“All work and no play” is a phrase of the past when you earn a degree in Game Design! If you’re a creative person who enjoys computer programming, graphic design, and storytelling, then designing video games may be perfect for you! From mobile apps to gaming consoles and more, this industry continues to boom as technology advances. In fact, the global gaming industry is estimated to have generated over $130 billion in 2018 alone! Now’s your chance to make this virtual world a reality– learn more about the degree offerings below!
What kind of Game Design degree should you get?
In today’s digital age, there are plenty of game design degree options! However, not all game design degrees were created equally– luckily, we’re here to make your decision a bit easier! You’ll notice that some colleges offer Bachelor of Science degrees, while others offer Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees. If you’re interested in the more technical side of game design, you’ll want to consider a BS degree. However, if storytelling and character development is more your style, consider a BA/BFA degree.
Looking for more affordable online degrees? Have a look at College Choice’s ranking of the Most Affordable Online Colleges.
How much money do people make with a Game Design degree?
The average salary for a multimedia artist is $70,530 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The video game industry is booming, and employment outlook is very strong; employment is expected to grow 8 percent from now to 2026.
Salaries will also vary depending on your area of specialty, the type of medium you work with (television, movies, video games), the size of the company you work for, etc.
What can you do with a Bachelor’s in Game Design?
What can’t you do with a bachelor’s degree in game design these days? What was once a career restricted to game consoles and computer games has now spread into television, mobile apps, virtual reality, and more! Game designers can work on everything from the technical aspects of coding and programming a game to actually designing the plot, characters, special effects, sound, and more.
Get ready to work in an extremely creative environment where work becomes play! Game design is a very team-oriented field as everyone is working to create an awesome game that not only makes sense but looks incredible too! Plus, many game designers can choose to work from home as much of the job relies heavily on computers.
What are the requirements for a obtaining a Bachelor’s in Game Design?
You’ll find that some of the programs below require undergraduates to submit art portfolios to be considered for admission. It’s also helpful to have some experience with higher level mathematics and computer design. Successful game designers know how to work within both sides of the brain.
You can expect to take courses like graphics programming, game development, emerging technologies, and more. Programs may end with a capstone project or a final portfolio.
What are the best Game Design degrees?
There are so many game design degrees out there – how do you choose the best? If you’re looking to earn a bachelor’s degree that will provide you with a solid foundation along with opportunities for massive creativity, the 15 Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s programs below are a great starting point.
The best game design degree will be the one that combines all of your passions! From Baker College and Lindenwood University to Middle Georgia State University and more, the opportunities are endless!
See our rankings methodology page.
Middle Georgia State University
Average Net Price: $9,225
Located in Macon, Georgia, Middle Georgia State University is a public four year university that’s home to over 7,000 students. MGSU is made up of five campuses located in central Georgia. The university also offers online programs. Now, through its School of Information Technology, students can pursue an online Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology.
Students in this online 120-credit program may choose from one of six concentration areas, including:
- Cyber Security
- Cyber Forensics
- Software Engineering
- Web Applications Development
- Network Technology and Administration
- Integrated Digital Media and Gaming Design
Courses within the Gaming Design concentration include Graphic Imaging, Digital Media Studio, Digital Storytelling, and more. All graduates must complete a capstone project and course to earn their degree.
MGSU is the most affordable school on this list for a variety of reasons. The university offers credit for prior learning, including life experiences such as the military, work experience, or community work. Additionally, students may take CLEP and DSST exams to test out of course and credit requirements. MGSU has been ranked among the nation’s Top Public Schools and Best Regional Colleges in the South by U.S. News and World Report.
California State University, Monterey Bay
Average Net Price: $11,233
Located in Seaside, California, CSU Monterey Bay is a public university that’s home to over 7,500 students. With over 20 undergraduate and seven graduate degree programs, the school offers a variety of unique areas of study. Now, through the university’s School of Computing & Design, interested students can enroll in an online Computer Science degree completion program.
This program is intended for those who are “transfer ready” from another college, or hold a bachelor’s degree in another field. This 24-month completion program may include the following courses:
- Software Design
- Internet Programming
- Graphics Programming
- Design and Analysis of Algorithms
- Multimedia Design and Programming
All students must also complete a Directed Group Capstone and a comprehensive portfolio prior to graduation. Online students will take just one eight-week course at a time. The curriculum includes regular video conferences with faculty, teaching assistants, and fellow classmates.
