What are the top South Carolina game design programs for 2024?

Top South Carolina Game Design Schools and Colleges - 2024 College Rankings
1Clemson UniversityClemson
2University of South CarolinaColumbia

Our 2024 ranking of the top game design school programs in South Carolina. 

For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

1. Clemson University, Clemson and Charleston, South Carolina
Clemson University

The College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences at Clemson University houses the School of Computing, home to the Division of Visual Computing. Within the Division is the Digital Production Arts (DPA) program. This interdisciplinary program collaborates with the Department of Art and the Department of 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, and 15 credit hour minor. Course examples across degree programs include Game Theory; 2D Game Engine Construction; Algorithms and Techniques; Physical Modeling and Animation; 3D Game Programming; Advanced 3D Modeling; Visual Foundations of Digital Production; Artificial Intelligence (AI); and Audio Practicum. 

The School of Computing also provides several other options that are suitable for game designers. Programs are ABET-accredited and include the Computer Science BA and BS (CS-BS, BA-CS); the Computer Information Systems BS (BS-CIS); and a fast-track Computer Science Bachelor’s/Master’s (BS/MS). 

All undergraduate students will complete a common core which explores programming languages such as Java, C, and C++ and fundamental concepts. Electives allow all students to study games. Course examples include 2D Game Engine Construction; Human and Computer Interaction; Virtual Reality; Eye-Tracking Methodology; Cloud Computing; and Distributed and Cluster Computing. 

MS students will select a concentration area from six options. Human Centered Computing, Visual Computing, and Software Engineering are ideal options for game designers. Students may select additional games courses from electives. 

All Computer Science students also have the option to add the DPA minor, which provides access to courses such as Advanced 3D Modeling; Computer Graphics Images; Film; 2D Dimensional Animation; Visual Foundations of Digital Production I and II; and Special Topics in Digital Production Arts. 

Other Computer Science and DPA highlights include four dedicated instructional computer labs with 24/7 access; visits from representatives of major studios such as DreamWorks; access to state-of-the-art production studios and facilities with specialize equipment; high-tech classrooms and collaboration spaces; participation in the SIGGRAPH Conference; and internship opportunities and study abroad experiences in places such as Japan, England, Germany, and Spain. 

In addition, DPA MFA students have the option to study at the main campus in Clemson or the Zucker Family Graduate Education Center (ZFGEC) in Charleston, South Carolina. MFA students may 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 prepared to pursue roles across industries. Alumni are Game Designers, Game Programmers, Technical Directors, Software Engineers, 3D Graphics Programmers, Art Directors, Animators, and AR/VR designers. Examples of companies that have hired Clemson DPA and CS graduates include Electronic Arts (EA), Apple, Google, Microsoft, Blur Studio, IBM, VMware, Sledgehammer Games, Boeing, IBM, CrowdStrike, Facebook, BMW, Delta Air Lines, Michelin, General Electris, and Savannah River National Lab. 

Clemson University was established in 1889 as Clemson Agricultural College. On the first day of classes in 1893, the school welcomed 446 students. Today, Clemson serves approximately 28,465 students enrolled in more than 80 majors, 90+ minors, and over 130 graduate degree programs. Clemson University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

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

University of South Carolina (UofSC) provides multiple paths to study games across several colleges, schools, and departments. The College of Arts and Sciences houses the School of Visual Art and Design (SVAD). Within SVAD is a Media Arts BA program and a minor that allows students to complete 18 credit hours or more to reach their goals. Students in the minor can explore specific areas of interest such as video game design, sound production, or screenwriting. 

The College of Engineering and Computing at UofSC is houses the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, home to the BS, MS, and PhD degrees in Computer Science (CS) and Computer Engineering. Minor options in Computer Science (CS) and Applied Computing are also available. The departments collection of programs explores the algorithms, techniques, and theories for building software, including sub-specialties such as video games, scientific computing, artificial intelligence (AI), computer forensics, networks, web applications, and enterprise computing. 

All students may complete an internship, co-op, externship, and/or study abroad experience. Degree-seeking students may add the Media Arts minor, select several courses from CS electives, and several from another major to study games. Requirements across CS programs include Software Engineering; Programming Languages Structures; Digital Logic Design; Computer Architecture; and UNIX/Linux Fundamentals. 

To graduate, CS and Computer Engineering students will complete the Capstone Computing Project, and a professional portfolio of their best work. Program alumni work in areas such as game design and development, software engineering, game programming, mobile app development, and UI/UX design. 

The SVAD BA program is multidisciplinary, so it attracts students who are interested in areas such as game design, animation, and filmmaking. Course examples include New Media Advanced: Video Game Design; Moving Image Advanced: Animation; The Art and Business of Manga and Anime; Narrative Production; Hong Kong Action Cinema; Sound Design; Media Writing; Digital Imaging; 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 learning and production in the visual arts. Other SVAD features include a mandatory School of Visual Art and Design Internship; the creation of a marketable final project; and a final professional portfolio. 

Graduates of the SVAD Media Arts program are prepared to pursue roles across industries such as games for entertainment, animation and film, advertising and marketing, and television production. Program alumni have been hired at companies and studios such as Blizzard Entertainment, Marvel, Nickelodeon, IBM, Netflix, HBO Films, CBS Television, Kodansha USA, and lD Software. 

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 350 degree programs to 35,590 students. Programs are organized across 16 colleges and schools. University of South Carolina is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).