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The Best Game Design Colleges in Texas

The Best Game Design Colleges in Texas
Rank School Location
1 The University of Texas at Austin Austin, Texas
2 Southern Methodist University Dallas, Texas
3 Texas A & M University-College Station College Station, Texas
4 The University of Texas at Dallas Richardson, Texas
5 University of Houston-Clear Lake Houston, Texas
6 Texas State University San Marcos, Texas
7 The University of Texas at San Antonio San Antonio, Texas
8 The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Edinburg, Texas
9 The University of Texas at Arlington Arlington, Texas

We have ranked the best colleges for studying video game design in Texas.

Game Design is a popular degree in Texas. There are over 10 Texas schools where students can get undergraduate and/or graduate video game design degrees.

In addition to traditional universities, there are also specialized schools in Texas that focus specifically on game design degree programs, such as the Art Institute of Houston and the MediaTech Institute.

Each of these colleges and schools offer programs and specializations within the field of digital game development or game art, so it's important for students to research and compare their options before making an attendance decision.

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The Best Game Design Colleges in Texas

1.

The University of Texas at Austin

Austin, Texas

University of Texas at Austin

The UT Austin offers the BS in Arts and Entertainment Technologies, which concentrates on Game Design and Development.

This program focuses on the intersection of art and technology, and offers courses in computer science, game design and visual effects. Students will learn about game programming and game art. 

Students can choose to specialize in game design and take courses such as Game Design and Development, Game Production Lab, and the Game Design Capstone. Students will have access to state-of-the-art technology and equipment.

According to the University of Texas at Austin's College of Fine Arts, the job placement rate for graduates of their Bachelor of Science in Arts and Entertainment Technologies with a focus on game design and development is quite high. They report that 90% of their graduates find employment within six months of graduation.

This high job placement rate can be attributed to the fact that the program at UT Austin is highly regarded in the game design industry. The curriculum is designed to prepare students for careers in game design and development, with a focus on real-world gaming projects.

UT Austin has a strong network of industry connections, which allows them to provide students with opportunities for internships, mentorships, and networking events. These connections also help to ensure that graduates are well-positioned to find employment after graduation.

The estimated cost of attendance for a Texas resident is $28,768 per year, which includes tuition, fees, room, board, books, and personal expenses.

2.

Southern Methodist University

Dallas, Texas

Southern Methodist University

Southern Methodist University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Computing with a specialization in Game Development. This program combines courses in computer science, art, and design to provide students with a well-rounded education in game development. Students will learn about game design, programming, and production, as well as game history and theory. 

According to the Southern Methodist University (SMU) website, the job placement rate for graduates of the Bachelor's in Game Design program is 100%. This means that all graduates of the program were able to secure employment in the game design industry or related fields within six months of graduation.

SMU's program is highly regarded in the industry and has a strong reputation for producing talented and skilled graduates. The program provides students with a comprehensive education in game design, including courses in game development, programming, storytelling, and game mechanics.

SMU's program also offers students access to a range of industry resources and networking opportunities. This includes internships with leading game design companies, guest lectures from industry professionals, and participation in video game production competitions.

Overall, the job placement rate for SMU's graduates of the Bachelor's in Game Design program is an impressive indicator of the program's success in preparing students for careers in the game industry. Students who are interested in pursuing a career in Texas should definitely consider SMU as one of their top choices.

SMU also offers a Master of Interactive Technology (MIT) program through Guildhall, which is a game development program. The MIT program offers specializations in art creation, level design, production, and software development.

The estimated cost of attendance for a Texas resident pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Computation with a specialization in Game Design is $77,450 for four years, which includes tuition, fees, room, board, books, and personal expenses.

3.

Texas A & M University-College Station

College Station, Texas

Texas A&M University

Texas A&M University - Commerce offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communication with a concentration in Digital Media and Gaming. This focuses on the development of 2D and 3D games, as well as animation and interactive media. Students will learn about game design, game programming, and game art, and will have access to state-of-the-art technology and equipment.

According to the Texas A&M University Career Center, the job placement rate for graduates of the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communication with a concentration in Digital Media and Gaming is high. The career center claims that 97% of graduates have secured employment or pursued further education within six months of graduation.

The career center also notes that graduates of this program have gone on to work for a variety of companies in the industry, including Electronic Arts, Blizzard Entertainment, and Zynga. Graduates have held positions such as gaming designer, level designer, and user interface designer.

Texas A&M University offers resources to help students prepare for careers in the gaming industry, including the Department of Visualization's Industry Relations program, which connects students with industry professionals and provides opportunities for internships.

Graduates can potentially expect to have strong career prospects in the gaming industry.

According to the Texas A&M University website, for the 2021-2022 academic year, the estimated cost of attendance for a Texas resident taking 15 credit hours per semester is $13,069 per semester. For non-residents, the estimated cost of attendance is $28,456 per semester.

Texas A&M University is home to the LIVE Lab, a research facility dedicated to game design and development.

4.

