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Table of Contents
- 12 Top Online Game Design Colleges & Universities in USA
- 1. Lindenwood University
- 2. Baker College
- 3. Franklin University
- 4. University of Advancing Technology
- 5. Liberty University
- 6. Lewis University
- 7. Academy of Art University
- 8. University of Baltimore
- 9. DePaul University
- 10. Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design
- 11. Savannah College of Art and Design
- 12. Southern New Hampshire University
- Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re looking for the best schools for online game design degrees, you’ve come to the right place!
“Work hard, play hard” is a mantra for the millennials!
More people are getting into gaming than ever before. And we aren’t talking about just playing games.
Game Design has gained immense popularity in the last few years. And if your creativity knows no bounds and you are interested in skills like storytelling, graphic designing, and computer programming, then it may well be the perfect career option for you.
While some jobs and industries are seeing a reduction in the demand for human resources with the advent of technology, gaming is quite different. From gaming consoles to mobile apps, the demand for games is growing by leaps and bounds.
If you don’t believe us, look at the financials. It is estimated that the global gaming industry grossed more than 130 billion dollars in 2018!
But how do you become a game designer? Are these courses really expensive?
We know you must be having many such questions. And that’s where this guide comes into the picture. It has a compilation of a dozen of the best, most affordable online gaming degrees available today.
12 Top Online Game Design Colleges & Universities in USA
Before we start, you should know that these degrees are not ranked based on affordability or quality. Without further ado, let’s get straight to the details.
Lindenwood is located in St. Louis, Missouri, and was founded in 1827. This private, liberal arts university has seen many innovators and leaders from all over the world. It offers some 130 degree programs, and we have heard a lot of good things about its online Bachelor of Arts degree in Game Design.
Lindenwood will soon complete 200 years, which is no ordinary feat! It has been ranked as one of the best institutes for undergraduate programs, especially distance education. And the best part is that it is one of the most affordable options. You can even benefit from the various financial aid packages and scholarships LU offers.
We went ahead and took a closer look at its BA in Game Design program, and here’s what we found.
Average Price: $17,305
It is offered by LU’s School of Arts, Media, and Communications and requires the completion of 54 credit hours. You are required to undertake the following courses:
- Design with Photoshop
- Concept Design
- 3D Graphics
- Game Development
- Emerging Technologies
Apart from the credit hours, you must complete an internship at a professional gaming company as well as a Game Design Capstone. If you are interested in taking your game design knowledge to the next level, LU also offers a Master of Arts degree.
For more details, click here.
The second spot on this list goes to Baker College in Flint, Michigan. It was founded in 1911, and over time, it has garnered an excellent reputation for its internet portal, Baker Online. And that’s mostly because of the tech and support services available for online students.
It is as good as any college for pursuing an online Bachelor of Science in Game Software Development degree. As an online student, you would get access to the same resources that are available on campus.
Moreover, Baker College is ranked among the Best Regional Universities in the Midwest and the Best Value Schools, according to U.S. News and World Report. So we see no reason for you not to want to consider this degree.
Average Price: $12,983
As an online undergraduate student of BS in Game Software Development, you would be required to complete 120 credit hours to earn the degree. Required courses include:
- Game Design and Analysis
- Game Development
- Unreal Game Programming
- Programming for Mobile Devices
- Artificial Intelligence
Additionally, you would be required to complete 30 credit hours of general education. What sets this program apart from the majority of its competitors is that it imparts a lot of hands-on experience to the students. In fact, you would have to go through the entire process of game development, from beginning to end.
For more information, click here.
Taking the third spot on our list is a private university that enjoys strong goodwill for its online degree programs. Franklin University is located in Columbus, Ohio, and was founded in 1902. Today, it is home to over 8,000 students.
In the last few years, Franklin University has diversified into the online education sector with a wide array of flexible programs. U.S. News and World Report has included it among the Top Liberal Arts Colleges.
You can avail of several financial aid packages and scholarships if you are eligible. And members of the armed forces receive significant discounts on the tuition fees.
