From the addictive apps we play on our smartphones, to the hobbyist user with one at-home game console, to those who play and compete in professional eSports circles. It takes advanced technical and creative skill to develop and create these ubiquitous programs, however, and getting to work behind the scenes of your favorite video games can prove a lucrative career move. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, multimedia artists such as game designers make a median annual salary of $70,530. Professional game designers work in all stages of game development, ensuring a place for your talents whether you excel in concept creation, art, mechanics, or code. Earning an undergraduate game design degree prepares you to pursue full-time work at a game studio or for contract employment. Learn more about 25 of the best video game designer degrees in our ranking below.
What kind of Game Design degree should you get?
As the demand for game designers rises, more and more programs are continuing to pop up. It can be difficult to figure out what kind of degree you should get–should you attend online? Or on-campus? If you’re already working and flexibility is key for you, an online program may be your best bet.
If you’re considering a game design degree but want an online degree option, have a look at College Choice’s ranking of the Best Online Game Design Degrees.
How much money do people make with a Game Design degree?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a multimedia artist/animator is $65,300 per year per year. Of course, the more advanced training and experience you have in the field, the higher earning potential you’ll have going forward. Luckily, the employment outlook is very strong for game designers; in fact, employment is expected to grow 10% from now to 2026.
Salaries will also vary depending on if you have an area of specialty, the type of medium you work with (television, movies, video games), etc.
What can you do with a Bachelor’s in Game Design?
With a bachelor’s in game design, you will have plenty of opportunities. Game designers work on a game’s vision, including the background story and plot, characters, environment, special effects, sound, and more! Not only will you be working with various technologies, but you’ll also be working in an extremely creative environment. You’ll be working with others to create one magically cohesive and exciting game!
Another great perk for game designers? Many of them can work from home! With a job that relies heavily on computers, you can essentially set up an office anywhere.
What are the requirements for a obtaining a Bachelor’s in Game Design?
Many college programs require prospective students to submit design portfolios. These portfolios may include still life, figurative drawing, perspective, and objects found in everyday life. It’s also helpful to have a strong background in mathematics and science, as well as art and design. Of course, each program is unique and has their own sets of requirements.
Once enrolled in a game design program, you can expect to take courses like the history of gaming, intro to design thinking, and digital content creation. Undergraduate programs typically require students to complete a capstone project as well.
See our rankings methodology page.
University of Southern California
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $32,932
Founded in 1880, the University of Southern California is the oldest private research university in the state. Home to 19,000 undergraduate students, USC is a top pick for talented students worldwide. In fact, The Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education ranked USC 15th among over 1,000 public and private universities. Now, the university offers an excellent B.S. in Computer Science, with a concentration in games!
The game design program at USC is great because it gives students a strong foundation in computer science. From there, students will learn more about the science of game development– and that’s where the creative juices can really start to flow! All students will have to complete 128 credits, and courses including:
- Programming Game Engines
- Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
- Pipelines for Games and Interactives
Students can also choose to pursue a B.A. in Interactive Entertainment rather than a B.S. in Computer Science (Games). The B.A. combines a broad liberal arts background with hands-on specialization in the design of games and interactive entertainment.
USC Games is recognized as one of the top game design programs in North America by The Princeton Review. Students graduating from these programs will be capable of engineering next-generation games and simulations, and their technologies in the entertainment and serious game fields.
Rochester Institute of Technology
College Choice Score: 98.10
Average Net Price: $29,111
This private university located in Rochester, NY is consistently ranked among the top technical universities in the world. With international locations in China, Croatia, Dubai, and more, RIT is home to over 15,000 undergraduates who are actively looking to change the world. Now, RIT offers a rigorous Bachelors of Science in Game Design and Development.
The game design program at RIT places a strong emphasis on programming. In fact, the program exposes students to all the intricate inner workings of the development and design processes. Students can specialize in a variety of areas, including:
- Game design
- Engines & systems
- Graphics programming and animation
Not only does this degree prepare students for careers within the professional games industry but it also provides them with a solid computing background. Over four years, students will take courses like 3D Animation, Interactive Media Development, and Mathematics of Graphical Simulation.
The Bachelor of Science degree in Game Design & Development requires two co-op blocks. During their paid co-op experience, students will gain real life career experience in a full-time position. Since 2012, RIT students have worked at GSN Games, Muse Games, Warner Bros, Amazon, and many more prestigious companies!
College Choice Score: 97.40
Average Net Price: $39,021
Founded in 1891, this private research university located in Philadelphia is one of America’s 15 largest private universities. The university is ranked among the top 100 in the country and offers endless degree opportunities. Noteworthy is Drexel’s B.S. in Game Design & Production through the College of Media Arts and Design and the B.S./B.A. in Computer Science with a a concentration in Game Programming and Development (GMPD).
Drexel’s GMPD major or concentration within the computer science degree may be a perfect fit for you. Both options will provide you not only with a conceptual understanding of game design, but practical experience as well. Courses in this concentration include:
- Large-scale game development
- Fundamentals of game design and development
- Special topics in educational and experimental game design
Students can also participate in Drexel’s renowned co-op program. Students in the BSCS program can participate in a four-year, one co-op program, a five-year three co-op program, or a five-year two co-op program (with a combined BS/MS degree).
Students and faculty at Drexel are always pushing the envelope on research and new technologies. The school is a hub of knowledge and innovation. In fact, Drexel’s degree program in computer science is ranked in the top 40 computer science programs in the country.
University of Utah
College Choice Score: 97.29
Average Net Price: $11,322
Founded in 1850, the University of Utah is based in Salt Lake City and is home to over 32,000 students. Dreamers, innovators, and researchers come together at the University of Utah to make big things happen. The school’s programs continue to evolve; in fact, starting in Spring 2018 the school will offer a B.S. in Games for those interested!
The Bachelor’s of Science in Games degree will include a core curriculum in game design and development courses. Courses may include:
- Ethics in Games
- Intro to Design Thinking
- Digital Content Creation
- Traditional Game Development
Students can pick classes to suit their specific areas of interest. From game design and game arts, to technical art and game production, you’ll have the flexibility to create a course schedule that reflects your career goals. Since the program is so new, students will really have an impact on how the department organizes this major going forward.
The Princeton Review has ranked the University of Utah as having the #3 Undergrad Gaming Program in the nation. The university also offers a B.S. in Computer Science with an emphasis in Entertainment Arts & Engineering. The EAE specialization allows students to take courses covering video game design and development, 3D animation, and computer-generated special effects.
DigiPen Institute of Technology
College Choice Score: 96.96
Average Net Price: $33,076
Located in Redmond, Washington, DigiPen Institute is a private school that was originally founded in 1988 as a computer simulation and animation company. Now, a leader in game development education, DigiPen offers students a variety of degrees fit for a career in game design.
DigiPen offers undergraduate degrees in the areas of computer science, game design, animation, engineering, and music and sound design. Degree options include:
- BS in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation
- BS in Computer Science and Game Design
- BS in Computer Science and Digital Audio
- BA in Music and Sound Design
- MS in Computer Science
- BS in Computer Science
- BA in Game Design
Where to begin?! The BA in Game Design requires students to complete 139 semester credits. With courses like Game History and Analysis, Game Mechanics, and Scripting Languages, it’s the perfect degree for those interested in diving into game design.
One of the primary reasons to choose DigiPen over other institutions is the opportunity to work on a wide range of both personal and collaborative projects. These project courses will challenge you to create original software, games, animations, hardware devices, and more — often using custom-built software tools and do-it-yourself technology. By the time you graduate, you’ll have an impressive portfolio of creative projects to show potential employers.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
College Choice Score: 95.90
Average Net Price: $37,434
Founded in 1824 and located in Troy, NY, RPI is the nation’s oldest technological research university. With more than 145 degree programs and 34 research centers, RPI is well-known for its talented, dedicated, and forward-thinking staff and students. RPI is also home to a fantastic BS Degree in Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences.
All students will have to complete 128 credits to earn a degree. Courses may include:
- Experimental Game Design
- Introduction to Game Design
- Character and Story for Games
Students can also choose from a variety of concentrations within the major: Electronic Arts,
Human Computer Interaction, Computer Science, Writing for Games, and more. If you’re interested in this program, you should note that all applicants must submit a portfolio with up to 10 examples representing their best work in any medium. Students should also have a basic foundation in mathematics and the physical, biological, and social sciences.
