Top 10 Gaming Schools

Sep 20, 2007

Read about the top schools for gaming, where students learn to create video games. Check out the program options at three universities, and find a table with at-a-glance information about other schools in the U.S. that provide training for game developers.

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School Information

Formal gaming programs may include coursework in art, design and computer sciences and can be found at Drexel University, the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and the University of Central Florida in Orlando. Both Drexel and RIT offer undergraduate and graduate programs in a relevant field of study, which can lead to a Bachelor of Science or Master of Science. The program at the University of Central Florida is offered exclusively at the graduate level.

Top U.S. Schools with Gaming Programs

1. Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA

Drexel University is a private school that ranked within the top 100 universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report in 2011. That same year, The Princeton Review and GamePro magazine jointly ranked Drexel as one of the top universities in the U.S. for game design, placing its game design program and RePlay Lab at number five.

The university's game design program is offered by the Department of Computer Science and Digital Media Program and awards both undergraduate and graduate degrees. These include a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Game Art and Production, B.S. in Game Programming and Development and Master of Science (M.S.) in Digital Media. A graduate Certificate in Learning in Game-Based Environments is also available. Students also have access to hardware devices, development software and studio facilities, including a Vicon motion capture system and studio, an 80-seat, 3-D theater, Maya and 3-D Studio Max.

2. Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY

The Rochester Institute of Technology is a private institution that includes the School of Interactive Games and Media, which enjoys a collaborative relationship with the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. Relevant programs include a B.S. in New Media Interactive Development, B.S. in Game Design and Development and M.S. in Game Design and Development. The B.S. in New Media Interactive Development in particular provides students with an interdisciplinary approach to imaging arts and sciences. Additional programs include undergraduate minors in game design and development.

3. University of Central Florida in Orlando, FL

According to The Princeton Review and GamePro rankings compiled in 2011, the University of Central Florida in Orlando is the second-best school in the nation for those interested in game development. The Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA) at this public institution is a graduate school that offers a Master of Interactive Entertainment. The program allows for specializations in art, production and programming and emphasizes the design and creation of new games.

Graduate students specializing in art learn about modeling, design and motion capture editing. Aspiring game developers enrolled in the programming option focus on the creation of game engines and the management of memory and data storage. In the production specialization, students concentrate on the business side of video games, such as the marketing and distribution of new intellectual properties and products.

List of Ten Good Gaming Schools

School Name Distinction Location
Drexel University Cutting-edge research projects in gaming include motion platform simulation, brain interface and augmented reality Philadelphia, PA
Georgia Institute of Technology Home to the Experimental Game Lab Atlanta, GA
Parsons The New School for Design Katie Salen, a member of the game design faculty, is the director of the Center for Transformative Media New York, NY
Pennsylvania State University Student gaming clubs include the Association for Computer Machinery State College, PA
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Visualization, Animation, Simulation Technology (VAST) Studio Troy, NY
Rochester Institute of Technology Hosts the Global Game Jam (GGJ), Microsoft Imagine Cup and other events for students Rochester, NY
University of California - Los Angeles Game design course might include a presentation from a professional game developer Los Angeles, CA
University of Central Florida Experienced faculty members include those who have worked on some of the most successful modern video games, such as the Madden NFL Football series Orlando, FL
University of Southern California Interdisciplinary Mixed Reality (MxR) Program Los Angeles, CA
University of Texas at Austin Home to the Video Game Archive, a part of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, which focuses on the preservation of older games Austin, TX
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