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Best Game Development Schools: The Top Colleges and Universities for Game Development Programs

Joshua Adegoke - June 18, 2022


The gaming sector is a multibillion-dollar industry that is constantly looking for talented future game developers with a degree in game development. While having a passion for game design and development may be innate, finding the best schools for game development may be a hassle without the right help.

This article will help you in your school search by providing details about the best game development schools. You will also learn about the successful career opportunities that a degree from one of the best game development universities can afford you.

Best Game Development College and University Rankings: Top 10 Game Development Schools at a Glance

School State Formats Available US News Ranking
Carnegie Mellon University PA Hybrid #25
Cornell University NY In-Person #17
Georgia Institute of Technology GA Hybrid #38
Massachusetts Institute of Technology MA Hybrid #2
New York University NY In-Person #28
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute NY In-Person #55
Rochester Institute of Technology NY Hybrid #117
University of California, Santa Cruz CA In-Person #103
University of Southern California CA Online #27
University of Utah UT Hybrid #99

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Game Development School Rankings: Best Game Development Colleges and Universities

The best game development colleges and universities offer various degrees in game design and related fields to prepare students for careers in the gaming industry. Below is a detailed overview of game development school rankings, accreditation, and graduation and acceptance rates.

1

Carnegie Mellon University

Graduation Rate: 93%

Carnegie Technical Schools merged with the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research to become Carnegie Mellon University in 1967. Carnegie Mellon offers undergraduate and graduate programs to over 15,000 students. In 2015, it partnered with the University of Pittsburgh to become a Pittsburgh Health Data Alliance partner to leverage data analysis in healthcare.

Carnegie Mellon University Overview

  • School Type: Private
  • Acceptance Rate: 17%
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commissioner on Higher Education
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
  • US News Ranking: #25
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 28th

Best Carnegie Mellon University Game Development Programs

  • Undergraduate Minor in Game Design . Game design students will gain mastery in the theory and practice of game creation after completing a minimum of 45 units. Undergraduates can complete this on-campus program within four years alongside their major courses.
  • BFA-School of Arts . The broad-based four-year program helps students develop the knowledge, commitment, and skills necessary to work as artists in a technologically evolving world. After this program, students can pursue a career in the game design industry or go on to pursue a graduate degree in game development.
  • Bachelor of Design . The four-year degree offers three tracks in products, communication, and digital and physical environments. Students will complete core courses, electives, and a capstone project. Students work in multidisciplinary teams in the final two semesters to use their design expertise to complete their capstone projects.
  • Bachelor of Computer Science and Arts . This rigorous intercollege program offers qualified students the opportunity to simultaneously develop their fine arts and computer science talents. The degree requires 380 units with a concentration in core courses and electives.
  • Master of Human-Computer Interaction . This three-semester degree is a career-oriented program that prepares its students for positions in user experience design. It integrates service and design thinking into a rigorous curriculum that prepares students to design and guide human and technology interactions.

Carnegie Mellon University Game Development Key Takeaway

Carnegie Mellon University’s human-computer interaction program is the longest-running and most impactful Master of Human-Computer Interaction program in the world.

2

Cornell University

Graduation Rate: 95%

Ezra Cornell and Andrew White founded this Ivy League research university in 1865 to teach and contribute to all fields of knowledge. The private school caters to 15,000 undergraduates and 10,000 graduate students through its seven undergraduate colleges and graduate divisions. Cornell University is the only US-member school that is part of the CEMS alliance.

Cornell University Overview

  • School Type: Private
  • Acceptance Rate: 11%
  • Accreditation: Middle State Commissioner on Higher Education
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
  • US News Ranking: #17
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 22nd

Best Cornell University Game Development Programs

  • Bachelor of Fine Art . This undergraduate program will tutor artists and scholars by allowing them to integrate their ideas, interests, and skills into an intellectually advanced artistic practice. The degree requires the completion of 120 credits of studio and seminar work as well as a thesis project.
  • Game Design Minor . This minor is available to undergraduates interested in game design as an extension of their major. Students must take at least six courses for a total of 18 credits in this concentration to be eligible for this minor.
  • Computer Science Major . This major covers courses in algorithms, programming languages, and data structures. Students will also take artificial intelligence, vision, and computer graphics electives. To graduate, students must have a minimum of a C- grade in all computer courses and at least a 2.0 GPA.
  • MS Computer Science . This program is a small, highly selective four-semester degree for students who want to deepen their knowledge of computer science through advanced course work, research, and writing. Students must complete 34 credit hours with a written thesis and oral presentation.
  • Computer Science, PhD . This three-year program focuses on research in artificial intelligence, computer graphics, machine learning, and systems security. A special committee guides students through their dissertation on campus and evaluates them in the final oral examination.

