Our 2017 rankings of the top 5 gaming programs in Massachusetts. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.
1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Founded 1861 and home to 11,376 students, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) offers more than 100 programs across five schools. The school also houses the MIT Game Lab, the MIT Education Arcade, and the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab. Together, the labs provide the opportunity to study, design, and develop games as a supplement to several degree programs. Programs lead to a BS in Comparative Media Studies (CMS) with a Games and Interactive Media “Cluster” or an MS with a Specialization in Games.
The Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) Department also offers an extensive graduate program in Computer Science, which allows students to “study and participate in active research of aspects in computer science that are vital in the creation of modern digital games, such as artificial intelligence, networking, and computer graphics.” A Minor in CMS is also available. These programs are available through the HASS Department of Comparative Media Studies/Writing.
2. Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts
Founded in 1898, Northeastern University is home to nearly 20,000 students enrolled in over 150 majors across seven colleges and schools. Programs for game designers are offered through two colleges—the College of Arts, Media and Design (CAMD) and the College of Computer and Information Science (CCIS). CAMD has six programs for game designers including a BFA in Digital Art and Game Design, a BFA in Games, a BS in Computer Science and Game Development, an MS in Game Science and Design, a Graduate Certificate in Game Analytics, and a Minor in Game Design.
CCIS offers several programs for game designers including a BS in Computer Science and Design (formerly Computer Science and Interactive Media) and a BS in Computer Science and Game Development. These combined majors focus on “the specific skills needed to succeed in the highly competitive game industry.”
3. Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Massachusetts
Established in 1865 and home to around 6,383 students, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) offers 50 degree programs through several divisions and schools. The Division of Arts & Sciences offers several programs for aspiring game designers. Undergraduate offerings include a BS in Interactive Media & Game Development (BS IMGD) and a Minor in IMGD. Graduate offerings include an MS in IMGD.
One of the earliest gaming programs in the U.S., WPI’s IMGD program “blends the artistic and technical aspects of game development and interactive media.” Students will explore diverse topics such as Writing for Games, Game Audio, Artificial Intelligence, Digital Painting, Virtual Reality, and 3D Modeling. As such, graduates of the IMGD are prepared to work in the gaming industry, and apply their technical and creative skills in areas such as education, health care, art, and social sciences.
4. Hampshire College, Amherst, Massachusetts
Founded in 1965 and home to 1,400, Hampshire College offers programs in more than 50 areas of study. Options for aspiring game designers include an undergraduate degree in Game Design and Development. The program gives students the opportunity to “grow and strengthen their skills in teamwork, communication, iterative development, playtesting and user testing, storytelling, game programming, 2D and 3D art and animation, game design, audio design, entrepreneurship, and project management.”
Unique courses for the program include Radical Innovation in Digital Arts, Pixelbending, Analog Game Design, Designing Treasure Hunts, Women in Game Programming, and the Game Development workshop. Other program highlights include access to the Game Lab and Library, the Hampshire College Cluster Computing Facility, and The Liebling Center for Film, Photography, and Video and the Johnson Library Center, which house facilities for Computer Animation; Film and Video Editing; and Digital Design.
Hampshire College is a member of the Five College Consortium, so students have access to an additional 5,300 courses offered through nearby University of Massachusetts (UMass) and at Amherst, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges.
5. Becker College, Worcester, Massachusetts
Founded in 1784, Becker College is the nation’s 19th oldest campus. The school offers dozens of programs in across six academic divisions including Animal Studies, Business, Criminal Justice and Legal Studies, Design, Education and Psychology, and Nursing and Health Sciences. The Design Division houses the Interactive Media Design program, which has several offerings for aspiring game designers.
Options include a BA in Design with a Video Game Production and Management Concentration and a BA in Interactive Media Design with Concentrations in Game Design, Game Arts or Game Development and Programming. Becker College houses the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI).
Established in 2011, “MassDiGI is the result of creative collaboration among academia, industry and government, aimed at fostering the growth of the game industry and innovation economy,” according to the school. It is a statewide center, “designated by the Commonwealth, for entrepreneurship, academic cooperation and economic development across the Massachusetts digital and video games ecosystem.”