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The Top 15 Video Game Design Schools

February 16, 2021 | Staff Writers

Video Game Design Schools
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Why Choose Video Game Design Schools?

If you love to play video games and want to make them yourself, you may enjoy a career in video game design. Game designers who work on conceptualizing themes, rules and structure for video games. You can use creative and artistic skills as well as technical knowledge in this field.

Choosing Video Game Design Schools

The video game industry is a dynamic industry with much growth. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the annual salary, on average, for software developers such as game designers is $111,620. That salary will vary based on your specialization within your field.

The Top 15 Video Game Design Schools

In this article, we have put together a list of the top 15 video game design schools in America. They are ranked from best to worst. If you need help selecting a school for your training, we’re here to help.

1. University of California – Santa Cruz

The University of California – Santa Cruz offers a degree in computer science focused on computer game design. The Bachelor of Science in Computer Science: Computer Game Design focuses on the construction of interactive games. Students in the bachelor’s video game design program can choose to move on to a master’s degree or a Ph.D program.          

•             Tuition (in-state): $11,442

•             Enrollment: 19,494

2. DigiPen Institute of Technology     

DigiPen Institute of Technology offers a Bachelor of Arts in game design. This degree is designed to help students create compelling and interactive gaming systems including user interfaces, games and applications. The program has six specialization tracks including narrative design, user research, systems design and others.

•             Tuition (in-state): $27,000

•             Enrollment: 1,174

3. University of Utah

A Bachelor of Science in Games from the University of Utah provides students with the information that they need as well as the training that is necessary to work in the professional gaming industry. Students will take courses such as ethics and gaming, programming, and a survey of games.       

•             Tuition (in-state): $7,211

•             Enrollment: 32,852

4. DePaul University

At DePaul University, students can get a Bachelor of Science in game design. In 2020, DePaul University was named as one of the top game design schools in the country. Students are expected to complete a minimum of 192 credit hours to get this degree.

•             Tuition (in-state): $19,584

•             Enrollment: 22,064

5. Georgia Institute of Technology

The Georgia Institute of Technology offers a BS in Computational Media that allows students to go on to work in animation, robotics, web design, interactive game design and simulation and other careers. CM majors go on to work as interns in the design and development of video games and in other careers.     

•             Tuition (in-state): $14,064

•             Enrollment: 36,302

6. Carnegie Mellon University           

Carnegie Mellon University is home to the National High School Game Academy and has programs in game design, design for educational games, prototyping and production, as well as others. The integrative design, Arts and Technology Network sponsored and developed over 30 interdisciplinary courses, including those in game design.

•             Tuition (in-state): $45,037

•             Enrollment: 14,180

7. Savannah College of Art and Design         

The Savannah College of Art and Design offers a degree in interactive design and game development. Students in this program have access to both an AR and VR lab, and they may also enter into prestigious gaming competitions such as the Intel University Games Showcase or the E3 College Game Competition.

•             Tuition (in-state): $38,475

•             Enrollment: 14,840

8. University of Central Florida

The University of Central Florida offers programs in digital media at the associate’s degree level, bachelor’s degree level and master’s degree level. Students can choose from two tracks, which are game design or web and social platforms.          

•             Tuition (in-state): $6,916

•             Enrollment: 69,402

9. Northeastern University    

Northeastern University offers a Game Design BFA that provides students with all of the skills needed to work and interactive media. The degree focuses on exploring games, analyzing games critically and anticipating emerging trends in the video and analog game industries.

•             Tuition (in-state): $24,793

•             Enrollment: 22,207

10. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute  

At Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, students can get a degree in games and simulation Arts and Sciences. Students in this program can go onto a Master’s Degree in Critical Game Design, a Master’s Degree in Critical Game Design and Co-Terminal Program, or a PhD in Critical Game Design.

•             Tuition (in-state): $54,000

•             Enrollment: 7,528

11. Michigan State University

Michigan State University offers a degree in game design and development. The program was founded first in 2005, and it is now run through the GEL Lab. Students have their video game designs featured on the school’s website, where other students can download them and play.

•             Tuition (in-state): $18,858

•             Enrollment: 49,809

12. Rochester Institute of Technology – RIT Online  

Game Design and Development is a Bachelor of Science degree available through the Rochester Institute of Technology. Nationally, the school is ranked as one of the top schools for video game design. The median first-year salary of graduates from this program is $65,000.

•             Tuition (in-state): $47,522

•             Enrollment: 16,254

13. Southern New Hampshire University      

Southern New Hampshire University offers a degree in game development and video game programming. It is Affordable at around $320 per credit for a total of 120 credits in all to complete the program. Students are about programming languages, 3D modeling and more.

•             Tuition (in-state): $18,810

•             Enrollment: 113,514

14. New York University

New York University offers a game design BFA through the NYU Game Center. The program is a four-year Bachelor’s of Fine Arts program inside the Tisch School of the Arts. Students in this program learn about game development, game design and more.

•             Tuition (in-state): $33,408

•             Enrollment: 52,885

15. University of Southern California

At the University of Southern California, students can obtain a Bachelor in Interactive Entertainment Degree, a Bachelor in Computer Science with an Emphasis in Gaines, or go with an intensive 3-year program for a Master of Fine Arts and Interactive Media. There is also a Master in Computer Science with an Emphasis on Game Design. Minors include game audio, game animation, 3D computer modeling and graphics, and many others.

•             Tuition (in-state): $46,272

•             Enrollment: 48,321

Ranking Specifications

Rankings in this article were determined by taking nickel with the greatest tuition rate and giving it the lowest score while giving schools with high enrollment low scores as well. The scores were then combined, and the school for sorted from best to worst.

Every effort has been taken to make sure that this information is accurate, however, it is subject to change. The ranking here is not guaranteed.

If you have questions about how your school is ranked or disagree with a piece of information we have here, please reach out to us. We would be happy to speak with you about your concerns.

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BestValueSchools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
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