Top 10 Gaming Schools

Jul 27, 2018

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 list with at-a-glance information about other schools in the U.S. that provide training for game developers.

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  • 0:00 Gaming Schools
  • 0:12 School Overviews
  • 4:43 Top Gaming Schools

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Gaming Schools

Formal gaming programs integrate coursework in art, design, and computer science. They are offered both at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

School Overviews

Gaming programs can be found at Drexel University, the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), the University of Central Florida in Orlando, and Georgia Institute of Technology. Drexel, RIT, and Georgia Tech 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. Each of these schools was nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Report for 2017.

Drexel University

At Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 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 2017. That same year, The Princeton Review ranked the school among the best Northeastern colleges.

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.

Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York, 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. The school was ranked #107 among national universities for 2017 by U.S. News and World Report.

University of Central Florida

The University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida, partners with industry leaders like Disney, Monster Media, n-Space, Lockheed Martin, and others to give students a broad range of useful training techniques. According to U.S. News and World Report, UCF is among the top 100 public schools in the nation as of 2017. The Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA) at this public institution is a graduate school that offers three 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.

Georgia Institute of Technology

Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia, is home to the experimental game lab, an interdisciplinary resource available to all students and game-related programs. The College of Computing at Georgia Tech offers Bachelor of Science degrees in computer science and computational media, as well as minors in computer science, all of which can provide the necessary technological training for future game designers. Relevant master's degree programs are also offered to prospective students. Students can earn a Master of Science in Computer Science, Computational Science and Engineering, and Human-Computer Interaction. The first two programs are available online or on campus. Students can also find research opportunities through the school's game lab. For 2017, U.S. News and World Report ranked Georgia Tech #34 among all national universities.

Top Gaming Schools

These top schools also provide relevant training for future game designers:

School Name Distinction Location
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 University Park, 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 Offers an 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

Aspiring game designers can find focused game development programs as well as broader computer science programs that include relevant training at top institutions around the country.

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