Cornell University Game Development Key Takeaway

Cornell launched the Milstein Program in 2017 that offers a multidisciplinary curriculum to students in the College of Arts and Sciences, with workshops in design thinking, community engagement, and technology topics. This program also requires students to spend two summers at Cornell Tech in New York City.

3

Georgia Institute of Technology

Graduation Rate: 91%

This public research university was founded in 1885 as the Georgia School of Technology but changed its name in 1948. Its current student body consists of over 36,000 undergraduates and graduate students. About 60 percent of its 20,000 graduate students are enrolled in online graduate degree programs. Georgia Tech is well-known for its computer science, engineering, and business degrees.

Georgia Institute of Technology Overview

  • School Type: Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 21%
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
  • US News Ranking: #38
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 45th

Best Georgia Institute of Technology Game Development Programs

  • BS in Computational Media . This undergraduate degree offers a thorough education in technical, historical-critical, and applied aspects of the computer medium. Students will complete 122 credits and pursue graduate degrees or find careers in interactive game design, special effects creation, and animation.
  • Computational Media and Digital Design BS/MS . This five-year accelerated degree program combines a Bachelor of Science in Computational Media with a Master of Science in Digital Media. Students who want to pursue this course must apply to the school of literature, media, and communication after completing 75 credit hours towards a Bachelor’s Degree in Computational Media.
  • Online Master of Science in Computer Science . This online degree offers four specializations in computing systems, computational perception and robotics, interactive intelligence, and machine learning. Students will complete 30 credit hours and fulfill order requirements depending on their specialization.
  • MS in Digital Media . This program offers art and humanities-based advanced study in digital media design and critique. Students must be enrolled full-time and complete 36 credit hours with a master's project and a non-credit summer internship between the first and second year.
  • Doctor of Philosophy with a Major in Digital Media . This program’s core curriculum covers applied research methods in digital media, advanced principles of interaction design, and computing technologies. The program accepts three to five new students each year who must complete 60 credits to graduate.

Georgia Institute of Technology Game Development Key Takeaway

Georgia Tech’s game studio facilitates the creation of novel games by providing industry advice, space, and materials to help participants develop and release original games.

4

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Graduation Rate: 96%

Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private land-grant research university that was founded in 1861. It has played a vital role in developing modern science and technology. MIT offers 44 undergraduate degrees across its five schools, several graduate programs, and intense week-long innovation bootcamps. MIT students use only numbers and acronyms to refer to their majors and classes.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Overview

  • School Type: Private
  • Acceptance Rate: 73%
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
  • US News Ranking: #2
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 5th

Best Massachusetts Institute of Technology Game Development Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Computation and Cognition. This program is a product of a joint curriculum from the electrical engineering and computer science department and the brain and cognitive sciences department. The 180-credit program accommodates a wide diversity of interests, from biology to artificial intelligence and machine learning.
  • Bachelor of Science in Comparative Media Studies. The program integrates the study of contemporary media with a broad historical understanding of older forms of human expression. Students must complete 10 subjects and six electives but may substitute an elective with a pre-thesis tutorial and thesis.
  • Undergraduate Science, Technology, and Society. STS focuses on how scientific, technological, and social factors shape modern life. Students can obtain this degree in a joint degree program or as a minor. It requires the completion of 60 to 72 credit courses and other requirements that the undergraduate major dictates.
  • MS in Media Arts and Sciences . This program focuses on the invention and creative use of new technologies to communicate and express ourselves. It requires students to spend four terms in residence and complete 66-hour credits.
  • MS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Recipients of this degree normally receive a Bachelor of Science degree simultaneously. The five-year program requires the completion of 24 units of thesis credit and 24 units of electives. Students must maintain strong academic records to remain in this program.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Game Development Key Takeaway

MIT has a Master of Science in Technology and Policy that students can combine with their game development programs to obtain dual degrees.

