Are you passionate about video games? Why not turn your passion into a career?
Video game design offers a variety of lucrative jobs, the demand for which will keep growing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for the job of a video game designer, which is put under the Special Effects Artists category, will be growing by 4% yearly until 2028. The source also states that an average yearly salary of a video game designer is $75,000.
On top of a great salary, you’ll also get to work in a creative environment and deal with exciting, challenging tasks. But before you get a chance to apply for a job as a video game designer, you need a degree.
That’s why we’ve picked the 10 best schools in the U.S that teach video game design and where you can get all the necessary skills and qualifications.
1. DigiPen Institute of Technology
This university is one of the most obvious choices for those who want to work in the video gaming industry. The reason is simple – the institute gets funds from Nintendo, which also means that you can get a job right after graduation if you excel at your studies,
As a student of a Bachelor of Arts in Game Design program, you’ll focus on:
- designing original games and applications
- prototyping video game ideas
- mastering game design tools
The biggest advantage of DigiPen’s program is that it also teaches psychology, communications, and user experience to help students better understand human behavior and make video games more realistic.
Tuition fee – $34,900 a year
2. University of Utah
The University of Utah is the best option for you if you want to get several video game design degrees. The school offers the following programs:
- Bachelor of Science in Games
- Minor in Games (can be attended by any student regardless of discipline)
- Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, Entertainment Arts and Engineering Emphasis
- Master of Entertainment Arts and Engineering
- Dual MBA/MEAE Degree
The university also has partnerships with several video game developers who often announce competitions for video game design students, offering grants and potential employment.
3. Michigan State University
The College of Communication Arts and Sciences at the Michigan State University also offers a program for future video game designers.
The students of this college also get to learn how to develop applications, not just for gaming but for commercial use as well. For example, you will learn how to create an app for an e-commerce store, a proofreading and editing tool for an essay helper online, or an application based on augmented reality or virtual reality.
Michigan State University has also created GEL Lab, where all video game design students can practice their skills, create prototypes, and do research.
Tuition fee – $18,500 a year
4. New York University
This school is a great option for those students who want to get into a comprehensive video game design program. The NYU’s Bachelor in Fine Arts program offers a deeper look into all the aspects of designing a video game, not just the animation.
You’ll get to learn about:
- academic and journalistic approaches to video games
- game design and how to create a perfect player experience
- game production processes
- visual and audio design
However, this school requires all applicants to send a portfolio that should show their creativity for games. This portfolio can include different types of visual content, but it should be focused on computer games and applications.
Tuition fee – $60,282 a year
5. Rochester University of Technology
At Rochester, you can get both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s of Science degree with a specialization in video game design. The students learn how to create games and as well as modeling, simulation, and visualization.
The school puts an emphasis on game programming as the core. After completing the basic course, students can go ahead and pick more specific programs, among which is video game design and animation. The access to tools and a lab also helps students develop a strong portfolio for future employment.
Tuition fee – $50,564 a year
6. Carnegie Mellon University
One of Pennsylvania’s top educational institutions, Carnegie Mellon University also offers students a program in video game design. The program focuses on the key skills needed by a video game designer:
- mechanic design
- game systems
- visual and audio assets
- game programming
- UI design
- UI testing
This program also includes other disciplines related to video games, such as psychology and writing. Mark Blackwood, a writer and researcher at Let’s Grade It, says that these disciplines are extremely important for a video game designer since they help create a positive player experience.
On top of that, all students also get a chance to practice their skills by applying for internships from the top game developers. It’s a great chance to get work experience and a possible employment opportunity.
Tuition fee – $42,000 a year
7. Savannah College of Art and Design
This field-specific college offers all students a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Fine Arts with a focus on interactive design and game development. Savannah College is supported by major corporations like Apple, Adobe, Electronic Arts, and Microsoft.
What will you get to learn?
The program focuses on animation aspects as well as game programming. You will also learn about social behaviors and how to incorporate them into a video game. The alumni of this school participate in creating famous MMORPG games as well as mobile applications.
Tuition fee – $38,075 a year
8. Northeastern University
The College of Arts, Media, and Design at the Northeastern University also offers a comprehensive video design program both for students who want to get a full degree and those who are only interested in it as an additional course.
The advantage of this program is that its curriculum aims at bringing forward a student’s creativity and let the students choose the vector of studies themselves. For instance, you can either pick video game design or focus more on gaming applications.
Northeastern University created its video game design program in partnership with Microsoft Game Studios and other influential sponsors, who are interested in employing the alumni once they graduate.
Tuition fee – $27,180
Over to You
As you can see, there are plenty of schools to choose from if you want to become a pro in video game design. All of them offer very in-depth programs, where you’ll be able to learn all the aspects of game design, including animation and game programming.
Of course, your final choice will depend on the tuition, but try to take into consideration other aspects as well – access to resources, labs, internships, and possible job options. After all, you need to secure as many opportunities for yourself as possible and make the most out of your degree.