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

Jul 24, 2018

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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  • 0:03 School Overviews
  • 0:36 University of Southern…
  • 1:18 Rensselaer Polytechnic…
  • 2:02 Baylor University in Waco, TX
  • 2:39 Top Game Design and…

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School Overviews

Game design and programming education involves both advanced information technology studies and creative design concepts. Top programs are readily available at the undergraduate level and some schools offer graduate programs as well. Around the country, you'll find high-ranking schools for game design and programming. These three notable schools offer bachelor's degree programs with curricula combining skills in technology, artistic design, and business. U.S. News and World Report nationally ranked all three schools in 2016.

University of Southern California

School Highlight: The school was ranked 23rd best national school by U.S. News and World Report for 2016.

Princeton Review named the University of Southern California (USC) the second best school for game design in 2017. 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, business and management of games, and experimental games.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

School Highlight: The school was listed as tied as the 39th best national college for 2016 by U.S. News and World Report.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, was ranked 18th in the list of best game design schools by Princeton Review in 2017. 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 interaction, computer science, cognitive science, and writing.

Baylor University in Waco, TX

School Highlight: The program is offered in cooperation with the Film and Digital Media Division of Communication Studies.

At Baylor University, the Department of Computer Science coordinates with the Department of Film and Digital Media to offer a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with a specialization in game development. Students in this program take the standard computer science courses, as well three courses in game development, including a capstone development project and four courses in media production. In 2016, Baylor was tied for 71st place among national universities by U.S. News and World Report.

Top Game Design and Programming Colleges

These schools also offer outstanding game design and programming education.

College/University Name Distinction Location
Becker College Was ranked as the fifth top school in the country for game desing by The Princeton Review in 2017 Worcester, MA
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 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 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
University of Texas at Dallas Named the 11th best undergraduate game design school in 2017 by The Princeton Review Richardson, TX
University of Utah Graduate students spend three semesters collaborating on a group game project Salt Lake City, UT
Worcester Polytechnic Institute Emphasizes project-based learning Worcester, MA

At top schools, aspiring game designers and programmers can get hands-on technology training and develop the design skills they need for success in the gaming development industry. In these programs, students gain experience in computer classes, design labs, and business seminars, along with project-based learning.

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