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The 10 Best Online Video Game Design Colleges 2021

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The 10 Best Online Video Game Design Colleges

The 10 Best Online Video Game Design Colleges 2021
RankSchoolLocation
1Savannah College of Art and DesignSavannah, GA
2Southern New Hampshire UniversityHooksett, NH
3Full Sail UniversityWinter Park, FL
4Liberty UniversityLynchburg, VA
5University of Advancing TechnologyTempe, AZ
6George Mason UniversityFairfax, VA
7Lindenwood UniversitySaint Charles, Missouri
8Baker CollegeFlint, MI
9Academy of Art UniversitySan Francisco, CA
10Rocky Mountain College of Art and DesignLakewood, CO

We have ranked the 10 Best Online Video Game Design Colleges in the U.S. This ranking was designed specifically for online students who want to get an online bachelor’s degree in Game Design.

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According to Statista, video game revenue was more than $18.5 billion dollars in the US in 2017. Video game consumers spent $43.4 billion on video games in the U.S. in 2018.

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.

More universities are offering online video game design and game art degrees. These degrees can include Certificates, Associate’s, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.

Find your online game design degree. This is a ranking of the best colleges offering online game design and game art degrees.

How to be a Game Designer

Credit: Game Maker’s Toolkit

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10 Best Online Video Game Design Colleges 2021

Ranking Methodology

This 10 Best Online Video Game Design Colleges 2021 ranking was created using Successful Student's ranking algorithm. This algorithm uses the following data points to calculate a school's ranking placement:

Learn more about our methodology.

1.Savannah College of Art and Design

Savannah, GA

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 — a Bachelor of Arts in Digital Media, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interactive Design and Game Development, a Master of Arts in Interactive Design and Game Development and a Master of Fine Arts in Interactive Design and Game Development.

All feature online or on-campus options.

The undergraduate programs include courses in color theory and application, form and space, elements and organization, and composition and media, while the graduate programs feature courses in character development, human-centered interactive design, and 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 kick-start their careers.

2.Southern New Hampshire University

Hooksett, NH

Southern New Hampshire University offers two undergraduate degree programs in gaming – a Bachelor of Arts in Game Art & Development and a Bachelor of Science in Game Programming & Development. Each can be completed online or on campus.

The Online 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, and more. Students gain skills needed to produce art assets for multiple video game platforms, including mobile, PC, web and console.

The Online 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 game programming to healthcare to education. The curriculum includes courses in a variety of computer programming languages and scripting, game engine development, digital sculpting, and more.

SNHU also enables students to earn up to six math credits through Pathways to Math Success assessments.

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3.Full Sail University

Winter Park, FL

With more than a decade of experience, Full Sail University’s programs have evolved to meet the needs of animators, developers, designers and writers. Programs emulate the development studio experience and provide students with a vast and varied knowledge base.

Students can pursue four game-related bachelor’s degrees – Game Development, Game Art, Game Design or Simulation and Visualization – as well as two master’s degrees – Game Design and Mobile Gaming.

The Online Bachelor of Science in Game Art focuses on the fundamentals of interactive graphics development including environment and prop creation, character creation, in-game effects, animation, and the game production pipeline.

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

The Bachelor of Science in Game Development features courses in engine development, data structure and algorithms, and 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, and project development.

4.Liberty University

Lynchburg, VA

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

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, and 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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5.University of Advancing Technology

Tempe, AZ

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.

6.George Mason University

Fairfax, VA

George Mason University offers two gaming degrees – an online Bachelor of Fine Arts 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 Bachelor of Fine Arts in Computer Game Design program focuses on the artistic components of computer game design as well as technical skills needed for the field. The curriculum combines courses in computer science, visual arts, computer music, digital arts and gaming design. Students gain real-world experience through a required internship.

Designed to prepare students for a career in game development and design, 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, and 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.

7.Lindenwood University

School of Arts, Media and Communications

Saint Charles, Missouri

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, and 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.

8.Baker College

Flint, MI

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 game development process from conception to design to final publication. By taking part in a complete game development process, students gain hands-on experience before graduation.

9.Academy of Art University

San Francisco, CA

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 Bachelor of Fine Arts 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 Master of Fine Arts 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 of Science 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.

10.Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design

Lakewood, CO

Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design (RMCAD) offers an Online Bachelor of Fine Arts in Game Art program that combines technical and artistic coursework.

Whether students opt for the online or on-campus program, they’ll receive a comprehensive approach to game design, including graphic design, and creative and technical writing.

Course topics also include level design, 3D modeling, character rigging and animation, and visual storytelling.

Game Art students also interact with students from other programs to gain a broader perspective that fosters greater creativity.

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 Game Design Degree Concentrations?

Bachelor of 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 concentrations 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, Bachelor of Fine Arts 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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Professional Game Developers Associations

International Game Developers Association

We bring together developers at key industry conferences and in over 150 chapters and special interest groups (SIGs) to improve their lives and their craft. Whether you’re a student with a goal to become a game developer or a seasoned veteran; whether you’re based in the United States or any other country or region in the world; whether you’re an indie developer or in a AAA studio; whether your primary platform is a PC, console, mobile device, VR/AR, or a tabletop—we welcome you home to the IGDA!

IGDA

Entertainment Software Association

The Entertainment Software Association serves as the voice and advocate for the video game industry. Our mission is to expand and protect the dynamic worldwide marketplace for video games.

ESA

The Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA)

Founded in 2003, DiGRA is the premiere international association for academics and professionals who research digital games and associated phenomena. It encourages high-quality research on games, and promotes collaboration and dissemination of work by its members. 

DIGRA

Graphic Artists Guild

The Graphic Artists Guild’s primary purpose is to help our members compete effectively in an ever-changing field. We enable graphic artists and other design professionals to build and maintain successful careers by providing skills and support—from advice on the daily tasks of running a creative business to going to bat for our creative community with business and government leaders.

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Game Designer Salary Information

Game Design Careers Average Salaries with a Bachelor’s DegreeGrowth Rate
Game Developer$101,644.00*26%
Game Designer$66,152.00**
*ZipRecruiter, **PayScale