The University of Texas at Dallas

Harry W. Bass Jr. School of Arts, Humanities, and Technology

Richardson, Texas

Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication - concentration options in Animation and Games, Critical Media Studies, or Emerging Media Art
University of Texas at Dallas

The University of Texas at Dallas offers the Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication bachelor's degree with a concentration in Animation and Games.

This program combines courses in art and game design to provide students with a well-rounded and fundamental education in game development and animation. 

Students will learn about game design and theory, programming, production, as well as game animation. The program also offers opportunities for students to work on real-world game development projects.

Students learn game design in these subjects:

  • media histories
  • UX/UI design
  • game studies
  • digital fabrication
  • motion graphics
  • computer animation

Students can apply to the Animation and Gaming concentration in their 3rd semester.

The university's overall acceptance rate for undergraduate programs is around 69%.

According to the University of Texas at Dallas' Career Center, the job placement rate for graduates is high. However, specific data on the job placement rate for this particular degree program is not readily available on the university's website or through other publications.

The estimated cost of attendance for a Texas resident is $26,894 per year, which includes tuition, fees, room, board, books, and other expenses.

5.

University of Houston-Clear Lake

Houston, Texas

BS of Digital Gaming and Simulation
University of Houston

The University of Houston - Clear Lake's Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with a concentration in Game Programming and Development is a program that focuses on technical aspects of game design.

Students learn programming languages such as C++ and Java, as well as game engines like Unity and Unreal Engine. This program is ideal for students who want to pursue a career in game programming in particular, given the coding language curriculum.

The program offers courses in game design, game programming, game engine development, and artificial intelligence for games. Students will also have the opportunity to work on real-world projects and gain hands-on experience in game development.

Students who graduate from this program will have a strong foundation in computer science and will be well-equipped to pursue careers in the gaming industry. They will have the skills to develop games for various platforms, including PC, console, and mobile devices.

The program is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET. The University of Houston - Clear Lake has a strong reputation for its computer science programs, which can be beneficial for students when seeking employment after graduation.

The acceptance rate for the program is approximately 65%.

Graduates have worked for major gaming companies such as Electronic Arts, Blizzard Entertainment, and Microsoft Game Studios.

Their career services department helps students with job search assistance, resume writing workshops, and networking opportunities with game design industry professionals.

The cost depends on several factors, including whether the student is a resident of Texas or not. For Texas residents, the cost of tuition and fees for the program is approximately $9,216 per year. For non-residents, the cost is approximately $21,264 per year.

6.

Texas State University

San Marcos, Texas

Texas State University

Texas State University offers a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with a concentration in Game Development. This program focuses on the technical aspects of game design, including programming, graphics, and artificial intelligence. Students will also learn about game design theory and the business of the gaming industry.

Texas State University also offers a minor in Game Development. This program is designed for students who want to add to their major a focus on game design.

With both a Bachelor of Science program and a minor in Game Development, students can choose the program that best accomplishes their career goals.

The acceptance rate is around 45%. However, this rate can change from year to year based on the number of applicants and the competitiveness of the applicants.

Prospective students should keep in mind that meeting the minimum requirements for admission does not guarantee acceptance into the program. Admissions decisions are based on a total review of each applicant's academic record, extracurricular activities, essays, and possibly other factors.

The overall job placement rate for graduates of the computer science program is 95%. While specific data on job placement rates is not readily available, it is likely safe to assume that the rate is similar.

The university has a strong reputation in the tech industry, and graduates of the program have gone on to work for companies such as IBM, Dell, and Microsoft. The Career Services department offers resources and support to help students and graduates find job opportunities.

The cost for in-state students is approximately $10,000 per year, while out-of-state students can expect to pay around $22,000 per year. These costs do not include additional expenses such as room and board, textbooks, and any other fees.

Texas State University offers several financial aid options to help students cover the cost of tuition. These can include scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study programs. Students can apply for financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online.

Texas State University also offers a payment plan option for students who are unable to pay their tuition in full at the beginning of the semester. This plan allows students to pay their tuition in installments throughout the semester.

7.

The University of Texas at San Antonio

San Antonio, Texas

UT San Antonio offers two degrees:

University of Texas at San Antonio
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with a concentration in Game Development
  • Bachelor of Arts in Game Design

Both programs provide students with a strong foundation in game design principles and programming skills.

The Bachelor of Arts in Game Design focuses on the creative and artistic aspects of game design, including storytelling, character development, and game mechanics. Students will learn how to use industry-standard software such as Unity and Unreal Engine to create 2D and 3D games.

The BS in Computer Science in Game Development emphasizes software development and programming languages. Students learn languages such as C++ and Java and gain experience in game engine development.

Both programs offer opportunities for students to work on real-world game design projects and collaborate with industry professionals. The programs also provide access to state-of-the-art facilities, including game development labs and motion capture studios.

Students should consider their career goals when considering these programs. The Bachelor of Arts in Game Design may be a better choice for students who are interested in the creative and artistic aspects of game design, whereas the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with a concentration in Game Development may be a better fit for students who are interested in the technical and programming aspects of creating games.

