Top 5 Game Design Schools and Colleges in New York – 2021 College Rankings

Founded in 1831 and serving more than 60,500 students, New York University (NYU) is the largest private university in the U.S. The school has the highest number of international students in America, with degree-granting campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai, along with nearly a dozen global academic centers and research programs in more than 25 countries. With more than 19,000 employees, NYU is also one New York’s largest employers.

Founded in 1965, Tisch School of the Arts is part of NYU and home to the NYU Game Center, Department of Game Design. Also known as Tisch or TSOA, the school serves more than 3,000 students from 48 states and 39 countries. Tisch students are enrolled in acting, animation, dance, design, film, games, interactive media, performance, photography, preservation, public policy, recorded music, and writing for musical theatre, stage, screen & television programs at the BA, BFA, MA, MFA, MPS and PhD levels.

The NYU Game Center, Department of Design offers several programs for aspiring game designers. Options include a BFA, MFA and Minor in Game Design. The BFA program is organized in three primary areas including Game Design, Game Development, and Game Studies and four production areas including Audio Design, Game Business, Programming, Visual Design. A Capstone is also part of the program.

The Game Center MFA is a two-year degree that includes classes in Game Design, Game History, Game Production, and Game Studies. Students in the program gain hands-on experience by taking studio courses and participating in play labs, and electives offer the opportunity to “explore everything from Game Journalism to Games and Players (a class on the psychology and emotions of game play),” says the school.

Classes and events for all Game Center programs take place at the Media and Games Network (MAGNET) at the NYU Brooklyn campus. MAGNET also houses the Game Center Open Library, which is “the largest collection of games held by any university in the world,” says the school.

In 2019, NYU Tisch School of the Arts and NYU Shanghai launched a Master of Arts in Interactive Media Arts. “The yearlong degree program pairs two online semesters with three immersive residencies at locations in NYU’s global network,” including New York, Berlin, and Shanghai. A collaboration between the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at NYU Tisch and the Interactive Media Arts Program (IMA) at NYU Shanghai, the MA “is focused on the production, application and understanding of interactive media for creative expression and critical engagement.”

Students in this new program benefit from full access to IMA’s communal makerspace for production, prototyping and user-testing, immersion in both the commercial and cultural activities of Shanghai and surrounding areas, the local dialogue series, artist talks, industry visits, workshops and communal programming, and visits to Shenzhen—“an epicenter of design, manufacturing and innovation.”

Course highlights include Creative Coding, Design for Communication (includes hands-on experience in 2D and 3D), Designing Change, Interface Lab (VR/AR), and Virtual Worlds. The program also covers entrepreneurship and a thesis is required to graduate.

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