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Not All Schools Teach The Same Way

Working in game development calls for the right education. A formal education can set job candidates apart from a competitive crowd of savvy game developers. In fact, approximately 94 percent of the respondents to the International Game Developers Association‘s (IDGA) 2016 Developer Satisfaction Survey had some level of higher learning education, including college, vocational school and post-graduate. There are over 400 U.S. academic institutions stretching from coast to coast that offer some of the best educational programs out there for game developers, and they’re also ranked every year. Below you’ll find a starter guide to some of the top U.S.-based game development programs – in no particular order – to jump start your gaming education research.
DigiPen Institute of Technology
Creative Commons | Shuichi Aizawa

DigiPen Institute of Technology

This for-profit institution based in Redmond, Washington began as a private Vancouver, Washington-based company offering education in computer animation and simulation in 1988. It’s since expanded its offerings to include computer science and game design and other undergraduate and graduate degree programs that game developers can leverage.
University_of_Utah
Creative Commons | Bytebear

University of Utah

The University of Utah is in the run for offering some of the best educational programs for future game developers thanks to the solid foundation it provides in its undergraduate and graduate programs, with cross-platform courses and game development-specific courses, such as rapid prototyping and game engineering. It even has its own e-sports varsity team.
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Creative Commons | Breezy Baldwin 

University of Central Florida

With a robust graduate program in game development and design, UCF’s Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy offers students a comprehensive education. Students can choose among three tracks of curriculum, including game programming to develop debugging skills and strong coding skills, and can also take on an internship for real-world experience.
1024px-Doheny
Creative Commons | Padsquad19

University of Southern California

Future game developers get a solid education on both an undergraduate and graduate level for game development at USC. The school offers courses in game engine programming and video game programming, as well as a computer science degree with a focus on game development. The school also boasts notable alumni, such as mixed reality developer and program manager Nahil Sharkasi and Asher Vollmer — a top game designer and developer who created the popular Threes! game.
Rochester_Institute_of_Technology_50
Creative Commons | Tomwsulcer

Rochester Institute of Technology

Students attending Rochester Institute of Technology’s undergraduate and graduate programs can gain a strong academic background in game development. It even has programs that teach students how to create mobile games online, with courses such as game development and algorithmic problem-solving and game design and development for casual and mobile platforms. The university also published Hack, Slash & Backstab — an award-winning game published on Xbox One — making it the first university to do so.
Dallas_Hall_(Southern_Methodist_University)_in_May_2008
Creative Commons | Spencerjc1

Southern Methodist University

There’s a reason why one of the top video game developers, Anna Anthropy, attended SMU — it houses one of the best programs for game developers in the country and ranks as a top contender for graduate programs. It has a program in conjunction with MIT, offers a track for level design and allows for professional portfolio development with team collaborations.
NYU07
Creative Commons | Jonathan71

New York University

NYU offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs, with game developer courses and topics that focus on building strong portfolios and finished games, such as Intro to Starcraft, artificial intelligence, and interaction. The school also has one of the best game developer programs thanks to its strong career development program with connections in the industry with companies such as Blizzard Entertainment and Disney World.

 

A solid education at one of the best game developer schools in the United States can help future game developers gain a solid foundation and get ahead in their careers. Prospective developers should consider that the program meets both their academic and professional goals.

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