Game design is a growing industry. Hardcore and casual gamers are increasing throughout the world. For example, Esports is a professional and competitive gaming competition where participants play for titles and prizes. These events draw huge crowds.
To keep pace, software developer jobs, including video game design, are growing much faster on average than other professions. Such jobs are projected to grow by 21 percent by 2028, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Therefore, a degree in game design can be quite alluring for tech professionals or those looking to break into the developing industry. A Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and a Master of Science degree can mold students into video gaming professionals. However, did you know there is also a degree explicitly designated for the game design industry?
A Bachelor of Science in Game Design degree is an ideal option for those who wish to design video games in this expanding industry. Furthermore, colleges and universities are now offering both degree and non-degree programs in video game design. It may not seem like it, but there are actually a wide variety of education options for those who wish to enter the game design field. With so many opportunities and universities, it may be challenging to know where to start, so continue reading below to discover the top game design schools and what career path your degree could offer you.
What is a Game Design Degree?
A game design degree prepares students for careers in the gaming industry in both niche careers and generalized jobs. With this bachelor’s degree, students can work for large gaming companies, smaller independent companies or start their own company.
Furthermore, students can enter careers in the gaming development field of game design or the technical side of gaming design. After earning a bachelor’s degree in game design, students can pursue careers as a 3D Modeler, Animator, Interactive Designer, Gamer Artist, Creative Director, UI/UX Designer or Web & Social Media Developer, to name a few.
Video Game Design Salaries
It is hard to determine the exact salary for those who work in the gaming industry. Each salary depends on individual experience. Other factors that impact wages include where the company is located, how big the company is and the type of job position; for example, is it a leadership position?
Entry-level designers can expect to earn anywhere from $50,000 to $72,721 on average, while advanced video game designers can make anywhere from $89,485 to $100,000.
Best Game Design Colleges
Southern New Hampshire University
A bachelor’s degree in game programming and development are offered at Southern New Hampshire University. Students learn programming languages and scripting, digital imaging and sculpting, and deployment while enrolled in this online degree program. The program provides multiple start dates throughout the year, allowing students to complete their degree at their own pace. Online accessibility allows students to attend class when and from where they can. Moreover, Southern New Hampshire University features one of the lowest tuition rates in the nation.
Located in Columbus, Ohio, Franklin University is one of the best places to pursue an online bachelor’s degree in interactive media design. Its 120-credit degree teaches students web design for gaming, mobile apps and websites. Human-computer interaction, digital media design, interactive media for training and instruction, and graphic design are just a few of the courses students can expect while pursuing a gaming degree at Franklin University.
Some benefits of its program include the tuition rate for all students being the same regardless of the location, a tuition discount for active-duty military and no application fee when applying online. Franklin University offers rolling admission.
Liberty University Online
A bachelor’s in Information Technology-Gaming Design degree from Liberty University Online is another excellent program for gaming professionals. Liberty University Online proudly employs professors with real-world experience. Furthermore, tuition at Liberty University is one of the lowest in the country. Additionally, according to Liberty University, 87% of all Liberty students in an online program are awarded financial aid.
Full Sail University
The Game Design Bachelor of Science Degree program, offered on-campus and online through Full Sail University, is another excellent online degree program. Full Sail University has courses that concentrate on gameplay, story development and production. Full Sail University boasts more than a decade of experience in the gaming industry. Character creation, environment and prop creation, the game production pipeline, in-game effects, and animation are just a few fundamentals of the program. Game Animation, Level Assembly & Lighting and Motion Capture are just a few course examples that can be expected at Full Sail University.
University of Southern California
The University of Southern California, founded in 1880, features four video gaming degree programs and ranks #1 in terms of game development schools. Professionals who work in the gaming industry make up the faculty and provide hands-on instruction. The University of Southern California is also home to the GamePipe Laboratory sponsored by Sony, Intel and other big technology companies. Furthermore, students can choose from a variety of minors, including Game Design, Game Animation, Game Entrepreneurism, Game Audio, Game User Research, Themed Entertainment and Video Game Programming.
