Best Game Design & Development Schools in the World 2021
2021 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 2021 Best Game Design and 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 2021 please read how we rank the best schools and how we analyse the data in the sections located at the bottom of this page.
The Rookies World School Rankings® are not like other education based ranking systems. They are driven and judged by industry professionals without the interference of paid advertising dollars that cloud the judgement of other ranking sites.
• Scott Thompson, founder of Think Tank Training Centre.
What is Game Design and 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 Games and there are dozens of possible career paths open to you across multiple industries.
Top Game Design and Development Schools and Colleges in 2021
The official rankings for 2021 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.
Learn more about how we rank schools.
|1||Howest University of Applied Sciences - Digital Arts and Entertainment||Belgium||85.17|
|2||Think Tank Training Centre||Canada, Online||78.18|
|4||Academy of Art University||United States, Online||60.48|
|5||3dsense Media School||Singapore||59.61|
|6||Gnomon||Online, United States||59.22|
|7||Ringling College of Art and Design||United States||58.70|
|8||Escape Studios||United Kingdom, Online||54.92|
|9||Vertex School Inc||Online||54.64|
|10||Animum Creativity Advanced School||Spain||54.26|
|11||The Game Assembly||Sweden||54.09|
|12||University of Hertfordshire||United Kingdom, Online||54.08|
|13||Savannah College of Art and Design||United States, France, Online||53.90|
|14||Solent University||United Kingdom, Online||51.54|
|15||Staffordshire University||United Kingdom||51.30|
|18||The One Academy of Communication Design||Malaysia||46.60|
|19||FX ANIMATION Barcelona 3D and Film School||Spain||46.44|
|20||Falmouth University||United Kingdom||43.77|
Choosing the right education is one of the hardest decisions you will ever make.
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Top entries submitted by Game Design and 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 Design and Development
The following schools are the top Game Design and Development educational facilities for 2021 and offer great courses and curriculum that produces students that are ready for the challenges faced by professional artists working in Game Design and Development. Follow the links below to find out more about these schools, their facilities, team, success stories, student artwork and more.
1. 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...
2. 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...
4. 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 crea...
5. 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...
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....
7. 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...
8. 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! We’re leaders in digital arts, ranked 5th in the world by the Rookies, a Rookies Certified School, a Houdini Certified School, and the only Unreal Engine Authorized Training Center in the UK.
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 skill...
9. Vertex School Inc
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 students work at Apple, Houzz, Bioware, EA, CD Projekt Red and other industry leaders....
10. Animum Creativity Advanced School
We constantly network and advise with Industry Stakeholders and academic partners globally to ensure we are constantly industry relevant. We network with Epic Games, Unity 3D, Rokoko, Reallusion, GSU, NYU, Southern Institute of Technology, Ara Institute, Yoobee Colleges, and more.Students are regularly hired by Epic Games, Weta Group, Eleven FX, Graphic Monk, Geo AR....
11. The Game Assembly
The Game Assembly is a Higher Vocational Education situated in Malmö, Sweden, and we have educated 7% of the Swedish games industry.We educate game artísts, game programmers, level designers, game animators and technical artists. 50% of their education is individual development where the students dive into their handicraft and 50% is focused in how to make games together. We are strong believers in the group effort to get the best result - a fun to play game.The Game Art program at The Game Assembly focuses mainly on creating 3D game models. Within game art there are plenty of opportunities during the game projects to appeal to a wide audience, whether you like drawing concept art, modeling 3D models, animating characters, etc....
12. 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 t...
13. Savannah College of Art and Design
Savannah College of Art and Design prepares talented students for creative professions through engaged teaching and learning in a positively oriented university environment. SCAD is continually recognized for educational and professional excellence, affirming our commitment to the highest standards of achievement in art and design in the U.S.
SCAD constantly researches and reimagines programs to instill the critical skills and knowledge students need to succeed in their chosen careers. SCAD consults industry leaders, gathers data on business and design needs and collects student feedback to inform the genesis and evolution of every degree taught at the university. SCAD offers more programs and specializations than any other art and design u...
14. Solent University
With a population of around 11,000 staff and students, Solent University offers over 200 qualifications ranging from HND to PhD, in subjects as diverse as maritime education and training, fashion and design, media and television, music, health, sport and leisure, business, IT and technology. Every year we are joined by around 10,000 additional students on short professional courses. Rated five stars for teaching and inclusiveness in the QS World Rankings, and winner of the Times Higher Education ‘Most Improved Student Experience’ Award 2015, the University was also awarded the 2013 Quality Assurance Agency kitemark for quality and standards of teaching and learning, and voted one of the UK’s most creative universities in Which? University’s 2013 and...
15. 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...
With schools in Sweden in Stockholm, Boden, Skellefteå and Karlstad; in Norway in Nordreisa; and soon in New Zealand in Dunedin, Futuregames offers a whole range of different types of education and at many different levels, from short courses for experienced professionals to full time programs for future game developers just getting started in the industry. With almost 20 years of experience Futuregames has consistently ranked as one of the best game educations in the world and our former students make up over 11% of the Swedish games industry working across game art, game design, programming, game marketing and more.
Our vision: ”To provide each individual the competence and the context to be able to contr...
17. CG Spectrum
CG Spectrum was founded on the principle that students learn best through personalized, hands-on education taught by industry professionals who specialize in the discipline they are teaching. By giving students access to the most talented artists in the industry as their mentors, this helps ensure that CG Spectrum students are the best connected, best trained and best prepared for life beyond school in their respective fields. Our mentors meet students from around the world online for small classes or 1-on-1 specialised industry diploma courses. This personalised education gives our students an advantage, by allowing them to network with artists of major studios, regardless of their geographic location.
In addition to the unique 1-on-1 appr...
18. 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....
19. FX ANIMATION Barcelona 3D and Film School
FX ANIMATION Barcelona ArchViz School, pioneer in the field of architectural visualisation training and with 14 years of experience, offers you the possibility to complete your professional profile as an interior designer or architect thanks to its high performance training. Our specialised training and live online methodology (for English or Spanish speaking students) will allow you to master the leading software in the sector with great technical and visual depth, which will allow you to carry out any type of space visualisation project with great quality....
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.
Why our rankings are more accurate than others
School Rankings systems used by other websites focus on Incoming Student Skills. schools rank higher based on how selective they are. In other words, schools are rewarded by only accepting students with straight A's. This is like ranking hospitals by how sick their patients are when they arrive!
What we do at The Rookies, is rank school based on Outgoing Student Skills. We focus on how well a school has prepared a student for the job they've been training for. This the real sign of a top school and it can only be achieved by reviewing every single entry multiple times by highly respected people working in the industry.
The Judging Process
Each entrant is reviewed by members of the official Judging Panel which includes over 150 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.
Is your school missing from this global ranking?
Over 4,000 international students represented their school by submitting their work to the Rookie Awards 2021 and were reviewed by industry professionals.