What are the top game design programs in South Carolina for 2021?

Top South Carolina Game Design Schools - 2021 College Rankings
1Clemson UniversityClemson
2University of South CarolinaColumbia

Our 2021 ranking of the top game design school programs in South Carolina. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

1. Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina
Clemson University

Clemson University began as Clemson Agricultural College in 1893. On the day it opened, the school welcomed 446 male students. Today, the Clemson serves a coeducational population of nearly 26,000 students enrolled in more than 290 majors, minors, and graduate degree programs in more than a dozen colleges and schools.

The College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences houses the School of Computing, which offers 10 degree programs and two minors. Among these programs are BA and BS degrees in Computer Science, an MFA and MS in Digital Production Arts (MFA DPA or MS DPA), and a fast-track Bachelor’s/Master’s (BS/MS) in Computer Science.

In addition to Game Design, students in the Computer Science programs will take courses such as Algorithms and Data Structures, Computer Graphics, Computer Security, Network Programming, and Software Engineering.

Launched in 2017, the MS DPA is offered within the Division of Visual Computing in the School of Computing. The MFA DPA is offered through the Division as well. Both programs offer significant collaboration with the departments of Art and Performing Arts. The MFA requires 60 credit hours, including an MFA thesis, and the MS requires 30 credits. The MS has both thesis and non-thesis options. Students in either program can study at the main campus in Clemson or Charleston, South Carolina.

All students have the opportunity to Minor in DPA, which emphasizes Computer Animation, Games, and Visual Effects.

Graduates of the Computer Science and DPA Programs at Clemson can pursue employment in 3D graphics programming, animation, commercial virtual reality, game design, software engineering, technical direction in the digital production entertainment industry, tool building, visualization, and more.

2. University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina
University of South Carolina

Founded in 1801, University of South Carolina (U of SC) is the state’s flagship university. The school serves 48,730 students enrolled in more than 300 unique degrees of study, including nearly 200 master’s and PhD programs in 16 colleges and schools.

The College of Arts and Sciences is the largest and most “academically-diverse” college on campus, says the school. It houses the School of Visual Art and Design (SVAD), which offers BA and MA degrees in Media Arts. The College of Engineering and Computing houses the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, which offers BS, MS, and PhD degrees in Computer Science and Computer Engineering. Applied Computing and Computer Science Minors are also available.

The SVAD BA and MA degree programs are designed for aspiring animators, filmmakers, game designers, screenwriters, and artists working on emergent digital art forms. Students in the programs will master motion capture video game work on the School’s green screen, sound recording and art design, manga writing and design, camerawork and lighting design, and much more.

Course highlights include Advanced Animation, Hong Kong Action Cinema, Narrative Production, New Media Advanced: Animation, New Media Advanced: Mobile Platforms, New Media Advanced: Video Game Design, The Art and Business of Manga and Anime, and The Moving Image. Computer Game Development, Educational Games, and Mathematical Game Theory are just a few elective options offered in other departments such as Computer Science.

During their senior year, undergraduate Media Arts students will have the opportunity to intern “at national leaders in the media industries.” MA students will also complete an internship and a Thesis or Project. The final project may be taken all at once or split over two semesters.

Graduates of both programs go on to become “creative professionals, working in industry, government, freelance media production, and as entrepreneurs.” U of SC Media Arts alumni are “globally influential media makers at Netflix, Blizzard, Marvel, IBM, iD Software, Kodansha USA, Turner Studios, HBO Films, Nickelodeon, and CBS Television. Our alumni are self-starters, global creatives, film and television industry executives, and local media pioneers.”

The Computer Science and Computer Engineering programs cover “the techniques, algorithms and theory necessary for building software, including subspecialties such as video games, bioinformatics and computational biology.” Students in the programs may specialize in game design by taking three elective courses and three courses from another major. Examples include (as mentioned) Computer Game Development, Educational Games, and Mathematical Game Theory.

Computer Science and Computer Engineering students will have opportunities to complete an internship, study abroad, and create a portfolio of their work. Graduates are prepared to seek positions in game design, game development, software development, and software engineering, to name a few.