Did you know? At Academy of Art University, students studying Game Programming develop strong problem-solving skills, learn to write efficient code, and collaborate with artists and designers to provided optimized solutions for game design. Learn more.
What are the top South Carolina game design programs for 2023?
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Our 2023 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
The College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences at Clemson University is home to the School of Computing, which houses the Division of Visual Computing. Within the Division is the Digital Production Arts (DPA) Program. This interdisciplinary program collaborates with the Departments of Art and Performing Art, with a significant focus on advanced studios and visualization as a problem-solving tool.
Specific DPA options for game designers include the DPA MFA/MS (MFA DPA/MS DPA) and the DPA Minor. Offered since 2011, the DPA Minor focuses on Games, Visual Effects, and Computer Animation. The Computer Science (CS) BA/BS and a fast-track Computer Science Bachelor’s/Master’s (BS/MS) provide additional opportunities to study game design.
Course examples across programs include Game Theory, Studio Methods for Digital Production 2D Game Engine Construction, Algorithms and Techniques, Visual Foundations of Digital Production, 3D Game Programming: Artificial Intelligence (AI), Physical Modeling and Animation, Advanced 3D Modeling, and Audio Practicum.
Other Computer Science and DPA highlights include visits from representatives of major studios such as DreamWorks, internship opportunities, high-tech classrooms, state-of-the-art production studios and facilities, study abroad experiences, collaboration spaces and participation in the SIGGRAPH Conference. In addition, DPA MFA students have the option to study at the main campus in Clemson or at the Zucker Family Graduate Education Center (ZFGEC) in Charleston, South Carolina. MFA students can attend traditional face-to-face classes or via “real-time” streaming to and from the main campus. DPA MFA students are not required to travel between campuses.
Graduates of the DPA and Computer Science Programs at Clemson University are Game Designers, Animators, Game Programmers, Technical Directors, Software Engineers, 3D Graphics Programmers, Art Directors, and AR/VR designers, among others. Clemson DPA and CS alumni have secured positions with companies such as Google, Disney Animation, Electronic Arts (EA), Blur Studio, Sledgehammer Games, IBM, and CrowdStrike.
Clemson University began as Clemson Agricultural College in 1893. The school serves approximately 27,340 students enrolled in more than 200 degree programs and 90+ minors across seven colleges and a graduate school. Clemson University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
2. University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina
The College of Arts and Sciences at University of South Carolina (UofSC) houses the School of Visual Art and Design (SVAD), home to the Media Arts Program. Degree options here include the BA and MA in Media Arts. An 18 credit hour Media Arts Minor is also available.
The College of Engineering and Computing at UofSC is home to the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, which houses the BS, MS, and PhD degrees in Computer Science (CS) and Computer Engineering. Minor options in Applied Computing and Computer Science ae also available.
The SVAD BA and MA degree programs are multidisciplinary, so they appeal to students interested in game design, animation, and filmmaking, among other areas. Course examples across programs include New Media Advanced: Video Game Design, Digital Imaging, Moving Image Advanced: Animation, Narrative Production, Media Writing, Manga and Anime, Sound Design, and Media Management and Distribution.
SVAD classes are held in an 85,000-square-foot facility known as McMaster College. The facility was designed specifically for the learning and production in the visual arts. Other SVAD features include internship opportunities and the creation of a marketable final project and professional portfolio.
Graduates of the SVAD Media Arts Programs have been hired at companies and studios such as Blizzard Entertainment, Nickelodeon, Netflix, HBO Films, Marvel, IBM, CBS Television, lD Software, and Kodansha USA.
Students in the University of South Carolina CS Programs may add the Media Arts Minor or select three courses from CS electives and three from another major. Requirements across CS programs include Software Engineering, UNIX/Linux Fundamentals, Digital Logic Design, Computer Architecture, and Programming Languages Structures.
Computer Science and Computer Engineering students will complete an internship and create a professional portfolio of their work. University of South Carolina CS alumni work in areas such as game design and development, game programming, software design and development, and software engineering.
Established in 1801 as South Carolina College, University of South Carolina is one of the nation’s oldest public universities. Part of the eight-campus University of South Carolina System, UofSC provides more than 300 areas of study to a population of nearly 35,400 students. Programs are offered across 16 colleges and schools. University of South Carolina is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).