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The Best Online Game Design Degrees

Game Designer
The Best Online Game Design Degrees
Rank School Location
1 Savannah College of Art and Design Savannah, GA
2 Southern New Hampshire University Hooksett, NH
3 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
4 Full Sail University Winter Park, FL
5 George Mason University Fairfax, VA
6 Arkansas State University-Main Campus Jonesboro, Arkansas
7 University of Advancing Technology Tempe, AZ
8 Lindenwood University Saint Charles, Missouri
9 Baker College Flint, MI
10 Academy of Art University San Francisco, CA

We have ranked the best online Video Game Design colleges in the U.S. offering online game design degree programs.

This ranking was designed specifically for online students who want to get an online game design degree.

About this ranking:

These online game design degree programs are mostly online bachelor’s degrees, and are taken fully online. This ranking is designed for online students, using data from the National Center for Education Statistics. For more on our ranking methodology, see our College Calculator.

According to Statista, video game revenue was more than $85.86 billion dollars in the U.S. in 2021, setting a new record.

The Video Game industry is so popular and profitable that it rivals the movie industry. Video games may be the largest entertainment industry in the world. The game industry will also increase in revenue with game domains such as the Metaverse and playing in immersive virtual reality.

More online school programs are offering online game design degree options than ever before. These include video game animation and art programs. Online Game Design degree options include certificatesassociate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degree levels.

Online game design degrees can be Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degrees. These online bachelor’s in game design degree types have different emphases put on the level of technical or artistic instruction. These online bachelor’s degree types teach different skills and proficiencies in game design.

These skills can lead to a variety of roles and employment positions at professional game design companies. So it’s important to learn the distinction and decide which degree path you want to choose.

Video Game Designers

A video game designer is a professional who creates and designs the concepts, mechanics, and overall structure of a video game. They work with a team of developers, artists, and other designers to bring a game to life, from initial concept to final release. Video game designers are involved in every aspect of game development, including:

  • story and character creation
  • game mechanics
  • level design
  • user interface design

They often use specialized software and programming languages to create and test the game.

Game Developers

A game software development program is a course of study that focuses on teaching students the skills and knowledge needed to create and develop video games. These programs typically cover a wide range of topics, including game design, programming, 3D modeling, animation, and user interface design. Students may also learn about:

  • game engines
  • physics
  • artificial intelligence
  • project management
  • team collaboration skills

Many programs also include hands-on experience through the creation of a final project or game prototype.

Some programs offer a specific focus on certain areas of game development, such as programming, art or design. These programs can be found at universities, colleges or specialized schools and may be offered as a degree or a diploma. They can be completed on-campus or online, and full-time or part-time.

What is the career path for Video Game Designer?

Payscale lists the average salary for video game designers as $67,356.

Software developers, graphic designers, multimedia artists might find a career as a video game designer.

Video Game Design in Computer Science

Computer Science Game Design colleges

Computer Science video game design programs are more technical and often include computer science instruction. Students learn coding and computer programming languages, and how to use them in video game design to become a game programmer. The game design curriculum online courses teach students how to create game mechanics for digital games, including mobile devices.

Examples of these degrees are:

See our ranking of the Best Computer Science: Game Design Degrees for learning online game design within online bachelor’s degree options in computer science. These online degree programs are for students interested in working in the computer gaming industry.


Game Art

Video Game Art colleges

Bachelor of Arts degrees are often primarily associated with the more artistic side of game design, such as game animation.

Students learn how to use the state-of-the-art graphic design and animation techniques, and create levels, backgrounds, characters, and any digital assets that need to be visually rendered. This degree type may also teach storyboarding and plot development.

Example of the Bachelor of Arts degree:

See our ranking of the Best Video Game Art and Animation degrees for learning the artistic side of the gaming industry in online game design schools.


Featured online colleges:

Man and Woman Playing An Online Video Game in College

The Best Online Video Game Design Colleges

Ranking Methodology

This Best Online Video Game Design Colleges ranking was created using Successful Student’s ranking algorithm. This algorithm uses the following data points to calculate a school’s ranking placement:

  • Acceptance rate
  • Graduation rate
  • Cost of undergraduate tuition
  • Percentage of first time undergraduates awarded aid
  • Percentage of students who are fully online
  • Academic influence
1.

