Game Programming Degrees in Sandy, Utah with Course Descriptions

Sep 20, 2018

The Sandy, Utah, area has three colleges that offer game programming degrees within 30 miles of the city's center. Learn about the degree options, admission policies and program requirements at these schools to make an informed education decision.

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Sandy Game Programming Schools

Aspiring game designers can attend several Utah colleges around the Sandy area. Although degrees strictly focused on game programming are hard to find, students can choose from a variety of programs that offer courses and learning opportunities useful to game programmers. This article highlights the coursework in programs at three schools. It also includes a table of statistics that provides additional details for comparison of the profiled institutions.

  • Salt Lake Community College is located around 6 miles from downtown Sandy, in Salt Lake City. The school offers a certificate in motion graphics as well as associate's degrees in visual art that include an emphasis in animation. A computer information systems associate's degree program is also available and includes a computer programming and design focus.
  • Situated roughly 13 miles from central Sandy, the University of Utah has a B.S. in Games and a computer science bachelor's degree program with a focus in the entertainment arts.
  • Utah Valley University, located about 23 miles from Sandy's downtown area, has a digital media bachelor's-level program with gaming development courses and a software engineering bachelor's degree program that includes programming coursework.

Comparison of Schools

Explore the school settings, costs, student enrollment figures and more for the profiled colleges in the table below. This info -- along with several other included facts -- could help you decide which school best fits your academic needs and preferences.

Salt Lake Community College University of Utah Utah Valley University
School Type Two-year; public Four-year; public Four-year; public
Total Enrollment (2017) 29,620* 32,800* 37,282*
Campus Setting Large suburb Midsize city Small city
Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $3,781 in-state; $12,020 out-of-state* $8,884 in-state; $28,127 out-of-state* $5,652 in-state; $16,066 out-of-state*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Any Form of Financial Aid (2017) 65%* 85%* 75%*
Acceptance Rate (2017) N/A - open admissions* 66%* N/A - open admissions*
Retention Rate (2017) 59% of full-time students* 90% of full-time students* 66% of full-time students*
Graduation Rate 22% (students began in 2014)* 67% (students began in 2011)* 30% (students began in 2011)*

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics.

Salt Lake Community College

Salt Lake Community College is the largest college in Utah, including all 10 campus locations and online learners. The Visual Art and Design Department at Salt Lake Community College's South City Campus has certificate and associate programs related to digital arts, multimedia and animation, and the Computer Science and Information Systems Department offers a degree program with studies in computer programming and design.

Certificate of Proficiency in Motion Graphics and Visual Effects

The certificate program in motion graphics and visual effects can help students learn the skills necessary for entry-level positions at video game companies. Many of the courses involve creating animated films with computer graphics and other forms of visual effects. Some required courses include storyboarding, digital video production, design and introduction to animation. Motion graphics courses include InDesign software, typography and motion graphics, and visual effects courses include 3-D modeling, 3-D animation and visual effects.

Associate of Applied Science in Visual Art and Design with Animation Emphasis

The Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) program is split into seven concentrations. The animation concentration includes courses that train students in 2-D or 3-D animation for various forms of media, which can include video games. Core animation courses include figure drawing, digital video production, digital media essentials and design. Other animation courses that could be helpful for video game programmers include character design, storyboarding, digital painting, illustrator software, motion graphics, video production and visual effects. This program offers a variety of elective course options, allowing students to tailor their learning to fit what they plan on using in their careers.

Associate of Science in Visual Art and Design with Animation Emphasis

The Associate of Science (A.S.) in Visual Art and Design with an animation concentration includes courses that can help students with their pursuits in game programming. Classes in the A.S. program are similar to the A.A.S. program, with courses like character animation, digital media essentials, 3-D modeling and advanced figure drawing. This program is intended for students who are interested in transferring to a four-year program, whereas the A.A.S. program is designed for individuals who plan on entering the workforce after graduating.

Associate of Applied Science in Computer Science and Information Systems

This program is intended to prepare students for coding, designing and testing information systems. The program can be completed in four semesters. Students are required to complete a set of required and elective courses totaling 49 credits, which includes business and personal computing, data analytics, digital marketing and software engineering. The program also requires students to complete an additional minimum 14 credits of general education courses.

University of Utah

The University of Utah provides undergraduate and graduate degrees related to game programming through the Entertainment Arts and Engineering (EAE) program. EAE is an interdisciplinary program through the School of Computing and the Department of Film and Media Arts. The school also provides outreach opportunities where game programming and graphics camps help children in the community learn new skills.

Bachelor of Science in Games

The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Games consists of courses in game ethics and game development. Students will select several allied areas of interest for focus, in addition to choosing among EAE electives. The program ends with two capstone project courses. Before students can begin the program, they must complete prerequisite courses in areas such as programming and digital content creation. This school also offers a B.S. in Computer Science with an Entertainment Arts and Engineering Emphasis.

Utah Valley University

Utah Valley University is located in the town of Orem. The Department of Digital Media offers a gaming and animation concentration within its digital media program, while the Computer Science Department has a software engineering program available.

Bachelor of Science in Animation and Game Development

The B.S. in Digital Media is offered with a gaming and animation concentration. Core courses that all digital media students must take include digital storytelling, digital media essentials, digital media project management and writing for digital media. Gaming and animation courses consist of motion picture essentials, 3-D modeling, visual effects and compositing and scripting for games. All students are required to have a laptop for upper-division digital media courses.

Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering

This program requires a total of 122 credits. Core required courses for this program include Java software development, software testing/quality engineering and analysis of programming languages. Included in the total are 12 credit hours of computer science upper level elective courses.

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