Average Price: $24,779
If you want to be developing mobile apps or gaming systems for a living, this online BS degree in Interactive Media Design is your best bet! You will have to complete 120 credit hours of both technical and non-technical aspects. Some of the required courses are:
- Interactive Media for Advertising
- Human-Computer Interaction
- Interactive Media for Entertainment
- Advanced Graphic Design
Other than the 120 credit hours, you would be required to complete a Capstone as well as an Interactive Media Design Practicum. And that’s not all; you would have to complete a 30-hour residency requirement at the university to earn the degree.
Click here if there are any more questions you need to be answered.
Unlike some of the other, more renowned universities on this list, this next one is home to over 1,000 students only. The University of Advancing Technology (UAT) is located in Tempe, Arizona, and was founded in 1983. Even in a short span, this private university has managed to build a strong portfolio of programs – master’s, bachelor’s, and associate’s degrees.
UAT offers several grants, scholarships, and flexible payment options to eligible students. You can enroll at any time for the online program, and you would need a minimum GPA of 2.0 to graduate. UAT offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in Game Design, Game Programming, and Game Art and Animation, each entirely online.
Average Price: $19,750
The program has a total of 120 credit hours, of which 36 hours are of significant coursework. The required courses in this program include:
- Game Scripting for Designers
- Level Design
- Critical Game Studies
- Rapid Game Prototyping and Experimental Gameplay
- Writing for Interactive Games
Apart from these, the general education requirements consist of courses in Japanese at the introductory and intermediate levels. And that’s not all; you would have to complete a student innovation project, an internship, and a portfolio to earn the degree.
Click here to know more about this comprehensive and affordable program.
It is time to introduce you to the largest non-profit private institute in the USA – Liberty University. With over 110,000 students enrolled, it offers online programs in almost every field today. It should come as no surprise that Liberty University is ranked among the top five out of over 2,000 online institutes for affordability, academic quality, and accessibility.
The majority of online courses at Liberty last for eight weeks, while some go on for 14 or 17 weeks. But it’s Bachelor of Science in Information Technology program lasts for 3.5 years, making it one of the most comprehensive online gaming degrees on this list.
Average Price: $26,954
You can enroll for the online BS in Information Technology throughout the year. And you can opt for a specialization in Gaming Design. You would have to complete 120 credit hours to earn the degree. And the required courses include:
- C# Programming
- Studies in Information Security
- Introduction to 3D Graphics
- Web Architecture & Development
- Digital Imaging
If you are admitted as a student in the program, you have the option to transfer in up to 75 credit hours towards this degree program. Apart from the 120-credit-hour requirement, you would have to complete coursework in Christian Life and Thought.
Click here if you are curious to know more about this top-notch degree.
The next recommendation we have for you is the Bachelor of Science degree in Science offered by Lewis University. This online degree is offered through the School of Graduate, Professional, and Continuing Education of the University. And you can choose to specialize in Game and Simulation Programming.
But before talking more about the program itself, let’s take a closer look at the school. Lewis University is located in Romeoville, Illinois. This private, Roman Catholic institute offers over 80 different undergraduate majors and is home to more than 7,000 students. And there are a plethora of flexible online degree programs for you to choose from.
Average Price: $19,967
The online BS degree in Computer Science, with a concentration in Game and Simulation Programming, includes the following required courses:
- Scientific Computing
- Computer Graphics
- Programming Languages
- Applied Calculus
- Video Game Programming
You can opt to pursue the degree as a Bachelor of Arts program alternatively. Moreover, the program is offered in traditional as well as accelerated formats to suit the needs of students with different education and experience levels. This program is a tad bit more technical than most of the others on this list.
For more details, click here.
We are halfway through with our recommendations, and it is time to talk about the next excellent online gaming degree. The Academy of Art University is located in San Francisco, California, and was founded in 1929. Today, it is home to students from more than 110 countries across the globe.
This institute is thriving with the best, latest creative technology. And that enables it to offer unique areas of studies for its students, be it fine art, fashion, motion pictures, or anything else.
You should consider pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Game Development. Not only is it flexible and affordable, but it also offers excellent job prospects. Students of this University have gone on to work for reputed companies like Zynga, Sony, EA, Riot Games, Crystal Dynamics, and so on.
