Tennessee Game Design Colleges with Degree Program Overviews

Jul 19, 2019

There are four schools in Tennessee that have game design programs. Read an overview of these schools' programs, requirements and tuition information, and find out which school is the right one for you.

Essential Information

Prospective game designers can obtain training through programs such as computer programming, digital animation and graphics design, which are available at a few community colleges and universities in Tennessee. Programs specifically in game design are limited in Tennessee, but there are four schools with programs applicable to game designers. Relevant degrees are available at the associate, bachelor's and master's degree levels, and one school offers an undergraduate certificate. A summary of each program is featured below, along with a comparison table of the school's offerings and tuition information.

Chattanooga State Community College (CSCC)

Chattanooga-based CSCC has two associate's degree programs with concentrations that are directly tied to game design education. The digital media design and production associate's degree program includes the option of concentrating in game art. Students are trained in the artistic and technical aspects of game development through individual and team-based projects. Artists and programmers work together to develop individual portfolios students may use to obtain employment upon graduation from the program. The 60-credit program consists of instruction in design principles, digital imaging, art appreciation and the application of 3-D tools.

The information systems technology associate's degree program provides students with the opportunity to concentrate in game programming. The program focuses on teaching students the programming skills needed to work with C++, DirectX and OpenGL, as well as the knowledge needed to understand scripted languages. Students also learn the techniques involved in developing and programming Windows and mobile phone applications for games. Individual artists and programmers are expected to work together on team projects throughout the program. Course topics include computer science, project management, software development and game scripting. At the end of the 60-credit program, students will have completed a professional portfolio.

East Tennessee State University (ETSU)

Located in Johnson City, ETSU offers a bachelor's degree program in digital media that includes a concentration in digital interaction and game design. The program is designed to teach students the knowledge and skills needed to create games and other interactive digital environments. All students in this concentration are required to complete course work in four main areas: general education, core digital media, concentration courses and digital media-based electives. Courses specific to the concentration include lighting and rendering, game modeling and production.

Students may also find the courses in the digital animation concentration of the bachelor's degree program in digital media useful for a career in game design. Courses in this program include animation fundamentals, drawing, motion tools and character animation.

ETSU's master's degree in new media studio is a 33-credit program designed to teach traditional artists, including painters and sculptures, the technological techniques needed to work with digital animation, special effects and game design. The flexible program allows students to explore their own interests, and it also provides students with access to the modern technology and software involved in gaming and other digital media platforms in the university's Digital Media Center. Graduates of the program will be prepared to work as game designers and art directors.

Nashville State Community College

A technical certificate in 3-D design and graphics can be earned at this Nashville college. Graduates can pursue work in architectural and manufacturing design, television production and video game design. Students are trained to use 3-D technology to create and develop graphics, animations and computer simulations for games and other types of digital media. Course topics range from computer-aided drafting and digital animation to project design and using AutoCAD & Solid Modeling software. Some technical courses may be substituted with cooperative work experience classes upon approval from the program's coordinator. The 25-credit program takes one year to complete. Students may also apply all of the coursework completed for the certificate to the university's associate's degree program in general technology.

Trevecca Nazarene University

Future game designers at this Nashville university can gain knowledge of programming, animation and graphic design through the Bachelor of Science in Digital Graphic Design and Multimedia program. Training involves basic and advanced graphic design and imaging, video art, motion graphics, Java and Visual Basic programming. The introduction to digital gaming class focuses on game creation using 3-D technology and game programming.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Game Design Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)
Chattanooga State Community College 2-year, public; midsize city Associate of Applied Science in Digital Media Design and Production - Game Art Concentration,
Associate of Applied Science in Information Systems Technology - Game Programming Concentration
$4,063 (in-state)*
$15,727 (out-of-state)*
East Tennessee State University 4-year, public; small city Bachelor of Science in Digital Media - Digital Interaction and Game Design Concentration,
Bachelor of Science in Digital Media - Digital Animation Concentration,
Master of Arts in New Media Studio
$8,935 (in-state)*
$27,199 (out-of-state)*
Nashville State Community College 2-year, public; large city 3-D Design and Graphics Technical Certificate $4,191 (in-state)*
$16,479 (out-of-state)*
Trevecca Nazarene University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Bachelor of Science in Digital Graphic Design and Multimedia $25,598 *

Sources: *NCES College Navigator

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