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Top School in San Francisco for Game Programming Courses

While there are many schools in the San Francisco Bay area with computer science programs, only a few offer courses in game programming. Read about their offerings, tuition and ranking to choose the right one for you.

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School and Ranking Information

Game programming degree programs are not available in San Francisco; however, five schools near San Francisco offer courses in game programming. Based on ranking, courses available and graduation rate, the top three schools are Stanford University, California State University (CSU) - East Bay and City College of San Francisco (CCSF).

  • Winner: Stanford University is a highly-ranked national university, and it features the highest graduation rate of schools in the San Francisco area. This school offers a bachelor's degree in computer science with programming courses.
  • Runner-Up #1: California State University - East Bay is ranked among regional universities in the West. It offers a bachelor's degree program in computer science with relevant courses.
  • Runner-Up #2: City College of San Francisco offers associate degree programs in programming and game development.

School Comparison Chart

Category Stanford University California State University - East Bay City College of San Francisco
Ranking(s) 5th among national universities in 2014,
1st among graduate computer science programs in 2010, nationwide,
2nd among graduate programming language programs in 2010, nationwide*
90th among regional universities in the West in 2014* N/A
Location Stanford (28.4 miles from San Francisco) Hayward (22.1 miles from San Francisco) San Francisco
School Type 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, public 2-year, public
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $42,225 (undergraduate)** $6,309 (undergraduate, in-state), $17,967 (undergraduate, out-of-state)** $1,238 (in-state), $6,270 (out-of-state)**
Game Programming Degrees Awarded in 2011-2012 143** 51** 16**
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal program time) 95% (2006 Entering Class)** 41% (2006 Entering Class)** 32% (2009 Entering Class)**
Noteworthy Home of the MobiSocial Computing Laboratory Sponsors a parallel processing facility called CompCore, which provides research opportunities Computer labs available in the Visual Arts Building

Sources: *U.S. News & World Report rankings, **NCES College Navigator

Winner: Sanford University

  • Houses numerous award-winning professors including a member of the top 300 professors among all universities and fields as chosen by the Princeton Review in 2011-2012, per school's website
  • Recognized by Bill Clinton for student initiated organization, Code the Change, per school's website

Students interested in computer programming can complete the undergraduate computer science program through the computer science department at Stanford University. The program features ten tracks, including artificial intelligence, graphics, systems and human-computer interaction. The coursework includes programming abstractions, electronics, computer organization and data structures. Prospective game programmers can complete courses in game playing and algorithmic game theory. In addition to coursework, students complete a senior capstone project. The school also offers several research activities through the computer science department, like the MobiSocial Project, Data-Driven 3D Modeling and Web Privacy and Third-Party Tracking.

Runner-Up #1: California State University - East Bay

  • Awards scholarships to partially cover school fees, per schools website
  • 71% of full-time beginning undergraduate students received some form of financial aid, according to NCES

Within the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, students can complete an undergraduate degree program in computer science that offers programming coursework. The program offers options in computer engineering, networking and software engineering. Coursework examines media computation, computer science and programming language concepts. Students interested in game programming can complete a course in game programming that delves into math, networking, game logic and scripting.

Runner-Up #2: City College of San Francisco

  • 8% of classes were attended by San Francisco residents in 2011-2012, according to the school
  • The graphic communication department offers seven Mac computer labs at the Ocean and Mission campuses, according to the school

The graphic communication department at CCSF offers a programming and game development certificate. The 38-39 credit programming certificate program includes coursework in game programming, PHP programming, multimedia tools, digital skills and interactive design. In the fourth semester, students complete a multimedia portfolio development course. Students who have completed the digital art foundation certificate can further their skills through the game development certificate program. This program includes courses in game production, storyboarding, animation, Flash essentials and game words, as well as an internship.

Other School Options

Other schools in the area offering game programming courses include the San Francisco State University and Cogswell Polytechnical College. San Francisco State University offers a computer science bachelor's degree program that features a specialization in graphics and multimedia. This program includes coursework in multiplayer game development, as well as courses in programming languages and design. Cogswell Polytechnical College, in Sunnyvale, CA, offers a bachelor's degree in game design & development with a focus in game design engineering. This specialization includes courses in game programming, tools programming and game engine programming.

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