Students who complete an online Bachelor in Game Design degree have an opportunity to compete in the exciting game design field. The continual advancements in video game design along with a growing trend of web and app based video games has created a need for talented designers.
The Bachelor in Game Design degree prepares graduates for careers as lead game designers, who develop the overall concept and feel of the game; level designers, who work with artists and programmers to lay out smaller sections of the game; and writer-designers who write game dialogue and text. Graduates with strong programming skills can also pursue careers as software applications developers, simulations programmers, 3D modelers and A.I. programmers.
The game design industry includes rewarding jobs such as lead designer, game systems designer, mobile game artist, character concept artist, texture artist, game mechanics designer, environment designer, game concept writer, level designer, interface designer and more.
Game designer general job description
Game designers decide on the mission, theme and rules of a game’s play with the goal of developing an engrossing, entertaining and challenging product. They decide how often players encounter obstacles and how quickly they move. Game designers also work with programmers, artists and musicians throughout game development.
O*NET Online, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration, reports game designers in 2015 had a median wage of $85,240.
The Bachelor in Game Design degree
Game Design degree programs provide artistic and technological design courses. They often feature a foundation in traditional painting, drawing and storytelling as well as hands-on experience creating a professional quality game design portfolio. Students may learn the overall structure of a successful video game.
The curriculum typically includes courses in animation, lighting, character and level design, digital design aesthetics, and 3D modeling with an emphasis on programming. Students also develop problem-solving and communication skills, while learning to write efficient code and collaborate with designers and artists.
Elective courses provide students the opportunity to specialize in various aspects of game design.
Gradates with a strong portfolio of game design work increase their chances of obtaining a job in the highly competitive field of game design.
Most students can complete the Bachelor in Game Design fully online, although some programs do offer internship options.
Online Bachelor in Game Design degree program ranking guidelines:
We selected the degree programs based on the quality of the program, types of courses provided, faculty strength as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.
The Best Online Bachelor in Game Design Degree Programs
(San Francisco, California)
The Academy of Art University, a privately owned, for-profit school founded in 1929, enrolls more than 18,000 students. The university offers associate, bachelor and master’s degrees in topics such as art history, animation and visual effects, fashion, landscape architecture, photography and more.
Benefiting from the Bay Area’s robust game industry the School of Game Development routinely hosts panels and critiques by industry leaders.
Numerous Academy of Art University game development students have won awards from the Blizzard Student Art Award contest.
The online Bachelor of Fine Arts in Game Development degree prepare graduates for careers as a 3D modeler, concept artist or game designer.
The hands-on curriculum provides students with a well-rounded education as well as fundamental game art principles, such as pre-production and production environments. Students also develop skills in traditional drawing and painting, texturing, animation, 3D modeling and rigging.
The 132-unit Bachelor in Game Development degree program includes courses, such as:
- Analysis of Form
- Game 3D Production
- Elements of Scripting
- Game Design, Theory & Analysis
- Hard Surface Modeling: High Resolution Game Assets
- Figure Drawing
- Level Design for Video Games
- Introduction to Anatomy
Game Development students develop an art and game design portfolio.
The Academy of Art University is regionally accredited by The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Game Development degree has received accreditation from the National Association of Schools and Art Design (NASDAD).
The Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design, a for-profit college founded in 1963, enrolls about 775 students. The college offers undergraduate degree programs in fine arts, interior design, illustration, commercial photography and more, as well as graduate degrees in education, leadership and emerging technologies, and design strategy and innovation.
Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in Game Art online degree program allows students to hone their design work and artistic skills. Through core studio and liberal studies courses, students develop a strong analytical and creative foundation. The curriculum also includes courses in animated storytelling, character and level design, and motion studies.
The 123-credit BFA in Game Art program’s courses include:
- 3D Computer Animation Motion Studies
- Business Ethics and Copyright for Animation
- Character and Level Design
- Digital Sculpting
- Character Rigging
- Game Shader Development
- Game Animation and Motion Capture
- 3D Computer Fundamentals
During the four-year Bachelor in Game Art program, students also complete a portfolio and a senior project.
Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.
The college is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
Savannah College of Art and Design, a private, non-profit university founded in 1978, enrolls about 11,000 students at four locations – Savannah and Atlanta, GA; Lacoste, France; and Hong Kong. The college offers more than 40 undergraduate and graduate degrees in programs such as accessory design, branded entertainment, architecture and fashion.
