What are the top game design programs in North Carolina for 2022?

Top North Carolina Game Design Schools - 2022 College Rankings
1North Carolina State UniversityRaleigh
2University of North Carolina—CharlotteCharlotte

Our 2022 ranking of the top game design school programs in North Carolina. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

1. North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina
North Carolina State University

The College of Engineering at North Carolina State University (NC State University) houses the Department of Computer Science, which has a Game Development Track in the Computer Science (CSC) Program. The undergraduate program leads to a BS. For designers looking to earn a CSC BS and MS in a short amount of time, an accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s (ABM) degree is available.

Students in all CSC programs have access to The Digital Games Research center (DGRc). Launched in May 2007, The DGRc engages in education and research in games and games technologies. In a collaborative environment, students can work on projects with game developers and games studio teams that focus on everything from mobile games to artificial intelligence (AI). Thanks to partnerships and licensing agreements with engine providers and game studios, NC State University graduates are often hired by local game companies.

Other DGRc highlights include access to the new Games and Visual Narrative Suite, the Visual Narrative Initiative (VNI)— a research cluster established in 2015, and participation in the Game Developers Conference and Games and Visual Narratives Showcase.

North Carolina State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). With more than 36,000 students and 9,000 faculty and staff members, NC State University is the largest university in the University of North Carolina System. Established in 1887, North Carolina State University offers more than 300 degree programs in 11 colleges and over 60 academic departments.

2. University of North Carolina—Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina
University of North Carolina—Charlotte

The Department of Computer Science (CS) at the University of North Carolina—Charlotte (UNC Charlotte) has several options for individuals seeking a CS-based game design program. Housed in the College of Computing and Informatics, programs include a BS in CS, AI, Robotics, and Gaming, an MS in CS with an optional AI, Robotics, and Gaming Concentration, and Game Design and Development (GDD) Certificates at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Coursework for the certificate programs may be used towards the BS or MS in CS programs.

Course examples across programs include Computer Science, AI for Computer Games, Virtual and Augmented Reality, Applied Machine Learning, Game Engine Construction, Game Design and Development Studio, Advanced Game Design and Development, Audio Processing for Entertainment Computing, Real-Time Rendering Engines, Individual Study in AI, Robotics, and Gaming, Computer Graphics, and Advanced Algorithms. 

The College of Arts and Architecture has another option for designers seeking a digital media-based game design program. Offered in the college’s Department of Art and Art History, the BFA in Art with a Digital Media Concentration requires advanced studio coursework, which allows students to craft a focus from electives such as Game Design and Graphics, 3D Modeling and Animation, Interactive Art and Design, and Advanced 3D Modeling and Digital Fabrication. The BFA also requires successful completion of the Senior Experience. Totaling nine credit hours, the Experience includes Senior Seminar, Senior Thesis I: Creative Research, and Senior Thesis II: Advanced Creative Practice.

Graduates of the design programs at University of North Carolina—Charlotte are prepared to pursue position in art and design, games and entertainment, animation, computer science, programming, software development, advertising, education, multimedia, and many other areas.

University of North Carolina—Charlotte is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Established in 1946 as college for returning veterans, the school had just 278 students when it opened. Today, UNC Charlotte serves around 30,150 students more than 250 programs in seven colleges.