The best game design programs, ranked by the Princeton Review 2020

The Top 25 best graduate game design programs

1. University of Central Florida

(Image credit: University of Central Florida)

All-Time Grads: 737
2019 Grads Shipped Game: 100%
2019 Grads Hired: 87%
Fun Fact: Hosts the “Press Play Conference,” which last year focused on accessibility in gaming. Students also take improv acting classes.

2. University of Southern California

(Image credit: University of Southern California)

All-Time grads: 421
2019 Grads Shipped Game: 100%
2019 Grads Hired: 82%
Fun Fact: The original student version of Outer Wilds was born from USC’s graduate program.

3. New York University

(Image credit: New York University)

All-Time Grads: 445
2019 Grads Shipped Game: 74%
Total Courses: 441
Fun Fact: Students end up designing games for institutions like ESPN and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

4. Southern Methodist University

(Image credit: Southern Methodist University)

All-Time Grads: 820
2019 Grads Shipped Game: 100%
2019 Grads Salary: $69,000
Notable Graduates: Susan Arnold (level design, Treyarch), Anthony Biancardi (technical director, Ubisoft).

5. University of Utah

(Image credit: University of Utah)

All-Time Grads: 332
2019 Grads Shipped Game: 100%
2019 Grads Hired: 92.4%
2019 Grads Salary: $96,337

6. DigiPen Institute of Technology

Studios That Have Hired Graduates: 75 (Nintendo, Microsoft, Activision, Google, and more)
Fun Fact: Offers a wide variety of volunteer opportunities at GDC, DOTA II’s International, Valve, Microsoft, Indiecade, PAX, and even grade school game design camps.

7. Abertay University

2019 Grads Shipped Game: 100%
2019 Grads Hired:  88%

8. Worcester Polytechnic Institute

2019 Grads Hired: 100%
2019 Grads Salary: $71,333

9. Michigan State University

Fun Fact: 52% of 2019 students were women.
2019 Grads Salary: $63,000

10. Becker College

Faculty Who Have Worked at Game Studio: 100%
Fun Fact: Human-Computer Interaction Lab allows students to experiment with AR/AR/Mixed Reality. Becker also offers a 4+1 option to finish undergrad and grad in five years.

11. Laguna College of Art and Design

2019 Grads Hired: 100%
Graduates: Cory Loftis (art director, Disney Animation), Nicole Tan (level architect, Arkane)

12. Rochester Institute of Technology

2019 Grads Salary: $74,000
Fun Fact: New multi-million dollar expansions allow for collaboration between cybersecurity and game design students.

13. The University of Texas at Dallas

Fun Fact: 56% of students are women.
Fun Fact: Strong focus on serious and educational games, mobile, social media, VR/AR, mocap.

14. Drexel University

All-Time Grads: 118
Fun Fact: Co-op program gets students to work full-time in industry for 6-18 months.

15. American University

2019 Grads Salary:  $80,000
Fun Fact: Strong focus on games for change, not just at game studios, but government agencies and educational institutions.

16. University of Malta

2019 Grads Hired:  100%
Graduates: David Chircop (Cyberpunk 2077), Stylianos Avramidis (Sony, Creative Assembly)

17. University of California - Santa Cruz

Faculty: Robin Hunicke (Journey, Wattam) Jim Whitehead (lead researcher, procedural generation)
Fun Fact: Top school in the world for published technical research in games.

18. Savannah College of Art and Designer

Faculty: Jack Mamais (Far Cry, Crysis), Michelle Menard (Farmville, Civilization Series)
Graduates: Chad Dezern (CCO, Insomniac), Matt Ward (Cinematics Director, Bungie).

19. Breda University of Applied Sciences

Faculty: David Weissman (X-Wing), Mata Haggis (Burnout Paradise).
Graduates: Jendrik Ilner (3D programmer, Ubisoft), Diede Apers (engineer, Frostbite).

20. Full Sail University

2019 Grads Salary: $45,000
Fun Fact: Full Sail degree programs are set at accelerated pace, letting you finish in less time than usual programs allow.

21. DePaul University
22. University of Wisconsin–Stout
23. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
24. University of Miami
25. Massachusetts Institute of Technology