Find the best game design schools to jump start your career. Below is a list of the top 50 best game designer schools as rated by the Princeton Review. The schools are separated by undergraduate and graduate programs. The criteria for judging each school was based on a large combination of factors such as what courses are offered, what kind of faculty is employed at the school, what engines/technologies the school uses, etc. You already know how huge of an industry video game design is, so educate yourself on a top For each school there is a link directly to the appropriate Game Designing Programs Webpage for easy access.


  • Game Design Top 15 Undergraduate Schools

  • University of Utah (Salt Lake City, UT)

    The School of Computing and the Department of Film and Media Arts offer an interdisciplinary emphasis in Entertainment Arts and Engineering (EAE). This emphasis provides an academic path for students interested in careers in the digital entertainment industry (video games, digital animation, computer generated special effects, etc.)

    Students from both Computer Science and Film & Media Arts take common classes throughout their undergraduate years, culminating in a year long senior capstone project where students build a video game from the ground up. Students may choose the Game Engineering Emphasis receiving a BS in Computer Science or the Game Art Emphasis receiving a BFA degree in the Film and Media Arts.

  • University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)

    The Video Game Design and Management minor integrates theoretical concepts and practical skills to prepare students for a career in interactive entertainment, specifically the video game industry. Through integration of two major disciplines (cinema and information technology), students will be exposed to a variety of design concepts related to creating video games including: level design, game-play control, user interface, multiplayer, game mechanics, and storytelling. As opposed to the Video Game Programming minor in which students will be writing code and programming game engines, students in the Video Game Design and Management minor will apply design concepts to different game genres and use game design software tools to create a working demo of a video game during the course of the minor program.

  • DigiPen Institute of Technology (Redmond, WA)

    I’ve personally taken a couple of workshop classes at DigiPen about 8 years ago. I got hands-on with C++ programming and Autodesk 3DS Max. I was very pleased with my experience. The school sits right next to Nintendo of America’s headquarters up in Redmond, Washington. See their list of undergraduate degree programs here.

  • Rochester Institute of Technology (Rochester, NY)

    The IGM (Interactive Games & Media) School is comprised of talented and motivated individuals from a variety of academic backgrounds with a shared interest in computing as it relates to interactive and social media, new media, games, simulations, and media-centric systems of all varieties.  The school's mission is to provide a sustained educational environment that supports and encourages creative and collaborative academic inquiry by both faculty and students into these areas. The school's programs, coursework, research, and development efforts will provide students with the knowledge and skills to pursue meaningful and rewarding careers in this arena, while simultaneously advancing the field and helping to provide a well-rounded educational experience.

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA)

    While MIT does not have a formal game development or game design degree program, the MIT Game Lab helps MIT students who are interested in games create their own program of study. By their nature, games require an interdisciplinary approach to their study. However, approaches can vary depending on what the student wants to do with games.

  • Drexel University (Philadelphia, PA)

    At Drexel University, game development does not "live" in solely one department, and so mirrors the true nature of game development in commercial settings. Digital game development is offered in a coordinated, cross-listed series of courses in both the Computer Science (CS) and Digital Media (DIGM) majors, and production courses are open to other majors as well.

  • Shawnee State University (Portsmouth, OH)

    Shawnee State offers two separate – but coordinated – programs in digital simulation and gaming. The Science of making games is broken down in the Bachelor of Science in Digital Simulation and Gaming Engineering Technology program. And the art of making games is broken down in the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Gaming and Simulation program.

  • Savannah College of Art and Design (Savannah, GA)

    The SCAD interactive design and game development program prepares students to pursue areas of game art and design or interactive media forms such as Web design, user experience design and digital installation art. Students work on screen-based productions, as well as presentations in physical spaces.

  • The Art Institute of Vancouver (Vancouver, British Columbia / CAN)

    Students interested in game design training can pursue The Art Institute of Vancouver Game Art & Design Diploma. In this program, students can take their creativity and imaginations to a new level. In the game art and design program at The Art Institute of Vancouver, students learn hands on, using industry-related software and technology. Students receiving game design training are taught to combine their artistic and digital skills with their passion for gaming. Students’ game design training begins by teaching basics like drawing, color theory, and 2-D design. Students can then progress through their game design training to modeling and animation. Finally, advanced game design training is taught including scriptwriting, storyboarding, character animation, and production. Before they graduate, students develop a portfolio demonstrating their game design training to show potential employers. Upon successful completion of this program with its game design training, graduates can pursue entry-level jobs like character animator, modeler, game tester, and game designer.

  • Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI)

    Through the Game Specialization courses, students will learn the technology, design fundamentals, and development process of digital games, as well as the history, social impacts, and business of games. Students will also gain valuable skills in communicating and collaborating in team-based projects while building a strong portfolio of games.

  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY)

    Rensselaer’s new Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences (GSAS), formally announced as a B.S. degree with enrollment beginning in Fall 2007, is among a handful of such programs in the country and is designed to educate students for early career positions, in addition to providing them with the technical, communication, and leadership skills needed to help shape an industry emerging out of the “games” phenomenon.

