VIDEO GAME SCHOOLS

WORLD RANKINGs

FIND THE BEST VIDEO GAME SCHOOL FOR YOU:

Want to know the video game school that will best allow you to succeed?
Discover our world ranking of the best schools, by continent and country.
Which video game studios offer the most entry-level positions?

MISSION

GAMEducation – the Global Association for Media Education – offers an in depth international ranking of video game schools as well as a ranking of the studios that recruit new graduates.

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The most comprehensive ranking of game schools in the world based on postgraduate career placement.  We analyze the game industry around the world and identify the best schools through academics and alumni careers.

EUROPE

(coming soon)

ASIA

(coming soon)

AFRICA

(coming soon)

OCEANIA

(coming soon)

☆2021 WORLD RANKING

TOP 10 BEST VIDEO GAME SCHOOLS

based on career placement and student projects

which studios recruit the most ENTRY-LEVEL CANDIDATES?

Here are our studio rankings, by continent and country, based on graduate recruitment between 2016-2020:


  • AMERICAN Studios: US & CANADA | LATIN AMERICA

  • ASIAN Studios: (coming soon)

  • EUROPEAN Studios: (coming soon)

  • AFRICAN Studios: (coming soon)

  • OCEANIAN Studios: (coming soon)

A ranking in phase with the market

Our study is mainly based on two pillars:

1 A review of the positions held by recent graduates recruited in video game creation studios over the last five years. These careers are the primary criterion in the school’s ranking.

2 A review of video game projects completed by students during their studies. These prototypes are another important criterion as they illustrate a school’s ability to create real-world professional environments. These crafts are creative, and video games are a living art that cannot be reduced to classroom theory alone. We examine their level of finish, visual quality, gameplay, originality and even innovation and the emotion they emanate, as well as their positioning in professional competitions such as the Unity Awards and IGF Awards.


What is a VIDEO game school ?

A video game school offers complete preparation in one or more video game professions.

Some even go as far as to help students set up companies to market their games.

The first schools of this kind appeared in the late 1990s and early 2000s and were at that time very specialized in these fields. Later, around 2010, mainstream colleges and universities began offering game courses and degrees.

what are the VIDEO game professions ?

Video game professions are any profession involved in the start-to-finish production of a video game, whether in creation & design, development, tech, art, or economics.

Some video game technical professions, like programming, may involve mathematics, dynamics, AI, statistics and player data.

discover the video game industry
(work in progress)

VIDEO GAME PROFESSIONS ARE CONSTANTLY EVOLVING:

The evolution of the video game industry and the new practices of gamers constantly interact with other sectors and give birth to new professions:

  • Discover how video game engines are taking over the movie industry.

  • How free to play (mobile free games) influence major game production.

  • How the democratization of virtual reality (VR) is revolutionizing the serious games market (education, medical, security, HR...)

  • How the development needs of Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games are increased by the battle royales phenomenon.

Discover these new jobs > (work in progress)

OVERVIEW OF THE TOP 5 GAME SCHOOLS IN THE WORLD

#1 DigiPen
Institute of
Technology

Redmond, Washington, USA

  • 1,174 students. 92% undergraduate (Bachelor) and 8% graduate (Master) in video game.

  • Private

  • Tuition & fees (2020-2021): $37,030 (non U.S. residents)

DigiPen Institute of Technology pioneered the world's first video game programming course in 1994 with the support of Nintendo and has been doing so ever since.

Almost all of its degree programs are closely related to video games, which makes it the most specialized, pure player US establishment.

DigiPen originally focused on computer engineering and programming but has shifted over the past ten years to include game art and 3D animation. The BFA in Digital Art & Animation specializes in artistic creation in the video game and animation production pipelines.

ACADEMICS:

Video game programs fall into five categories:

  • Computer Science

  • Digital Art and Animation

  • Computer Engineering

  • Game Design and Development

  • Music and Audio

    Undergrad Programs:

Among the alumni of the Institute who joined the video game industry in the United States since 2016, 92% are DigiPen’s BS, BA, and BFA graduates, and 1/3rd of them earn a BS in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation.