Every year, Rensselaer’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences hosts a GameFest Symposium and Exhibition. The event introduces students to philosophers, computer scientists, artists and cognitive scientists who actively conduct research in game design, development and production. It’s a great way for students to network and learn more about the gaming industry!
Savannah College of Art and Design
College Choice Score: 95.36
Average Net Price: $40,856
Home to mascot Art the Bee, SCAD is a private university with locations in Savannah, Georgia, Atlanta, Georgia, Hong Kong, and France. With over 10,500 students, SCAD is a hub of innovation and offers more than 40 majors and over 60 minors. Now, the school offers a B.A. in Digital Media with a concentration in Game Development.
All students must complete at least 180 credit hours. You can expect to take unique courses, including:
- Digital Design Aesthetics
- Applied Principles: Game Art
- Core Principles: Interactive Design
Looking for a program that will open up tons of potential career opportunities? Professionals visit with SCAD students every quarter, interviewing for positions and reviewing their portfolios. Meet with folks from Zynga, Blizzard Entertainment, Electronic Arts, Crystal Dynamics and more! Looking for a flexible game design degree? SCAD also offers this degree online as part of their eLearning program.
SCAD’s interactive design and game development program has won the top prize in the E3 College Game Competition for two years running, along with receiving praise from The Princeton Review and Animation Career Review. It’s no wonder students choose this school to pursue their dreams– becoming a game designer, mobile app designer, technical artist, etc., has never been more exciting!
New York University
College Choice Score: 94.96
Average Net Price: $35,147
Based in the Empire State, NYU is a private research university that is always nearing the top of the rankings for best universities in both the United States and in the world. With over 50,000 students, the school is a hub of innovation, research, and forward-thinking academics. While NYU is known for its many prestigious degree programs, the Game Design BFA is one of the most unique.
Students in NYU’s BFA program will learn about game design, game development, and game scholarship, preparing them for careers as game designers, developers, and more. Courses may include:
- Toy Design
- Beyond the Joystick
- Minimalist Game Design
- European Videogames of the 1980s
- Breaking the Mold: Idiosyncratic Games
Aside from the cool course selection, all students will complete a senior project, which can be a group or solo endeavor. This project might be making a game on or off the computer, or it could be a research paper, curated exhibition, etc.
NYU launched the Game Center Incubator in 2014 which provides space, funding, and expertise for graduating students. Through a competitive application process, the incubator selects projects that have commercial potential and sees them through to a public launch. Students have gone on to work for prestigious gaming companies including Riot, Arkadium, Disney, and Avalanche Studio.
Michigan State University
College Choice Score: 93.68
Average Net Price: $14,970
Founded in 1855, this public research university is based in East Lansing, Michigan and is consistently ranked among the top 100 universities in the world. With students from all 50 states and over 130 countries, MSU is a pioneer in research and innovation. In fact, the school’s Media and Information department now offers an undergraduate specialization in game design and development for those looking to build the next great game!
The game design and development specialization at MSU is available as an elective to students who are enrolled in the BA or BS Degree in Media and Information, the BS in Computer Science, or the BA/BFA in Studio Art. The specialization contains the following four courses:
- Digital Game Design
- Client-based Game Design
- Collaborative Game Design
- 3D Game and Simulation Design
All students will also have access to the school’s Games for Entertainment and Learning (GEL) Lab. You can work to design innovative prototypes, techniques, and complete games for entertainment and learning purposes alongside professors and graduate students.
Founded in 2005, the Game Design and Development Program at MSU has grown leaps and bounds. In fact, it’s now a Top 10 Ranked program by The Princeton Review.
Full Sail University
College Choice Score: 88.31
Average Net Price: $27,840
Full Sail University offers both on-campus and online game design degrees, which take 20 months and 29 months to complete, respectively. Course highlights include game mechanics, game balancing, and prototyping, which cover key industry concepts and skill development. Students explore an understanding of the entire game development pipeline, from the initial idea to the final execution, in preparation for employment in a game studio environment. All students, online and on-campus, participate in seven portfolio projects throughout degree completion, culminating in a digital project eligible for submission to festivals and release to the general public.