5

New York University

Graduation Rate: 88%

The New York state legislature chartered this private research university in 1831. It has become the largest private university in the United States by enrollment, with 51,848 students. New York University has 10 undergraduate schools, 15 graduate schools, and various internal academic centers.

New York University Overview

  • School Type: Private
  • Acceptance Rate: 21%
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Degrees Offered: Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
  • US News Ranking: #28
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 26th

Best New York University Game Development Programs

  • BA/BFA Film and Television. This program is open to first-year students with a passion for film and television and an interest in learning about the business aspects of the industry. The dual degree requires students to complete 160 credits in approximately five years.
  • BFA Game design . This four-year Bachelor of Fine Arts program introduces students to the fundamentals of games through the lenses of design, culture, and technology. Students will complete 128 credits in primary areas, production areas, and a capstone project.
  • Computer Science, BS . This four-year degree is a rigorous program covering the fundamentals of computer science subjects such as computer architecture, programming, and operating systems. Students must complete 128 credit hours in their major courses and electives to be eligible for the degree.
  • MFA Game Design. This two-year master's takes students on a journey of the theory and practice of game studies. Students will complete various game courses, electives, and a thesis. Students take this program at the Game Center, although there are many student projects online.
  • Computer Science, MS. This program teaches on-campus students advanced concepts in network security, computer graphics, web search technology, and programming. Students will complete 30 credits in algorithms, core, and elective courses as well as a capstone course.

New York University Game Development Key Takeaway

New York University launched a Game Incubator Center in 2014 to provide space, funding, and expertise to students in the field of game design. The incubator selects projects with impressive commercial potential through a competitive application process and sees them through to a public launch.

6

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Graduation Rate: 87%

Stephen Van and Amos Eaton established this private research university in 1824 for “the application of science to the common purpose of life.” It offers over 145 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in nearly 60 fields. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the oldest technological university in the Western Hemisphere and the English-speaking world.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Overview

  • School Type: Private
  • Acceptance Rate: 57%
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
  • US News Ranking: #55
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 501-600th

Best Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Game Development Programs

  • BS in Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences . This bachelor's program explores game design's technical, creative, and social dimensions. Since Rensselaer is a designated New York State Centre of Excellence in Digital Game Development, graduates are in high demand by game employers to impact their professional skills.
  • BS in Information Technology and Web Science. This program teaches students to investigate privacy, content value, and web development issues. Students will complete 128 to 130 credit hours in a core set of web and IT development courses.
  • Undergraduate Electronic Media Arts and Communication. This four-year degree offers undergraduate students the opportunity to study electronic arts in the communication field. Students will complete 60 credit hours in courses such as media studio imaging and digital filmmaking.
  • Critical Game Design, MS. This program emphasizes reflective self-assessment, the importance of subjective experience, and the social power of interpretation. Students will apply insights to produce new types of games after completing 30 credit hours in two semesters.
  • Critical Game Design-PhD. The program will train scholar-practitioners in game production, theory, scholarly writing, and research. Students will complete 72 credit hours, a qualifying exam, and a dissertation defense in this four-year program.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Game Development Key Takeaway

Animation Career Review nationally recognizes Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's game development Bachelor of Science program as one of the top 50 game design programs in the nation.

7

Rochester Institute of Technology

Graduation Rate: 71%

Rochester Institute of Technology is a private research university founded in 1829. It offers undergraduates, doctoral, professional degrees, and online masters to nearly 19,000 students worldwide. RIT is internationally known for its National Technical Institute for the Deaf and a co-op program that gives students industrial and professional experience.

