Apr 26, 2010

Top Undergrad Programs for Video Game Design

Nothing sells like a ranking. And now, Princeton Review and GamePro Magazine have come up with a ranking of the “Top 50 Undergraduate Game Design Programs,” for prospective designers or those who dream about playing games for a living.

Formerly consigned to a far corner of the computer science department, game design has emerged as a highly respectable, multi-disciplinary course of study. Schools hoping to get in on the growing market for video designers are building glitzy new facilities chock full of cutting edge technology staffed with experts from industry.

Princeton Review got interested in the field after collaborating with game developer Ubisoft on the My SAT Coach game for Nintendo DS and the subsequent release of test-prep apps for the iPhone. “For students aspiring to work in the rapidly growing field of game design and the companies that will need their creative talents, we hope this list brings many wonderful candidates to these programs,” said Robert Franek, Princeton Review SVP/Publisher.

About 700 schools in the US and Canada were considered for the ranking. Of those, 500 were surveyed on academics (courses and skills fostered), faculty credentials, and graduates’ employment and career achievements. Schools were judged by the quality of curriculum, faculty, facilities and infrastructure. In addition, Princeton Review considered data on the availability of scholarships, financial aid, and job placement.

Eight of the fifty programs were deemed “best of the best” and ranked as follows:

1. University of Southern California, Interactive Media Division
2. DigiPen Institute of Technology, WA
3. Drexel University, Digital Media & Computer Science, PA
4. Becker College, Game Design and Game Programming, MA
5. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Games and Simulation Arts & Sciences, NY
6. The Art Institute of Vancouver, Game Art & Design/Visual & Games Programming
7. Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Interactive Media & Game Development, MA
8. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, GAMBIT Game Lab, MA

The other 42 recommended game design programs are listed alphabetically and may be found on the Princeton Review website. Local programs making it onto the list include Lynchburg College, VA, Old Dominion University, VA, and University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), MD.

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