- Psychology of Play
- Discrete Mathematics
- Game Design Preproduction
- Technology in the Entertainment and Media Industries
University of California Santa Cruz
College Choice Score: 87.89
Average Net Price: $16,261
One of 10 campuses in the University of California system, UC Santa Cruz is home to over 18,000 students. With over 65 undergraduate majors and over 50 concentrations, this university is abuzz with activity and excitement. Interested in gaming? UC Santa Cruz now offers a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science: Computer Game Design.
The game design program at UC Santa Cruz focuses on the technical, narrative, and artistic foundations of computer games. Your course schedule may include the following classes:
- History of Digital Games
- Modern Art: Pop to Present
- Video Games as Visual Culture
- Computer Systems & Assembly Language
While other game degree programs are art and design-focused, UC Santa Cruz offers a more technology focused curriculum. Students will leave with a strong computer science foundation, preparing them for a multitude of gaming careers.
The School of Engineering at UC Santa Cruz hosts the undergraduate Game Design Studio. This studio is home to high-end computer game development workstations with high performance graphics cards and dual displays at each workstation. From the latest gaming consoles to a large library of books about game technology, design and art, the Game Design Studio is an enriching way to build skills outside of the classroom.
College Choice Score: 87.81
Average Net Price: $38,370
Founded in 1878, Champlain College is located in the charming town of Burlington, Vermont. Champlain is home to the best and brightest. In fact, the college was named a Most Innovative School in the North by U.S. News & World Report. One of the 29 undergraduate degrees now offered at Champlain College is in Game Design.
What makes Champlain’s gaming program unique? The fact that they flip the norm! Champlain’s Upside-Down Curriculum allows students to begin taking Game Design classes during their first semester. Undergraduate courses may include:
- Visual Communication for Game Design
- Game History and Development
- Aesthetic Interactions
- Foundations of Human Communication
All students must also complete a capstone project. Looking to make the most of your undergraduate journey? You can also pursue an optional Sonic Arts specialization with courses like Film Scoring, Audio Production, and Sound Design for Interactivity & Games.
With Champlain’s career-focused gaming curriculum, students will be prepared for exciting careers within the industry. Looking to study abroad? Game design majors can study on Champlain’s campus in Montréal, Canada. Montréal is the third-largest game development city in the world! Game design students can also participate in a summer program in Tokyo, Japan through Sophia University.
College Choice Score: 86.34
Average Net Price: $23,304
Cogswell Polytechnical College is located in San Jose, California. With just over 600 students enrolled, Cogswell is one of the smallest school’s on this list. But what it lacks in population, it makes up for in curriculum. In fact, if you don’t mind a smaller college, Cogswell now offers an excellent program in Game Design & Development.
Cogswell prepares students for real-world jobs through a rigorous, hands-on curriculum. Undergraduate core courses may include:
- Game Production
- Character Rigging
- Intro to 3D Modeling
- Intro to Scripting: Python
- Digital Imaging Concepts
Students can choose to pursue a B.A. in Game Design Art or a B.S. in Game Design Engineering. The differences lie in your area of interest. Are you more artistic and creative? Or do you prefer to learn all of the science and technology that goes into creating unique games? Cogswell caters to both mindsets – it’s truly your choice!
Cogswell allows students to learn game design using professional tools like Maya, Unity and Unreal Engine. It’s no surprise that graduates of this program have gone on to work at many prestigious companies, including: Activision, Blizzard Entertainment, Electronic Arts and Sony.
University of Central Florida
College Choice Score: 85.73
Average Net Price: $15,533
This public research university in Orlando, Florida offers more than 200 degree programs in 13 colleges. Innovation and diversity are core values at UCF– in fact, UCF was listed as the No. 25 Most Innovative University out of nearly 1,400 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Now, UCF’s School of Visual Arts & Design offers a B.A. in Digital Media with a concentration in Game Design.
In the Game Design specialization, students will learn about the history, culture, design, and implementation of video games and video game technologies. Students will complete courses including:
- Modeling for Realtime Systems
- Digital Cultures and Narratives
- Casual Game Production
UCF prepares students for careers as game designers, 3D modelers, lighting artists, game producers, animators, and more. Professors teach students to build games, both in groups and as individuals, throughout their undergraduate journey.
