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Schools with Video Game Development Programs: How to Choose

Video game developers combine storytelling, visual arts and computer science to create entertaining video game software. Colleges and universities across the U.S. offer associate, bachelor's and master's degree programs in game development.

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Video game creators use complex programming languages to construct animation, object interactions and artificial intelligence. Those interested in learning how to apply computer programming in the digital arts to create video games can enroll in degree programs at undergraduate and graduate levels offered through many colleges and universities.

Schools for Video Game Developers

Here's a list of schools with relevant programs:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)*
Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 4-year, Private, not-for-profit Bachelor's $50,665
Michigan State University East Lansing, Michigan 4-year, Public Bachelor's In-state $13,560
Out-of-state $36,360
National University La Jolla, California 4-year, Private, not-for-profit Bachelor's $12,744
University of Utah Salt Lake City, Utah 4-year, Public Master's In-state $7,222
Out-of-state $22,983
University of Denver Denver, Colorado 4-year, Private, not-for-profit Bachelor's $44,178
Saint Edward's University Austin, Texas 4-year, Private, not-for-profit Bachelor's $38,720
The University of Texas at Dallas Richardson, Texas 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate Undergraduate:
In-state $10,864
Out-of-state $26,894
Graduate:
In-state tuition $11,940
Out-of-state $22,282
University of California-Irvine Irvine, California 4-year, Public Bachelor's In-state $13,252
Out-of-state $37,960
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy, New York 4-year, Private, not-for-profit Bachelor's $49,341
Savannah College of Art and Design Savannah, Georgia 4-year, Private, not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's Undergraduate:
$34,970
Graduate:
$35,825

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Students interested in video game development may want to take the following into account:

  • Students may want to consider whether they want to focus on the programming aspect of game development, or if they would prefer to include courses in story development, art and artificial intelligence.
  • Students may want to look at programs that will offer them experience in development and help them build a portfolio of work.
  • Online classes are available through several universities for working students, giving them the opportunity to earn the degree from home.

Associate Degree in Video Game Design

Graduates of these programs can pursue careers as entry-level programmers or continue their education.

Bachelor's Degree in Video Game Development

Some bachelor's degree programs in computer science offer a concentration in video game development. Additionally, students could find schools that offer a specific Bachelor of Science in Video Game Development.

Master's Degree in Video Game Development

Some programs require students to have bachelor's degrees in computer science or engineering. Prospective students can choose concentrations or electives that focus on game production, artificial intelligence or advanced programming.

Master's-level programs might require students to complete a thesis project that consists of a fully developed video game. Graduates could qualify for upper-level positions, such as video game publishers, production managers or marketing specialists.

Video game development programs - or related majors - can be found at the undergraduate and graduate degree levels at many public and private universities. Students should verify the concentration options, flexibility and experiential learning components of game development programs before enrolling.

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