What Is the Best College for Video Game Development?

Should you do your homework or spend another hour on your favorite video game? Several studies linked video gameplay with attention difficulties in studying. And many people seem to believe it nowadays. The gaming industry has been under fire several times, with claims ranging from causing addiction to promoting violence.

The harm that playing video games can cause was a popular theme throughout the nineties and noughties. But it slowly died down in the 2010s. Now video games may come under fire for gender and racial representation. Contemporary studies have shown that gameplay doesn’t have any serious impact on kids doing their homework.

Yes, you may want to play more instead of, let’s say, writing an essay. Most likely, you will google some homework for me service and ask professionals to do it for you. Meanwhile, you can enjoy playing one of your favorite video games. After all, playing video games is a kind of leisure time for players. But things are different for those who develop them.

What to Consider Before Studying Video Game Development

Quite often, hobbies lead to your career choices. Have you ever thought about becoming a game developer? If you are an experienced player, you surely know what users generally enjoy about games. And, most likely, you have several ideas on how to make an existing game better. And it’s possible that you have some ideas about a game that you’d like to create.

But, to create a game, you need to study as well. Learning something about things that you enjoy is more interesting than studying subjects that you find boring. So, where can you study game development? Oh, there are plenty of colleges to choose from. But before checking them out, you need to consider three things:

  • cost of attendance;
  • prerequisites;
  • acceptance rate.

Yes, the cost of studying game development is rarely cheap, so you need to make sure that you or your family can afford it. Great performance in certain subjects is required for applying to certain colleges. If you’re not good at math, we have bad news for you. And you need to consider the acceptance rate as well. Getting accepted to certain colleges may seem an impossible task. Now, let’s check out the colleges.


University of Southern California

The University of Southern California is one of the best choices for future game developers and designers. Actually, it’s a dream for many prospective game devs. You can choose out of four programs. The university has two undergraduate and two graduate programs in game design and development.

At the University of Southern California, you have a chance to learn from the best people in the industry. You will study at the award-winning faculty. You’re going to listen to lectures from people who work at leading companies like Nintendo and Microsoft. Doesn’t that sound suggestive? Well, let’s check out the cost of attendance and prerequisites.

If you want to study at the University of Southern California, you’ll have to pay over $25,000 per semester. Aside from that, you need to have between three to five units of mathematics and one unit of physics, chemistry, or biology. And you need satisfactory SAT/ACT scores. Given all that, it is no surprise that the acceptance rate of the university is less than five percent.

DigiPen Institute of Technology

The DigiPen Institute of Technology (Redmond, WA) is frequently listed among the top game development schools in the US. The institute is actual heaven for those who enjoy developing characters. The main focus is on the behavioral and psychological aspects of the game. Every semester, you’ll have to create, prototype, and test your own game designs.

Seems like quite a challenging study. Applying there is also quite challenging. You need to have a 4.0 GPA and advanced placement courses in physics or computer science. The acceptance rate is higher than at the University of Southern California – 34%. And the cost of attendance is lower — almost $35,000 per year.

University of Utah

Salt Lake City is not only the religious center of the Latter Day Saints but also a place where you can get a bachelor’s degree in gaming and interactive entertainment. The University of Utah offers a four-year graduate program. Upon graduating, you get to work with studios like Disney and Wahoo, with an average salary of up to $70,000 per year.

So, what do you need for that? Well, you need to complete four prerequisite courses with C or better to apply. You’re going to pay around $28,000 per year if you stay on campus and a bit over $22,000 per year if you stay off-campus. And the university has a 79% acceptance rate.

Northeastern University

Are you extremely talented, and do you already have several pet projects in game development? Suppose you are great at many things, and you cannot decide who you want to be. Then your best option is to attend Northeastern University (Boston, MA). Their program in game design allows you to try out various roles. So, upon graduation, you can become anything, be it game dev, game writer, or web designer.

Be ready to provide a creative portfolio (that’s the only prerequisite) and pay over $28,000 per semester, and you can become one of the lucky students who will practice at Microsoft and SAIC. Despite not being one of the most expensive ones, Northeastern University has an acceptance rate of only 18%. Still, it’s higher than at the University of Southern California.

Rochester Institute of Technology

No matter what you think about New York, it remains the cradle of all things creative. Upon graduating from Rochester Institute of Technology, you can work as a game dev, but you still have many options in the field.

At the institute, you will learn the fundamentals of game development and design. But with the extensive knowledge you’ll get in simulation, visualization, and modeling, you can try out various other professions.

Thanks to the cooperative programs at Rochester Institute of Technology, around 97% of graduates land jobs at Microsoft and Sony Entertainment. And that means a starting salary of at least $65,000 per year. So, what do you need to get accepted to the institute?

You need exceptional performance in math and computer science and good knowledge of chemistry and physics. Studying at Rochester Institute of Technology is not cheap: be ready to pay around $70,000 per year. But, despite the price, the acceptance rate is quite — 58%.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, getting an education in game development is neither cheap nor easy. But it’s more than possible. Aside from picking up one of the mentioned institutions, you can try out game development certificate programs. They generally last less than a year and cost between $400 and $4,000 per course.