Game Design Schools in Austin, TX with Degree Program Summaries

There are three schools within ten miles of Austin that have game design programs. Read an overview of these schools' programs, requirements and admission info and find out which school is the right one for you.

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Austin, Texas Schools with Game Design Programs

Students who are interested in game design have a few options within the immediate vicinity of Austin, Texas. This article looks at three schools, none more than 15 minutes from downtown Austin, and the relevant programs they offer. There is also a table of information about each school that can help prospective students. Facts on school size, tuition, acceptance rate and the percentage of students who graduate on time are included here.

  • The University of Texas at Austin, around two miles from Austin's downtown, offers an undergraduate certificate in game development.
  • Saint Edward's University, nearly three miles from the city center, offers a bachelor's degree program in interactive game studies as well as a bachelor's program in interactive games management that focuses on the business development aspects of game design.
  • About five miles from downtown, Austin Community College District has three options, offering associate's degrees in computer programming - game and visualization programming, visual communication - game art, and visual communication - game design.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

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

Comparison of Schools

The following table offers facts about each school that could be useful to individuals who are deciding on their best option for education.

University of Texas at Austin Saint Edward's University Austin Community College District
School Type Four-year; public Four-year; private not-for-profit Two-year; public
Total Enrollment (2014) 51,313* 4,686* 40,949*
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large city
Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-2016) $9,806 in-state; $34,676 out-of-state* $38,720* $2,550 in-district; $9,210 in-state; $11,340 out-of-state*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Any Form of Aid (2014) 63%* 92%* 47%*
Acceptance Rate (2014) 40%* 78%* N/A - open admissions
Retention Rate (2014) 94% for full-time students, 80% for part-time students* 83% for full-time students * 56% for full-time students, 45% for part-time students*
Graduation Rate 81%* (Students who began in 2008) 67% (27% transfer-out rate) (Students who began in 2008)* 8% (30% transfer-out rate) (Students who began in 2011)*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

University of Texas at Austin

At the University of Texas at Austin, students can enroll in an interdisciplinary game development program. Student organizations, such as the Electronic Game Developers Society, help game design students hone their technical and business networking skills outside the classroom. In addition, faculty and staff in the game development program work with the IGDA-Austin group, a professional advocacy group of game development companies in the greater Austin area. This program is offered in collaboration with the College of Fine Arts' Department of Computer Science and the Department of Radio-TV-Film.

Game Development Certificate

The game development certificate consists of five computer science courses, including computer graphics, game technology, performance programming and a game development capstone. The fifth class can come from specific elective courses, such as computer networks, artificial intelligence, mobile computing or advanced software development. All students who want to enroll in the program need to meet a C++ requirement by passing a previous computer science class. Additionally, students are encouraged to take game development courses, such as gaming environments, electronic media, visual effects, interactive media and digital animation.

Saint Edward's University

Saint Edward's University is a private liberal arts school in Austin. Prospective game designers can enroll in a bachelor's program in game studies or a business development program in gaming management. Faculty and staff coordinate events or invite students to participate in popular Austin gaming festivals and conferences, such as the Austin Game Developers Conference.

Bachelor of Arts in Interactive Game Studies

Available through the School of Humanities, the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Interactive Game Studies program includes classes in technical game creation and liberal arts. The core curriculum is made up of courses in art, humanities, digital media and computational and gaming foundations. Students delve into concepts in color and design, artificial intelligence programming, interactive storytelling, digital media production planning and computer graphics and animation. In order to graduate, students must complete a three-credit capstone course.

Bachelor of Business Administration in Interactive Games Management

The School of Management and Business offers the Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) in Interactive Games Management. This program combines game design courses with business approaches to the gaming industry. Business topics include accounting, macroeconomic principles, business communication, strategic management, operations management and finance. Major courses focus on digital interactive technology, digital media production planning, digital media law and the business of gaming. Students must also complete a capstone class.

Austin Community College District

Austin Community College District is the main community college in the Austin metropolitan area. Students interested in game design can enroll in several associate or certificate programs in game programming, game art and game design. The Visual Communication and Computer Science Departments offer relevant courses in game design, as well as computer labs that game design students can use for their projects. The Game Development Institute, Austin Community College's advisory board for the game design degrees, reviews all programs related to game design. Texas gaming professionals are part of the Game Development Institute.

Associate of Applied Science in Computer Programming - Game and Visualization Programming

The Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) program with a specialization in game and visualization programming focuses on technical programming skills. Students explore game scripting, mathematical applications in game development, simulation programming, three-dimensional graphics and Java programming. In the final semesters, students complete a practicum experience and a game and simulation group project.

Associate of Applied Science in Visual Communication - Game Art

This A.A.S. program focuses on animation and graphic design. Classes examine lighting and surfacing, three-dimensional modeling, video game art and digital painting. In addition to a group project, students complete a portfolio class in animation development.

Associate of Applied Science in Visual Communication - Game Design

In this game design program, students delve into level design, game testing, design and creation of games, three-dimensional modeling and rendering, interactive writing and video game production. Liberal arts classes are included as well. In the final semester, students complete a group project and a portfolio for game development.

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