Average Price: $30,307
The BFA in Game Development degree is offered through the University’s School of Game Development. You would be required to complete 132 credit hours of this online course, which is divided into your major, electives, core, and liberal arts. Some of the required courses are:
- Game Freemium and Monetization
- Story in Video Games
- History of Comics: International and Alternative Comics
- Sketching for Communication
- Game Design, Theory, and Analysis
Other than that, you will have to complete a game design internship and a collaborative project to be eligible to earn this degree.
If you are curious to know more about it, click here.
The next recommendation comes from a university that is set to be 100 years old soon. Located in Baltimore, Maryland, Baltimore University is home to nearly 3,000 undergraduate students. You can find a wide array of degree programs, with most of them being offered online.
There are many reasons why you should consider pursuing an online gaming degree from the University of Baltimore. You will get access to UB GameLab, their unique on-campus game design studio that is as immersive and innovative as possible. You are almost guaranteed an extensive portfolio to showcase your skills once you complete this program.
Average Price: $20,862
First things first – this is a hybrid program and not an entirely online program. So, you would be required to attend some classes at one of the two university campuses. But the majority of the courses in this program can be taken online. Some of the required courses are:
- Game Concept and Design
- Game Scripting
- Introduction to 3D Graphics
- History of Video Games
- The Business of Game Development
You’ll be required to choose one of two specialization areas in this program – Coding and Development or Technical Art. And irrespective of which one you choose, you would have to take dual capstone seminars. You would be working with professionals to build and test simulations and entire games.
If you’re interested to learn more about this program, click here.
The next pick we have for you is DePaul University’s Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degree.
DePaul is a private university located in Chicago, Illinois that was founded in 1898. With over 120 years of rich history, this school enjoys substantial goodwill among students. Today, it is home to more than 14,000 undergraduate students. And with time, the University has evolved to include a wide array of online degree programs.
But what makes DePaul University special? It has been ranked among the Best Colleges for Veterans, Best National Universities, and Best Value Schools in the USA. You can also take the help of financial aid packages, grants, and scholarships. And if you are a member of the military, you are eligible to get a tuition break.
Average Price: $32,927
DePaul’s College of Computing and Digital Media offers a BS in Computer Science degree. You should note that this online degree is available only for transfer students, and it offers a Game Systems concentration. It is one of the most comprehensive programs out there, requiring the completion of 192 credit hours.
You will find the following required courses in this program:
- Design and Analysis of Algorithms
- Applied 3D Geometry
- Concepts of Programming Languages
- Real-Time Graphics Techniques
- Object-Oriented Game Development
If you enroll for this degree, you will also have to complete two capstone courses – one in the sophomore year and the other in the senior year.
Interested to know more? Click here!
For those of you who are looking to become Concept Artists, 3D Modelers, or Level Designers, this next recommendation is exactly what you need!
Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design (RMCAD) is located in Denver, Colorado, and is home to over 1,000 students only. It offers several programs, on-campus as well as online. And we recommend looking into their online Bachelor of Arts degree in Game Art.
Some of the things that set RMCAD apart from the other institutes are an average class size of eight students and a student-to-faculty ratio of merely 7:1. This ensures that you get the best resources and training. Moreover, the Department of Defense has approved RMCAD for military government tuition assistance.
Average Price: $22,349
This is a comprehensive program that requires you to complete a bare minimum of 123 credit hours. The areas of study you will see in the program usually includes:
- Visual Storytelling
- 3D Modeling
- Character Rigging and Animation
- Level Design
- Business Ethics and Copyrights
Unlike most of the other institutes we have included on this list, RMCAD wants to take in only the best of the lot. As such, you would have to submit your portfolio for admission into this program.
Click here if you want to know more about this excellent program.
The Savannah College of Art and Design bags the penultimate spot on this list. It has campuses all over the world, offering over 40 majors and more than 60 minors. Today, there are more than 10,500 students enrolled at this institute.
Unlike some of the other schools on this list, SCAD’s online courses begin and end with the university’s academic calendar. So, they are spread over a 10-week schedule. And it is not only the timing that coincides with the campus.
As an online student, you get access to several resources and tools from the campus. It has been ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in the country by U.S. News and World Report.