In 2016, UCF’s graduate school was ranked as having the best video game program in North America by The Princeton Review and PC Gamer Magazine. The school was ranked against 150 institutions offering game design coursework. UCF graduates have gone on to work at prestigious companies, including: Google, Electronic Arts, Blizzard, Bungie, Zynga, Ubisoft, Disney, and many more.
College Choice Score: 84.02
Average Net Price: $32,084
DePaul University is a private university in Chicago, Illinois that was founded in 1898. The university is named after the 17th-century French priest, Saint Vincent de Paul. Now home to nearly 24,000 students, DePaul is the largest Catholic university in the country. DePaul’s College of Computing and Digital Media now offers a B.S. in Game Design.
DePaul’s Game Design curriculum focuses on the entire development cycle from ideation to documentation, prototyping, implementation, iteration, and testing to create stunning gaming experiences. Courses may include:
- Practical Scripting for Games
- Advanced Game Design
- Game Sound Design
- Evolution of Games
All students must complete a minimum of 192 credit hours to receive their diploma. Every student will also have to complete a comprehensive capstone project that will be showcased to both industrial professionals, as well as to family and friends.
Interested in studying abroad? DePaul offers a two-week trip to Tokyo, Kyoto and Nagoya where students will learn more about computer games and animation around the world. Students can also study at Abertay University in Scotland for five weeks at the Dare Academy Summer School for Game Design. The program ends with the DiGRA/FDG conference and Dare to be Digital game festival.
Columbia College Chicago
College Choice Score: 82.05
Average Net Price: $29,530
Columbia College Chicago is an independent liberal arts college with more than 100 undergraduate and 15 graduate degree programs. Founded in 1890, Columbia College currently enrolls more than 8,000 students. Now, the School of Media Arts offers a variety of game-related majors fit for any virtual world fanatic.
The Interactive Arts and Media Department at Columbia College is home to the following bachelor’s degrees:
- Game Art
- Game Design
- Interaction Design
- Computer Animation
- Traditional Animation
Depending on where your interests lie, any one of the above majors will provide you with the foundation for an incredible career in the gaming industry. If you are more artistic, go for Game Art or Design. Tend to enjoy the more technical side of things? Apply for the Programming or Animation major!
What makes Columbia College unique is the state-of-the-art facilities in which students can work and interact. From the computer lab classrooms and Motion Capture Studio, to the Game Lab and Fabrication Lab, there are plenty of opportunities to get playful and further develop your skills. All of these facilities are held in a 35,500-square-foot Media Production Center, making it easy for students to collaborate and innovate.
Shawnee State University
College Choice Score: 81.13
Average Net Price: $13,632
Founded just over 30 years ago, Shawnee State University is located in Portsmouth, Ohio and is home to about 3,800 students. With 80 bachelor’s and associate degree programs, Shawnee provides students with the foundation they need to succeed in their careers. Now, Shawnee offers a B.S. in Digital Simulation and Gaming Engineering Technology, as well as a BFA in Gaming and Simulation.
For those who want to focus on computer science and gain a more technical background, the B.S. degree is the way to go. Courses may include:
- Artificial Intelligence
- Computer Graphics
- Concepts of 3D Graphics & Math
- Game Programming Foundations
With a state-of-the-art Motion Capture Studio lab, students will learn skills that will make them extremely marketable outside of the classroom. It’s strongly recommended that students in this program have a recent Macbook Air or Macbook Pro to complete their coursework on.
Shawnee’s gaming program has been recognized by The Princeton Review as a Top Game Design Program six years in a row. Shawnee also hosts an annual interactive digital technology conference that brings together game developers, students, and industry leaders from all over the country.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
College Choice Score: 79.99
Average Net Price: $40,666
This private research university located in Worcester, MA is home to mascot Gompei the Goat and nearly 6,000 students. Founded in 1865, WPI now offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Students can now participate in WPI’s close-knit and top-ranked Bachelor of Science in Interactive Media & Game Development (IMGD) degree.
