|1||George Mason University||Fairfax|
Our 2019 ranking of the top game design school programs in Virginia. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.
1. George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia
Founded as a branch of the University of Virginia in 1949, George Mason University (GMU) became an independent institution in 1972. The school serves nearly 37,700 students enrolled in more than 200 degree programs through 11 colleges and schools. The College of Visual and Performing Arts houses the Computer Game Design Program, which leads to a BFA or MA.
Per the school, the 36 credit hour MA “consists core courses drawn from interactive design, creative writing for games, the business of games, game design and production, and electives from CVPA or other Mason graduate programs.” The curriculum “is designed to reflect the games industry’s demand for an academically rigorous technical program coupled with an understanding of the artistic and creative elements of the evolving medium.”
Graduates of the program are prepared for employment in the computer game design and development fields which include the commercial, entertainment, serious games, and federal sectors.
The 120 credit hour BFA program “enables students to focus on the artistic components of computer game design while providing them with the technical skills prerequisite to the field.” A charter member of the Higher Education Video Game Alliance, the BFA program is interdisciplinary, which allows students to specialize in one area while “learning the language of many areas.”
Students will take portfolio courses as well as a pre-internship seminar, and they will complete an internship and a senior project. “Students can also network with employers at the Senior Expo, and those who want to start their own businesses can study Game Entrepreneurship.”
BFA and MA students also have access to the Virginia Serious Game Institute based on George Mason University’s Science and Technology Campus. The institute offers Virginia schools, businesses and universities hands-on training, certification, research and development assistance by merging game company incubation and rapid prototype development.
The Virginia Serious Game Institute is the only one of its kind on the East Coast and one of only four global affiliated facilities established primarily to support early-entry entrepreneurship into the simulation and game design industry.