Just because you like video games doesn’t mean you can make them. But if you’re keen on the idea of participating in the process of creating the games of tomorrow, then you can certainly head to college in order to learn the art of video game design and earn a degree that will lead to a lucrative career in the modern gaming industry. However, you’ll want to start by selecting a school that is conducive to reaching your professional goals. And here are some of the top picks for your consideration.
- University of Southern California. Some students are set on attending a prestigious private school, and when it comes to a video game design program you can meet this goal by going to USC. Their school of cinematic art offers a minor in video game design and management that allows graduates to earn an entertainment degree that includes an emphasis in gaming. And with proximity to a number of highly regarded game developers (EA, Blizzard, Activision, and more), not to mention a huge network of entertainment industry contacts, USC can offer students access to opportunities for both internships and jobs.
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology. MIT is not just a school for math and science anymore; it’s also one of the top schools for video game design thanks to a focus on computer technology and engineering that attracts those that are interested in the technical side of game development. With a wide variety of classes related to gaming, a commitment to practical applications, and the opportunity for student/faculty collaboration on game-related projects, MIT makes the prospect of learning this trade fun and exciting.
- Carnegie Mellon University. Although Carnegie Mellon has only recently been recognized for their game design program, it turns out they have a lot to offer prospective students in this field. The school has an early starter option via the National High School Game Academy (NHSGA) that helps interested high school students explore this growing career option. But their undergrad and graduate programs are the real draw for any college student that ultimately dreams of a job in video game production.
- Art Institute of Vancouver. Plenty of art institutes are starting to offer both courses and majors devoted to the art and science of video games, but the Art Institute of Vancouver consistently receives top marks in all areas, including scriptwriting, animation, production, and more. Students will not only learn the theory and practice of game creation, but they’ll also build a portfolio that will help them to get jobs upon graduation.
- Southern Methodist University – Plano, TX. If you want a career in the military, you might go to Norwich University. If you want a legal degree your best bet is Harvard Law. But if your goal is to design video games, then you might be surprised to learn that Guildhall at SMU offers one of the best programs around. Not only do students present work at a semiannual exhibition and benefit from industry speakers, but they also have the option to publish their work. And the school has an excellent placement rate for grads with some of the top companies in the video game industry.