10 Best Game Design Schools in the U.S.

Online gaming is a massive industry with an estimated 300 billion dollars! The industry’s constant growth has continuously placed game companies in a state of craving for game professionals.

To capitalize on the massive growth of online gaming, many schools now offer programs for aspiring and potential game designers.

So if you are a game fanatic, why don’t you try to use your passion to create a vast source of income? If you have such an intention, you must attend a quality game design school first.

Now, we’ll take you through the 10 game design schools in the United States.

Keep reading to see more!

1. University of Southern California

The University of Southern California
  • Type: Private research university.
  • Established: October 6, 1880 (141 years ago).
  • Location: Los Angeles, California, The United States.

The secret to this university’s success stems from a partnership between the Department of Computer Science (USC Viterbi School of Engineering) and the Department of Games & Interactive Media (USC School of Cinematic Arts).

With equal focus on the artistic and technical possibilities of the field, USC games offer a multitude of different levels of preparation for the next generation of potential designers.

Whatever the student’s focus, they will be supported by many initiatives.

One of the essential funds here is the Lawson Foundation. It is a grant provided by Take-Two Interactive to assist in the training or recruiting of Indigenous and Black game designers.

In addition, it hosts a 10-week Summer Bridge program to support some of the university’s most promising student projects.

Many exciting things are waiting for USC students to discover. It’s no surprise that this university is at the top of the list of game design schools in the US.

2. Clark University

  • Type: Private research university.
  • Established: March 31, 1887 (135 years ago).
  • Location: Worcester, Massachusetts, the US.

Whether you’re passionate about game development and game art or pursuing an MFA in interactive media design, this university offers everything you need to realize your dreams quickly.

It includes prestigious hands-on curricula that take advantage of available technology resources. In addition, students are also led by a team of proven, high-quality faculty.

One of the best things that Clark University offers to its students is “Internship opportunities.” Specifically, Before graduating, students will have the opportunity to work at some of the major companies in the industry, such as Ubisoft, Blizzard, and Epic Games.

Thanks to these fantastic opportunities, it is not uncommon for Becker alumni to become the most influential figures in this huge field.

For example, Stanley Pierre-Louis, now president of the Entertainment Software Association, is a former Becker graduate who graduated in 1992.

3. New York University

  • Type: Private research university.
  • Established: April 21, 1831 (191 years ago).
  • Location: New York City, the United States.

The prestigious Tisch School of New York University allows faculty and students access to the game. Instead, it is a creative art form that has as much potential and is growing as television, film, or any modern media.

As a student here, you will learn from an activity-based reality program. You can develop your skills by doing work like writing scripts or writing programs.

In addition, New York University encourages students to collaborate. It involves not only connecting game design students with each other but also connecting with students in other majors.

The NYU Game Center strives to be one of the leading gaming research centers in the world.

Several essential academics and designers in the industry also regularly appear in the school’s lecture series. They will foster helpful and vital conversations around games.

The university also regularly organizes conferences and seminars, allowing students to network and apply their studies. Opportunities like these will serve them in their endeavors soon.

4. Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Type: Private research university.
  • Established: 1829 (193 years ago).
  • Location: Henrietta, New York, United States.

This university has attempted to build a reputation for decades, allowing it to be one of the engaging and exciting computer science and engineering centers.

So it is not surprising that this school’s Game Design and Development program also has a future vision.

You can also participate in the Rochester Games Festival through the MAGIC Center, an annual conference that brings together some of the best researchers, innovators, and designers.

Through this conference, you can spark your creativity and also make essential connections to advance your career.

The MAGIC Center’s Digital Games Hub also has outreach programs available, making games an excellent catalyst for learning or development in the region.

5. DigiPen Institute of Technology

  • Type: Private, for-profit university.
  • Established: 1988.
  • Location: Redmond, Washington

DigiPen Institute of Technology started as a computer simulation and research company located in Vancouver, British Columbia. It later became the first school in the world to offer a bachelor’s degree in video game development.

Today, it continues to attempt to uphold its tradition of innovation in teaching and researching every aspect of video game development.

This university has more than 1000 students and owns a teaching staff of skilled professionals. These instructors will be responsible for teaching classes with about ten students per class.

This university has an extensive list of remarkable achievements in this field. The university’s faculty and alumni, for example, won nearly 60 awards at the Indie Games Festival, significantly more than any other institution.

In addition, many DigiPen alumni are now working at many of the top companies in the industry and are credited with thousands of games.

6. Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  • Established: 1865 (157 years ago).
  • Type: Private research university.
  • Location: Worcester, Massachusetts, the US.

When countless academic institutions consider video games useless and futile, this University has launched the IMGD (short for Interactive Media and Game Development) program, becoming one of the pioneering programs of its kind.

