Game Design Schools in Ohio with Degree Program Summaries

Jul 20, 2019

There are at least seven schools within Ohio that have game design degree programs. Read an overview of these schools' programs, requirements, and tuition info to find out which school is the right one for you.

Essential Information

There are a number of Ohio schools offering degree programs applicable to the study of game design. The technological expertise for designing games overlaps with many different disciplines, including digital communications, media studies, and computer programming. Ohio currently has about seven public and private non-profit schools with programs specifically geared toward game design. Such programs lead to the award of primarily bachelor's degrees, although at least one associate's degree is also available. Thesis or final projects may be required of students.

Below are brief overviews of these schools' programs, as well as a table that compares program options and tuition info at a glance.

Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA)

Located in Cleveland, CIA has a bachelor's program in game design that is focused on providing students with the educational foundation to work in the gaming industry or a related field. Students train in the theoretical and contextual aspects of video game culture, animation, 3-D modeling and programming. They're also expected to collaboratively interact with the school's digital arts student community and to work closely with the program's faculty. Course topics include animation techniques, game production, sound design and experimentation with electronic arts. Students are also required to complete a thesis project and to officially exhibit their work. Program graduates can pursue careers as game designers, animators or storyboard artists.

Franklin University

Columbus' Franklin University offers aspiring game designers a bachelor's program in interactive media design. The program is designed for transfer students, who may transfer as many as 24 credits of previous coursework in the field. Students can learn the artistic, managerial and technical skills needed to work in an interactive media environment. Classes incorporate project-based instruction and hands-on activities, including working with well-known technologies and software suites. Core courses focus on graphic design, rich media, interaction design and project management. All classes can be taken online or on-campus and are taught by professionals with real-world experience. In addition to earning the degree, graduates leave with a project portfolio.

Kent State University (KSU)

Located in Kent, KSU has an Associate of Applied Science in Computer Design, Animation and Game Design. The program is designed to teach the technical skills and academic knowledge needed to succeed in the computer-based animation field. Program courses focus on 2-D, 3-D and experimental animation design techniques in virtual environments. Design theory, current industry practices and artistic applications, including the latest animation software, are covered throughout the 2-year program. Career opportunities for graduates include working in the fields of computer modeling, technical illustration, artistic production and game design.

Miami University - Oxford

This 4-year school in Oxford offers a bachelor's program in interactive media studies and a minor in digital game studies. The bachelor's program's foundational curriculum includes two required tracks in making and analyzing interactive media. After completing foundation courses, students choose an advanced track from among several choices, some of which include game design, game development and game studies. Students also have the option to create their own advanced track with the advice of an advisor.

The 18-credit minor in digital game studies focuses on the analysis, application and design of digital games from an artistic, cultural and educational perspective. Several different departments, institutes and schools within the university, including the College of Arts and Sciences and the University Libraries, offer minor courses. Classes are broken up into the categories of foundational, individual tracks and game design. Individual track courses allow students to focus on game art and design, game development or general game studies.

Ohio University

Athens-based Ohio University has a bachelor's program in communication with an emphasis in games and animation. Students are required to complete freshman academic requirements before they can choose the games and animation concentration. Coursework consists of in-class study and laboratory activities, and students have the opportunity to work on student-led production teams. They also have access to the university's Games Research and Immersive Design (GRID) lab, which features research and production facilities, including an arcade. Students may also benefit from the university's professional relationship with the International Game Developers Association. Graduates can seek jobs as game producers and designers, digital effects specialists and computer animators.

Shawnee State University (SSU)

Located in Portsmouth, SSU provides game design students with a bachelor's degree option and a minor in gaming arts. The Princeton Review ranked the school seven on its list of the top undergraduate video game design schools in 2012. The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Gaming and Simulation concentrates on the artistic applications and expressions of game design.

Students in the BFA program receive real-world experience through the program's joint senior project. The school also offers a 21-credit gaming arts minor that features instruction in a professional game studio. Core and elective courses include graphics, creative writing, programming and digital design.

Stark State College

North Canton's Stark State College offers a 67-credit associate's degree program in computer science and engineering with a major in video game design and development. Coursework covers programming logic, graphic arts and software applications, such as Java and C++. Graduates may transfer to a 4-year university or pursue jobs at video game development and publishing companies.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting* Game Design Degree Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)*
Cleveland Institute of Art 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Bachelor of Fine Arts in Game Design $42,055
Franklin University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Bachelor of Science in Interactive Media Design $12,649
Kent State University 4-year, public; large suburb Associate of Applied Science in Computer Design, Animation and Game Design $10,312 in-state; $19,014 out-of-state
Miami University - Oxford 4-year, public; fringe town Bachelor of Arts in Interactive Media Studies,
Digital game studies minor
$15,380 in-state; $34,896 out-of-state
Ohio University 4-year, public; distance town Bachelor of Science in Communication with a games and animation emphasis $12,192 in-state; $21,656 out-of-state
Shawnee State University 4-year, public; fringe town Bachelor of Fine Arts in Gaming and Simulation,
Minor in Gaming Arts
$8,556 in-state; $14,714 out-of-state
Stark State College 2-year, public; large suburb Associate of Applied Science in Computer Science & Engineering with a video game design and development major $4,070 in-state; $7,166 out-of-state

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

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