Best Master’s In Game Design Degrees 2022

Whether you’re more interested in the technical or creative aspects of game design, one of these degrees will help you launch your career in a competitive, exciting industry.

Updated September 8, 2022

Best Master’s In Game Design Degrees 2022

Are you ready to find your fit?

Level up with one of the nation’s best master’s in game design degrees!

Do you love the imaginative worlds and inspiring narratives that make up the newest games? Can you envision yourself designing such stories through detailed coding as well as creative character development?

Whether you’re more interested in the technical or creative aspects of game design, one of these degrees will help you launch your career in a competitive, exciting industry.

What kind of master’s degree in game design should you get?

Game design programs can vary widely, so you’ll want to choose wisely. Seek out those programs that not only emphasize your areas of interest, but also those that will provide the type of learning opportunities you need.

Some of these programs are MFAs (Master of Fine Arts) degrees. MFAs are more focused on creativity and portfolio/project development. while Master of Science degrees are concerned with the technical aspects of game design, such as coding and software development.

Regardless of program, rest assured that each of these will give you a strong foundation in gaming fundamentals. You’ll gain insight into gaming theory as much as you will practical development.

You should also consider online education. Not only is it a flexible way to earn your degree, it’s often one of the most affordable ways to advance your career. Check out College Choice’s Best Online Colleges and Universities.

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How much money do people make with a master’s in game design?

With a degree in game design you you have many career options, each of which pay well and are in demand.

For example, those who go into the creative field of game development, such as multimedia artists and animators, have salary averages hovering around $70,500 a year. For those interested in coding and software development, average salaries are around $103,500 a year.

And, depending on job title, the projected growth rate of game design lands between 8 and 24 percent for the next few years.

What can you do with a master’s in game design degree?

Whether you want to work behind the scenes, writing lines of code, or at the writer’s table developing compelling stories, a master’s in game design will help you get there.

The gaming industry, like other sectors within the larger media and entertainment markets, is competitive. But having a graduate degree will set you a notch above the rest. You’ll graduate ready for several potential careers:

  • Graphic designer
  • Computer programmer
  • Multimedia Artist/Animator
  • Computer Network Architect

What are the requirements for a master’s in game design?

These 20 programs vary in length, requirement, and emphasis. However, here’s what you can expect regardless of program.

You’ll spend the first semester or year building a sturdy foundation in game design. This likely entails classes on graphics, prototyping, animation, and more. Once you have firm grounding in the fundamentals you will go on to take specialized coursework in an area corresponding to your personal career goals.

Many programs will require a capstone project or portfolio. These are a great way to illustrate your technical skills, career plans, and creativity to future employers. We’ve been sure to note which programs make it a requirement.

Finally, whenever possible seek out hands-on experience through colloquiums, workshops, gaming conventions, and networking events.

The best master’s in game design degrees

As we wrote above, some of these programs are creative while others are technical. Some are offered through polytechnic, research-based universities while others are offered through small arts and design colleges. However, all 20 share one thing in common: they are the nation’s best Master’s in Game Design programs.

To determine the best we first extensively researched all programs across the nation specializing in game design. From there we factored in academic reputation as well as student retention, which is a sign of student satisfaction. Then we looked at tuition rates and salaries of graduates to get an idea of the return on investment.

What we found are the nation’s best Master’s in Game Design programs.

Our figures and information come from the university and colleges’ websites, PayScale, and nationally recognized U.S. News & World Report and The National Center for Education Statistics.

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

#1 Best Master’s In Game Design Degrees 2022

The University of Pennsylvania

  • Philadelphia, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The master's in game design program at the University of Pennsylvania stands out for its academic rigor and flexibility. The master of science and engineering in computer graphics and game technology encourages career growth through its experiential learning components. Flexible enrollment options, including on-campus and online classes, help enrollees fit school into their busy schedules.

During the program, participants complete a challenging curriculum that builds comprehensive knowledge of game design. Students often complete internships and other experiential learning opportunities to build career-ready skills. Choosing a concentration also helps learners gain specialized skills in a specific area of game design.

The University of Pennsylvania at a Glance:

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

School Type: Private

Admission Rate: 8%

Graduate Tuition In State: $36,254

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $36,254

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 59%

Average Tuition
In-state
$51,156
Out-of-state
$51,156
Retention Rate
98%
Admission Rate
8%
Students Enrolled
26,675
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
6% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#2 Best Master’s In Game Design Degrees 2022

New York University

  • New York, NY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Learners interested in game design can enroll in a top-ranked master's program offered by New York University. The master of fine arts in game design helps graduate students gain specialized training to reach their career goals. Candidates benefit from flexible learning options, which make it easier to work while enrolling in graduate school.

