Best Game Design & Development Schools in the World 2020
2020 Update! The Best Game Design & Development Schools and Colleges in the World. Find the best places to learn to make computer games and become industry ready.
The 2020 Best Game Development Schools and Colleges in the World rankings is something we take very seriously and no external influences or payments are entered into at any point. Our rankings focus on the quality of students portfolios that are submitted to our judging panel which best reflect the recruitment interview process.
We feel that traditional school rankings that include peer and employer reviews, faculty to student ratio, citations and other data are not adequate when ranking the best creative schools. For a complete breakdown of how we rank the best schools for 2018 please read how we rank the best schools and how we analyse the data in the sections located at the bottom of this page.
What is Game Development
Games developers design, create and produce computer or video games. They work in games development teams with artists, programmers, producers and marketing staff. Games developers usually specialise in a particular game platform (PlayStation, Xbox or Nintendo, for example) and a particular aspect of game development, such as programming artificial intelligence or gameplay. Specialisation is common in the industry, although games developers sometimes perform a combination of roles.
Why would you want to work in Game Development?
Maybe because it's a career that involves the perfect mix of story telling, cutting-edge technology and creativity. It could also be because you love playing games and want to help bring to live your creative ideas. Maybe you want a career that allows you to travel the world or even work remotely from home. Or maybe it's because you love drawing and building things with your hands and on the computer. There are so many reasons why you would want to work in Gam and there are dozen of possible career paths open to you across multiple industries.
The Rookie Awards are the most important student award and ranking globally as it has a credibility that others just don’t have. It doesn’t let advertising budgets create higher school rankings, it uses industry to assess and judge student work and discounts for any school flooding the awards with entries. Having the ‘employability of the Artist’ as a judging criteria is key, for in the creative fields you can be free of constraint and let the ideas flow but getting and building a career requires an additional ability to be practical and having ideas that can be executed and maintained.
Darryn Melrose, former Chief Executive of Media Design School
Top Game Development Schools and Colleges in 2020
The official rankings for 2020 have been calculated based on the performance of students work submitted to our industry panel. Full details can be found further down the page about how we calculate and rank schools.
|1||Think Tank Training Centre||Canada||99.18||Learn More|
|3||Gnomon||United States||66.38||Learn More|
|4||Howest University of Applied Sciences - Digital Arts and Entertainment||Belgium||64.2||Learn More|
|5||Ringling College of Art and Design||United States||59.67||Learn More|
|6||3dsense Media School||Singapore||59.66||Learn More|
|7||Vertex School||Online||58||Learn More|
|8||The One Academy of Communication Design||Malaysia||57.115||Learn More|
|9||Academy of Art University||United States||55.84||Learn More|
|10||University of Hertfordshire||United Kingdom||54.52||Learn More|
|11||Escape Studios||United Kingdom||53.735||Learn More|
|12||Bellecour Ecole||France||53.58||Learn More|
|13||Staffordshire University||United Kingdom||53.09||Learn More|
|15||Savannah College of Art and Design||United States||51.18||Learn More|
|16||University of South Wales||United Kingdom||51.055||Learn More|
|17||Animum Creativity Advanced School||Spain||49.445||Learn More|
|18||Flinders University / CDW Studios||Australia||48.445||Learn More|
|19||Breda University - IGAD - (BUAS)||Netherlands||47.8||Learn More|
|20||Falmouth University||United Kingdom||46.7||Learn More|
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Top entries submitted by Game Development students from these schools and colleges
Follow these links below to view some of the incredible entries that our judging panel were tasked with reviewing. These entries showcase the quality of work created by students which helped rank their schools.
Detailed information about the top schools and colleges for Game Development
The following schools are the top Game Development educational facilities for 2020 and offer great courses and curriculum that produces students that are ready for the challenges faced by professional artists working in Game Development. Follow the links below to find out more about these schools, their facilities, team, success stories, student artwork and more.
1. Think Tank Training Centre
Founded in 2005 in Vancouver BC, Think Tank Training Centre specializes in the latest software, techniques and technologies used by 3D artists working in the film, television and video game industries. In 2018 we ranked #1 in Canada (#4 worldwide) for Game Development, and #2 in Canada (#3 worldwide) for Visual Effects, and have consistently placed in the top four in previous years. Think Tank's campus is an inspirational place of learning, delivering a one-of-a-kind mentorship program which gives our students the edge as they transition into fully-fledged working professionals.
