If you’re wondering how to become a video game designer, researching educational opportunities in the field is a great place to start. A video game design degree can open up professional opportunities in the gaming industry, allowing you to use your creativity to develop interactive experiences. A good video game design college will help prepare you to work in programming, animation, and graphic design. Keep reading to learn about the best game design schools.


Explore Featured Video Game Design Programs


Overview: Video Game Design Colleges


You may be wondering what to expect out of a video game design program. Most bachelor’s programs take four years to complete and cover game design, programming, art, and animation. Some programs include a final exam or capstone project, and give students opportunities to gain hands-on experience through internships or fieldwork.


According to Data USA, 5,238 degrees were awarded in animation, interactive technology, video graphics, and special effects in 2020. The median annual in-state public tuition for these programs was $4,167, while the median out-of-state private tuition was $37,600.



5 Best Video Game Design Colleges


The school and/or program descriptions below were drafted using natural language generation technology and have been edited for clarity and accuracy. The data is primarily sourced from government databases such as IPEDS – see sources section for more details.



#1 Best Video Game Design Colleges

Southern New Hampshire University

  • Manchester, NH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Students seeking flexible online study should consider Southern New Hampshire University. The institution supports 45 remote online bachelor’s degree programs. Learners seeking to advance in the video game design field will benefit from the online bachelor of arts in game design.

The online degree gives students the flexibility to complete their education without having to relocate. Students complete industry-specific classes to prepare them for a career in video game design.

The school supports over 128,000 distance learners across 103 online programs. Students studying online can also pursue financial aid opportunities, such as scholarships and fellowships, to offset educational expenses.

Students Enrolled


Percent Online Enrollment


Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.



New England Commission on Higher Education

#2 Best Video Game Design Colleges

Liberty University

  • Lynchburg, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty University offers 242 programs, including an online bachelor of science in information technology degree with the opportunity to specialize in game design.

Students in the program learn in-demand skills such as graphic design, digital imaging, and interactive game development. These skills can make graduates competitive in the job market.

Students interested in pursuing a career in game design should consider Liberty University. Almost all students receive some form of financial aid, and 55% receive loans. Liberty University offers 93 bachelor’s programs and 174 online programs.

Percent Online Enrollment


Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.



Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 Best Video Game Design Colleges

Michigan State University

  • East Lansing, MI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Michigan State University is a public school located in East Lansing and offers 409 degree programs. 

Students interested in pursuing a game design career should consider MSU’s serious game design and research graduate certificate. Graduates of the program gain experience and build skills to prepare them for work in the game design field.

MSU has an 81% graduation rate. In addition, 71% of students receive some form of financial aid and 40% receive loans. The average amount of aid awarded per student is $11,850, and the average price per student after financial aid is $16,655. 

Percent Online Enrollment


Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.



Higher Learning Commission

#5 Best Video Game Design Colleges

Savannah College of Art and Design

  • Savannah, GA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Savannah College of Art and Design is a private university located in Georgia. The school offers a variety of degree programs.

If you’re interested in a career in the video game design industry, consider SCAD’s B.A. in interactive design and game development. The program gives students a chance to learn valuable skills and prepares them for a professional career in video game design.

Most students at SCAD receive some form of financial aid, and 41% receive loans.

Percent Online Enrollment


Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.



Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That’s why we’ve developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.

If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

We thank you for your readership and trust.


Salary and Demand for Video Game Design Occupations


Two common video game careers are software developers and special effects artists and animators. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for software developers in 2021 was $120,730 and the median annual salary for special effects artists and animators was $78,790. Software developers create the code and programs that power video games, while special effects artists and animators create visual effects for movies, video games, and other media.


Job Outlook


The BLS projects 25% growth in the employment of software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers from 2021-2031. Special effects artists and animators can expect 5% growth over the same period.



Paying for a Program


Financing a college education can be a daunting task. According to a 2017 report from the National Center for Education Statistics DataLab, 66.6% of undergraduate students in the U.S. borrow money to finance their college education.


There are many ways to finance your education besides loans. You can search for work-study opportunities, for example. It is also important for you to learn about scholarships and other forms of financial aid, such as federal, state, and private grants. Fill out the Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) to see what kind of federal aid is available to you.



Online vs. On Campus


When searching for the right college, consider the differences between online and on-campus programs. While every program is different, here are some of the general advantages and drawbacks of both:




    • Flexibility to learn on your own schedule and at your own pace


    • May be more affordable


    • Quick enrollment


    • May lack the structure of on-campus programs


    • Students may have difficulty with communication and time management



On Campus


    • Access to campus amenities (e.g., gyms, libraries, and health services)


    • Smaller class sizes and more face time with peers and professors


    • More work-study options and student activities


    • More expensive with costly tuition and fees (room and board)


    • Students may have difficulty adjusting to college life and balancing work and school




Public vs. Private


While searching for your ideal program in video game design, consider the differences between public and private schools.


Cost is one of the most important considerations for many students, and private schools tend to be more expensive. However, private institutions often have more specialized programs and smaller class sizes. Additionally, because of their smaller size, private colleges often have a close-knit community, which may not be present at public colleges.


Public institutions are typically larger, more cost-effective, and easier to enroll in. However, a higher student-to-faculty ratio could mean less individualized attention for students.


Be sure to research the specifics of each individual program carefully, as the differences listed above are only general. Ultimately, the decision between public and private college depends on your individual needs and preferences.



Applying to a Video Game Design Program


When deciding whether to apply to a program, consider a few key factors. Cost and affordability are important, as you’ll need to be able to cover tuition and other associated fees. Quality should also be taken into account, as you’ll want to ensure that the program you select meets your expectations. Finally, you should look into the program length, as it will determine how long it will take you to complete your degree. Make sure you compare different programs before applying.


When it comes time to apply, review the program’s admission requirements. It’s helpful to make a checklist with relevant deadlines to ensure that you send in all required materials on time. Many programs request letters of recommendation, so be sure to notify your letter-writers well in advance to ensure that all your application materials are considered.



Frequently Asked Questions about Video Game Design Programs


What qualifications do I need to apply for a bachelor’s degree in video game design?


To apply to a bachelor’s in video game design program, you typically need a high school diploma or equivalent and good grades in math and computer science.


You may also need to provide transcripts and letters of recommendation, and take a standardized test such as the SAT or ACT.


What is the cost of a degree in video game design?


The cost of a video game design education varies widely. For example, according to Data USA, the median in-state public tuition for animation, interactive technology, video graphics, and special effects majors was $4,167 in 2020. The median out-of-state private tuition for the same group was $37,600.


What is the average salary for a video game design professional?


According to BLS, the median annual salary for software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers was $109,020 in 2021. Salaries may vary depending on job qualifications, location, and the specific role.




    • Software Developers. (Accessed March 9, 2023). U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics.






    • Data Lab. (Accessed March 9, 2023). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics.


    • IPEDS Access Databases. (Data retrieved November 17, 2022). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System



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