Ranking the top game-design colleges

Now college students can make video games for fun and profit. This list tells you where to go to learn about game design.

Dave Rosenberg Co-founder, MuleSource
Dave Rosenberg has more than 15 years of technology and marketing experience that spans from Bell Labs to startup IPOs to open-source and cloud software companies. He is CEO and founder of Nodeable, co-founder of MuleSoft, and managing director for Hardy Way. He is an adviser to DataStax, IT Database, and Puppet Labs.
Dave Rosenberg

In the early 1980s, each arcade video game kept a list of that game's top players. Three decades later, thanks to a prestigious college-prep service, we now have a list of the top academic players in video game design.

The Princeton Review recently surveyed 50 game design programs at U.S. colleges in order to handpick the eight top schools to attend if you're interested in game development. It based its selections on a variety of criteria including: curriculum quality, school staff and infrastructure, scholarships and financial aid, and career opportunities.

The top eight undergraduate game design programs:

  1. University of Southern California (Los Angeles)
  2. DigiPen Institute of Technology (Redmond, Wash.)
  3. Drexel University (Philadelphia)
  4. Becker College (Worcester, Mass.)
  5. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY)
  6. The Art Institute of Vancouver (Vancouver, British Columbia)
  7. Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Worcester, Mass.)
  8. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, Mass.)

It's interesting to note just how many schools currently offer formal game design programs these days considering USC was at the forefront just three years ago. Perhaps not surprisingly, USC tops this year's list and continues to offer interesting and innovative programs.

Overall this is a positive trend both for the gaming industry and for students who have new options for future employment opportunities.

Note: I have yet to figure out why the Princeton Review went with the top eight, rather than the top ten. It's not wrong but definitely statistically odd considering the full list is based on fifty schools.