New3dge, located in Paris, is a private school of higher education specialized in the fields of Game Art, 3D Animation&VFX and Concept Art. We have tailored our student program and our teaching methods alongside some of the major players in these fields. We recruit our educators from our network of respected professionals around the globe. At New3gde, we give our students the opportunity to learn skills and work with cutting edge technology in an ever-evolving environment, guaranteeing their integration in the video game, 3D animation/VFX field and Concept Art. Our current placement rate is 92% More infos at : www.new3dge.com
For over twenty years, Gnomon has educated many of the world’s best digital artists. Called “the MIT of visual effects” by Fast Company magazine, Gnomon offers a variety of educational options to help students reach their goals in the entertainment industry, with both degree and vocational certificate programs, specialized courses for high school students and over 100 individual courses for professional enrichment. Visual effects artists launched Gnomon with the support of the entertainment industry to help meet the demand for well-trained creative talent in the growing field of digital entertainment. Our graduates are professionals working on the latest blockbuster films and games, and have positions at film and video game studios around the world.
4. Howest University of Applied Sciences - Digital Arts and Entertainment
Digital Arts & Entertainment (DAE) is a state-of-the-art, yet accessible, English-taught Bachelor’s degree. Fully accredited, 3 years, amounting to 180 ECTS credits. DAE is taught at Howest, a modern and unconventional university of applied sciences, situated in a small but beautiful historic city in Flanders, Belgium, in the heart of Western Europe. At DAE you can choose between 4 study majors: Game Development, Game Graphics Production, Independent Game Production or 3D Production & VFX. It is an industry-approved and award-winning curriculum, with alumni in leading companies and studios all over the world, such as Blizzard, Bungie, Ubisoft, DICE, Rocksteady, Guerrilla Games, Larian, Unity, Studio Gobo, Sumo Digital, ILM, MPC, DNeg and many more.
We offer an open, inclusive and international community where you will work on real-life, team-based and industry-assessed projects and assignments. We focus on a practically-oriented education where you receive training by qualified experts. This, together with international guest lectures by key industry speakers and state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, makes for an ideal environment to become an expert in the industry.
Our campus is located at the heart of Western Europe, based in the small, comprehensive, safe and beautiful historic city of Kortrijk, at the banks of the river Leie, where over 1000 years of history meet with modern architecture and design. Here we offer our high-quality degree for a comparatively very low tuition fee. Graduating from our industry-approved and award-winning curriculum, many of our alumni work in leading companies and studios all over the world. This is strengthened by our unique technical artists profile. No matter what major you choose, you will have a good grasp of what your colleagues are up to, which makes cooperation easier.
5. Ringling College of Art and Design
Since 1931, Ringling College of Art and Design has cultivated the creative spirit in students from around the globe. The private, not-for-profit, fully-accredited college offers the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in thirteen disciplines and the Bachelor of Arts in two. The College’s rigorous curriculum employs the studio model of teaching and immediately engages students through a comprehensive, program that is both specific to the major of study and focused on the liberal arts. The Ringling College teaching model ultimately shapes students into highly employable and globally aware artists and designers. www.ringling.edu
6. 3dsense Media School
3dsense Media School is a pioneering digital arts school in Asia, preparing students for careers in the media and entertainment industry for over 13 years. Dedicated to providing a real-world education, 3dsense aims to mold the next generation of elite digital artists and designers for the global industry. Some of the properties her alumni have worked on include Interstellar, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Avengers, The Hunger Games series, Assassin’s Creed, Game of Thrones and many more. 3dsense was recently ranked top 20 in the world and 1st in Asia in the CG Student Awards 2015, School of the Year category.Besides education, the school also plays a major role in fostering a vibrant arts & design industry through its events and masterclasses.
7. Vertex School
The Vertex School is building in-depth online training programs to help people get jobs in cutting edge creative technical fields such as Games and Real Time Technology using our combination of skill mapping, accountability, mentoring and just plain old hard work and butt kicking. We're a higher quality, more affordable and more up to date alternative to associates and bachelor degree programs which can be outdated by the time you finish them. Our competition exists in traditional and online education. Most of these solutions provide one size fits all training whether it’s government approved curriculum or pre-recorded online classes. Our solution combines live training, the chance to get instant feedback and assigned success coaches.
8. The One Academy of Communication Design
For over 25 years of creative education excellence, The One Academy has been renowned as one of the best art and design colleges in Asia with over 2,500 existing students in two of our main campuses. We are committed to our role as a world-class education provider by nurturing creative pioneers who can brace and surpass international standards.To achieve this, we provide comprehensive courses, for instance, Film Visual Effects and Digital Animation with Game Development, in collaboration with industry masters such as Andrew Gordon, Pixar animation director, Eduardo Pena, concept artist of The Hobbit trilogies, and also Ubisoft, to name a few.