Rochester Institute of Technology Overview

  • School Type: Private
  • Acceptance Rate: 74%
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Degrees Offered: Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
  • US News Ranking: #117
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 801-1000th

Best Rochester Institute of Technology Game Development Programs

  • Game Design and Development BS. This program emphasizes game programming to prepare students for a successful career in the game, simulation, and visualization industries. It ranks fourth on Princeton’s list of top game design schools. Students must complete 124 credit hours to obtain this degree.
  • 3D Digital Design BFA . 3D digital designers create virtual elements that feature games, visualizations, and augmented reality. This four-year degree program requires the completion of 120 credit hours. Students will also gain real-world career experience through RIT’s cooperative education and internships.
  • Film and Animation BFA . This major is for students who recognize moving images as an expressive force unique and vital to modern life. The 120-credit-hour degree focuses on visual and sound artistry, developing students’ production skills, and promoting film and animation as creative media.
  • Web and Mobile Computing BS. This program combines people and technology to bring out the best in both. The 126-credit course teaches students to integrate the backend code with the front end user experience across several languages and platforms.
  • Game Design and Development MS. This two-year program requires the completion of 33 credit hours, five electives, and a capstone experience. Students gain admission into this on-campus cohort-based program through a portfolio review process.

Rochester Institute of Technology Game Development Key Takeaway

Rochester Institute of Technology offers many bachelor’s degrees for studying game development and its game design students get to complete two blocks of cooperative education experience.

8

University of California, Santa Cruz

Graduation Rate: 76%

This public-land grant research university was founded in 1965. The school offers 65 graduate programs, 64 undergraduate majors, and 41 minors to over 19,000 students across its five academic divisions. UC Santa Cruz has a joint program with UC Hastings that allows students to earn their bachelor’s and Juris Doctor degree in six years instead of the usual seven.

University of California, Santa Cruz Overview

  • School Type: Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 65%
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
  • US News Ranking: #103
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 201-250th

Best University of California, Santa Cruz Game Development Programs

  • BA Film and Digital Media . The curriculum in this program helps students understand major movements in world cinema and different aesthetic approaches. Although this is not a strict game development program, its courses can help students better understand trends in pop culture and media.
  • Computer Science: Computer Game Design BS. This program gives students a deep understanding of the technical aspects of computer game engineering. Its classes focus on developing visual communication and team-oriented skills. The four-year degree has 24 to 26 courses depending on the core programming sequence that a student takes.
  • MFA Digital Arts and News Media. This program’s curriculum provides students with practical training and critical dialogue to pursue their individual goals as artists. Students must complete 72 credit courses and a thesis project in six quarters.
  • MS Games and Playable Media . This five-quarter program includes deep engagement with game creation and professional development. It requires the completion of 60 credit courses, three electives, and a capstone project on campus.
  • Serious Games, MS. The program prepares next-generation game developers for interactive experiences higher than entertainment. These experiences will serve as education, health, and informal learning applications. Students must complete 50-credits of coursework in five academic quarters.

University of California, Santa Cruz Key Takeaway

UC Santa Cruz offers its graduate programs in game development on its Silicon Valley campus, allowing students to connect and collaborate with major players in the local industry.

9

University of Southern California

Graduation Rate: 92%

Robert Widney founded the University of Southern California as a private research university in 1880. It caters to 49,500 students through 22 undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools. USC is the oldest private research university in California and the brain behind inventions such as antivirus, image compression, DNA computing, and the Domain Name System.

University of Southern California Overview

  • School Type: Private
  • Acceptance Rate: 16%
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
  • US News Ranking: #27
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 63rd

Best University of Southern California Game Development Programs

  • BS Computer Science (Games). This program aims to graduate students with a solid grounding in computer science and a cross-disciplinary background in game development. It requires the completion of 128 units and two semester-long final game projects.
  • BA Interactive Entertainment . The 128-unit program focuses on innovation, creative leadership, and team building. Students will broaden their skills by earning multiple industry specializations and developing competency in several digital media arts.
  • Video Game Design and Management Minor. The video game design minor teaches students to integrate theoretical concepts and practical skills for a career in interactive entertainment. Students will learn to build working video game demos with software tools in this 20-credit minor.
  • Master of Science in Computer Science (Game Development) . This degree aims to establish research directions that create a science of games to improve game development for severe and entertainment purposes. The 32-unit credit program will allow students to further their education in other graduate programs .
  • MFA Interactive Media with Heavy Games Electives. MFA students will combine traditional media skills and understanding of the effects of interactivity. This intensive three-year program requires 50 credits. Students must also complete an internship or professional work and an advanced interactive project as a master’s thesis.

University of Southern California Game Development Key Takeaway

University of Southern California provides computer and digital production facilities for its programs. However, students are responsible for incidental expenses for intermediate and advanced projects.

10

University of Utah

Graduation Rate: 67%

The General Assembly of the Provisional State of Deseret founded the private research university in 1850 as the University of Deseret. University of Utah received its current name in 1892, remaining Utah’s oldest higher education institution. The university offers undergraduate and graduate degrees to over 32,000 students through 150 academic departments.

University of Utah Overview

  • School Type: Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 79%
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
  • US News Ranking: #99
  • Times Higher Education Ranking: 251-300th

Best University of Utah Game Development Programs

  • BS in Games (BSG). The BSG deeply engages students in this unique discipline while benefiting from the cross-disciplinary methodology integral to the entertainment arts and engineering (EAE) programs. Students must complete 122 credit hours and take classes in an allied area of interest .
  • BS in Computer Science (CS) with an Entertainment Arts and Engineering Emphasis . This BS is an interdisciplinary program offered in conjunction with its school of computing. The EAE specialization is offered to undergraduates who must maintain a 3.0 average GPA and complete capstone courses to apply for full major status.
  • Minor in Games. This program is for undergraduate students interested in the academic field of gaming. Students will learn fundamental skills and applicable theories such as entertainment software development and scientific collaboration. They must also complete 24 credit hours with 12 upper-division hours .
  • Master of Entertainment Arts and Engineering. This degree is designed as a cohort model that students can take in a two-year program. They can specialize in any four tracks, including game arts, game engineering, game production, and technical art. The courses that students must complete will depend on their specialty.
  • Dual MBA/Master of Entertainment Arts and Engineering. This dual program aims to bridge the divide between technicality, the current business environment, and the judgment of the market forces. The three-year degree requires the completion of 84 total hours. To apply for the MBA/MEAE, you have to meet the admission requirement for both programs.

University of Utah Game Development Key Takeaway

University of Utah game development students develop entertainment software and game-based learning environments for K-12 students.

Best Bachelor’s Degree Programs

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The Best Schools for Game Development: Types of College Degrees and University Programs Offered

Your desire to learn basic game design skills, accelerate your job role, or make a career change into the interactive design and game development sector will determine what type of degree in game design you should pursue. Below is a categorization of the best schools for game development according to the kinds of college degrees and university programs they offer.

Game Development Community College Certificate

A game development community college certificate is a certificate that you can obtain in less than one year after a short-term focused course offering in game design. The certificate presents you with the introductory design concepts, logic, and programming theory common to all programming languages to prepare you for entry-level employment or a game design major.

Game Development Associate Degree

Game development associate degrees are two-year degrees that combine arts, designs, and computer science to give students exposure to the fields of game design, animation, and user experience design. Students can earn this degree from a community college, junior college, or university after completing 60 credits.

The curriculum gives students a well-rounded education in arts and emphasizes concept art, 3D, and game design. Unfortunately, associate degrees are usually limited in choices. Therefore, you may not learn all you need to begin a career in the video game industry and might want to consider pursuing a bachelor’s degree after graduating.

Game Development Bachelor’s Degree

Game development bachelor’s degrees are undergraduate degree programs in interactive design and game development. This four-year degree program explores various aspects of game development to broaden students’ choices and career options.

This degree’s curriculum combines theory and hands-on experience to explore multi-faceted digital technology concepts such as 2D and 3D graphic design, operating systems, and artificial intelligence in gaming and simulation. At the end of this degree, students will be ready for careers in interactive media design, video game development, and project management.

Game Development Master’s Degree

Game development master’s degrees are advanced programs that provide students with technical and social science knowledge of how computer games operate, how they are developed, and the social impact they have on us. This two-year degree program prepares students for an advanced career in game design.

The program’s curriculum explores students’ approach to game creation by imploring them to combine their game design education with technology specializations and critical analysis. Students will also develop skills in 3D modeling, game design application, and sculpting.

Game Development Graduate Certificate

A game development graduate certificate is a specialized qualification that offers professional development training. If you already have a career in game design, you can obtain this certificate in about one year to fine-tune your knowledge and skills and advance your future in game design.

Game Development Doctorate

A game development doctorate focuses on applied and theoretical research of human-computer interaction. Students will work with industry professionals and advanced technology in a game studio to understand virtual settings, complex interactive media design, identity, and customization.

