What are the top brick-and-mortar and online colleges and universities for video game design?
The Princeton Review has been releasing an annual list of the best accredited colleges for video game design for several years. Digipen Institute of Technology, ranked fourth, offers both a Bachelor of Science in Game Design, which focuses on the computer science aspects of design, and a Bachelor of Arts in Game Design, which concentrates on narrative and visual aspects.
Philadelphia’s Drexel University, also on the list of best video game design colleges and sixth on U.S. News & World Report’s “up-and-coming colleges” list, has a Game Art and Production program that culminates in a Bachelor of Science. Drexel is the fourteenth largest private university in the country and a leader in technology.
Becker College’s game development degree is another one of the top video game design colleges and requires students to intern at 1 of Massachusetts’s 76 game companies. Established in 1784, Becker is among the oldest schools in the country.
While video game design colleges online do exist, most are for-profit schools and very expensive to attend. The best colleges for game design will be found on traditional campuses where students can work in a collaborative environment, which prepares them for employment in a game studio.
What extracurricular activities should I pursue when I am studying video game design in college?
The top colleges for video game design will usually have a game design club for students to brainstorm ideas for their projects and simply enjoy playing games together. If available, students should also consider joining their school’s computer club, such as the one offered by the College of St. Scholastica, where they can expand their knowledge of computer technology. If your school has a film or writing club, you may want to join these as well, since both will teach you the essentials of narrative.
Students in an online video game design college lacking the ability to participate in on-campus activities can find clubs and activities within their community. You might join a film society in order to study the elements of visual narrative, such as New York City’s Film Society Lincoln Center, which hosts the New York Film Festival.
In addition, larger communities frequently have groups for writers to interact and get help with their projects. This can benefit game designers seeking feedback on their scripts or advice on the mechanics of storytelling. For example, the Philadelphia Liars Club hosts free writers coffeehouses in several parts of the city.
What volunteer opportunities will I have at my brick-and-mortar or online video game design university?
Your video game design university will most likely not have volunteer opportunities directly associated with the school, but there are a number of organizations seeking community and student volunteers.
One of the largest is SIGGRAPH, which focuses on computer graphics and the application of interactive techniques. Volunteers for its annual conference have the opportunity to meet and learn from industry professionals as well as establish relationships with other students. They receive full admission to the program as well as professional development and private student volunteer special sessions with experts who were once student volunteers.
Students in both online and traditional video game design bachelors degree programs can find other volunteer opportunities at major events like the annual Game Design Expo or the Games for Change festival hosted by Parsons The New School of Design. Opportunities may also be available through after-school programs that teach basic computer skills, television studios or local game and computer software companies.
For students interested in educational game design, an interesting volunteer opportunity is offered through Globaloria, which seeks virtual volunteers to provide feedback and debugging support to students for its Flash-based game demos. Globaloria is a social learning network that prepares students for success in school and life through science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.