Game Design Courses & Degrees

Game Design Degrees OnlineThe increased number of gaming degrees being awarded parallels the soaring popularity of the multi-billion dollar video game industry. New technologies, increased graphics capabilities, and the proliferation of mobile devices are changing the way we game, creating a new world of career opportunities for game designers.

College degrees in video game design focus on three main disciplines - design, art, and programming. Some universities offer certificates and degrees that fit neatly into a single discipline, while others combine two or even all three gaming domains for a more well-rounded education. Your personal interests and career goals will determine which program is right for you. Jump ahead to compare programs or read on for more information on how to choose the best gaming degree for you.

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Choosing a Game Design Degree

These are the key factors you should consider when picking a college degree program in video game design:


Curriculum -- the tools, techniques and technologies you will learn over the course of the program -- is the most important factor when choosing a game design degree. Look for a curriculum that covers as many of the following topics as possible within your desired role. Remember, it's good to have skills from peripheral game design disciplines as this makes you more versatile and valuable to employers, especially at a small studio where responsibilities overlap.

Here are the classes you should take to become a video game designer, broken down by job role:

Game designers are responsible for crafting the story and rules of a video game. They also create the characters and universe in which the game takes place. A college degree for a game designer should include the following subjects:

  • Technical and creative writing inc. storytelling and storyboarding
  • Character design using classic archetypes, philosophy and mythology
  • World design including the creation of levels, maps and puzzles
  • Game mechanics including pacing, conflict resolution & reward systems
  • Project management, leadership and effective communication skills
  • Coursework in physics and math (especially algebra) will be useful

Game programmers take the elements of a video game and turn them into the actual code that makes it all work. Game programmers (aka game developers) should pursue a curriculum with the following courses:

  • Desirable programming and scripting languages for game development inc. Java, C++, JavaScript, C#, SQL & Python
  • Mobile app development using Java or Kotlin (for Android games) & Objective-C or Swift (for iOS games)
  • Game engine programming, algorithms, and physics system development
  • Virtual Reality (VR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) programming

Game artists create the visual elements of a video game, from the way a character looks to a tree waving in the breeze in the background and everything in between. The course curriculum in a game art degree should include:

  • Strong foundation in visual arts, 2D drawing and multimedia design
  • Graphic design using popular software like Adobe Creative Cloud
  • 3D computer animation including modeling and texture design
  • Motion-capture shooting, tracking, enhancement and correction
  • Exploration of shading, lighting, reflection, mood & atmosphere

Top-Rated Game Design Degrees

These college degree programs best embody the skills you need to become a professional video game designer.

Admissions advisors can provide more info about game design degrees & curriculum, course start dates, career placement, tuition costs, personalized financial aid options and scholarships.

Bachelor of Science in Game Design

If you dream of creating innovative, visually stunning and engaging video games, this online bachelor's degree in game design can set your career in motion. Learn how to develop a video game from concept to distribution using the same processes as the world's top game studios. Using Full Sail's cutting-edge online learning platform, you'll engage in the same interaction between video game developers, designers and artists that this highly collaborative industry thrives on.

Program Highlights:

  • Design innovative content for consoles and mobile devices
  • Study the influence of historic archetypes and mythology
  • Video game storytelling, narration and storyboarding
  • Deconstruct, reproduce and improve existing video games
  • Video game mechanics, pacing, and thematic structures
  • Design and test intuitive video game user interfaces (UIs)
  • Team building, leadership & game design project management
  • Beginner through advanced video game level / world design
  • Video game prototyping, testing, revisions and optimization
  • Midway Video Game Design Project: Analog Game Prototype Design
  • Final Video Game Design Project: Develop a Full Digital Video Game

Learning Method: 

Online Degree


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Financial Aid Available: 

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Related degree programs at Full Sail University:

BS - IT: Programming and Software Development

This program provides the skills to create cutting-edge games and applications for the Internet, consoles and mobile devices. Students will learn marketable programming languages, including Java, HTML/5, CSS, Javascript, .Net and Objective-C, and take creative arts courses to become well-rounded software developers and designers.

Program Highlights:

  • Create Games, Apps and Systems for the Web & Mobile Devices
  • Application Development using Java, Objective-C, C# & HTML5
  • User-Interface (UI) and User-Experience (UX) Design Training
  • Web Design and Development using HTML, CSS and JavaScript
  • Utilize the Adobe Suite to Design Web Graphics & Effects
  • Also available as Associate's: AS - IT: Programming and Software Development

Learning Method: 

Online Degree


Degree Level: 



Accredited School: 



Financial Aid Available: 

Federal, State, Military & Scholarships

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Related degree programs at Purdue University Global:


Video Game Degrees Online

Compare online degree programs and certificates that align with the video game designer career track.

Admissions advisors can provide more info about gaming programs and curriculum, admissions & start dates, online learning, career opportunities, tuition costs and personalized financial aid options.
Got targeted learning goals? Many schools offer individual courses from campus and online degree programs.
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What college degree do you need for game design?

Though not always mandatory, most game design roles require a bachelor’s degree. Desirable majors for game designers include computer science, game design, game development, software engineering, and computer programming.

How long does it take to become a game designer?

A bachelor’s degree in game design or development typically takes four years to complete as a full time student. Some game design schools offer accelerated online programs that can be completed in as little as 2.5 years.

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