The program uses a rigorous curriculum that emphasizes theoretical and practical approaches to game design. Internships and other hands-on learning opportunities allow participants to apply classroom knowledge in a real-world setting. A concentration also helps learners specialize their training and pursue focused careers after completing the master's degree.

New York University at a Glance:

Location: New York, New York

School Type: Private

Admission Rate: 16%

Graduate Tuition In State: $33,408

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $33,408

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 52%

Average Tuition
In-state
$50,684
Out-of-state
$50,684
Retention Rate
94%
Admission Rate
16%
Students Enrolled
52,885
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
10% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#3 Best Master’s In Game Design Degrees 2022

Rochester Institute of Technology

  • Rochester, NY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The game design master's program at Rochester Institute of Technology, one of 62 master's degrees, offers a rigorous education. Students gain advanced knowledge and skills in the master of science in game design and development program. Candidates may be able to choose from campus and online enrollment options, adding flexibility for enrollees who need to work full time while in school.

During the program, learners take challenging courses that strengthen theoretical and practical knowledge. Participants prepare for the workforce with internships and other hands-on learning opportunities. Concentrations and electives let students individualize the program based on their interests and professional goals.

Rochester Institute of Technology at a Glance:

Location: Rochester, New York

School Type: Private

Admission Rate: 71%

Graduate Tuition In State: $47,522

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $47,522

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 98%

Average Tuition
In-state
$44,049
Out-of-state
$44,049
Retention Rate
88%
Admission Rate
71%
Students Enrolled
16,254
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
18% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#4 Best Master’s In Game Design Degrees 2022

Savannah College of Art and Design

  • Savannah, GA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Savannah College of Art and Design stands out for its 32 master's programs, which include a game design program. The master of fine arts in interactive design and game development helps graduate students gain specialized training to reach their career goals. Candidates benefit from flexible enrollment options, including schedules designed for full-time professionals.

During the program, learners complete a challenging curriculum that builds comprehensive knowledge of game design. Students apply their classroom knowledge through internships and hands-on learning opportunities, which also build professional connections. Electives and concentrations allow participants to individualize the program around their professional goals.

Savannah College of Art and Design at a Glance:

Location: Savannah, Georgia

School Type: Private

Admission Rate: 96%

Graduate Tuition In State: $38,475

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $38,475

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 98%

Average Tuition
In-state
$37,575
Out-of-state
$37,575
Retention Rate
84%
Admission Rate
96%
Students Enrolled
14,840
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
20% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#5 Best Master’s In Game Design Degrees 2022

The University of Central Florida

  • Orlando, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The master's in game design program at the University of Central Florida stands out for its academic rigor and flexibility. The master of science in interactive entertainment encourages career growth through its experiential learning components. Flexible enrollment options make it easier for busy students and working professionals to attend a graduate program.

The program's curriculum blends theoretical and practical approaches to encourage a comprehensive understanding of game design. Participants prepare for the workforce with internships and other hands-on learning opportunities. Enrollees select electives and concentrations to specialize their education in a specific area.

The University of Central Florida at a Glance:

Location: Orlando, Florida

School Type: Public

Admission Rate: 44%

Graduate Tuition In State: $6,916

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $25,759

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 92%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: $9,728

Average Price After Aid: $11,617

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,478
Out-of-state
$19,810
Retention Rate
91%
Admission Rate
44%
Students Enrolled
69,402
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#6 Best Master’s In Game Design Degrees 2022

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

  • Worcester, MA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Worcester Polytechnic Institute offers 39 master's degrees, including a master's in game design that earns top marks. Degree-seekers advance their training and increase their career opportunities in the master of science in interactive media and game development program. Flexible enrollment options, including on-campus and online classes, help students fit school into their busy schedules.

Learners take advanced classes that build a theoretical and practical understanding of the field. Participants gain real-world experience during internships and other hands-on learning opportunities. Concentrations and electives let enrollees specialize their education around particular fields.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute at a Glance:

Location: Worcester, Massachusetts

School Type: Private

Admission Rate: 49%

Graduate Tuition In State: $28,188

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $28,188

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 99%

Average Tuition
In-state
$51,604
Out-of-state
$51,604
Retention Rate
95%
Admission Rate
49%
Students Enrolled
6,894
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
14% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#7 Best Master’s In Game Design Degrees 2022

The University of California, Santa Cruz

  • Santa Cruz, CA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

The University of California, Santa Cruz offers several career-focused graduate programs, including a master's in game design. The public university provides several enrollment options for degree-seekers, including online options designed for working professionals. In the master of science in games and playable media program, learners complete a rigorous curriculum that emphasizes advanced knowledge and skills.

