Rochester, NY, Game Design Colleges with Degree Program Overviews

The Rochester, New York, area has seven colleges that offer training in game design or related fields. To make an informed education decision, learn about the degree options and program requirements at three of these schools, all of which are located within about 10 miles of downtown.

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Game Design Programs in Rochester

Passionate gamers in the Rochester, New York, region have a number of colleges they can choose from that offer programs relevant to the field of game design. Read about the required coursework and learning opportunities at three institutions that are less than 20 minutes from the central part of the city. This article also includes a table of facts on each featured school for comparison.

  • Students who are interested in the digital arts, which are an important aspect to game design, can attend the University of Rochester, located around six miles from downtown. The school offers a bachelor's degree in digital media studies.
  • St. John Fisher College is a private college situated about five miles from central Rochester that offers an interactive media bachelor's degree, as well as a minor option.
  • Students can also attend the Rochester Institute of Technology, which is the home to fully equipped game development laboratories for undergraduate and graduate students. Located roughly five miles from Rochester's downtown area, the school offers a minor, bachelor's degree and master's degree in game design.

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Comparison of Schools

Get to know more about the profiled private schools by taking a glance at the table. It's worth noting that, in general, private colleges charge higher tuition rates than public institutions. Explore the stats on not only costs but also factors like acceptance rates and student enrollment, which may help you narrow down your choice on where to attend.

University of Rochester St. John Fisher College Rochester Institute of Technology
School Type 4-year; private not-for-profit 4-year; private not-for-profit 4-year; private not-for-profit
Total Enrollment (2017) 11,648* 3,776* 16,584*
Campus Setting Midsize city Large suburb Large suburb
Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $52,020* $33,120* $40,068*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017) 88%* 100%* 98%*
Acceptance Rate (2017) 34%* 65%* 57%*
Retention Rate (2017) 97% for full-time students* 85% for full-time students* 90% for full-time students*
Graduation Rate (for students beginning in 2011) 85%* 74%* 67%*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

University of Rochester

The University of Rochester is a private research university in the city of Rochester. Students at the University of Rochester can enroll in the multidisciplinary digital media studies program, which includes some programming and graphics classes. In addition, the multidisciplinary program includes several classes in the school's humanities and engineering colleges that can help students conceptualize game narratives and designs.

Bachelor of Arts in Digital Media Studies

The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Digital Media Studies is a multidisciplinary program at the University of Rochester. The digital media studies program is aimed at the technical and conceptual design for various forms of media, such as graphics, sound and film. Students are expected to take classes in the humanities, natural sciences and in computer science. All students must take four introductory courses designated within the digital media studies program. These course topics include an introduction to digital media, computing multimedia and media design. Courses that are part of the digital media studies curriculum and are related to game design include video game programming, 3D graphics, sound design and digital art. All students must participate in a capstone project, where each student works in a team that researches, designs, markets and releases a digital media project, like a video game.

St. John Fisher College

St. John Fisher College is a private college in Rochester. Students who want to learn more about game design can enroll in the interactive media program, which offers a bachelor's degree and a minor. The interactive media program covers classes in fields like communication, design and computer science.

Minor in Interactive Media

The minor in digital cultures and technologies is an 18-credit curriculum consisting of courses in cultural approaches in addition to core courses and electives. Topics that students will be covering include web design, video game design, emergent media and web culture, digital literacies, digital art, visual rhetoric, advanced web development and media entrepreneurship.

Bachelor of Arts in Interactive Media

The B.A. in Interactive Media program provides students with the opportunity to informally focus in areas like games, new media art and physical computing, and digital cultural studies. Specifically, students will be studying topics like web design, narrative and new media, physical computing, data science, writing for new media, video storytelling, media management and social network analysis.

Rochester Institute of Technology

The Rochester Institute of Technology is a private research university with campuses across the world. The university is the home to the School of Interactive Games and Media. This school contains several laboratories, research centers, outreach opportunities and gaming events for undergraduates and graduate students.

Minor in Game Design and Development

The minor in game design and development is a 15-credit program consisting of five interactive game and media classes. Before students can declare a minor, they need to take several prerequisite courses in physics, mathematics, web programming and computer programming. After completing all prerequisite credits, students must take five courses in the minor: game design and development I and II, data structures and algorithms for games and simulation I and II, and interactive media development.

Bachelor of Science in Game Design and Development

The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Game Design and Development program consists of interactive games and media classes related to the conceptualization, development and programming of games. The curriculum stresses interaction with other students to create games in class projects, as well as fostering creativity and ideas for games from general education requirements. Students are expected to take classes outside the major, with classes like discrete mathematics, a writing seminar in the arts and sciences, geometry and college-level physics. Game design classes in the B.S. program include advanced animation, interactive media development, game design, data structures for simulations and media interface.

Master of Science in Game Design and Development

The Master of Science (M.S.) in Game Design and Development focuses on advanced topics in gaming software, game design, human-computer interaction and game narratives. Potential students are admitted into the program after submitting a portfolio of their gaming or computing work. An accelerated B.S./M.S. degree is another option. Courses in the M.S. program include game development processes, prototyping, game industry themes, social game design, digital audio production and artificial intelligence for gameplay. After courses are complete, students are assigned to teams for a capstone project. In the capstone project, graduate student teams work together to create a video game. That video game is put on display for faculty and for the school.

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