At WPI, every student will choose to focus on either the artistic or technical side of the game development. All students will develop a core background in computer science, mathematics, science, art, music, and English. Courses may include:
- Game Audio
- Digital Imaging & Computer Art
- Philosophy & Ethics of Computer Games
- Advanced Storytelling: Quest Logic & Level Design
WPI is also a very hands-on, project-based learning environment. You’ll complete several projects during your undergraduate experience; from designing short computer animations to creating innovative board games. Early on, students will learn how to think with an entrepreneurial spirit, helping them to succeed in any job within the gaming industry.
Looking for a program that doesn’t require you to submit an SAT or ACT score? Ten years ago, WPI became the first nationally-ranked science and engineering university to adopt a test-optional admissions policy. As long as you can demonstrate a passion for the industry, there’s no need to fret over your test scores when applying to WPI.
Ringling College of Art and Design
College Choice Score: 78.30
Average Net Price: $44,386
While this school does have ties to the Sarasota circus magnate, John Ringling, there’s no clowning around here when it comes to quality degrees! Founded in 1931, the Ringling College of Art and Design has an enrollment of over 1,300 creative students. Now, you can study game design mechanics, meaningful play, and interactivity through the school’s Game Art major.
The Game Art major at Ringling is all about designing, creating, and analyzing the visual components of games in a highly collaborative environment. Courses may include:
- 2D/3D Design
- History of Game Art
- Programming for Artists
- Development of Art & Ideas
All students will also participate in a thesis project during their fourth and final year. Ringling also brings in renowned, successful visiting artists to participate in milestone critiques. The real-world perspective from these artists brings student thinking out of the classroom and into the professional arena.
Graduates of Ringling’s Game Art program will be well-prepared for a career in game design and programming. In fact, past graduates have gone on to work at a number of prestigious companies, including: Zynga, Warner Bros, Microsoft Game Studios, Hasbro, and many more!
University of California Irvine
College Choice Score: 77.94
Average Net Price: $13,780
The University of California at Irvine is a public, land-grant research institution. Known as UC Irvine to students and faculty, this school is often considered a Public Ivy. With over 175 degrees offered within 15 schools, UC Irvine is home to researchers, innovators, and go-getters. Now, the university offers a unique Computer Game Science undergraduate degree for those interested in creating virtual worlds.
If you want to learn how computer games work on the inside or you want to learn how to use computer games for social good, UC Irvine is the place for you. Students will receive a comprehensive core foundation, including the fundamentals of computer science, math, and games. Courses may include:
- Modeling and World Building
- New Media and Digital Technologies
- Introduction to Software Engineering
- Requirements Analysis and Engineering
Not only will you learn how to build games at UC Irvine, you’ll analyze the impact games have on our society for their use in education, art, and social change.
CGS graduates are well-trained in computer science, and go on to pursue careers that involve designing, implementing, evaluating, or interacting with computer-based systems. UC Irvine’s game design program was ranked #7 among the Top 10 West Coast Game Design Schools. It was also ranked 27th among the Top 50 Schools Nationwide for Game Design.
College Choice Score: 76.88
Average Net Price: $30,485
With an enrollment of just under 2,000 students, Becker College is a small school with a lot to offer. Located in Worcester, MA, Becker has been ranked #2 out of all small colleges in the United States. Now, those interested in game design should take a look at Becker’s School of Design & Technology. Students can now pursue a variety of degrees that will prepare them for careers in gaming.
Students at Becker can choose between a few avenues to study game design. For example, you could pursue a Bachelor of Science in Applied Computer Science with a concentration in Game Programming. Or, you could earn a B.A. in Interactive Media Design or a B.A. in Design with a unique concentration. Areas of interest include:
- Game Arts
- Graphic Design Concentration
- Game Production and Management Concentration
- Interactive Media Design: Game Design Concentration
- Interactive Media Design: Game Development and Programming Concentration
Becker’s undergraduate video game design program was ranked #5 in the world and #1 in New England by The Princeton Review. In fact, the program has been top-ranked for eight consecutive years! Becker is also home to the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI). This statewide center was developed to foster growth of the game industry and innovation economy in the state.