  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Worcester, MA)

    WPI is home to one of the earliest and top-ranked academic programs in this field. Interactive Media & Game Development (IMGD) majors receive a base education in both the artistic and technical aspects of interactive media, underscoring the importance of blending art with technology, and the close working relationships required between artists and programmers.

    The goal at WPI is to create leading-edge technical artists and creative programmers. To that end, students jump right in and spend their time focusing on hands-on projects and collaborations—creating games, interactive fiction, virtual environments, art installations, and collaborative performances, or inventing entirely new forms of media.

  • Becker College (Worcester, MA)

    Becker College is home to the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI), a statewide institute representing a strong partnership between the digital games industry, academia, and the public sector. Massachusetts represents the fourth largest video game industry cluster in the U.S., which presents tremendous employment opportunities for Becker College graduates. Community internships for Becker College video game development students provide valuable portfolio experience.

    Students choose from two interactive media design program concentrations: game development and programming or game design. Game development and programming focuses on the technical aspects of game development, while the game design concentration focuses on the scheme of the project. Students use the most industry-current technology, including a high-performance computer lab, a six-camera video motion capture system, a full range of 3D design software, and more.

  • New England Institute of Technology (East Greenwich, RI)

    The Associates of Science program is broken down into two tracks: “Game Development and Simulation Programming” and “Video Game Design”. The associate degree program in Game Development and Simulation Programming Technology will prepare students for entry-level careers in game programming, simulation programming, and software engineering as well as for entry-level positions in a variety of digital, desktop production environments.

    The associate degree program in Video Game Design Technology will prepare students for entry-level careers in game design, animation and visualization as well as for entry-level positions in a variety of digital media production environments.

  • North Carolina State University (Raleigh, NC)

    The Department of Computer Science offers a concentration in game development to undergraduate students majoring in Computer Science at NC State. The game development concentration allows the student to develop an understanding of the scientific and technological principles associated with the design and development of computer and console games for both entertainment and serious applications.


  • Game Design Top 15 Graduate Schools

  • University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)

    The M.F.A. in Interactive Media is a three-year intensive program.The program is intended to prepare students for creative careers in the emerging field of interactive entertainment. While the program does not require advanced computer capabilities, familiarity and comfort with computer based authoring and production/post-production tools is recommended. The creation of interactive media requires a combination of skills from the traditional media of film and television as well as a deep understanding of the effects of interactivity upon the quality of experience.

  • University of Utah (Salt Lake City, UT)

    The Entertainment Arts and Engineering: Master Games Studio (EAE:MGS) is an interdisciplinary master’s level graduate program at the University of Utah. The EAE:MGS was jointly developed with the Department of Film and Media Arts and the School of Computing, and the aim is to produce graduates ready to design, develop, create assets, and provide leadership for the video games of today and tomorrow. The program consists of four semesters plus an internship.

  • Drexel University (Philadelphia, PA)

    Drexel's Digital Media offers a Game Art and Production major that instructs students on the foundation skills of design, art, programming, 3D modeling, animation, audio, and video production, and the use of industry tools such as Maya. The Digital Media major is one of the oldest such programs in the United States. Computer Science offers a Game Programming and Development concentration instruct on foundation software development skills, and offer software design courses for prototyping game concepts.

  • Rochester Institute of Technology (Rochester, NY)

    The School of Interactive Games & Media shall be nationally and internationally renowned for innovative approaches to media-centric computing that merge the creative design of the interactive experience with the development of content, technologies, and systems that form the basis of such work.  The school will support, wherever and whenever possible, multi-disciplinary work that fuses these elements in pursuit of its academic mission.

  • University of Central Florida (Orlando, FL)

    The Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA) offers an industry-based video game career education in a world-class facility in downtown Orlando. It offers talented people the best chance to succeed in the video game industry. It teaches artists, programmers, and producers the techniques, tools and skills that you don't get in a traditional degree program.

  • DigiPen Institute of Technology (Redmond, WA)

     


  • Master of Science in Computer Science

  • DigiPen's MS in Computer Science program offers extended education in the areas of 3D computer graphics, animation and modeling techniques, artificial intelligence algorithms, image processing, and real-time rendering, combined with related training in computer science, mathematics, and physics. Students can choose to apply to either the full-time or part-time program.


  • Master of Fine Arts in Digital Arts

    Geared toward professional artists and candidates with a bachelor's degree in art or a related field, the MFA in Digital Arts combines foundational coursework in the fine arts with extensive digital production experience to help students develop both their personal skill and artistic voice. Students have the option of enrolling in this program full-time or part-time.

