USA | 2023 TOP game schools
2023 US game schools ranking: which are the best?
How do you choose the right school to pursue your dreams of becoming a video game creator, game designer, game programmer, game artist, sound designer or producer?
GAMEducation has created a ranking system for the best video game schools in the US, a first-of-its-kind approach incorporating the professional placement of recent alumni.
We consider graduate placement in game studios the cornerstone of game school success. GAMEducation’s rankings derive from careful examination of thousands of young graduates who have entered the game industry between 2018 and today.
Other important criteria of note are the quality of student game projects and the rigor of degree programs.
Game Developers Conference (GDC 2019)
GAMEducation brings together professionals from the video game industry and data specialists based in America, Asia and Europe. We inaugurate a new type of school ranking based on the career placement of young graduates over the last five years while paying particular attention to the quality of these positions.
Another important criterion is the quality of the student's video game projects completed during their studies.
This ranking thus highlights the schools that best enable students to acquire the necessary skills for a successful career in the gaming industry.
Our rankings are based on data from more than 300 studios and 5,000 alumni in the United States
The US ranking requires diligent examination of more than 5,000 alumni profiles and 100 US schools.
This information results in a precise overview of alumni positioning in 300+ video game studios in the US and an indepth look at the universities and institutes and the preparation they offer.
We completed two rankings in the United States analyzing data:
VIDEO GAME SCHOOLS: Where did graduates complete their studies before accepting quality positions in the US video game industry?
VIDEO GAME STUDIOS: Which studios have recruited the most graduates and for which positions?
☆ TOP 5 US Game Schools ☆
TOP 5 US STUDIOs
for hiring young talent
☆ 2023 top 5 US game schools ☆
#1 DigiPen Institute of Technology
#2 the University of Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah
#3 FIEA - Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy
Graduate School established in 2004
Tuition & fees (2023): Master of Science $32,940 (in-state), $57,672 (out-of-state)
The Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy is a specialized department of the University of Central Florida dedicated exclusively to master's level education in the field of video game development. It welcomed its first students in 2005 and quickly gained an excellent reputation for its programs. The director of FIEA is a former executive of an Electronic Arts subsidiary.
FIEA follows a non-traditional educational philosophy that focuses on simulating a professional video game development environment and encourages collaborative teamwork among students from the school's three main disciplines: art, programming, and production.
The Master of Science in Interactive Entertainment is offered in three tracks:
A third-person speedrunning platform game inspired by Greek mythology.
Drain Runner (2022).
Fast-paced action roguelike set in a strange maritime city populated by monsters.
The main companies who have hired FIEA graduates since 2018 are:
Electronic Arts (EA) (AAA)
Iron Galaxy Studios (AAA)
Epic Games (AAA)
Red Storm Entertainment [Ubisoft] (AAA)
Chonky Raccoon Studios (Mobile, hypercasual games)
Get In The Box Studios (Mobile games)
Three Owls In A Trench Coat Studios (Mobile games)
Aifir Interactive (VR games)
Blizzard Entertainment (AAA)
Gearbox Entertainment (AAA)
The distribution of FIEA alumni within the video game industry, who graduated since 2018, is balanced as all functions are represented, with a significant artistic component, including 14% of 3D Artists and 9% of Character Artists.
The proportion of Tech Artists is notably higher compared to other schools.
#4 SCAD - SAVANNAH COLLEGE OF ART and DESIGN
About 15,000 students from 110 countries.
Private art school founded in 1978.
Tuition & fees (2023-24) for full-time students for one academic year: Undergraduate: $39,105, Graduate: $40,050
Savannah College of Art and Design, or SCAD, is the school in this ranking with the most art oriented video game degrees. Students acquire not only artistic skills, but also technical skills, such as programming languages.
Bachelor of Art in Interactive Design & Game Development
Bachelor of Fine Art in Interactive Design & Game Development
Master of Art in Interactive Design & Game Development
Master of Fine Art in Interactive Design & Game Development
Winner for the Best Game at the SCAD 2022 Global Game Jam
Masked Forest (2022).
Third-person 3D puzzle game created during the SCAD 2022 Global Game Jam
The main companies who have hired SCAD graduates in games since 2018 are:
Electronic Arts (EA)
Turn 10 Studios
High Moon Studios
Lost Boys Interactive
The distribution in the video game industry of SCAD alumni who graduated since 2018 shows a strong representation in artistic roles (63%). Compared to 2020, the percentage of Tech Artists has significantly increased and is now higher than most other schools. Among artistic roles, the dominant ones are 3D Artist (22%) and Character Artist (12%).
Among renowned schools that provide education in the game industry, SCAD has also the highest percentage of graduates in Audio Designers roles (7%).
#5 SMU guildhall
Graduate School established in 2003.
Tuition & fees (2023): Master of Interactive Technology in Game Development and Certificate in Digital Game Development cost a flat rate of $16,694 per semester.
SMU Guildhall was one of the first graduate video game development programs in the United States in 2003.
The school has developed a unique and comprehensive program of high quality based on the four pillars of game development: game design, programming, video game art, and production. Guided by industry veterans, students collaborate in interdisciplinary teams to produce games.
The school selects students who can demonstrate a strong educational background and high motivation.
The school offers two 2-year programs providing comprehensive and solid training. The Master's program stands out with a practical Master's thesis artifact:
Master of Interactive Technology (MIT) in Digital Game Development
Professional Certificate in Digital Game Development. (Mirrors the MIT program, minus the thesis)
AGRYOS: Recovering Eden (2022).
Third-person shooter with elements of a bullet hell.
Legend of the Outlaw Mage (2022).
Cowboy-Fantasy-themed third-Person Action RPG.
Top studios recruiting SMU Guildhall graduates since 2018:
Stray Kite Studios
ZeniMax Online Studios
Lost Boys Interactive
The distribution of SMU Guildhall alumni in the video game industry, who graduated since 2018, has a strong artistic component (46%) and design component (42%) compared to technical roles (12%).
Among the artists, the dominant roles are 3D Artist (16%), Character Artist (4%), and Game Artist (4%).