New Jersey offers a few degree and certificate programs that may be applicable to game design, development and programming. The artistic skills and technological expertise involved in creating video games overlaps with many different academic disciplines, including digital animation, interactive communications and media studies, graphic design and computer programming. These programs are offered at 2 and 4-year schools at the undergraduate level.
Game design programs feature hands-on learning, and students are often required to complete projects, games and internships. Students may also get the opportunity to put together a portfolio. There are currently 6 public and private, non-profit schools with degree programs specifically geared toward the creation, design and development of video games in New Jersey.
Bloomfield College (BC)
Located in Bloomfield, BC's creative arts & technology division offers prospective game design students a bachelor's degree in game development and a minor in game development programming, as well as certificate programs in game design and game programming. In the bachelor's program, students may focus on 2D and 3D animation, programming or game design. The concepts, methodologies and skills needed to work in the gaming industry are taught through hands-on and team-based projects, in-class instruction, industry standard software programs, mandatory internships and the guided creation of a professional portfolio. Enrolled students are also encouraged to join the college's unofficial Game Development Club, which produces 2 student-created games every semester. BC also maintains a professional relationship with the New Jersey chapter of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA).
Designed for CIS programming students, the 7-course minor program teaches students the specific technological skills needed to develop and program video games. Prospective students interested a less-intensive program that is designed for both recreational learners and professional designers can complete a certificate program. Each certificate program consists of 6 courses and is open to students with or without a bachelor's degree. Students may also apply the credits earned in the certificate programs toward the college's bachelor's degree.
Brookdale Community College (BCC)
Lincroft's BCC has one associate's degree program in digital animation and 3D design with a game programming concentration option available through the Arts and Communication Division. The game programming option is designed for students interested in designing, coding and testing digital games. In addition to general education, students complete career specific courses in storyboarding and editing, computer logic, digital modeling and character rigging. This 63-credit program takes two years to complete.
The College of New Jersey (TCNJ)
TCNJ's School of the Arts & Communication, located in the small city of Ewing, offers prospective students a bachelor's degree in interactive multimedia. A student's major area of study will be in interactive multimedia, though the program includes minor areas of study in game programming, art and storytelling. Students receive instruction in digital media, interactive computing and professional writing. The program includes 13 courses specific to the major, including classes on interactive computing, animation, web applications, figure modeling and advanced design techniques. All students are encouraged to complete an internship and are expected to complete a 2-course capstone project in their senior year, which includes writing a thesis. Students can also create and exhibit their game design work in TCNJ's state-of-the-art interactive media production facility.
Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC)
Branchburg-based RVCC has one associate's degree in game development. Students are trained to design, analyze, troubleshoot and develop rudimentary games. Course topics include interactive multimedia, computer programming, creative writing and system analysis and design. The 63-credit program includes general education courses and takes at least 2 years to complete. Game artists and programmers work together in the final semester of the program to create, develop and manage a complete game.
Salem Community College (SCC)
Located in Carneys Point, SCC provides interested students with an associate's degree program in game design and development. In addition to preparing graduates to design and program video games for computers, game consoles and mobile devices, the program teaches students to create digital representations for various educational, medical and military applications. Within the 62-credit program, students learn to create user interfaces, use game platforms and create complex game environments. Students take several courses in art, digital illustration, game engines and video design, in addition to the college's general education courses.
Union County College (UCC)
Cranford's Union County College offers prospective students 2 associate's degrees in game design. The core coursework of the game design creation program includes training in computer programming, graphic design, storytelling and multimedia development. Upon completing the core course requirements, students may choose to take elective courses in specialty tracks like animation, illustration, film and video and photography.
UCC's game design development degree program focuses on a variety of animation, gaming and programming concepts and techniques. Collision detection, 3D graphics, game algorithms, rendering and particle systems, as well as the relationship between gaming and mathematics, are covered throughout the 2-year program. Course topics range from contemporary business and graphic design to animation principles and 3D programming. Students may also opt to use the programs to transfer to a 4-year university.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Game Design Degree Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)|
|Bloomfield College||4-year; private, not-for-profit; large suburb|| BA in Game Development,
Minor in Game Development Programming
|Brookdale Community College||2-year; public; large suburb||AAS in Digital Animation & 3D Design-Game Programming Option||$4,869 in-district; $7,963 in-state; $8,663 out-of-state*|
|The College of New Jersey||4-year; public; small city||BA in Interactive Multimedia||$16,551 in-state; $28,266 out-of-state*|
|Raritan Valley Community College||2-year; public; rural||AAS in Game Development||$4,612 in-district; $5,692 in-state; $5,692 out-of-state*|
|Salem Community College||2-year; public; large suburb||AS in Game Design and Development||$5,070 in-district; $5,850 in-state; $6,600 out-of-state*|
|Union County College||2-year; public; large suburb|| AAS in Game Design Creation,
AAS in Game Design Development
|$5,140 in-district; $10,280 in-state; $10,280 out-of-state*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator