Video Game Mecca by TedsBlog

The number of students pursuing a video game degree is increasing at astonishing rates, and schools are catching on. The number of colleges that offer video game degree programs has almost doubled over the past year. There’s more visibility for video game industry, and schools are showing that students with a game design degree are becoming a huge force.

Employment in the video game industry increased almost 9% between 2005 and 2009, and the starting salary for undergraduate students who get their first job in the industry has jumped several thousand dollars in the past few years as well. Those with a video game degree are in high demand, especially now that schools are rising to the challenge of creating quality video game degree programs.

The thing that schools are focused on most these days when creating video game degree programs are social, mobile, 3D, and motion capture games, as well as gesture-based games like Kinect from Microsoft. Schools are working to provide their students with advanced skills that will allow them to enter the industry in a few years and already be experienced with the newest technologies.

According to a list released by The Princeton Review, the University of Southern California in Los Angeles is the top school in the country offering video game degrees. The program is run through a collaboration between the Interactive Media Division at the School of Cinematic Arts and the School of Engineering. The school receives hundreds of applications each year, but currently only accepts 15 to 20 undergraduate students and 15 graduate students. The tuition for their program is $40,000 for undergrads and at least $23,000 for grad students. Some of the school’s graduates have gone on to work for companies like Activision and Electronic Arts, and to work on creating games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Rock Band 3.

As for the rest of the list, some of the other top schools for video game degrees include the DigiPen Institute of Technology, the University of Utah, and MIT for undergraduate students. For graduate students, they should opt for schools like the Rochester Institute of Technology, the University of Central Florida, and Southern Methodist University. The programs at many of these schools emphasize the importance of teamwork among students, as well as how the skills learned working in groups will translate into working in the industry. They encourage game programmers, designers, and artists to work together on creating quality games for players.

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