Students may apply for admission into this program during either the fall or spring. California State University, Monterey Bay has been ranked among the nation’s Top Public Schools, Best Value Schools, and Best Regional Universities in the West by U.S. News and World Report.
Average Net Price: $12,983
Founded in 1911 and based in Flint, Michigan, Baker College is home to Baker Online, the school’s internet portal. Baker College has an excellent reputation for support and tech services for online students. In fact, students can earn an online Bachelor of Science in Game Software Development through Baker’s College of Information Technology.
Undergraduate students in this program must complete 120 credit hours to earn their degree. Required courses may include:
- Game Development
- Artificial Intelligence
- Game Design and Analysis
- Unreal Game Programming
- Programming for Mobile Devices
In addition to courses within the major, all students must complete 30 hours of general education credits. All undergraduates will also get plenty of hands-on experience prior to graduating– in fact, all students must go through the entire process of game development, from soup to nuts.
Online students at Baker College have access to nearly all of the same resources as those on campus. Online students will have all the resources and support they need to successfully earn their degree. Baker College has been ranked among the nation’s Best Value Schools and Best Regional Universities in the Midwest by U.S. News and World Report.
Average Net Price: $17,305
Lindenwood is a private, liberal arts university founded in 1827 and is located in St. Louis, Missouri. This university is home to a sea of innovators and go-getters, who come from around the world to major in one of the school’s 130 degree programs. Check out Lindenwood’s online Bachelor of Arts degree program in Game Design.
Offered through the university’s School of Arts, Media, and Communications, the BA in Game Design requires the completion of 54 credit hours within the major. Required courses may include:
- 3D Graphics
- Concept Design
- Game Development
- Design with Photoshop
- Emerging Technologies
Additionally, all students must complete a Game Design Capstone as well as an internship at a professional game company. Lindenwood also offers a Master of Arts degree in Game Design.
Lindenwood has been ranked one of the best schools for distance education undergraduate programs. LU is also quite affordable and offers a variety of scholarships and financial aid packages for eligible students. Admissions are rolling so interested students can apply at any point during the year.
University of Advancing Technology
Average Net Price: $19,750
Founded in 1983, the University of Advancing Technology is located in Tempe, Arizona and offers a variety of associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs. This private university is home to just over 1,000 students. Interested students can earn a 120-credit Bachelor of Arts degree in Game Design, entirely online. The university also offers online degrees in Game Art and Animation, and Game Programming.
The 120-credit hour program in Game Design includes 36 credit hours of major coursework. Required courses may include:
- Level Design
- Critical Game Studies
- Game Scripting for Designers
- Writing for Interactive Games
- Rapid Game Prototyping and Experimental Gameplay
General education requirements include introductory and intermediate courses in Japanese. In addition, all undergraduate students must complete a portfolio, an internship, and a student innovation project. In completing this work, design students will work with artists and programmers within the industry to create projects.
Enrollment is ongoing for UAT-Online, so students may begin their online Game Design studies at any time of the year. The university also offers a variety of scholarships and grants as well as flexible payment options for eligible students. Students must have a minimum GPA of 2.0 to graduate.
Average Net Price: $19,967
Lewis University is a private, Roman Catholic school located in Romeoville, Illinois. The university is home to nearly 7,000 students and offers more than 80 unique undergraduate majors. Now, each of their five schools offers flexible online degree programs. Interested in computer game design? Check out Lewis’ online Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science.
The online BS degree in Computer Science at Lewis is offered through the university’s School of Graduate, Professional, and Continuing Education. Students may choose to pursue a concentration in Game and Simulation Programming. Required courses may include:
- Applied Calculus
- Computer Graphics
- Scientific Computing
- Programming Languages
- Video Game Programming
Undergraduate students may also pursue this degree as a Bachelor of Arts program. This program is offered in both traditional and accelerated formats, depending upon your level of education and experience.
Flexibility and affordability are key values at Lewis University. In fact, all online courses at Lewis are just eight weeks long. Plus, the innovative LUCSCloud (Lewis University Computer Science Cloud) provides 24/7 online access to the university’s virtual machines. These machines allow virtual students to gain hands-on experience from the convenience of their own homes.
