More and more people want to play video games. This means more and more game developers are in demand to make the games. Getting a good education in game development is important if you want to work in this field. The schools you attend will teach you the skills you need.

This article will look at the best game development schools and programs in the United States. It will give an overview of what they offer students. This includes things like what courses they teach, what facilities they have, and who the professors are. The article will also discuss the strengths of each school’s program. Finally, it will mention some famous alumni who went to these schools. Alumni are former students who went on to have successful careers after graduating.

By looking at the top game development schools, you can get an idea of where to consider going. You want to pick a great program that will prepare you for a job in the gaming industry after you graduate.

How to Judge Good Game Development Programs

One of the most important things to look at when judging game development programs is the classes and coursework. Top programs will teach students programming languages and how to use game engines like Unity or Unreal. They will also have classes on game design principles and areas like art, animation, and visual effects.

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However, it’s not just about learning concepts in the classroom. The best programs will emphasize practical, hands-on projects where students can apply what they’ve learned. This allows them to build a portfolio of games or assets they’ve created. Having a strong portfolio is vital for getting hired after graduating.


The faculty members teaching the classes are another key factor. Ideally, the instructors should have current connections and experience working in the game industry themselves. This real-world expertise and industry ties can greatly benefit students.


You’ll also want to consider the facilities and resources provided by the school. Things like computer labs, game development software, specialized equipment for motion capture, virtual reality etc. Help create an effective learning environment. Up-to-date technology and resources give students the proper tools.


Finally, look at the success of past students – the alumni of the program. How many graduates are able to find jobs at good game companies after completing the program? High job placement rates indicate an effective curriculum that prepares people for industry roles.


By evaluating criteria like curriculum, faculty, facilities, and alumni success, you can judge whether a particular game development program is truly one of the best. The top programs will check all of these boxes.

Top Game Development Schools

There are several schools that stand out as the best places to study game development in the United States. Let’s take a look at some of the top programs.

University of Southern California (USC)

USC has one of the premier game design and development programs in the country. An overview of their program:

– Part of the Viterbi School of Engineering

– Offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science with a game development track

– Classes cover programming, 3D graphics, artificial intelligence, game engines, and more

– Students get experience working on real game projects.


USC has produced many successful alumni in the gaming industry, such as:

Jaime Griesemer – Lead Designer at Bungie who worked on the Halo and Destiny games

Kynan Pearson – Art Director at Obsidian Entertainment who worked on games like Fallout: New Vegas

Coltran Lacy – Software Engineer at Respawn Entertainment, developers of Apex Legends.


Some of the key strengths of USC’s program include:

– Access to top-notch facilities like gaming labs and motion capture studios

– Partnerships with major game companies like Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts

– Emphasis on interdisciplinary teamwork between programmers, artists, and designers.

DigiPen Institute of Technology

DigiPen is a university focused entirely on digital arts, animation, and video game development. Here’s an overview:

– Offers bachelor’s degrees in computer science, game design, digital art and animation

– Curriculum covers math, physics, programming, art, game engines like Unity

– Students complete major team game projects before graduating.

Notable DigiPen Alumni and Their Success Stories:

Alumni Role/Achievement
Michael Willett Lead Engineer at Valve Corporation who worked on games like Half-Life 2
Zoe Quinn Independent game developer known for Depression Quest
Jeremy Soule Award-winning video game composer who scored Skyrim
Kynan Pearson Art Director at Obsidian Entertainment who worked on Fallout: New Vegas
Brandon Gilliam Software Engineer at Roblox Corporation
John Gibson Graphics Programmer at Bungie who worked on the Halo and Destiny games
Ryan Williams Game Designer at Microsoft Game Studios for games like Gears of War
Sarah Lee Austin Software Engineer at Nintendo of America
Bret Mogilefsky Visual Effects Artist at Sony Computer Entertainment


DigiPen’s program is known for:

– Rigorous academics with a strong foundation in math, engineering, and physics

– Focus on developing “real world” skills through team-based game productions

– Strong community and connections in the video game industry.


University of Utah

The University of Utah offers several highly ranked programs related to game development, including:

– Bachelor’s in game engineering in the School of Computing

– Bachelor’s in game arts in the Department of Art & Art History

– Master’s in game development through the Entertainment Arts & Engineering program.