The acceptance rate has been around 60%. Meeting the minimum requirements for admission does not guarantee acceptance, as the program receives qualified applicants each year.

The BS in Computer Science in Game Development program is focused on the technical aspects of game development, and applicants are expected to have a strong background in math and computer science.

As with the Bachelor of Arts program, meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee acceptance.

According to the UTSA Career Center, the job placement rate for graduates of the Bachelor of Arts in Game Design program is 85%. This means that 85% of graduates from this program were able to secure employment in the gaming industry within six months of graduation.

Similarly, the job placement rate for graduates of the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with a concentration in Game Development program is also high. According to the UTSA Career Center, the job placement rate for graduates of this program is 90%. This means that 90% of graduates were able to find employment in the gaming industry within six months of graduation.

The cost of tuition and fees for Texas residents is approximately $10,000 per academic year. For non-Texas residents, the cost of tuition and fees is approximately $25,000 per academic year.

8.

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Edinburg, Texas

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley's Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art with a concentration in Digital Art and Design is a four-year program that equips graduates for working in the video game industry.

The Bachelor of Science in Digital Entertainment and Game Design appears to be the least expensive bachelor's degree option in Texas. The estimated total cost for tuition and fees for four years is approximately $27,000 for in-state students.

The program offers courses in digital art and design, animation, game design, and interactive media.

Students have access to state-of-the-art labs and studios, including a motion capture studio, a virtual reality lab, and a game development lab.

The job placement rate for graduates is approximately 85%.

9.

The University of Texas at Arlington

Arlington, Texas

University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington offers the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communication with a concentration in Game Design that is designed to prepare students for careers in the game design industry.

The program is taught by experienced faculty members who have worked in the game industry and have a deep understanding of the skills and knowledge required to succeed in the field.

Students in the program will learn a range of skills, including game design, game programming, 3D modeling, animation, and game engine development.

The program also offers opportunities for students to work on real-world projects and collaborate with other students, giving them hands-on experience and the chance to build their portfolios.

The acceptance rate at UT Arlington is approximately 50%.

The program boasts a 90% job placement rate for graduates within six months of graduation.

This high job placement rate is likely due to the program's focus on preparing students for careers in the game design industry.

The estimated cost for in-state residents taking 15 credit hours per semester is approximately $9,616 per semester. This includes tuition and fees, but does not include additional expenses such as room and board, textbooks, and supplies. Out-of-state residents' tuition is approximately $21,812 per semester for the same courses.

What can I do with a degree in game design?

Graduates can potentially pursue various career paths in the gaming industry. They can work as game designers, level designers, game programmers, game artists, game writers, game testers, and more.

Game designers are responsible for creating the overall concept and gameplay of a video game. They work closely with other team members to develop the game mechanics, storylines, and characters.

Level designers are responsible for designing the levels and environments within a game. They work closely with game designers to ensure that the levels are challenging, engaging, and visually appealing.

Game programmers are responsible for writing the code that brings the game to life. They work closely with game designers and artists to ensure that the game runs smoothly and is bug-free.

Game artists are responsible for creating the visual elements of a game, including the characters, environments, and special effects. They work closely with game designers to ensure that the visual style of the game matches the overall concept.

Game writers are responsible for creating the storylines and dialogue within a game. They work closely with game designers to ensure that the story is engaging and fits with the overall concept of the game.

Game testers are responsible for finding and reporting bugs and glitches within a game. They work closely with game programmers to ensure that the game runs smoothly and is free of errors.

What skills do I need for a career in game design?

Game design requires a combination of technical, creative, and soft skills. Technical skills include proficiency in programming languages, game engines, and software such as Unity or Unreal Engine. Creative skills include storytelling, character design, and visual arts. Soft skills are being able to communicate effectively and collaborate with others well. A game designer must be able to balance these skills to create a compelling and engaging game.

Problem-solving skills are essential for game designers. They must be able to identify and solve technical issues that arise during the development process. They must also be able to design levels and gameplay mechanics that are challenging yet enjoyable for players.

Communication skills are also needed for a successful career in game design. Game designers must be able to effectively communicate their ideas to a team of artists, programmers, and other professionals. They must also be able to take feedback and collaborate with others to create the best possible product.

It also helps to have a passion for gaming. They must be familiar with the latest trends and innovations in the industry, and be able to apply that knowledge to their own work. A successful game designer is someone who is constantly learning and adapting to new technologies and ideas in game creation.

See our ranking of The Best Bachelor's in Computer Science: Game Design Degrees.

Game Designer Salaries in Texas

The average salary for graduates of game design programs in Texas varies depending on the specific job and level of experience. According to the ZipRecruiter, the median annual salary for game designers is $149,118 as of January, 2024.

Game design graduates may also pursue careers as video game designers, which have a median annual salary of $90,270 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is higher than the median annual salary for all occupations in Texas.

It's important to note that salaries can vary greatly depending on factors such as location, company size, and individual experience. Graduates with strong portfolios and networking skills may have an advantage in securing higher-paying positions.

For more information on salaries, see our article How Much Do Video Game Designers Make? Design Salaries.

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