Art Institute of Pittsburgh
Average Net Price: $20,115
The Art Institute of Pittsburgh is a small school for creative students to pursue either on-campus and online degree programs. Interested students can pursue the Art Institute of Pittsburgh’s Bachelor of Science in Game Art and Design.
The Bachelor of Science in Game Art and Design is a 180-quarter-credit program that can be completed in just 12 quarters. Required courses in this game design program may include:
- Life Drawing
- Game Modeling
- Digital Storytelling
- Game Production Pipeline
- Character and Object Design
In addition to required coursework, all undergraduates must complete an internship as well as a final portfolio to earn their degree.
The Art Institute of Pittsburgh offers a variety of scholarships, grants, and financial aid packages to help students manage the cost of their education. In fact, it’s been nearly 10 straight years since this school has seen an increase in tuition rates. Military and veteran students may be able to earn credit for any completed military training courses they may have.
University of Baltimore
Average Net Price: $20,862
Located in Baltimore, Maryland, this public university was founded in 1925 and is now home to over 2,900 undergraduate students. The University of Baltimore offers a wide variety of degree programs – many of which are offered online. Interested in game design? Check out the university’s Bachelor of Science degree in Simulation and Game Design.
Prospective students should note that while many courses in this program can be taken online, it is actually a hybrid program, meaning you’ll have to attend some classes on one of the university’s two campuses: UB or UB at the Universities at Shady Grove. Required courses may include:
- Game Scripting
- History of Video Games
- Game Concept and Design
- Introduction to 3D Graphics
- The Business of Game Development
Undergraduates in this program will choose from one of two specialization areas, including Technical Art or Coding and Development. In addition, you’ll take dual capstone seminars where you’ll work with professionals to test and build games and simulations.
Every graduate of this program will have an extensive portfolio to showcase his or her specific skills. One of the benefits of this hybrid program is that you’ll have access to the university’s unique on-campus UB GameLab, an innovative and immersive game design studio.
Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design
Average Net Price: $22,349
Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design is a for-profit school located in Denver, Colorado. Home to just over 1,000 students, RMCAD offers both on-campus and online programs. Interested students can pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in Game Art, entirely online. This program is ideal for those looking to become 3D Modelers, Level Designers, Concept Artists, and more!
Students in this degree program must complete at least 123 credit hours. Areas of study may include:
- 3D Modeling
- Level Design
- Visual Storytelling
- Business Ethics and Copyrights
- Character Rigging and Animation
Prospective students must submit a portfolio to be considered for admission into this program.
Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design offers students the flexibility and affordability they need to earn a quality degree. With a student-to-faculty ratio of just 7:1, and an average class size of eight students, undergraduates have access to the best training and resources. Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design is also approved for military government tuition assistance through the Department of Defense.
Average Net Price: $24,779
Founded in 1902 in Columbus, OH, Franklin University is a private university that’s well-known for its prestigious online degree programs. With over 8,000 enrolled students, Franklin now offers a variety of flexible, online degree programs. If you’re interested in developing gaming systems and/or mobile apps, check out Franklin’s online Bachelor of Science degree in Interactive Media Design.
Undergraduate students in this 120-credit program will learn both the technical and non-technical sides of interactive development. Required courses in this program may include:
- Advanced Graphic Design
- Human-Computer Interaction
- Interactive Media for Advertising
- Interactive Media for Entertainment
Additionally, all students must complete an Interactive Media Design Practicum, as well as a Capstone. Students must also complete a residency requirement of at least 30 credit hours at Franklin University to be eligible for a degree.
This program is geared towards working adults and is transfer-friendly. Members of the military also receive significant tuition discounts. Scholarships and financial aid packages are available for other students as well. Franklin University has been ranked among the nation’s Top Liberal Arts Colleges by U.S. News and World Report.
Average Net Price: $26,954
Liberty University is the largest non-profit, private university in the United States with a total enrollment of over 110,000 students. Liberty now offers online programs in nearly every field. Most online classes at Liberty last just eight weeks, while some are 14 or 17 weeks in length. Learn more about Liberty’s Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology.
Offered through its School of Business, Liberty University now grants an online BS in Information Technology with a Gaming Design specialization. This 120-credit program takes 3.5 years to complete. Admitted students can transfer in up to 75 credit hours towards their degree. Required courses may include:
- Digital Imaging
- C# Programming
- Introduction to 3D Graphics
- Studies in Information Security
- Web Architecture & Development
Additionally, all students at Liberty are required to complete coursework in Christian Life and Thought. Graduates of this program have gone on to pursue careers as Video Game Designers, Creative Directors, Software Programmers, and more.
