Our 2015 rankings of the Top 15 game design and development programs in the Midwest. We define the Midwest as Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, and North Dakota. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.
1. DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois
DePaul University was established in 1898. It is the nation’s largest Catholic university with a student population of 23,799 students enrolled in more than 300 programs through 10 colleges and schools. The College of Computing and Digital Media offers several programs for aspiring game designers including BS and MS degrees in Computer Game Development with Concentrations in Game Design, GamePlay Programming, and Systems Programming.
DePaul University also offers a Game, Cinema and Animation Summer Academy as well as the DePaul Game Experience (DGE). The Summer Academy is a weeklong program that features “hands-on instruction using the latest equipment and technology.” Participants may focus on Computer Game Development, 3D Computer Modeling and Animation for Games and Cinema or Digital Cinema Production.
The DePaul Game Experience allows a select group of students to work on a game to submit to the Student IGF Competition. Past DGE teams have made entries that were finalists in the IGDA student competition.
2. Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan
Established in 1855, Michigan State University is one of the largest Universities in the state of Michigan. The school is home to more than 50,000 students enrolled in more than 200 programs through 17 colleges. The College of Communication Arts and Sciences, Media and Information Department offers several programs for aspiring game designers. Undergraduate offerings include a BA and a BS in Media and Information with a Game Design and Development Specialization, a BS in Computer Science with a Game Design and Development Specialization, and a BA or BFA in Studio Art with a Game Design and Development Specialization.
Graduate programs include an MA in HCI with a Games and Meaningful Play Focus, a PhD in Media and Information Studies (Research Area: Games and Meaningful Play), and a Graduate Certificate in Serious Games. Besides offering a wide variety of program offerings for game designers, the College of Communication Arts and Sciences is home to the Games for Entertainment and Learning (GEL) Lab. According to the College, the mission of the GEL Lab is to “design innovative prototypes, techniques, and complete games for entertainment and learning and to advance state of the art knowledge about social and individual effects of digital games.”
3. Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Columbia College was founded in 1890. It is home to more than 10,000 students enrolled in more than 100 academic majors or programs through several schools. The School of Media Arts, Department of Interactive Arts & Media (IAM) offers a variety of programs for aspiring game designers. Programs include a BA in Game Design with Concentrations in Game Art, Game Development, or Game Sound Design, a BA or BS in Game Programming, and a BA in Interactive Arts and Media. Minor options include Game Art, Game Design, and Game Programming.
4. Miami University, Oxford, Ohio
Miami University was chartered in 1809. The school has campuses in Oxford, Hamilton, Middletown, West Chester, Ohio and Luxembourg, Europe. Home to 23,650 students, Miami University offers more than 200 programs across all campuses and through seven colleges and schools. Programs for aspiring game designers are available through The College of Creative Arts and the Armstrong Institute for Interactive Media Studies (AIMS).
The College of Creative Arts, Interactive Media Studies (IMS) and Graphic Design offer an MFA in Experience Design (XD:MFA). AIMS offers a BA in IMS with Tracks in Game Design, Game Development, Game Studies, Interactive Business, and Art and Interaction. AIMS also offers a Co-major in IMS with Game Design, Game Development, Game Studies, Interactive Business, and Art and Interaction Tracks, and a Graduate Certificate in IMS. A Minor in IMS is also on the menu.
5. Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Indianapolis, Indiana
Established in 1969, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) is home to 30,690 students enrolled in 243 degree programs through two colleges and 17 schools. The School of Informatics and Computing (SOAC) offers several programs for aspiring game designers. Offerings include a BS in Media Arts and Science with a Specialization in Game Design and Development and a five-year BS+MS in Media Arts and Science with a Specialization in Human-Computer Interaction.
6. Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois
Bradley University was chartered in 1896. The school is home to 5,700 students enrolled in more than 130 programs across five colleges and a graduate school. The Slane College of Communications and Fine Arts houses the Department of Interactive Media. The Department offers several programs for aspiring game designers. Offerings include a BS in Interactive Media with a Concentration in Game Design, a Game Design Minor, and an Interactive Media Minor.
7. Lawrence Technological University, Southfield, Michigan
Lawrence Technological University (Lawrence Tech or LTU) was founded in 1932. It is home 4,154 students enrolled in more than 50 academic programs through the Colleges of Architecture + Design, Engineering, Arts + Sciences, and Management. Programs for game designers are available through two schools. The College of Architecture + Design, Department of Art + Design offers BA degrees in Game Art and Interaction Design. The College of Arts & Sciences, Department of Mathematics + Computer Science offers a BS in Computer Science with a Concentration in Game Software Development.
8. University of Wisconsin – Stout, Menomonie, Wisconsin
The University of Wisconsin – Stout was established in 1891. It is home to 9,371 students enrolled in 119 majors and minors through eight colleges and schools. The College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and the School of Art & Design offer several programs for aspiring game designers. The Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science of the College of STEM offers a BS in Game Design and Development.
The Department of Design of the School of Art & Design offers BFA degrees in Game Design & Development Art and Entertainment Design. An MFA in Design is also on the menu. The MFA students may study Game Design, Interactive Media, or Entertainment Design.
9. Ohio University, Athens, Ohio
Ohio University was established in 1804. It home to 38,857 students enrolled in more than 250 programs through 11 colleges. The Scripps College of Communications, School of Media Arts and Studies offers an intensive program for aspiring game designers (and animators). The Games and Animation program focuses on Games Production and Design, Computer Animation, and Digital Effects. The program also covers Leadership in Games and Animation and Management, and it leads to a BS in Communication with an Emphasis in Games and Animation.
10. Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
Established in 1869, Purdue University is home to 38,788 students enrolled in more than 200 majors across 10 academic colleges and schools. The College of Technology, Department of Computer Graphics Technology offers several programs for aspiring game designers. Offerings include a BS with Specializations in Game Studies and Computer Graphics Technology, an MS in Computer Graphics Technology, and a PhD in Technology. A 5-Year BS/MS in Computer Graphics Technology is also on the menu.