Average Price: $41,738
You can register for the Bachelor of Arts in Digital Media degree through the award-winning eLearning platform of SCAD. This comprehensive program requires you to complete 180 credit hours. And you can choose from two concentrations – Interactive Design and Game Development. Here are some of the courses you may be required to take:
- Applied Principles: Game Design
- Digital Design Aesthetics
- Introduction to Interactive Design and Game Development
- Core Principles: Game Art
We especially liked the additional 20 hours of free electives offered to all undergraduate students pursuing this degree. You can use it to tailor the degree as per your interests. Graduates holding this degree have been hired by Epic Games, Blizzard, Google, Sucker Punch Productions, and other reputed companies.
To get further details about this program, click here.
The final recommendation we have for you today comes from Southern New Hampshire University. It is a private institute located in Hooksett, a small town in New Hampshire.
SNHU enjoys an impressive number of distance learning students – more than 60,000. And it also has a considerable number of on-campus learners. But the reason for its success as a distance education provider stems from its innovative online learning platform, which has been consistently ranked among the best.
We especially liked how easy the application process was – no portfolio requirements or application fees. It’s not surprising that U.S. News & World Report has ranked SNHU as the Top Most Innovative School in the nation. It is also ranked among the Best Regional Universities in the North.
Average Price: $39,638
You can earn an online Bachelor of Science degree in Game Programming and Development. When you enroll in this program, you get 24/7 access to the course materials. And this program requires you to complete 120 credit hours. The required courses in this program may include:
- Digital Game Development
- Scripting for Games
- Project Management in Information Technology
- Graphics Game Engine
- 3D Modeling and Animation
Apart from this, you will have to complete a Game Programming capstone. And the best part is that this program is divided into six eight-week terms every year, thereby giving you the flexibility to complete it as per your convenience and schedule.
Click here to know more about this program.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that we’ve talked about the 12 best online gaming degrees that are available today, it is time to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about it.
A. What is the right kind of gaming degree for you?
As you may have observed in our list of gaming degrees, they differ quite a lot. And we aren’t talking about the specific program features and requirements. The degrees themselves are not equal. So how do you know which one is right for you?
There are many options, three of which are most common:
- Bachelor of Science
- Bachelor of Arts
- Bachelor of Fine Arts
If you want to go into the more technical side of things, you should pursue a BS degree. On the contrary, if character development and storytelling pique your interest, opt for a BA or BFA degree. But irrespective of which degree you choose to complete, you will be a pro at game design.
B. What can be done with a gaming degree?
Game design has seen a revolution in the last decade! Gaming is not restricted to a shabby console, just as the games are not limited. From virtual reality to motion sensor, gaming has evolved.
As a game designer, you could be working on several things, including:
- Coding and programming the technical aspects
- Designing the plot
- Character development
- Special effects and sound
One of the perks of working as a game designer is that you may work from home. Because most of your work will be done on the computer.
C. How much can you earn after completing a gaming degree?
This is one of the most vital questions. After all, nobody is satisfied with making both ends meet in this day and age!
As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a multimedia artist earns an average salary per annum of $72,520. To put things in perspective, that is slightly more than the average salary of an accountant.
Furthermore, employment in the gaming industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8% up to 2026. So it is safe to say that the gaming industry is booming!
But as far as your actual salary and growth are concerned, it depends on your employer, your medium of work, and your area of specialty.
D. What are the requirements for pursuing a gaming degree?
There is no generic answer to this question that will apply to all the gaming degrees we have recommended.
Some schools require you to submit an art portfolio during the admission process, while others may look for some experience in computer design or higher-level mathematics.
The requirements for starting an online gaming degree program is highly subjective and varies from school to school.
But the requirement for completion usually includes one or more of the following:
- Set number of credit hours of required courses
- Additional credit hours of generic courses
- Capstone projects
- Final portfolio
Remember, the best online gaming degree is the one that has the ideal mix of everything you like. And of course, it should fall within your budget. That’s why we included only the most affordable options.
Once you complete the program and become a game designer, the sky’s the limit!
We hope you found this guide helpful and were able to select the best schools for online game design degrees for your needs.