DigiPen’s undergraduate degrees attract high school graduates who choose a path dedicated to video games right from the start. 71% of DigiPen’s alumni have no need to continue on to complete additional graduate degrees, proof of the school’s quality. Their strong employability in the industry may also explain why only 1% of alumni hold both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Digipen. Digipen’s master’s graduates make up only 7% of all alumni.

Distance (2018), marketed on Steam by alumni

GAME PROTOTYPES AND COMPETITIONS:

For more than fifteen years, DigiPen has consistently placed in international competitions. In 2018, Penny Blue Finds a Clue was an IGF finalist. From 2015-2020, the Institute presented seven projects at the Intel University Games Showcase at the prestigious GDC (Game Developer Conference) and three projects at the College Game Competition of the E3 Expo, including RumbleTV winner of the 2015 Grand Prize.

Some game mechanic features from student project prototypes went on to directly inspire successful games like Portal and Portal 2 in 2007 and 2011 respectively.

Lirica (2018)

RECRUITMENT:

The main companies who have hired Digipen Institute of Technology graduates since 2016 all are located in the same state: Washington. They are:


  • Microsoft: 14 graduates.
    - 12 engineers, 2 gameplay programmers/developers.
    Notable games Digipen graduates worked on: Minecraft and Minecraft Earth.


  • 343 Industries [a division of Microsoft]: 11 graduates.
    - 6 engineers, 2 game artists, 2 narrative technical designers (game designers), 1 programmer.


  • Amazon Game Studios [a division of Amazon]: 11 graduates.
    - 8 engineers, 1 technical artist, 1 producer, 1 software development specialist.
    Notable game:
    Crucible.


  • Turn 10 Studios [a division of Microsoft]: 10 graduates.
    - 5
    engineers, 3 programmers, 1 game designer, 1 technical artist.
    Notable game:
    Forza Motorsport 7.


  • Nintendo: 9 graduates.
    6
    engineers, 2 game artists, 1 game designer.
    Notable game: Snipperclips Plus: Cut It Out Together!, Captain Toad Treasure.


In these five studios, 80% of the positions recent Digipen graduates hold are technical with 67% related to computer engineering. Artistic professions make up 11% of the positions held by recent grads.

These students are recruited to Microsoft and Amazon, companies that demand top-tier narrative technical designers and engineers.


More broadly, the alumni recruited in the United States over the past five years by 105 studios also hold positions that are highly oriented towards engineering and programming. 59% are tech (engineers, programmers/developers), 17% are artistic (game artists, technical artists), and 19% are game designers. The heavy majority of engineers and programmers perfectly reflects the schools technology focus.

* * *

What crowns DigiPen Institute of Technology at the top rank is that it allows large numbers of fresh graduates to start working in major studios. This fact, along with the quality of its technical degrees, makes it the most distinctive game school in the nation.

#2 isart digital

Paris, France

  • 1,180 students. 600 undergraduate and 580 graduate students. 60% in Bachelor and 58% in Master.

  • Private

  • Tuition & fees (2020-2021): €16,000 (non E.U. residents)

Founded in 2000, Isart Digital is a pure player school excelling in its targeted domains, in particular Game Design and 3D Animation.

Isart heavily promotes studio experience by combining classroom courses and studio internships. This alternating one-week school/one-week studio rhythm excites and motivates students who work on real studio projects throughout their studies which greatly facilitates their integration into the industry.

Another plus of Isart Digital is its numerous specializations, with 11 degree courses divided into three categories: Video Games, 3D-FX and Cinema Animation.

Acceptance into the video game courses at Isart Digital is very selective, particularly the Game Design program, which remains the school’s flagship program.


ACADEMICS:

  • Game Design (4-year combined bachelor’s+master’s degree)

  • Game Design & Programming (4-year combined bachelor’s+master’s degree)

  • Game Programming ( 5-year combined bachelor’s+master’s degree)

  • Game Art (5-year combined bachelor’s+master’s degree)

  • Producer (1 year master’s degree)

  • Music & Sound Design (3-year bachelor’s degree)


Lily, Colors of Santa Luz, finalist of the Unity Awards 2016


GAME PROTOTYPES AND COMPETITIONS:

Isart Digital produces many student projects that are of high visual quality. It is worth noting the school's five consecutive nominations for the selective and prestigious Unity Awards international competition.

Recent ISART games at various international competitions are:

A.L.F.R.E.D., IGF 2018 honorable mention and Unity Awards 2017 finalist,

Intertwined, Unity Awards 2018 finalist,

LIFF, Game Awards 2018 finalist,

Lily, Colors of Santa Luz, IGF 2017 finalist, Unity Awards 2016 finalist,

A Sweet Journey, Unity Awards 2017 finalist,

TrubadrR, Unity Awards 2015 finalist,

The Rift: U.R.I.D.I.S, Unity Awards 2014 Best Student Project Award.

RECRUITMENT:

The main companies who have hired ISART Digital graduates since 2016 are:


  • Ubisoft (Europe & Quebec): 32 graduates.
    - 16 game designers, 9 game artists, 10 programmers.
    Notable games ISART graduates have worked on: Beyond Good and Evil 2, Ghost Recon Breakpoint, Assassins's Creed Odyssey.


  • Gameloft (Quebec & France) [a division of Vivendi]: 10 graduates.
    - 5 game designers, 2 game artists, 2 programmers, 1 producer.
    Notable games: Modern Combat Versus, Overdrive City, Dungeon Hunter Champions, Cosmo Bounce, Football Cup Superstars.


  • Virtuos (France): 9 graduates.
    - 4 programmers, 3 game designers, 1 tech artist, 1 producer.


  • Dontnod Entertainment (France): 7 graduates.
    - 3 games artists, 3 producers, 1 programmer.
    Notable games: Life is Strange, Vampyr.


  • Owlient (France) [a division of Ubisoft]: 5 graduates.
    - 2 game designers, 2 producers, 1 audio designer.
    Notable game: Tom Clancy's Elite Squad.


These five main employers recruit a very good balance of artistic (24%) and technical (27%) graduates, with an emphasis on game designers (37%). From this sampling, Ubisoft alone hires nearly half of recent alumni.


On a broader scale, Isart alumni hired by 98 studios across the globe from 2016-2020 start careers that are: 32% artistic and 23% technical. 34% are game designers, the profession that remains the school’s speciality and reflects the excellent level of preparation the Game Design degree offers.


Here again, Ubisoft leads in hiring Isart graduates. Other international studios with high numbers of Isart alumni are located in France, Italy, Spain, Finland, Quebec and the United States.

Symphonia (2020)

#3 BUas - Breda
University of Applied Sciences

Breda, Netherlands

  • 7,224 students. 99% pursuing games BS and 3% MS degrees.

  • Government-funded higher education institute.

  • Tuition & Fees (2020-2021): €12,528 (non U.E. residents)

The Breda University of Applied Sciences is an international institution with courses taught entirely in English.

This Dutch school focuses its video game training on the Bachelor’s of Science in International Game Architecture and Design, a multidisciplinary curriculum that proves to be particularly effective.

In fact, almost all (99%) of the BUas alumni recruited by studios since 2016 have this degree, and for a large majority (78%) it is their only degree, which attests to its remarkably well-designed and complete preparation and its correspondence with the requirements of the industry.

The Game Technology Master's Degree, only other Breda program in video games, concerns 3% of recently hired alumni. It is mainly research-oriented, which is rather rare in this field.

Breda’s students present their end-of-study projects to professionals each year, easing career integration.

ACADEMICS:

  • Creative Media and Game Technologies / International Game Architecture and Design (bachelor’s degree)

  • Game Technology (master’s degree)



Pine, Best Student Project at the Unity Awards 2016


GAME PROTOTYPES AND COMPETITIONS:

Breda University is one of the few schools to have won the Best Students Project award at the highly recognized Unity Awards competition with Pine in 2016.

Another BUas student project, Kabounce, a multiplayer pinball machine with a very polished visual quality, was released on PS4 in 2018.

The overall quality of the projects produced each year by the students should be highlighted, both for the graphics and the gameplay. The Red Stare (2017), an RV game with a particularly exceptional finish, is yet another example.


Bone Voyage (2019)

RECRUITMENT:

The main companies who have hired Breda University of Applied Sciences graduates since 2016 are:


  • Ubisoft (6 countries in Europe): 4 game designers, 4 game artists, 1 engineer.
    Notable games: Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Breakpoint, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Quarantine, Anno 1800.


