Game Design School in Chicago, IL with Degree Descriptions

Research game design programs in Chicago, which currently has five colleges offering relevant programs. Read an overview of degree programs, admission info and program requirements for three schools within 20 miles of downtown Chicago, and decide which program is right for you.

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Chicago Schools with Game Design Programs

Aspiring game designers can choose from programs at a few different schools in the Chicago, IL, area. This article highlights three of the closest schools, all of which can be found less than 30 minutes from downtown.

  • Columbia College - Chicago is located two miles from downtown and offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Game Design. Students in the program can choose from a number of concentrations.
  • Situated just over a mile from downtown Chicago, DePaul University offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Animation or a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Computer Game Development, as well as a Master of Science (MS) in Computer Game Development.
  • Students can earn a BS in Computer Game and Entertainment Technology at Elmhurst College, which is located nearly 20 miles from downtown in the suburbs of Chicago.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Computer Games and Programming Skills
  • Computer Programming for Applications
  • Computer Programming for Certifications

Comparison of Schools

Choosing a college can be hard. Get more information on the three schools in the following table.

Columbia College - Chicago DePaul University Elmhurst College
School Type 4-year; private not-for-profit 4-year; private not-for-profit 4-year; private not-for-profit
Total Enrollment (2014) 9,440* 23,799* 3,257*
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large suburb
Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-2016) $24,344* $36,361* $34,450*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2013-2014) 82%* 96%* 93%*
Acceptance Rate (2014) 89%* 70%* 68%*
Full-time Student Retention Rate (2014) 71%* 87%* 82%*
Graduation Rate (Students began in 2008) 43%* 71%* 74%*

Source: *College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics.

Columbia College - Chicago

Students at this school can major in game design within the Interactive Arts and Media Department. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of game design, the school offers three concentrations focusing on game art, development or sound design. Each student is expected to create original content for the capstone experience course.

Bachelor of Arts in Game Design

Though students can specialize within this program, all students need to take core requirements in digital image design, general programming, media theory/design and authoring interactive media. Some game design courses are also required and include game culture, indie team game projects, game development and team game studios. Depending on a student's concentration, he or she may take courses in audio production, sound design, character design/modeling, 3-D composition or object-oriented programming.

DePaul University

This university provides several game development programs at varying levels. Artistically-inclined students can choose the animation degree program. Students with programming and technical prowess can choose the BS or MS degree program in computer game development.

Bachelor of Arts in Animation

In this program, students develop their drawing, animation and visual design skills. Animation topics include game modeling, motion capture, rigging, pipeline and digital sculpting.

Bachelor of Science in Computer Game Development

This program has concentrations in game design, gameplay programming and systems programming. The game design concentration combines creative and technical topics like game builds, ideation, writing, programming and scripting. Systems programming focuses on game engines and computer science courses. The gameplay programming concentration is also technical in nature and focuses on scripting, computer graphics, game physics and artificial intelligence.

Master of Science in Computer Game Development

This graduate degree program provides advanced instruction in computer programming and graphics. Prerequisite courses in data structures and programming are needed but may be waived in some cases. Grad students must take courses in applied algorithms, architecture of computer games, game engine programming, game developer physics and artificial intelligence for games. Students can also choose three elective courses like advanced lighting techniques, computer animation and programming languages.

Elmhurst College

The computer science and information system division of this college has one undergraduate degree program that can help students learn about digital entertainment system development, digital multimedia and game design.

Bachelor of Science in Computer Game and Entertainment Technology

Students are required to take courses in computer science, computer game design, artificial intelligence, computer graphics, computer game/entertainment project development and computer animation. General education courses are also required.

Other School Options

Game design programs and courses are also available at the College of DuPage, located almost 23 miles from downtown Chicago, and the University of Illinois at Chicago, located two miles from downtown.

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