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Online Colleges for Video Game Development

Even one short decade ago, who would have expected video games to achieve the level of acclaim they have today? From professional esports players and sponsored Let's Players, to casual RPG strategists and devoted longtime fangirls, to children playing with vocabulary and mothers killing time with farm animals, it seems that there's a video game for any person or genre. But just like books or movies, there's always another brilliant idea just waiting to be discovered in the world of video games. If you want to be one of the people putting together the graphics, the music, the writing, the coding and the balance for those waiting ideas, then you'll want a solid grounding in the aspects of video game creation, and a degree in video game development is a perfect way to attain that.

Best Online Colleges for Video Game Development

Looking for an online college for video game development? We describe the five best online programs here, ranked using information obtained from the National Center for Education Statistics' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). To read more about the criteria used to develop this list, see the bottom of this page. Otherwise, take a look at our list of the five best online colleges for video game development, right here.

1

Full Sail University

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$16,561
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
30
Accredited
School Type
4-year

Full Sail University gives students the opportunity to work toward an online Bachelor of Science in game design degree or to pursue a campus-based program. The school also offers a related Bachelor of Science in game art. The game design degree can be completed in as little as 32 months and includes project and portfolio courses. Key topics that instructors aim to cover include:

  • Character development
  • Game economics
  • Storytelling
  • Usability

Among the 14 online colleges for video game development considered for this list, Full Sail University took the top spot for granting the highest percent of degrees in the field. The school has an open admissions policy, indicating that anybody who applies will be accepted into the school as long as they have either a high school diploma or a GED certificate, and placed No.3 out of 14 schools on the metric for highest graduation rate.

Accreditation:

  • Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges

Location:

3300 University Boulevard
Winter Park, Florida 32792-7429
Go to School Website 
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2

Central Piedmont Community College

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$2,304
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
10
Accredited
School Type
2-year

Students wanting to learn more about BluePrints, C#, Java, MEL Scripting, Python and Unreal Engine can look into Central Piedmont Community College's online Associate of Applied Science in simulation and game design program. The school also offers the following online:

  • Certificates in Game Development
  • A certificate in Mobile Game Development
  • Simulation and Game Design Diplomas in Animation, 3D, Design and Programming

Students are given a full motion capture system with wireless/camera-less motion capture capabilities as part of the associate degree program. Out of all 14 colleges ranked for online video game development degrees, Central Piedmont Community College took the second place ranking on this list for tuition affordability. The community college ranked fifth for the most degrees awarded in the field; an open admission policy completes the package.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Location:

1201 Elizabeth Avenue
Charlotte, North Carolina 28204
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3

Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$15,870
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
16
Accredited
School Type
4-year

Students interested in online bachelor's degree programs in video game development can look into the program offered through Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, a college that was founded in 1963. 3D sculpting, modeling and gaming psychology are all part of the school's Bachelor of Arts in game arts degree. A proprietary learning management system enables students and instructors to interact with one another. The program also includes coursework in:

  • Art History
  • Character Rigging
  • Digital Sculpting
  • Life Drawing

Also known as RMCAD, this college made it onto our list of online colleges for video game development largely due to earning second place in the graduation rate metric. Additionally, it ranked sixth for the percentage of degrees it awarded in video game development in 2015-16 and, like the colleges above it, also has an open admissions policy.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission

Location:

1600 Pierce Street
Lakewood, Colorado 80214
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4

Academy of Art University

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$20,040
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
67
Accredited
School Type
4-year

The Academy of Art University makes game design an important component of its online education, which has been available at the school since 2002. A Bachelor of Fine Arts in game development degree can be pursued, but students also can enroll for an Associate of Arts or Master of Fine Arts in game development program. A Bachelor of Science in game programming degree is another route. No matter what option is chosen, students produce an art and gaming portfolio as part of their degree program.

This school ranked number three for the percent of its degrees that were awarded in the game development field. It took the number four spot for graduation rate, out of all 14 online colleges analyzed in this list. The Academy of Art University is also the final school on our list to have an open admissions policy.

Accreditation:

  • WASC Senior College and University Commission

Location:

79 New Montgomery
San Francisco, California 94105
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5

Savannah College of Art and Design

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$34,470
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
20
Accredited
School Type
4-year

Numerous online video gaming development degrees are available through Savannah College of Art and Design, such as a Bachelor of Arts, a Master of Arts minor and a Master of Fine Arts in interactive development and game design. Of note, the school:

  • Won the E3 College Game Competition for the past two years
  • Offers the choice of a Game Development or Interactive Design and Physical Computing concentration at the bachelor's level
  • Includes multiple options for electives

Savannah College of Art and Design took the number one spot for graduation rate and the second spot for the percentage of game design degrees it awarded in 2015-16 among the online colleges for video game development considered for this list. Although it does not have an open admissions policy, it accepted nearly 70 percent of applicants to its video game development programs in 2015.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Location:

342 Bull Street
Savannah, Georgia 31402-3146
Go to School Website 
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Sources and Methodologies

Methodology

To be included in these rankings, all colleges had to meet the following criteria for the specific subject being ranked:

  1. Offer an undergraduate degree (either associate or bachelor's) in that subject online
  2. Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in 2014-15

Once we had our list of schools for each subject, we ranked them on five criteria:

  1. In-state tuition, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  2. Graduation rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014
  3. Accessibility, based on the admissions rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014
  4. Program prominence, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded in 2014-15 were in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  5. Related subjects, based on the number of similar topics for programs in relevant CIP codes that are offered at any level, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015

Sources:

  1. Bachelor of Arts in Fine Game Arts Online, Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, Accessed April 2017, http://www.rmcad.edu/academics/game-art-online
  2. eLearning Programs and Degrees, SCAD, Accessed April 2017, https://www.scad.edu/academics/elearning/programs?location=all&program=undergraduate
  3. Game Design Bachelor of Science, Full Sail University, Accessed April 2017, https://www.fullsail.edu/degrees/game-design-bachelor
  4. Online Game Development Degree Programs, Academy of Art University, Accessed April 2017, https://www.academyart.edu/academics/game-development/online-degrees
  5. Simulation and Game Design, Central Piedmont Community College, Accessed April 2017, http://www.cpcc.edu/sgd
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Sources and Methodologies