  • Sumo Digital Ltd (UK, Finland): 6 game designers, 2 game artists.
    Notable games: Hitman 2, Sackboy A Big Adventure.


  • Triumph Studios [a division of Paradox Interactive] (NL): 4 game artists, 4 game programmers.
    Notable games: Age of Wonders, Overlord.


  • Massive Entertainment [a division of Ubisoft] (Sweden): 3 programmers, 2 game artists, 1 game designer.
    Notable games: Tom Clancy's The Division 2.


  • Vertigo Games (NL): 3 programmers, 2 game designers, 2 game artists, 1 game artist.
    Notable games: After the Fall (VR).


  • elite3d (NL, Spain): 3 producers, 2 game artists.


  • Guerrilla Games [a division of Sony Interactive Entertainment] (NL): 2 game designers, 2 game artists, 1 engineer.
    Notable games: Horizon: Zero Dawn.


These top recruiters employ mainly technical profiles: 40% of game designers and 1/4th programmers/engineers. Less than 1/3rd of artistic profiles were hired, showing the strong technical vocation of the university. Given the importance of these studios, the participation of young graduates in AAA projects is not a surprise.

More broadly, the 2016-2020 alumni of Breda University presented more balanced career profiles. Of the BUas alumni recruited in 110 international studios, 29% are programmers / developers or engineers and 31% are game artists or technical artists.

The share of alumni who work as game and level designers (32%) and producers (6%) is one of the highest among this top 10 video game schools.


These jobs are mainly located in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, and Bulgaria.

#4 abertay university

Dundee, Scotland

  • 4,500 students. In video games: 47% Bachelor's and 57% Master's graduates.

  • Public University

  • 2020 Tuition: £15,500 for international students (non-EU, and non England, Northern Ireland, or Wales)

Abertay University was visionary in creating the world's first video game degree in 1997 with the participation of prominent alumnus, David Jones, co-creator of Grand Theft Auto.

It was also one of the first universities in Europe to obtain a PlayStation First Academic Partnership in 2013, enabling students to use PlayStation 4 Development Kits offered by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe.

Since 2000, Abertay University has also been organizing and hosting Dare to Be Digital, an annual international game production competition for students and recent graduates.

ACADEMICS:

Abertay University offers four Bachelor degrees and two Master degrees in video games:

  • BS Computer Games Applications Development

  • BS Computer Games Technology

  • BA Game Design and Production

  • BA Computer Arts

  • MS Computer Games Technology

  • MProf Professional Masters in Games Development

66% of Abertay graduates who were hired by video game studios from 2016-2020 possess a bachelor’s degree, and for just over 1/3rd of recent graduates, it is their only degree in this specialty. Half have a Bachelor of Science in Computer Games and 1/3 a Bachelor of Art.

Kinoko (2018)


GAME PROTOTYPES AND COMPETITIONS:

Although absent from recent international video game competitions, Abertay University is nonetheless a talent provider with excellent alumni career placement and diverse and creative projects such as Kinoko.

RECRUITMENT:

The main companies who have hired Abertay University graduates in games since 2016 are:


  • Ubisoft (Europe & India): 8 graduates.
    -
    3 game designers, 3 programmers, 2 producers.
    Notable games:
    Mario Rabbids Kingdom Battle: Donkey Kong Adventure, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands.


  • Tag Games (UK): 8 graduates.
    -
    7 programmers, 1 game artist.
    Notable games:
    Prison Architect, Pocket Mortys (mobile), Mortal Kombat X.


  • Rockstar Games [a division of Take-Two Interactive] (UK): 7 graduates.
    -
    3 game artists, 1 technical artist, 2 programmers, 1 engineer.


  • TT Games Ltd [a division of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment] (UK): 5 graduates.
    4 programmers, 1 game designer
    .
    Notable games:
    Lego don’t Lego Star Wars, Lego DC Supervillans, Lego Worlds…


  • Hyper Luminal Games (UK): 5 graduates.
    -
    2 game designers, 1 game artist, 1 game programmer, 1 producer.


  • Supermassive Games Ltd (UK): 4 graduates.
    - 3 game designers
    , 1 technical artist.
    Notable game:
    Man of Medan.


