What’s up, gamers?
Thanks to technology advancing faster than any of us can keep up with, the career plan of “playing video games for the rest of my life” is actually a feasible option. Whether you want to work for a small indie dev team or a huge AAA studio, getting a degree in video game design is the first step in the process.
If you’re not sure where to look when it comes to getting your degree in video game design, or the best colleges for gaming, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve rounded up the top five schools when it comes to careers in video games, gaming, and video game design.
1. University of Southern California
Location: Los Angeles, CA | Programs: BA in Interactive Entertainment, BS in Computer Science (Games) | Enrollment: 44,000 | Acceptance Rate: 16.1%
Considering how many game studios are located on the west coast, it’s no wonder that USC is the top school when it comes to pursuing a degree in game design. USC Games offers four gaming degrees—two for undergraduates, and two for graduate students.
If you aren’t sure exactly where you want to work in the field of video game design, USC recommends pursuing their BA in Interactive Entertainment. Your coursework will include a plenty of liberal arts while specializing in game design and interactive entertainment. The degree allows you to explore your interests in gaming and game design, and you even have the opportunity to have multiple specializations. With this game design major, there’s a big emphasis on collaborative work and leadership.
The BS in Computer Science (Games) degree at USC places a greater emphasis on the science behind game development. You’ll learn things like game production, computer animation, programming, gaming engines, and two semester-long full game projects. This obviously gets more into the technical parts of game dev rather than the creative side, but if you already have a solid background on coding and really want to get into the gaming industry, this is the degree to choose.
2. New York University
Location: New York, NY | Program: BFA in Game Design | Enrollment: 51,123 | Acceptance Rate: 21.1%
On the other side of the country in another huge hub when it comes to gaming and video game development: New York. NYU’s Game Center, located in Brooklyn, is for anyone who takes their video games seriously and wants to turn this passion into a legitimate career.
If you decide New York is the place to be, the four-year BFA undergraduate degree in Game Design is the perfect fit. Part of the world famous Tisch School of the Arts, you’ll learn about game design, game development, and game scholarship. All of these things prepare you for getting a career in the gaming world ASAP. There’s enough flexibility to focus on your own interests, also allowing you to work on your final senior project solo or in a group setting.
3. Michigan State University
Location: East Lansing, MI | Program: BA in Games and Interactive Media | Enrollment: 50,344 | Acceptance Rate: 76.3%
The Midwest probably isn’t on the top of your list when you think of places for great gaming degrees, but Michigan State has one of the best game development major programs in the country. The BA in Games and Interactive Media provides an in-depth look at games and interactivity.
Students build their program with courses programming fundamentals, history of the gaming business, social impact, and even the business side of gaming. Upon graduation, you’ll have a portfolio of work (both long and short form games). Former students work at gaming companies like EA, Activision, Ubisoft, Rockstar, Blizzard, Bungie, and more.
4. Savannah College of Art and Design
Location: Savannah, GA | Programs: BA in Digital Media, BFA in Interactive Design and Game Development | Enrollment: 10,517 | Acceptance Rate: 77.9%
Obviously an arts and design school is going to have plenty of options when it comes to getting a major in gaming and game design. Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Georgia also offers the option to take classes online, giving you the freedom to work from anywhere.
The BA in Digital Media gives you the foundational studies of a liberal arts education with an emphasis on game development, with 45 credit hours devoted to gaming. There are plenty of core principal classes to provide a foundation, along with electives to help you tailor your degree and study exactly what you want in the field of game design.
For a more specialized program, look into the BFA in Interactive Design and Game Development. Your major curriculum is a whopping 80 hours of coursework devoted to game development skills. You still select a concentration for your studies (either game development or interactive design and physical computing), allowing you to choose the creative or technical side of the game dev field.
5. DigiPen Institute of Technology
Location: Redmond, WA | Program: BA in Game Design | Enrollment: 1,120 | Acceptance Rate: 38.2%
A relatively small college located in Redmond (which is also where Nintendo of America and Microsoft is headquartered), DigiPen Institute of Technology want to fill your brain with all things gaming and game development.
This comprehensive program gives you every possible option when it comes to studying gaming. Level design, narrative design, systems design, technical design, UX design, and user research are all topics you’ll learn about during your undergraduate degree. After your second year, you’ll choose which area you want to specialize in.
The possibilities for your gaming major or game design major are as endless as your imagination. While most of these programs are highly competitive, these schools all boast high employment rates upon graduation. We know you’ll get a solid job in the field if you get accepted!