Master's candidates rely on the school's support services to make progress toward their degree. Financial aid advisors connect students with resources to pay for graduate school, while academic advisors recommend course selections. Master's degree-seekers also participate in training events, networking opportunities, and tutoring sessions.

The University of California, Santa Cruz at a Glance:

Total Master's Programs: 48

Admission Rate: 51%

Graduation Rate: 75%

Student-Faculty Ratio: 25-to-1

Graduate Tuition In State: $11,442

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $26,544

Average Alumni Earnings After Six Years: $38,400

Average Tuition
In-state
$11,442
Out-of-state
$41,196
Retention Rate
89%
Admission Rate
51%
Students Enrolled
19,494
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
4% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#8 Best Master’s In Game Design Degrees 2022

Michigan State University

  • East Lansing, MI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The master's in game design degree from Michigan State University helps graduates pursue advanced game design careers. From its East Lansing, Michigan, campus, the public institution enrolls degree-seekers with a variety of options, including online delivery formats. In the games studies and design concentration of the masters of arts in media and information program, learners take their knowledge to the next level thanks to accessible graduate courses.

College resources and support services provide guidance to master's candidates throughout their degree. For example, financial aid counselors connect students with grant and scholarship opportunities. Master's degree-seekers also take advantage of career advising, tutoring centers, and internship programs.

Michigan State University at a Glance:

Total Master's Programs: 126

Total Online Master's Programs: 19

Admission Rate: 71%

Graduation Rate: 81%

Student-Faculty Ratio: 16-to-1

Graduate Tuition In State: $18,858

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $37,056

Average Alumni Earnings After Six Years: $45,200

Average Tuition
In-state
$15,555
Out-of-state
$40,384
Retention Rate
91%
Admission Rate
71%
Students Enrolled
49,809
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
26% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#9 Best Master’s In Game Design Degrees 2022

Northeastern University

  • Boston, MA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Northeastern University enrolls learners in 68 master's degrees, including a master's in game design program. The master of science in game science and design helps graduate students gain specialized training to reach their game design career goals. At the school, graduate programs offer flexible enrollment options, including schedules designed for working professionals.

During the program, participants gain theoretical and practical knowledge of game design through the rigorous curriculum. Students apply their training in internships and other hands-on learning opportunities, which strengthen career-ready skills. Choosing a concentration also helps enrollees gain specialized skills in a specific area of game design.

Northeastern University at a Glance:

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

School Type: Private

Admission Rate: 18%

Graduate Tuition In State: $24,793

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $24,793

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 78%

Average Tuition
In-state
$52,420
Out-of-state
$52,420
Retention Rate
99%
Admission Rate
18%
Students Enrolled
22,207
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
10% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#10 Best Master’s In Game Design Degrees 2022

The University of Utah

  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Students interested in game design career advancement can earn their master's degree at the University of Utah. The public institution, located in Salt Lake City, serves degree-seekers with diverse needs by offering many enrollment options. In the master of entertainment arts and engineering program, learners take graduate-level courses to strengthen their understanding of game design.

While pursuing a master's degree, enrollees benefit from college resources and support services. Academic advisors help with course selections, while financial aid counselors connect students with ways to pay for their education. The university provides career advising, tutoring, and library services to master's degree-seekers.

The University of Utah at a Glance:

Total Master's Programs: 123

Total Online Master's Programs: 6

Admission Rate: 62%

Graduation Rate: 70%

Student-Faculty Ratio: 17-to-1

Graduate Tuition In State: $7,211

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $25,455

Average Alumni Earnings After Six Years: $47,200

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,412
Out-of-state
$26,017
Retention Rate
89%
Admission Rate
62%
Students Enrolled
32,852
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
34% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#11 Best Master’s In Game Design Degrees 2022

Southern Methodist University

  • Dallas, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Southern Methodist University offers a master's in game design for students seeking career advancement. From its main campus in Dallas, Texas, the private university offers graduate programs with several enrollment options, including online programs. During the master of interactive technology in digital game development program, learners take their knowledge to the next level thanks to accessible graduate courses.

College resources and support services help master's candidates get the most out of graduate school. For example, academic advisors recommend course selections and connect enrollees with tutoring services. Master's degree-seekers also take advantage of tutoring centers, library services, and service learning opportunities.

