|1||The Ohio State University||Columbus|
|3||Case Western Reserve University||Cleveland|
|4||Cleveland Institute of Art||Cleveland|
|5||Shawnee State University||Portsmouth|
Our 2019 ranking of the top game design school programs in Ohio. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.
1. The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
Established in 1870 as Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College, The Ohio State University (OSU) serves 68,100 students enrolled in over 200 majors, minors and specializations through hundreds of departments, colleges, and schools and campuses. The school’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) offers BS, MS and PhD degrees in Computer Science with a Specialization in Computer Graphics and Game Design. Ohio State also introduced an interdisciplinary BA program in Moving Image Production in Autumn, 2017.
OSU’s Department of Art offers a BFA in Art and Technology that allows students to “focus on the creative use, misuse, and investigation of technology in an art-making practice,” says the school. Students in the program will “engage the meaning and material of science and technology through the production of interactive installations, electronic objects and interfaces, moving images, 3D modeling and animation, art games, tactical media, bio-art, performance, digital imaging, rapid prototyping, holography, Internet art, sound, and emerging forms.”
The Department of Design offers an MFA with a Digital Animation and Interactive Media (DAIM) Track. The program requires 60 credit hours of study including core design courses (18 credits), thesis project and writing development (15 credits), and open electives in the themes of studio/lab (12 credits), history/theory/criticism (9 credits), and collaborative/interdisciplinary studio (6 credits). “Students work closely with a three-person thesis committee to develop their thesis topics and the vehicles best used for their development.” Most students complete the program within a period of six semesters.
Course highlights include Digital Image Manipulation, Podcasting, Internet Art, 3D Modeling, Holography I and Holography II, Moving Image Art, New Media Art, Computer Animation, and Video Art I and Video Art II.
Students in all programs utilize state of the art facilities, equipment, and interdisciplinary expertise in the school’s many special labs, including the world class Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD).
2. Miami University, Oxford, Ohio
Miami University was founded in 1809. The school serves around 24,500 students across one main campus (Oxford, Ohio), three regional campuses in Hamilton, Middletown, and West Chester, Ohio, and the European Center in Luxembourg. Miami offers bachelor's degrees in over 120 areas of study and graduate students choose from more than 60 master's and doctoral degree programs. Several associate's degrees as well as bachelor's degrees are offered through study at the regional locations.
The school consists of seven colleges, including the College of Creative Arts, which houses the Armstrong Institute for Interactive Media Studies (AIMS). This cross-disciplinary institute “works with students and faculty from across Miami University offering undergraduate, graduate certificate and graduate programs exploring the intersection of technology, design business and how digital technology is transforming traditional areas of inquiry.” Program options for aspiring game designers include a BS in Games + Simulation and a Game Minor.
The BS in Games + Simulation offers three concentrations: Game Art, Game Development, and Game Studies. Per the school, the program “provides students with an interdisciplinary plan of study covering all aspects of creating and interpreting games. With a focus on making and praxis, the BS in Games + Simulation prepares students for a career or graduate study in game design, development, 3D modeling, creative development, writing or designing, esports, and games in other industries, all while encouraging students to take creative risks, to build things, and to think critically about audiences, narratives, and aesthetics.”
The internship component of the program allows students to gain hands-on experience at a local game design studio or other company. Miami University’s location offers access to a number of studios such as Wraith Games, SGM Games, Max Gaming Technologies, Green Door Games, and many others.
3. Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio
Established in 1826, Case Western Reserve University (Case) serves more than 11,800 students from the U.S. and 81 other countries. The university consists of nine colleges and schools that offer nearly 95 undergraduate degree choices, about 135 graduate and professional options, and almost 140 dual-degree programs. In addition, Case has 100 interdisciplinary academic and research centers and institutes.
The school houses the Case School of Engineering, which has a number of degree options for aspiring game designers. Offerings are part of the Computer Science Program and include BA, BS, BA/MS, and BS/MS degrees in Computer Science. The programs require five technical electives, so there are opportunities to take a variety of game courses. Course highlights include Introduction to Computer Game Design and Implementation, Programming in Java, and Software Engineering. An Advanced Game Development project is part of the program and students can also add a Minor in Computer Gaming or Artificial Intelligence.
4. Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, Ohio
Established in 1882, Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) is an independent college of art and design that serves 670 students from around the globe. The school offers 15 majors in Art, Craft, Design, and Interactive Media. Per the school, programs for aspiring game designers include a BFA in Game Design that focuses on collaboration and “mentoring by accomplished experts in digital media and game design, who will help students build connections and network with other professionals in the field.”
Game students at CIA work with “innovative production processes” including game production, 3D modeling, animation, programming, visual design, interactive storytelling, and audio, as well as theory, criticism, and context of video game culture and digital media. “While creating interesting and usable content, students build character development skills through coursework that analyzes and synthesizes physical, cognitive, cultural, and political aspects of human interaction.”
Course highlights include Game Production I-IV, Serious Game Design: Theory + Applications, Special VFX/Simulation + Virtual Reality, Game Testing + Level Design, and 3D Texture, Mapping, Digital Lighting. Students will also complete the BFA Research + Preparation course, the BFA Thesis + Exhibition, and the Game Design Internship course worth three elective credits upon approval by the Department Chair.
Graduates of the CIA Game Design Program are prepared to seek positions such as Game Designer, Storyboard Artist, Animator, Layout Artist, Visual Effects Supervisor, and many others.
5. Shawnee State University, Portsmouth, Ohio
Established in 1986, Shawnee State University (SSU) serves 3,800 students enrolled in 80 bachelor’s and associate degree programs as well as several master’s degree programs. It houses the Fine, Digital and Performing Arts Department, which offers several for aspiring game designers. Options include a BFA in Game & Simulation, a BS in Digital Simulation and Gaming Engineering Technology, and Minors in Digital Simulation and Gaming Engineering Technology.
Per the school, the BFA program focuses on 3D animation, character design, and interface design. “The curriculum enhances the classroom theory behind video game design with two unique value-added resources: a state-of-the-art Motion Capture Studio Lab and the annual Art & Technology Game Conference.” Students will also “acquire practical experience through participation in a joint senior project in the Game Engineering program,” which the school says will build up their skills in animation, art asset development, game design and motion capture.
To enhance the degree, students will have the opportunity to choose a Minor in Gaming Arts, Sound Design, Studio Arts, or Art History. Upon completion of the 122 credit hour BFA, graduates will be prepared to seek positions in all areas of game development and design, simulation, and more.
The BS curriculum focuses on computer science, programming and graphics programming, supplemented by courses in art, design, math and physics. “The degree curriculum also works closely with Shawnee State’s Gaming & Simulation Arts program,” providing the “knowledge and tools for transforming ideas, art, sound, animation and music into actual working games and simulations.”
Students in the BS program also have access to the Motion Capture Studio Lab and the opportunity to participate in the Annual Art & Technology Game Conference. Hosted by Shawnee State, this interactive digital technology conference attracts game developers, students, and industry leaders from all over the country.