9. Academy of Art University
Since 1929, Academy of Art University has helped prepare aspiring artists and designers for professional careers by offering 135+ accredited degree options in more than 40 areas of study. Choose from animation and visual effects, game design and development, illustration, fine art, communications, filmmaking, and more. We are first and foremost a professional school—a purpose-based art and design school where students develop their talents and acquire the specific skills sought by the creative marketplace. Our hands-on curriculum is taught by some of the finest minds working in today’s creative and innovative industries—professional artists and designers who bring their industry expertise to the classroom. Academy students graduate with a solid creative foundation, business savvy, and an entrepreneurial spirit that tends to stick with them for life.
10. University of Hertfordshire
The School of Creative Arts is the oldest part of the University of Hertfordshire, and its roots date back to 1890 with the formation of St Albans School of Art that later merged with the University in the 20th century. The School prides itself on its devotion to teaching creativity and the skills required to enable students to reach the goals they want from a degree and future career. It combines a wealth of physical resources that cover all aspects of creative arts production from animation, games and film, to fashion, print making, ceramics and architectural design to name a few.
A large base of talented staff with working experience of the industries they teach in allows students to gain knowledge from those who have already worked in the areas they wish to enter after graduation. The School maintains close links with many companies in the creative industries, allowing students to be part of live projects, company visits, guest lectures on specialist cutting edge topics and to get to meet the people and companies who inspired them to begin their journey into art in the first place.
11. Escape Studios
At Escape Studios, we offer undergraduate, postgraduate and short courses in Visual Effects (VFX), Game Art, Animation and Motion Graphics. We work with an impressive list of industry partners to design and deliver our courses, from MPC, DNEG, Framestore and The Mill, through to Jellyfish Pictures, Milk and BlueBolt, to name just a few! Do you have raw talent and big aspirations? If you're willing to put in the time, passion and hard work necessary, we can promise you a highly vocational, industry-focused training experience, giving you the skills you need to graduate job-ready.
Study in the heart of London's creative scene in our state-of-the-art facilities using professional tools and techniques for a real-life studio experience. Our tutors are experts and have all worked in successful studios. Packed with everything from The Dark Knight to Harry Potter, Thor: Ragnarok and multiple PlayStation titles, their CVs don't get much cooler! Through our industry partners, you'll get to meet, receive feedback and learn from some of the most creative and influential names in the industry as we invite guest speakers and tutors to the studios from the likes of Framestore, Creative Assembly or DNEG.
Our short courses are strongly vocational, designed to give you professional studio experience and train you to the latest standards. After most of our full-time programmes, you'll get a full package of career development support for 12 months after your course.
12. Bellecour Ecole
Bellecour Ecole is a specialized art school in the fields of applied arts / design: graphics - multimedia - space - Product - Fashion and Creative Industries: 3d animation - FX - gaming - concept art. Bellecour Ecole provides training to +3 and +5 (Artistic Director, 3D director, ).
13. Staffordshire University
We are the Connected University. We’re connected to the needs of our students, to business and to society. Our city campus in Stoke-on-Trent is the University’s nerve centre. We deliver world class healthcare education at our specialist Centres of Excellence in Stafford and Shrewsbury. And a global network of more than 20,000 people study our degrees internationally. Our industry connections and emphasis on experience make our graduates among the most employable in the UK. A leading university for digital technologies, we are always building on our proud computing heritage and strong reputation for computer games courses. Our gold award in the 2019 Teaching Excellence Framework recognises excellent standards of learning and teaching, while 78 per cent of our research is world leading or of international importance (Research Excellence Framework 2014). Our interdisciplinary network of research centres drive the publication of hundreds of papers each year.
Futuregames is a successful private game development school in Stockholm, Sweden. We are centrally located in the trendy and unique Södermalm district with our school at medborgarplatsen – the heart of Swedish games development cluster. Futuregames programs are 2-3 year Swedish higher vocational education mostly funded by the Swedish government. There are today 4 different programs within Futuregames: game design, 3D-graphics, 2D-graphics and game programming. The school offer 120 yearly seats within these 4 programs and all students mostly work in multiple parallel projects together with leading game studios until ending their education with a 30 week long internship.