College Choice Score: 73.06
Average Net Price: $26,773
Bradley University was founded in the late 1800’s and is now home to nearly 5,500 students. Located in Peoria, Illinois, Bradley provides folks with over 185 undergraduate and graduate academic programs to choose from. Now, Bradley’s Slane College of Communications and Fine Arts offers a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Game Design.
Bradley’s game design program focuses on the development of games, including gameplay, storytelling and conception, visual and audio media, and teamwork among artists, programmers, and storytellers. Courses may include:
- Critical Game Studies
- Two-Dimensional Animation
- Quality Assurance in Games
- Concepting and Storytelling for Interactive Media
All students must complete 124 semester hours, including a capstone project. Prospective students should also be aware that all Interactive Media students are required to have a 13 or 15-inch Macbook Pro to complete their coursework.
Bradley’s game design program was ranked #12 in the nation and #1 in the midwest by The Princeton Review. It’s no surprise that graduates of this program have gone on to work at prestigious companies, including: DreamWorks Animation, Sony Pictures, Microsoft Game Studios, f84 Games, Deep Silver Volition Games, Fuse FX, and Williams Interactive.
Academy of Art University
College Choice Score: 72.78
Average Net Price: $29,301
Founded in 1929, the Academy of Art University is located in San Francisco, California. With students from over 112 countries, this art academy is thriving with new and innovative ideas. From design and fine art, to entertainment and liberal arts, there is something for every student. Now, the university offers two excellent gaming degrees: Video Game Programming and Video Game Development.
Students of this university will have access to the very best technology to better understand pre-production and production gaming environments. Common areas of interests include:
- Game Design
- UI/UX Design
- Character Concept Art
- 3D Character Modeling
- Environment Concept Art
- 3D Environment Modeling
You can take courses like History and Techniques of Games, Computer Graphics for Animation, and Motion Quick Sketching. This program allows students the flexibility to mix and match courses that best suit their individual interests and career goals.
Graduates of the Academy of Art University have gone on to work for prestigious companies, including: Sony, Riot Games, Zynga, EA, and Crystal Dynamics. Whether you wish to be a character concept artist or a 3D environment modeler, the Academy of Art will help you to succeed.
George Mason University
College Choice Score: 71.51
Average Net Price: $18,032
Originally founded as a branch of UVA, George Mason University is located in Fairfax, VA and is home to nearly 34,000 students. Consistently ranked as one of the best universities in the nation, George Mason offers plenty of unique degree options. In fact, students can now study Computer Game Design through the university’s College of Visual and Performing Arts.
What makes George Mason unique is that their game design course work draws from a number of fields of study, including computer science, visual arts, digital arts and computer music. This 120-credit degree includes courses like:
- Music for Film and Video
- Online and Mobile Gaming
- New Media in the Creative Arts
- Writing and Editing Music and Sound
All students must also participate in an internship during their undergraduate studies. This required internship provides students with practical experience that greatly enhances their job outlook after graduation.
The GMU Computer Game Design program hosts the only U.S. Serious Game Institute that focuses on game-related applied research and new innovative game company cultivation. The Institute was founded in 2014 as one of just six in the world (Coventry UK, MDA Singapore, Northwestern South Africa, Mexico, and Australia).
Lawrence Technological University
College Choice Score: 68.65
Average Net Price: $27,504
Founded in the 1930’s, Lawrence Technological University is a private university that’s located in Southfield, Michigan. While the campus is small, the learning opportunities are big at LTU. With over 100 degree programs offered, LTU is all about combining theory with practice. Many students choose LTU’s Game Art program within their College of Architecture and Design.
This program is perfect for those passionate about design, storytelling, and using cutting edge technology to build unique worlds. All students must complete a 125-credit-hour program to receive their degree. Courses may include:
- Scripting for Game Design
- History of Game Design
- 3D Animation
- Life Drawing
Applicants are expected to submit a design portfolio with at least 10, but no more than 20, pieces. The pieces could include still life, figurative drawing, perspective, and feature objects found in everyday life.
Lawrence Technological University has been named one of the best school’s in the Midwest, according to The Princeton Review. The school also offers another way to study game development; if you’d rather build a strong background in computer science, you can study CS with a concentration in game software development. It’s a good alternative if your background is less artsy and more tech-related.