|1||University of Wisconsin – Stout||Menomonie|
|2||University of Wisconsin – Whitewater||Whitewater|
Our 2019 ranking of the top game design school programs in Wisconsin. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.
1. University of Wisconsin – Stout, Menomonie, Wisconsin
Established in 1891 as The Stout Manual Training School, University of Wisconsin – Stout (UW-Stout) is a Polytechnic University that serves nearly 8,750 students from the U.S. and 47 countries. The school offers 45+ undergraduate majors and 20+ graduate programs through three colleges and six schools. The College of Arts, Communication, Humanities and Social Sciences (CACHSS) houses the School of Art and Design, which serves more than 1,000 students.
Program offerings here include BFAs in Game Design and Development and Entertainment Design, and an MFA in Design.
The school says that the BFA is the first and only BFA in Game Design in Wisconsin, Minnesota, & Iowa. Students in the program gain core skills in art and design such as drawing, 3D modeling, and animation. Program highlights include collaboration with computer science students, courses covering two- and three-dimensional models, animation and visual effects for video games, television, movies, and access to three labs with industry-standard hardware and software, AAA development kits, Intuos Cintiq Displays, HD and 3D projectors, and virtual reality headsets.
The cross-disciplinary MFA program consists of study in the areas of Entertainment Design, Studio Art, Game Design, Interactive Media, Graphic Design, and more. Courses for the program are delivered through a variety of methods including on-site courses, online, evening, weekend and intensive summer courses. Graduates of the program will be prepared to pursue roles in the academic community and as design professionals and leaders.
The College of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Management (CSTEMM), Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science offers a BS in Computer Science with Game Design and Development (GDD) and Mobile Applications (MA) Concentrations, and a Computer Science Minor with nine hours of electives.
A charter member of the Higher Education Video Game Alliance, the Game Design and Development Concentration prepares students to design and develop software programs that use digital imagery and physics to create games, simulations or other applications. The school says, these programs can improve healthcare delivery, transform education, strengthen national security, shape public policy and continue to create social networks.
Graduates of the game programs at UW-Stout have landed positions at companies such as Big John Games, Finn Daniels Architects, Design Ready Controls, Wink Frozen Desserts, Find-It-Faster Online, Len Busch Roses, Pixel Spill Games, and many others.
2. University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, Whitewater, Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (UW-W) was founded in 1868. The school serves around 11,300 students enrolled in more than 50 undergraduate majors and 119 minors, many areas of emphasis, and dozens of graduate programs through five colleges and schools. The College of Arts and Communication is home to the Department of Art and Design. Program offerings here include BA and BS degrees in Gaming Technology and Communication/Gaming, and a BA in Media Arts.
Per the school, Gaming Technology students “will develop the programming skills and software development expertise required for cross-platform real-time interactive graphics and game development. Students focus on building a solid base of programming skills necessary to take on real-world challenges related to developing games, mobile apps, websites and more.” Course highlights for the program include C++ Sequence, Artificial Intelligence, Game Engine/Modding, and Graphics Programming. An Internship, Special Topics and Independent Study are also part of the program as well as a required Team Project.
Communication/Gaming course highlights include Video Production, Sound and Image, Game Development, Social Media Optimization, and Advanced Audio Techniques. Students in the program will “focus on the role of games in developing culture and communicating messages, intersections and interactions between audio and video, and approaches for the optimization of social media.” Practicum courses provide “real-world opportunities for students to hone their skills in a variety of areas, including web video production, motion graphics, composition/scoring, advanced web development and marketing.”
Media Arts (formerly Visual Media Design) “develops aesthetic sensibility and artistic design skills important in the production of original, creative, digital media content for interactive and time-based computer games, animation, websites, video, special effects, the 3D and motion graphic industry, and artistic productions.”
Course highlights include Graphic Media Imaging as a Web/Interactive Media, Raster/Vector & 3-D Modeling, Graphics and Animation, and Digital Video/Motion Graphics. Students in the Media Arts program may also choose additional elective courses from the Gaming Technology or Communication/Gaming programs.
Two team-based projects courses provide a capstone for the degree programs. In addition, all students may participate in the MAGD Expo—a juried show of interactive entertainment, 3D, 2D, aural, virtual and animated creative work held annually at the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater.