The 77 Best Video Game Design Colleges
This is a ranking of the 77 best video game design colleges in the US. This ranking was designed for online and on-campus students, to make informed decisions when considering which Game Design and Development or Game Art degree and college to attend. These are the top game design programs of all variety, such as game design, art, and development (all of the facets of various game designer’s areas of focus). When choosing a game design school and degree, students should decide what their interest is in exactly. Questions to consider:
- Is the student interested in game design development?
- Or in game design programming?
- Or interested in game art and animation, and digital graphic design degrees?
- Would the game design student like to make the game art, or work in the computer science and programming language for developing video games?
See our Frequently Asked Questions for more information and clarity on these topics. This ranking includes game design schools offering bachelor’s and often master’s degrees. This ranking is primarily a list of game design schools offering bachelor’s degrees with majors and some minors in game design and development, and game art and animation. Some of these degrees include developing Mobile Gaming platforms, such as Full Sail University. To become a game designer, a minimum of a bachelor’s degree is usually required by professional game designer companies. Video Game Commercial Statistics
- According to Statista the Video Game industry saw $10 billion spent in 2019 for mobile games.
- In 2018, all game revenue reached $43.4 billion in the US.
Video Games may be the largest entertainment industry in the world. And it’s still growing. Game designers, developers, and artists are in very high demand, and the demand is increasing each year. Universities are increasingly offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in game design and development, and game art and animation. Related: What Do Game Designers Earn? Salary Information
Video Game Design Colleges | 77 Best Schools
1. University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)USC is a leading university in many subjects, including Game Design and Game Art. Students who want to study game design and production should choose the Interactive Media & Games degrees, offered through the School of Cinematic Arts. Students wanting to study the technical side of game development should choose the Computer Science degrees, offered through the Viterbi School of Engineering. Undergraduate, Bachelor’s:
- Bachelor of Arts in Interactive Media & Games (School of Cinematic Arts)
- Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with an emphasis in Games (Viterbi School of Engineering)
- Game Design
- Game Animation
- Game Audio
- Game Entrepreneurism
- Game User Research
- Themed Entertainment
- Video Game Design and Management
- Video Game Programming
- 3D Computer Modeling and Graphics
- Computer Science
- Master of Fine Arts in Interactive Media & Games (School of Cinematic Arts)
- Master of Science in Computer Science with an emphasis in Games (Viterbi School of Engineering)
2. University of Utah (Salt Lake City, UT)Offered through the Entertainment Arts and Engineering Master Games Studio, the University of Utah’s Video Game Design degree is designed for both art-orientated students and technically minded students. Ranked among the top game development programs in the world, the game design program’s diverse faculty has expertise in every part of game creation. Students develop a professional game portfolio through “studio simulation” courses, and all students publish a working game before graduation. Undergraduate, Bachelor’s:
- Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with an EAE emphasis
- Bachelor of Science in Game Design
- Bachelor of Arts in Film and Media Arts with an EAE emphasis
- Master of Entertainment Arts & Engineering
- Master of Business Administration/Master of Entertainment Arts & Engineering dual degree
3. University of Central Florida (Orlando, FL)The Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA) at the University of Central Florida offers an immersive, interactive and project-based video game curriculum leading to a Master of Science in Interactive Entertainment. Students work collaboratively as a team of programmers, producers and artists on real-world projects – all with the guidance of world-renowned video game faculty. Master of Science in Interactive Entertainment, with three tracks from which to choose:
4. Carnegie Mellon (Pittsburgh, PA)Carnegie Mellon University has long been known as one of America’s leading schools in many disciplines. The university’s Integrative Design, Arts, and Technology (IDeATe) network allows students to complete a Game Design minor. The interdisciplinary program features both practice and theory of game creation. Topics include interface design, visual asset creation, game programming and character development. Undergraduate Minor:
- Game Design
5. DigiPen Institute of Technology (Redmond, WA)With substantial support from Nintendo, DigiPen began accepting students in 1994. It is a for-profit degree granting school that exclusively specializes in preparing students to enter the industry as skilled software developers, artists, designers, and computer engineers. DigiPen offers both graduate and undergraduate degrees, and runs a substantial k-12 summer program. Undergraduate, Bachelor’s:
- Bachelor of Arts in Game Design
- Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Art and Animation
- Bachelor of Arts in Music and Sound Design
- Master of Fine Arts in Digital Arts
6. Rochester Institute of Technology (Rochester, NY)Rochester Institute of Technology is one of the nation’s most well established technical schools and resides in one of America’s premier college towns. In addition to its various other departments, Rochester runs its Interactive Games and Multimedia (IGM) department, which is one of the largest of its kind. The Game Design and Development degrees are offered through the Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. Undergraduate, Bachelor’s:
- Bachelor of Science in Game Design and Development
- Bachelor of Science in New Media Interactive Development
- Bachelor of Science in Web and Mobile Computing
- Bachelor of Fine Arts in 3D Digital Design
- Master of Science in Game Design and Development
7. Savannah College of Art and Design (Savannah, GA)The Savannah College of Art and Design has numbers reminiscent of a research university, with over 11,000 students, 23% of which are international, and multiple campuses, (one of which is in Hong Kong). Yet, nearly all of its academic programs are built for budding artists. There are Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, and Master’s degrees within a variety of artistic fields. Undergraduate, Bachelor’s:
- Bachelor of Arts in Digital Media: Concentration in Game Development (on campus and online)
- B.F.A. in Interactive Design and Game Development (on campus)
- M.A. in Interactive Design and Game Development (on campus and online)
- M.F.A. in Interactive Design and Game Development (on campus and online)
8. Full Sail University (Winter Park, FL)Full Sail University’s online Bachelor of Science in Game Design can be taken as an online degree, and focuses on four major topics:
- production methodologies
- project management
- team leadership
- game capstone project
- Model Creation
- 3-D Foundations
- Game Characters
- Game Animation
9. Drexel University (Philadelphia, PA)Drexel University was the first university to require students to have micro-computers (1983), the first major university to have a fully wireless campus (2000), provided the first mobile web portal for students (2002), and developed the first university portal app across all five major platforms (2011). This love of cutting edge technology translates well into a competitive Video Game Design program that works in tandem with its Computer Science and its Digital Media departments. Drexel students have won numerous awards such as first place in the Microsoft Imagine Cup, the Unity Awards, the GDC’s Narrative Review Competition, and first place in the Adobe Achievement Awards. The school has particular strengths in using games to facilitate learning and even offers a Learning in Game Based Environments Certificate.
10. Hampshire College (Amherst, MA)At Hampshire College, the Bachelor’s degree in Game Design and Development takes an average of four years to complete. Course work is project-based in an effort to expand student portfolios. To assist with research, students have access to a game laboratory with both modern and historic consoles as well as an ever-increasing game library with hundreds of digital and analog games available to rent. Other facilities managed by Hampshire College include:
- The Cluster Computing Facility, which maintains a high-performance Beowulf-style computer cluster
- The Liebling Center for Film, Photography, and Video, and the Johnson Library Center both used for computer animation, film and video editing, and digital design
12. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY)Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is a respected school with a strong representation in the sciences; it has produced 33 research centers and counting. Their Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences (GSAS) program specializes in video game related activities, and is divided into two branches. The first branch leads to a Bachelor of Science in Games and Simulation Arts. The second branch consists of several different concentrations that students choose from relevant to emerging sub-fields in the games and simulation/entertainment industry. Students have access to the Sage Labs, which consists of three subsets. These subsets include the games lab, (where students take many of their courses), the games projects space, (where students can develop their own games), and the VAST Studio, (where students develop advanced animations).
13. Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Worcester, MA)The Worcester Polytechnic Institute is nationally ranked for its Interactive Media and Game Development, (IMGD), program. This program encourages its graduate to build unique portfolios that will be competitive in the career world through project-based learning. Students are also required to interact at all levels of the game design process, including content creation, programming, testing, and project management. The IMGD program offers digital whiteboard presentations, distributed virtual environments, and performance-based media. All undergraduates must participate in a group based Interactive Qualifying Project.One example of an IMGD IQP is the “virtual joust” now used at the Higgins Armory Museum that allows visitors to experience a joust in a Flash-based game through a Nintendo Wii. Graduates of Polytechnic Institute have landed successful careers with companies such as Infinity Ward, Irrational Games, and Owlchemy Labs.
14. Parsons The New School for Design (New York, NY)People outside the video game industry often perceive the business as purely focused on entertainment. Although that remains the driving force behind video game creation, Parsons shows students how to use their skill sets in creative ways for humanitarian ends. For instance, Parsons teamed up with the Red Cross through Pet Lab to build games that teach people in vulnerable areas about the importance of climate preparation. They also work with Games for Change, a non-prophet dedicated towards education. In addition to these altruistic projects, Parsons also instructs students in all the traditional areas with student training culminating in a 12-credit project solving a real-world problem with game design. Parsons is also sensitive to the recent move in games across multiple platforms such as the i-pad, i-phone, and Android.
15. Sacred Heart University (Fairfield, CT)Sacred Heart University’s School of Computing has been ranked by the Princeton Review and GamePro magazine in the top 50 undergraduate programs and the to 25 graduate programs for the Game Design and Development degree. Undergraduate students must enroll in the Computer Science/Information Technology programs to access the Game Design and Development major. Courses may include:
- OOP and C# Games
- Analysis of Algorithms
- 3D Object Creation
16. Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)Cornell founded its Game Design undergraduate program in 2001, making it one of the oldest and the first to be founded by an Ivy League school. Students gain interdisciplinary networking experience through the Game Design Initiative (GDI). Cornell has put students in companies and studios such as:
- Electronic Arts
- Irrational Games
17. Columbia College Chicago (Chicago, IL)Columbia College of Chicago has one of the lowest tuitions of any private Arts and Media school in the U.S. and is one of the largest with over 10,000 students enrolled. The Interactive Arts and Media (IAM) department has three concentrations:
- Game Sound Design
- Game Art
- Game Design
18. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA)The Massachusetts Institute of Technology opened new doors to exploring the video game world when it created the Singapore-MIT Gambit Game Lab. Instead of creating a new department to compete with its world class representations in computer science, mathematics, logic, and visual media, MIT has created an organizing think tank that weaves these many departments and all their interdisciplinary background together. In place of formal undergraduate game development or game design degree programs, MIT Game Lab assists students in creating their own unique program of study, keeping in mind the students career goals. Similarly at the graduate level students may enroll in a two-year Master of Science in Comparative Media Studies with an emphasis on the interdisciplinary nature of gaming and game development.
19. New York University Tisch School of the Arts (New York, NY)New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts has fully capitalized on its proximity to Broadway and is now one of the most respected creative centers in the world. The school’s approach to the fine arts has always been interdisciplinary and included cutting edge technology. Additionally, its computer science credentials remain unquestioned as the program operates under the world-famous Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. In 2015, the school opened a Video Game Design degree now available as a four-year Bachelor of Fine Arts or two-year Master of Fine Arts. Students will receive a well-rounded education in the theory behind games and the hands-on experience needed for the field. The undergraduate program offers areas of specialization in:
- Game Programming
- Visual or Audio Design
- Business for Games
20. Oklahoma Christian University (Edmond, OK)Oklahoma Christian University is a small, private Christian school with just under 2,600 students and yet it has made a large impact on the community, specifically in the area of Game design. In fact, both the Princeton Review and PC Gamer have nationally recognized the school for its Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design and a Master of Fine Arts in New Media programs. Students have access to an advanced MAC Lab with a plethora of programs necessary for research and class projects. Students will complement the study of essential topics like 3-D modeling, texturing, rigging, animation, and game production with courses in the history of film and other artistic mediums.
21. North Carolina State University (Raleigh, NC)North Carolina State is home to one of the oldest Departments of Computer Science in the nation, having established their department in 1967. The undergraduate Computer Science major offers the opportunity to further specialized in a game development concentration. Students will use the core classes of the computer science degree to gain an understanding of the algorithms and technologies behind creating games. With a minimum requirement of 121 credits, students study a variety of topics such as:
- Artificial Intelligence
- Building Game AI
- Computer Models of Interactive Narrative
- Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame Inductee
- Two American Association for Artificial Intelligence Fellows and a Senior Member
- Emmy Award recipient in National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for plasma screen technology
22. Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI)At Michigan State University (MSU) the departments of Computer Science, Fine Arts, and Media and Information combined their resources to create the Game Design and Development Specialization. This concentration is available to students who are enrolled in the BA in Media and Information, BS in Computer Science, or the BFA in Studio Art. Students are required to have nine to 11 credits already complete before they can be considered for inclusion. The majority of student are able to complete all requirements within two year. Alumni of the school now work for companies such as:
- Red Storm Entertainment
- Microsoft Xbox Team
- Rockstar San Diego
- Microsoft Casual Games
- Sony Computer Entertainment
23. Shawnee State University (Portsmouth, OH)Shawnee State University has been recognized as a Center of Excellence in Immersive Technology. Currently the estimated annual tuition is at $8,355. The school offers two comprehensive undergraduate degrees:
- Bachelor of Fine Arts in Game and Simulation
- Bachelor of Science in Digital Simulation and Gaming Engineering Technology
24. University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA)In 2004 UPenn launched its Masters in Engineering in Computer Graphics and Game Technology (CGGT). Applicants to the program are expected to have a degree in computer science or engineering, and often have substantial field experience. Though UPenn is better known for its graduate programs, undergraduates interested in game design can still benefit from its BS in Digital Media. The Center for Human Modeling and Simulation, founded in 1975, is one of the oldest of its kind in the world, and has made the university a leader in computer graphics and human/behavioral simulation. The center has produced the famous “Jack” software and industry leaders such as Nick Foster of PDI/DreamWorks and Cary Philips of Industrial Light and Magic. UPenn also runs the SIG Center for Computer Graphics. Alumni of the school are working for:
- Electronic Arts
- Blue Sky Entertainment
25. University of Texas at Dallas (Dallas, TX)In 2015 the Art and Technology program merged with the Emerging Media and Communications program to create the School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication at the University of Texas in Dallas. Undergraduate students may enroll in the:
- Bachelor of Arts degree in Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication with concentrations in Animation, Critical Media Studies, Design and Production, Gaming, or Mediated Communication
- Master of Arts
- Master of Fine Arts
- Doctor of Philosophy in Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication
26. Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX)Guildhall at Southern Methodist University was founded in 2003, at the request of industry leaders in the area, as a graduate level facility with the primary focus of educating students in all aspects of video game development. Princeton Review has ranked the Guildhall as the number one graduate school for Game Design in 2018. Additionally, the school is the first in the world to offer a Master’s degree in Interactive Technology with all four cornerstones of game development available as concentrations:
- Barking Lizard
- Terminal Reality
- NC Sort
- Junction Point studios
27. Texas A&M University (College Station, TX)Texas A&M University hosts a unique opportunity for students through the Department of Visualization in the College of Architecture. Currently the department offers:
- Bachelor of Science in Visualization
- Master of Science in Visualization
- Master of Fine Arts in Visualization
28. University of Wisconsin – Stout (Menomonie, WI)For those students interested in Game Production or Design there are number of relevant degrees available at the University of Wisconsin including:
- Bachelor of Fine Arts in Entertainment Design with specializations in Animation, Comics and Sequential Art, or Digital Cinema
- Bachelor of Fine Arts in Game Design and Development with a concentration in Art
- Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design and Interactive Media with specializations in Communication Design or Interaction Design
29. Northeastern University (Boston, MA)Northeastern University’s College of Arts, Media, and Design offers training in Game Design running from undergraduate minors, through graduate degrees. Their program has both a Digital Arts and a Computer Science branch. They also manage the Playable Innovative Technologies Lab which researches various topics such as visual analytics, adaptive lighting, and resource management models. Northeastern applies this hands-on approach to its education system. Students are exposed to a co-op program that gets them working alongside industry giants including:
- Microsoft Game Studios
- Tencent Boston
- SAIC Corporation
30. Quinnipiac University (Hamden, CT)The Bachelor of Arts in Game Design and Development offered through the College of Arts and Sciences at Quinnipiac University has been internationally ranked in the top 30 by the Princeton Review. There are two academic tracks for students to choose from:
- Game Art, focusing on creating game characters, architecture, and levels
- Game Development, focusing on the structure and rules of games
31. Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA)At Georgia Tech, the College of Computing and the School of Literature Communication and Culture have collaborated to provide students with a well-rounded interdisciplinary Bachelor of Science in Computational Media. This joint four-year degree offers a Game Studies focus with a background in the technical, historical, and applied aspects of gaming. Additionally, Georgia Tech offers unique higher-level degrees including the Master of Science in Digital Media and the PhD in Digital Media. Game related research is done through the Experimental Game Lab and the Synesthetic Game Lab. The school also provides Games and Georgia Tech Corporate Travel Grants. These grants enable students to attend conferences and business opportunities the world over.
32. Cleveland Institute of Art (Cleveland, OH)The Cleveland Institute of Art, (CIA), is a small, specialized school of just over 500 students. It recognizes the need for creative expression to embrace the endless possibilities offered by the information age. Consequently, the school has created a Game Design major headquartered in a former FORD auto assembly factory. Here, students have access to an entire game editing suite, a sound editing and recording studio, a green-screen chroma Key studio, two lighting and shooting areas, and a fully stocked game room. But CIA has more than just fancy equipment to play with. It also has some of the top minds in the business, which is why it has been recognized as one of the best by Animation Career Review.
33. New Jersey Institute of Technology (Newark, NJ)The College of Architecture and Design manages two schools, the School of Architecture and the School of Art and Design. Founded in 2008, the School of Art and Design has grown to more than 200 undergraduate students and now offers a Bachelor of Arts in Digital Design program, in addition to undergraduate degrees in Industrial Design and Interior Design. Digital Design offers two areas of specialization, the Entertainment track or the Interactive Media/Production track. The curriculum includes a two-year studio sequence and provides 24/7 studio access throughout the semester. Other affiliated labs include the Cintiq-equipped Art Teaching Lab, the Physical Computing Lab, and the Animation lab.
34. New England Institute of Technology (East Greenwich, RI)The New England Institute of Technology strives to provide students with a well-rounded education in both analytical skills and hands-on training. For students interested in the field of Digital Media there are a variety of programs to choose from. At the Associates and Bachelor levels students can major in:
- Digital Media Production
- Game Development and Simulation Programming
- Graphics, Multimedia and Web Design
- Video Game Design
- Business Management
35. Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design (Lakewood, CO)Located at the edge of the Rocky Mountains, the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design was founded in 1963 as a school for the arts. RMCAD offers both campus and online degrees, with the online programs offering degrees in Bachelor’s and Master’s. Degree majors include Game Art, 3-D Animation, Art Education, Fashion Design, and Illustration. The online Bachelor’s in Game Art consists of 120 credit hours, which offers students a well-rounded education through a liberal arts background with an analytic basis. The 51 core credits required for the degree include instruction in 3-D Computer Animation Motion Studies, Game Animation and Motion Capture, Character and Level Design, Lighting and Texture, and Game Shade Development. Standard video game software is used as the basic educational tool. Instructors encourage creativity and innovation.
36. Champlain College (Burlington, VT)At Champlain College the self-consciously “upside down” curriculum gets students studying what they are most passionate about from the first day of class; this is all the more important for an applied field like video game design. Here undergraduate students learn about varied aspects of Game Design, including systems design, level design, narrative design, game engine design, and studio collaboration. In addition to their successful undergraduate program, Champlain also offers a prestigious Master of Fine Arts degree in Emergent Media that focuses on filling a student’s portfolio with substantial projects, and offers many study abroad programs in places like Dublin or Montreal. The school also offers its annual senior show which allows students to showcase their work before an audience well attended by industry leaders.
37. Becker College (Worcester, MA)Students at Becker College interested in game design can earn a degree in Interactive Media Design. This degree has two concentrations: Game Development and Programming or Game Design. Students have access to a high-performance computer lab, a six camera video motion capture system, 3-D design software, and a growing number of additional, advanced technologies. In April 2011, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts designated Becker as the home of the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI). This statewide institute is a productive think tank at the cross section between industry, academy, and government that fully taps into Massachusetts favorable location as the 4th largest video game cluster in the U.S.
38. Kennesaw State University (Kennesaw, GA)As a part of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State University maintains high standards of academic excellence and a student-centered curriculum throughout all departments. The Department of Software Engineering and Game Development is no exception. Undergraduate degrees offered by the department are the:
- Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering
- Bachelor of Science in Computer Game Development
- Master of Science in Software Engineering
- Graduate Certificates in Software Engineering Foundations or Software Engineering
39. Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH)The Case School of Engineering manages two academic and research oriented divisions: the Computer Science program and the Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering tracks. Undergraduate and graduate degrees are offered in:
- Computer Science
- Computer Engineering
- Systems and Control Engineering
- Electrical Engineering
- Data Science and Analytics (for undergraduates only)
- Computer Engineering
- Computer Science
- Computer Gaming
- Intro to Data Structures
- Intro to Computer Game Design and Implementation
- Computer Graphics
- Advanced Game Development Project
- Intro to Artificial Intelligence
40. University of Michigan-Dearborn (Dearborn, MI)U of M’s Extended Learning and Outreach branch offers the Graduate Certificate in Game Design on campus and online. For admittance to the Certificate program, students must have an overall G.P.A. of 3.0 or higher in a Bachelor’s degree of Engineering or Computer Science. Additionally, students should already be enrolled in a degree program at the University of Michigan. If not already enrolled, applicants must apply as non-degree seeking. The Certificate consists of 12 credit hours, and is designed to provide theoretical and real world instruction in programming video games. Core classes will detail game programming methods. The Certificate’s electives classes are designed to strengthen student’s software engineering and computer science abilities that are relevant to video game programming.
41. Ringling College of Art and Design (Sarasota, FL)Ringling has a particularly adept gaming art program. Undergraduate degrees offered related to the field include:
- Game Art
- Graphic Design
- Motion Design
- Photography and Imaging
- Virtual Reality Development
- Visual Studies
42. Liberty University (Lynchburg, VA)The Bachelor of Science in Information Technology offers a concentration in Game Design. The course consists of 120 credits, and 30 hours of upper-level courses is required. Classes include instruction in:
- C# Programmin
- Digital Imaging
- 3-D Graphics
- Fundamentals of Design
- Publication Design
- Vector Illustration
43. Abilene Christian University (Abilene, TX)Abilene Christian University’s College of Business Administration hosts the School of Information Technology and Computing. There are five undergraduate majors for students to choose:
- Computer Science
- Computer Science and Math with Teacher Certification
- Digital Entertainment Technology
- Information Systems
- Information Technology
- Film and Media Production
- Digital Design
- Game Development
- Digital Entertainment Technology club
- Film Fest
- LA Film School
- Springboard Ideas Challenge
- Women in Technology group
44. University of Denver (Denver, CO)Located in the scenic Rocky Mountain region, the University of Denver was established in 1864, making it the oldest independent private institution of higher education in the area. The largest and most diverse unit at the school is the Division of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. The more than 70 undergraduate or graduate degrees available through the Division include the Emergent Digital Practices program and the Media, Film and Journalism Studies. Video Game Development is under the Bachelor of Arts in Emergent Digital Practices. This degree requires a total of 60 credits for completion. Students enrolled in this program are required to have a minor, second major, or dual-degree in another discipline. Courses include:
- Game Design: Paper to Digital
- Making Critical Games
- Making Educational Games
- Data Visualization
- Advanced Video Art
45. University of California (Irvine, CA)The Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Science began in 1968. In 2002 it became California’s first Computer Science school. There are currently three departments, Computer Science, Informatics, and Statistics, which offer a total of eight majors. The Bachelor’s of Science major in Computer Game Science includes classes such as:
- Introduction to Film and Visual Analysis
- Computer Games and Society
- Discrete Mathematics for Computer Science
- Game Technologies and Interactive Media
46. University of Texas (Austin, TX)At the University of Texas, the Game and Mobile Media Applications Program is a conglomerate certificate program combining the expertise and curriculum points from the Center for Arts and Entertainment Technologies, the College of Fine Arts, the Computer Science Department, and the Radio-Television-Film Department. Students will gain comprehensive background knowledge from experienced professors and leaders in the field. The degree finishes with a cumulative Capstone Course which assimilates students from all disciplines for a team project. Students must work together to develop a new 2-D or 3-D game or new mobile app. The Denius-Sams Gaming Academy at the University of Texas was also the first trial program in America led and taught by gaming industry executives Warren Spector and Paul Sams.
47. Southern Illinois University (Carbondale, IL)The Department of Radio, Television, and Digital Media at Southern Illinois University offers six areas of specialization for undergraduate majors:
- Digital Media Arts and Animation
- Electronic Journalism
- Electronic Sports Media
- Media Industries
- Television/Video Production
- Understanding Media
- Introduction to Media Production
- Media, Law, Policy and Regulation
- Electronic Media in Society
48. George Mason University (Fairfax, VA)Computer Game Design at George Mason University is offered as a Bachelor’s or a Master’s of Arts. At the undergraduate level, the Computer Game Design degree requires a total of 120 credits including 40 credits for Core courses, 53-54 credits for Major courses, a minimum of 12 credits for Digital Medial Electives, six to eight credits of Visual Art electives, and six to nine credits for General Electives. The Master’s level required an additional 36 credit hours for graduation including 22 credits for Core courses, nine credits for Electives, and five credits for the Comprehensive Experience. Internships are necessary for both degrees. The curriculum for the Computer Game Design programs has been modeled after the International Game Developers Association’s most recent ‘Curriculum Framework’ for the Study of Games and Game Development.
49. Miami University (Oxford, OH)Miami University has been home to the Armstrong Institute for Interactive Media Studies since 1996. There are a number of programs available for the 300 enrolled students to choose from including a Graduate Certificate in Interactive Media Studies and a Master’s in Fine Arts in Experience Design. These are offered in partnership with the Graphic Design department. There are four focus areas of the Institute: Digital Innovation Centers, Center for Research in User Experience, Game and Learning Lab, and Virtual Reality/John Smale Visualization Lab and Center. The Huge Immersive Virtual Environment, or HIVE, at Miami University is the largest space devoted to a virtual reality system in the world. It features a state-of-the-art position tracking system and over 1,000 m2 of tracking space in which users can walk freely while wearing a head-mounted display.
50. High Point University (High Point, NC)The Nido R. Qubein School of Communication at High Point University creates a communal atmosphere with interdisciplinary research and networking between 750 scholars within disciplines. Within the 128-credit hour Bachelor of Arts in Communication there are seven sequences, or areas of specialization, from which to choose:
- Electronic Media Production
- Game and Interactive Media Design
- Media and Popular Culture Studies
- Sport and Event Management
- Sport Communication
- Strategic Communication
- Theory and Criticism of Games
- Communication Law and Ethics
- Human Communication
51. University of Miami (Coral Gables, FL)In the School of Communication at the University of Miami, students may enroll in a unique graduate level program in the field of Interactive Media. This 45-credit hour Master of Fine Arts degree provides personalized hands-on training and field networking opportunities through a number of interdisciplinary research facilities including the:
- Collaboration Innovation Lab
- Interactive Media User Experience Lab
- New Experience Research and Design Lab (NERDLab)
- Koenigsberg and Nadal Interactive Media Center
- Human-computer interaction
- VR and other emerging technologies
52. University of California (Santa Cruz, CA)A small film studies program began at the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1973. As the program expanded it gradually initiated further degree tracks and was soon renamed as the Department of Film and Media Studies. Available degrees may include:
- B.A. in Art and Design: Games and Playable Media
- B.S. or M.S. in Computer Science: Computer Game Design
- B.A., M.F.A., or Ph.D. in Film and Digital Media
53. The Art Institute Online (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)The Art Institute Online consists of 50 art schools located across the U.S. The Bachelor of Science in Game Art and Design program includes Design Fundamentals, Image Manipulation, Digital Story Telling, Game Modeling, and Game Design and Game Play. A total of 55 courses and 180 credits are required for graduation. Students are given instruction in developing their portfolio and developing their own games. A certificate program in 3-D Modeling for Games is also offered. Having an Associate’s degree is a prerequisite, and 13 courses or 39 credits are required for graduation. Courses include Game Modeling, Life Drawing and Gesture, Hard Surface and Organic Modeling, and Environmental Modeling. The Career Services department at The Art Institute helps students find employment after graduation.
54. DePaul University (Chicago, IL)DePaul University manages the College of Computing and Digital Media which is comprised of three schools: Cinematic Arts, Computing, and Design. For students interested in new technology, designing and embedding games, or studying social practices, the School of Design is the right choice. There are three undergraduate programs offered:
- B.S. in Game Design
- B.F.A. in Graphic Design
- B.S. in Interactive and Social Media
- MA in Digital Communication and Media Arts
- MS in Experience Design
- MFA in Game Design
- MS in Human-Computer Interaction
55. Ferris State University (Big Rapids, MI)At Ferris State University, the College of Education and Human Services manages the School of Digital Media. The available undergraduate degrees include:
- Bachelor of Applied Science in Digital Animation and Game Design
- Bachelor of Science in Digital Media Software Engineering
- Bachelor of Science in Television and Digital Media Production
56. New York Film Academy (New York City, NY)Producer Jerry Sherlock founded the New York Film Academy in 1992 on the principle of learning by doing. Welcoming to all students, no previous experience in programming is required to attend the Academy. The range of visual and performing arts degrees includes:
- Broadcast Journalism
- Documentary Film-making
- Game Design
- 3-D Animation and Visual Effects
57. Cogswell College (San Jose, CA)Located in the heart of Silicone Valley, Cogswell College offers a hands-on project based curriculum centered on creating industry leaders in fields of technology and digital art through entrepreneurship. Programs offered include undergraduate studies in:
- Game Design and Development
- Digital Audio Technology
- Digital Art and Animation
- Dream Works
- Blizzard Entertainment
58. Indiana University – Purdue University (Indianapolis, IN)Established in 2014, the Media School at Indiana University is comprised of the much older journalism program, film studies, and telecommunications department. The degree tracks offered through the Media School include a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism or Media and a Bachelor’s of Science in Game Design. Graduate studies are also available. The Game Design degree maintains a system based approach curriculum. Students have the option to complete up to three Media School specializations. However, in place of the concentration students may complete up to 45 credit hours of courses focused on the skills and knowledge required of game designers. Research centers and affiliates of the Media School include the:
- Center for International Media Law and Policy Studies
- Institute for Communication Research
- IU Cinema
- National Sportscaster and Sportswriters Association
59. Eastern Kentucky University (Richmond, KY)Eastern Kentucky University is offering the first game design major of its kind in the state. Students will need to enroll through the Department of Computer Science in the Bachelor of Computer Science degree and select the concentration in Interactive Multimedia. A minor in Game Content Design is also available as recently as the fall of 2017. The 120 credit-hour undergraduate curriculum will cover essential topics including graphics programming, 3-D modeling and animation, and multimedia systems. The goal of the program, with the help and support of the Eastern Kentucky University Gaming Institute, is for students to design, develop, and publish video games on a professional level with a complete understanding of the theories behind gaming.
60. California Institute of the Arts (Valencia, California)Established in 1961 by Walt and Roy Disney, the California Institute of the Arts has been recognized as the first degree-granting institution of its kind in the nation. Focusing specifically on the visual and performing arts, admission to the school is competitive and requires a demonstration of artistic merit. Currently there are nearly 1,500 students in attendance within six major schools of study: Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music, and Theater. Game Design is currently a non-credit program offered through the Online Extended Studies with Fee-based Certificates available. The five-course series covers: Intro to Game Design, Story and Narrative Development for Video Games, World Design for Video Games, Character Design for Video Games, and a Capstone project defining the Art and Concepts of your game.
61. The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School (Orlando, FL)Affectionately known as the DAVE school, the Digital Animation and Visual Effects School was co-founded by Jeff and Amy Scheetz. No previous computer graphics experience is necessary to apply. There are four major areas of study Visual Effects Production, Game Production Program, Motion Graphics, and Production Programming. Faculty members include Roger Borelli, Alexander Llanos, Tom Bremer, and Jessica Kipikasha. The 15-month Game Production Certificate Program covers five topics: Digital Modeling and Sculpting, Fundamentals of Computer Animation, Video Game Production, Interaction and Game Systems, and the Final Game Project Development. DAVE school graduates have been hired by companies such as ActiVision, EA, Mindwalk Studios, and Naughty Dog.
62. Academy of Interactive Entertainment (Seattle, WA)Founded in 1996 as a non-profit institution, the Academy of Interactive Entertainment is the first organization of its kind in the world to offer advanced specialized training in 3-D animation for the field of video game development. The Academy manages seven campus locations, two of which are in the United States, and maintains a strong online presence for distance learners. As more of a vocational school with hands-on training than a research university, AIE offers professional two-year advanced diplomas in:
- Game Art and Animation
- Game Programming
- 3-D Animation and VFX for Film
- Game Design and Production
63. Academy of Art University (San Francisco, CA)Established in 1929, by artists for artists, Academy of Art University has grown to become the nation’s largest accredited private art university offering degrees, personal enrichment courses, portfolio and teacher grants and high school scholarships in 29 unique programs. The School of Game Development offers the Bachelor of Science in Game Programming, which is the first BS degree at the Academy. Students can learn 3-D modeling, digital drawing, texturing, and engineering and programming for game creation and design, among other skills. Students can also learn to write code and understand the math that goes into programming game creation.
64. Woodbury University (Burbank, CA)Woodbury University was founded n 1884. Its exponential growth and progressive outlook, among other factors, gained the school recognition as a National College of Distinction. There are more than 20 practice-based professional and liberal arts undergraduate and graduate majors available. The School of Media, Culture, and Design at Woodbury offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts Game Art and Design program. There are two concentrations within the major: Game Art or Game Design. Students who study Game Art will focus on 2-D and 3-D character and environmental designs, while students studying Game Design will learn play mechanics, scoring systems, and prototyping. The Game Art and Design programs received Plan Approval from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design in 2012.
65. Bradley University (Peoria, IL)In 1897 the Bradley Polytechnic Institute was established and after years of growth and expansion the Institute was rededicated as a four-year college in 1920 and was granted University status in 1946. Through the Slane College of Communications and Fine Arts at Bradley, students may register for the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Game Design. This undergraduate curriculum concentration exposes students to topics including gameplay, visual and audio media, and storytelling and conception. Students may also have ample opportunity to participate in team work with other professional programmers and artists. Bradley also offers an Interactive Media Program which works in conjunction with the Departments of Art, Computer Science, and Theater Arts. Concentrations for this program include Animation and Visual Effects, Game Design, and Web and Application Design.
66. Gnomon School of Visual Effects (Los Angeles, CA)The Gnomon School of Visual Effects is located in in the heart of Hollywood within the Television Center Studio Lot. Founded in 1997 by Alex Alvarez, the school offers over 100 individual courses for professional enrichment which run 1 – 10 weeks in duration, in addition the the full-time two- and three-year certificate programs. The Entertainment Design and Digital Production program runs for three years and is targeted towards beginners in the field. A shortened two-year program is offered for students at an intermediate level. Resources available to the students include nine computer labs, two cycloramas, one green screen stage, and one gallery. Alumni include Alberto Abril – Animator for the movie Zootopia, Eric Araujo – Effects Artist for the movie Frozen, and Nathan Boyd – Senor Surfing Artist for Blizzard Entertainment.
67. Laguna College of Art and Design (Laguna Beach, CA)With accreditation from both the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, Laguna College has established itself as an elite institution. Founded in 1961, the school was originally known as the Laguna Beach School of Art. There are currently five undergraduate majors and a graduate department which cover the topics of Drawing and Painting, Illustration, Design and Digital Media, Animation, and Game Art/Art of Game Design. The Masters of Fine Arts in Art and Game Design is a two-year program which requires a total of 60 Units before graduation. Students will be exposed to topics such as Mechanic Based Game Analysis, Prototyping, and Specialized Programming. The curriculum focuses on the processes of both the creation and the development of games.
68. Maryland Institute College of Art (Baltimore, MD)Recognized as the oldest institute for higher education specializing in the arts in America, the Maryland Institute College of Art was founded in 1826. Originally known as the Maryland Institute for the Promotion of the Mechanic Arts, the school is also known for having the most study abroad programs of any art college in the United States. The various programs include 18 majors, 19 studio concentrations, seven liberal arts minors, and various dual degrees. At the graduate level there are a total of 19 programs which lead to the MFA, MA, MBA, MAT, MPS, and post-baccalaureate certificate. The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Game Design introduces students to various topics including 2-D and 3-D Game Design, Fantasy Art, 3-D Environments, and UI Design for Games and Apps.
69. Stony Brook University (Stony Brook, NY)At Stony Brook University more than 25,000 students are enrolled within four colleges and nine schools. There are over 200 undergrad programs and 140 grad programs offered. The College of Arts and Sciences was formed in the early 1990’s as a merger between the divisions of Humanities and Fine Arts, Life Sciences, Physical Sciences and Math, and Social and Behavioral Sciences. Today the college is comprised of 26 departments and 15 academic centers. Within the College, the Art department offers two tracks: Art History and Criticism or Studio Art. The undergraduate program in Studio Art offers a Digital Arts Minor which requires 21 credits for completion. Students may select Production Courses and Theory and Culture Courses which cover Computer Game Programming, Design of Computer Games, and Video and Computer Game Culture.
70. Otis College of Art and Design (Los Angeles, CA)Established in 1918, the Otis College of Art and Design enrolls more than 1,100 full-time students and employs over 400 expert faculty members. Norman Rockwell was an artist-in-residence at Otis College in the 1940’s and it is said that many of his well-known Saturday Evening Post covers used other Otis College students as models. Of the 11 Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees offered, it is the Digital Media track which offers concentrations in Animation, Game and Entertainment Design, and Motion Design. The Animation track focuses on storytelling, character design, and acting using both 2-D animation and 3-D computer-generated imagery. Game Entertainment and Design is for students interested in creating the gameplay, environment, story line, and characters of interactive games, apps, and websites. Finally, Motion Design combines typography, graphics, film making, video, images, and sound to communicate ideas.
71. The Art Center College of Design (Pasadena, CA)The Art Center College of Design was founded in 1930 as a private nonprofit institution which has been fully accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. There are 11 undergraduate degrees and seven graduate degrees offered. The Entertainment Design program offers two main tracks of study. The Concept Design concentration focuses on the creative skills required of entertainment industry concept designer, while the Character Animation concentration studies the nuances of designing, modeling and bringing to life appealing characters through 3-D and 2-D animation. Each program requires a total of 144 Units to be completed before graduation.
72. University of Tulsa (Tulsa, OK)The University of Tulsa’s Tandy School of Computer Science is located in the College of Engineering and Natural Sciences. In 2015 the School created the Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Simulation and Gaming. Students will receive a computer science core curriculum with interdisciplinary courses in creative writing, graphic art, music and sound engineering, and more. The computer science core will cover topics such as:
- 3-D Modeling
- Hardware Programming
73. Marist College (Poughkeepsie, NY)When it comes to the study of technology, the Marist College has numerous opportunities including specialized facilities such as the Institute for Data Center Professionals, the New York State Cloud Computing and Analytics Center, and the Institute for Leadership Development. Its Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies and Production program offers an Interactive Media and Game Design Concentration. Courses for this track include Media Literacy, Ethics and Gaming, Video Production, and 3-D Modeling and Animation. In addition to the Bachelor’s degree, Marist offers a summer Pre-College program in Game Design for high school juniors and seniors through an online bridge program. Upon successful completion of the Summer Game Institute, each student will earn three transferable college credits for the Marist College course, Introduction to Gaming.
74. Edinboro University (Edinboro, PA)Edinboro Academy was established as a private training school for teachers in 1857. The institution steadily grew and gained University status by 1983. Today there are five academic schools which manage a total of 22 departments. Degree tracks include 123 Bachelor’s, 16 Graduate, and 10 Certificate programs. The College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences hosts the Art Department. Majors and programs offered through the department include Cinema, Graphic and Interactive Design, and Illustration. Students enrolled in the Graphic and Interactive Design track will receive background skill sets and knowledge in the first two years. In their junior years students will have a number of specializations to choose from including motion graphics, branding, or design history and theory. The various programs at the University are accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
75. Baker College, (Flint, Michigan)Baker College is a private school in Flint Michigan. Founded in 1911, offering on campus and online degrees, including Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorates, and Certificates. Industry video game developers give insight and guidance to the curriculum, which is updated regularly. Baker offers the Bachelor of Science in Game Software Development online, focusing on software engineering in gaming development and animation. Students learn the industry standards that are most current and relevant. This online degree prepares students for entry-level positions upon graduation. Classes include:
- Database Fundamentals
- 3-D Character Design
- C++ Programming
- Principles of Computer Science
- Game Scripting
76. Lawrence Technological University (Southfield, MI)Though formally founded in 1932 as a private institution by Russell E. Lawrence, the Lawrence Technological University can trace its history back to the brainchild of Henry and Edsel Ford. With the key figures of the industrial revolution as inspiration, the University grew to more than 4,000 students enrolled within four colleges: Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management. The College of Arts and Sciences has three departments main Humanities/Social Sciences and Communication, Mathematics and Computer Science, and Natural Sciences. Degrees available through the departments range from undergraduate certificate through Graduate certificates and Pre-Professional Programs. Under the Mathematics and Computer Science department there are 12 programs including Game Development, Intelligent Systems, Game Art, and Robotics.
77. American University (Washington, D.C.)The School of Communication and the College of Arts and Sciences as American University jointly offer a Master’s degree program and a graduate certificate program in the field of Game Design. The curriculum of the 36-credit hour Master’s degree emphasizes game design and game engagement mechanics. Students have up to nine credit hours to dedicate to electives and a variety of concentrations. Real-world projects and hands-on experience are obtained through facilities such as the American University Game Lab and the Game Studio. Students may take advantage of the expertise from field experienced professors with a small student to faculty ratio of four to one.
Video Game Design Careers | FAQ
1. What Are Some Video Game Designer Salaries?The median salary for Game Designers is $59,695.00, according to PayScale. The lowest entry level salary is $34,557.00, and the highest level salary is $103,993.00. The median salary for Game Artists is $50,632.00, according to PayScale. The lowest entry level salary is $31,781.00, and the highest level salary is $75,891.00.
2. What Jobs Can You Get With a Game Design Degree?A game design degree can qualify you for jobs like:
- Game Designer
- Game Tester
- Creative Game Director
- Game Marketer and PR
- Game Software Developer and Programmer
- Game Audio Engineer
- Game Animators
- Game Artists
- 2D and 3D Artists
- Graphic Designers
Best Game Design Colleges Ranking GuidelinesAs usual at SuccessfulStudent.org, this ranking was made for the benefit of students, to help make sense of education options in Game Design and Game Art. Factors that went into consideration of the ranking were factors that are important to students, such as well rounded academics, cost, career prospects in the gaming industry, cutting edge technological instruction, a track record of graduates making an impact in commercial video games, and proximity to video game and entertainment epicenters.
Video Game Design Colleges | Frequently Asked Questions
1. What college major is for Video Game Design?Here are a few standard majors for a bachelor’s degree in Game Design: Using Southern New Hampshire University as an example:
- Online Bachelor of Art in Game Art and Development
- Online Bachelor of Science in Game Programming and Development
- Online Bachelor of Science in Information Technologies – Game Design and Development