With a focus on research for game design, IMGD has brought together many areas of expertise and disciplines, including sound engineering, fiction writing, and artificial intelligence.

7. Michigan State University

  • Type: Public land-grant research university
  • Established: February 12, 1855 (167 years ago)
  • Location: East Lansing, Michigan, The United States

When it comes to the top schools for game design, it would be remiss not to mention Michigan State University.

One of the things that makes this university worth pursuing for future game designers is its quality Game Development and Design program.

This university’s Game Design and Development program was established in 2005 and is part of the Games for Entertainment and Learning Lab (GEL), which serves as one great hub for the study of the possibilities and meaning of gaming.

Because of substantial funding from many organizations like the NASA and National Science Foundation, this university’s GEL Lab provides everything students need to advance the growth of this art form.

8. University of Utah

The University of Utah
  • Type: Public research university.
  • Established: February 28, 1850 (172 years ago).
  • Location: Salt Lake City, Utah, the United States.

The university has housed its Engineering and Recreational Arts Program in a 30,000-square-foot building with state-of-the-art equipment.

The building also houses a beautiful cafe and a studio for graduates. Besides, it also has a spacious computer space, lab, and e-sports equipment for motion capture, virtual reality, etc.

Many of Utah’s alumni have worked at big studios like Microsoft and Nintendo, thanks to these unique and classy resources. In addition, many students have created countless innovative and creative games, even before graduating.

9. Bradley University

Bradley University
  • Type: Private university.
  • Established: 1897 (125 years ago).
  • Location: Peoria, Illinois, the United States.

Bradley University is also a perfect choice for those who want to pursue a career in game design.

The proof is that more than 90% of this university’s game design graduates have received positions in major companies such as Obsidian Entertainment and Sony Computer Entertainment.

One factor that makes Bradley University successful in this field is its core curriculum.

Regardless of which Bradley major you choose, you can expect to receive the essential study skills and knowledge needed to become lifelong learners and independent thinkers.

10. Shawnee State University

  • Type: Public university
  • Established: 1986 (36 years ago)
  • Location: Portsmouth, Ohio, United States

As a student of this promising university, you will also get everything you need for a bright career in the game industry.

This university offers two programs that are useful for their pursuit of a career as game creators, including a Game Arts degree and a Game Program degree.

Classes in both programs have an average student-to-teacher ratio of 16:1, with nearly 90% of the faculty having long-term experience in the gaming industry.

Through the Shawnee Games Conference, Shawnee students will meet and interact with established game designers and industry experts. It is an excellent opportunity that allows you to advance your career.

The tuition fees here are also very affordable. You only have to pay over $8,000 a year to get everything you need to begin your game industry career.

FAQs

Is a Game Design Degree Worth It?

A bachelor in game design is worth it!

The answer is Yes. A bachelor in game design is worth it for various students.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be job growth in computer systems design and related services, specifically 22% in application software development in the next decade.

How to Decide If a Game Design Degree Is Suitable for Me?

Here are some signs that game design is right for you.

  • You enjoy working with technical computer software.
  • You are creative and artistic.
  • You have a passion for video games.

Why Should I Start a Game Design Career?

Here are five benefits of working in the game design field:

  • Leverage your analytical and creative skills to make a lot of money
  • Work in a casual and enthusiastic environment
  • Earn a competitive salary.
  • Enjoy a steady career in a dynamic industry.
  • Make a career out of helping people have fun.

What Do Video Game Designers Do?

As a videogame designer, you will be responsible for work related to the creation and design of video games, including:

  • Participate in brainstorming with many other members of video game development teams.
  • Develop the plot of games, including the overall theme or specific plot points.
  • Research information related to the new game for inspiration for games in development.
  • Set the mechanics the player uses to interact with the world and the rules of the game.
  • Assist in the project’s development and participate in testing, coding, or other roles.
  • Oversee the story elements’ implementation during game development processes.

What Skills Do Game Designers Need?

If you want to succeed as a game designer, you need to master these skills:

  • Artistic vision
  • Creativity
  • Storytelling ability
  • A passion for video games
  • A strong analytical frame of mind
  • Wide-ranging knowledge of gaming trends
  • Ability to work as part of a team
  • Excellent programming skills

What Are the Pros and Cons of Being a Videogame Designer?

Pros

  • Allow you to follow your passion
  • You can express your creativity
  • Your work will generate tangible results
  • You can work independently
  • There are multiple routes of entry
  • Part-time works are available

Cons

  • It is highly competitive
  • You may have to work long hours
  • Work may be physically demanding

The Bottom Line

We have come up with the 10 game design schools in the US. Any school on this list is a perfect place to hone your skills before pursuing your passion.

So you should consider attending a school where you will be happy, receive an excellent education, and be able to pursue your interests.

Thanks for reading! Please share this article if it was helpful to you!