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Quality Schools for a Video Game Degree

You can spend a lot of time clicking through web pages, tech sites, school sites, perennials like CNET and Technorati and the CNN tech section and never find a "top ten" list for video game degrees. There are a lot of sites that list schools and some excellent blogs on the nature of the industry, but no supposedly disinterested news source has tried to rate schools based on their programs for video game careers.

What does occur, however, is the recurring mention of the same institutions as being good academic choices for the game industry. There aren't a lot of them, either. While the game industry is an enormous money maker, the number of people employed in the production of games is small. Big studios like EA and Activision employ hundreds, not thousands of creative professionals.

So the first issue for an aspiring video game professional is an unvarnished look at the business. There are several good analyses of the business side of the game industry that address both the types of jobs that are found there and the culture of an industry that locks a group of educated game freaks into a studio for months at a time.

ITT Technical has a bachelor's degree in visual entertainment and game design. From the title, it sounds as if the degree will turn you into an accomplished multimedia professional whether you are working in games or on the web. Gaming technology is strength in the ITT video game offerings.

The Art Institutes has campuses in many states. As you might expect, the schools carry a wide assortment of multimedia creative and technology programs. This school is probably more design oriented than versed in software programming languages and other technical necessities.

The University of Southern California has for some years had an excellent film school, turning out the next generation of movie moguls. Now they've taken some of their video resources and faculty in hand and worked up a bachelor's program in video game development. It won't be cheap, but you can't beat the credential. The sleeper campus in this field is the Savannah College of Art & Design, which has worked a degree program in interactive design and game development into its remarkable range of fine arts programs.

These are the schools that seem to be mentioned most often when the subject of game development studies comes up. Landing a job in the industry is another issue altogether. It's probably safe to say, however, that students who concentrate on the programming side won't be as numerous as those who are focused on design.

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  • Liberty University

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    • Master of Fine Arts: Graphic Design
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