA, MFA, MBA, MPS degree, or post-baccalaureate certificate. Around 40% of students are Fine Arts majors, and 60% are Design and Media Arts majors. Maryland Institute College of Art is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

3. University of Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland
University of Baltimore

University of Baltimore (UBalt) is home to Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences, which houses the GameLab. Founded in 2014 by Sujan Shrestha and funded by The University of Baltimore Foundation, the GameLab is an educational research facility that explores the relationships between media, games, and society. The GameLab, which hosts art exhibitions, visiting artists, and workshops, is a complement to the UBalt Simulation and Game Design BS. 

Established in 2003 and serving more than 120 students at UBalt and the Universities at Shady Grove in Rockville, the Simulation and Game Design BS is the oldest and largest game design program in Maryland. The program has two specializations: Coding & Development, and Technical Art. Students in both concentrations will study design of multiplayer games, computer programming, games in education, applied game design theory, usability design, and 3D modeling and animation. 

UBalt Game Design BS students may add an additional minor or enroll in the accelerated option, which provides the opportunity to take up to nine graduate credits to apply towards the school's Interaction Design and Information Architecture MS. The 36 credit hour MS prepares students for leadership positions such as Senior Interaction Designer, Creative Director, Senior Multimedia Developer, User-Experience Manager, and User Research Manager. 

Minor examples include Web Development, Entrepreneurship, Mobile Application and Development, and Business Management. The Simulation and Game Design BS Program at University of Baltimore culminates with an immersive Capstone Project that allows students to create a professional game or other creative work. 

Graduates of the BS and MS programs at University of Baltimore have been hired at places such as Google, Amazon, Fastspot Creative Agency, Instagram, Meta, Mindgrub Technologies, and idfive Agency. 

University of Baltimore was founded in 1925 as a private, coeducational night School of Law and College of Business Administration. Today, as a member of the University System of Maryland (USM), UBalt is a public institution that serves 3,710 students enrolled in 70 programs across four colleges and schools.  University of Baltimore is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).