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Top 10 Gaming Schools

Sep 20, 2007

Some students don't just want to play games - they want to create them. Through coursework in art, design and computer sciences in game design programs, they can do that. Read on to learn about the ten best colleges for those with a passion for gaming and how these institutions - and their students - are changing the world's relationship to gaming.

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The Top Gaming Schools in the U.S.

1. Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA

Drexel University is a private school that was founded in 1891 was ranked within the top 100 universities in the nation in U.S. News and World Report in 2011. That same year The Princeton Review and the gaming magazine GamePro 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. It is administered jointly by the Department of Computer Science and Digital Media Program at Drexel and offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees that include a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Game Art and Production, a B.S. in Game Programming and Development and a Master of Science (M.S.) in Digital Media. A graduate Certificate in Learning in Game-Based Environments is also offered. Several facilities, hardware devices and development software are available to students including a Vicon motion capture system and studio, an 80-seat 3-D theater and Maya and 3-D Studio Max.

2. Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY

The Rochester Institute of Technology is a private institution that serves roughly 17,000 students every year, a number of whom decide to go into game design as a field of study. The Rochester Institute of Technology has an entire school dedicated to game design, the School of Interactive Games and Media, which also works with the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. Three degrees in and related to game design are offered, which include a B.S. in New Media Interactive Development, a B.S. in Game Design and Development and a M.S. in Game Design and Development, the first of which offers an interdisciplinary approach with imaging arts and sciences. Minors in game design and development are also offered to interested undergraduates.

3. University of Central Florida in Orlando, FL

A large public university founded in 1963, the University of Central Florida (UCF) serves over 45,000 students annually and offers a master's degree program in gaming and its development. According to The Princeton Review and GamePro rankings compiled in 2011, UCF is the second-best school in the nation for those interested in game development. UCF's Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA) is a graduate school with a central emphasis on the design and creation of new games, leading to a Master of Interactive Entertainment. The curriculum has specializations in art, production and programming. The art specialization focuses on aspects such as modeling, design and motion capture editing; the programming focus covers aspects such as 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 of a new intellectual property and the distribution of a new product.

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 of Design Game design faculty member Katie Salen is the director of the Center for Transformative Media New York, NY
Pennsylvania State University The student gaming clubs available, such as the Association for Computer Machinery State College, PA
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute The Visualization, Animation, Simulation Technology (VAST) Studio Troy, NY
Rochester Institute of Technology Hosts events for students, such as the Global Game Jam (GGJ) and the Microsoft Imagine Cup Rochester, NY
University of California - Los Angeles During the game design course, a professional game developer might come in as a guest speaker Los Angeles, CA
University of Central Florida The experienced faculty, many of whom have worked on some of the most successful modern video games, such as the Madden NFL Football series Orlando, FL
University of Southern California The interdisciplinary Mixed Reality (MxR) Program Los Angeles, CA
University of Texas at Austin Home to the Video Game Archive as part of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, which focuses on the preservation of older games Austin, TX
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