Savannah College of Art and Design offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Digital Media with a concentration Game Development and a Bachelor in Fine Arts in Interactive Design and Game Development. Both degrees prepare graduates for careers as a game designer, online games developer, modeler and environmental artist. Students develop communication and critical-thinking skills through general education and foundation studies courses.
Both programs consist of 180 hours.
The Online BA in Digital Media with a concentration Game Development program includes the following courses:
- Introduction to Game Development
- Digital Design Aesthetics
- Core Principles: Game Art
- Applied Principles: Game Design
- Core Principles: Interactive Design
- Introduction to Interactive Design and Game Development
The BFA in Interactive Design and Game Development includes the following courses:
- Digital Design Aesthetics
- Core Principles: Programming
- Interactive Design and Game Development: Portfolio
- Interactive Design and Game Development: Postproduction
Students also can choose from concentrations in game development, and interactive design and physical computing.
Savannah College of Art and Design is regionally accredited by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
University of Advancing Technology, a for-profit university founded in 1983, enrolls about 1,000 students. The university offers associate, bachelor and master degrees in a host of technology disciplines, including digital media, video game design, robotics, and cyber security.
The University of Advancing Technology offers three game design degree programs – an online Bachelor of Arts in Game Art and Animation, an Online Bachelor of Arts Game Design and an Online Bachelor of Science Game Programming degree. The university’s game degree programs feature entry-level, generalist and specialist work to prepare graduates for careers in the industry. Through a studio experience, game degree students produce original games before graduation.
All three game design programs consist of 120 semester hours.
The online Bachelor in Game Art and Animation allows students to develop skills in motion capture and facial animation, color theory, hand key character, scene staging and 3D mesh topology.
- Legal Issues in Technology
- Project Management in a Technology Environment
- Student Innovation Project
- Technology and Society
- Professional Skills Development
- Ethics in Technology
Students also complete an internship and a portfolio.
The online Bachelor in Game Design program allows students to craft and test game design projects, and emphasizes design documentation, interactive storytelling and game balancing.
- Critical Game Studies
- Introduction to Game Design
- Game Scripting for Designers
- Writing for Interactive Games
- Level Design
- Introduction to Game Tools
- Rapid Game Prototyping and Experimental Gameplay
The online Bachelor in Game Programming degree program helps students master programming principles and techniques.
- Java Programming
- C++ Programming
- Game Engine Programming
- Production Studio
- Graphics Programming
- Gameplay Programming Concepts
- Multiplatform Game Programming
- Mobile Game Programming
The University of Advancing Technology is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.
(Manchester, New Hampshire)
Southern New Hampshire University, a non-profit, private, co-educational and non-sectarian university established in 1932, enrolls about 64,000 students on-campus and online. The university offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs as well as certificates.
Southern New Hampshire University’s online Bachelor of Science in Game Programming and Development program prepares graduates for careers as a tools programmer, game engineer, video game developer and more.
Students learn computer programming languages and scripting, digital sculpting, 3D modeling and digital imaging. The curriculum also helps students develop skills to articulate and solve logic problems within interactive game systems programming.
The 120-credit Bachelor in Game Programming and Development online degree includes courses such as:
- Design of Virtual Game Environments
- Digital Game Development
- Graphics and Layout in Print Media
- Graphics Game Engine
- 3-D Modeling and Animation
- Foundation in Application Development
- Artificial Intelligence
- Project Management in Information Technology
Students have 24/7 access to course materials, allowing them to complete work on their schedule.
Southern New Hampshire University is regionally accredited by The Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
(Flint Township, Michigan)
Baker College, a private, not-for-profit college founded in 1911, offers more than 150 programs, leading to associate, bachelor, master and doctoral degrees and certificates. The school offers traditional and online degrees. Among the largest private colleges in the nation, Baker enrolls more than 23,000 students.
Through Baker Online, Baker College offers an online Bachelor of Science in Game Software Development degree, which provides students with a foundation in software engineering with an emphasis in gaming development and animation. With a focus on programming technologies, the program prepares graduates for entry-level positions in the gaming industry.
The BS in Game Software Development online degree consists of 177 total quarter hours with 111 hours in the major.
Major courses include:
- Visual BASIC
- Database Management Using SQL
- Game Scripting
- Game Console Design
- Flash Game Development
- Artificial Intelligence
- Discrete Mathematics
- Web Multi-Media
Online students can access coursework and library resources 24/7.
Baker College is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.
