Our 2015 rankings of the Top 10 schools for game design and development in the Southwest US. We define the Southwest as Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.
1. University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
The University of Utah is home to 31,000 students enrolled in close to 100 undergraduate programs and more than 90 graduate programs. Founded in 1850, the University of Utah houses 17 colleges and schools, and close to 100 departments. The College of Engineering and the College of Fine Arts offer the Entertainment Arts and Engineering Master Games Studio (EAE:MGS). Tracks include Arts, Engineering, Technical Arts, and Production. According to the Studio, “all students in each of the tracks have a series of common classes including Game Design, Rapid Prototyping, Pre-Production, and Final Project.” In addition, students will “develop and enhance a professional game portfolio” and they will have the opportunity to complete an internship in the game industry.
Other offerings include a BA in Film and Media Arts and a BS in Computer Science. Both programs offer an Emphasis in Entertainment Arts and Engineering (EAE). The BA is available through the School of Computing, Department of Film and Media Arts, and the BS is available through the School of Computing.
2. University of Texas - Austin, Austin, Texas
The University of Texas - Austin (UT Austin) opened in 1883. It is home to more than 51,000 students enrolled in more 300 academic programs across 13 colleges and schools. The College of Fine Arts, the Computer Science Department, and the Radio-Television-Film Department offer an undergraduate program for aspiring game designers.
The interdisciplinary Game and Mobile Media Applications (GAMMA) Program allows students from a variety of different degree programs to “collaboratively develop 2D and 3D games for mobile, online, and social technology platforms in the program’s culminating experience: the Capstone Course.” GAMMA students also have the opportunity to work “alongside organizations such as UT’s EGaDS! and IGDA Austin” as well as “local game and mobile studios and industry professionals.”
GAMMA students may earn one of the following Certificates:
- CS Game Development Certificate
- CS Mobile Computing Certificate
- CoFA Digital Art Production Certificate
- CoFA Digital Audio Composition & Production Certificate
- CoFA Digital World Designer Certificate
- RTF Visual Effects & Animation Certificate
The Certificate is awarded in addition to the undergraduate degree in any given program outside of GAMMA.
3. Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas
Southern Methodist University (SMU) was founded in 1911. It is home to 11,000 students enrolled in 246 degree programs through seven schools. The Meadows School of the Arts offers a BFA/Masters of Interactive Technology (M.I.T) in Digital Game Development that is also supported by the Guildhall—SMU’s School of Video Game Development. In addition to the M.I.T in Digital Game Development, the Guildhall offers a Professional Certificate in Digital Game Development with a Specialization in Art Creation, Level Design, Production, or Software Development.
4. University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, Texas
The University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) was established in 1969. The school is home to 23,095 students enrolled in 133 academic programs through seven schools. The School of Arts and Humanities - Department of Arts and Technology (ATEC) is home to more than 1,100 students and it offers several programs for aspiring game designers. Offerings include a BA in Arts and Technology (BA ATEC), an MA in Arts and Technology (MA ATEC), an MFA in Arts and Technology (MFA ATEC), and a PhD Arts and Technology (PhD ATEC).
5. University of Denver, Denver, Colorado
University of Denver (DU) was founded in 1864. It is home to 11,540 students enrolled in more than 220 degree programs through eight colleges and schools and a graduate school. The Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering & Computer Science, Department of Computer Science offers a variety of programs for aspiring game designers. Offerings include BA and BS degrees in Game Development, a BA in Applied Computing with a Concentration in Humane Games, and a BS, MS, BS+MS or Minor in Computer Science with a Concentration in Humane Games. A PhD in Computer Science (Area: Humane Games) is also on the menu.
6. Baylor University, Waco, Texas
Baylor University was founded in 1845. It is home to 16,232 students enrolled in more than 130 programs through nine schools. The School of Engineering and Computer Science - Department of Computer Science offers several programs for aspiring game designers. Offerings include a BA and BS degrees in Computer Science. Both programs offer Specializations in Gaming, Software Engineering, and Computer Science. An MS in Computer Science is also on the menu.
7. St. Edward’s University, Austin, Texas
St. Edward’s University was founded in 1885. It is home to more than 5,000 students enrolled in 90+ academic programs through six colleges and schools. The Bill Munday School of Business offers several programs for aspiring game designers. Offerings include a BA in Interactive Games Studies and a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Interactive Games Management. The School also offers a BBA and an MBA in Digital Media Management. The Digital Media Management programs help prepare students for a career in Gaming, Film, Music and many others.
8. University of Nevada – Reno, Reno, Nevada
The University of Nevada – Reno was established in 1874. It is home to 18,227 students enrolled in more than 145 degree programs through nine colleges. The College of Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering Department offers several programs for aspiring game designers. Offerings include a BS and a Minor in Digital Interactive Games.
9. Oklahoma Christian University, Edmond, Oklahoma
Oklahoma Christian University began in 1950 as Central Christian College. The school houses five colleges, 14 academic departments, and 2,500 students. Academic offerings include 60 majors, six graduate programs, and 30 additional areas of study. The College of Engineering and Computer Science and the College of Liberal Arts offer several programs for aspiring game designers. The College of Engineering and Computer Science-Department of Computer Science offers a BS in Computer Science with Gaming and Animation. The College of Liberal Arts-Art + Design Department offers a BFA in Gaming and Animation.
10. Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, Denver, Colorado
Rocky Mountain College of Design (RMCAD) was founded in 1963. It is home to more than 850 hybrid and online students enrolled in nine majors. Programs for aspiring game designers include a BFA in Game Art. This program is available on campus only. Several Certificate offerings are also on the menu for students interested in enhancing their BFA degree. The Certificate in 3d Animation – Pre-Production and 3D Animation - Character Animation are offered online.