List of the Best Game Design and Programming Schools in the U.S.

Game design and programming includes traditional video gaming, but it can also be used in classroom teaching, artificial intelligence and medical training. Get information on three of the best schools for studying game design and programming. Learn about the institutions' rankings and degree programs in the field.

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School Overviews

On the east and west coasts, you'll find a couple of nationally high-ranking schools that are known as some of the top places in the nation to learn game design. Both schools offer bachelor's degree programs with curricula combining skills in technology, artistic design and business. The University of Southern California is located close to resources for hands-on experience. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute allows you to select an area of concentration to further enhance your degree. Read on for additional details.

1. University of Southern California in Los Angeles

School Highlight: The school was ranked tied for the 25th best national school by U.S. News & World Report for 2015.

Princeton Review named the University of Southern California (USC) the best school for game design in 2015. The USC School of Cinematic Arts offers an undergraduate program in game design and programming, with the Los Angeles location providing unique opportunities for practicum experiences and work.

The Bachelor of Arts in Interactive Entertainment and the minor in Game Design focus on the creative side of game design and programming. Courses include sound and design for games, game development, business and management of games and experimental games.

2. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York

School Highlight: The school was listed as tied as the 42nd best national college for 2015 by U.S. News & World Report.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute was ranked 11th in the list of best game design schools by Princeton Review in 2015. The school has a Bachelor of Science in Games & Simulation Arts and Science, which teaches students the management, programming and psychological theories needed for a career in the field.

The program includes classes in designing interactive characters, interactive narrative and experimental game design. Students also select from six concentrations in electronic arts, management, human computer interaction, computer science, cognitive science and writing.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Computer Games and Programming Skills
  • Computer Programming for Applications
  • Computer Programming for Certifications

Top Game Design and Programming Colleges

College/University Name Distinction Location
Baylor University Program offered in cooperation with the Film and Digital Media Division of Communication Studies Waco, TX
Becker College Named the #9 school in the country for game desing by The Princeton Review Worcester, MA
Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT Game Lab facilitates students establishing a curriculum to learn game design Cambridge, MA
Ohio State University Design students can take courses at the university's interdisciplinary Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD) Columbus, OH
Savannah College of Art and Design College has international campuses in Hong Kong and Lacoste, France Savannah, GA
University of California - Santa Cruz Center for Games and Playable Media features five research labs for inquiries in the game area Santa Cruz, CA
University of New Mexico New program available offering certificates and associate's degrees in game design and simulation Albuquerque, NM
The University of Texas at Dallas Princeton Review gave 'honorable mention' to school's game design program in 2012 Richardson, TX
University of Utah Graduate students spend three semesters collaborating on a group game project Salt Lake City, UT
Worcester Polytechnic Institute School emphasizes project-based learning Worcester, MA
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