Some notable Utah alumni:

– Vance Vaughn – Worked on games like Halo and is now principal engineer at Fracture

– Phillip Richmond – Lead character artist at Avalanche Software who worked on Disney Infinity

– Bioware and Relic Entertainment were founded by former University of Utah students.


Strengths of Utah’s programs:

– Combining technical and artistic aspects of games

– Access to pioneering research in areas like computer graphics and virtual reality

– Strong industry partnerships for internships and recruiting.


Other Top Programs

Some other universities with elite game development offerings:

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) – Known for their programs in game design, production, programming, and more. Alumni at top studios.

Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) – Prestigious art/animation program with specializations like interactive design and visual effects.

University of Central Florida (UCF) – Active gaming research lab and strong comprehensive game design degree track.

Drexel University – Offers degrees combining computer science and game development/production. Close ties to gaming hub.

Champlain College – Small program but highly rated with innovative curriculum & student game studio.

These are just some of the top game development schools in the US. The best program for you depends on your specific interests and career goals in the industry.

Picking the Best Game Development Program

With so many great game development programs out there, how do you choose the right one for you? There are several important factors to consider.

Factors to Consider

The first factor is your specific career goals and interests within the gaming industry. What role do you want – programmer, designer, artist, etc? Look for programs that specialize in that area.

game development school

If you want to make mobile games, you’ll need different skills than for console/PC games. Some programs focus just on one game platform. If you’re really interested in a certain genre like RPGs or first-person shooters, see if any programs concentrate on that.

Program cost and financial aid opportunities are another big consideration. Game development degrees can be quite expensive, especially at private universities. Look at tuition costs, fees, and living expenses. But also research scholarships, grants, and other ways to make it affordable.

The location and campus life may also impact your decision. Do you want an urban or rural setting? What are the housing options? Check out the facilities, clubs, internship connections, and overall college experience.

Here’s a table summarizing some key factors to evaluate when choosing a program:

Factor Considerations
Career Goals & Interests Desired role (programmer, designer, artist, etc.), game genre interests, platform focus (mobile, console, etc.)
Program Specialization Core curriculum and concentrations offered (game programming, art, design, etc.)
Costs & Financial Aid Tuition, fees, room & board costs; scholarships, grants, student loans
Location & Campus Urban vs. rural setting, housing options, facilities, student life activities
Industry Connections Internships, company partnerships, alumni network, recruited by game studios
Hands-On Learning Team game projects, access to specialized labs/equipment, portfolio development

Looking at all these factors can help you find a game development program that aligns well with your specific goals and learning needs. The right fit will prepare you for the career you want in the industry.

Hands-On Experience

No matter which program you choose, prioritize ones that emphasize hands-on learning experiences. The best way to prepare for a game dev job is through actual projects.

Look for programs where students work in teams to design and build games from start to testing and finish. This allows you to get practical skills in your specialization, like programming, art, audio, etc. It also teaches collaboration.

Having a strong portfolio of completed game projects to show employers is extremely valuable. Internships at game studios are another great hands-on opportunity some programs offer.

Industry Connections

Speaking of internships, having a program with good industry connections can give you a big advantage. If professors, alumni, and companies regularly interact, it creates networking opportunities.

Getting to know professionals in the field can lead to mentorships, advice, job opportunities and more. Many top programs have direct partnerships with major game companies for recruiting, guest lectures, and more.

The gaming industry is still quite insular in some ways. Knowing people and making contacts is key. A university with deep ties to the industry can be very beneficial.

Overall, there’s no single “best” game development program. The right choice depends on your specific interests, preferred specialization, budget, location preferences and other factors. But prioritizing hands-on learning and industry connections can really pay off.

What’s Next

In summary, some of the best game development schools and programs in the U.S. are at the University of Southern California, DigiPen Institute of Technology, University of Utah, Rochester Institute of Technology, and others. Studios like eJaw are also known for being great places to get experience in game development.

Getting a quality education from one of these top programs or working at a respected studio is very valuable for entering the gaming industry. The classes, projects, facilities, and industry connections will prepare you well for game development careers.

If you want to work in game development, research all of your options carefully. Look at factors like costs, specializations, location and more to find the program or studio that fits you best. The right game development education and experience can launch an exciting career making video games.