Savannah College of Art and Design

Savannah, GA

Savannah College of Art and Design

Founded in 1978, Savannah College of Art and Design offers more Art and Design programs than any other institution of its kind.

Students can pursue a number of gaming-related programs —

  • Bachelor of Arts in Digital Media
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interactive Design and Game Development
  • Master of Arts in Interactive Design and Game Development
  • Master of Fine Arts in Interactive Design and Game Development

All feature online or on-campus options.

The undergraduate programs include coursework in:

  • color theory and application
  • form and space
  • elements and organization
  • composition and media

The graduate programs feature courses in:

  • character development
  • human-centered interactive design
  • visual interface and information

Each program allows students to gain real-world experience through internships. Students also can gain international experience through study abroad opportunities in Hong Kong.

Through participation in professional conferences as well as opportunities to collaborate with industry giants, students are able to capitalize on their passion for interactive design.

By completing a comprehensive portfolio of work throughout their classes, students are able to get a head start on their careers.

Find financial aid information here.

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2.

Southern New Hampshire University

Hooksett, NH

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University offers two undergraduate online game design program options. Prospective students can earn a bachelor’s in game design online or on campus.

The Bachelor of Arts in Game Art and Development program combines fundamental skill development with advanced training in techniques used by industry professionals. Students learn and apply principles such as:

  • digital painting
  • 3D modeling
  • anatomy illustration
  • 3D mesh topology

Students gain skills needed to produce art assets for multiple online platform types, including mobile, PC, web and console.

The Bachelor of Arts in Game Programming and Development program provides students with the technical expertise needed for successful careers in a range of fields that use gaming and simulation from healthcare to education.

The curriculum includes courses in a variety of:

  • computer programming languages and scripting
  • game engine development
  • digital sculpting
  • artificial intelligence

SNHU also enables students to earn up to six math credits through Pathways to Math Success assessments. You can find financial aid information here.

3.

Liberty University

Lynchburg, VA

Liberty University

Liberty University’s Bachelor’s in Information Technology: Gaming Design degree provides students with a well-rounded foundation designed to set them apart from others in the industry.

This bachelor’s degree is designed for those seeking careers as game designers, game artists or game programmers.

The Gaming Design curriculum features courses in:

  • 3D graphics
  • digital imaging
  • graphic design
  • C# programming

Students can gain valuable insight from Liberty’s professors, who have real-world experience in the game design field.

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4.

Full Sail University

Winter Park, FL

Full Sail University

With more than a decade of experience, Full Sail University’s programs have evolved to meet the needs of animators, developers, designers and writers.

The Bachelor’s in Game Art focuses on the fundamentals of interactive graphics development including:

  • environment and prop creation
  • character creation
  • in-game effects
  • animation
  • the game production pipeline

The Bachelor’s in Game Design consists of high-level game design and production courses as well as concepts influencing level designs and systems.

The Bachelor’s in Game Development features courses in:

  • engine development
  • data structure and algorithms
  • artificial intelligence

The program helps students master the tools and technology needed to develop and program single- and multiplayer video games, computers, networks and gaming consoles.

The Bachelor’s in Simulation and Visualization provides students with technical and critical-thinking skills necessary to study, develop, architect and test simulation and visualization systems.

The Online Master’s in Mobile Gaming allows students to produce content for mobile gaming platforms and explore the production processes. Courses include usability engineering and approaches to game design.

The Master’s in Game Design program focuses on:

  • core concepts in leadership and teamwork
  • design and prototyping
  • marketing
  • project development

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5.

George Mason University

Fairfax, VA

George Mason University
Horizon Hall on the Fairfax Campus. photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services

George Mason University offers two gaming degrees – an online BFA in Computer Game Design and a Master of Arts in Computer Game Design.

With a team-based, revolving-role, project-based pedagogical environment, the Online BFA in Computer Game Design focuses on the artistic components of computer game design as well as technical skills needed for the field. The curriculum for this online bachelor’s combines courses in:

  • computer science
  • visual arts
  • computer music
  • digital arts
  • gaming design

Students gain real-world experience through a required internship.