Admissions are rolling at Liberty University, so prospective students may apply at any time. The university has been ranked in the Top 5 of more than 2,000 online colleges and universities for accessibility, affordability, and academic quality.
Academy of Art University
Average Net Price: $30,307
The Academy of Art University was founded in 1929 and is currently located in San Francisco, California. With students from over 110 countries, this art academy is thriving with the latest and greatest in creative technology. From fashion and fine art to motion pictures and more, there is a unique area of study for each student. The university offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Game Development.
Through its School of Game Development, the Academy of Art University offers a 132-credit online BFA in Game Development. Coursework within this program is broken down into your major, liberal arts, electives, and core. Required courses may include:
- Story in Video Games
- Sketching for Communication
- Game Freemium and Monetization
- Game Design, Theory, and Analysis
- History of Comics: International and Alternative Comics
All undergraduates in this program will also complete an internship in game design, as well as a collaborative project.
Not only does the Academy of Art University offer flexibility and affordability, your job prospects are great too. In fact, graduates of this program have gone on to work for a variety of prestigious companies. These include: Riot Games, Zynga, EA, Sony, Crystal Dynamics, and more.
Average Net Price: $32,927
Located in Chicago, Illinois, DePaul University is a private university that was founded in 1898. The university is home to over 14,000 undergraduate students. Now, DePaul offers a variety of its degree programs online. Interested in game design? Learn more about the university’s Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science.
The BS in Computer Science is offered through DePaul’s College of Computing and Digital Media. This online degree offers a Game Systems concentration and is only available for transfer students. Required courses may include:
- Applied 3D Geometry
- Real-Time Graphics Techniques
- Design and Analysis of Algorithms
- Object-Oriented Game Development
- Concepts of Programming Languages
All students will also complete two capstone courses; one during their sophomore year and the second during their senior year. This program requires the completion of at least 192 credit hours.
DePaul University has been ranked among the nation’s Best Value Schools, Best Colleges for Veterans, and Best National Universities. Scholarships, grants, and financial aid packages are available for eligible students. Members of the military may also be eligible for tuition breaks.
Southern New Hampshire University
Average Net Price: $39,638
Southern New Hampshire University is a private school located in the small town of Hooksett, New Hampshire. While the university has a modest on-campus population, SNHU has over 60,000 distance learners! In fact, the university’s innovative online learning platform is consistently ranked as one of the best. Interested students can now earn an online BS degree in Game Programming and Development.
Undergraduate students in this 120-credit program will have 24/7 access to course materials. With over six eight-week terms per year, you’ll have the flexibility to complete this degree on your own schedule. Required courses may include:
- Scripting for Games
- Graphics Game Engine
- Digital Game Development
- 3D Modeling and Animation
- Project Management in Information Technology
A capstone in Game Programming is also required for degree completion. Admitted students may transfer up to 90 credits toward their undergraduate degree. Additionally, all new students are eligible to take a free math assessment that can earn them up to six math credits toward their degree.
With no application fee or portfolio requirements, applying for admission is made simple. Southern New Hampshire University has been ranked the Top Most Innovative School in the country by U.S. News & World Report. The university has also been ranked among the Best Regional Universities in the North.
Savannah College of Art and Design
Average Net Price: $41,738
The Savannah College of Art and Design has locations across the world. With over 10,500 students, SCAD offers more than 40 majors and over 60 minors. Now, through SCAD’s award-winning eLearning program, students can earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Digital Media.
This 180-credit program offers two concentrations, including Game Development and Interactive Design. Those pursuing game development may take the following courses:
- Digital Design Aesthetics
- Core Principles: Game Art
- Applied Principles: Game Design
- Introduction to Interactive Design and Game Development
Additionally, all undergraduate students have 20 hours of free electives to tailor the degree to their individual interests. Graduates of this program have been recruited by Google, Blizzard, Epic Games, Sucker Punch Productions, and many other prestigious companies.
Online courses at SCAD begin and end on a 10-week schedule to coincide with the university’s academic calendar. Plus, students have access to many of the same tools and resources as those on-campus. Savannah College of Art and Design has been ranked among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News and World Report.