12 Best Game Design Colleges 2020

Game Design

Have you ever wanted to take a chance making that video game you’ve always dreamed of? There’s a long list to choose from when it comes to going to college for a Game Design degree; most of these have all kinds of opportunities that their competitors do not offer. If you are ready for the path for a game design career, these colleges may be really appealing to you!

Video games have permeated into so many layers of the world culture either as a form of art, a form of entertainment, or a form of political discussion. That being said, the skills that you can develop across a game design program could help you speak your mind to fulfill any of those objectives above and more. You’ll find this article helpful if this article helps you pick out your career going forward or helps you find a graduate program for game design.

If you are interested in taste testing the subject matter, there are many ways to interact with what may be a part of your degree’s curriculum. To see if you are interested in making steps toward a Game Design degree, check out the YouTube channel Extra Credits, which has a vast backlog of videos on all fields of game development.

University of Southern California

While University of Southern California is one of the most prestigious colleges to go to for Game Design, their course catalog for what kind of Game Design backgrounds they offer is staggering and leads to a specialized curriculum given its Swiss Army Knife style approach. Their degree diversity is also backed by the connections that the university has as well, which will definitely excite those that are eager to share their grandest ideas with some of the industry’s top individuals. The University of Southern California also has promising offers for those who have already finished their undergraduate degree with Master’s programs which are potential paths for those who have already accomplished their Bachelor’s degree.

Champlain College

Champlain College has some great opportunities for those dreaming to become Game Design majors someday. Their upside-down curriculum helps teams with different roles familiar with each other before digging into individual classes for each major, allowing teams and individuals to develop alongside people that they have worked with over the course of the four year Bachelor’s degree program. Aside from the base Game Design role, they also offer programs specifically for Game Artists, Programmers, and Producers as well that help not only to round out the game development teams over the course of the whole curriculum, but also allows people in those roles to find their strengths and weaknesses to a greater degree than other colleges may be able to offer. The wheat sans chaff culminates into the Senior year Capstone program as well, which allows for these Senior Game majors to stretch their wings and make strong connections with people in the game development industry.

Full Sail University

Full Sail University has a program that tries to emulate the game development atmosphere for its students, which helps to give them a more realistic taste as to what kind of work they may be expected to come across. With this being included with the option to take courses online as well as applying for Master’s level programs at the college, their offerings are great for individuals that crave a realistic “learn by doing" atmosphere. Full Sail University also helps students create strong portfolios, which help to make said students more enticing for game developers in the current market. Topping all this off is their student culture which incubates a love for video games as a whole and gives students ways to make early strides in their college career.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (also known as RPI) has a program for game design that allows you to take a minor which can help specialize your education that range from more technology based fields to more fine arts based fields of game development. With that in mind, this specialization can give you an edge for getting into the industry, especially when considering their Ph.D. program in Electronic Arts that combines new methods in game art with more traditional art methods and research and includes minors for the program as well.

Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University offers many programs similar to the other colleges on this list but takes strides to benefit the video game community as well through hosting functions like the High School Gaming Academy. While Carnegie Mellon University does not offer a degree that is specifically Game Design, there is a concentration area and a minor for the field which can allow for students to pursue a different major alongside game design. They also have a supportive courses backlog that helps to diversify and specialize those who take the concentration or minor as well, leading to different academic backgrounds as a result of that.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (also known as MIT) has several programs held within the institute that help to create environments that can draw out game development talents in the MIT Game Lab and other environments; these environments are also supplemental to students’ course load, which could lead to stronger talents for those that dedicate some time to the MIT Game Lab and other environments. There are also several courses that help to foster a game development environment that is more interpersonal and politically sharp through fine arts courses that focus on the effects of video games as a medium.

DigiPen Institute of Technology

DigiPen Institute of Technology has a myriad of offerings for those that may be interested in the Game Design environment, including a bachelor’s program set in a real-time, interactive environment that helps them stand above the rest. Alongside that, many of their degree offerings mix the design concepts with art courses to lead to a Jack of all trades approach for those that take the course which may make them more appealing candidates for some game developers. Overall, the programs lead to a well rounded educational experience akin to a skeleton key for game development education.

University of Utah

University of Utah uses an education track method for its degrees for game development including game design, but also including game art, game engineering, and game production to help students polish and refine a strong portfolio for their careers after college. Alongside this, the college also offers opportunities for people to work in research for their respective fields for those that desire said offer, which can lead to a more impactful and personal education.

New York University

New York University creates programs for prospective game designers, artists, and developers through their extensive list of resources and their requirement for students to take strides in researching different game genres.Their list of resources also doubles as a way for students to make connections over the course of their degree and their curriculums for game development lead to a more rounded education of video games as a whole through game history and game studies classes.

Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester Institute of Technology runs many programs that help to inspire and experiment with game development for students through their Game Developers Club and also runs the Global Game Jam that is an introductory route for those interested in game development in a firsthand environment. Alongside that, students are given opportunities to work like someone in the industry firsthand through cooperative experiences fostered through the college. Also, they offer a Master’s degree for game design and development, which may be a great route to take for those seeking further education in those subjects.

Michigan State University

Michigan State University offers many opportunities for students to increase their abilities through their Media Sandbox program, which allows students to network with individuals in the industry in art, music, writing, and science to whet their talents. Alongside this, they offer two design camp options to help students develop a basic understanding of game design knowledge and talents and retain what they learned. Finally, Michigan State University offers a Ph.D. program that allows for students within that program to study making impactful games through cutting edge technology and media approaches.

Savannah College of Art and Design

Savannah College of Art and Design has programs that have won students that have undertaken them awards, especially through E3’s College Gaming Competition. Alongside that, the college offers many opportunities for graduates including a Master of Fine Arts degree in Interactive Design and Game Development that offers courses in Game Design Perspective and Environments for Games. They also offer many opportunities to minor in Interactive Design and Game Development alongside similar opportunities in Animation, which may lead to a more diverse degree and personalized education at the college.

If there is a college that you think should’ve made this list, email us at info@degree-compass.com to let us know.


Liam Werrmann

Liam Werrmann
BA Business Administration
Champlain College

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