Southern Methodist University at a Glance:

Total Master's Programs: 89

Total Online Master's Programs: 25

Admission Rate: 47%

Graduation Rate: 81%

Student-Faculty Ratio: 11-to-1

Graduate Tuition In State: $40,896

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $40,896

Average Alumni Earnings After Six Years: $68,100

Average Tuition
In-state
$50,200
Out-of-state
$50,200
Retention Rate
91%
Admission Rate
47%
Students Enrolled
11,824
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
10% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#12 Best Master’s In Game Design Degrees 2022

DePaul University

  • Chicago, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

A master's degree in game design from DePaul University helps students seeking career advancement. The private university, located in Chicago, provides several enrollment options for degree-seekers, including online options designed for working professionals. During the master of fine arts in game design program, learners gain an advanced understanding of game design topics while strengthening their skills.

College resources and support services provide guidance to master's candidates throughout their degree. For example, financial aid counselors recommend scholarships, grants, and other forms of financial aid. Master's degree-seekers also participate in training events, networking opportunities, and tutoring sessions.

DePaul University at a Glance:

Total Master's Programs: 126

Total Online Master's Programs: 14

Admission Rate: 68%

Graduation Rate: 74%

Student-Faculty Ratio: 16-to-1

Graduate Tuition In State: $19,584

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $19,584

Average Alumni Earnings After Six Years: $46,000

Average Tuition
In-state
$40,551
Out-of-state
$40,551
Retention Rate
85%
Admission Rate
68%
Students Enrolled
22,064
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
30% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#13 Best Master’s In Game Design Degrees 2022

Full Sail University

  • Winter Park, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The master's in game design program at Full Sail University is one of 19 master's degrees offered by the university. The master of science in game design helps graduate degree-seekers gain specialized training to reach their game design career goals. Graduate programs prioritize flexibility through their enrollment options, which help students balance school with work or other responsibilities.

Learners gain a comprehensive understanding of game design through a curriculum that highlights theoretical and practical approaches. Participants apply their training in internships and other hands-on learning opportunities, which strengthen career-ready skills. Enrollees can specialize their education by choosing electives and concentrations.

Full Sail University at a Glance:

Location: Winter Park, Florida

School Type: Private

Graduate Tuition In State: $14,498

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $14,498

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 81%

Average Tuition
In-state
$20,667
Out-of-state
$20,667
Retention Rate
72%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
21,666
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges

#14 Best Master’s In Game Design Degrees 2022

American University

  • Washington, DC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Students seeking increased professional responsibilities can earn their master's degree in game design at American University. From its Washington, D.C., campus, the private institution enrolls degree-seekers with a variety of options, including online delivery formats. During the master of arts in game design program, learners gain an advanced understanding of game design topics while strengthening their skills.

Master's candidates rely on the school's support services to make progress toward their degree. Academic advisors help with course selections, while financial aid counselors recommend grants and scholarships to pay for a master's degree. Master's degree-seekers also take advantage of tutoring centers, library services, and service learning opportunities.

American University at a Glance:

Total Master's Programs: 70

Total Online Master's Programs: 16

Admission Rate: 36%

Graduation Rate: 79%

Student-Faculty Ratio: 11-to-1

Graduate Tuition In State: $30,351

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $30,351

Average Alumni Earnings After Six Years: $46,700

Average Tuition
In-state
$49,070
Out-of-state
$49,070
Retention Rate
87%
Admission Rate
36%
Students Enrolled
14,318
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
20% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#15 Best Master’s In Game Design Degrees 2022

Laguna College of Art and Design

  • Laguna Beach, CA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Learners can earn their master's in game design from Laguna College of Art and Design, which offers two master's program options. Degree-seekers can increase their earning potential and advance their careers in the master of fine arts in game design program. Graduate programs prioritize flexibility through their enrollment options, which help students balance school with work or other responsibilities.

Enrollees strengthen their theoretical and practical understanding of game design through the program's challenging curriculum. Participants apply their training in internships and other hands-on learning opportunities, which strengthen career-ready skills. Choosing a concentration also helps students gain specialized skills in a specific area of game design.

Laguna College of Art and Design at a Glance:

Location: Laguna Beach, California

School Type: Private

Admission Rate: 81%

Graduate Tuition In State: $36,600

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $36,600

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 100%

Average Tuition
In-state
$31,600
Out-of-state
$31,600
Retention Rate
79%
Admission Rate
81%
Students Enrolled
834
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

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