Top 10 Gaming Schools

Sep 20, 2007

Read about the top schools for gaming, where students learn to create video games. Check out the program options at three universities, and find a table with at-a-glance information about other schools in the U.S. that provide training for game developers.

School Information

Formal gaming programs may include coursework in art, design and computer sciences and can be found at Drexel University, the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and the University of Central Florida in Orlando. Both Drexel and RIT offer undergraduate and graduate programs in a relevant field of study, which can lead to a Bachelor of Science or Master of Science. The program at the University of Central Florida is offered exclusively at the graduate level.

1. Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA

School Highlight: Cutting-edge research projects in gaming include motion platform simulation, brain interface and augmented reality.

Drexel University is a private school that ranked within the top 100 universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report in 2015. That same year, The Princeton Review and PC Gamer magazine jointly ranked Drexel as one of the top universities in the U.S. for game design, placing its game design program and RePlay Lab at number four.

The university's game design program is offered by the Department of Computer Science and Digital Media Program and awards both undergraduate and graduate degrees. These include a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Game Art and Production, B.S. in Game Programming and Development and Master of Science (M.S.) in Digital Media. A graduate Certificate in Learning in Game-Based Environments is also available. Students also have access to hardware devices, development software and studio facilities, including a Vicon motion capture system and studio, an 80-seat, 3-D theater, Maya and 3-D Studio Max.

2. Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY

School Highlight: Hosts the Global Game Jam (GGJ), Microsoft Imagine Cup and other events for students.

The Rochester Institute of Technology is a private institution that includes the School of Interactive Games and Media, which enjoys a collaborative relationship with the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. Relevant programs include a B.S. in New Media Interactive Development, B.S. in Game Design and Development and M.S. in Game Design and Development. The B.S. in New Media Interactive Development in particular provides students with an interdisciplinary approach to imaging arts and sciences. Additional programs include undergraduate minors in game design and development.

3. University of Central Florida in Orlando, FL

School Highlight: Learn the latest industry techniques from UCF partners like Disney, Monster Media, n-Space, Lockheed Martin and others.

According to The Princeton Review and PC Gamer rankings compiled in 2015, the University of Central Florida in Orlando is the second-best graduate school in the nation for those interested in game development. The Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA) at this public institution is a graduate school that offers 3 tracks. The program allows for specializations in art, production and programming and emphasizes the design and creation of new games.

Graduate students specializing in art learn about modeling, design and motion capture editing. Aspiring game developers enrolled in the programming option focus on the creation of game engines and the management of memory and data storage. In the production specialization, students concentrate on the business side of video games, such as the marketing and distribution of new intellectual properties and products.

Top Gaming Schools

School Name Distinction Location
Georgia Institute of Technology Home to the Experimental Game Lab Atlanta, GA
Parsons The New School for Design Katie Salen, a member of the game design faculty, is the director of the Center for Transformative Media New York, NY
Pennsylvania State University Educational Gaming Commons (EGC) group creates games for research, learning and teaching State College, PA
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Visualization, Animation, Simulation Technology (VAST) Studio Troy, NY
University of California - Los Angeles Game lab explores game aesthetics, game context and game genres Los Angeles, CA
University of Southern California Interdisciplinary Mixed Reality (MxR) Program Los Angeles, CA
University of Texas at Austin Denius-Sams Gaming Academy offers strong financial support for students Austin, TX

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