This degree typically takes between three to six years to complete. On completion, students will become gaming professionals and have the advantage of a boatload of opportunities in the niche industry and academic sector.

Comparing Popular Degree Options

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Best Game Development Schools: Other Game Development University Rankings

A degree’s flexibility and the amount of time you’re willing to commit can affect your choice of any of the best game development schools. Below are other game development university rankings to help your school search conveniently.

Best Online Game Development Schools

  1. Lindenwood University. George and Mary Sibley founded this private university in 1827. It offers undergraduate and graduate degrees to over 6,000 students through nine colleges and schools. Lindenwood’s Bachelor of Arts in Game Design is ranked number one by the Best Schools for the Best Online Bachelor’s in Game Design Programs.
  2. Savannah College of Art and Design. This private art school was founded in 1978 and offers degree programs to over 14,000 students. SCAD’s BA in Digital Media with a concentration in Game Development provides students with opportunities to collaborate with industry giants and capitalize on their passion for interactive design.
  3. Southern New Hampshire University. This private university was established in 1932 and offers degree programs to 135,000 students online and 3,000 students on campus. SNHU’s game development degree online employs experts to help students gain invaluable skills, experience, and connections.

Best Community Colleges for Game Development

  1. Anne Arundel Community College. This public community college was founded in 1961. It offers letters of recognition, 46 associate degrees, and 62 certificate programs at its five schools. AACC’s game development program graduates can transfer to four-year universities, create their own games, or seek entry-level employment in the field of game art.
  2. Johnson County Community College. This public community college was established in 1969. It offers a wide range of undergraduate programs to over 16,000 students and has transfer agreements with regional universities. JCCC’s game development program has instructors that stay on top of trends to help students develop relevant technical skills.
  3. Wake Technical Community College. This public community college established in 1958 is the largest community college in North Carolina. Wake Tech’s simulation and game development program uses project-oriented classes to give students hands-on experience that will help them thrive in their niche industries.

Best Undergraduate Schools for Game Development

  1. Drexel University. This private research university was established in 1891 as the Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry before assuming its current name in 1970. The Princeton Review recognizes its Bachelor Of Science in Game Design and Production as one of the top undergraduate game design programs in the US.
  2. Michigan State University. This public-land grant research university was founded as the Agricultural College of Michigan in 1855. Its admissions process is considered somewhat selective. MSU’s game design and development program is among the top 10 ranked programs by Princeton Review.
  3. Rochester Institute of Technology. This private research university has one of the largest co-op programs in the world. RIT’s Bachelor of Science in Game Design students can specialize in game engine, graphic design, and sound design. The school’s co-op program also helps students land roles at Microsoft and Sony Interactive Entertainment.

Best Graduate Schools for Game Development

  1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This private university ranks among the top institutions globally and has received more Sloan Research Fellowships than any other university in North America. MIT’s media arts and science graduate students work closely with a research advisor in an apprenticeship relationship.
  2. University of California, Santa Cruz. This public university is a member of the Association of American Universities, the most prestigious alliance of research universities in the US and Canada. UC Santa Cruz’s MS Games and Playable Media prepare students to make professional contributions to the game industry.
  3. University of Southern California. USC has awarded degrees to 29 alumni who became billionaires and has graduated more alumni who have won academy awards than any other institution. USC’s Master of Science in Game Development prepares students to engineer and simulate next-generation games.

Best Game Development Schools With Dual Degree Programs

  1. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute | Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences BS. The school of humanities, arts, and social sciences offers this program. It provides the option of concentrations or dual majors in arts, computer science, and human-computer interaction. Students will also get the opportunities to collaborate with art and visual design disciplines.
  2. Rochester Institute of Technology | Game Design and Development BS. This dual degree program allows you to add an MBA to your undergraduate design degree and complete them simultaneously. Students save time and money while still taking advantage of cooperative education experiences, research, and internships.
  3. University of Utah | Dual MBA/MEAE. This dual degree takes advantage of the complementary elements of the Master of Business Administration and the Master of Entertainment Arts and Engineering. The program incorporates a comprehensive knowledge of both sides to give MBA/MEAE graduates the appropriate experience.

