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Princeton Review names USC top game design school
Princeton Review names USC top game design school
March 1, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

March 1, 2012 | By Eric Caoili
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More: Student/Education, Business/Marketing



Education services company The Princeton Review has again selected University of Southern California as the top undergraduate and graduate school to study video game design in the U.S. and Canada.

USC was also selected as the best undergraduate and graduate game design school last year, and it managed to hold onto that status despite facing increasing competition -- more than 150 universities participated in The Princeton Review's survey for this year, compared to 50 last year.

Tracy Fullerton, an associate professor for USC's Interactive Media Division and director of its Game Innovation Lab, told USA Today that the university was identified as the top game design school because of its "focus on the artistry of game design."

Other schools receiving top marks for their undergraduate game design programs include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Utah, DigiPen Institute of Technology, and The Art Institute of Vancouver.

Rochester Institute of Technology, MIT, University of Central Florida, and Southern Methodist University were also recognized for their graduate programs.

The Princeton Review ranked the universities after conducting surveys with administrators that covered the quality of their curriculum, faculty, facilities, and infrastructure. It also collected data from schools on their scholarships, financial aid, and career opportunities.

Top 10 undergraduate schools to study video game design
  1. University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)
  2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA)
  3. University of Utah (Salt Lake City, UT)
  4. DigiPen Institute of Technology (Redmond, WA)
  5. The Art Institute of Vancouver (Vancouver, BC)
  6. Rochester Institute of Technology (Rochester, NY)
  7. Shawnee State University (Portsmouth, OH)
  8. Savannah College of Art and Design (Savannah, GA)
  9. University of New Mexico (Albuquerque, NM)
  10. Becker College (Worcester, MA)
Honorable mentions– Undergraduate schools (alphabetical order)
  • Bradley University (Peoria, IL)
  • Champlain College (Burlington, VT)
  • Columbia College Chicago (Chicago, IL)
  • DePaul University (Chicago, IL)
  • Drexel University (Philadelphia, PA)
  • Ferris State University (Grand Rapids, MI)
  • Full Sail University (Winter Park, FL)
  • Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA)
  • Miami University (Oxford, OH)
  • Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI)
  • New Jersey Institute of Technology (Newark, NJ)
  • New York University/NYU POLY (New York, NY)
  • North Carolina State University (Raleigh, NC)
  • Northeastern University (Boston, MA)
  • Ohio University (Athens, OH)
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY)
  • University of Advancing Technology (Tempe, AZ)
  • University of California, Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz, CA)
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore County (Baltimore, MD)
  • The University of Texas at Dallas (Richardson, TX)
  • Vancouver Film School (Vancouver, BC)
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Worcester, MA)
Top 10 graduate schools to study video game design
  1. University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)
  2. Rochester Institute of Technology (Rochester, NY)
  3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA)
  4. University of Central Florida (Orlando, FL)
  5. Southern Methodist University (SMU) (Plano, TX)
  6. Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA)
  7. Savannah College of Art and Design (Savannah, GA)
  8. DigiPen Institute of Technology (Redmond, WA)
  9. Univ. of California, Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz, CA)
  10. Drexel University (Philadelphia, PA)
Honorable mentions – Graduate schools (alphabetical order)
  • DePaul University (Chicago, IL)
  • Full Sail University (Winter Park, FL)
  • Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA)
  • New York University/NYU Poly (New York, NY)
  • Parsons - The New School for Design (New York, NY)
  • Sacred Heart University (Fairfield, CT)
  • The University of Texas at Dallas (Richardson, TX)
  • University of Utah (Salt Lake City, UT)


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Comments


Mikhail Mukin
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I'm not sure those are strict game design or both design / game programming courses... Had to interview a few guys for engineering intern position, and was a bit surprised... Looks like things I consider to be "basics" might not be that well tought (or remembered :) I assumed those are the basics everybody with BS/MS in game programming (and honestly - many people in game design unless they are targeting purely creative/writing/art side of things ):

What does "static" mean in C++, why/when to use.

What is scalar ("dot") product? What can you tell me about geometry of 2 vectors if it is negative?

What container classes did you know/use, why, compare advantages/disadvantages? Some details about how maps can be implemented would be great (though "bonus points")

What is -2 in hex?

What are the differences between process and thread? When to use what and why?

Peter Christiansen
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I think it's pretty safe to say that these Princeton Review lists lump programming, art and design into the same category. I think that calling it "Game Development" rather than "Game Design" would probably be more accurate, but their choice of words is probably based on what most university programs call themselves, rather than what they actually focus on.

Anna Tito
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There will always be students who don't get their material, probably more so in games because it is the "cool" thing to do. The challenge as a employer is to find the good ones and let the bad ones know why they didn't get it so if they are honestly motivated they can improve.

I myself just went through the new gradute recruitment process, I had the issue of having a Bachelor of Game Design majoring in programming and design in a country with no graduate (or really any) positions in Game Development (and other countries not supporting internationals for Grad. Roles). I was lucky to find a recruiter & company that could see past my BA and to my tech skills, but it wasn't easy not many companies even understood what my qualifications meant technically, even though I had taught programming.

There were gaps in my degree, but I am motivated enough to fill them so it is a non issue. No degree is really watertight it is only the skeleton, it is and always has been up to the student to flesh it out.

Casey Hoogstraten
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USC offers two disitinct undergraduate (as well as graduate) gaming degrees. The school of engineering offers a "Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (Games)" with a primary focus on programming and is more or less a CS degree with gaming electives. The school of Cinematic Arts offers a "Bachelor of Arts in Interactive Media" with a primary focus on the visual aspects. The two programs collaborate together but are distinctly different. The application the school submits to the Princeton review is done jointly and so represents the combined quality of both programs. The BSc grads are the coders the BA grads are typically not.


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