Game Programming Career Education in Arlington, VA

Dec 03, 2018

The Arlington, VA, area has six schools that offer game design programs within about 45 miles of the city's center. Learn about the degree options and program requirements at these colleges to make an informed education decision.

Arlington Game Programming Schools

Aspiring video and computer game designers have a few postsecondary options near Arlington, VA. Read about the available courses and focus areas at three schools that are within about an hour's drive of downtown. There's a table of facts and figures about each college as well, which could assist you in your research efforts.

  • In the neighboring city of Fairfax, VA, George Mason University offers a bachelor's program and a minor in game design. The school is located about 14 miles from central Arlington.
  • Located roughly 22 miles from downtown Arlington, Montgomery College is a community college in the nearby Maryland suburb of Rockville. Students can pursue a certificate or associate's degree in gaming and simulation.
  • Finally, students might choose the University of Baltimore in Maryland, which offers a simulation and game design bachelor's program. The campus is situated about 47 miles from Arlington's downtown area.

Comparison of Schools

Choosing a college involves more than researching academic programs. Financial considerations, the campus setting and the number of enrolled students may make one school rise to the top of your list -- or drop to the bottom. Use this table to compare stats on these and other factors like acceptance and graduation rates.

George Mason University Montgomery College University of Baltimore
School Type 4-year; public 2-year; public 4-year; public
Total Enrollment (2016-2017) 35,984* 22,875* 5,565*
Campus Setting Large suburb Small city Large city
Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $11,924 in-state; $34,370 out-of-state* $4,974 in-district; $9,618 in-state; $13,110 out-of-state* $8,824 in-state; $20,704 out-of-state*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017) 75%* 66%* 92%*
Acceptance Rate (2016-2017) 81%* N/A - open admissions* 81%*
Retention Rate for Full-time Students (2016-2017) 88%* 75%* 68%*
Graduation Rate 71% (Students began in 2011)* 23% (Students began in 2014)* 33% (Students began in 2011)*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

George Mason University

George Mason University's College of Visual and Performing Arts offers a computer game design program at the bachelor's level as well as a Master of Arts in the field. The degree and graduate certificate programs currently offered are designed to prepare students to work in the game development industry.

Computer Game Design Minor

Undergraduates who want to learn some skills in game design can enroll in the 18- to 19-credit computer game design minor. The minor consists of required courses in introductory game design, basic game design and the history of computer game design as well as a game design practicum. Students can also take electives in computer animation or online and mobile gaming.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Computer Game Design

Undergraduates who can show a portfolio of high school or professional studio artwork can enroll in George Mason's computer game design program. The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Computer Game Design combines art and studio design skills with computer and graphic animation, in addition to technical computer programming courses. Core courses in the program include a game design studio, story design for games, writing and editing game music, drawing and computer game platform analysis. All students in the BFA program must enroll in an internship for pre-professional experience.

Montgomery College

Located in Maryland, Montgomery College is a community college that offers certificate and degree programs in internet gaming and simulation. The computer gaming and simulation department includes computer laboratories and opportunities to network with gaming companies from across Maryland, Virginia and the country.

Computer Gaming and Simulation Certificate

This program focuses on computer games. Utilizing interdisciplinary classes in graphic design and computer applications, the program trains students in gaming development and animation. Classes include website development, 3-D modeling, building game worlds and board game design.

Associate of Applied Science in Computer Gaming and Simulation

The Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Computer Gaming and Simulation program requires 60 credits. The same courses for the certificate program are included in this degree. Students will also take classes in general education, behavioral and natural sciences and program electives.

University of Baltimore

Located in the largest city in Maryland, the University of Baltimore is one of the closest urban universities to Arlington, VA. The Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences offers undergraduate and graduate programs that include coursework in interactive media, virtual simulation and human-computer interaction.

Bachelor of Science in Simulation and Game Design

The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Simulation and Game Design program consists of courses in 3D modeling, non-gaming applications with interactive graphics and basic concepts behind game design and programming. Required courses include graphics for game design, business of game development, frontiers of game design, 3D graphics, and social media and games.

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