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based on career placement and student projects


#1 DigiPen
Institute of Technology 

Redmond, Washington, USA

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.


Video game programs fall into five categories:

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


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)


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

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.

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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

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. 


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


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.


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

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

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. 


Pine, Best Student Project at the Unity Awards 2016


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)


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

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 

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. 


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

 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)


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


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

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

Los Angeles, California, USA 

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. 


The video game program is based on two scientific fields:

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


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.


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

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.