Best Schools With Accelerated Game Development Programs

  1. Carnegie Mellon University| Accelerated Master of Human-Computer Interaction. The program allows undergraduates in the BS-HCI major to offer an accelerated two-semester master’s degree instead of the usual three semesters. Students will complete four electives and a pro seminar to earn the degree.
  2. Rochester Institute of Technology | Game Design and Development Bachelor’s/Master’s. This accelerated bachelor’s and master’s degree is designed for exceptional undergraduate students that have shown outstanding academic performance. Students can complete the standard six or seven years of education in just five years.
  3. University of California, Santa-Cruz| Film and Digital Media BA. This intensive program includes all courses for the film and digital media major and general education requirements. Students should begin this pathway in their first year to complete their degree in three years instead of four.

Easy Colleges to Get Into

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Is Graduate School for Game Development Worth It?

Yes, graduate school for game development is worth it for anyone who wants to climb the corporate ladder and increase their career options. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also projects the employment of special effects artists and animators to grow 16 percent from 2020 to 2030 , much faster than the average for all occupations.

What Jobs Can You Do With a Game Development Degree?

The jobs that you can do with a game development degree include graphics design, computer programming, and web development. The best game development schools will help you land these job roles after you learn how to become a game developer . They will also provide you with career support services such as job placements and internship opportunities.

How Much Can I Earn With a Degree in Game Development?

According to PayScale, you can earn an average salary of $67,604 as a video game designer . This salary will vary according to your years of experience, skills, education, and employer. An employee with additional C# programming skills will earn up to $70,552, while an experienced video game designer with 20 years of experience can earn as much as $98,639.

Highest-Paying Game Development Careers

Profession Minimum Education Average Salary
Art Director Bachelor’s degree $100,890
Computer Programmer Bachelor’s degree $93,000
Producers and Director Bachelor’s degree $79,000
Special Effects Artists and Animator Bachelor’s degree $78,790
Web Developers and Digital Designer Bachelor’s degree $77,200
Industrial Designer Bachelor’s degree $77,030
Film and Video Editor Bachelor’s degree $60,360
Graphic Designer Bachelor’s degree $50,710
Crafts and Fine Artist Associate degree $49,960
Broadcast, Sound, and Video Technician Associate degree $49,050

Best Jobs With a Game Development Degree

The best jobs with a game development degree include graphic design, computer programming, special effects art, and animation. These jobs vary according to the degree level that the prospective employee possesses. Below is an overview of the best game development jobs depending on their degree level.

1

Best Game Development Associate Degree Jobs

The best game development associate degree jobs include junior-level roles such as graphic designer and video editor. These roles deal with the fundamentals of game development and require basic programming skills and computer literacy.

Top Game Development Careers With an Associate Degree

2

Best Game Development Bachelor’s Degree Jobs

The best game development bachelor’s degree jobs include mid-level roles such as project manager and computer programmer. Professionals in these roles work with various programming languages and have experience creating dynamic games.

Top Game Development Careers With a Bachelor’s Degree

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Best Game Development Master’s Degree Jobs

The best game development master’s degree jobs are senior-level positions in art direction, production, artistry, and animation. These roles emphasize production methodologies, practical application, and an in-depth understanding of theoretical concepts.

Top Game Development Careers With a Master’s Degree

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Best Game Development Doctorate Jobs

The best game development doctorate jobs include senior web development, Industrial design, and fine artist roles that require specialization and technical expertise. These professionals possess valuable research and management skills that guarantee job growth and rewarding salaries.

Top Game Development Careers With a PhD

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Best Internships for Game Development Students

The best internships for game development students are temporary job experiences that teach students the responsibilities and skills game designers need to turn a vision into a working video game. Students can apply for these positions during the summer and will work closely with mentors and industry professionals.

Top Game Development Internships

How Can I Pay for Game Development School?

You can pay for game development school by applying for grants, scholarships, or loans. If you are employed, your employee might offer a plan to pay for your education. These financing options help to cover your tuition if you cannot afford to pay for it yourself. Below are the top ways you can pay for game development school.