The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, a private, for-profit institute of higher education founded in 1921, enrolls about 6,200 students. Through its Online Division, AIP offers 27 fully online programs, including associate and bachelor’s degrees in graphic design, digital photography, and web design and interactive media, as well as certificate and diploma programs.
The Art Institute of Pittsburgh Online Division offers a Bachelor of Science in Game Art & Design program, which allows students to hone their knowledge of design fundamentals and develop skills in scriptwriting, game design, storyboarding and character design.
Students also examine video game production, artistic concepts, programming and game play strategies necessary to produce their own games and game levels. The degree program prepares graduates for entry-level game art and design careers in game development, software and education companies.
Students can take part in an online orientation.
The Art Institute of Pittsburgh Online Division’s Bachelor’s degree in Game Art & Design consists of 180 credits, including 36 program courses.
- Design Fundamentals
- Interactive Storytelling
- Texture Mapping for Games
- Digital Color Theory
- Image Manipulation
- Programming for Artists
- Environmental Modeling
- Game Animation
Students in the BS in Game Art & Design program also complete an internship and a portfolio.
AIP students, faculty and alumni can join the Art Institute Portfolio Gallery – a network allowing them to gain broader exposure of their work.
The Art Institute of Pittsburgh is regionally accredited by The Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
(Winter Park, Florida)
Full Sail University, a for-profit university founded in 1979, enrolls about 15,000 students. The university’s degree offerings include more than 40 programs in areas such as games, film and television, media and communication, and web and technology.
Full Sail University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Game Art and an online Bachelor of Science in Game Design. Students in the Game Art program learn to apply traditional art and animation principles to models and create 3D content. The Game Design curriculum focuses on high-level game design and production courses. Both programs feature ongoing portfolio courses and career development modules.
Students can complete their online program in 32 months, taking one course per month.
The university’s online courses feature some synchronous events, but students can view an archived version on their own time. Most courses feature weekly deadlines.
The online Bachelor in Game Art degree includes courses such as:
- 3-D Foundations
- Model Creation
- Psychology of Play
- 2-D Animation
- Texture Painting and Sculpting
- Game Animation
- Game Characters
- Historical Archetypes and Mythology
The online Bachelor in Game Design degree program includes the following courses:
- Creative Presentation
- Technology in the Entertainment and Media Industries
- Game Design
- Design and Development Analysis
- World Building
- Programming Foundations
- Systems Thinking
- Game Systems Integration
Full Sail University received national accreditation from the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. Note: Some regionally accredited colleges and universities may not accept credits from colleges and universities which don’t have regional accreditation.
Liberty University, a private, non-profit, Christian university founded in 1971, enrolls more than 114,000 students online and on-campus. The university offers more than 500 programs, including nearly 250 online programs, leading to a host of undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees.
Through Liberty University Online, the university offers an Online Bachelor of Science in Information Technology – Gaming Design degree. The degree helps students develop technical skills needed for successful careers in the gaming industry, such as video game designers, graphics directors and software programmers. The curriculum includes instruction in digital imaging, 3D graphics and interactive game development.
The 120-hour Bachelor in Information Technology – Gaming Design program includes 60 hours in the major.
The program includes courses such as:
- Introduction to Information Sciences & Systems
- Object-Oriented Programming
- Web Architecture & Development
- Introduction to Human-Computer Interaction
- Digital Imaging
- Introduction to 3D Graphics
- Interactive Game Development
- Introduction to Graphic Design
Students also complete a capstone course and can choose to complete an internship.
Liberty University is regionally accredited by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
DeVry University, a for-profit college founded in 1931 in Chicago, offers programs at about 40 campuses nationwide. A division of DeVry Education Group, the university enrolls more than 42,000 students in an array of associate, bachelor and master degree programs as well as graduate certificate programs.
DeVry University’s online Bachelor in Computer Information Systems degree with a Web Game Programming Specialization prepares graduates for careers in interactive web page scripting, game development, dynamic web site development, multiplayer online game development and more. Offered through the College of Engineering & Information Sciences, the degree program provides students with the techniques and tools to create dynamic web pages and web-based games.
Students can complete the 124-credit Bachelor in Computer Information Systems degree program in eight semesters.
DeVry University allows students to complete work at their own pace on a flexible schedule.
Students seeking the Web Programming Specialization, complete 16 credit hours of coursework, such as:
- Business of Graphics
- Game Development
- Dynamic Website Development with Database Integration
- Multiplayer Online Game Development
- Programming Multimedia for the Web
- Interactive Web Page Scripting
DeVry University is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.