If video games are more than a casual hobby for you, there are schools you might consider applying to that can tap into your passion and boost it to a whole new level.

By combining your gaming enthusiasm with a targeted education and lots of hard work, you could turn video games into a promising career path in video game development, design, scripting and much more. From programs in digital media to game art and production, the schools below are a sample of the available options that can advance your interest — and leverage all those hours you’ve spent gaming into an exciting career. 

1. Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in Rochester, New York

Independent college admissions counselor Jodi Rosenshein Atkin recommends RIT for her clients who are ardent gamers. The curriculum provides a comprehensive technical education while also allowing students with specific gaming interests to dive into specializations like design, production, systems, graphics and web apps by choosing to major in Game Design and Development. Students pursuing this degree take classes in game design and graphics programming and are required to work two co-op jobs in the field. The co-op jobs are full-time, paid work that give students a real taste of their potential career paths — not to mention adding a competitive edge to their résumés when it’s time to apply for jobs. 

2. Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in Atlanta

If you’re into the science behind video gaming, Georgia Tech may be for you. The school specializes in the research that goes into video game development and the data collected through video gaming. In fact, the school launched an initiative called Games@Georgia Tech to promote their leadership role in the field, bring awareness to the work being done on campus and create partnerships throughout the industry. There’s also extensive gaming coursework available through the school’s Computational Media degree. Amy Goodman, an admissions counselor at IvyWise, recommends this school and major for students who want “to focus on the design and development of video games, animation and special effects.” 

3. Drexel University in Philadelphia

Drexel, another of Rosenshein Atkin’s top recommendations for next-level gamers, offers a Digital Media Program with a major in Game Design and Production. This course of study equips students with a comprehensive understanding of design, technology and the foundations of digital media in addition to their gaming specialty. Drexel also helps students find co-op work at gaming companies. Like RIT, Drexel believes this is an invaluable way for students to determine what type of gaming work best suits them while adding experience to their résumé when it’s job application time. 

4. Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont 

There’s no shortage of educational opportunities for gamers at this small private college with a range of gaming-related majors, including Game Art and Animation, Game Design and Game Programming. Kiersten Murphy of Murphy College Consultants in Issaquah, Washington, is a fan of the school’s “upside-down curriculum that allows freshmen to begin their major their first semester.” She also points out Burlington, Vermont is only two hours from Montreal, which is Canada’s video game capital, and a number of Champlain students have been summer interns at some of Montreal’s leading gaming design firms. 

5. University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles

USC Games combines two of the university’s strongest programs: the School of Cinematic Arts’ Interactive Media & Games Division and the Viterbi School of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science. Geared toward the field of game design, the program has a strong focus on collaborative work and features instruction from industry pioneers. Students can choose between studying game design through a Bachelor of Arts, which exposes them to a broad liberal arts education in addition to their gaming specialty, or a Bachelor of Science, which combines a general computer science background with game development. With either path, students get hands-on experience, work in teams and are prepared to be forward-thinkers in their post-grad gaming jobs.  

Interviews for this article were conducted in 2018. 

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