  • Savings. The primary way to pay for your tuition and other expenses is to use your income or savings. Some students who do not have enough college funds can take a gap year to save up for their school expenses.
  • Scholarship. Scholarships are suitable ways to pay for game development school because you don’t need to pay them back. You can inquire if your school offers any scholarships that you might qualify for and apply to cover all or part of your tuition.
  • Grants. The federal and state government offers several types of grants which you do not need to refund. Your college, private and non-profit organizations may also provide various grants to help you pay for game development school once you’re eligible.
  • Loans. Loans should be your last resort after exhausting all other payment options. You should also prioritize federal student loans before private ones. This priority is due to the benefits of loan forgiveness programs and income-driven repayment plans that federal loans grant to students.

How to Pay for Your Chosen School Education Path

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Choosing the Best Game Development School for You

To choose the best game development school for you, you should consider accreditation, the cost of the program, and flexibility. These factors will help you achieve a reasonable degree conveniently and at a price that fits your budget. Below are details of the factors you must consider before choosing a game development school.

Accreditation

The potency of your degree sometimes depends on whether you obtained it from an accredited school or not. Accreditation means that an official body recognizes the school as having a qualified status to offer academic programs in game development. This recognition licenses schools to provide a well-rounded education and recognizes the school’s legitimacy.

Cost

It is important to consider your budget and factor in the cost of the degree you are aiming for before choosing a game development school. If the cost is above your budget, you can consider cheaper schools or devise alternative means such as applying for grants, scholarships, or enrolling part-time to afford your degree.

Flexibility

Your schedule might make it impossible for you to get a traditional in-classroom education. In this case, the program’s flexibility is something you must look out for. Instead of in-person classes, you could opt for schools that offer online programs in game development. Your schedule will also determine whether you enroll part-time or full-time.

Career Services

Since the aim of game development schools is to make industry professionals out of their students, some often set the stone rolling to give students a successful career in the gaming sector after they complete their degree. These schools offer job guarantees and other career services such as internship opportunities, mock interviews, and portfolio tailoring.

Degree Levels Offered

Game development schools offer degrees at various levels. If you are a beginner, you may want to consider schools that offer certificates, diplomas, and associate degrees. If you aim for mid-level roles, then a bachelor’s degree is perfect. However, you would want to consider schools that offer advanced degrees such as masters and PhDs for senior-level roles.

How to Get Into the Right School for Your Profession

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Does It Matter What College I Go to for Game Development?

Yes, it matters what college you go to for game development. Game development colleges all have a primary goal of helping you gain highly in-demand skills to turn your love for gaming into a lucrative career. Regular colleges might not have state-of-art equipment or tailor their curriculum to meet this requirement.

Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees

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Game Development University Ranking Methodology: How We Ranked the Best Schools for Game Development

We ranked the best game development schools by consulting the university rankings conducted by US News & World Report and Times Higher Education. To further refine our game development university ranking methodology, we gave special consideration to things like reputation, graduation rate, student-to-faculty ratio, and breadth and depth of game development degree program offerings.

Additional Reading About Game development

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Best Game development Schools FAQ

What kind of facilities do game development schools use?

Game development schools use state-of-the-art-equipment and facilities such as computer labs to give students hands-on experience in game development. Students can use this equipment, which is usually industry standard, to produce game prototypes that they can add to their portfolios. These additions will increase their chances in the job market after graduation.

What skills do game developers need?

As a game developer, you must have skills in working with various programming languages and be able to work as part of a team. You must also have a passion for gaming. This passion will fuel your creativity to combine a strong analytical mind with your knowledge of gaming trends.

How quickly can I complete my game development degree?

You can complete your game development degree quickly, depending on the type of degree that you are seeking. For example, if you want to focus on basic game design skills, you will be able to obtain an associate degree in one or two years. However, a managerial position in the game field will require a graduate degree which takes between three and seven years.

Is it hard to study game development?

No, it is not very hard to study game development. Game development gets easier as long as you already have the passion and continue to learn the relevant skills. In addition, the gaming types of equipment and facilities that the school uses to teach game design students make the program less challenging to study.

About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.

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Joshua Adegoke

About the author: Joshua is an expert in project management, copywriting, and ArchiCAD. His experience includes leadership roles and writing technical reports, and he is interested in pursuing UI design. Joshua is working on his Bachelor of Science in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering.

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