Designed to prepare students for a career in the video game industry, the Master of Arts in Computer Game Design is an academically rigorous, technical program that combines an understanding of the artistic and creative elements needed in an ever-evolving field. The curriculum includes courses in:

  • interactive design
  • the business of games
  • creative writing for games
  • game design and production

Computer Game Design students also can serve as mentors in the Mason Game and Technology Academy (MGTA), which features challenging enrichment courses that combine STEM core competencies within the arts, immersive technology, and entrepreneurship.

George Mason University’s Computer Game Design program also hosts the nation’s only Serious Game Institute, which focuses on game-related applied research and innovations.

Find financial aid information here.

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6.

Arkansas State University-Main Campus

Jonesboro, Arkansas

Arkansas State University

Arkansas State offers the online Bachelor of Science in Digital Technology & Design – Game Design degree. This online degree teaches students proficiencies in digital interactive environments, including 2D and 3D graphics and animation.

This program is designed to be comprehensive and teach all elements and aspects of game design: from conception to implementation.

Program length: 120 credit hours total.

Required Credit Hours:

  • General education: 38 credit hours
  • Major courses: 25 credit hours
  • Concentration courses: 12 credit hours
  • Electives: 45 credit hours

Courses Include:

  • Concepts of Programming
  • 3D Digital and Game Design
  • Human Centered Design
  • 2D Animation and Graphics

Arkansas State accepts up to 90 credit hours in transfer credits.

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7.

University of Advancing Technology

Tempe, AZ

University of Advancing Technology

Since its debut in 1995, the University of Advancing Technology consistently has been named one of the top game design programs in the world. UAT offers four degree options in the game design and production field. All can be completed either online or on campus.

The Online Bachelor of Arts in Game Art and Animation program helps students develop skills needed to create 3D art assets for various video game platforms. Students also learn to incorporate artistic principles used in 3D video games art asset creation, including lighting, color theory, shading, anatomy, perspective, and 3D mesh topology, among others.

The Online Bachelor of Arts in Game Design degree program allows students to build and create complete game design projects with faculty and fellow students. The program encourages collaboration with students and faculty across all gaming degree majors.

The Online Bachelor of Science in Game Programming degree provides students with a broad coder skill set and expertise in many platforms and languages. Students also hone their skills in game play interaction, game engine architecture, artificial intelligence, and networking.

The innovative Online Master of Science in Game Production and Management program consists of four modules. Students complete modules in Game Development and Game Production and then can choose from 10 others – such as Cyber Organization, Technology Leadership, App Development, Digital Maker – to tailor their M.S. in Game Production to their interests and goals.

8.

Lindenwood University

School of Arts, Media and Communications

Saint Charles, Missouri

Lindenwood University

Lindenwood University’s School of Arts, Media and Communications allows students to earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees in Game Design.

The Online Bachelor of Arts in Game Design program prepares graduates to work in a game studio environment. The curriculum includes courses in advanced game design and production as well as key industry concepts, such as:

  • storytelling
  • usability
  • game economics
  • aesthetics and immersion
  • character development

Students also complete project and portfolio courses.

The program’s hybrid format combines online classes with on-campus, face-to-face courses.

Students also can tailor their degree with a Game Art emphasis, which includes courses in classical myth, drawing, 3D animation, and concept design.

The Online Master of Arts in Game Design program consists of high-level game design and production courses. The relevant and comprehensive curriculum includes key industry concepts ranging from usability and game economics to aesthetics and immersion as well as project and portfolio courses.

9.

Baker College

Flint, MI

Baker College

Baker College’s fully online Online Bachelor of Science in Game Software Development provides students with skills needed to develop, design and test games across a range of formats and platforms.

Designed with experts in the industry, the program focuses on the gaming process from conception to design to final publication. By taking part in a complete process, students gain hands-on experience before graduation.

10.

Academy of Art University

San Francisco, CA

Academy of Art University

The Academy of Art University’s School of Game Development provides students with a comprehensive hands-on experience ranging from 3-D printing to the visual and audio aspects of gaming.

The interactive curriculum allows students to gain skills and knowledge of fundamental game art principles, animation, texturing, production environments, and more.

The School of Game Development offers two undergraduate degrees and two graduate degrees in Game Development as well as a BS in Game Programming.

The Online Associate of Arts in Game Development provides students with an introduction to the fundamental concepts of game engine technology and game construction.

The Online BFA in Game Development program features a well-rounded education in the arts with an emphasis on techniques including animation, lighting and 3D modeling. Students gain a solid understanding of game engine technology and pre-production and production environments.

The Online Master of Arts in Game Development and MFA in Game Development programs combine traditional art and design fundamentals with groundbreaking technologies. Students gain hands-on skills in prototyping game mechanics and art creation and create an industry-quality portfolio.

The Online Bachelor’s in Game Programming program helps students develop strong problem-solving skills as well as those needed to write efficient code. Students collaborate with designers and artists to provide optimized solutions for game design. The curriculum emphasizes algorithms, data structures, and software architecture techniques to create cutting-edge games.

Professional associations


More resources

Game Designer
  1. The 50 Best Video Game Design Colleges
  2. The Best Video Game Art and Animation Degrees
  3. The Best Bachelor’s in Computer Science: Game Design Degrees
  4. The Best Online Certificates in Game Design
  5. The Best Online Associate’s Degrees in Game Design
  6. The Top Women in Game Design and Development
  7. What Do Game Designers Earn? Salary Information
  8. The Best Online Animation and Graphic Design Colleges
  9. The Best Bachelor’s Degrees in Graphic Design in California
  10. The Best Game Design Programs at Christian Colleges
  11. The Best App Development Colleges

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of degree do you need to design video games?

The typical entry-level degree needed for gainful employment working at game design companies is a bachelor’s degree. These can be Bachelor of Arts Degrees in concentrations such as Game Art. Degrees are also in Bachelor of Science for more technical Game Design careers such as Game Development or Game Programming.

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What is the bachelor degree for game development?

To get a degree in Game Development, students will pursue Bachelor of Science degree in Game Design, or Game Development, or Programming. A Bachelor of Science: Game Development degree teaches the technical aspects of Game Design, such as coding and programming languages.

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Does game design require coding?

Game Programming and Game Development requires coding. These are the technical aspects of Game Design, that create the gaming worlds within computer science. Designing the games, such as concept creation, storyboarding, and character development do not require coding. Game Art, such as Animation and Graphic Design, also does not require coding.

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What skills do you need to be a game designer?

To be a game designer that creates the games using coding and programming languages within computer science, you need the skills of a programmer. These include knowing one, or more, programming languages. To create the art and visual worlds of the games, such as characters and backgrounds, 2D and 3D art, you need creative skills such as being an artist and the ability to think abstractly. To create the concepts, storyboards, and characters, you need to think in terms of compelling stories which requires imagination and the ability to form a narrative.

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What are online Game Design degree concentrations?

Some online bachelor’s in Game Design concentrations include Game Design, Game Development, Game Programming, Game Art, Game Software Development, Information Technology: Gaming Design, Interactive Design and Game Development, Computer Science: Game and Simulation Development, and others.

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What’s the difference between a Bachelor of Science in Game Design and a Bachelor of Arts in Game Design?

Game Design degrees can be broken into two areas, the Technical and the Artistic. The technical concentrations are Bachelor of Science degrees. The artistic degrees are Bachelor of Arts, or Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees. The Bachelor of Science degrees teach the technical subjects in game design creation. These degrees are closely related to computer science degrees, because they use programming languages and coding to create games. Bachelor of Arts degrees are more oriented towards the conceptual creation, storyboards, character development, music, atmosphere, and artistic rendering of games.

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What are some Bachelor of Science in Game Design degrees?

Some common bachelor of science in Game Design degrees are: the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Game Design – DigiPen Institute of Technology, Bachelor of Science in Game Design – Full Sail University, Bachelor of Science in Game Design and Development – Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Game Design and Development – Rochester Institute of Technology, Online Bachelor of Science in Game Programming and Development – Southern New Hampshire University, Bachelor of Science in Game Software Development – Baker College, Online Bachelor of Science in Information Technology: Gaming Design – Liberty University, and the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science: Game and Simulation Development – Grand Canyon University.

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What are some Bachelor of Arts in Game Design degrees?

Some common bachelor of arts in Game Design degrees are: Online Bachelor of Arts in Game Art and Development – Southern New Hampshire University, Bachelor of Arts in Game Design – DigiPen, BFA in Interactive Design and Game Development – Savannah College of Art and Design, Online Bachelor of Arts in Game Design – Lindenwood University, and the Bachelor of Arts in Game Design – University of Advancing Technology.

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