Making video games has never been more accessible, but it still comes with plenty of challenges. You’ll need to learn how to implement your grand ideas, how to tell your story effectively, and for most of you, work well with others. Thankfully, no budding developer is forced to go alone in this big, scary world of programmers, artists, and designers.
That’s where these amazing schools come in. The only thing better than having someone help you achieve your dreams is having that person be someone who’s got all the expertise and wisdom you’ll need to take your first steps. More and more schools are offering game design programs, and The Princeton Review has done all the heavy lifting of stacking them up against each other to see which will fit you best.
Whether you’re concerned about graduation rates, what kinds of classes are available, who your professors will be, or even just the demographic makeup of the school, we’ve got you covered. So take a second to consider who you are, where you want to be, and how you want to get there with our helpful guide.
The top 50 best undergraduate game design programs
1. University of Southern California
Total Courses: 227
2018 Grads Hired: 80%
2018 Grads Salary: $65,000
Faculty: Mike Fischer (Square Enix America)
Fun Fact: USC Games Expo allows students and alumni to showcase their games and network with industry professionals.
2. New York University
Total Courses: 518
2018 Grads Hired: 31%
2018 Grads Salary: $48,000
Faculty: Bennett Foddy (QWOP, Getting Over It)
Fun Fact: The NYU Game Center Incubator program (first of its kind) has helped more than 50 graduates launch successful or award-winning games.
3. Becker College
Total Courses: 125
2018 Grads Hired: 66%
2018 Grads Salary: $52,242
Faculty: Jonathan Rudder (The Lord of the Rings Online)
Fun Fact: Has the largest game design program in the U.S., and launched an esports
4. Digipen Institute of Technology
Total Courses: 391
2018 Grads Hired: 64%
2018 Grads Salary: $72,143
Faculty: Claude Comair (Nintendo)
Fun Fact: Was the first college in North America to offer a bachelor’s degree dedicated to video game development.
5. Hampshire College
Grads Hired: 80%
Faculty: Noah Falstein (LucasArts)
6. Drexel University
Faculty: Tony Rowe (The Force Unleashed)
Alumni: Glen Winters (Red Dead Redemption 2)
7. Michigan State University
2018 Grads Hired: 90%
Fun Fact: The Inclusive Game Development Collaborative pushes students to learn more about industry diversity challenges.
8. Rochester Institute of Technology
2018 Grads Hired: 90%
2018 Grads Salary: $70,000
9. Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Faculty: Brian Moriarty (LucasFilm)
2018 Grads Hired: 86%
10. University of Utah
Alumni: Nolan Bushnell (Atari)
Female Grads: 45%, tied for highest on the list.
11. Miami University
Alumni: Chris Carney (Riot Games)
Fun Fact: The only undergraduate program that has semester-long internships in San Francisco studios every semester and GDC trip for top students.
12. Bradley University
2018 Grads Hired: 75%
Fun Fact: One of 10 schools selected this year to participate in the Xbox Live Creators Education Program.
13. University of Central Florida
Alumni: Justin Schram (Skyrim)
Total Courses: 140
14. Cogswell Polytechnical College
Faculty Has Studio Experience: 96%
Faculty: Stone Librande (Diablo III)
15. LaSalle College Vancouver
Faculty Has Studio Experience: 100%
Fun Fact: More LaSalle students work in Vancouver games industry than any other area school.
16. Abertay University
Alumni: Timea Tabori (Rockstar North)
Fun Fact: Home to the oldest games program in Europe.
17. Ferris State University
2018 Grads Hired: 70%
Fun Fact: Developing a 40,000 square foot building for media arts and game design and a VR/mocap lab.
18. Laguna College of Art and Design
Faculty Has Studio Experience: 98%
Alumni: Ben Thompson (Hearthstone)
19. Champlain College
Faculty: Nate Walpole (Halo 2, 3, 4)
2018 Grads Hired: 87% (after one year)
20. Shawnee State University
Faculty Has Studio Experience: 88%
Alumni: Sam Bushman (Wizards of the Coast)