What are the top game design programs in Wisconsin for 2022?

Top Wisconsin Game Design Schools - 2022 College Rankings
1University of Wisconsin – StoutMenomonie
2University of Wisconsin – WhitewaterWhitewater

Our 2022 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
University of Wisconsin – Stout

University of Wisconsin – Stout (UW-Stout) has several programs for game designers. The College of Arts, Communication, and Social Sciences (CACHSS) houses the School of Art and Design. Serving more than 1,000 students led by 60+ faculty members, the CACHSS School of Art and Design is the largest school of its kind in the entire upper Midwest. The school is also home to the Design Department and the BFA in Game Design and Development (GDD), and a cross-disciplinary MFA in Design.

The MFA that allows students to create their own focus area. Examples include Game Design, Animation and Digital Media, Interactive Media & UX, and Digital Cinema, Photography and Video. MFA graduates have been hired at Apple, DreamWorks Animation, Shutterfly, and World Architects, among others.

The GDD BFA consists of collaborative studios and hands-on experience gained at UW-Stout labs, studios, and other facilities. Students also gain field experience through study abroad courses in LA and San Francisco, internships, and industry projects with the Jim Henson Company, among others. GDD BFA students will complete a Game Design and Development Capstone and present a final portfolio of their best work at a public exhibition presented by the School of Art and Design.

BFA graduates have been hired at local studios and firms such as Pixel Spill Games, Big John Games, and Finn Daniels Architects. They are 3D artists, game designers, animators, building and environment modelers, and more. The GDD BFA at University of Wisconsin Stout is accredited by the National Association for Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

The College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics house the Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science Department. Here, game design students can earn a BS in Computer Science (BS) with a GDD Concentration. The BS in CS is consists of a full computer science major, a Minor in Mathematics, and the concentration area.  A 21 credit hour CS Minor that explores game design, programming languages, web programming, algorithms, and systems architecture is also available. The Minor provides opportunities to engage in Field Experience, Independent Study, or Cooperative (co-op) Education. 

The BS in CS/GDD is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET. With a 100% job placement rate, the CS program is the only program of its kind in the world to be accredited by the agency. Serving 2,700 students led by 200 faculty members, the CS program requires co-op industry experience as part of the curriculum. Co-op students earn an average of $16/hour. Other program highlights include graduate research, the opportunity to publish in peer-reviewed papers, and participation in exhibitions, game conferences, film festivals, and game competitions.

Graduates of the UW Stout Computer Science Program hold titles such as Game Programmer, Game Software Engineer, Mobile Software Engineer, and Software Developer, among others. Companies and Studios who have hired Stout CS graduates include Big John Games (developer for Nintendo), HB studios (develops console games for Electronic Arts (EA)), Degica Japan (publisher of RPG Maker), Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Concrete Software (mobile Games).

University of Wisconsin – Stout is accredited Higher Learning Commission () of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). Founded in 1891, the school opened as The Stout Manual Training School. Today, UW Stout is one of just 125 polytechnic universities in the U.S. and the only one in the State Wisconsin. Serving nearly 8,000 students, University of Wisconsin-Stout offers 45 undergraduate and 20 graduate programs. Many of these programs are not offered anywhere else in the Midwest.

2. University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, Whitewater, Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin – Whitewater

The Department of Art and Design at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (UW-Whitewater) has a Media Arts and Game Development Program (MAGD) with three emphasis areas: Gaming Technology, Communication/Gaming, and Media Arts. All emphasis areas are offered as minors as well. Housed in the College of Arts and Communication, MAGD programs lead to a BA or BS.

The Gaming Technology Emphasis covers programming and software development as it relates to game design and development. Communication/Gaming explores video, audio, and writing for digital media, as well as games and emerging technology roles in society. Students in the Media Arts Emphasis will learn to create digital content for computer games, motion graphics, animation, special effects, and 3D.

The MAGD program allows students to choose a minor or second major to enhance the degree. Popular options include Computer Science, Film, Electronic Media, and Graphic Design.

All MAGD students will participate in two team-based projects (The Senior Capstone), and some will have the opportunity to participate in regional game design expos, competitions, and the MAGD Expo held annually at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. In the past, the Expo has welcomed leaders in the industry who have developed games such as God of War, Assassin’s Creed, and Madden NFL.

The MAGD Program hosts a number of student organizations for game designers such as GAMED (Game and Media Entertainment Developers), Gaming Group of Whitewater, Anime, and Smash Bros. All MAGD students have access to facilities such as the Motion Capture Studio and a gaming room that hosts the departments weekend-long game jams.

Also part of the program is the internship program, which provides the opportunity to gain work experience ion the UW-Whitewater Digital Media Lab or off campus for a game or animation studio, film and video production company, or media production firm.

Graduates of the UW-Whitewater MAGD Programs are prepared to pursue positions in game design and development, 3D art, motion graphics, animation, usability engineering, mobile app development, and multimedia production.

Recent graduates have been hired at companies and studios such as Obsidian Entertainment, Filament Games, Raven Software, Bethesda Game Studios, Image 360, and PerBlue.

University of Wisconsin – Whitewater is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). UW-Whitewater opened as Whitewater Normal School in 1868. Serving nearly 11,500 students, University of Wisconsin – Whitewater is the second oldest and third largest campus by enrollment in the University of Wisconsin System.