Half-of these hires are technical, 1/4th are game designer functions, mostly on mobile or AA games, and 19% are artistic, reflecting the diversity of the university's programs.


More broadly, of the Abertay alumni employed in 89 studios since 2016: 45% have technical profiles (including 39% of programmers / developers), 18% are purely artistic, and 29% are game designers.

These positions are located in the UK, India, China, Singapore, and Italy.

#5 USC - UNIversity
of SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Los Angeles, California, USA

  • 48,500 students. Video game department: 47% Bachelor's and 57% Master's graduates.

  • Private (not-for-profit) with very high research activity.

  • 2020 Tuition: $59,260 (non U.S. resident)

The University of Southern California created its first video game program in 2002 with the MFA in Interactive Media. Its most popular degree programs today were created in 2006.

USC enjoys an exceptional location in California. Located in Los Angeles and relatively close to Silicon Valley, USC students benefit from the strong connections the school has developed over many years with the region's largest companies.

USC degree programs have gained an excellent reputation and are even considered as models by other important institutions, notably the NYU Game Center.

One USC detail to note is that it attracts as many students with its two-year master’s program as with its four-year bachelor’s program. The same way, among the alumni who have entered the video game industry in the United States since 2016, there are as many holders of a bachelor’s degree as a master’s.

Among the USC graduates who are working in the industry, 46% hold a USC master's degree in video game-related studies in addition to a degree from another school. This shows the strength of the preparation of USC master’s students. In comparison, 42% of recent USC graduates currently working in games have a bachelor's as their only degree.

This MS in Computer Science with a concentration in Game Development is particularly popular with foreign students who come to continue their education at this prestigious university.

ACADEMICS:

The video game program is based on two scientific fields:

  • Bachelor in Computer Science in Games

  • Master in Computer Science in Game Development

  • B.A. in Interactive Entertainment

  • M.F.A. in Interactive Media

  • M.F.A. in Interactive Media (Games and Health)

  • M.A. in Cinematic Arts (Media Arts, Games and Health)


Chambara (2016), USC alumni project marketed on the PS4 Playstore.

GAME PROTOTYPES AND COMPETITIONS:

USC student projects boast four selections and awards from IGF competitions since 2015. Close Your won Best Student Project in 2015.

Two honorable mentions were projects completed in collaboration with Ohio University: Moloch (2018) and You Must be 18 or Older to Enter (2017), in which students showed particular boldness in pushing game concepts to the limits.

Chambara, an outstanding project with a more classic gameplay, was a finalist for IGF 2016 and was the first student game to be published on Sony's PlayStation Store the same year.

Finally, USC has twice produced project finalists in the highly professional Unity Awards competition for the Unity 3D game engine, with Chrysalis in 2018 and Chambara in 2016.

Ginko (2020), horror puzzle game.

RECRUITMENT:

The main companies who have hired University of Southern California graduates in games since 2016 are:


  • Treyarch [a division of Activision Blizzard] (CA): 5 graduates.
    - 4 engineers, 1 game designer.


  • Heavy Iron Studios, Inc. (CA): 5 graduates, all programmers.
    Notable game: The Grand Tour Game.


  • Visual Concepts [a division of Take-Two Interactive] (CA):
    5 graduates, all programmers.


  • Respawn Entertainment [a division of Electronic Arts] (CA): 5 graduates.
    - 4 engineers, 1 game designer.
    Notable game: Apex Legends.


  • Riot Games [a division of Tencent Holdings] (CA): 4 graduates.
    - 2 engineers, 1 game designer, 1 programmer.


  • Santa Monica Studio [a division of Sony] (CA): 2 game designers (technical design), 1 graphics programmer, 1 producer.


  • Niantic (CA, WA): 4 engineers.
    Notable games: Pokemon GO: Buddy Adventure, Go Battle League (mobile AR/AA).


The careers of alumni among these five main recruiters – mostly as programmers and engineers – reflects the predominantly technical nature of their training.

More broadly, looking at 92 American studios over the past five years, we see USC alum hold positions that are largely technical and engineering oriented: 66% are engineers, programmers/ developers, 24% are game designers, and 3% are game artists.

***

The original games produced and presented during competitions by USC students show that this school knows how to leave room for audacity and creativity in high-level technical programs.