15. Savannah College of Art and Design
The Savannah College of Art and Design exists to prepare talented students for professional careers, emphasizing learning through individual attention in a positively oriented university environment.SCAD visionThe Savannah College of Art and Design, an institution with distinctive yet complementary locations, will be recognized as the leader in defining art and design education. By employing innovation in all areas, SCAD will provide a superior education through talented and dedicated faculty and staff, leading-edge technology, advanced learning resources and comprehensive support services.SCAD valuesBeing a student-centered institution.
16. University of South Wales
USW Cardiff is one of the largest providers of Creative Industries Education in the UK, with a curriculum covering Illustration, Animation, Graphic Communication, Film and Media Production, to Drama, Performance, Music and Dance. Partnerships with major employers have led to 95% of our graduates entering employment within 6 months of graduation. Our graduates work for major studios including Disney Pixar, Rockstar Studios, Sony Pictures Animation, EA Games, DreamWorks and broadcasters including BBC, HBO along with many independent companies.
USW Cardiff prides itself on its vibrant city-centre location with several animation and games employers within easy reach. The Faculty offers a diverse range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses across the areas of - Animation and Games, Film & VFX, Music and Sound, Journalism & Media, & Performance, Design Communication, Fashion & Photography – all ideally placed within the same landmark building to foster a ‘culture of collaboration’ between them. All courses are united by a course structure that supports the development of ‘creativity’, ‘skills’ and ‘professionalism’, and is underpinned by a shared ethos that focuses upon twenty-first graduate skills.
17. Animum Creativity Advanced School
Whether you are passionate about film, videogames, advertising or architecture, our high quality face-to-face and online training focuses on the most important thing: to have the best reel or portfolio in the industry. Our methodology and our academic framework make this possible. The best advice we can give you: thoroughly analyze the work of the students.
18. Flinders University / CDW Studios
In partnership Flinders University and CDW Studios have created a very unique study environment where you are being taught by an instructor who currently works as a professional in that industry. Our instructors are world class, and have experience freelancing and working for some of the world’s top entertainment providers and creators, such as Blizzard Entertainment, Rising Sun Pictures, Disney, Warner Brothers and Lego just to name a few. By employing industry professionals CDW Studios and Flinders University ensure that students receive an intensive industry relevant education along with the critical thinking, analysis and structure that a Flinders University degree provides.
19. Breda University - IGAD - (BUAS)
1 to 1 coaching by industry veterans of AAA industry . Latest technology from Sony, Nintendo & Microsoft . Features all relevant game development skills for a practical multidisciplinary education . Partnering with leading game companies around the world . International classroom, completely English-taught, 25% of students and 80% of staff is international . A tradition of winning game awards over the past year (Unity Awards, GGJ, Sumo Digital, Brains Eden, Microsoft, Dutch Game Awards) . Top rated in Dutch higher education . The best and motivated talents are selected to start (180 students per year) . Officially accredited degree by the Ministry of Education, students enter the program in one of three study paths: Visual Art, Programming or Design & Production
20. Falmouth University
For more than 100 years, Falmouth University has been a hub of creative thinking and design innovation. Today, our portfolio of undergraduate and postgraduate courses represents the breadth of the Creative Industries, from art, design and fashion, to gaming, music and film.
How we calculate the school rankings
Data is based on the quality and performance of student work that is submitted to our judging panel for the Rookie Awards.
We feel that traditional school rankings – that include peer and employer reviews, faculty-to-student ratio, citations and other data – are not adequate when ranking the best creative schools. This might work in industries with more traditional career paths, however, when it comes to technical and creative roles, such as Visual Effects, Feature Animation and Games, it’s a lot more complicated.
The Judging Process
Each entrant is reviewed by members of the official Judging Panel which includes over 120 highly influential and respected industry veterans. The Judges were asked to score entries based on criteria including — creative skills, technical skills, presentation, variety of skills, complexity, raw talent, and employment potential.
Based on the results of student submissions we received this year we have released the following in-depth breakdowns about the best schools.
Each school is awarded a final score based on the performance of each student representing their academic facility.
When analysing the average scores of each student per school there are three possible data formulas available to use: mean, median and mode.
The Rookies uses median. The median is the middle point of a number set, in which half the numbers are above the median and half are below. A median is intrinsically understandable. It is the middle number when the values are put in order.
- Schools with < 8 student entries are excluded from ranking.
- Incomplete student entries are removed from calculations. No penalties.
- Each student receives a performance score. Max 100 points.
- Median students score calculated per school. Max 100 points.
- Each category finalist receives 10 bonus points toward School Score.
- Each category runner up receives 15 bonus points toward School Score.
- Each category winner receives 20 bonus points toward School Score.
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