The game industry generates billions of dollars in annual revenue and the demand is high for developers and designers. Whether you’re interested in the aesthetic or technological side of game development and design, there are a number of both affordable and high-quality programs offered completely online. Some of the institutions on our list are online schools and others are state schools that offer an ecampus education. One thing to note, the tuition rates listed below are yearly rates based off two fifteen-credit-hour semesters. Our data comes from the university and colleges’ websites as well as nationally recognized U.S. News and World Report and The National Center for Education Statistics.
Art Institute of Phoenix
Accredited by the ACICS (Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools), the Art Institute of Phoenix is part of The Art Institutes, a system of forty for-profit educational schools located throughout the country that offer degrees in design, media, fashion, and more. Graduates from Phoenix’s Game Art and Design program are prepared to enter the video game industry and go on to become storyboard artists, animators, and game designers, among others.
Academy of Art University
One of the largest privately owned art and design schools in the United States, with over eighteen thousand students, the Academy of Art University is located in San Francisco, California but offers an online Bachelor of Fine Arts in Game Development. Students looking for a more traditional foundation in design—with courses covering drawing, painting, and storytelling—supplemented by hands-on experience with industry-standard prototypes should look into this affordable and highly revered program.
A for-profit institution with fourteen campus across five states and online options, Westwood College is nationally accredited by ACICS. Through their online School of Design students can focus on software development. Because learning online is self-paced students can finish their degree in thirty-four months. Class sizes at Westwood are small, including the online courses, meaning students receive individualized attention from the professor. As a self-described career-focused college, Westwood emphasizes a curriculum designed to prepare students vocationally.
Art Institute of Pittsburgh
The Art Institute of Pittsburgh is a private, for-profit institution located in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. They offer a Bachelor of Science in Game Art and Design. Students learn a range of skills and concepts, including design, scriptwriting, storyboarding, production, and more, culminating in a substantive creative portfolio that they can show prospective employers. Though all study takes place online, students collaborate closely with faculty and classmates, making this a highly interactive distance option.
University of Advancing Technology
Located in Tempe, Arizona the University of Advancing Technology (UAT) is a private, for-profit institution. Students can choose from a range of bachelor degrees offered by UAT: Game Programming, Game Design, Serious Game and Stimulation, and Game Art and Animation. With a curriculum covering aspects of both hardware and software, students gain experience in all areas of game design, from storyboards to the final product. Devoted to being an active voice in contemporary technology, UAT hosts an annual forum featuring leaders in technology.
Combining the artistic, technical, and management components of game development, Franklin University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Interactive Media Design. A private university with five campuses in Ohio and Indiana, Franklin is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. While many programs tend to focus on either the technical or the aesthetic, Franklin introduces students to a variety of interactive development aspects. With scheduling options of six, twelve, and fifteen-work courses, and up to eighty-four allowed transfer credits, Franklin is an accommodating and flexible option.
Full Sail University
At Full Sail University you can get a Bachelor of Science in Game Design and choose to focus on one of four offered tracks: storytelling, design theory, design integration, and practical design. Student at Full Sail learn how to create compelling gaming experiences and are prepared to work with traditional models, such as consoles and computers, as well as emerging platforms like cellphones and personal devices. Full Sail University stands apart from most of the other schools on our list in that their curriculum also addresses the sociological, cultural, anthropological, and psychological effects of gaming.
A private, non-profit Christian institution located in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty University has a substantive online platform for distance learners. At Liberty, students wishing to pursue a career in game development can get a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology with a Gaming Design specialization. Graduates go on to find work as creative directors, graphics directors, software programmers, mobile user interface designers, and video game designers. More technically oriented than other programs on our list, Liberty prepares students in programming, digital imagery, 3D graphics, and more.
Southern New Hampshire University
Accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Learning (CIHE) of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is a private, non-profit university. They offer a Bachelor of Science in Game Programming and Development. The program at SNHU distinguishes itself from the rest in that students are more broadly prepared for a range of careers, not just in the gaming industry. From healthcare to education and public policy, students at SNHU learn to apply programming and stimulation across vocational fields.
Baker College is a private, non-profit, career college with thirteen locations throughout Michigan and a solid online platform. They offer a Bachelor of Science in Game Software Development. By emphasizing software engineering, students at Baker focus on animation and programming, graduating with experience in both the creative and technical aspects of game development. Baker College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Ocean County College
Ocean County College is a two-year, public, community college offering online associate degrees, including a Computer Science—Game Development/Design Associate in Science. Following the model provided by the Association of Computing Machinery and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Society, the curriculum at Ocean County prepares students to transfer to four-year schools or to enter the work force immediately. For those looking for affordability and flexibility, Ocean County is a good choice, as students can complete the program on a course-by-course basis.