Michigan State University
MSU offers students the opportunity to work as programmers, information architects, technical writers, mobile app developers and much more through one of their many game design programs. Founded in 1855, these programs are offered through the College of Communication, Arts and Sciences. Furthermore, a Video Design Camp and Advanced Video Design Camp are offered through MSU and let students develop their game design skills. Additionally, the school offers a Games for Entertainment and Learning Lab to design prototypes, techniques and games. The university’s Media Sandbox is another program that lets students and faculty collaborate with writers, artists, musicians and scientists.
New York University
Located in New York City, New York, New York University offers a bachelor’s, master’s and minor in game design through the Tisch School of the Arts. A Bachelor of Fine Arts Game Design degree through New York University allows students to participate in courses that include 2D and 3D animation, sound effects, game design and AI programming. The four-year bachelor’s program consists of a senior project and a curriculum that focuses on game design, game scholarship, game development and a foundation in liberal arts. The Global Institute for Advanced Study and the Cinema Research Institute is located at the university.
Carnegie Mellon University
Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon University has eight undergraduate concentrations, including Game Design, Animation, Special Effects, Media Design and Physical Computing. Carnegie Mellon offers a Bachelor of Computer Science and Arts with a concentration in Game Design, with the option of completing a minor in game design. In this degree program, theory and skills are combined in the following segments: programming and engine development, special effects and performance capture, visual and sound synthesis, and assessment and redesign. Some of the courses included in the major are Character Rigging for Production, Game Design, Design for Educational Games, Programming for Game Designers, and Game Design, Prototyping and Production.
DigiPen Institute of Technology
Those who are preparing for a career in gaming development might want to pursue a degree at DigiPen Institute of Technology. The institute is supported by Nintendo. Graduate and undergraduate degrees are both offered through the institute. Professionals who wish to start their career as artists, designers, software developers or programmers in the gaming community can learn the skills it takes to succeed in the industry at DigiPen Institute of Technology. Furthermore, DigiPen offers an accelerated bachelor’s and master’s combination degree which takes five years to complete.
Rochester Institute of Technology-RIT Online
Founded in 1885, the Rochester Institute of Technology offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in game design and development, as well as a Bachelor’s in New Media Interactive Development. Students can also choose from minors that include Free Open Source Software, Game Design and Development, and Game Design. The programs are offered through the Golisano College and the School of Interactive Games and Media.
Design principles and programming using current and emerging technologies are a few subjects that the degree program focuses on throughout the program. Additionally, the Rochester Institute of Technology offers student clubs that include the Game Developers Club, the Electronic Gaming Society and CodeRIT, to name a few.
Game Design Degree Job Prospects
Alt-Text: A person working at a desk and on a computer.
Caption: Put your degree to use.
Game designers are part of a team that develops and designs video games. Creating characters, levels, puzzles, art and animation are all parts of a game designer’s everyday job. Game designers must be efficient in writing code using different programming languages. A web developer and computer programmer are both similar positions to a game designer. To become a game designer, you must have a bachelor’s degree.
A 3D modeler’s job duty is to design and build 3D models. This competitive career uses the latest technology and computer software to develop these models. Various job positions in several sectors become available as a 3D modeler, including video games, movies, architecture, illustrations, engineering and advertising. The average salary for a 3D modeler is $59,712 per year. A bachelor’s degree is required to be a 3D modeler.
A creative director in the gaming industry is responsible for the overall vision for the game, including gameplay, visual style, story, audio assets, cinematics and marketing materials. Furthermore, the creative director may have also come up with the concept for the game. Working under the producer, a creative director works alongside many different groups of people to make the video game come to life. A bachelor’s degree in game design, game art or game development is needed to pursue a career as a creative director. The average salary of a Creative Director is $88,201.
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