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA)

    The Masters of Science in Game Design and Development defines a program of study that allows students to explore the entertainment technology landscape as well as other related areas. The program focuses its technical roots in the Computing and Information Sciences disciplines, while simultaneously covering the breadth of the development landscape through involvement in topics such as computer graphics design, human-computer interaction, interactive narrative, and game world design. The program is characterized by a clear focus on development, but meets the industry need to graduate developers that will be involved in the design process from the beginning, just as they are in the professional field. The degree is intended specifically for students that aspire to hold careers within the professional games industry or a related field such as simulation, edutainment or visualization, and focuses on producing graduates that understand the technical roots of their medium, the possibilities that creative application of software development affords, and the way in which their industry operates.

  • University of California, Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz, CA)

    Students earning a Ph.D. or M.S. in Computer Science with a focus on games augment their basic computer science knowledge with classes in topics such as Artificial Intelligence in Games, Computer Animation, Playable Media and Interactive Narrative. Graduate-level game courses at UC Santa Cruz are largely taught by tenure-track faculty whose primary research area is games, which is important since research is an essential part of a graduate student's work. To graduate with a Ph.D., each student is required to conduct a body of research culminating in the writing of a doctoral dissertation. The Ph.D. program generally takes five years. The Digital Arts and New Media (DANM) M.F.A. Program focuses on the development and study of digital media and the cultures that they have helped create. Faculty and students come from a variety of backgrounds — the arts, computer engineering, humanities, the sciences, and social sciences — to pursue interdisciplinary artistic and scholarly research and production while broadly examining digital arts and cultures. The M.F.A. Program is a two-year program organized into four interdependent and equally important pursuits: critique and practicum, core seminars, collaborative research, and pedagogy

  • Savannah College of Art and Design (Savannah, GA)

    The SCAD interactive design and game development program prepares students to pursue areas of game art and design or interactive media forms such as Web design, user experience design and digital installation art. Students work on screen-based productions, as well as presentations in physical spaces.

  • Southern Methodist University (Plano, TX)

    The Guildhall at Southern Methodist University is the premier graduate video game education program in the US. Many of the school’s founders are industry icons, and classes are run by industry veterans. Since 2005, the program has graduated over 450 students, and alumni are working at more than 140 video game studios around the world. Our program offers a Master’s degree in Interactive Technology and a graduate Professional Certificate.

  • The University of Texas at Dallas (Richardson, TX)

     


  • Master of Fine Arts in Arts and Technology

  • The program leading to the M.F.A. in Arts and Technology is designed both for students wishing to teach arts-and-technology-related courses in colleges and universities and for those intending to engage in professional studio or design practice. While maintaining a commitment to interdisciplinary education fusing critical with creative thinking, this program places greater emphasis on the creation and application of computer-based arts and narrative. Students must complete fifty-four semester hours of course work and a substantial advanced project.


  • Doctor of Philosophy in Arts and Technology

    The program leading to the Ph.D. in Arts and Technology is designed both for students wishing to teach arts-and-technology-related courses in colleges and universities and those who wish to develop new artistic, cultural or commercial applications of digital technology/emerging media. This program emphasizes the fusion of creative with critical thinking and theory with practice. Students seeking a Ph.D. in Arts and Technology will normally complete a minimum of 60 semester hours (42 hours in course work and 19 hours in dissertation) beyond a master’s degree or its equivalent, pass doctoral field examinations, and complete and defend a dissertation.

  • New York University / NYU-POLY (New York, NY)

    The mission of the NYU Game Center is to graduate the next generation of game designers, developers, entrepreneurs, and critics, and to advance the art, science and culture of gaming by creating a context for advanced study and innovative work. The Center’s students, both undergraduates and graduates, will be drawn from diverse disciplines including computer programming, visual art, sound and audio, animation, writing, and joined together by the central discipline of game design.

  • Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA)

    The Georgia Tech Digital Media graduate programs provide both the theoretical and the practical foundation for careers in digital media, design, research, and development. The advent of a new medium of human communication and representation is a significant event in human social and cultural history, and introduces the possibility of new genres of artistic expression as well as new forms of information and knowledge transmission. The study of these new forms, from the point of view of the creators and the analysts, is an emerging field, one that requires a convergence of the methodologies of several traditional disciplines, and one that is also defining its own methodologies of research and practice.

  • Parsons The New School for Design (New York, NY)

    The game design industry is changing rapidly. That's why the bachelor's degree program in Design and Technology at Parsons encourages you to become skilled in many platforms—from game design for traditional console and video, to game design for online interactive and mobile media, to game design for social networks like Facebook and YouTube.

  • DePaul University (Chicago, IL)

    The game design concentration equips students to become the next generation of creative leaders in the growing field of games. Throughout the program students will explore and push the boundaries of games as expressive and artistic media. They will develop skills for each phase of the game design and development cycle including ideation, iteration through the creation of multiple playable game builds (including prototypes), and reflection on the effectiveness of their designs using playtesting and written evaluations. Students will also develop skills and confidence in reading, writing, and modifying computer programs and scripts. Students will collaborate in interdisciplinary teams with programmers, artists, producers, writers, and audio designers. This concentration has an emphasis on building a portfolio of games and advancing the medium of games through experimentation and innovation.




 

 

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